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  • The Digit

    30The percentage of U.K. teens ages 12 to 16 who fall asleep more than once a week to TV or music or while using other tech devices.
  • The Dems' Fight for Latino Loyalties

    The Democrats' Sunday night Univision debate was just the first step in a drive to reverse George Bush's gains among Hispanic voters. On to 'Latino Tuesday.'
  • Boating Bargains

    Fall is a great time to go cruisin’ for bargains on cruises. It’s the season when the big lines reposition their ships for winter travel: the big boats leave Europe and the Mediterranean and head for Florida and the Caribbean. Other ships leave Alaska (by way of none-too-shabby Vancouver) and head to Hawaii. There’s even one ship, from Regent Seven Seas, going from Alaska to Osaka. If you’re willing to take a block of time and travel on one of these one-way cruises, you can get a great deal—it can cost less than $100 a night—and you’ll cross the ocean in the leisurely, luxurious way it was meant to be crossed, not in some cramped airline seat. You can find a complete list of the repositioning cruises of more than 50 ships at cruising.org. You’ll find deals like Norwegian’s 15 nights from Barcelona to Miami and Carnival’s 16 nights from Rome to Miami via Portugal and Spain, each priced under $1,000. If you miss out, don’t despair. You can book early for next spring’s trip back across...
  • Beliefwatch: Memoirs

    Some experiences just inspire people to pick up a pen. Convinced that what they saw, felt or heard was profound and unique, these writers are moved to share. Jury duty is one such experience. Parenthood is another. Religious conversion, or an intense spiritual awakening, is a third. Publishers are increasingly giving those in the last camp a voice, hoping to discover at last the next Anne Lamott or Kathleen Norris—and praying, so to speak, for strong sales. This week three spiritual memoirs top The New York Times nonfiction lists. One is by the wife of a country singer. One is by a divorcée who traveled the world in search of transcendence. One is by a preacher who says he was hit by a truck, saw heaven and came back to life.As a genre, the spiritual memoir has been around since at least 397, when St. Augustine wrote his “Confessions,” the first real autobiography in Western history. In an astonishingly modern way, Augustine describes his early life and his conversion in terms that...
  • A Rush To Judgment

    On March 28, 2006, the four co-captains of the Duke lacrosse team accused of gang-raping an exotic dancer met with university president Richard Brodhead. One of the captains, David Evans, emotionally protested that the team was innocent and apologized for the misbegotten stripper party. “Brodhead’s eyes filled with tears,” write Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson in their new book on the case, “Until Proven Innocent” (420 pages. Thomas Dunne Books. $26.95). Brodhead “said that the captains should think of how difficult it had been for him.” The misbehavior of the players, said Duke’s president, “had put him in a terrible position.” Listening to Brodhead, Robert Ekstrand, a lawyer representing the captains and many of their teammates, “felt his blood starting to boil,” write Taylor and Johnson. “Here, he thought, is a comfortable university president wallowing in self-pity in front of four students who are in grave danger of being falsely indicted on charges of gang rape, punishable by...
  • Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Just Viggo?

    In a David Cronenberg movie, people usually talk about the violence, such as in, well, “A History of Violence.” That probably won’t be true with his new film, “Eastern Promises.” It’s a thriller starring Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai, a taciturn chauffeur for a family of Russian mobsters living in London. The biggest scene takes place in a steam room. Nikolai is sitting there in a towel, taking a peaceful shvitz, when two rival mobsters lumber in and attack him. It’s incredibly violent, of course, but the really shocking thing is that Mortensen plays the whole four-minute fight completely naked. It’s quite possibly the longest male nude scene ever in a mainstream Hollywood film. “In this age of screen grabs, I realize people are going to obsess about it,” Mortensen says. “But it’s not gratuitous.” But wasn’t he even a little nervous about exposing himself like that? “That’s the advantage of working with a real actor as opposed to a star,” says Cronenberg, who took two entire days to...
  • Mail Call

