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  • Should Congress Censure Judge Kavanaugh?

    The House Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote, held Harriet Miers and other White House officials in contempt of Congress on Wednesday. But they aren’t the only ones Congress thinks might have dissembled in their discussions on Capitol Hill. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy is still waiting to hear whether U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will investigate allegations that one of the highest ranking judges in America did not tell the truth under oath.Never mind, for the moment, that this is tantamount to asking Barry Bonds whether Mark McGwire lied to Congress about steroid use. Deeply important questions of legislative oversight and judicial independence are on the line here.At issue is the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh, a former White House legal adviser who is now a sitting judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That body’s location in the nation’s capital makes it the most influential court besides the Supremes.During the May 9, 2006,...
  • Why McCain’s Collapse Matters

    His campaign's sorry state isn't just a setback for the candidate. It's a sign that the country won't listen to a military man running for president—at a time when it matters most.
  • Trips for Families With Teenagers

    Teenagers, and especially teenage boys, don't exactly go begging to hang out with Mom for a week straight. So when my 16-year-old son Henry brought up the idea, I jumped at the chance to spend time with him and only him.Henry had just spent the year away from our New York City apartment, living with his tennis coach in Los Angeles and seeing if he had what it takes to compete on the junior circuit. It was a tough year for him; he was plagued with injuries and finally stopped playing. In the midst of disappointments on the court, Henry discovered a new passion: American history. Something clicked, and suddenly the struggles, people, and events he had been reading about seemed more than just stuff he had to learn for school. Henry wanted to find out more about the U.S., hence the request for a cross-country road trip on the move back home. Over the years, I had found it increasingly more difficult to connect to Henry than to his older sister, Wilson. We gals could yap away about...
  • Robbing the Rich in L.A.

    The latest Los Angeles crime spree might make a good caper movie. A crew of two, maybe three, shadowy burglars figures out how to break into million-dollar mansions dotting the pricey hillsides above L.A. Clad in gloves and ski masks, the crooks case the homes of the rich and absent, then skirt the security systems by climbing in alarm-free second-story windows before quickly grabbing cash, jewels and the occasional rare book. If the stuff’s in a unanchored safe, they just pick it up and go. Los Angeles Police Department detectives think the crew has struck more than 50 times since late last fall. The haul so far: about $7 million and counting.Last week, baffled L.A. police announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the real-life gang the locals are beginning to give Hollywood names like "Ocean’s Eleven" or "Burglars to the Stars." They’ve struck fear among the homeowners of posh communities such as Bel-Air, Brentwood, Encino and Holmby Hills, who have long...
  • Assessing the CNN-YouTube Debate

    Last night the eight Democrats running for their party's nomination in the 2008 presidential race met for a historic moment: the first-ever jointly sponsored CNN-YouTube debate. In the end, a couple dozen questions were fielded, selected from the 3,000-odd video inquiries submitted by average voters from across the country. So how'd they do? No, not the candidates—they're all pros who stayed reliably on message. How well did the citizenry hold the powers-that-hope-to-be to account? Was it a glorious flowering of a level of direct democracy the Founding Fathers never dreamed of? A novel ad vehicle? The death knell for the Fourth Estate?CNN hyped the event heavily on its Web site, crowing in its recap that though the cable network "vetted the questions, it was the first time that a journalist or a professional has not dictated what is asked of the candidates. The control was solely in the voters' hands." Actually, the control was in Anderson Cooper's hands—a fact which rankled many...
  • 'D.C. Madam' Scandal: Follow the Numbers

    The "D.C. Madam" scandal isn't going away. Reporters, bloggers and investigators for Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt are all scrambling to match recently released phone records from Deborah Jeane Palfrey's escort service to Beltway pols who might have been clients. "It's going to be one revelation after the other for the next 20 weeks or so," says Palfrey, who is fighting federal prostitution charges and who hopes "outed" clients will testify that her employees weren't prostitutes. She says anywhere between a few dozen to a hundred high-level officials will be discovered on her list.The latest catch: Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, Rudy Giuliani's top Southern conservative ally. Vitter quickly confessed to a "very serious sin" and went into hiding. The Vitter revelation is just the latest scandal to touch Giuliani, whose former police commissioner has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and whose South Carolina campaign chairman was forced to step down last month after he was...
  • Drinks: Summer Sipping

