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  • Mail Call: Love of God in the Time of War

    Our May 7 cover story on keeping faith while on the battle lines drew a wide-ranging discussion on God's role in war. Many took issue with Army Chaplain Roger Benimoff's claim that he began hating God during his experience in Iraq. "War, like many other tragedies such as poverty and hunger, is an evil that humanity inflicts upon itself and is not God's doing," said one reverend. "God cannot be blamed for our drive to self-destruction." Another reader concurred: "God has not ordained this war, and he has not taken sides. Men have chosen this war." Others expressed their admiration for Benimoff and his colleagues. "I highly respect Roger Benimoff and the other chaplains who are as dedicated as he in serving our men and women in uniform," one said. Another added, "Your story about our military chaplains under fire attests to the fact that there are many unsung heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan."Thank you for the searching and engaging article "Faith Under Fire" (May 7). As a retired...
  • Altruism: Can You Hear Her Scream?

    The ability to recognize subtle signs of fear in a facial expression may facilitate altruism, according to new research in the journal Emotion. In one study, participants identified 24 expressions of fear, sadness, anger, happiness, disgust and surprise. Those better at recognizing fear—but not other expressions—later donated more money and time to help a (fictitious) college student who, they were told, had recently lost her parents in a car accident. In a second study, participants rated the attractiveness of strangers in photographs. Once again, those better at recognizing fear expressions were more considerate of others' feelings: they rated people as more attractive, but only when they were told that the individuals would learn their scores—and could therefore be hurt. "Not everyone is attuned to these cues," says study author Dr. Abigail Marsh of the National Institute of Mental Health. Psychopaths and criminals, for instance, may be less able to recognize fear in other people...
  • NIMBY: No One Wants Gitmo Prisoners

    As Democrats try to shut down the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, a few GOP congressmen are already gearing for the next battle: ensuring the detainees don't end up in their districts. In the past two weeks, Democrats have introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to close Gitmo within a year and transfer prisoners either to jails in the United States or to their home countries. A memo drafted by the House Armed Services Committee last month and obtained by NEWSWEEK identifies 12 military brigs where space is available to take in some of the suspects. They include the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida and the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. "I absolutely oppose it," says Virginia GOP Rep. Eric Cantor. "I don't think anyone wants terrorists and coldhearted killers in their backyard."The congressmen say the fight is about larger matters: keeping American neighborhoods safe and ensuring that the "unlawful combatants" don't get access to the U.S. justice...
  • Iraq: The Angriest General

    In a startling new TV ad, retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, once one of the Army's rising stars, takes on his former commander in chief. The ad, produced by votevets.org to persuade wavering House and Senate Republicans to approve a deadline for pulling out of Iraq, begins with a video clip of President Bush at a news conference. "I have always said that I will listen to the commanders on the ground," Bush says. Cut to Batiste, staring at the camera. "Mr. President, you did not listen," he says. "You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our Army and Marine Corps."Since he first went public with his opposition to former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld last spring, "I've had nothing but absolute support" from his colleagues inside the military, Batiste told NEWSWEEK. "No one has objected." He said he had sent his complaints about too few troops and resources in Iraq "up the chain of command." But Raymond DuBois, former top assist-ant to Rumsfeld, says that Batiste,...
  • Uncorked: Loire Valley

    France's Loire Valley remains relatively unknown to many wine drinkers. The area is not as famous as Bordeaux or Burgundy, but the high-quality whites, reds and dessert wines from this region are distinctive, delicious and often well priced. Some favorites.
  • A Life in Books: Laura Lippman

    Ex-reporter Laura Lippman may be known as a gritty crime novelist, but her Tess Monaghan series sends love notes to Baltimore's food, music and literature—an artsy side explained, perhaps, by her habit of rereading "Marjorie Morningstar" every year. A classic that, on rereading, disappointed: "The Catcher in the Rye," by J. D. Salinger. As an adult, I have no use for it. A Certified Important Book you haven't read: Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past." It was one of only three novels I packed for a three-month fellowship in Mexico. I don't think I ever got past page three.
  • The Editor's Desk