    Readers of our cover story on Facebook were intrigued by the online behemoth, but the majority were worried by the impersonal nature of such social interaction. One said, “I’m honestly puzzled by this Internet-friendship phenomenon. I wish someone would explain the huge psychological shift by which someone can imagine he or she has thousands of personal friends.” Another added, “Real relationships require listening and talking and getting together with your friend who is going through a hard time.” Others wondered about the site’s utility beyond high-school and college communities, with one asking “how a playground for kids could create tangible value in the real world.” And another said of the social-networking site, “Instead of wasting constructive time over who’s dating whom or the latest music obsessions, today’s socially networking youth needs to be worried about more significant issues such as illiteracy and poverty.”While reading NEWSWEEK in my Current Events class, I was...
  • A Successful Balancing Act

    The riot in the credit markets confounded investors once again. The major stock markets had just clawed their way back to their levels of seven years ago. Long-term holders finally were making money. Then a string of financial IEDs, linked to shaky mortgage loans, blew up their hopes. The professionals panicked. Individuals mostly froze.You might think that buy-and-hold will get you past this crisis, too. But the message of the market has never been purely buy-and-hold. The right strategy is buy, rebalance and hold. Rebalancing is one of the principal ways of capturing profits and reducing risk. It’s especially suited to frightened markets like these, when no one knows whether to throw money in or run and hide.Rebalancers engage in what’s known as “target” or “program” investing. You set a target for how your money should be divided among stocks and bonds—for example, 60 percent stocks, 40 percent bonds. If the stock market rises so much that your stocks are now valued at 65 percent...
  • Why Gonzales Bailed

    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told friends he resigned last week at the urging of his wife following a summer vacation. But he had plenty of reasons to leave the capital. Just days earlier, congressional leaders had signaled they intended to keep the attorney general in their crosshairs this fall, forcing him to testify at length about the administration’s warrantless surveillance efforts before they would consider passing new legislation on the subject.That prospect, combined with hints that an internal Justice Department probe was expanding to include allegations that Gonzales had lied to Congress, created mounting anxiety at the White House, according to officials who asked not to be identified talking about internal deliberations. A former colleague urged Gonzales to step down months ago, but the A.G. hung on—believing the president wanted him to stay, the official said. By last week, that no longer seemed to be the case. One big reason: an internal review by chief of staff...
  • Dial And Tribulation

    At county fairs in Pennsylvania this summer, visitors lined up for the Ferris wheel, pie-eating contests—and to renew their spot on the state’s Do Not Call Registry. Who knew that the list, which was established in 2002, came with a five-year expiration date? Not Mark Baicker, a pension manager from Carversville, Pa. “It’s totally confusing,” he says. “When you’re signing up, it should be permanent.” As the Sept. 15 deadline looms, the state is putting the word out through public-service announcements, newspaper ads and TV spots. Still, only 690,000 people out of the 2 million registrants who need to renew have done so.These mixed signals in Pennsylvania could mirror a problem the entire country will face next year, when the first people who signed up are dropped from the federal Do Not Call list. The nationwide registry, with 148 million numbers, is considerably larger than in Pennsylvania, one of the few states that still operate a list independent of the Federal Trade Commission...
  • Last Stop On The ‘V’-Train

    Earlier this year, Idaho Sen. Larry Craig explained why he favors Mitt Romney. “First and foremost,” Craig said, “he has very strong family values.” That platitude had power for Craig, as it did for his party. But it turns out that family values might no longer have a “wide stance” athwart American politics. The haste with which his fellow Republicans called for Craig’s resignation suggests that they fear many voters will no longer automatically associate the GOP with superior moral standing.Craig’s humiliating story, amplified in more than 10,000 blog posts, isn’t new, and not just because homosexual men have been trysting in the toilet area since the introduction of public restrooms more than a century ago. The conservative-hypocrisy angle goes way back, too. When I first moved to Washington, D.C., in 1980, Maryland Rep. Bob Bauman, arguably the single most anti-gay and sanctimonious right-winger in town (quite a feat), was busted for sex with a 16-year-old male dancer. Soon he...
  • Psp Loses Weight