    Just in time for summer, some new products are reinventing the "G" and the "T" in the G&T. The new gins ease up on juniper, the berry that gives the booze its evergreen flavor. Tanqueray Rangpur ($23.99 for 750ml) leans heavily on the Rangpur Indian lime. The liqueur like G'Vine Gin de France ($38) uses the green grape flower for an herbal twist. Stellar ($19.99) has the mild personality of an orangey vitamin water.The new tonics are lighter and softer. Stirrings ($4.99 for a four-pack) gets an easy sweetness from cane sugar, as does the fuller-tasting Fever-Tree ($5.99). The driest of the bunch, Q Tonic ($9.99), uses agave syrup. All are tasty—and dangerously drinkable.
  • Food: Ice-Cream Makers

    Mixing ice cream from scratch is simpler than you might think. Testers examined seven top brands.
  • Capital Sources: Anatomy of a Nuclear Sting

    Gregory Kutz and his colleagues wanted to order enough radioactive material to make a dirty bomb. So they set up bogus companies and applied for separate licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state of Maryland. They didn’t succeed with Maryland, but they got a license from the NRC in less than a month. Then Kutz and his associates doctored the license to increase the amount of radioactive material they could buy, and began placing orders for nuclear moisture-density machines, which contain Cesium-137 and Americium-241. Suppliers were only too happy to help. Fortunately, Kutz is head of forensic audits and special investigations for the Government Accountability Office. His operation was a sting—one of about a dozen his team runs each year, most of them successfully. (The NRC has acknowledged some shortcomings, and moved quickly to address them.) Following testimony to a Senate subcommittee, Kutz explained the way the sting worked to NEWSWEEK’s Jeffrey Bartholet....
  • Auto Tech: Beating the Heat

    Air conditioningfirst appeared in cars 50 years ago. Today, motorists have more than one way to chill when they're on the road.Saab introduced the cooled seat a decade ago, and today it's a common—but expensive—option in luxury cars (Saab's "sport-ventilated seats" are $995 extra). A cheaper, do-it-yourself option is the Cold Seat ($49.95; coldseat.com), a quilt-covered gel-pack that sits over your kid's car seat while you're out of the car. Remove it, and the seat and buckle are cool, not hot.The Chrysler Sebring and the Dodge Avenger feature cup holders that keep cold drinks at 35 degrees and hot drinks at 140 degrees ($795 to $1,295 including other options). Then there are air-conditioned glove boxes, available in the VW Jetta, for one, and cooled center consoles, found in some models of Lexus and Range Rover. Remote-start cars, like the Chevy Tahoe, allow you to turn on the car and the air conditioning before you hop in. How cool is that?
  • Mail Call: How Well Do We Know Our World?

    Our July 9 issue, examining "181 Things You Need to Know Now," prompted readers to ponder what makes one culturally literate. "I like the idea of a discussion over what is important to know," said one. "But one question you did not consider is how such knowledge increases our understanding of the world and our place in it. Why, for example, is being knowledgeable about both the Supreme Court and reality TV important?" Added another, "Why didn't you ask readers if they know the history of Europe? Or if they know the percentage of those living in poverty in their state?" Many readers enjoyed taking our global-literacy IQ test. "I can't wait for the next one," said one. And a 15-year-old, who said he was surprised by our poll that found more Americans could name the latest winner of "American Idol" than the chief justice of the United States, said, "Perhaps Americans are the most-entertained and least-informed people on the planet."A loyal reader since age 23, I somehow got busy with...
  • Road Test: Mazda CX-9

