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  • Health Care: Family Leave Under Fire?

    When President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993, workers-rights groups were thrilled. The law allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child, to cope with a serious illness or to care for a relative without losing their jobs. Supporters say the landmark legislation has already helped more than 50 million families, and they have hopes of expanding the act to make some of that leave paid. But as the clock ticks down on the Bush administration, labor advocates fear there are plans afoot to scale back family leave.A coalition of business groups wants to change the way the Department of Labor interprets the law, claiming the legislation is vulnerable to abuse. "Our employers don't have any problem with employees using the leave for something like chemotherapy treatment or a pregnancy, but you can get it for a cold or migraine headaches," says Jason Straczewski, director of human-resources policy at the National...
  • Gore's Waistline: Clues to Presidential Bid?

    Since the documentary he starred in, "An Inconvenient Truth," won an Academy Award, speculation has only increased about Al Gore's potential entry into the presidential race. He is not taking any overt steps toward running, and that may be the cleverest strategy of all. A Democratic strategist sent Gore a memo sometime ago suggesting he announce, but forgo the traditional campaign trail and continue promoting the cause of global warming. He would be the nonpolitical candidate. Word came back: Gore isn't running. But in fact he is. Whether it results in an official run depends on what the field looks like six months from now. Laurie David, who helped bankroll Gore's film, and whose "personal fantasy" is that he run, says that when she presses him, he's always coy and says his cell phone is breaking up. "I believe him when he says he doesn't have any intention of running," David told NEWSWEEK. "But I also believe the door is not completely shut."As part of his noncampaign, the former...
  • 'Shoes? What Shoes?': Secretive Shopping

    Did you tell your partner about that fabulous pair of Prada pumps you bought last week? If not, you're not alone. In a recent survey by W magazine, 38 percent of female readers admitted to hiding luxury purchases from their significant other on at least one occasion. A similar study by PayPal showed that 82 percent of 3,044 individuals had hidden at least one new item. Alison Burwell, jewelry-news editor at W magazine, says many women (and some men) hide splurges by splitting up the bill among different credit cards, hiding their receipts or paying in cash.Why? To avoid an argument, says Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist at the University of Washington: "They feel entitled to get something, even if it isn't something they have agreed upon." To exercise your spending freedom without guilt, Schwartz suggests couples set aside individual splurge funds to use however they'd like. Or try separate bank accounts. One downside: the thrill of doing something wrong—and getting away with it—will...
  • Public Domain Rights: Artists Who Share

    If mediocre artists borrow, and great artists steal, what kind of artists share? Until recently, mostly unknown ones. But that is starting to change as big-name artists, who don't need to give away their work free of charge, are doing just that. Inspired by the idea that appropriation and influence are inherent to the artistic process, musicians and writers are posting their work on the Web for anyone to borrow or adapt. Many of these artists make their work available via licenses from Creativecommons.org, which lets artists give away limited or total access to their work, instead of the standard "all rights reserved." Since its inception in 2002, the nonprofit organization has issued an estimated 150 million licenses.Playwright Charles Mee, author of "bobrauschenbergamerica," instructs writers to "pillage" the structure and contents of his plays as resources for their own work on a section of his Web site he calls "the (re)making project." And science-fiction writer Cory Doctorow...
  • How to Buy a House With Bad Credit

    Regina Miller says she is tired of "throwing away $1,520 each month" to rent the two-bedroom apartment in Long Beach, Calif., that she shares with her 12-year-old son. So two years ago she set some goals, including making more money and buying a condo.She's accomplished the first goal, supplementing her modest hourly wage managing a local gift shop with money she earns selling cosmetics part time. But at least for the foreseeable future, a house may be out of the question. "I thought for sure I could buy something," says Miller, who says her credit rating hovers around 580. "Everyone was getting loans. People with worse credit than me, even."But the once booming housing market is now foundering in many cities, largely because buyers with shaky credit scores like Miller's have been defaulting on their mortgages in record numbers. That means the roughly 13 percent of Americans whose credit score is between 500 and 599 (read: not so good) and who not long ago might have qualified for a...
  • Road Test: Shelby GT500

