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  • Fineman: The Megastates Gamble

    The New Yorkers in the presidential race are placing their bets on California, Florida—and their home state. But there's a danger in writing off the grass roots.
  • Clift: Lessons From a Woman President

    Chile's first woman president is getting mixed reviews as she tries to impose gender parity on her government. A tale of instinct, dialogue and the Santiago bus service.
  • Hirsh: America's Angriest General

    If there's one rule that's sacrosanct in American political culture, going all the way back to George Washington, it's that civilians have clear control of the military. Yes, a few generals have bumped up against that line before. George McClellan ignored and mocked Abe Lincoln early in the Civil War, then ran against him for president in 1864. Douglas MacArthur brazenly disobeyed Harry Truman in Korea before getting fired, like McClellan before him. Until now, these have been the exceptions. But the Iraq War has so profoundly transformed the political landscape—and so angered a whole generation of generals who object to the way the conflict was planned and executed by civilians—that the line between military and civilian roles is being muddied as never before. The question is whether this is a good thing—or something very worrying.No, we're not about to experience a real-life version of "Seven Days in May," the 1964 John Frankenheimer thriller about a military coup in Washington....
  • Does America Need A Bigger Military?

    There are the dead and wounded, then there are the damaged. The longer a soldier stays in Iraq, the more combat he or she sees, the greater the stress, the higher the psychological toll. Just over a quarter of the U.S. soldiers and Marines enduring a second tour in Iraq showed signs of mental illness (versus 17 percent of those on their first deployment), according to the latest survey by the Army’s Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT). The team found, in its survey last fall, a clear linkage between time in combat and alcoholism, marital troubles and suicide. A disturbingly high 10 percent admitted mistreating Iraqi civilians or wantonly damaging their property. Soldiers who screened positive for mental-health problems were twice as likely to admit to abusing Iraqis as those screening clear.What’s the answer? According to psychologists on the team, more time at home between deployments, what the Army calls “dwell” time. Ideally, recommends the MHAT report, soldiers would deploy for...
  • Q&A: Gov. Sebelius on Disaster Relief

    Gov. Kathleen Sebelius caused a political storm when she warned the White House that the National Guard deployment in Iraq hurt her ability to respond to a home-state tornado. What happened next—and how it felt touring the wreckage with the president Wednesday.
  • Deadly Bomb at Heart of Vegas Murder Probe

    It's a tale worthy of a 'CSI' episode: a small, deadly bomb kills a restaurant worker at one of Las Vegas's gigantic hotels. But why was a young immigrant the target?
  • The Biggest-Ever Coke Bust at Sea

    It was like something out of “Miami Vice.” Hiding under the cover of darkness, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sherman snuck up on the blue-hulled Panamanian freighter Gatún as it lumbered through the inky waters off the Pacific coast of Panama. Pulling up alongside the Gatún, Capt. Charley Diaz snapped on the Sherman’s blue law-enforcement lights and sent 20 of his crew aboard the 300-foot freighter, armed with pistols, shotguns and M-16s. As the Gatún’s 14-man crew waited nervously, the Coast Guard scoured the 300-foot vessel, looking for anything suspicious. The ship’s alleged master, Francisco Valdez-Gonzalez, appeared unusually hazy about the contents of the 12 cargo containers on deck, so the search party decided to open them first, starting with two green containers nearest the stern. Little did the search party know when they opened the sealed containers they were about to make a discovery to put Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs to shame. Stacked amid ceramic tiles inside was 21...
  • Terror Watch: The Jersey Plot

    The Feds bust up a homegrown jihadist plot to attack Fort Dix. Did Al Qaeda DVDs and Web sites inspire the suspects from afar?
  • Looking for Life? Try Gliese 581c.

    Finding 227 planets beyond our solar system was fun, but astronomers were getting a little edgy that all these orbs were duds, biologically speaking. Some were too hot for life and some were too cold; some were big bags of gas where life would have trouble getting a toehold, and some orbited so close to their star that solar radiation would fry any organic molecules with the temerity to organize themselves into life. So when astronomers using the 141-inch telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile detected Gliese 581c, there was more relief than wonder: they had found the first "habitable" planet. London bookies immediately lowered the odds on extraterrestrial life from 1,000-1 to 100-1.The astronomers believe Gliese 581c is habitable because it has a radius just 50 percent larger than Earth's, a mass five times greater, and orbits its star (in the constellation Libra) at a distance of 7 million miles. With many stars, that would be the torrid zone where liquid water,...
  • Money: Summer Stock Shifting