    When you are in the business of reporting on social trends," says Julie Scelfo, who worked on our cover this week, "you certainly hear about every last kind of subculture and event, but only occasionally do these things rise to the level of a legitimate social change." For years Julie had been hearing the stories of transgender people—those born male or female as traditionally understood, but who come to believe (sometimes early in life, sometimes later) that they are meant to live as the other gender, or perhaps in a newly defined middle ground in which one is neither male nor female. She found the subject interesting, but it was only in the past few months that the conversation about gender seemed to be taking on fresh force.First, Steve Stanton, a city manager in Florida, was fired after it was revealed that he planned to live as a woman. Soon a male sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times told his readers that he was taking some time off and would return as a female. Then we...
  • Jerry Brown Slams Bush on Environment

    He's already filed one lawsuit against the Bush administration over its environmental policies. As California's colorful attorney general arrives in Washington, he's threatening another.
  • Green Malls: The Color of Money

    A new reason to shop: "green" malls. Chicago developers are building the GreenExchange, with priority parking for hybrids, chargers for electric cars, indoor bike racks, an escalator that slows down when not in use, low-flow faucets, showers for bicyclists and an organic café that serves veggies grown on the roof.Only green tenants need apply. "People are interested in these products and services and don't always know where to find them," says the Sierra Club's Jennifer Hattam.
  • The Checklist

    SEE "Pan's Labyrinth" on DVD. From Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, this film blends a fantastical fairy tale with the harsh reality of Franco's Spain just after the Civil War.HEAR "Release the Stars," by Rufus Wainwright. His flair for the dramatic is still intact, with grandiose arrangements on songs like "Do I Disappoint You?" Fan fact: "Tulsa" was written for the Killers' Brandon Flowers.BUY Karma Creatives (karmacreatives.com for stores) This line of refreshing sprays, lotions and lip balms (from $6) has been a hit in Los Angeles. And they bring good luck, too.READ "No One Belongs Here More Than You," by Miranda July. The only thing you need to know about this collection of short fiction is that the author, a filmmaker and performance artist, really knows how to tell a story. The heartbreaking kind and the funny kind.SURF Weather.com/travel. Find out what to pack for every trip, rain, sleet, snow or shine.
  • Money: Health Planning

    Saving for retirement isn't all about figuring out how big a boat you want to buy. A significant chunk of your nest egg will be spent on doctors and drugs. A couple retiring today will need almost $300,000 in savings just to cover their health-care costs, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Ouch!There are ways to prepare. If you're eligible, enroll in a high-deductible health-care savings account (see hsafinder.com) and deposit the maximum amount every year. This year, that's $2,850 for singles, $5,650 for couples and an additional $800 for anyone who's 55 or older. Dig deeper into your wallet for your current health-care expenses and let the money in your HSA ride. Left to grow until you retire, it's better than an IRA because the funds are tax-free forever if spent on health care.If an HSA isn't an option, just save more in an IRA or taxable account and earmark it for health care. You can invest a portion of your retirement account in a health-care industry...
  • Health: Hospital Hygiene

    With an estimated 2 million people developing hospital-acquired infections per year, more and more states are requiring hospitals to disclose their patient-infection rates (see stophospitalinfections.org and click on "learn more" to see what your state is doing). To be on the safe side, learn how to protect yourself: ...
  • Israel: A Grittier Trip to the Holy Land

