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  • Quotes in the News

    “They’re trying to use the media as a way to terrorize us.” ...
  • ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Breaks Another Couple Of Hearts

    In the movie, Jake couldn’t quit Heath. But heath Ledger could quit Michelle Williams, whom he met during filming (and who later gave birth to their daughter). The on-set-romance curse continues:• Reese Witherspoon/Ryan Phillippe: They did “Cruel Intentions,” but her Oscar may have been the cruelest cut for him.• Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman: “Days of Thunder,” “Far and Away”—how could they make it with movie titles like that?• Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton: The most famous of them all. She was Cleopatra. He was Marc Antony. Their love was so snakebitten, they had to divorce twice.
  • The ‘Law & Order’ Cabinet

    If Fred Thompson—TV Star turned White House hopeful—wins, he could do worse than install these “Law & Order” characters.ED GREEN (JESSE L. MARTIN): He’s crisp, smooth and deals well with kids. Oh, he also has gambling issues.POSITION: Secretary of EducationANITA VAN BUREN (S. EPATHA MERKERSON): Obstinate and brusque, she relishes conflict and doesn’t try smoothing it over.POSITION: Secretary of DefenseJACK MCCOY (SAM WATERSTON): The con: doesn’t usually share Thompson’s views. The pros: exacting, intense and merciless.POSITION: Attorney generalREY CURTIS (BENJAMIN BRATT): As a junior to Detective Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), he usually wound up driving the squad car.POSITION: Transportation secretarySERENA SOUTHERLYN (ELISABETH ROHM): Thompson’s character canned her, she thought, because she’s a lesbian.POSITION: In a GOP cabinet? As if.
  • Q & A: Evan Rachel Wood

    Wood will be in four movies at this week's Toronto Film Festival. But her favorite is Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe," in which she (and the cast) sing dozens of Beatles songs. Wood spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.Yeah. I have no problem telling people that it's the greatest movie ever made.I'm going to cover it up for something better.It's a strawberry with the leaves in the shape of a bird. But when people look at it, they say, "Is that a ferret sticking out of an apple?"I'm an alien. I'm young Uma Thurman. And I'm a young brunette working at McDonald's.I have to keep it blond for roles, so I could go either way. But now I can't dye my hair black, because that would mean I'm a zombie.People need to grow up about that.I think people really get off on seeing someone fail. No one is waiting for me to say something smart. An actress is stupid—that's the best news. It's on CNN. People tell me I'm immature, and Britney's crotch is on CNN. Who the hell is immature?
  • How She Would Govern

    Hillary Clinton has been in politics long enough to know the value of the word "change." In 1992, her husband's political guru, James Carville, hung a white sign in the Clinton campaign war room that read CHANGE VS. MORE OF THE SAME. Bill Clinton won the presidency that year with 370 electoral votes.Over the course of the summer, she watched her rivals for the Democratic nomination try again and again to define themselves as change and Clinton as the status quo. ("We're more interested in looking forward, not backward," Barack Obama told reporters. "And the American people feel the same way.") But she would not cede the change mantle, no matter how large her lead in national polls, not in an election where the voters were fed up and angry, not when Obama was saying "change" was what he was all about and John Edwards was running a tough populist bid. "The campaign was watching Obama and Edwards peddling this false choice of change versus experience," says someone close to the...
  • Excuse Me, Mr. Ford

    How to tell the man whose name is on the building that you're overhauling the family firm he once ran
  • How to Police a Cop-Killing

    South Florida is reeling from a spate of attacks on police--the latest on Thursday, when a gunman shot four cops. What it's like in the stationhouse when the crime victim is one of their own.
  • Clift: Top Dems Line Up for Senate Seats

    Bush's report on Iraq may have shored up his support in the Senate. But his determination to keep 130,000 U.S. troops there has left a gap for a parade of prime-time Democrats to turn Red States blue in the '08 election.
  • O. J. Simpson's 'Sting'

    The former NFL star is questioned in a Las Vegas robbery just as his 'confession' hits bookstores.
  • The Iraq War's Go-To Cliché

    Ever notice that when politicians talk about this conflict they can't get out of a sentence without uttering the phrase 'blood and treasure'? What it really means.
  • Fineman: Stumping at the Steak Fry

    Tom Harkin's annual steak fry is a key indicator of how the Iowa caucuses may play out next January. Let the Democratic jockeying begin.
  • Selling Your Children for Marriage—Online

    A controversial Web site purporting to be a place for families to sell their teenage daughters as brides is revealed to be bogus. Wait till you see what the would-be grooms wrote in--and what states actually allow.
  • Wolffe: Anatomy of a Mini-Bounce

