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  • Have You Seen This Man?

    Probably, and looking exactly like this. Warner Sallman's 1940 oil painting "The Head of Christ" is believed to be the most reproduced religious work of art. It's been copied a billion times, if you include lamps, clocks and calendars. ...
  • Clift: Joe Biden's Horse Sense

    It was classic Biden. He was late for lunch and would have to leave early, but in the 20 minutes he stayed and took questions, he got more words out than most politicians do in twice the time. He didn’t have anything scripted to say, his press aide told us, but then again he rarely does. Joe Biden makes it up as he goes along, drawing on his 34 years in the U.S. Senate.He is a force of nature—smart, even brilliant; passionate about what he believes, and a challenge for any mere staff person to rein in. At least four aides circled around trying valiantly to corral him. He had five minutes to get back to the Senate. He is willing to miss votes if his absence won’t change the outcome, he explains, unless there are political implications. The Senate was voting Thursday afternoon on a card check, which labor unions oppose, and Biden, who’s running for president, wanted to be there even though his vote was not needed to defeat the measure.Biden is carving out a role for himself as a truth...
  • Power Shortage in the Middle East

    Who will lead the Middle East out of its current crisis? Hard to imagine any of the parties now at the table have the strength, as they grapple with the consequences of what many Israelis are already calling “the second Six Day War,” Hamas’s coup seizing power in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is now in Washington to discuss this crisis with President George Bush.  Which is to say, a lame-duck American president with the lowest approval ratings in two generations is discussing with an Israeli leader whose government is on life support how to help a Palestinian leader who’s just had his administration ejected from half its territory. Can this beleaguered trio really hope to achieve anything substantive—except, at best, buy time? Time for new governments, new leaders, to take over in all three countries, perhaps.The State Department has pronounced itself optimistic. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, after all, declared progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian settlement to...
  • Day Three: Telling Jokes in Iran

    The elites mock the president as a religious extremist with a lousy approval rating. Iran may be more like America than you think.
  • The Trouble With Political Videos

    It was safe to assume that by now there would be numerous reinterpretations of the abrupt, clipped-off final scene of “The Sopranos.” It begs to be manipulated, mashed-up and parodied by the video-savvy merrymakers of the YouTube generation. But who could have predicted that presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton would be among those with her own Web riff?Clinton’s campaign took to the Internet yesterday with a short spoof of the “Sopranos” scene, tailored to the former First Family. Hillary sits in a booth at a diner, mulling over the offerings in the booth’s jukebox. Bill breezes in and joins her, then is disappointed to learn that when she announces that she has “ordered for the table,” she’s referring to a basket of carrot sticks, not onion rings. All the while, there are cuts to the other customers in the diner, suggesting that they’re all waiting breathlessly for Hillary to find the right song. Naturally, this all leads up to that polarizing black screen, and viewers are told to...
  • What Bloomberg’s GOP Departure Means

    Party affiliation has always been a fleeting thing for Michael Bloomberg. When the billionaire and lifelong Democrat ran as a Republican for mayor of New York City in 2001, his conversion had nothing to do with epiphany and everything to do with expediency (as the GOP candidate, he’d face an easier primary field and could spare himself the labyrinthine nominating process he'd face on the Democratic side). As mayor, he has been the quintessential air-quotes Republican—supporting gay marriage, promoting radical measures to make the city greener and staying as far away from President Bush as he possibly could. Term-limited in New York, the mayor's aides have actively talked up the possibility of his running as a third-party presidential candidate in recent months. Today's news that Bloomberg was changing his party status from "Republican" to "unaffiliated" is hardly Earth-shattering. It was only a matter of time before he and the Republican Party stopped pretending like their marriage...
  • Fineman: Americans Warm Up to Universal Health Care