    If vehicles have a DNA that defines their personalities, then Mazda's molecular building blocks speak the language of sport. Surprisingly, it's even evident in this big seven-seat crossover. The CX-9, with its three rows of seating, is a family hauler. Less apparent is its handling and performance prowess—that is, until you hop in for a ride. A trip through L.A.'s curvy canyons chauffeuring five adults in the back made me worry they'd all get queasy, but the CX-9 has a taut but forgiving suspension. That's rare for a vehicle this size, but not unusual for Mazda.And the CX-9 is fashionable. A friend who drives a Lexus RX330 remarked that my tester looks a lot like her wheels. I didn't have the heart to tell her it sells for about 10 grand less and generates 21 more horsepower from a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. My vehicle had heated front seats, a touchscreen for audio and navigation systems, and steering-wheel-mounted buttons to control the phone, music and cruise control. There was even...
  • Split Decisions: No-Fault Divorce

    A forthcoming study by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy (iMAPP), a group that aims to "strengthen marriage," found that no-fault divorce leads to an increase in the divorce rate on the order of 10 percent. NEWSWEEK's Julie Scelfo spoke with Maggie Gallagher, founder of iMAPP and coauthor of the study with Douglas Allen, to find out more. ...
  • The Editor's Desk

    David Noonan, NEWSWEEK's health editor, gets dozens of press releases every day. But in April, an announcement from the University of Pennsylvania about its Center for Resuscitation Science caught his attention. The director, Dr. Lance Becker, was working on improving survival for victims of heart attacks and other forms of cardiac arrest. David was intrigued by the idea of extending the traditional five-minute window for resuscitation, which could someday save hundreds of thousands of lives. He gave the story to Jerry Adler, who uncovered some revolutionary implications in Becker's work: the idea that cell death is a drawn-out process, rather than a singular event—a process that can, in theory, be interrupted or reversed. The initial one-page story we published in May provoked a huge response from lay readers and from doctors. And there was an unexpected benefit:Shortly after the piece appeared, a relative of Dr. Becker's found herself in a Colorado hospital at her husband's side...
  • Beauty: Sunny Disposition

    Sunscreens aren't just about protection. Good ones should moisturize and smell nice. Some TIP favorites:MD Skincare's Powerful Sun Protection SPF 30 ($42; sephora .com) comes in premoistened towelettes that are easy to carry and apply. Kinesys ($15 at sporting-goods stores) mists an even layer of water-resistant SPF 30 on you or your squirming child. Anthelios SX's SPF 15 cream ($29 at CVS pharmacies) protects against UVB and UVA rays. Murad's hydrating Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15 also softens wrinkles ($65; sephora .com). Relish Beauty's SPF 30 cream ($23; relishbeauty.com) is lightweight and nongreasy.
  • Money: Friendly Finance

    There's a new crop of Web sites for folks who get lonely using Quicken. Social-networking finance sites help members track their money while they kibitz with others to see how they are doing. At wesabe.com (Spanglish for "we know"), financial behavior is shared but identifying details are not. Members can consolidate their financial-account records, chat about shared goals like saving for a car and learn whether they are spending more or less than average on groceries, clothes or beer. At geezeo.com, users can put all their financial info in one place and get it sent to their cell phones, so they can check balances before they shop. Two other sites, buxfer.com and billmonk.com, let social groups track money together. The sites can be used to set up a budget for a shared summer rental or to remind buddies they still owe you for that dinner out last month.
  • The Checklist

    RENT "The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg," Jerry Aronson's fascinating portrait of the visionary poet, from beat to Buddhist to political activist and beyond. BUY InCase's iPhone cover ($29.95; goincase.com) to protect your newest prized possession without adding bulk. An opening for the camera lens and charger means you never need to peel it off. SURF Southwest.comfor summer sale fares as low as $49 one way on domestic flights. Book by July 26 for travel from Aug. 16 through Jan. 11. READ "Unplugged Play" by Bobbi Conner ($16.95). This chunky paperback lists more than 700 games and activities for kids, including treasure hunts and castle-building projects. Now you don't have to dread those rainy days. GO To Baltimore's ArtScape (artscape.org) from July 20 to 22. This freewheeling festival includes dance performances, edgy visual exhibits and a kid-friendly musical petting zoo. Best of all, it's totally free.
  • Beschloss on Lady Bird Johnson, 1912-2007