    "Sell in May and go away" is a bit of Wall Street doggerel that might be worth taking seriously after this spring's stock-market run-up. Stocks often stumble as the temperature rises. That's because the big money from December dividends, year-end bonuses and April IRA contributions has already made it into the market.Consider the record, which is pretty stunning. If you'd put $10,000 into the S&P 500 with a strict sell-in-May, buy-in-October strategy on May 1, 1950, you'd have ended 2006 with more than $600,000, according to calculations from Ned Davis Research. If you'd done the opposite, and invested every May 1 and sold every Sept. 1, you'd have $12,083. (If you'd just let it ride in a buy-and-hold strategy, you'd have $129,515, according to S&P.)But before you start texting frantic "Sell!" messages to your broker, consider these caveats:
  • A Life In Books: Orville Schell

    He had chosen the plays of Euripides, but following the tragic death of his friend David Halberstam, Orville Schell, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley, amended his list to include one of his colleague's books. An Important Book you haven't gotten around to reading: Any excellent new book that helps assess the challenges of global climate change ... even if it's by Al Gore. The book you most care about having children read: "Italian Folktales" by Italo Calvino. My kids would not tolerate anything like Grimm's fairy tales; they were too dark and depressing. But there was something playful about the Italian fairy tales that they adored.
  • McCain & Thompson: Between Friends

    If Fred Thompson jumps into the presidential race for 2008, the former Tennessee senator turned actor will be taking on one of his closest friends and allies: John McCain. The two men sat next to each other on the Senate floor. Thompson was one of McCain's staunchest supporters—and one of his few GOP backers—on campaign-finance reform. Back in 2000, Thompson was national co-chair and an adviser to McCain's presidential campaign and was expected to perform a similar role this time around. A mutual friend of the two senators, who declined to be named so as not to inflame either side, tells NEWSWEEK that Thompson was making calls on McCain's behalf to potential donors and supporters (including Tennessee politicos) as recently as January. But with polls showing widespread discontent among Republicans with the party's current crop of candidates, friends (including former Senate majority leader Bill Frist) are urging Thompson to consider his own run.Two days before going on Fox News...
  • God, War and the Presidency

    During his tour in Vietnam, Angelo Charles Liteky, a Roman Catholic chaplain, often traveled with the forward line because he thought it was important to know what the boys out front were feeling. That way, when they broke down, he would be better able to persuade them to soldier on. On Dec. 6, 1967, Liteky was near the village of Phuoc Lac when his battalion came under heavy fire. Walking upright through raining bullets, Liteky singlehandedly dragged 20 wounded soldiers to a landing strip so they could be evacuated. "It was strictly compassion," he tells NEWSWEEK. "We are supposed to grow in love, and when I saw these guys just getting killed all around me, there was nothing for me to do but go and help them." The next year, President Lyndon Johnson gave Liteky the congressional Medal of Honor.History's battlefields have almost always held a place for men and women of God—someone to inspire and give comfort, give parents and fiancées the bad news, file forms, educate, pray for...
  • Both Parties Struggle With War Message

    It is absurdly early in the '08 campaign for pivotal moments, but Sen. Hillary Clinton's handlers were convinced they spotted one at the Democrats' first presidential debate, in South Carolina. Answering a question about how he would react to another Qaeda strike, Sen. Barack Obama talked about the lack of disaster preparedness in New Orleans and the need for reliable intelligence. He said that he would carefully target "some action to dismantle" the terrorists' network, but do so without the "bluster and bombast" that would "alienate the world community." The one thing he did not explicitly mention: the use of military force. Asked the same question by moderator Brian Williams of NBC, Clinton morphed into the commander in chief as aggrieved New Yorker. "I understand the extraordinary horror of that kind of attack," she said. "I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate." In Clinton's staff holding room at South Carolina State, there were smiles and high...
  • One Flag, Many Faiths

    Jewish and Muslim chaplains have dual roles: tending to their flocks and educating everyone about different traditions.
  • Mail Call: The Undoing of a Media Giant

    Readers of our cover story concurred that the Don Imus storm created a much-needed dialogue on race, power and media in this country. One said, "The issue is why so many people get off on his brand of rude, nasty remarks, and why it has taken so long for anything to be done about it." Another focused on introspection. "Thanks to Don Imus's racist remarks, tens of millions of Americans have been forced to examine their own attitudes on race." Still others pointed to the cultural purveyors of these messages, particularly the music industry. "Rap's references to black women as 'hos' and its gospel of violence toward women make Imus's comments look like a Sunday sermon." But one, echoing many, hailed the young people unwittingly caught up in this sordid episode who refused to play victim: "The world found out what a classy, intelligent bunch the Rutgers women's basketball players are."Can anybody honestly tell me how removing Don Imus from the airwaves makes life better for African...
  • Can Obama's Substance Match His Style?