    Michael Moore is a uniquely American hybrid: the profit-making, anti-establishment agitator. In that line of work, your instincts have to be sharp. His are. In films that mix brave journalism and brazen agitprop, he has been ahead of the curve on the demise of heavy industry; the deadly blend of teenage rage and the gun culture, and the shaky reasoning behind, and execution of, the Iraq War. In person, he is a friendly bear of a guy—until the tape is rolling. Then the populist piranha pops out. I watched him working the lobby of one of his Washington premieres. He had a film crew in tow. Beltway types (including me) were glad to say hello. Few (including me) lingered on camera.Now Moore is back with "Sicko," his docu-tribe about our health-care "system." Once again, Moore's timing is perfect. Aside from Iraq, there is no bigger issue on the minds of voters. Two presidential candidates, John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama, have come forth with ambitious plans that call for vastly...
  • Bandar and the $2 Billion Question

    Hundreds of pages of confidential U.S. bank records may be the missing link in illuminating new allegations that a major British arms contractor funneled up to $2 billion in questionable payments to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The BBC and Guardian newspaper reported last week that BAE Systems made "secret" payments to a Washington, D.C., bank account controlled by Bandar, the longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States who is now the kingdom's national-security adviser. The payments are alleged to be part of an $80 billion military-aircraft deal between London and Riyadh. Last week British Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged that his government shut down an investigation into the payments, in part because it could have led to the "complete wreckage" of Britain's "vital strategic relationship" with Saudi Arabia. Before the U.K. closed the inquiry, British investigators contacted the U.S. Justice Department seeking access to records related to the Saudi bank accounts. Many...
  • Iran, Arms and Help for Hizbullah

    A little-noticed train accident in Turkey last month offered new clues about alleged Iranian efforts to stir up trouble in the Mideast. The train was carrying two shipping containers of explosives and small to medium-size weapons like rocket-launcher pads, according to U.S. officials and a Turkish news report. Three U.S. officials familiar with current intel, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitive topic, told NEWSWEEK they believe the train was ferrying the equipment from Iran to Syria; from there, they believe, it would have been sent to the Lebanese movement Hizbullah, a longtime client of Tehran. Authorities believe the train derailed after Kurdish separatists blew up the tracks.One of the U.S. officials said that during last summer's war between Hizbullah and Israel, Iran air-freighted munitions to Lebanon via Damascus. Since then, two of the officials indicated, intel agencies believe Tehran has sent several trainloads of weapons to its Lebanese allies; the train that...
  • The Editor's Desk

    The topic could not be more emotionally fraught. Karen Springen, a correspondent of ours based in Chicago, was interviewing Debi Clancy, 49, for this week's cover story. The subject: the challenges Clancy faces in taking care of her 82-year-old mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's. "I'm very upset with myself most of the time," Clancy said. "I'm mad because I can't fix it. Even as a child, I had to fix everything and make it better. This is the first time in my life I can't make it better." Clancy started to cry. Then Karen started to cry, too.Tears seem an entirely understandable response to the complexities and role reversals that Clancy and millions of other Americans are confronting as the number of Alzheimer's cases inexorably rises. Many readers are, I think, generally inured to what we sometimes call "coming crisis" stories. There is always something bad lurking just ahead, whether it is the cost of entitlements or a growing health problem. Such issues are important, and we...
  • Mail Call: Fresh Hope for Those Who Battle Pain

    Chronic-pain sufferers and health professionals were heartened by our cover story on the search for new strategies to fight pain, especially for those returning from the battlefield. One chronic sufferer referred to pain as the "quiet killer of body and soul" and wrote: "The advancements being made to help the soldiers wounded in the line of duty are well deserved, and I can only hope they will reach the talented physicians working tirelessly to help those of us who suffer from crippling disease." A disabled RN suffering from fibromyalgia and spinal disease also hoped for carryover. "Maybe the war on pain fought by these soldiers will help people like me." Others suggested relief from chronic pain ranging from various opioids to medical marijuana. But with new research comes the hope for alleviating dependency. One said, "The ultimate promise of new research on the brain is pain relief without narcotic drug dependence."As one of millions in this country suffering from chronic pain,...
  • Alter: Best Ideas for Fixing America? Listen to Gore, Bradley