    A simple way to bulk up muscle without stepping foot in the gym: buy this Shelby GT500. Sinewy and forceful, like a body-builder doing reps on Venice Beach, these wheels are pure showy American beefcake. That 500 on the nameplate stands for ponies, and I motored through each and every glorious one of them. Actually, it was more like navigating a stampede, owing to the 5.4-liter, V-8 sport-tuned engine. Crazy wheel-spinning, gas-sucking power. I can't help but wonder why anyone needs such amplified rear-wheel-drive torque to take the kids to basketball practice, and yet, wow.I craved this delicious ride but had issues with Ford's somewhat shoddy interior. Yes, there's a well-done Euro-inspired stitched-leather dashboard and baseball-stitched leather steering wheel. But I was disheartened by the overuse of cheapo plastics on the audio/climate controls and on the center console and door panels. I liked the firm seats, which are bolstered to brace for that inevitable raucous ride. And...
  • Homeland Security: Too Many Warnings?

    The warning arrived late last week. Yet another alarming bulletin about terrorists. This time, schoolbuses were said to be threatened. State and city law-enforcement groups were told that foreigners with possible ties to "extremist groups" had recently bought schoolbuses and applied for relevant licenses. But counterterrorism officials at the FBI, which had issued the warning along with the Department of Homeland Security, insist they know of no recent intelligence indicating that terrorist suspects are trying to get jobs as schoolbus drivers. Officials contacted by NEWSWEEK said they were unaware of any specific current intelligence reports about extremists infiltrating the schoolbus industry. "This intelligence bulletin was not based on specific suspicious activity," said Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman. He added: "There is no threat. There is no plot. Parents and children have no reason to worry." A second counterterrorism official who follows daily intelligence reporting on U.S....
  • Tech: Online Book Groups

    You just finished John Grisham's latest, and you can't wait to talk about it ... but your book club doesn't meet until next Sunday. Now you don't have to hold your thoughts. A new crop of literary social-networking sites let you compare notes with other bookworms at all hours of the day. A roundup: ...
  • Iraq: U.S. Soldiers' Letters Left Behind

    They bunked together off base in Anchorage, more like grad students than grunts. One by one, the war claimed their lives. The letters the soldiers left behind.
  • Iraq: U.S. Soldiers' Letters Left Behind

    Of the dozens of e-mails Army Sgt. Sean Fennerty wrote home during his three months in Iraq, the most wrenching dispatch reached his parents on Dec 12, 2006. "I write this with the heaviest of hearts," Fennerty typed into a military computer at his base in Baghdad, after attending a memorial service for two members of his airborne brigade killed in a roadside bombing. "They were two of my best friends and that was the squad I moved to, and then moved back from," he wrote. Fennerty, a 25-year-old college graduate, had a bond with the two dead soldiers, Spc. Micah Gifford and S/Sgt. Henry Linck. The three were older than most members of their unit. While stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, they rented an apartment together off base, decorated the walls with flags and memorabilia from previous postings, and lived more like grad students than grunts. All three left Anchorage for Iraq in October 2006, but kept the apartment and planned to return to it. "My two roommates dead, it's kind of...
  • My Trip to the Postal Service Bomb-Detection School

    When I told my mother I was going to bomb school, she hung up on me. A misunderstanding, I thought, and called back and told her about the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Training Academy I had just visited. “I know what to look for in package bombs.” The line went dead again. Finally on our fourth connection, she explained that talking about “you-know-whats” on the phone is a bad idea; the government may be listening. So if the National Security Agency computers tapped into our lines that night, let me explain: I was wildly singing the praises of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.Founded in 1880, the service, which employs 1,750 men and women (known as inspectors), is the law-enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service. Many of their cases involve mail theft, money laundering, illegal drug trafficking and child pornography. In 1958, they ensured that Harry Winston’s Hope Diamond, then valued at $1 million, arrived safely and soundly at its new home, the Smithsonian. (They shipped it...
  • Jim Webb on the Warpath

    Democrats on Capitol Hill hang on his every word, and Jim Webb doesn’t disappoint. His son was extended in Iraq for the surge, and his resolve to end a war that he opposed from the start is undisputed. He came from 33 points behind to win election in Virginia and tip control of the Senate to the Democrats—largely on the strength of his antiwar, tough-guy military credentials. Democrats owe him, and they trust him to help them find an honorable path out of Iraq.But Webb doesn't favor a timeline for withdrawal, as the Nancy Pelosi bill passed by the House on Friday proposes, or capping the number of troops in Iraq, as Hillary Clinton suggests. Webb wants a diplomatic solution, and he's working with Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, a fellow Vietnam veteran and a friend for 30 years, to come up with a bipartisan bill that would incorporate some of what he calls "the more workable points" from the House bill without unnecessarily tying the hands of the military. He wouldn't say much about it...
  • Goodbye and Good Riddance, Gov. Blanco