    Barack Obama is a man of grace. With his eloquent language and compelling life story, he has crafted two best-selling books and can deliver campaign rhetoric with deftness. At town-hall meetings, he looks pensive as he carefully answers voters' questions, like the law lecturer he used to be. He sweeps his hand across the stage when he sounds expansive, and jabs a finger when he's critical of President George W. Bush. Even his clothes on the campaign trail suggest a seriously cool character, with his trademark black suit and white shirt unbuttoned at the neck.But beyond his charm and magnetic personality, what is the substance of the Obama campaign? In another era, his rivals might have asked, "Where's the beef?" John Edwards—the candidate Obama pushed into third place in the polls—is more specific, suggesting that Obama's fine words are no substitute for his missing health-care policy. "We have a responsibility, if you want to be president of the United States, to tell the American...
  • The Editor's Desk

    The biggest issue for our soldiers—and I can speak from experience both as a chaplain and as someone who served in Vietnam—is the guilt they feel when their friends are killed," Lt. Col. Roger Criner, a Southern Baptist, told our Eve Conant. "'Why did God take my buddies and not me?' "Criner, a 22-year veteran chaplain, oversees the work of Capt. Roger Benimoff, the Baptist minister who is on our cover this week. Benimoff served two tours in Iraq, tours so turbulent that he very nearly lost his faith—and says he is not fully reconciled with the Lord even now. "I hate God," Benimoff wrote in a January journal entry. How to worship a deity so many see as a God of love but who allows so much pain and horror in the world is an ancient question, and Benimoff's battle to keep his religion in the face of reality illumines a widespread but little-noted struggle many soldiers face.As the president and Congress battle over war funding and withdrawal proposals, our piece explores what life is...
  • Hot New Career Trend: Video Résumés

    Chris Dixon wants to be an economist. But even in today's improved job market, college seniors need to find ways to stand out. So Dixon, 22, who graduates from the University of Central Florida this June, figured he needed something that would make potential employers remember him. Instead of typing up a traditional résumé, Dixon decided to go Hollywood and shoot a video version with the help of one of a handful of companies that are turning résumés into indie productions. "It gives me the edge I was looking for to stand out from the competition," Dixon says.Video résumés may be the next big thing for tech-savvy college students trying to land their first jobs. Already, companies like MyPersonalBroadcast.com, TVResume.com and TheEdgeVideoResume.comare offering services that range from simple video storage on the Web to full production—including a script tailored to your curriculum vitae and advice on your job hunt.Employers say would-be film stars should proceed with caution. John...
  • Taylor: The President's War Powers

    President Bush did not mince words May 1, in announcing his decision to veto the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill. “This legislation is unconstitutional because it purports to direct the conduct of the operations of the war in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the presidency by the Constitution, including as commander in chief of the armed forces,” Bush said. His pronouncement did more than blunt a Democratic-led congressional effort to start winding down the war. He also planted the seeds for an extraordinarily sweeping assertion of presidential power—one which, if carried to its logical conclusion, could allow him to defy any and all congressional restrictions on the conduct of war in the future.The bill that Bush denounced as unconstitutional would in fact have placed only minor restrictions on his conduct of the Iraq War. Yes, it would have required that Bush begin withdrawing troops by July 1 under certain circumstances, and by October 1 at the latest. But...
  • The Checklist

    RENT "Little Children." Kate Winslet plays an unhappy suburban housewife who hooks up with a hapless stay-at-home dad. Not everything works, but this haunting film is hard to shake off.READ "Prisoner of Tehran" by Marina Nemat ($26; Free Press). This powerful memoir examines Nemat's struggle to forgive those who beat her and sentenced her to death at 16 for speaking out against her government.HEAR "American Doll Posse," by Tori Amos. Her ninth album gets political at turns, but she's at her best in burners like "Big Wheel," with its bouncy piano chords and sharp-tongued lyrics.SURF eBeanstalk.com. Finding the right gift for a child can be tricky. This site makes it easier by featuring only products selected by developmental experts and reviewed by moms. And there's free shipping.SEE Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather (Sat.; HBO pay-per-view). This junior-middleweight title bout is the most anticipated in years.
  • God, War and the Presidency