    As the primary campaign gets rolling, are we going to hear big, bold solutions to our big, hairy problems? The past is not encouraging. Seven and a half years ago—in another America—Vice President Al Gore and former senator Bill Bradley battled for the 2000 Democratic nomination. It got nasty, with Gore playing the heavy. As recounted in Bob Shrum's delicious memoir, "No Excuses" (which is actually full of excuses for Shrum's losing streak as a consultant), the vice president twisted Bradley's ambitious health-care plan until it looked as if Bradley had neglected seniors. At first, Bradley was too aloof and gun-shy for an effective response. Later, he overreached by comparing Gore to Richard Nixon.Similar hostilities will eventually break out among the contenders in 2008, with fresh ideas and plans little more than cannon fodder. But there's also plenty of countervailing pressure now to confront problems with more than platitudes. Candidates are torn between the need to show some...
  • Aftermath: Eric Fair's Abu Ghraib Confession

    What happens when a whistle-blower blows the whistle on himself? Eric Fair confessed in a February Washington Post opinion piece to abusing a prisoner while serving as a civilian interrogator in Iraq in 2004. Fair told NEWSWEEK he had hoped the mea culpa would encourage other interrogators to talk openly about torture. Instead, it ruined friendships and prompted death threats. "I didn't anticipate how palpable the hatred would be," the 35-year-old former GI said from his home in Bethlehem, Pa. Readers accused him of undermining troop morale, even of engaging in treason. Some suggested he appease his own guilty conscience by committing suicide (Fair said in the op-ed that images of the prisoner's standing naked all night in his cell disturbed his sleep). A few offered to pull the trigger.Still, for every hostile letter writer, two expressed support—including interrogators who said they wished they could tell their own stories. "For people who want to continue working for the Pentagon...
  • Is McCain Aide a Secret Obama Fan?

    Barack Obama has an admirer in the inner circle of GOP rival Sen. John McCain. Mark McKinnon, a senior media adviser to McCain, wrote in a January internal memo that he'd quit the campaign if Obama were the Dem nominee, according to two McCain advisers, anonymous when discussing the issue.McKinnon, a lifelong Democrat but also a Bush adviser, shares McCain's support for keeping troops in Iraq. McKinnon wrote that while he opposed Obama's policies, especially on Iraq, he felt the Illinois senator, as an African-American, could play a unique role and didn't want to work against him. Obama's campaign said he'd never met McKinnon; McCain's camp had no comment.
  • Can Hillary Overcome Her Likability Gap?

    Some grudges just don't die. In the 1990s, David Bossie worked tirelessly as an investigator for Rep. Dan Burton's government-reform committee. Burton was a top-echelon antagonist to Bill and Hillary Clinton, leading wide-ranging investigations of Whitewater and campaign finance. All the digging didn't amount to much: six years after the Clintons left the White House, Burton is a little-heard-from member of the minority party and Hillary Clinton is the front runner to be the Democrats' nominee for president in 2008.But Bossie is still working away. In recent months, he has returned to investigating the Clintons, this time for a tough documentary scheduled for release in theaters this fall. One of the documentary's key potential audiences: a new generation of voters who don't remember the old Clinton wars. He points out that someone who is 18 today was "4 years old when the travel-office scandal broke." These young voters, he predicts, will be hungry for Hillary dirt, new and old. ...
  • A Life in Books: Jennifer Egan

    Jennifer Egan, author of National Book Award finalist "Look at Me" and, more recently, "The Keep," finds that raising two sons enhances her reading: "it's delicious to have an excuse to revisit the books" she read as a child. An Important Book you haven't read: "The Man Without Qualities" by Robert Musil. It's still in plastic, in a beautiful box set. I feel so bad about it; what can I say? I'll get there eventually. A book you want your kids to read: "Little House on the Prairie." I really want them to love the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, because they were important to me, but I'm worried they won't because they're boys.
  • McCain, Giuliani: On the GOP's Wrong Side?