    New Orleans, 18 months after Katrina, is still a city of considerable ups and downs. Tuesday was no different; as usual, the bad news came first. The first e-mail I received informed me that a block and a half from our new house, at 1:30 in the afternoon, two hold-ups occurred in less than 10 minutes—and I live in the Garden District, still perceived as a “nice” neighborhood, despite the alarming frequency of similar attacks, along with a recent rash of break-ins of both cars and houses (one of them was mine). First, a gunman wielding a “chrome short nose revolver” relieved a sod delivery man of the $30 in his pockets. Next, he snatched a woman’s purse, jumped into an “unknown black vehicle,” and roared away.As crimes go in the city with by far the highest murder rate in the nation (96 per every 100,000 people in 2006; more than 40 people overall have been killed so far in 2007), these could actually be viewed as good news—nobody was killed or even shot, after all. But the real good...
  • Hirsh: Can Bush Force Iran Into a Deal?

    U.S. forces are massing on Iran, and soon it will be time to strike. No, not militarily—that would be the height of insanity—but diplomatically. The Americans and Europeans are close to achieving the leverage they have long sought against Tehran through a deftly managed policy of political encirclement and economic strangulation. Just two big pieces still need to fall into place: a sign from Iran that it is willing to suspend uranium enrichment, at least temporarily, and a willingness on the part of George W. Bush to take yes for an answer—and strike a deal.On the latter point, the Bush administration does seem to be shifting in tone. With the departure of several key Bush hardliners in recent months, it feels as if the regime-change fever has broken in Washington. While still talking tough, chief Iran envoy Nicholas Burns sounded almost magnanimous toward Tehran on Wednesday as he detailed the “multiple points of pressure” being applied on Iran’s leaders. Speaking at a Rand Corp....
  • Fineman: Cancer and the Campaign

    Is this a great Democratic presidential campaign, or what? The number of candidate “firsts” keeps growing: first spouse of a former president, first African-American with Ivy League credentials, first  Hispanic-American. And now we have the first candidate—John Edwards—to turn his spouse’s illness, and how he and she are dealing with it, into what he contends is an inspirational metaphor for the brand of leadership he offers the country.I’ve seen a lot of press conferences, but none like the one that Edwards and his wife Elizabeth held on a sun-dappled lawn in Chapel Hill, N.C. Bottom line: yes, Elizabeth Edwards’s breast cancer had spread to the bone. No, there was no immediate danger. No, it was not curable, but yes, it was treatable—treatment would last the rest of her life, however long that may be (years or even decades). As for the campaign, he said, “it goes on, goes on strongly.”They sang a memorable duet of praise for each other, and for their determinedly sunny view of...
  • A Rash of Drug Overdoses at a VA Hospital

    The poor conditions uncovered at Walter Reed Army Hospital may be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sub-standard treatment of veterans. At the Veterans Administration hospital in West Los Angeles, hospital administrators confirmed to NEWSWEEK and NBC News last week that five veterans there died of overdoses of illegal and prescription drugs in less than three months this winter. After learning that family and friends of a dead Iraq War veteran were about to go public, VA administrators ordered major policy changes at the 660-bed facility.Toxicology reports and multiple investigations are still pending, and Dr. Dean Norman, chief of staff of the hospital, says that details of the five overdose deaths vary by case. But veterans treated at the hospital say that lax supervision of prescription drugs was a serious problem, particularly in the domiciliary, the dorm-like residential halls the VA uses to help veterans make the transition to life outside the hospital. “They were...
  • Ellis Cose: American-Born, But Still 'Alien'?