    Army Chaplain Carlos C. Huerta had been a rabbi for 20 years, but when it came time to comfort a dying Iraqi boy in a field hospital in Mosul, he did what he thought an imam might do. Huerta, who was on his second tour in Iraq in 2005, clutched the boy's hand—and recited passages from the Qur'an. "To do this job right, I learned suras [chapters] from the Qur'an, I learned to say the Lord's Prayer, I learned to say Hail Marys," he tells NEWSWEEK. "Soldiers who are dying deserve to get their last comfort."Most chaplains in the military are Christian, from nearly all denominations. But a few dozen are from other faiths, including about 30 Jews and 10 Muslims. They spend some of their time tending to the special needs of their own flock, leading holiday services, for example, and seeing that dietary restrictions are accommodated (about 4,000 of the 1.4 million active-duty troops identify themselves as Jews, while Muslims number about 3,400, according to the Pentagon).Often, they are...
  • Taking Our Time Off

    The hectic 10-city, 10-day package tour is a thing of the past. We say good riddance.
  • Can Meditation Improve Your Brain?

    Thanks to the Dalai Lama, lots of monks have lent Richard Davidson their brains. For almost 20 years Davidson, a neuropsychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a long-time meditator himself, has been curious about how Buddhist meditation of the kind the monks practice might change their brains. He has lugged electronic equipment up into the hills above Dharamsala (the Dalai Lama's home in exile in northern India) to test the brains of yogis, lamas and monks living in primitive huts there, and persuaded other monks to visit his lab.Over the years he has found that the brains of monks who are the most experienced meditators are indeed different from other brains. They have a much stronger "gamma" wave, a form of electrical activity in the brain that is associated with consciousness and pulling together information and perceptions from different regions of the brain. They also have much greater activity in the left than the right prefrontal cortex (just behind the...
  • Secret Obama Fax Was Ethics Slip

    Sen. Barack Obama vows to bring a "new kind of politics" to Washington. But a copy of a 36-page fax from Obama's Senate office, obtained by NEWSWEEK, shows that the rookie presidential candidate, riding the biggest wave this side of his native Hawaii, needs to keep a sharp eye on the details of his own campaign. Senate ethics rules allow senators with active campaigns to "split" the work time and salary of official schedulers such as Obama's Molly Buford. According to Obama's campaign spokesman, Robert Gibbs, she in fact is paid by both entities. But Senate rules and federal law forbid the use of official equipment—such as faxes and phone lines—to conduct campaign business, which was what Buford was doing last Thursday when she faxed Obama's political "call list" to the senator's personal aide at a Columbia, S.C., hotel. "These are the call sheets for tomorrow's call time," she wrote on the official cover page, emblazoned with the seal of the U.S. Senate.The transmission was an...
  • Road Test: VW Rabbit

    VW's cheapie Rabbit is proof positive that throwing money at a car won't make it any more fun. This five-door's Euro looks; decent zip; soft, tactile controls; stylish gadgetry, and lithe handling point to something much more pricey. There's even a handy overhead sunglass case tossed in just to be nice. A ride in the Rabbit is as satisfying as going to Target's shoe department and finding a sprightly pair of Pucci sandals hidden among the klunkers. Score. Though you might think this Rabbit is a kid's car, it isn't. Well, it could be, but who cares? Steering is decidedly German, i.e., sharp and responsive. The hatchback trunk makes for easy loading and retrieval of cargo, and the sport-textured cloth seats are easy to clean. This five-seater is surprisingly tall inside, with ample headroom for me and my tall friends.And there are plenty of other grown-up features, like CFC-free air conditioning with a pollen and odor filter, power windows with pinch protection so that little fingers...
  • God, War and the Presidency

    Jewish and Muslim chaplains have dual roles: tending to their flocks and educating everyone about different traditions.
  • China's Roadside Eats