    John McCain likes being on the wrong side of his party, almost too much. At a town-hall meeting last week in New Hampshire—the state where he emerged as an unvarnished truth-teller in 2000—the Arizona senator went bare-knuckled with voters on an issue that threatens to cripple his campaign: immigration reform. McCain is proud to be a chief cosponsor of a reform bill, now stalled, that includes a path to citizenship for the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. But most of the people he needs to back him in a GOP primary oppose it. "Do I think it's perfect?" McCain asked the crowd in New Hampshire. "No." But to do nothing, he quickly added, "is the worst of all worlds." That explanation wasn't enough for one voter, who stood and told McCain she simply couldn't support his bill. "I understand," the senator replied, a bit testily. "And when you have a better proposal, I would love to hear it."It seems unlikely that McCain will win that woman's vote. "Doing the hard thing...
  • Stem Cells: An End to Debate or 'Déjà Vu'?

    The never-ending argument over embryonic stem cells has taken a turn that seems unprecedented: both sides look happy. On the pro-embryonic-research side, a bill loosening restrictions on federal funding passed the House easily on Thursday (after breezing through the Senate in April). Conservatives have reason to rejoice, too. Scientists revealed on Wednesday a new technique for bestowing all the flexibility of embryonic stem cells on mature skin cells in mice—an approach that could revolutionize medicine without the destruction of embryos. News accounts hailed the report as a potential end to controversy. But David Prentice of the Family Research Council says the events just seemed like "déjà vu all over again" to him. And if that's true, neither side will be smiling for long.Here's why: the last time Congress passed a bill expanding funds for embryonic research, in 2006, President George W. Bush nixed it, and the House couldn't get around his veto. Bush said that he'd veto the new...
  • $3 Gadget Produces Safe Drinking Water

    With his rimless eyeglasses and natty suit, 35-year-old Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen looks like the kind of CEO who enjoys a fine red. Less likely is the image of him slurping that Bordeaux through a bright blue straw the size of a fat kazoo. But slurp he has, and not just wine: he's also tasted soda, pond water, and water from a lake in Nairobi through the gizmo. "You have to suck pretty hard at first to get it moist, but after that it's easy," he says of the LifeStraw, the portable water filter manufactured by his Danish company.Most of the LifeStraw's users will never drink anything fancier than plain water through the device. But its impact on their lives can't be overstated. More than 1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, and 6,000 people die each day of waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera and dysentery. In regions like sub-Saharan Africa, half of most people's water consumption takes place outside the home—either while they're working, or walking...
  • Meet 'Harry Potter's 'mystery' producer

    Unlike, say, "Pirates of the Caribbean," the "Harry Potter" films have gotten better over time. The person who deserves most of the credit (aside from author J. K. Rowling) is someone you've probably never heard of. David Heyman bought the film rights to the "Potter" series in 1997 and has been the principal producer ever since, steering a franchise that's grossed more than $3.5 billion. The fifth, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," opens July 11. The seventh and final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," lands on July 21. "I love that I've been doing this nonstop for 10 years and I still don't know how this story ends," Heyman, 45, told NEWSWEEK. "I can't wait!"Seven installments offer a million opportunities to go wrong. Bad casting. Lame special effects. Fame. Greed. Puberty. Heyman has so far managed to avoid it all. (OK, not puberty.) "I wish I could tell you it was all some great master plan," he says. One important step: a promise he has kept for a decade....
  • A Guide for Caregivers

    It's a big, complicated job, and somebody's got to do it. What you need to know to provide for your loved one.
  • Clift: Will 2008 Be the Liberals' Year?