    Like Nintendo’s DS last year, Sony’s PlayStation Portable is getting a much-needed nip-and-tuck. The new PSP is only three quarters of an inch thick, down from nine tenths. And thanks in part to a slimmer battery, the device is shedding about 2.5 ounces, down to 6.7. Other upgrades include: ...
  • Unemployed

    In Washington, it was a bad week for keeping your job— just ask Larry Craig. But in Hollywood, when the going gets tough, the tough guys—quit. David Beckham: All the hullabaloo (and $250 million) when Becks came to the United States and he’s already injured? Beckham’s bum knee will sideline him for six weeks and possibly the entire L.A. Galaxy season. Amy Winehouse: The saga continues. How did she end up all bruised and bloody in photographs? Is she going to rehab? Nonono. But she’s canceled all U.S. appearances, including a stop at the MTV Video Music Awards. Owen Wilson: Police responded to a call about an attempted suicide at the actor’s house. Not long after, he dropped out of his next movie, “Tropic Thunder,” directed by his buddy Ben Stiller. Maybe brother Luke could fill in.
  • Road Test: Volvo C30

    Eye the back of the C30 and I bet you wouldn’t identify this two-door hatchback as a Volvo. Where’s that telltale boxy look? The Swedes say they visited the Milan Furniture Fair for design inspiration. It worked. This premium compact is sharp, at least from the rear. As seen from the front, though, that tired Volvo dolphin nose doesn’t jibe with its new sassy tail. Oh well, baby steps.The new C30 is aimed at the under-30 crowd and comes in two flavors. The 1.0 base model in six-speed manual, with 17-inch wheels and an MP3/iPod-adaptable 160-watt stereo system, is a lot of car for the money. The only option available is metallic paint. On the 2.0 version, which sells for $3,000 more, the wheels are 18-inchers, the stereo 650 watts, and there’s the option of a five-speed automatic transmission. Both get legendary Volvo safety, including six airbags, and both are powered by the same 2.5-liter, 227-hp, five-cylinder turbocharged engine, which lacked the expected oomph. Better are the...
  • A Systematic Failure

    Louisiana politicians and the federal government have had two years to fix the sewers of St. Bernard Parish since Hurricane Katrina destroyed every pump and lifting station in the 30-mile network. Little to nothing has been done. For now, emergency trucks are handling the job, pumping raw waste out of the ground and hauling it to treatment plants out of town. The total cost of the operation so far: roughly $48 million, when it would’ve cost only $45 million to rebuild the whole system, estimates Junior Rodriguez, the St. Bernard Parish president.The hitch? The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s rules allow the city to rebuild the St. Bernard sewers only as they were, not to upgrade them into a more modern system that officials want. This regulation on disaster assistance—which authorizes work “on the basis of the design of such facilities as they existed immediately prior to the disaster”—is hindering rebuilding efforts. “President Bush came down here and said we were going to...
  • Snap Judgment

    Directed by David SingtonWhen you’ve traveled to the moon and looked back at Earth, it tends to change the way you look at the world. For Alan Bean, who was part of the Apollo 12 expedition, he finds that he no longer complains about the weather, or traffic. For Gene Cernan (Apollo 10 and 17) the experience “stands outside religion … It’s spiritual, not religious.” These are two of the 10 astronauts interviewed in the stirring documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon,” which retells the history of the Apollo program. Between 1968 and 1972, nine American spacecraft journeyed to the moon, and 12 men walked upon it. The first, Neil Armstrong, declined to be interviewed. But here, among others, are Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins, Charlie Duke and Jim Lovell, and as we watch the astonishing NASA footage, they eloquently evoke the optimism, anxiety and excitement of those voyages. ...
  • The Dogmatic Doubter

    The publication of Mother Teresa’s letters, concerning her personal crisis of faith, can be seen either as an act of considerable honesty or of extraordinary cynicism (or perhaps both of the above). These scrawled, desperate documents came to light as part of the investigation into her suitability for sainthood; an investigation conducted by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the Canadian priest who is the editor of this volume. And they were actually first published in the fall of 2002, by the Zenit news agency—a Vatican-based outlet associated with a militant Catholic right-wing group known as the Legion of Christ. So, which is the more striking: that the faithful should bravely confront the fact that one of their heroines all but lost her own faith, or that the Church should have gone on deploying, as an icon of favorable publicity, a confused old lady whom it knew had for all practical purposes ceased to believe?Crises of faith, or “dark nights of the soul” as they were termed by St....
  • Baghdad’s New Owners