    The Israel that 18,000 young Jewish Americans will see this summer on the free, 10-day trip offered by Taglit-birthright Israel is a land of ancient religious sites, sandy beaches and buff young soldiers. "It's a Jewish identity trip," says Wayne L. Firestone, president of Hillel, which runs one of the largest Birthright tours. But according to Dunya Alwan and Hannah Mermelstein, two Boston-based activists, the Birthright-sanctioned trips don't give a true picture of Israel because they minimize the experience of the Palestinian people. (Mermelstein is Jewish; Alwan, the child of a Muslim-Jewish marriage, calls herself a "secular Muslim-Jew.") In 2005, the pair launched Birthright Unplugged, an "alternative" tour of the West Bank in which the Palestinian narrative takes center stage. This Israel is a land of refugee camps, military checkpoints and security fences. "We want to put people that would otherwise not have the access in direct contact with the Palestinian people,"...
  • Well-Intentioned Wolfowitz's Rise and Fall

    He started out well. Conscious that he had image issues—he was the Ugly American architect of the unpopular Iraq War—Paul Wolfowitz, the now embattled World Bank president, ate lunch in the employees' mess hall rather than in the Bank president's palatial dining room. Always soft-spoken, he listened and encouraged e-mails from colleagues. Whether it was attacking tyranny in the Arab world or poverty in Africa, the last thing Wolfowitz ever wanted was to be seen as a heartless intellectual or a ruthless hawk. He "deeply, deeply cared" about making the world a better place, says Ray DuBois, assistant to Wolfowitz when Wolfowitz served as deputy Defense secretary. Andrew Young, the civil-rights activist and former U.N. ambassador, says: "If I ever got caught in a dark alley with [Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld, I'd want to whip them. But Wolfowitz is a very sympathetic figure."He may also be the first president dismissed in the 62-year history of the Bank if its board of directors...
  • Howard Dean's Web Experts Help 2008 Dems

    Joe Rospars, a Howard Dean Web strategist, was at Vermont HQ when he got the bad news. The calls came from co-workers who'd flown out to Iowa, a week before the 2004 caucuses, to help. Sure, they said, Dean's Net team lured 8,000 supporters to the Hawkeye State. But once those volunteers descended, things got painfully low-tech. They highlighted voter lists, cut them into pieces and glued like-colored strips on new sheets of paper. Using these scraps to walk the precincts, they wound up knocking on the same doors over and over. Iowans were irritated—and so was Rospars.Three years later, Rospars has emerged as one of a core group of Dean Internet staffers using the lessons of '04 to help '08 contenders do better. The hope: that smart Web 2.0 tools, stronger candidates and a more-wired electorate will enable their new clients to succeed where Dean failed—in winning the White House. As Barack Obama's new-media director, Rospars is one of three Dean alums involved in the senator's...
  • Television: A Whacking Leaves HBO in Crisis

    Everyone at HBO knew they were about to lose a celebrated patriarch, a cornerstone of the network, and they even knew the date it would happen: June 10, the night of the series finale of "The Sopranos." But in the early hours of May 6, the HBO family was flattened by an incident no one saw coming: Chris Albrecht, the network's chief executive and creative visionary, was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend. The next day, Albrecht, 54, told HBO's staff that after 13 years of sobriety, he had resumed drinking and was taking a leave of absence to re-enroll in Alcoholics Anonymous. The day after that, the Los Angeles Times published a story uncovering a 1991 incident in which Albrecht allegedly assaulted a female subordinate with whom he was romantically involved. (HBO paid the woman $400,000 to settle the issue quietly.) Hours after the story broke, at the behest of Time Warner, which owns HBO, Albrecht resigned. Another patriarch, another cornerstone...
  • New Terror: Cells With No Links to Al Qaeda

    The men who gathered inside the small Bronx apartment were tense, and they chatted nervously before the ceremony. The participants, among them a New York City musician and an emergency-room doctor from Florida, had allegedly gathered to meet a "brother" from Canada who called himself Ali. The brother had come with a message—from "Sheik Osama.""You are in the belly of the enemy," the man from Canada warned, and cautioned his audience to be careful whom they spoke to. "The oppressors are everywhere." Once it was clear they all understood, the jazz musician bent to his knees, clutched the visitor's hand and took a solemn oath. He pledged to be "one of Islam's soldiers ... on the road to jihad." The doctor allegedly did the same. Then they each embraced the oath giver, the final step in Al Qaeda's sacred initiation ritual.An audiotape of that extraordinary scene played in a federal courtroom last week as one of the initiates, Dr. Rafiq Sabir, a graduate of Columbia University Medical...
  • A Texas Town Takes On Illegal Immigration