    The left wing of the Democratic Party is back from the wilderness. They’re revved up and ready to take the best shot they’ve had in a long time at putting someone simpatico in the White House. Progressives are driving the debate in Congress and in the country, pulling the party’s presidential candidates to the left on issues like the war in Iraq, universal health care and an Apollo-like program for energy independence.Hillary Clinton is the weather vane. She began the campaign with a hawkish record on the Iraq War, only to vote last month with Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama against the war-funding bill. A year ago, she talked about a health plan that covered children; now she’s about to join John Edwards and Obama in putting forward a more expansive proposal. Her husband championed free trade as president; she joined a growing chorus of populist Democrats this week to vote against a trade pact with South Korea.If the left wants purity on the issues, they don’t have to settle for...
  • Toddler served margarita in sippy cup

    Elisa Kelly thought she was doing the right thing when she bought $340 worth of beer and liquor for her 16-year-old son and more than 20 of his friends. In exchange for the booze, Kelly's son agreed that all his pals would sleep over at his birthday party. That, in the mind of the 42-year-old mother of two, was the best way to keep the underage revelers from drinking and driving. And, she says, none of the kids who came to her Earlysville, Va., home got hurt. But someone is indeed paying the price—Kelly herself went to jail this week to serve a 27-month sentence for providing alcohol to minors.Her conviction raises some uncomfortable questions for parents as another season of alcohol-fueled graduation parties gets under way. Many communities around the country are imposing new or tougher “social host” laws that make parents legally responsible if underage guests drink at their homes. In some cases, the adults can be charged even if they weren't aware of the illegal imbibing on their...
  • Poll: Americans Want Death-Penalty Moratorium

    Even though most Americans support the death penalty, there’s rising concern about how the state’s ultimate punishment is levied. A new poll by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that provides analysis on capital punishment, found that 58 percent want a national moratorium on executions. In 2006, there were fewer executions than in any year since the death penalty was reinstated over 30 years ago. NEWSWEEK’s Kurt Soller spoke with the director of the center, Richard Dieter, about the current state of capital punishment in America. Excerpts: ...
  • Alter: A Better Way Out of the Energy Bind

    Think of the energy that has been wasted in recent years calling for a gas tax. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman alone seems to advocate it every week or so. So does every other “responsible” energy plan. Only one problem: Not Gonna Happen. Look at the public furor over current gas prices that has Congress running for cover. The idea of adding a dollar-a-gallon tax at the pump is deader than Phil Leotardo in the final episode of “The Sopranos.”But there is a way to slash emission of greenhouse gases that’s politically practical. There’s a way to both tell those Mideast countries to go drown in their damn oil—and to begin to save the planet from catastrophic climate change. There’s even a way to go green and go to the mall and buy a little something with your extra cash, as long as you take the bus or drive a hybrid there instead of a Hummer.It’s called a “sky trust” (or a “clean air trust” or “carbon revenue recycling”) and it’s roughly analogous to the Alaska Permanent Fund,...
  • Exclusive: Michael Moore's Legal Troubles

    Controversy trails Michael Moore like a shadow—or is that the other way around? The lefty filmmaker, whose “Roger & Me,” and “Bowling For Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” all put pins in the proverbial cushion of power, is needling people again—this time with “Sicko,” his sardonic attack on the American health-care system. Moore has been playing both offense and defense in the run-up to the film’s partial release this Friday in New York and Los Angeles, promoting his film on the talk circuit, speaking out on health-care issues, and deflecting charges that his documentary violated standards of objectivity and professional conduct.The film’s final section has Moore in the hottest water: he leads about eight rescue workers who became sick after 9/11 on a pilgrimage through old Havana, where they buy prescription drugs cheaply and receive free health care, courtesy of Cuba’s socialized medicine. Moore’s not-subtle message: why can’t these folks afford this kind of treatment back...
  • A Life in Books: Scott Turow

