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  • 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...
  • Bush’s History Problem

    Much was changing in Vietnam when I visited in December 1991, in the waning hours of the Soviet Union. The coziness between Moscow and Hanoi, once comrades, had curdled into mutual contempt. The Russians, aware their empire was imploding, had little interest in their former client-state and were looking to leave. The Vietnamese had come to despise the large Russian population for, among other things, its cheap spending habits. By contrast, they welcomed Americans—“Russians with dollars,” we were called. The day I visited the old U.S. Embassy in Saigon—where some of the iconic photos symbolizing American defeat were taken—government workmen were removing a discolored brass plaque that once commemorated the North’s victory over “U.S. imperialists.” At the time of my visit, propaganda against American involvement in Southeast Asia was no longer politically correct. Hanoi’s message: Yankees come back (and bring your investment dollars). The cold-war dominoes had fallen—just in America’s...
  • Bad News For Brit: The New Tune’s Toxic

    Even by her dismal standards, Britney Spears is having a tough month. She and her Fed-Ex have been battling for custody of their kids. Now a leaked song off her comeback CD is making the rounds, and it’s … awful. Comeback album? Or her go-away album? We break down the new tune. –Ramin Setoodeh
  • Campus Crusaders

    Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville, Va., is the kind of place that would make most coastal liberals run screaming. A tiny college with about 500 students, its stated goal is to “prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture.” Its dorms are filled mostly with kids who have been home-schooled all their lives by Bible-believing Christian parents and who were taught that homosexuality is an abomination and that Adam and Eve cavorted with dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden. They aim for White House internships, Supreme Court clerkships and positions with lobbying groups. The minority of Patrick Henry students who don’t have Washington in their sights dream of directing Christian movies or, in the case of many of the women there, raising (and home-schooling) families of Christian children.The challenge for any responsible journalist approaching this subject, then, is twofold. She must approach with compassion, avoiding the stereotyping that so often...
  • When Opposites Attract

    On July 27, 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette and 14 other French military officers arrived in Philadelphia hot, filthy and exhausted. They had slipped past the British blockade in Charleston, S.C., and trekked for 32 days to the capital of the newly created United States of America to offer their services. Told to present themselves at the Carpenters’ Hall, where the Continental Congress was meeting, the men brushed off their frock coats and knocked on the door. After a long, humiliating wait, the French officers were dismissed, shooed away as “adventurers.” Lafayette and his men, as author James Gaines describes it, were astonished and chagrined—“left open-mouthed on Chestnut Street, fifteen French officers who had risked an ocean crossing and spent the worst three months of their lives for the pleasure of this moment.”It seems sometimes that Franco-American relations must bridge an ocean of resentment and misunderstanding. Americans who cracked jokes about the French during the run...
  • Dissent On The Front

    Are there consequences for soldiers who write publicly, and prominently, against the war? Eight are finding out. “We have failed on every promise,” wrote seven 82nd Airborne paratroopers in a stark dispatch from Baghdad that was the lead Sunday op-ed in The New York Times Aug. 19. Superiors at Fort Bragg were surprised—but not professors at Marquette, where Sp. Buddhika Jayamaha, whose name led the op-ed, had studied. One, Barrett McCormick, said he e-mailed with “BJ” recently. “He was very curious about what was going to happen,” he says. “No one knows what the repercussions will be.”There may not be any. Army policies permit soldiers to write or blog as long as they don’t compromise operational security (e.g., troop locations) or challenge civilian leadership. “Until it is established that they violated any regulations, they will not be punished just for their views,” said Army spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt.The future is murkier for Pvt. Scott Beauchamp, whose shocking tales in The...
  • Pakistan’s Power Game

    It looks like Pervez Musharraf’s days as president of Pakistan may be numbered if he does not change course. With one rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, threatening to return to Pakistan, Musharraf has been meeting with another former archenemy, Benazir Bhutto, about a possible power-sharing arrangement. Bhutto, twice prime minister of Pakistan and currently leader of the popular opposition PPP party, is on the verge of deciding whether to strike a deal with Musharraf. Either way, she expects to leave her family shortly and go back to Pakistan. NEWSWEEK’s Lally Weymouth sat down with Bhutto last week in New York. Excerpts: ...
  • Graduation Day

    High School Musical 2” is the no. 1 basic-cable hit ever. Now that its stars have their pick of roles, NEWSWEEK asked each of them: what’s your dream job?• Zac Efron (Troy, above, left):‘An adventure/fantasy film would be fun.’• Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella): ‘I want to do something edgy. I don’t want to play the smart girl.’• Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay): ‘My main goal is to win an Emmy for best actress for a sitcom.’• Lucas Grabeel (Ryan): ‘I want to go home to Missouri, lock myself in a cabin and record an album.’
  • A Case Of Prius Envy

    Peter Kessner, a devout environmentalist, bought a Honda Civic hybrid four years ago to show everyone that he wants to save the planet. The only problem: no one noticed, since, other than the hybrid badge on the trunk, it looked like a regular Civic. So he traded it in for a Toyota Prius. Suddenly, strangers began stopping him on the street to ask about his hybrid, with its space-age styling and miserly mileage. “That’s a big part of why I bought the Prius,” says the Floral Park, N.Y., retiree. “It opens up conversations, and I push my theory that we’ve got to do our best to conserve.” The Honda, on the other hand, didn’t deliver what Kessner craved: green street cred. “If I’m driving a hybrid,” he says, “I want people to know it.”Customers like Kessner have left Honda with a bad case of Prius envy. In the low-octane race for the environmental high ground, Honda is running a distant second to Toyota—despite the fact that Honda was first to sell a hybrid in America and remains a...
  • A Doctor Says She Didn’t Murder Her Patients