    During the three decades after Lyndon Johnson's death—a period almost as long as their marriage—Lady Bird followed her own heart. She established a world-class wildflower center and summered among the glitterati of Martha's Vineyard, a place her husband once derided as "some female island." She bought a house for herself in Austin so modest that Lyndon would have felt claustrophobic. Even the LBJ Ranch, where Lady Bird still spent much of her time, looked different. She banished some of the more egregious remnants of her husband's taste, such as the ubiquitous triple-television sets and his big executive desk chair at the dining table. I once asked if she still used the airstrip where the president used to land. "Heavens, no!" she replied. "We didn't use it after Lyndon's death. I think that runway was always unsafe, but the federal aviation people were too afraid of Lyndon to tell him to stop using it." She had filled LBJ's spacious old hangar with her grandchildren's toys.Her...
  • Politics: Inside the McCain Campaign Meltdown

    Eight years ago, he was the Karl Rove of the McCain campaign: a gifted strategist from Texas who could turn a relatively unknown politician into a serious presidential candidate. John Weaver was McCain's alter ego in 2000, and after their defeat he plotted their 2008 comeback.That was until last Tuesday morning, when his cell phone rang. Recovering from the flu, Weaver ignored the phone, thinking it was his alarm. Later he picked up the call to hear his old friend Mark Salter, McCain's chief of staff and the coauthor of the senator's best-selling autobiographies. Salter told Weaver they had lost control of the campaign: McCain had sided with their internal rival, Rick Davis. "John wants you to stay," Salter said. "I can't and won't," Weaver replied, according to an insider who didn't want to be named talking about private conversations.In theory, the dispute was over the campaign manager: Terry Nelson, a big player in George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, who quit last week. In reality,...
  • Health: Where's the Food From

    Products from China used to be associated with bargain prices. Now they're associated with health threats. In May, pet food carrying the industrial chemical melamine killed dozens of pets across the United States. Then there were lead-painted toy trains, toothpaste contaminated with dry-cleaning chemicals and drug residues in seafood. Most recently, Robert's American Gourmet Food recalled Veggie Booty, a snack food popular with kids, after salmonella bacteria found in the Chinese-made seasoning ingredients was said to have sickened 57 people in 18 states. "China has practices that aren't up to our standards," says Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. Because of the way food products are grown and processed in China, bacteria, drugs and other chemicals, including heavy metals and pesticides, can find their way into products. But the $288 billion worth of Chinese goods that come into this country every year are hard to avoid. China is the...
  • Remembering Tammy Faye

    She's gone now, but through the miracle of YouTube, you can spend a few minutes with Tammy Faye Bakker, discussing the thing that made her such a figure of lasting fascination—in the secular world, anyway: her makeup. In the clip, the fabled televangelist rummages through her stash, showing off the foundations of her legend. She holds up a nearly empty blush compact, and allows as how she has to go to "the swap" to buy some more. Next, her powder: "When I cry, it takes away the tears." Then, the lipstick—which is white, but "turns pink when you put it on." Finally, she reveals her secret weapon: L'Oreal Waterproof Lash Out mascara, applied lavishly to her fake eyelashes to achieve her signature look. "Without my eyelashes, I wouldn't be Tammy Faye," she says. "I don't know who I'd be, but I wouldn't be me."Together, she and her eyelashes made history, of a sort. Along with her first husband, Jim Bakker, she helped build an evangelical empire worth millions of dollars—complete with a...
  • Clift: Dems Must Act Now to End the War

    The media treated the Senate’s all-night session as a comedy routine, a chance to make jokes about sleepovers and pizza delivery. Everybody knew going in that the Democrats didn’t have the votes to pass an amendment calling for the draw down of troops beginning in 120 days. But the Democrats needed to show they’re at least trying to bring about the change in policy they promised on the campaign trail last year.The operative emotion is anger. The voters are almost as furious with the Democrats for their inability to end the Iraq War as they are with President Bush for prolonging it. Democrat Chellie Pingree lost by 16 points when she challenged Maine Republican Susan Collins in 2002. Now Collins, running for re-election in ’08, is on everybody’s endangered list. After much public agonizing, she became one of the four Republicans this week to break with Bush and vote with the Democrats on the war.“It’s a different world,” says Pingree, who is running for the House seat in Maine being...
  • A Veteran's View of the VA