    Is Scott Turow insanely productive? While keeping his day job as a partner at a Chicago law firm, he's written a shelfful of legal thrillers like "Burden of Proof" and "Reversible Errors." Now he's working on a sequel to "Presumed Innocent." Case closed. A Certified Important Book you haven't read: The list is so long. I've never read Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." I'd like to, although it's a lot to take on. My tastes run to fiction. The book you want your kids to read: Shakespeare, especially "The Merchant of Venice," because there's the ethnic hook. Once you learn to decode him, you enter a realm of unbelievable wisdom and power.
  • Obama's Image Problem: Rock Star or Policy Wonk

    It was a low-key event for the rock star of American politics: a poorly lit seminar room at a community college in Mason City, Iowa, full of voters sharing their woes about the health-care system. Yet Barack Obama worked the policy forum with the energy of someone who was hearing stories about the burdens of chronic illness and costly premiums for the first time. "What those people said to me was so amazing," he told a senior aide as they walked out of the event in early April. "It was so interesting to hear how their perspectives were similar and different from the folks we saw in New Hampshire."Obama started his career as a community organizer, and he thrives when he's doing grass-roots work. It's his appeal, but it also exposes a potential flaw: he's running for commander in chief now, not city council, and Obama's aides are acutely aware that his approach doesn't always translate in a modern presidential campaign. His set-piece speeches are often received in respectful silence,...
  • Q&A: The End of Fake IDs?

    John M. McCardell Jr.'s latest mission may have a greater effect on college freshmen than anything he did during his 13 years as president of Middlebury College: he wants to lower the drinking age to 18—but not in order to encourage drinking. In January he started a nonprofit organization, Choose Responsibility, which proposes educating teens in responsible drinking just as we teach safe driving, and then rewarding them with a drinking license, for which they become eligible at 18. He spoke with Samantha Henig. ...
  • Environment: Going Green at Work

    Allison Friedman, 34, was running her own restaurant in Brookline, Mass., when she had an epiphany. "For five years, it was enough for me to work hard, make a living and have a good time," she says. "But there was a fourth concept missing, and that was doing some social good." So Friedman sold her restaurant, a Southwestern chili house, went to business school and eventually founded the Web site rateitgreen.com, dedicated to helping consumers and businesses find ecofriendly building materials and services.Like Friedman, many people feel torn between their careers and their inclinations toward public service. But as Americans grow more savvy about helping the environment, organizations and services are popping up to help workers bridge that gap. "We get this question from a lot of people," says Kevin Doyle, coauthor of "The ECO Guide to Careers that Make a Difference" and president of the work-force development firm Green Economy, Inc. "They want to have their daily work make a...
  • Things Not Seen: Science for the Blind

    If nanoscience is the field of stuff so tiny it can never be seen, does it matter if the scientist can see at all? At the University of Wisconsin's nanoscience center, Andrew Greenberg is in charge of education and outreach—and it occurred to him that blindness, often thought of as a handicap in the sciences, becomes irrelevant when the subject matter is invisible anyway. To encourage vision-impaired students to enter the field, Greenberg and other researchers at the school are building three-dimensional models, inches long, that faithfully re-create nanoscale structures and surfaces—similar to the molecular models made of colored balls and rods from your high-school chemistry class, only more accurate.Technically, the models are just another way of representing the same data that sighted students use when they look at "pictures" of nanoscale objects. "There's a lot in science that's perceived as being visual, but vision is nothing essential to the concepts or even the raw data,"...
  • Protective Clothing for Fun in the Sun