    When a pregnant woman "waits on the border," as Leo Berman puts it, for her chance to cross illegally to give birth in the United States, she is "committing a crime"— one for which neither she nor her child should be rewarded. Berman, a Texas state representative, feels so strongly about this that he is prepared to relegate U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants to second-class status. "Our most precious benefit is U.S. citizenship," he said in his office in the capitol. "And U.S. citizens should be concerned if we are giving it away 350,000 times a year" to children born to undocumented mothers.Berman, a Republican, has authored a bill that would compel Texas to deny benefits to children of what he calls "illegal aliens." He knows the bill, which flies in the face of legal precedent, would face immediate challenge. "We want to go into federal court," Berman says. "The mail on this is running 50 to 1 in support." The courts, he believes, would agree with his contention that...
  • Missing Person: An Iranian Mystery

    Spy agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are scratching their heads over the fate of Ali Reza Asgari, a retired Iranian official who vanished last month. A former deputy Defense minister and Revolutionary Guards general, Asgari, 63, reportedly checked into a Turkish hotel in early February but never used his room; Tehran asked Turkey to help find the missing man.Iranian officials have suggested that he either defected to, or was kidnapped by, a Western intelligence service—such as the CIA, France's DGSE or Israel's Mossad. But no government has admitted holding the Iranian; indeed, six U.S. officials familiar with intelligence activities, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive material, told NEWSWEEK that no U.S. agency has custody of Asgari or is sure of his whereabouts. Two of the officials added that the Bush administration has told Congress it doesn't know what happened to Asgari; diplomats familiar with German and U.K. spy services said those agencies are likewise...
  • You Need to Get to Work!

    Steffany Mohan needs to be organized. The dentist from Des Moines, Iowa, runs her own practice, as well as a school for dental assistants on the side. She has three children under 8—and is expecting her fourth in a few weeks. Her husband is a busy surgeon. Not surprisingly, her desk is a jumble of in-process items. Her to-do list appears endless, and she's constantly struggling to make headway. So last month Mohan flew in productivity consultant Barbara Hemphill from North Carolina for a two-day intervention. Together they purged her office of unnecessary clutter, set up a system of file folders and discussed strategies that would allow Mohan to make decisions more quickly. Not only is Mohan's desk spotless, but her files are so organized she can delegate more work to her assistant. The cost of Hemphill's consultation: $5,000. "It was outrageously worth it," says Mohan.In offices across America, we seem to be at a moment of get-organized-now hysteria. Time-management gurus have been...
  • Capital Ideas

    When you work with a stockbroker or other financial adviser, you're supposed to be paying for performance: The broker earns a commission; in return, you're supposed to get good advice. But that deal often breaks down, says securities lawyer Mercer Bullard, head of the advocacy group Fund Democracy. You pay the commission but get bad advice. Given a choice between a low-cost and a high-cost mutual fund, the broker is apt to sell the one with the higher cost. As a result, you get a lower return.Bullard and his research partner, Edward O'Neal of Academic Wealth Management, looked at 53 mutual funds that mimic the performance of Standard & Poor's index of 500 stocks. They all hold the same stocks, so the only difference among them is cost. Part of the cost goes to the broker or planner, for the advice that clients want. What's left is the fund's own operating cost. The study looked only at operating costs. ...
  • Police: Alarming Suicide Rate on the Force

    California Highway Patrol officials are anxious to stop an alarming wave of suicides among their ranks. Since 2003, 15 cops at the nation's biggest state-police force have killed themselves; the latest came last month, and eight died in 2006, five times the national rate for law enforcement and "one of the highest we've seen," says Robert Douglas, executive director of the National Police Suicide Foundation. CHP Commissioner Mike Brown ordered an investigation last spring, but perplexed CHP leaders haven't found an explanation yet. Some officers had personal or financial crises; five faced disciplinary actions. But several lacked any apparent problems. "Frankly, the principal commonality is the fact that the outcome is the same," Brown told NEWSWEEK.Outside experts wonder whether the high rate encourages others. The spike "may be the result of a contagion effect," says John Violanti, a SUNY Buffalo researcher who studies cop suicide (but not the CHP cases). The deaths of admired...
  • Chicago: Globes for Global Warming

    In 1999 Chicago plunked hundreds of life-size cow sculptures on its sidewalks, just for fun. This summer the Windy City will showcase 100 five-foot globes, but with a purpose—each illustrating a different way to reduce global warming. A huge knitted sweater will cover a sphere called "Turn Down the Thermostat." Autographed shoes from athletes like Magic Johnson will festoon a "Use Your Feet" globe. "I didn't want to focus on the doom and gloom," says Cool Globes founder Wendy Abrams. "I wanted to focus on solutions."
  • Fineman: GOP Candidates as Mr. Fix-its