    Does VA Secretary Jim Nicholson's departure matter to the men and women fighting the Iraq war? A veteran's view.
  • A Life in Books: Elmore Leonard

    You can't write 41 books and not learn a few things. Check out "Ten Rules of Writing" by Elmore Leonard, to be published this fall. Our fave? "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." A Certified Important Book you haven't read: "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I've never gotten beyond page 50. A book you wanted to share with your kids: My five kids liked me to tell them stories instead of reading to them. And now they're all good storytellers, and my son Peter will have his first book published next year.
  • Capital Sources: Grassley's Private-Equity Fight

    Sen. Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, prides himself on being a judicious manager of money. He'll coast down a hill to save gasoline while driving, and keeps his thermostat high to save on air-conditioning bills. He also has a profound frustration with superrich businesses and corporations that do not pay their fair share of taxes. Now the senior senator from Iowa is fighting to eliminate what he sees as a giant tax loophole by co-sponsoring legislation that would raise the tax rates (from 15 to 35 percent) on publicly traded partnerships like the private-equity giant Blackstone. To Grassley, the bill would help prevent ultrarich financiers from conspiring with their lawyers to "screw the taxpayer." To his opponents, it’s a wrong-headed means of stunting economic growth. Grassley spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Sam Stein about why he’s waging this battle. Excerpts: ...
  • Talk Transcript: Wolffe on Obama and Race

    When Cory Booker first ran for Newark city council in 1998, one of his opponents, George Branch, said, "[Booker's] a Rhodes scholar; I'm a roads scholar." The implication was not just that Booker lacked street smarts—it's that he wasn't quite black enough. In 2002, when Booker first ran for mayor of Newark, N.J., against Sharpe James, who had been in office since 1986, James operatives launched a whispering campaign that Booker was a tool of Jewish financiers—and that Booker, who was raised Methodist but attends a Baptist church, was Jewish. (James did not respond to a request for comment.)Booker, elected mayor last fall after James finally retired, tries to rise above the nastiness and stereotyping. "I remember joking with friends of mine about me being a vegetarian, and them saying, "Oh, that's going to be an issue. In the black community, people want you to sit down and have some ribs," Booker laughed, recalling the story to a NEWSWEEK reporter. "And I said, 'I am who I am,' you...
  • WMDs: A U.N. Inspection Shutdown

    The most successful international team ever assembled to probe suspected WMD activities is shutting down this week—thanks to U.S. and British insistence. The team (the U.N. commission initially acronymed UNSCOM and then UNMOVIC) spent 16 years uncovering and destroying Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and missile weapons programs. The U.S. invasion of Iraq proved that the U.N.'s intel—overruled by the Bush administration—had indeed been correct: Saddam no longer had WMD. But late last month, the U.S. and British governments pushed through the U.N. Security Council a vote to halt funding for UNMOVIC.The decision dismayed WMD experts. The action foreclosed discussions that were going on behind the scenes at the U.N. on whether UNMOVIC—or parts of it, such as its roster of close to 400 trained inspectors—should be retained to monitor biological and missile proliferation threats. "UNMOVIC is a unique resource," says Hans Blix, who led the Iraq inspections. "Once dispersed, that...
  • Ergonomic Tips for Tech Gadget Users

    You've probably seen them: drivers texting furiously on their BlackBerrys while stuck in traffic. Beachgoers hunched over laptops. Commuters juggling briefcases, cell phones and iPods. But as gadget lovers hit the road this summer, they may find that a problem from the office has followed them. The popularity of smaller, portable devices like laptops, smartphones and videogame players are resulting in new types of overuse injuries. "The problem we have with shrinking these devices is that we do not have a good way to interact with them the way we've become accustomed to using our mouse and keyboard," says Peter Budnick, president and CEO of Ergoweb, an ergonomics consulting firm.While no one keeps stats on injuries resulting from small devices, their growing popularity has many experts concerned. Last year the American Physical Therapy Association warned that frequent users of BlackBerry-type devices are more likely to experience swelling, hand throbbing and tendinitis. And though...
  • The Editor's Desk