    Bob Phelps, now serving his fourth term as mayor of Farmers Branch, used to be quite popular among the 28,000 residents of this Dallas suburb. But that was before the nation’s debate over illegal immigration hit home, literally, last week when a rock smashed into the window of his house. Traces of paint and new security cameras mark the spot where someone spray-painted the brickwork with “Viva los Mexicos” in large red letters. Hundreds of hate email messages have flooded the mayor’s inbox, and while Phelps says he can take it—“I’m a big boy”—his wife is upset by the assault. “I don’t like what they’re saying about him,” Dee Phelps says, beginning to cry.The reason for the rancor: Mayor Phelps is opposed to a law overwhelmingly endorsed by Farmers Branch voters on May 12th that banned landlords from renting to most illegal immigrants. “I’m not for anything illegal, and I don’t know one citizen in Farmers Branch who is,” he says. “But I think we’re wasting our money and time. It’s a...
  • Clinton and Blair, Partners in Politics

    Before there was Tony and George there was Tony and Bill. In happier days, before 9/11 and Iraq and George W. Bush, the character of Tony Blair’s premiership was defined in large part by his relationship with Bill Clinton. Now that the British prime minister’s time in office is coming to an end after 10 years, it strains the memory to recall that Blair and Clinton were once the dynamic duo of world affairs. Together, they helped to create a new political center ground under the now-derided banner of “the third way.” Together, they launched the Operation Desert Fox bombing raids in Iraq in 1998. And together, with Blair pressing the harder line that eventually won the day, they took NATO to war against Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo in 1999.Now their paths are bound together in new ways. For all his protestations about it being “long enough in office for me but more especially for the country,” Blair privately believes he’s being bounced out of office prematurely, just as Clinton...
  • Hirsh: World Bank Saga Causes Political Rift

    It’s one of those musty, neocolonial traditions dating back to the World War II victors’ club. The two big institutions invented at Bretton Woods, N.H., to resurrect the global economy—the World Bank and International Monetary Fund—were supposed to be run by those winners, no questions asked. The Americans would get to choose the president of the World Bank, and the Europeans would pick the head of the IMF. So it went for 62 years, even as the rest of world emerged from colonialism, the Soviet bloc and poverty, developed powerful economies of their own, and joined the international system. But the monthlong scandal over Paul Wolfowitz, who on Thursday became the first World Bank president in history to be forced out, may now be casting a harsh new light on this hoary tradition.At least Henry Paulson, the U.S. Treasury secretary, seems to think so. Paulson is believed to have the main responsibility for selecting Wolfowitz’s successor. But early signs are that Paulson, the former...
  • Chertoff on Immigration Reform Deal

    The Bush administration reached a long-awaited deal on immigration reform with a bipartisan group of senators Thursday. Prospects for the deal to become law are unclear, given the fraught politics of immigration—especially among conservatives. But in theory the deal promises to give legal status to some 12 million illegal immigrants, as well as strengthening border security and tightening controls on employers. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff spoke to NEWSWEEK's Richard Wolffe about the deal and where it goes from here. Excerpts: ...
  • How to Track Your Teen Driver

    You've probably seen those HOW'S MY DRIVING decals on trucks, giving a number to call if the semi in front of you is weaving all over the highway. Now you can slap a similar sticker on your teenager's car. For a yearly fee (about $50) reportmyteen.com or tell-my-mom.com will send you a sticker and e-mail you when a driver tattle-tales on your kid's wobbly progress on the road.If that seems too Orwellian, for $8.95 rookiedriver.net will send you a magnet or sticker that pegs your teen as a newbie behind the wheel. If Johnny tries to peel it off, remind him that car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths in the U.S.
  • Hirsh: The Problem with Bush's New War Czar

    Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute is by most accounts a formidable fellow: smart, efficient and expert in all aspects of nation-building—civilian and military. As the top operations officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he’s also intimately familiar with all aspects of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “Lute is about as broad-gauged a senior military officer as they could find,” says Philip Zelikow, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s former senior counselor, who’s known him since Lute was a captain. “He’s perfect,” adds retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a harsh critic of George W. Bush’s “surge” plan in Iraq.But Lute, who was named this week to be Bush’s new war “czar” for Iraq and Afghanistan, is also just a three-star general, and he’s still on active duty. What this means is that while nominally he’s the president’s man—his title puts him on par with national-security adviser Steven Hadley—militarily he’s still inferior in rank to four-star Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and...
  • Fort Dix Suspects Illegally in U.S. for 20 Years

    Three of the Fort Dix suspects entered the United States illegally more than two decades ago. How tighter immigration enforcement might have prevented the possible plot before it was ever dreamt up.
  • Alter: Don't Believe the Falwell Hype

    I mean no disrespect to the dead, but I take the British view of obituaries, which is to try to capture the true public significance of the person who died, not just his good qualities. The truth about the Rev. Jerry Falwell is that he was a character assassin and hype artist who left little positive impact on the United States—and little negative impact either, for that matter. Besides founding Liberty University, he won’t be remembered as nearly as influential as he’s made out to be.First, his real legacy: Falwell built the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia from scratch into a mega-church with a 6,000-seat auditorium. And he built Liberty University into a formidable institution that attracts over 20,000 students from around the world and a qualified faculty. Last year, Liberty’s debate team won the national championship. It’s not easy to create a university and Falwell deserves credit as an institution-builder. He will also be remembered through a famous Supreme...
  • Fineman: Leveling the Media Playing Field

    As the 10 Republican presidential candidates debate this week on their favorite cable network—Fox News—Capitol Hill Democrats are planning a new drive for access elsewhere, on talk radio and local broadcast TV.The goal? To level the media playing field in time for the 2008 election.Talk radio has long been a crucial power base for conservatives and Republicans; local TV stations are not.They shy away from public-affairs programming altogether, and yet they rake in ever-larger wads of cash on political advertising.Democrats have two media-access goals.One is to prod local broadcast television and radio stations to renew their atrophied commitment to producing and airing their own public-affairs programming—shows that Democrats think would at least give them a chance to be heard. Some Democrats want to require stations to give free time for campaign debates, and even free campaign advertising as part of the stations’ “public-service” licensing requirement.The Democrats’ more ambitious...
  • A Life in Books: Tom Wolfe

    If you've ever wondered how "Bonfire of the Vanities" author Tom Wolfe crafts his witty prose, consider this a crib sheet; he admits to modeling his writing style after these authors.My five most important books An Important Book you haven't read: There are lots of those. Many books are easier to praise than they are to read. James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" is one of those. The book I'd most want my kids to read: "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" by Max Weber. He wrote about status groups. I don't really expect my kids to read it, but I wish they would.
  • Travel: Trading Spaces

    Swapping homes for a vacation is a trendy—and cheap—alternative to booking a hotel. More than 250,000 swaps take place each year and the number's growing. Here's how you can successfully trade your place. ...
  • Road Test: Land Rover LR2

    Though Ford owns Land Rover, the SUV still looks rather British. You can almost picture Prince William darting off from Buckingham Palace in the LR2 on his way to some off-roading in Scotland. And the newest model in Land Rover's growing lineup retains a decidedly upper-crust look befitting royalty. But it's what's under the hood and in the traction-control system that truly defines this very capable machine. And it's here that the LR2 proves it's the leader in its category for no-compromise off-road performance and luxury.I tested the LR2's grip on the steep, rolling sand dunes at Pismo Beach, Calif., and was tickled by the ease with which it traversed the powdery inclines. The LR2 stormed equally well through slushy mud and cut through deep pools of water when I adjusted the traction-control knob. But this very roomy five-seater is equally at home on dry pavement. Acceleration isn't bad from a 3.2-liter, inline 6-cylinder, 230hp engine that goes from zero to 60mph in 8.4 seconds....
  • Children of Iconic Republicans May Vote Dem