    It was their last stand. Kamal and a handful of his neighbors were hunkered down on the roof of a dun-colored house in southwest Baghdad two weeks ago as bullets zinged overhead. In the streets below, fighters from Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army fanned out and blasted away with AK-47s and PKC heavy machine guns. Kamal is a chubby 44-year-old with two young sons, and he and his friends, all Sunnis, had been fighting similar battles against Shiite militiamen in the Amel neighborhood for months. They jumped awkwardly from rooftop to rooftop, returning fire. Within minutes, however, dozens of uniformed Iraqi policemen poured into the street to support the militiamen. Kamal ditched his AK on a rooftop and snuck away through nearby alleys. He left Amel the next day. “I lost my house, my documents and my future,” says Kamal, whose name and that of other Iraqis in this story have been changed for their safety. “I’m never going back.”Thousands of other Sunnis like Kamal have been cleared out...
  • Fineman: The Surge and the Polls

    This is supposed to be a make-or-break week in the conduct of the Iraq War. But politically, it's looking a lot like 2006 all over again.
  • Oprah’s Obama Blowout

    Oprah Winfrey has said she’s not interested in running for president—but can she help elect one? On Saturday afternoon, Winfrey will throw the flashiest fund-raiser of the 2008 cycle when she welcomes about 1,500 guests to her Montecito, Calif., home to support the candidacy of Democrat Barack Obama. Tickets are sold out at $2,300 each, the legal maximum for primary-campaign giving. Hollywood stars Will Smith, John Travolta, Jamie Foxx and Halle Berry are all on the guest list. Among the musicians who’ll perform: Stevie Wonder and gospel singer BeBe Winans, a Winfrey friend.A source close to Winfrey, who declined to speak publicly for fear of angering the TV star, says Oprah bonded with the Illinois senator in 2005 when the pair flew from Chicago to Houston together to visit Hurricane Katrina refugees. “I think Oprah got to see the genuine side of Obama … and was just blown away,” says the source.Younger actors and executives in black Hollywood tend to support Obama; older figures...
  • Now, Defining Decency Down

    Last week, a U.S. Senator’s 27-year congressional career crashed and burned and his life unraveled in public ignominy, and a presidential candidate announced his disgust in a way that did him no credit. The U.S. attorney general made a resignation statement containing a repulsive sentiment suffused with vanity. And in a weird addition to lastweek’s jumbled sensibilities and sensitivities, the Public Broadcasting System announced that, because some station managers are afraid that the Federal Communications Commission’s decency police might take umbrage and impose fines, two versions of Ken Burns’s 14½-hour documentary “The War” will be distributed, in one of which four words of profanity will be removed. This is not because the words shockingly and wrongly suggest that soldiers in World War II sometimes used indelicate language (does no one remember what the F in the wartime acronym “snafu” stands for?), but because someone, somewhere, might be offended by that fact.Good grief. Let...
  • Beyond Nice Looks

    A growing movement in the design industry seeks to go beyond esthetics and into more socially responsible work. Last week, the prestigious European design organization, Index, held its annual Design to Improve Life awards in Copenhagen (indexaward.dk). TIP SHEET takes a look at the winners:The lightweight, durable XO Laptop is sunlight-readable and shock- and moisture-resistant, important qualities to the large number of kids in the world whose classroom is outdoors. Better yet, the computers are only $100 each.Made with low-cost materials like glass fiber and low-tech production methods, the Mobility for Each One is a prosthetic foot that costs only $8 to produce. The prototype uses the same compression-propulsion technology in fancy prosthetics that even allows wearers to run.The fully electric Tesla Roadster produces zero emissions and accelerates from zero to 60 in four seconds, and its battery takes less than four hours to recharge. At $100,000, it’s expensive, but with a fuel...
  • Why We Need A Draft