    When Barack Obama burst onto the national political stage in 2004, there were many things about him that Americans found fresh and intriguing. He was young and optimistic; he seemed able to rise above the nasty partisanship that's corroded our politics in recent years. He was a candidate of conviction who also was able to empathize with his ideological foes. But there was something else about Obama that was more intangible: the ease with which he talked about race, a subject that is as central to the American narrative as it is fraught. It's a quality surely born of his restless search to understand his own identity—as the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas whose childhood was divided between Hawaii and Indonesia.But can Obama sustain that easygoing confidence over many months under the glare of a national campaign? And can he appeal broadly to both blacks and whites, as he'll need to do in order to win? That's what Richard Wolffe and Daren Briscoe set...
  • Beverly Sills: An Appreciation

    Beverly Sills made her 1975 metropolitan Opera debut in Rossini's "The Siege of Corinth"—almost a decade later than she should have. The audience went wild. They knew that the soprano, born Belle (Bubbles) Silverman in Brooklyn, had pulled off a rare feat: an American singer had made it to the top, had an international career and had been on the covers of NEWSWEEK and Time years before scaling the operatic Everest, the Met. The company's general director, Viennese-born Rudolf Bing, had kept her out, but when he retired, she arrived. The morning after that "Corinth" premiere, a photograph of Sills taking a curtain call took up the entire front page of the New York Daily News.Sills died of cancer last week, at 78. Through formidable vocal and dramatic gifts, irrepressible humor and a will of titanium, she changed the face of opera in America. A frequent, hilarious guest on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," she wanted people to know "that opera singers don't have horns."At 4, she was...
  • The Checklist: Our Picks for the Week Ahead

    RENT "After the Wedding," Susanne Bier's Oscar-nominated, two-hankie Danish melodrama with Mads Mikkelsen as a man invited to a wedding that changes his life. Full of secrets, lies, surprises and deep emotions.HEAR "Reflections," by violinist Gregory Harrington. This debut CD features a sultry "Summertime" and a haunting performance of the theme from "Schindler's List" that, said one reviewer, rivals Itzhak Perlman's recording.READ "Out Stealing Horses," by Per Petterson. From the first terse sentences of this mesmerizing Norwegian novel about youth, memory and, yes, horse stealing, you know you're in the hands of a master storyteller.SURF notcouture.com. Submit posts to this design-centric fashion Web site where editors pick the most stylish products for public viewing and voting and, of course, buying.BUY Martha Stewart Floor Designs, with FLOR (from $12.99 per 20-square-inch tile; at flor.com, starting July 15). Stewart adds her touch to this popular line of sleek, modular...
  • Talk Transcript: Wolffe on Obama and Race

    His is a peculiarly American paradox: Barack Obama is both transracial and largely defined by race. He stands with one foot in a longed-for postracial future and the other in America's thoroughly racialized past. That reality, along with his stirring message of hope, gives his candidacy much of its power. It also presents Obama with a challenge: to win the presidency, he must convince white Americans he speaks for them, while convincing Americans of color he is uniquely their own.That Obama cannot take the "minority vote" for granted is a reflection of progress in America's struggle to get beyond race. It also is a reflection of the unprecedented diversity among Democratic presidential candidates. With a black man, a Latino—and a white woman, of course—in the race, clan solidarity is less of an issue for minority voters than at points in the past. "Usually, when you have one [person of color] in a contest, there is a rush to support them ... but some of that has been lost," observes...
  • Over the Rainbow: Colored Diamonds

    White diamonds are still the stones of choice for engagement rings. But colored diamonds are catching up. Last month the Gemological Institute of America, one of the largest independent diamond-grading labs, reported a twofold increase in demand for the gems since 1999. And online merchant bluenile.com just launched its first collection of colored stones. The growing interest stems from the wave of celebrities (most recently, Brittany Murphy and Rebecca Romijn) getting engaged with them.Most colored diamonds, because of their rarity, cost more than white ones. But some, including "cognac" (brown) and mixed colors like orangey-yellow, are still attractive but cost less.Make sure to do your research before shopping: the rules for buying colored diamonds are far different from those for buying white ones. "Color is king; everything else is secondary," says Fred Cuellar, author of "How to Buy a Diamond." Don't worry if you see minor inclusions, or imperfections, when you hold your stone...
  • Uncorked: Red Zinfandel