    Spring has sprung. The hills north of Beijing are alive with ... the sound of noisy restaurant attendants, some waving red banners, standing at the side of the road shouting, "Stop here for a delicious meal!" at the throngs of city dwellers zooming by in their cars.Chinese are hitting the road in record numbers. Car ownership more than tripled between 2000 and 2006, and China is now the world's second largest auto market after the United States. This love affair is spawning booming new auto-service industries, from vehicle accessories to roadside eateries. For better or worse, China is beginning to look—and taste—a lot like America in the 1950s. McDonald's and KFC (known for its Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets all over the country) plan to open 25 drive-through restaurants in China; both began testing the waters with drive-ins in Beijing and elsewhere in 2005.McDonald's has entered into a strategic alliance with Sinopec, China's biggest oil producer and marketer, to open drive...
  • Touring Troubled Lands

    Tourists generally stay away from conflict, but the desire to travel can also be the beginning of a healing process. Many people are rediscovering the beauty of strife-torn regions that are only now emerging from their troubles. It often starts with citizens traipsing across the border for weekend breaks or shopping trips, but it can eventually lead to economic revitalization. A shared history, culture and language are part of the appeal of vacationing close to home. “Travel has a normalizing effect,” says Tom Hall, editor of the Lonely Planet travel guides. Here are some formerly troubled lands that have seen an upswing in local tourism ...
  • Cybertours: Climbing the Highest Peaks—from Home

    The sun is shining and the waves are lapping at the sand. Just beyond the lounge chairs and palm trees, a gaggle of beautiful people with perfect tans and lush hair gyrate to music wafting from a pair of seaside speakers. It is, in short, a dream holiday. What's more, it's free, 100 percent ecofriendly and available any time to anyone with a broadband connection.Old-fashioned travelers might bristle at the fact that this is a cyberspace beach resort, and the beauties dancing on the sand are actually the animated avatars of people sitting behind computer screens (and probably wearing sweat pants). But to the more than 5 million players in the absorbing world of the online game Second Life (SL), where the shimmering oasis exists, this is nothing less than a real vacation. Cyber-resorts, they argue, come with all the escapist benefits of any real-world holiday: a new perspective, stunning scenery and plenty of ready romance. But these vacations also promise things that real travel can...
  • Spreading The Wealth

    A decade ago, hotels in princely palaces in Rajasthan, India, were the preserve of wealthy Western tourists. "The only locals you'd see were either in the fields or serving you drinks," says London lawyer Rory White, a veteran India traveler. No longer. These days, you're less likely to see Europeans than wealthy Indians at the Lake Palace in Udaipur and well-to-do Chinese at the Red Capital Ranch boutique hotel near Beijing, with its gorgeous views of the Great Wall.Across Eurasia, local middle-class travelers are increasingly choosing to vacation in their own countries. They've created a boom in domestic travel that has rapidly raised the level of accommodations and services. Many have traveled on package tours abroad, and are demanding the same amenities they found overseas, from spa treatments to high-thread-count sheets. And their demand for upscale travel is reaching even the most remote corners of the earth, from Tibet to Siberia, where posh hotels are opening in areas once...
  • Ski Japan: The Birth of an Industry

    Tourists head to Japan for many reasons: the shopping and night life of Tokyo, the temples of Kyoto, the scenic beauty of Hokkaido. But skiing? That's not something most travelers immediately associate with Japan. The country's national ski industry, which exploded during the boom years of the late 1980s, collapsed in the 1990s and hasn't recovered since. Not even the 1998 Winter Olympics at Nagano could spark interest; Hakuba, one of the country's major resorts, has seen the number of skiers fall by nearly 60 percent to 1.2 million from its peak in 1991.Now the country's ski resorts and travel industry are stepping up their efforts to lure holidaymakers back to the slopes. Businessmen are promoting their resorts at travel fairs around the world and launching English-language Web sites. Major hotels and lift operators have hired a number of English- and Korean-speaking staffers to help first-time visitors—who come mostly from Australia and elsewhere in Asia—feel at home. Local hotel...
  • Capturing the Travel Niche

    Claire Hurren is not interested in spending her vacation lying on a beach, shopping or museum hopping. She doesn't even want to go on safari. The 32-year-old doctor from Nottinghamshire, England, hopes to do something more focused and meaningful with her time off. So this August she will head to Greece to count dolphins for a population census by Earthwatch Institute. "I want to be involved in conservation," says Hurren, who has taken 14 other Earthwatch trips, including spotlight surveys of caimans on the Amazon. "I mean, it's not that hard: you're out in a boat watching dolphins in the sunshine. And I know the money I spend on the trips is going to scientific research."More than most, slow travelers vacation with a rigorous sense of purpose. They have the time, energy and attention spans to zero in on one thing, whether it's playing every golf course in Scotland, learning to paint like Michelangelo, saving the Siberian tiger or visiting their ancestral homelands, from Ireland to...
  • The Rise of Boutique Hotels