    Maybe we would have only lost those three instead of 13,” I thought to myself on a dusty Friday in Fallujah in early November 2005. I was picking up the pieces of a truck that hours before had been blown apart by an IED, wondering why our equipment wasn’t better and why three more Marines were dead. My unit, Second Battalion Second Marines, had lost 13 men in the previous two weeks—not from fire fights but from increasingly powerful roadside bombs. Just then I noticed a big vehicle—what I would later learn was called an MRAP (for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected)—driving by, one owned by a private contracting company. This thing made our truck look like a Pinto in a Ferrari showroom. It was huge, heavy, ominous, indestructible. I wanted to commandeer it. I wanted to live in it.I turned to my platoon sergeant. “Why are the private companies driving around in these things and not the Marine Corps?” I asked. He looked at me and rubbed together his thumb and forefinger. An MRAP costs...
  • What Grandma Kept Hidden From Us

    By the time i took my 2-year-old daughter to visit her great-grandmother in Moscow, we hadn’t seen my Grandma Gita in more than a year. After my grandfather’s death, Grandma had spent two winters at my parents’ house in Arizona but then decided to return to Russia for good. When we arrived, Grandma looked frailer than she had on previous visits and her apartment was dirtier. But overall, everything else seemed normal. We had tea, and then my daughter and I went to the living-room sofa to sleep off jet lag. Soon, we awoke to a thudding sound. Grandma sat at the kitchen table, aggressively stabbing a whole frozen chicken, still wrapped in plastic, with a large knife.“Ready for dinner?” she asked. “I’ll cut you a piece.”There was no way she’d be able to cut that chicken, I thought. But I said nothing. Even though I was in my 20s, at my grandparents’ apartment I felt like a 6-year-old—it wasn’t my place to critique Grandma’s cooking. Watching Grandma hack at the chicken, I wondered if,...
  • Older, Fitter And Faster

    When the American women’s soccer team triumphed in the World Cup eight summers ago, Kristine Lilly was the quiet one. The media’s adoring coverage— which created an unlikely new breed of American sports heroes—centered on the photogenic superstar Mia Hamm. But today Lilly, who played in Hamm’s shadow for 17 years, is the only remaining member of the U.S. national team whose career dates back to the ’80s. Most extraordinary is that at 36 and after a 20-year tenure, Lilly remains at the pinnacle of her game—she was runner-up for world Player of the Year honors in 2006—and is, arguably, the greatest women’s soccer player in history.Next week Lilly—dubbed “Grandma” by her teammates, some of whom were in diapers when she debuted—will lead another American team into the 2007 World Cup in China. It will be Lilly’s fifth Cup competition and is a testament to her remarkable career. Soccer is a running game that makes exceptional physical demands, and Lilly is a decade older than most of the...
  • Defending The Surge

    What could Gen. David Petraeus possibly say next week to convince a never-more-skeptical Congress that the troop surge in Iraq is working? A 5,000-word blog entry penned by one of his key aides and widely linked by military bloggers could provide clues. Dave Kilcullen, an Australian colonel who just completed a tour in Iraq as a counterinsurgency adviser to Petraeus, says the Sunni backlash against Al Qaeda is broader and more significant than people in Washington understand. The “uprising” that began in western Anbar has grown to encompass about 40 percent of the country, with 30,000 former insurgents “now on our side,” Kilcullen writes in Small Wars Journal (smallwars journal.com). But because it began after Congress outlined the benchmarks by which the surge would be judged, the implications have been overlooked, he says. Others close to Petraeus confirm the direction. “He’ll say there’s ample evidence at the local level that the surge is working,” historian Conrad Crane, who...
  • Clift: A Tale of Two Parties

    Two gatherings in the nation's capital help point up the difference between theorizing about war—and fighting one.
  • Fineman: The Craig Effect in 2008

    The GOP hustled the Idaho senator off the stage as soon as news of his arrest in a Minneapolis airport men's room came to light. But Craig isn't going gently. The fallout could help the Dems win the White House next year.
  • Wolffe: Bush's Wayward Biographer