    Susan Eisenhower is an accomplished professional, the president of an international consulting firm. She also happens to be Ike's granddaughter—and in that role, she's the humble torchbearer for moderate "Eisenhower Republicans." Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency—and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers—is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP. Eisenhower says she could vote Democratic in 2008, but she's still intent on saving her party. "I made a pact with a number of people," she tells NEWSWEEK. "I said, 'Please don't leave the party without calling me first.' For a while, there weren't too many calls. And then suddenly, there was a flurry of them. I found myself watching them slip away one by one."Eisenhower isn't the only GOP scion debating if the party still feels like home. Theodore Roosevelt IV, an investment banker in New York and an environmental...
  • Uncorked: Chardonnay

    Chardonnay is one of the most popular whites among drinkers and wine makers alike. The grape grows successfully in a wide variety of climates and responds well to a range of wine-making techniques. Here's a quick pick of Chardonnays from around the world.
  • Health: New Tea in Town

    Forget green tea. The new "it" drink is yerba mate (rhymes with latte). This earthy tea, a South American fave, throws a nutritional punch, with more antioxidants than green tea. Aficionados claim mate gives a great buzz without the coffee jitters, which could be due to its unique stimulant trifecta: caffeine, theophylline (found in tea) and theobromine (found in chocolate). Newbies might like mate "fusion" blends of pomegranate, passion fruit or ginseng ($1.99 for a 16oz bottle at guayaki.com); or lemon, mint and honey, or peach mates ($1.79 for a 16oz bottle at bombillagourd.com).Known for its rejuvenating powers, mate is also appearing in skin-care products. Try Kiehl's (kiehls.com) new line ($35 for moisturizer, $20.50 for a cleanser and $24.50 for a toner), which promises to keep you all glowy—if not buzzed. For that, have a mate latte.
  • Mail Call: Mourning the Victims of a Campus Massacre

    Among the expressions of grief, outrage and condolences in response to our April 30 cover story on the massacre at Virginia Tech were letters from the school's faculty, students, alums and parents. "It breaks my heart that something so tragic happened in a place where I had so many wonderful memories," said a member of the class of 2004. "Our hearts continue to ache, and we deeply appreciate the concerns expressed by people throughout the nation and world," wrote a member of the class of '78. One reader, after poring over the vignettes of those who lost their lives, mourned the "goodness, creativity, joy, intelligence and potential lost." Another added, "The unfortunate victims had purpose in their lives—purpose that was to be realized in this free society. The families and loved ones of those lost must know the hearts and arms of millions go out to them in their time of need." ...
  • Nixon, Kissinger: A Deeply Weird Relationship

    Richard Nixon was nearing the end. It was Aug. 7, 1974, and the president had just told congressional leaders he planned to resign. Shortly after 6 p.m., Nixon's secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, found the chief executive sitting in the Oval Office, staring into the Rose Garden. The relationship between the men was, to say the least, ambivalent. As Kissinger was well aware, Nixon suspected him of self-aggrandizement. Kissinger, for his part, told reporters (privately, of course) that Nixon was a "madman." When, a few months earlier, the president called Kissinger and his new wife, Nancy Maginnes, on their honeymoon, Nixon offered perfunctory congratulations. Then he warned Kissinger's bride not to pick up poisonous snakes—and if bitten by one, to extract the venom quickly.And yet Kissinger was moved by Nixon's misery. Though neither man was a hugger, Kissinger put an arm around the president's shoulder. The awkward embrace is an oddly touching scene in Robert Dallek's at once...
  • Washington: The Madam, the Media