    At Harvard Business School, George W. Bush was what they called a "skydecker"—a guy who sat in the top back row of the lecture hall to minimize the risk of being called on. I asked Mitt Romney, another HBS alum, if he had been one, too. "Oh, no," he assured me, sounding only barely amused by the question. "I wasn't one of those." He was the kind of focused fellow who sat down front, well prepared, hand raised. No one was surprised that he became spectacularly successful as a consultant and hedge-fund manager. He loves "wallowing in the data," as he puts it, applying quantitative methods and a deft managerial touch to knotty problems of business, nonprofit enterprises (the Olympics) and, as former governor of Massachusetts, government.Since when did a taste for data become something to brag about in a race for the Republican presidential nomination? The answer: ever since it became clear, even to most Republicans, that the term "Bush administration" was an oxymoron. A concatenation...
  • The Editor's Desk

    Sharon Begley's longtime love of science began, as so much does, in a classroom with a gifted teacher. Back at Tenafly High School in New Jersey, Sharon got hooked when, she recalls, "my physics teacher skipped tedious subjects like electricity and optics and told us about how space can bend and time can contract, and how the reality you observe depends on what questions you choose to ask of nature." She briefly flirted with becoming a physicist but, she says, "decided I wasn't smart enough, and realized that the best way to stay on top of these mind-bending discoveries was to write about them."I rarely disagree with anything Sharon says, but I have to dissent from the suggestion that she was not "smart enough" to do whatever she wanted—or wants—to do. With this week's cover, we are delighted to welcome Sharon back to our pages. After a wonderful run here in the 1980s and ' 90s, she left us for The Wall Street Journal in 2002, where she wrote the acclaimed Science Journal column....
  • Letters to the Editor

    Decrying poor conditions and bureaucratic obstacles that wounded Iraq war veterans are facing, readers of our cover story called on the Bush administration and Congress to make major changes. "They extol the troops, but fail them miserably. They cite their bravery when it suits their purpose, but abandon them when their usefulness is shattered," one said. Many disabled veterans shared experiences of inadequate care, while some were grateful for quality care they'd received. And several VA employees expressed their concerns. One claims processor wrote, "The system is underfunded and overloaded, but I guarantee every time a veteran takes his life, there is a VA employee shedding a tear and thinking, Could I have done more?" One Vietnam veteran's wife said our flag should be at half-staff for the troubles soldiers and their families have to go through after serving our country. "I pray their sacrifices will shock us into realizing the futility of war."I was horrified to read your...
  • Justice: Videotaping Confessions

    Criminal justice has a spotty record when it comes to incorporating sound science. Most cops stick to traditional lineups, for instance, despite studies showing that they lead witnesses to make more mistaken IDs than lineups showing suspects and ringers one at a time. Now officials have a chance to adopt a better way to tape confessions—but aren't exactly seizing it.Videotaping is meant to minimize false confessions since cops are less likely to use coercive techniques that lead the innocent to confess. Just over 500 police and sheriff's departments now record confessions, says Steven Drizin, director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, with all of those in Alaska, Minnesota and several other states requiring it at least for felonies. But according to a growing body of research, not all recording is of equal value. When a camera shows only a suspect's face, studies show, potential jurors are more likely to believe the confession was...
  • Justice Department Firings: A Cover-up?

    Bud Cummins never had any intention of making a fuss. A folksy Arkansas lawyer, Cummins had been abruptly fired last year as U.S. attorney in Little Rock to create a slot for a former top aide to Karl Rove. But Cummins is a loyal Republican; he knows how the game is played in Washington, so he kept quiet. Then last month, as the press picked up on the story of Cummins and seven other fired U.S. attorneys, he was quoted in a newspaper story defending his colleagues. Cummins got a phone call from the Justice Department that he found vaguely menacing.It came from Michael Elston, a top Justice official. Cummins says Elston expressed concern that he and the dismissed attorneys were talking to reporters about what had happened to them. Elston, Cummins says, suggested this might not be a good idea; Justice officials might feel compelled to "somehow pull their gloves off" and retaliate against the prosecutors by publicly trashing them. "I was tempted to challenge him," Cummins e-mailed...
  • Hundreds of Iraq Vets Are Homeless