    Come summer, organic farmers Michelle and Danny Lutz of Yale, Mich., used to strip to T shirts and tank tops. But after Danny's repeated bouts with skin cancer, they learned the hard way that a typical white T shirt provides only the protective equivalent of an SPF-5 to -10 sunblock. Now the Lutzes, their three daughters and entire farm crew of eight cover up with sun-protective garments from a company called Coolibar (coolibar.com). The clothes have titanium dioxide in the threads and carry a seal of approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation. And despite the long sleeves, says Michelle, they're comfortable in high heat and humidity.Not long ago, sun-protective clothes meant heavy fabrics and boring styles. But today Coolibar and its competitors are providing more comfortable materials, prettier fashions and attractive colors. Doctors welcome the trend. Sunblock, they note, is great, but few people apply enough. (A recent study found that almost half of teens got their worst burn of...
  • Transition: Edward Behr

    EDWARD BEHR, 81 A legendary foreign correspondent with an unforgettably titled memoir ("Anybody Here Been Raped and Speak English?"—the alleged cry of a BBC reporter to refugees fleeing the Congo in 1960), Behr saw firsthand the countless troubled corners of the world.In 1965 he came to NEWSWEEK; in 1968 alone, he covered the Tet Offensive, the student revolts in Paris and the Russian reconquest of Prague. Fascinated by dictators, he interviewed several of the most famous, from Castro to Mao Zedong.
  • Supreme Court: Alito's Year

    Two Supreme Court decisions are expected soon: one on whether schools can decide to admit students based on race, the other examining restrictions on campaign ads right before an election, a key element of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law. "All eyes continue to be on justice Samuel Alito to see what has changed since Sandra Day O'Connor left," says Thomas Goldstein, a Supreme Court expert and lawyer with Akin Gump. "But we knew he'd be moving the court to the right while she was always the swing." Recent decisions saw Alito in the majority, voting almost in lockstep with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Court watchers are waiting to see if any case splits the conservatives—to find out if Alito is radically or only moderately conservative.
  • My Turn: I'm Still Listening for My Father's Words

    Aphasia is an oddly beautiful word, like the name of a flower. I imagine it blue, with slender petals and delicate filaments, breaking through hard winter soil, because each word my father manages to speak is like a tender blossom struggling into the air. Dad's been diagnosed with what doctors call "dementia of the Alzheimer's type." The most frustrating part of his decline has been his aphasia, defined by Webster's as "loss or impairment of the power to use words." In Dad's case, this manifests itself as anomia, the inability to remember the names of things. Lately he's been calling his nightly can of beer "ink." Sometimes he calls it "gas," which makes a kind of sense.It's summer, the time of my annual visit to the home my parents bought 43 years ago in Lemon Grove, Calif. Trying not to let my face betray dismay at how frail Dad has become, I pull a chair close to his recliner, facing him. I realize I've been holding my breath when I exhale as Dad begins to speak."Where is your...
  • Autos: The Threat of Defective Airbags

    What's worse than your car's airbag going off in your face? An airbag not deploying when you have an accident. That can happen if you are driving a used car that's had its airbag improperly or fraudulently replaced.As many as one in 25 accident-damaged cars has its airbag replaced with a stolen, salvaged or fake airbag, according to California state estimates. (They can cost as much as $3,000 new.) But there are ways to check that the previously owned "cream puff" you're driving hasn't been scammed. Use your vehicle identification number to check its airbag history free of charge at carfax.com/airbag. You can look at your airbag panel on the steering wheel or dashboard. If its color is slightly off, it might have been replaced. Most, but not all, original-equipment airbags have the initials SRS or SIR on the panel, at least on the passenger side, and the car's logo on the driver's side.You can also get your mechanic to check it out—most deployed airbags are reinstalled properly....
  • Uncorked: Rosé

    Picture yourself at a sidewalk café by the beach, at the end of a summer day in southern France. You'd probably be drinking a refreshing rosé. But even if you can't get to France, there are plenty of great-value rosés available. The best are dry in style, with fruity flavors balanced by a good tang of acidity.
  • Mail Call: Is Bill an Asset or Liability for Hillary?