    When you hear zinfandel, don't think pink. Instead, get ready for bold California reds with lots of ripe fruit and zesty spice. With their jammy fruit flavors and easygoing structures, these wines are great for barbecues and summer sipping. Here are some names to look for:
  • Real Estate: Call Your Agent

    House shopping? It's good to have help, especially in a buyer's market like this. If you're just driving yourself from one open house to another, you're missing homes buried in the multiple-listing services that only agents have access to. And an agent who specializes in helping buyers may be able to negotiate a better deal than you could.But not all buyer agents are created equal. Most home shoppers use agents who work for companies that also list properties, and they're likely to steer you to company listings first, says Stephen Brobeck of the Consumer Federation of America. "It's an irreconcilable conflict of interest," he says.To get around that, you can find a buyers-only agent at the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (naeba.org). If there isn't one in your neighborhood, you can use a selling agent as a buyer agent, but do some screening. Ask about their track record of saving clients money, their training in negotiations and property evaluation, and their loyalty...
  • Kids' Eyes: Foresight Is 20/20

    Adults choose eyeglasses based mostly on fit and style. But kids' glasses have to withstand the abuses of tree climbing, the playground and boisterous games of tag. For kids younger than 10, David Coats, an ophthalmologist at Houston's Texas Children's Hospital, recommends frames made of plastic, because they're "more likely to withstand a blunt force." Choose clear, impact-resistant lenses made of Trivex ($70 to $150) or polycarbonate ($50 to $100), which also have the bonus of providing 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Stuart Danker, a pediatric ophthalmologist from Baltimore, also recommends photochromic lenses that darken in the sun and clear up in the shade ($65 to $90; transitions.com).Pay attention to fit. Anything too big or too heavy can slide down and leave the child looking through the wrong part of the lens. Kids' heads are shaped differently from adults', and a good optician will make sure the glasses fit at three crucial points: the widest part of the face (it...
  • Mail Call: A Growing Radical Threat in the Mideast

    Readers concerned about renewed violence in Gaza wondered why the Bush administration was so blindsided by Hamas's victory in last year's election. One mused, "How misguided we have been to believe that democracy would spread throughout the Middle East." Another added, "Palestine stands at a crossroads." One explained the administration's support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah over the more-Islamist party this way: "Hamas's racist stance toward Israel set the stage for America's refusal to support it. But the final act was precipitated by its isolation after it won elections and subsequent U.S. attempts to overthrow it." And one reader pessimistically pointed to the larger geopolitical picture. "The new wave of violence—arising out of old hatreds nurtured by a growing radical threat to America's hopes for the Mideast—is a definite and well-defined 'time bomb' ready to explode." ...
  • Lady Bird Johnson Set the Model for First Ladies

    Lady Bird Johnson loved history. And it helped her survive what she called "the harness of hairdo and gloves." Though the duties of First Lady were suddenly sprung upon her, Johnson was probably as best prepared as anyone could be. She had read about First Ladies for years and, as a congressional wife, she took constituents to a Smithsonian exhibit on presidential wives. As a young political spouse she came to personally know Edith Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt, exemplars of personal influence and policy power, respectively, in the presidency. Learning from their lessons, she forged a new First Lady role that remains the basic model: loyal spouse, accessible chatelaine, self-determined political figure and expert advocate for policy that "makes your heart sing." In her case, that was famously her "beautification" efforts, a ladylike word for her umbrella of serious environmental projects.My first interview with Johnson, in 1987, ran nearly two hours over the time limit she initially...
  • Lisa Nowak’s Strange Spacewalk