    Night is when suicidal vets usually show up at the emergency room of the San Francisco VA Medical Center. But a few weeks ago, the ER had one who came in at 10 a.m., frantic and saying he had a gun. "He was haunted, desperate," says Chad Peterson, medical director of the center's posttraumatic-stress-disorder team. "He was going to be redeployed to Iraq and said suicide was his only way out." Peterson managed to talk the man out of killing himself and into a program, but weeks later the counselor is still struggling with memories of what the man told him. "How can you sleep after something like that?" he asks. Peterson has spent thousands of hours treating vets who came home from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD, and their horror stories have gradually rubbed off on him. "I'll hear about the things they've seen or done, the close calls, and my pulse quickens," he says. "I'll get agitated or feel hopeless because I can't take this person's pain away."The problem afflicts thousands of...
  • What Lies Beneath

    Scientists at Florida Atlantic University may soon be swimming with the fishes. They're investigating how to harness the powerful Gulf Stream and turn it into electrical power for the condo-crowded state. The school is using a $5 million state grant to start a Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology, where it will study various approaches, including cold-seawater-powered air conditioning, underwater hydrogen generation, thermal power and the one that project manager Frederick Driscoll finds most promising: current power. "If you took the power of all the rivers in the world and multiplied it by 30, that's how strong the Gulf Stream is," he says. The school hopes to have a test turbine in the water by summer.Driscoll says the project—backed by the Navy, Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin and others—could create thousands of Florida jobs and save the state billions in electricity costs. He hopes to see energy-producing ocean turbines by 2012. Florida has major energy...
  • The Internet Kid Grows Up

    In 1995, we were all charmed by the upstart who helped kick-start the Internet craze: a brash Midwesterner who, while an undergrad at the University of Illinois, co-wrote the first big browser (Mosaic) and went on to cofound the first big Web company (Netscape). But while others were happy to assume the mantle of Internet poster child, Marc Andreessen himself has shunned the spotlight for some time now. He briefly served as chief technical officer of AOL after the online giant bought Netscape in 1999, then founded Loudcloud (now called Opsware), a company that helps businesses host and run their Internet assets. Now he's back with us as CTO and cofounder of Ning (it's the Chinese word for peace). Ning lets users set up their own social-networking sites—creating a mini MySpace is as easy as setting up a blog. Andreessen at 35 has evolved sartorially—no bare feet for this interview—but during our chat at the NEWSWEEK offices it's clear that he still retains a youth-fully vigorous...
  • Rebuilding—And Healing

    The aftermath of the Sept ember 11 attacks tested the leadership of politicians and the military, but in the business world few firms faced a more serious test than Sandler O'Neill. The investment bank lost 66 of its 171 employees at the World Trade Center, including two of its top three executives. But even as rescuers searched for bodies, the third executive—senior managing principal Jimmy Dunne—set out to rebuild. In the latest in his series of interviews for the NEWSWEEK-Kaplan M.B.A. program, NEWSWEEK Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Richard M. Smith spoke with Dunne about crisis management. Excerpts: ...
  • Serial Killers: A Cold Case Warms Up

    The envelopes sat unexamined at the San Francisco Police Department for years—taunting letters sent to newspapers by the "Zodiac" killer in 1969. Thanks to an alert producer who discovered the envelopes while researching the new hit film, there could be a breakthrough in the case. The producer, Brad Fischer, told police in Vallejo, the Bay Area city where the "Zodiac" killed three, that he had seen the envelopes in San Francisco, where the case has been inactive for years.Not so in Vallejo, where an investigator retrieved the misplaced envelopes and sent them to the state crime lab. Technicians are now trying to extract enough DNA from stamps licked nearly 40 years ago to build a genetic profile of whoever mailed them.Advanced DNA technology did not exist in the 1960s. And in 2002, investigators constructed a partial DNA profile, but found no match to the primary suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen, who died in 1992. But the new samples may be better preserved and more likely to yield...
  • Newt Gingrich's Marital Infidelity Confession

    Is Newt Gingrich laying the groundwork for a run at the White House? It would seem so. Last week Gingrich confessed his marital infidelity on James Dobson's radio show—an obligatory ritual for any sinner seeking the evangelical vote. A decade ago, when Gingrich was Speaker of the House and a central antagonist in the Clinton impeachment hearings, he himself was having an affair with a House aide, Calista Bisek, who later became his third wife. "There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong," Gingrich told Dobson. "But I was still doing them. And I look back on those as periods of weakness, and ... I would deeply urge my children and grandchildren not to follow in my footsteps."This is perhaps the moment to remember that in the crowded field running toward '08, two out of the three Republican front runners have been divorced. After returning from Vietnam, John McCain couldn't hold his marriage together. And everyone knows about the Rudy-Judi...
  • A Mother's Crusade Against the Iraq War