    The tragic deaths at New Orleans’s Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina were among the most notorious examples of the vast human suffering that resulted from the flooding of the city—and the government’s incompetent response to the disaster. At least 34 people died in the hospital awaiting evacuation, and it wasn’t long before dark rumors began circulating that some of them were helped along by lethal doses of morphine or other medications. Almost a year after the storm, in July 2006, authorities arrested Dr. Anna Pou, a well-known head-and-neck surgeon. She was eventually accused of murdering nine patients who were in a long-term acute-care unit on the seventh floor run by LifeCare Hospital of New Orleans. (Two nurses were also arrested but their charges were dropped in exchange for grand jury testimony.)In late July, a Louisiana grand jury refused to indict Pou, and the highly controversial criminal case came to a close. Pou still faces several civil lawsuits brought by...
  • Taking On Tourette’s

    Marg Mackrell was just 3 when her parents noticed the first signs of what turned out to be Tourette syndrome. The blond toddler began sniffing her fingers repeatedly, and over the next six years, her uncontrolled tics came to include clicking, whirring and scrunching her nose. Her condition was manageable (she attends school with other kids) until last year, when, at the age of 9, she began to suffer about 60 episodes a day of repeated head jerks that left her sore and spent by nighttime. So when MacKrell’s parents learned about an old but little-used therapy called habit-reversal training (HRT), they decided to try it. Last November, Marg started learning new ways to pre-empt her most severe tics at the Child and Family Study Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. When she felt a head jerk coming on, she was taught to drop her head and stare at the second hand on her watch for a minute. “Soon [the head jerking] was down by 90 percent,” says Marg’s mother, Diane...
  • You, Too, Can Have A Bionic Body

    Susan Burke’s left knee was humbling her. At 54, she wanted to hike and whitewater raft through the national parks or, at the very least, to stroll around the block with her husband at night, as she’d always done. Instead, she could barely walk from her desk to her office parking lot without popping an Aleve. Her knee wouldn’t leave her alone. Four years earlier, it had started swelling while she was training for an eight-mile trek through Glacier National Park. “I finally decided, ‘All right, I’ll get it checked’,” she says. “The cartilage had worn down to the point of bone on bone.” Burke’s doctor told her she needed a knee replacement, but that wasn’t what she wanted. It was too drastic, and she thought she was too young.Over the next four years, Burke tried to salvage her knee with arthroscopic surgery, pain meds and lowered expectations for hikes that were “shorter than my usual horizons.” But her knee was still crumbling. Finally, she met a fellow adventurer on a plane who had...
  • War’s Liquor Legacy

    Every American War has inspired a cocktail. There’s the Artillery Punch (Civil War), the French 75 (WWI), the Kamikaze (WWII) and the Napalm shot (Vietnam). So what about Iraq? The top contenders are still battling it out. Here are the latest shots served around the world:World Peace: A diplomatic gin martini served at the World Bar, across the street from the U.N.Dirty Bomb: A Jager shot dropped in a pint of Red Bull and pounded at Sacramentos's Bar R15Bin Laden: A tastefully tasteless shot of Pernod and Tabasco sauce, courtesy of BarMeister.comBlood and Oil: A cran-vodka play on the classic 'Blood and Sand,' served at Bar R15
  • Cancer’s New Pitch

    Two summers ago a group of Philadelphia-area women who were preparing for the Breast Cancer 3-Day charity walk met to decide their team name. Kelly Rooney, then a 42-year-old with five children and stage-three breast cancer, tossed out an idea: how about "Save 2nd Base," a playful allusion to that quaint high-school system in which the bases signify the progression from kissing to sex? Rooney designed a T shirt, drawing two baseballs at breast level above the slogan. By the time of the fund-raiser Rooney was too sick to walk, but her teammates wore the shirts—and many spectators commented on how much they loved the idea. So Rooney's sister Erin O'Brien Dugery and friend Kelly Day spent close to $10,000 to trademark the Save 2nd Base tagline and began selling the T shirts online and in boutiques (total sales so far: 1,000). "We can't keep them in stock—they're catching on like fire," says Jen Dailey at People People, a boutique in Stone Harbor, N.J. The women selling the shirts have...
  • Clift: Marketing the War

    September marks the media rollout for the next stage of the White House campaign to keep boots on the ground in Iraq. Will General Petraeus stick to the script?
  • Did the Dems Help Speed Rove's Exit?

    As key members of Bush's inner circle file out, a former White House official suggests Democratic pressure may have helped hasten the departure of Karl Rove.
  • A Debate Over Outing Gays

    Two prominent gay journalists discuss Sen. Larry Craig's arrest and what it has to say about the outing of public officials.
  • Terror Watch: Behind Allawi's Bid for Power

    The former Iraqi prime minister speaks out on how he hired a well-connected Washington lobbying firm to help pave his attempt to oust the current government. Who's footing the bill?