    Boutique hotels are popping up in Asia's more cosmopolitan cities faster than construction cranes. Over the last couple of years, Hong Kong and Singapore have led the trend in the region. Now Shanghai is getting the boutique treatment, meeting the fast-growing demand among design-conscious travelers for a more intimate, personal environment. Within the space of a few months, at least three boutique hotels—generally defined as having fewer than 100 rooms and a hip décor concept—have opened their doors. The 30-room Mansion Hotel is a renovated French-style manor with private-club décor, evoking the swinging Shanghai of the 1920s. M Suites has a sleeker, more contemporary feel, and JIA Shanghai provides home-style luxury incorporating signature furniture pieces. "It's a very niche market, but it's growing tremendously," says Yenn Wong, the owner of JIA Boutique Hotels, which opened Hong Kong's first boutique hotel in 2004 and is now planning its third in Beijing. "For these travelers,...
  • How to Brand a Country

    Japan may be an export powerhouse, but it has a serious problem when it comes to importing tourists. Most travelers in the world, it seems, would rather go somewhere else. In 2005, the most recent year on record, Japanese visitors to other places outnumbered inbound tourists by 60 percent. So the government decided to launch a full-barreled advertising campaign to promote the delights of Japan to an international audience. There was just one problem: the approved slogan, "Yokoso Japan!"—a perfectly nice sentiment—requires translation before the people it's aimed at understand that "yokoso" means "welcome."Creating an effective brand identity for a company is difficult. Doing the same for a country is practically impossible, and yet countries from Australia to Israel have mounted image-makeover campaigns in recent years. Israel has been promoting bikini-clad beachgoers and Tel Aviv nightlife, rather than its contested holy sites. Uganda prefers to advertise the fact that it is ...
  • Q&A: Jeff Clarke on the Changing Face of Tourism

    As president and CEO of Travelport, a conglomerate of more than 20 travel products and services that includes the online consumer site Orbitz, Jeff Clarke is on the road about 200 days a year—and always appreciates being able to check his e-mail via BlackBerry on the runway wherever he lands. He discussed the changing face of tourism markets, customers and technology with NEWSWEEK's Susan H. Greenberg. Excerpts: ...
  • Staying Grounded: No-Fly Travel

    It may sound like a gimmick, or insane—or both—but I recently decided to circumnavigate the globe without flying. My work as cofounder of Futerra, which promotes sustain-able development, has left me with no illusions about our drastic need to reduce carbon emissions. So I decided to put my money where my (big) mouth was and see if I could do it—not just to help reverse climate change but also to slow down and see what I was missing. My long-suffering girlfriend, Fiona, agreed to come along. We have been on the road—actually, mainly the rails—for more than six weeks now and have already learned some key lessons that might benefit other slow travelers.Indeed, slow travel should not be confused with easy travel. It can be difficult, stressful, boring and interminable. You need to be prepared for anything. But more than the challenges, it is the richly detailed experiences that stand out. We are proud to be called "slow." And we are happy to see that the trend for ever-increasing speed...
  • Miss America on Catching Online Predators

    Last month, Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson participated in a police sting operation targeting child predators. Because of her concern about Internet safety, Nelson, 20, agreed to help out the Suffolk County Police Department in New York. Also along for the ride: John Walsh of “America’s Most Wanted,” which taped the bust and aired it on April 28. As part of the operation, Nelson posed as a young teen and chatted with alleged predators online and by phone. She arranged a meeting with a group of men at a sting house on April 20. When they arrived, cops closed in and ended up arresting 11 men. But Miss America’s participation didn’t sit well with the Suffolk County District Attorney who labeled it a publicity stunt. To learn more about Nelson’s role in the bust, NEWSWEEK’s Catharine Skipp spoke with the beauty queen. Excerpts: ...
  • Fineman: Obama's Secret Service Protection