    President Bush granted six sit-down interviews to author Robert Draper. The results have not been especially helpful as the administration sets course on Iraq for the fall.
  • Dollars For Scholars

    Paying kids for good grades is a popular (if questionable) parenting tactic. But when school starts next week, New York City will try to use the same enticement to get parents in low-income neighborhoods more involved in their children’s education and overall health. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has raised more than $40 million (much of it from his own money and the Rockefeller Foundation) to pay families a modest amount for small tasks—$50 for getting a library card or $100 to take a child to the dentist—that could make a big difference.The experimental program, called Opportunity NYC, is modeled on a 10-year-old Mexican program called Oportunidades, which has been so successful in reducing poverty in rural areas that it has been adopted by more than 20 countries, including Argentina and Turkey. International studies have found that these programs raise school enrollment and vaccination rates and lower the number of sick days students take. Bringing this idea to Harlem and the South...
  • Q&A: Scarlett Johansson

    Her last performance was in a Justin Timberlake music video, but Johansson returns to movies as the nanny in “The Nanny Diaries.” She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.I came from a moderate home, so we never had one. I actually never knew anyone with a nanny.Greenwich Village. So I was oblivious to that whole Upper East Side lifestyle.Well, now that you say it like that, I’m trying to guess.You’re going to have a fabulous time. I’ve actually never seen a complete show of his.Well, I’m in Barcelona.Yes. I’d do his craft service if he wanted me to.I have work pretty early in the morning. I don’t know how Woody would feel if I came to work two days later, singing those songs at the top of my lungs.This is the second time I’ve heard of it. It’s a little out there. I don’t think that’s for me.I’m a confident young woman. I think along with that comes sexual confidence. But I don’t think that means I’m terribly frisky. I don’t objectify myself. But I like to celebrate my curves and girliness.That...
  • Disinvited To The Party

    One of the complaints you hear a lot from readers when you’re in my line of work and live in my part of the country is that you can’t understand America from the vantage point of New York City. I’m beginning to think there’s some truth to that, and it’s all because of the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani.Ever since the presidency was a mere gleam in his eye, lots of New Yorkers have been predicting that Rudy, like a toddler or a genuine bagel, would not travel well across the country. It wasn’t just the quasi-liberal positions on abortion, gay rights and gun control: he could massage those, and sometimes has. It was his private life, which his former constituents have watched with all the avidity of a soaps addict tuning in to “All My Children.” There was the annulment from the first wife, who was his second cousin, the press conference he used to inform the second wife that she was history, the girlfriend he met in the cigar bar who became wife number three, and the very public...
  • Conventional Wisdom

    Special Shafted EditionON the heels of Utah coal disaster, Bush admin greenlights ‘mountaintop mining’ to wreck environment. Nice crowd. Bush Old take: Don’t dare compare Iraq to Vietnam. New: Reason to fight on—we should have stayed in Vietnam. Warner Va. GOP senator breaks ranks with Bush, and wants some troops home by Xmas. Is he a surrender monkey, too? Maliki Beltway Brahmins want his head, but replacing Iraq P.M. won’t solve anything. Remember Vietnam? Rove Departing divisive “architect” gets razzed even from righties. So much for permanent GOP majority. Spitzer GOP-paid dirty trickster harassed N.Y. governor’s elderly dad, lancing the boil of Eliot’s own trickery. Bizarre. M. Vick No amount of scrambling lets QB avoid the blitz that came from his dogfighting misbehavior. All-Madden?
  • Washington Slept Here

    Shortly before George Washington retired as president in 1797, two of his cherished house slaves—Martha’s helper Oney Judge and their chef, Hercules—ran away. Tracked down at Washington’s order, Oney tried to set strict conditions for her return, which the old general refused. As for Hercules, he just disappeared.Despite Washington’s indignation over the “disloyalty” of his “Negroes,” slavery was one of the few subjects in his life that the first president was ambivalent about. Financially he knew that he and Martha could not run the presidential house in Philadelphia or his beloved estate Mt. Vernon in Virginia without their several hundred slaves. But in his later years, Washington came to hate slavery for dividing families and undermining the best ideals of the Revolution.The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which in 1858 heroically rescued Washington’s by then weedy, decaying estate (the front portico was being held up by a sailboat’s mast), was itself long ambivalent about how...
  • The Blackboard Bungles