    Lisa Nowak is still in orbit. The space shuttle astronaut was transformed from local hero to intergalactic spectacle last February, following a madcap, diaper-clad, 900-mile drive she made to confront—and, police say, assault—a romantic rival with pepper spray. Now, Nowak is back in the news, after the Florida State Attorney’s Office released a transcript of her interview with authorities the day she was apprehended. According to the 72-page document (Part 1, Part 2), she tells police that she only pursued Navy Captain Colleen Shipman to ask if she was aware of Nowak’s relationship with shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein. Both women were involved with Oefelein over the last year: Nowak as a shuttle mate/maybe girlfriend, Shipman as a friend/maybe lover. The transcript doesn’t resolve the nature of the relationships in this mysterious triangle. It does, however, offer a few new elements of intrigue and titillation to the story line, interspersed with enough fast and fractured dialogue to...
  • Obama’s Hawaii Alma Mater: A Green Leader

    The 166-year-old Punahou School in Honolulu is justly proud that Sen. Barack Obama is a graduate—along with golfer Michelle Wie and AOL cofounder Steve Case. But the institution, one of the nation’s largest independent schools, is just as pleased to be ranked one of the top 10 green schools in America.Each year The Green Guide, a bimonthly newsletter that the National Geographic Society purchased earlier this year, surveys schools to pick those friendliest to the environment. Using 10 categories including green building and construction, recycling programs, food choices and environmental curriculum, the Guide awards up to 10 points per category, for a maximum of 100 points. Punahou garnered 77.7 points, and much of the credit is likely due to the innovations on display at the Case Middle School, a nine-building complex that opened in 2004.According to Steve Piper, director of physical plant at Punahou, the administration didn’t intentionally set out to build what turned out to...
  • Two Mayors, Two Sexcapades

    It’s a tale of two cities, two rising political stars, and two sex scandals. In other words, it’s a California classic. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa admitted last week that he’d been carrying on an affair with a Telemundo television reporter 19 years younger than he is. The news came six months after his neighbor to the north, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, was forced to admit that he had had an affair with the wife of his campaign manager—a confession accompanied by the mayor’s admission that he had a drinking problem, and would be seeking outpatient counseling.Is there a deeper meaning to be discovered—beyond the fact that it’s a lively time to work the political beat in the Golden State, and leaders here make good fodder for late-night comics? (The latest on L.A.: “It was so hot our mayor was having sex with a reporter from an Alaskan TV station—that’s how hot,” Jay Leno joked Wednesday night). A closer look at how the mayors have handled their respective messes does...
  • Twist of Irony

    The comments are matter of fact; the threat is stark. It was late November 1981, around Thanksgiving, Ronald Reagan recalls in his diaries, that he and his top aides first learned of a purported assassination plot instigated by Libya’s eccentric leader, Muammar Kaddafi. “A 'hit band' is supposed to have crossed into the U.S. by way of Canada with me, George B. [presumably Vice President George H.W. Bush], Al Haig [then secretary of State] and Cap W. [presumably Caspar Weinberger, then secretary of Defense] (any or all) as targets." The suspected mastermind ? "Our friend in Libya," the late president wrote in “The Reagan Diaries” (edited by Douglas Brinkley; published this month by HarperCollins).A few days later, Reagan wrote about a National Security Council meeting to discuss what to do about Kaddafi. "No conclusions reached except that we can't do anything until we find an answer to the 1,700 Americans still working in Libya." Reagan only makes a handful of references to the...
  • Obama's Hawaii Alma Mater: A Green Leader

    The 166-year-old Punahou School in Honolulu is justly proud that Sen. Barack Obama is a graduate—along with golfer Michelle Wie and AOL cofounder Steve Case. But the institution, one of the nation's largest independent schools, is just as pleased to be ranked one of the top 10 green schools in America.Each year The Green Guide, a bimonthly newsletter that the National Geographic Society purchased earlier this year, surveys schools to pick those friendliest to the environment. Using 10 categories including green building and construction, recycling programs, food choices and environmental curriculum, the Guide awards up to 10 points per category, for a maximum of 100 points. Punahou garnered 77.7 points, and much of the credit is likely due to the innovations on display at the Case Middle School, a nine-building complex that opened in 2004.According to Steve Piper, director of physical plant at Punahou, the administration didn't intentionally set out to build what turned out to...