    Official Washington is breathing easier after a prime-time TV exposé about a so-called D.C. madam turned out to be less than earth-shattering. In March, Deborah Jeane Palfrey was indicted by the Feds on racketeering and money-laundering charges related to her alleged operation of a D.C.- and California-based call-girl ring over a 13-year period. Palfrey turned over four years' worth of telephone records to ABC News, at least in part because she hoped the media would help her identify former customers who could bolster her defense that "escorts" working for her business dealt only in "fantasy," not real, sex.According to prosecutors, she required that women she hired be at least 22 years old and have some college education. During the course of ABC's investigations, the senior State Department official in charge of U.S. foreign aid—including programs urging sexual abstinence—resigned, and ABC tracked down other government employees and other middle- to upper-class Washingtonians who...
  • Health: Someone on Your Side

    Therese Potoczny, an insurance executive from Lake in the Hills, Ill., considers herself a savvy health consumer. But when her mother was whisked to a local emergency room and then hospitalized after experiencing severe spinal problems, Potoczny got a rude awakening. "I always thought the medical staff would return phone calls, answer questions and discuss treatment plans and options," she says. "I was wrong." So the family turned to a Baltimore-based health-care advocacy company called PinnacleCare (pinnaclecare.com) for help. Within one day, a doctor on the company's staff reviewed her mother's medical records and set up a conference call with a neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins and a neurologist from Rush University Medical Center, who agreed to take on the case. "We needed someone on our side," says Potoczny.That's the calling card of a new breed of for-profit companies billing themselves as health advocates. As people have to make myriad decisions about their care or insurance...
  • The Editor's Desk

    When Michael Beschloss was a student at Williams College, he studied with James MacGregor Burns, the landmark historian of the years of Franklin Roosevelt. Michael's undergraduate thesis produced both his first book, "Kennedy and Roosevelt," about the turbulent relationship between Joseph P. Kennedy and FDR, and an enduring interest in the role individual character plays in the making of history. "I found that Roosevelt was the greater figure because Roosevelt was the greater human being," says Michael, a longtime NEWSWEEK contributor. "Kennedy was interested in protecting his fortune, and was captive to his own ambitions. Roosevelt was no saint, but he saw farther ahead, and knew what was more important."Exploring such connections between the human and the historical informs our cover, one built around Michael's new book, "Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989," which will be published this week. In Michael's essay for us about presidents from...
  • The Checklist

    RENT: "The Secret Life of Words." This haunting, unusual love story features unforgettable performances by Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins as two traumatized people who meet, as nurse and patient, aboard an oil rig in the North Atlantic. READ: "Underwater Eden: 365 Days" by Jeffrey L. Rotman (Abrams. $29.95). Rotman, a photographer, traveled the world's waterways and came up with a year's worth of captivating images, from neon-colored parrotfish in the Red Sea to a blue-spotted ribbontail stingray off the Australian coast. GO to Europe. Through May 25, 1800flyeurope.com is offering cheap tickets from various U.S. cities to go across the pond. As little as $399 can take you from New York to Paris and back. HEAR: "New Moon" by Elliott Smith. Serving as a lasting reminder of the gifted singer-songwriter, Smith's (second) posthumous release is a double CD of 24 intimate, exquisite unreleased songs recorded from 1994 to '97.
  • Money: Card-inal Rules

    Debit or credit? The answer is in: shoppers love their debit cards and use them more often than any other form of payment. Sure, they are convenient. But if you're going to use your debit card regularly, do it right.
  • Barry Bonds: Calling It, Fair or Foul

    As recently as March, many baseball fans thought that injuries or steroid investigations might keep Barry Bonds from breaking the record for career home runs. But as of May 3, he had already blasted nine homers, on pace to set the record next month. Blogger Bill Chuck, who always refers to the slugger as Barry B*nds, says even those fans rooting against Bonds "appear resigned to what now seems inevitable."Still, Vince Doria, ESPN senior VP and director of news, says that whenever "Bonds fatigue" sets in, something comes along to reignite the steroids controversy. Two weeks ago a former New York Mets clubhouse assistant pleaded guilty to dealing steroids to major-league players from 1995 to 2005 and is cooperating with federal investigators. ESPN has had meetings about how to call the historic hit, Doria says. "When we report the moment, there will be energy in it," he says. But he doesn't expect the kind of over-the-top celebration call that Mark McGwire got, and says ESPN...
  • Art: Hopper—The Quiet Man