    I got word of Sen. Barack Obama’s new Secret Service protection in an appropriate spot: the Reagan Library, on a stage beneath a gleaming Air Force One. The retired plane, polished to a mighty shine, is a symbol of the presidency’s role as the most crucial job on the planet. We (and I mean the world) invest it with the power to summon us to soaring flights of hope, but those flights can shake loose deep forces of hatred and violence.We probably care too much about the presidency, but we can’t seem to help ourselves. In a busy and fragmented American life, it is our relentless focus.And that can be dangerous.We tend to forget that Ronald Reagan’s presidency nearly was snuffed out at its start by an assassin in 1981. The Gipper was lucky to have survived the attack by a lunatic gunman, which took place at the entrance to the Washington Hilton—the same doorway that partygoers use each year for the White House Correspondents Dinner. Reagan’s “Morning in America,” the sunny upland of a...
  • Clift: The Democrats' War Plan

    Texas Republican Louie Gohmert is famous on the Internet for saying we’d all be speaking Japanese or German if an anti-war Democrat like John Murtha had been in Congress during World War II. Murtha, a gruff ex-Marine who served in Korea and Vietnam, was on the House floor when Gohmert made his remark. Was the gentleman from Texas at Normandy, Vietnam, Murtha jabbed. The answer was no. What about Iraq? “I’ve been over there,” Gohmert replied, “but I wasn’t fighting.”“Suits on the ground,” Murtha harrumphed.The video clip of this exchange got a hundred thousand hits on YouTube at a time last year when the Republicans were calling Democrats terrorist-coddlers and defeatists. A more recent video of Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy calling for a moment of silence to mark the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War—and to honor the 19 members of the 82nd Airborne unit he served in who didn’t make it home—has gotten 13,000 hits.Thanks to technology, what goes on in the confines of Congress...
  • A Punchless Republican Debate

    The front runners didn't stumble. The also-rans didn't rise up. And nobody got off a good punch. If debates are about clarifying choices, the first clash of 2008 GOP presidential hopefuls didn't offer much help.
  • Hirsh: Wolfowitz's Controversial Companion

    Only a few years ago, Shaha Riza was what is known in journalistic parlance as a flack. She was a media relations person, in other words—and a fairly junior one—whose job it was to reach out to reporters like me so that we would write about various World Bank activities. As recently as mid-2004, Riza was faxing and e-mailing PR releases to reporters around town, requesting that we contact her about exciting new Bank initiatives like a “$38 million investment loan to help the Government of Jordan develop efficient transport and logistics services,” or the “$359 million in loans for two projects aimed at helping the government of Iran improve housing conditions for poor and middle-income urban neighborhoods as well as expand access to clean water and coverage of sanitation services.” At the bottom of each missive she listed her number (202 458 1592) and her e-mail (sriza@worldbank.org). Guess what? Many of us never called.Now we’re calling and calling, and Shaha Riza just won’t pick...
  • Rove's Role in Prosecutor Firings Testimony

    Deputy chief of staff Karl Rove participated in a hastily called meeting at the White House two months ago. The subject: The firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year. The purpose: to coach a top Justice Department official heading to Capitol Hill to testify on the prosecutorial purge on what he should say.Now some investigators are saying that Rove’s attendance at the meeting shows that the president’s chief political adviser may have been involved in an attempt to mislead Congress—one more reason they are demanding to see his e-mails and force him to testify under oath.At the March 5, 2007, meeting, White House aides, including counsel Fred Fielding and deputy counsel William Kelley, sought to shape testimony that Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella was to give the next day before the House Judiciary Committee.Although the existence of the White House meeting had been previously disclosed by the Justice Department, Rove’s attendance at the strategy session...
  • The D.C. Madam's Surprising Employees

    Washington is on edge as names of the clients of accused 'D.C. Madam' Deborah Palfrey begin trickling out. But the women who worked for her might surprise you: college grads, white-collar professionals, even military personnel.
  • Fineman: The Power of GOP 2nd-Tier Candidates

    They don't grab the headlines, but the second- and third-tier candidates are worth watching in tonight's GOP presidential debate. They help set the conservative benchmarks the front runners will have to meet.
  • Q&A: A Campus Shooter Talks About Va. Tech