    You might not know her name, but she’s fast become a fresh face of the antiwar left. Missouri mom Tina Richards became an overnight YouTube sensation last week, when an encounter she had with Rep. David Obey in a Capitol Hill corridor went viral—just as Congress was debating a bid to rein in spending for President Bush’s surge in Iraq. During the encounter, Richards approaches Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, to discuss her son, Marine Cpl. Cloy Richards—who suffers from undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries following two tours of duty in Iraq and a failure by the military health-care system to provide adequate treatment, his mother says. Obey responds patiently, at first, but the congressman grows agitated as the conversation continues, and he tells Richards that “liberal idiots” were pushing Congress to defund the war—which, Obey argues, would further hurt the cause of veterans whose health-care needs are already being shortchanged.Richards, the CEO of...
  • An Investment You Can't Lick

    Ok. you're sitting around dealing with big Financial Questions. Where's the stock market going? Will your 401(k) be fat enough for you to retire on caviar rather than cat food? How are you going to pay your kids' college tuition? Forget all that small stuff. Your new Big Economic Challenge for 2007 comes down to this: should you speculate in U.S. postage stamps?Stamp speculation usually means buying collector-quality issues and seeing whether they rise in price. But starting this spring, the U.S. PostalService will offer you a new way to play the stamp market: the Forever Stamp. It's a stamp that will forever be good for mailing up to one ounce of first-class mail, no matter how high the cost of stamps rises. These new issues are scheduled for their initial public offering at about the same time the price of a first-class stamp is scheduled to rise to 41 or 42 cents—the price hasn't yet been determined—from the current 39 cents. "You just can't lick this stamp," quips Postal Service...
  • Magazines: Ebony Starts a New Chapter

    Longtime readers of Ebony magazine, who still remember receiving their copies of the 1964 issue with Martin Luther King Jr. and his family on the cover, opened their mailboxes recently to find something different: Disney Channel darling Raven-Symoné. For a magazine that made its name documenting civil-rights battles, a wholehearted embrace of celebrity youth culture is its own revolution. To ensure that history goes on at 62-year-old Ebony, magazine chief Linda Johnson Rice is giving it a makeover. "You have to stay current to compete," she says.These past few years, magazine advertising dollars and readers have run to the Internet. The change has been especially hard on niche publications like Ebony. Its ad revenue fell more than 10 percent between 2005 and 2006. And circulation has been in a downward spiral, falling 21 percent between 2002 and 2006.Entertainment magazines, however, continue to do well. Lisa Jenkins, 17, of Inglewood, Calif., mostly reads celebrity blogs but was...
  • McCain Rolls Through New Hampshire, Snow Be Damned

    Barack Obama cancelled. Chris Dodd postponed. But John McCain just wouldn’t let a foot of snow and a steady stream of sleet from a nasty winter storm last weekend get in the way of his first visit to New Hampshire as an “official” candidate for president.Though the state police warned motorists to stay off the roads, McCain fired up a newer, slicker version of his “Straight Talk Express” bus early Saturday morning and set out for the ice-covered back roads of the influential primary state—his caravan led by a last-minute addition to the campaign: a massive snow plow with a license tag that read GITRDNE.Boarding the bus, McCain and his wife, Cindy, surveyed his new-and-improved Straight Talk Express. There were five flat-screen TVs throughout the cabin, including one in the bathroom; plush leather seats, and a shiny new refrigerator filled with cases of Diet Coke and Jones Black Cherry soda.In one of the many storage closets, there was a significant inventory of McCain’s favorite...
  • Life for Plame and Other Women at the CIA

    Lindsay Moran spent several years as a case officer at the CIA after graduating from Harvard and later wrote a 2005 book about her experiences, "Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy" (Putnam), a ribald retelling of the manifold challenges of being both   adventurous and female at one of America's stodgiest and strictest national-security services. In a interview with NEWSWEEK's Michael Hirsh, Moran reflects on the career of fellow spy Valerie Plame Wilson, who spoke publicly before Congress for the first time on Friday since her identity as a clandestine operative was "outed" by newspaper columnist Robert Novak in July 2003. Wilson's exposure lead to the recent trial and conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, on perjury and obstruction charges. Excerpts: ...
  • Former U.S. Atty. Says Independence Threatened 