    In 1965, after Jonathan Kozol was fired from his job in a Boston public school for teaching his African-American fourth graders a Langston Hughes poem that was not part of the curriculum, he went on to write a book that laid bare the inequities of a segregated education system. The injustices there, he wrote in the now classic “Death at an Early Age,” “have compelled its Negro pupils to regard themselves with something less than the dignity and respect of human beings.” His words—made more powerful by the fact that they came from his own experience—set off a wave of reform at the height of the civil-rights movement. Forty years later, as a broader debate on school reform gains momentum, three authors have entered the classroom again—two veteran journalists and a first-year teacher—to provide us with fresh dispatches from inside the blackboard jungle. All three books, which are being published this month, are a product not of VIP visits but of several months spent inside the...
  • Coming Out at Age 88

    It took the death of my dear life partner for me to find the courage to come out of the closet.
  • The Catch-22 Of Economics

    We are now in the “blame phase” of the economic cycle. As the housing slump deepens and swings in financial markets widen, we’ve embarked on the usual search for culprits. Who got us into this mess? Our investigations will doubtlessly reveal, as they already have, much wishful thinking and miscalculation. They will also find incompetence, predatory behavior and some criminality. But let me suggest that, though inevitable and necessary, this exercise is also simplistic and deceptive.It assumes that, absent mistakes and misdeeds, we might remain in a permanent paradise of powerful income and wealth growth. The reality, I think, is that the economy follows its own Catch-22: by taking prosperity for granted, people perversely subvert prosperity. The more we—business managers, investors, consumers—think that economic growth is guaranteed and that risk and uncertainty are receding, the more we act in ways that raise risk, magnify un-certainty and threaten economic growth. Prosperity...
  • Putting Brains On The Couch

    For doctors who treat illnesses that strike from the neck down, a patient’s symptoms are only the first step toward a diagnosis. No sooner do they hear “It hurts when I climb stairs” than they order blood work, X-rays or other tests. In psychiatry, though, the laundry list of symptoms is it, the only basis for diagnosis. Maybe that helps explain why 70 percent of patients with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed, as are up to half of women with depression. They take drug after drug, taking each dose of each medication for four to six weeks until one works or they give up, wasting money and time while their suffering continues. It’s hard to avoid the sense that psychiatry could stand to be dragged into … well, let’s start with the 20th century.The American Psychiatric Association is updating its immense (911 pages) diagnostic manual, which offers 20 forms of bipolar disorder alone. “But it’s still just a checklist of symptoms, which different physicians can interpret differently,” says...
  • Ever After

    No group is more emphatically and publicly opposed to the practice of polygamy than the Latter-day Saints. The topic is, however, irresistible and perennial. While the Mormon Church banned plural marriage more than 100 years ago and promises excommunication to those who practice it, its spokespeople find themselves having to explain polygamy’s legacy over and over to reporters who watch “Big Love” or are curious about Mitt Romney’s ancestry. “I wish to state categorically that this church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy,” said LDS president Gordon B. Hinckley more than a decade ago.Much less clear is the church’s position on polygamy in the eternal hereafter. When a Mormon man and woman are married in the Temple, they are “sealed,” which means they and their children will be bound together forever in heaven—what Mormons call the celestial kingdom. If a Mormon man becomes a widower, or if he is divorced, he can remarry in the Temple—and thus be sealed to...
  • Black-Gold Booster

    Energy's future: A onetime oilman admits we need alternatives, but says there's plenty of petroleum left.
  • The Editor’s Desk