    Before Virginia Tech, before Columbine, there was Simon’s Rock.Late on the evening of Dec. 14, 1992, Wayne Lo, an 18-year-old student at Simon’s Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Mass., approached a security-guard shack on the campus and began shooting, as he says now, “at anything that moved.” Lo fired at least nine rounds during the following 20 minutes, killing another student and a Spanish professor and wounding four others.A gifted violinist who had moved with his family from Taiwan to Billings, Mont., at age 12, Lo had bought his weapon, an SKS carbine rifle, that very afternoon at a sporting-goods store in nearby Pittsfield, Mass. His Montana driver’s license was the only documentation the purchase required. The cab driver who took  him to the store would later describe Lo to the press as “a real gentleman.” That same morning he had received a package containing 200 rounds of ammunition, purchased the previous day from a mail-order company using his mother’s credit...
  • Fineman: Obama's Talking Points

    Here’s the private advice Sen. Barack Obama’s staff gave him the other day as he prepared to make a series of phone calls in search of support:Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee is a “huge finance wonk,” and the way to win him over is by “giving Cooper a role in policy discussion.”The route to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s heart is a spot on your “national leadership team” and a role as a “national surrogate” and adviser on education.Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York is in play—the only Democratic in the New York delegation not to endorse Sen. Hillary Clinton—because Hillary’s “senior press aide worked on behalf of Clarke’s primary opponent” last year.Federico Peña , Bill Clinton’s secretary of Transportation, “would be a good high-level Hispanic endorsement, especially considering the recent endorsements of both former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros and California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez for Senator Clinton. YOU should make a hard ask for his endorsement and offer him a position...
  • Patti Davis on Life as a 'First Child'

    I am part of a small group of people who, no matter how old we grow or what we accomplish in our lifetimes, will always be known as First Children. Because with an election—always a historic event—each of our fathers became president of the United States, so by extension, we became part of history too. It's a strange label—as if the world at large is never going to really let us grow up.If I die at 90, they'll still be saying former First Daughter … as if I never grew beyond the length of the umbilical cord that came to define me when my father, Ronald Reagan, was in the White House.For anyone who's thinking, “Hey cool, I'd love to be in the First Family,” let me just throw a few things at you. There are heavily armed men (and occasionally a few women) following you everywhere. They know where you go—in fact, they would like to know where you plan to go before you actually head in that direction, so say goodbye to spontaneity. If you're of a certain age, they know who you're...
  • Talk Transcript: The Real Jamestown

    In April 1994, at Jamestown, an archeologist named Bill Kelso looked into the hole he had just dug and cried, "Holy Moses!" What inspired Kelso's outburst was a fragment of pottery—evidence that he had discovered the exact site of the first English-speaking settlement in North America. The British fort known to Capt. John Smith and the Indian princess Pocahontas was built in 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Until Kelso's discovery, most people thought the fort's remains had been washed away by the James River. Starting with Pocahontas, what little we knew about Jamestown's founders—sent by London's Virginia Company to dig for gold, Christianize the natives and find a way to the Orient—sprang from half-remembered stories and outright fable. Now science is coming to the rescue. And just in time. Next month the settlement's 400th anniversary will be celebrated with visits from President Bush and Queen Elizabeth II. Since Kelso's "Eureka" moment, his...
  • A Life In Books: James Patterson

    Few writers are as prolific as thriller-churner-outer James Patterson—but even fewer have appeared on "The Simpsons." With six titles coming out this year (including the third in a young-adult series), he found time to share his own most dog-eared books. A Certified Important Book you haven't read: OK, you got me—I've never read "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret." The book you care most about having your children read: "Maximum Ride." I want young Jack to know what his dad does at the office, and, hopefully, to be proud.
  • Learning: Classes to Diss Ms.?

    In an effort to combat narrow vocabularies, Justin Heimberg has recruited an unlikely ally: yo momma! Hey, calm down, hothead, let us explain. Heimberg is using "yo momma" jokes, those evergreen playground taunts responsible for countless after-school detentions, to broaden kids' command of language.The trick, used to hilarious effect in his newly released book "The Yo Momma Vocabulary Builder," is dropping SAT-level synonyms into the familiar "yo momma" joke template (as in, "Yo momma's so corpulent, when her beeper goes off, people think she's backing up." Oh snap!)Heimberg, a screenwriter, wrote the book with two coauthors after his jokes caught on when he was teaching at a Los Angeles juvenile-detention center. He envisions the book's being used as a coffee-table novelty and a classroom tool.But if teachers employ it, will vocabulary soar at the expense of civility? Heimberg says he doesn't imagine that the book will be included in anyone's standard curriculum, but it could be a...