    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resisted new calls for his resignation Wednesday over the growing scandal about the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys. To understand why these firings have become such a politically charged issue, NEWSWEEK’s Julie Scelfo spoke with Mary Jo White, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was appointed by President Clinton and served for nearly nine years, even staying on for 10 months after President Bush took office and ordered three other New York federal prosecutors to step down. White, who earned national prominence for the successful prosecutions of numerous terrorism and white-collar cases, is now a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York. [Editor’s note: Scelfo’s spouse worked for White from 1998-2002.] Excerpts: ...
  • How Not to Win the War on Terror

    The KSM case points up what's wrong with the way the Bush administration fights terrorism. How the next president can do better.
  • Rove’s Role in the U.S. Attorneys’ Firings

    Karl Rove participated in a discussion about the firing of U.S. attorneys in 2005, asking White House lawyers “how we planned to proceed” on the issue and whether the prosecutors would be selectively dismissed or fired en masse, according to newly disclosed White House e-mails.The e-mails, obtained by NEWSWEEK, appear to show that Rove had a greater level of involvement in the dismissal of the prosecutors than the White House has previously acknowledged. The messages may also raise new questions for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. While the attorney general insisted to reporters this week that he had rejected “a request from the White House” to fire all U.S. attorneys two years ago, the new e-mails show the plan was conceived while Gonzales himself was the White House counsel.The controversy over the firing of the U.S. attorneys erupted in recent weeks, after some of the fired prosecutors testified that they believed they were improperly dismissed because of political pressures....
  • John Edwards's Left-Hand Man

    Gearing up for his second presidential run, John Edwards picked an unconventional campaign manager. Rather than choosing a behind-the-scenes staffer, he selected David Bonior, a Michigan Democrat who served 26 years in the U.S. House of Representatives (1976-2002) and earned a reputation as his party's pit bull for the aggressive posture he took with the GOP. He and Edwards are similar in some ways (both were the sons of blue-collar workers and were college-football players), but Bonior looks more liberal on paper than Edwards does. And with his long voting record, he may offer an attractive target for his boss's political opponents. NEWSWEEK's Arian Campo-Flores spoke with Bonior about his past, his politics and his passion for Edwards. Excerpts: ...
  • Travel: Boating in Baja

    With gentle waters, whales, abundant wildlife and 300 days of sunshine, Loreto is a prime location for kayaking Baja Mexico's Sea of Cortés. Paddle to Isla Danzantes and snorkel in a secluded inlet surrounded by pelicans. Rent kayaks from local hotels for short excursions or embark on a multiday tour with seasoned guides. Paddling South is Loreto's best outfitter and offers a kayak/mountain-bike tour where participants camp on secluded beaches and feast on tamales and local seafood as ospreys soar overhead; six-day tours from $595 (tourbaja.com).Back onshore, stroll Loreto's cobblestone walkways and seaside boardwalk, shop for handcrafted silver jewelry and visit the 300-year-old Spanish mission in one of Baja's oldest com-munities (loreto.com). At night, dine on seviche and traditional dishes under starry skies in the adobe courtyard of El Canipole restaurant, located behind the mission's clock tower. For lunch, chow on fish tacos at McLulu's (loreto.com/mclulu), a taco stand on...
  • Jefferson: The First Jewish President?

    U.S. President. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Force behind the Louisiana Purchase. And ... Jew? A new genetic study raises the tantalizing possibility that Thomas Jefferson may have had Jewish ancestry.Researchers at the University of Leicester have found that the Founding Father's Y chromosome is part of a line known as K2; estimated to be about 20,000 years old, the line has been found scattered about Western Europe, notably in Iberia, France and Britain, but it is most prevalent in the Middle East. Since K2's European distribution "lacks clear structure," as Mark Jobling, a coauthor of the study, puts it, scientists aren't able to trace an exact origin. But how might a 20,000-year-old chromosomal line predominantly found in the Middle East end up dispersed across Europe? One of the best explanations is the Jewish Diaspora, in which the Jews spread west through much of Europe.Without more data, the University of Leicester researchers can't be certain—but that didn't...