    Sami Yousafzai, NEWSWEEK’s correspondent in Afghanistan, wasn’t counting on the interview. In reporting this week’s cover story on the six-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, Sami reached out to a Taliban source who told him to come to a mountain village even though, Sami recalls, “there was only a 5 percent chance that we could meet.” A go-between greeted Sami at the rendezvous. The man, Sami recalls, “asked me a lot of questions. I think he thought I was there to volunteer as an insurgent or suicide bomber because he told me that if I’m my parents’ only son I should just go home and serve them, not the Taliban.” Finally the source arrived.The ensuing interview was worth the wait. In it the source related the story that opens our Special Report: that early in the winter of 2004–05, a Qaeda sentry posted near bin Laden and his entourage in the mountains along the Afghan-Pakistani border spotted a patrol of American soldiers heading toward the man his followers call the “sheik.” Bin Laden...
  • Another Troubling Report Enters the Fray

    Spies normally abhor publicity, and many U.S. intelligence officials are dismayed that once secret intelligence reports have now moved to center stage in the debate over war. National Intelligence Estimates, like the summary on Iraq made public last week, are supposed to represent the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community’s top experts. Until recently the classified documents were kept secret for 30 years. But in the wake of recent U.S. intelligence failures, the Bush administration has begun releasing report highlights. This year the intelligence czar’s office has provided extracts from three new NIEs: two on Iraq and one on terrorism.To the discomfort of intel insiders, quotes from these reports have become fodder for administration friends and foes. Robert Hutchings, former chairman of the panel that produces the documents, told NEWSWEEK that NIEs were never intended as “report cards” on White House policies. Hutchings is concerned that experts who write the reports,...
  • Perfect Stranger

    If you’re trying to watch your waistline, Tommy’s Ham House is probably the last place you ought to go for breakfast. But there was Mike Huckabee last week, working his way around the Greenville, S.C., restaurant, shaking hands, making small talk and doing his best to keep his distance from all those plates piled with steaming smoked ham steaks, buttery grits and syrup-soaked pancakes. Huckabee, the once rotund minister and former Arkansas governor who dropped 100 pounds and now preaches about the virtues of diet and exercise, had the pained look of a man suffering a momentary crisis of faith. “Ohh, I wish I could have a bite of that,” the long-shot presidential candidate told one diner, his eyes aching for a two-pound omelet.Huckabee restrained himself and turned to the real reason for his visit: winning over the 100 or so GOP voters who’d shown up that morning to hear his presidential pitch. He didn’t disappoint. Huckabee’s speech hit every major theme on the Christian...
  • The Global Warming Debate

    Our Aug. 13 report on the global-warming“denial machine”elicited more than 250 passionate responses. One reader declared the article“a public-service piece,”adding,“It doesn’t take a great intellect to figure out that humans are having a negative impact on our environment.”But many skeptics begged to differ.“Climate change is a fact,”said one.“Man-made global warming is a religion fueled by misleading statements.”One reader said the debate was irrelevant, asking,“Shouldn’t we be good stewards of our planet anyway?”I was extremely pleased to read Sharon Begley’s detailed and highly accurate article on the climate-change deniers (“The Truth About Denial”). I first published on climate disruption in 1968 and, like my scientific colleagues, have grown increasingly concerned about it ever since. The success of the deniers has been appalling and, sadly, they have succeeded in delaying needed action for a decade or more. I know dozens of the leading climate scientists personally and have...
  • Era Of The Super Cruncher

    If the editors of a magazine—NEWSWEEK, for instance—want to know what interests their readers, their resources are limited. They can count cover sales, but that only tells them about one story a week. They can convene a focus group, but that’s a cumbersome and costly way to assess the tastes of 3 million subscribers. Online, by contrast, that information is available for the asking—not just the numbers of readers, but how long they spent with a given story and what else they read. So as journalism increasingly migrates to the Web, the job of figuring out what readers want becomes almost automatic—thereby raising the question, how much do we really need editors, anyway?Just kidding! But according to a new book by Ian Ayres, an econometrician and law professor at Yale, this is a microcosm of a powerful trend that will shape the economy for years to come: the replacement of expertise and intuition by objective, data-based decision making, made possible by a virtually inexhaustible...