    Republicans were running for cover. Democrats were on the march. The polls were trending against him. How Bush got a bit of his groove back on Iraq—for the moment, anyway.
  • Spy Master Admits Error

    Intel czar Mike McConnell told Congress a new law helped bring down a terror plot. The facts say otherwise.
  • A Veteran’s Loss of Innocence

    He signed up for the Marine Reserves in peacetime. Then the towers fell. The military as he knew it changed forever--as did his place in it.
  • Well-Rounded Docs

    One week into his premed classes at Washington University in St. Louis, Ryan Jacobson was rethinking his plan to become a doctor. His biology and chemistry classes were large, competitive and impersonal—not how he wanted to spend the next four years. “Sitting in a chemistry class, I knew it wasn’t the right place for me,” he says. Jacobson found the history department, with its focus on faculty interaction and discussion, a better fit. But he had no intention of leaving his medical aspirations behind. So Jacobson majored in history while also taking the science and math courses required for medical school. When he graduated last spring, he won the departmental prize for undergraduate thesis for his work on the history of race relations in Tulsa, Okla. He started medical school at the University of Illinois last month. “Historians are supposed to integrate information with the big picture,” he says, “which will hopefully be useful as a physician.”Even as breakthroughs in science and...
  • Grin and Bear It

    His story sings—a small-town boy who became a senator and a star. But does he have the requisite fire in the belly? We'll soon see.
  • Conventional Wisdom Watch

    Even before Petraeus report, Bush decides to request another $50 billion for Iraq—and doesn’t tell Secretary of Defense Gates. Beautiful. Bush (down) Another great week: A.G. out, a GOP scandal, Iraq bad as ever, Katrina anniv. is reminder of incompetence. Larry Craig (down) The “I’m not gay” stalling tactic didn’t wash. His career is in the toilet and the GOP gets flushed. A. Gonzales (down) None-too-sharp A.G. finally hits the exit. His legacy: Made us miss John Ashcroft and John Mitchell. Fred Thompson (neutral)Finally announces that he will announce WH run. An actor elected prez? That’ll never happen! Tony Snow (up) WH mouthpiece is latest to leave. The CW likes him and the way he honestly handles his illness. Leona Helmsley (down)Late “queen of mean” hotel heiress leaves $12 million to her dog, stiffs grandkids. Classy to the end.
  • Securing (Or Not) Your Right To Vote

    Next year we’ll have the second presidential election since the horribly botched one in 2000. Can we expect better? An answer comes from the highest election official in the most populated state in the Union. Worried about a string of reported vulnerabilities, Debra Bowen, California’s secretary of State, had asked computer scientists at the University of California to conduct a “top to bottom” analysis of the thousands of touchscreen electronic voting machines in use in the Golden State. Next year millions of voters will use these systems, manufactured by the industry’s largest suppliers, not only in California but in many other states as well.What did the study reveal? “Things were worse than I thought,” says Bowen. “There were far too many ways that people with ill intentions could compromise the voting systems without detection.” Some of those security holes could, in theory, allow a dirty trickster with access to a single machine to infiltrate the central vote-counting system...
  • The New Money Pit

    Walking through the gated community of Black Mountain Vista on a hill in Henderson, Nev., Thomas Blanchard offers a guided tour of real-estate woe. A row of stucco duplexes that recently sold for as much as $500,000 sit empty. “That’s a repo,” the real-estate agent says as he stands in front of 678 Solitude Point Avenue. Then he points to the adjacent houses, where yellow patches blot the spartan lawns and phone books lie on front porches, their covers bleached from weeks under the desert sun. “No. 680, repo; 684, repo. Those two at the end, repo.”Three years ago, this Las Vegas suburb was teeming with modern-day prospectors armed with low-interest mortgages, all hoping to strike it rich in real estate. Now, what started with the subprime-mortgage mess and subsequent credit crunch are turning communities like Black Mountain Vista into luxury ghost towns. Buyers who got in over their heads are being forced to abandon their homes, leaving behind empty McMansions on the California...
  • The Train To The Plain

    James Mangold’s remake of the 1957 Western “3:10 to Yuma” is a decent-enough entertainment, though it’s hardly going to breathe new life to a genre whose demise has been reported for at least 30 years. What this version offers is the chance to watch Russell Crowe and Christian Bale—two of the more charismatic, macho leading men around—duke it out psychologically, while another fine but less well-known intensity artist, Ben Foster, steals whatever scenes are left.Bale plays beleaguered rancher Dan Evans, who’s hobbled by a Civil War injury. Unable to pay his bills, he’s lost the respect of his wife (Gretchen Mol) and 14-year-old son, Will (Logan Lerman), and is about to lose his ranch. Evans glimpses a chance for both money and redemption by signing up to bring the legendary outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) to the train station in Contention, Ariz., where the 3:10 will take Wade to face justice in Yuma.Crowe’s Wade is everything the struggling rancher isn’t—suave, confident, a master...
  • Separation Anxieties