    Readers had decidedly mixed reactions to the prospect of an ex-president's spouse running for the White House, the subject of our May 28 cover story. One Clintons fan, who looked forward to a Hillary presidency, wrote, "I believe our Bill will be a smart and wise helpmate." Most agreed that Bill Clinton casts a large shadow over his wife. "One thing I know is that Hillary is a very smart woman. She knows Bill is the biggest asset to her campaign. She also knows once elected, he could become her greatest liability," one said. For another reader, a possible win resonates this way: "A vote for Hillary is a vote for up to 16 years of Bill Clinton. Some may think that's a good thing, but it treads heavily on the concept of term limits." And one pondered the implications for her running mate. "Can you imagine what it would be like to be the vice president in a Hillary and Bill administration?"Looking at how former president Bill Clinton would affect a Hillary Clinton presidency is...
  • Technology: Cameras Go Diving

    Capture the moment this summer with the latest waterproof digital cameras. Designed to seal out moisture, they can take a dip when you do. The Pentax Optio W30 (pentaximaging.com) can go 10 feet below the surface for up to two hours. For extreme travelers, the Olympus's Stylus 770 SW (olympusamerica.com) can endure 33-foot depths, frigid temperatures or 220 pounds of crushing pressure. Vivitar's 6-megapixel ViviCam 6200w (vivitar.com) features big buttons for easy shooting. Prefer moving pictures? Sanyo (sanyodigital.com) comes out with the first waterproof consumer camcorder, the Xacti E1, later this month. It doesn't get any wetter than that.
  • The Checklist

    RENT "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." Sergio Leone's violent, operatic 1967 spaghetti Western, starring Clint Eastwood, comes complete with the 18 minutes cut from its U.S. release. Everything's huge—the close-ups, the Morricone score, the body count.SURF iVillage.com/green, iVillage's new green channel, for earth-conscious tips. While you're there, enter to win prizes in a weekly sweepstakes through Aug. 19. Grand prize: a hybrid car.READ "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie," by Alison Rogers, a witty bunch of horror and success stories mixed with real advice for other Realtor newbies (Kaplan. $14.95).GO to the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Calif., on June 9, when it opens its permanent collection, "Bridge to the Americas," in its newly expanded building. A free family festival will follow on June 10.RIDE the new high-speed TGV East trains in France. Beginning June 10, travel times are cut in half between Paris and Frankfurt. Cost: about $130 for a one-way 2nd-class ticket.
  • Military: Gates and the Press

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates has a message for the military: keep focused on the real enemies. "Today, I want to encourage you always to remember the importance of two pillars of our freedom under the Constitution—the Congress and the Press," he told graduates of both the Naval and Air Force academies in two recent commencement addresses. He went on to say that "the American military must be nonpolitical and recognize the obligation we owe the Congress to be honest and true in our reporting to them. Especially when it involves admitting mistakes or problems. The same is true with the Press ... The Press is not the enemy, and to treat it as such is self-defeating."Many men and women in uniform wouldn't agree with him. An annual survey by the Military Times, conducted last November and December, found that service members were heavily Republican (only 16 percent said they were Democrats) and "convinced the media hate them," as the paper put it. Only 39 percent thought the media had...
  • Summer Celebrations: Wedding Cheers

    If the prospect of giving a maid-of-honor speech makes you want to run as fast as your dyed-to-match satin pumps can carry you, take heart: Vance Van Petten, author of "Ten Minutes to the Speech" and executive director of the Producers Guild of America, says using his "Four-H" rule will get you through your toast unscathed.Start from the heart, expressing admiration and love for the bride and groom. Season the speech with lots of humor, using funny stories you get from the couple's family members. "If you don't get a really good version of how the couple met, you failed," says Van Petten ("Wedding Crashers" notwithstanding). Expose your own and the couple's humility by expressing how honored you are to be giving the speech and how lucky they are to have found each other. Finally, end with haste. A wedding speech should last between three and five minutes. Start early and practice telling the stories so you don't have to use notes. And above all, leave the bride alone. "For a wedding...