    This fall, returning students might not have to try so hard to fit in—but that’s not necessarily a good thing. According to a new report, more public schools are filled with students of the same racial and economic backgrounds than at any time in the past 20 years. The Civil Rights Project of UCLA has found that schools are resegregating at a faster rate than they have since the early ’90s, when a series of Supreme Court cases started dismantling desegregation policies.The effects of June’s court decision to limit desegregation efforts based on race won’t be felt until next year, so the future could bring even more homogenous classrooms. “All things being equal, that’s not good,” says Andrew Rotherham, codirector of Education Sector, a nonpartisan education think tank.The report shows the fastest rate of resegregation happening in the South, where the percentage of black students attending majority white schools dropped from 44 percent in 1988 to 27 percent in 2005. A 380 percent...
  • Truly, Madly, Deeply

    On July 10, Jeremy Blake returned to his downtown Manhattan apartment from a day of meetings with plans to relax with a bottle of Scotch. The 35-year-old digital artist, whose work is already enshrined in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, lived in a converted Episcopal church rectory with his girlfriend of a dozen years, Theresa Duncan, a 40-year-old writer and former computer-game designer. Before going upstairs to meet her, he stopped by the office of the church’s assistant pastor, Father Frank Morales, and invited him up later for a drink. But when Blake got to his place and opened the door, he found Duncan lying dead in their bedroom, with a bottle of bourbon, Tylenol PM pills and a suicide note next to her body. When the police arrived, Morales followed them upstairs and found Blake kicking the walls and sobbing before settling into a living-room chair. After the coroner took his lover’s body away, Blake spent the next three hours with Morales, ...
  • Brown’s The New Black

    Charlie Brown is neither tall nor skinny enough to be a model, but he’s still landing on the runway. At this week’s Fashion Week in New York, more than 20 designers are bringing the Peanuts characters to life in a charity couture show. “At first I thought, ‘Snoopy, fashion?’ ” says Jeannie Schulz, the widow of creator Charles Schulz. “But he was designing clothes that became part of the characters’ personalities, and that is what designers are looking for.”The latest gala isn’t the first time the gang has stepped in as fashion icons. A 1984 book called “Snoopy in Fashion” features beagle plush toys photographed in mini apparel from Gucci, Fendi, Armani and nearly 100 others. The pieces are still displayed in museums. In 2005, a Barcelona designer did a Peanuts-inspired collection, which was followed by a China fashion show last year. “We had to bring something like this to the States,” says Melissa Menta, vice president at United Media, which licenses Peanuts.The latest event is...
  • Talk To The Hand

    A 49-year-old traveling salesman allegedly seeking sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom in June noticed a boyish young man with short, sandy hair and an athletic build standing at a urinal. The salesman, peering over the top of his stall, motioned the young man to move to the adjoining commode. Once they were sitting side-by-side, the salesman tapped his left foot. The young man tapped back. The salesman then reached his hand under the stall divider and grabbed the young man’s leg. No response. The salesman peeked over the top of the divider. Staring back at him was Sgt. Dave Karsnia and his police badge; Karsnia had just nabbed another man allegedly seeking anonymous action in a restroom known on gay Web sites as Minnesota’s “cruisiest.” But rather than humiliate the man with a showy arrest next to the stalls, Karsnia wrote in his police report that he quietly led him away. As the man was being released after being booked and fingerprinted, he turned to Karsnia to say: “Thank you...
  • Stalin’s Tipping Point

    By mid-October 1941, most of Moscow’s residents were convinced that their city was about to be overrun by the Germans. The NKVD, as the Soviet secret police was then called, had prepared the first of what promised to be a series of pamphlets. “Comrades! We left Moscow due to the continuous attacks of the Germans,” it declared. “But it’s not the right time for us to weep.” The “Underground Party Committee” that signed the statement vowed that Moscow would be liberated. Since the city held out in the end, this admission of defeat was ultimately buried in the NKVD’s classified files rather than distributed. In fact, much of the story of how close Moscow came to falling—a defeat that would likely have transformed the course of the war—has been obscured by decades of deliberately distorted history. Now it’s a story that can be told.The battle for Moscow, which officially lasted from Sept. 30, 1941, to April 20, 1942, pitted two gargantuan armies against each other in what was the...
  • Hirsh: Rating Petraeus’s Report to the Hill

    Not surprisingly, Petraeus performed smoothly in his testimony to Congress. But an internal Pentagon report is expected to 'differ substantially' from his recommendations on withdrawal from Iraq, NEWSWEEK has learned.
  • 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...