    In an art world filled with big, raucous abstract paintings—not to mention video installations as jumpy and noisy as action movies—a museum exhibition of a 20th-century realist could seem stiff, dated, cramped and, well, boring. That's not the case with the just-opened retrospective of about 100 works by the American painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967) at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. (The show is up through Aug. 19 and will travel later to Washington and Chicago.) But the reasons aren't the familiar ones about how "alienation" or "melancholy" are the secrets to Hopper's power.In Hopper icons such as the 1942 café scene "Nighthawks," he was simply depicting a pre-cell-phone America in which there were still moments of silence. The 6-foot-5 former illustrator painted urban life with a sincere and guileless affection that Andy Warhol would later morph into irony and cleverness. True, a lot of Hopper's light-drenched and comparatively cheerful oils and watercolors of New England houses...
  • Outdoors: Best Foot Forward

    Runners, get off your heels. Landing on the heel jars the body and saps momentum. A growing number of experts argue that the safest and most efficient way to land is on the midfoot or forefoot. Shoe companies have taken note with a range of new products.The Gravity, from Newton Running (newtonrunning.com), is a lightweight trainer with a patented rubber membrane in the forefoot that stores the energy of landing and releases it on takeoff—like a miniature trampoline.Nike's Air Zoom Elite 3 is a road shoe for average runners who want a sleek racing feel. Added forefoot cushioning encourages runners to shift their weight forward and strike with their mid-foot ($100; nikerunning.com).The New Balance 902 features an ultralight midsole foam that shaves almost an ounce from last year's version ($100; new balance.com).If trail running is your thing, the Sun Dragon (golite.com) features grabby lugs that compress to improve traction on sharp rocks.The Fanatic (merrell.com) is a hybrid shoe...
  • Can McCain Box His Way to the Nomination?

    John McCain was never a pretty boxer. "I whaled away," he recalls. Short and scrawny at 127 pounds, he was underestimated by classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy. But he charged his opponents, throwing punches until someone hit the ground. During his first summer at Annapolis in 1954, that someone wasn't him. McCain and his teammates faced off against other battalions in weekly bouts. The prize was a day off campus, and the deciding match that plebe summer came down to McCain. He won. "I don't think the adverse odds mattered to him," says Otto Helwig, a champion Navy heavyweight who was one of McCain's teammates. "He was not the most skilled, but he was the most feared ... He never gave up."American politicians are defined by the sports they favor, and the physical pastimes they pursue. Ronald Reagan rode horses, and the cowboy image suited him politically. George W. Bush rides a mountain bike and invites reporters to watch him clear brush on his ranch. He's not a "girlie man," to...
  • Music: A Festival With No Mess

    Three campers lounge outside their tent, on folding chairs, in a circle, listening to iPods. Just down the grass path at another campsite, a young woman carefully wipes the dust off her feet with a Wet One. This is Generation Y's answer to Woodstock. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival attracted some 16,000 campers to California's Indio desert two weekends ago, most of whom paid $250 to see 120 bands—including Bjork, Rage Against the Machine and Arcade Fire—and $50 more to stay four nights in the adjacent camping area. But unlike their parents—or grandparents—who roughed it in the muddy fields of Woodstock in 1969 (no food, water or toilets), these music fans pitched new tents on tidy grounds, partied after the show in the Clubhouse karaoke bar and relied on camp counselors to guide them if they got lost among the rows and rows of tents. As for spontaneity? It was crazy: campers had to switch from e-mail to text messaging when the Cyber Café's Wi-Fi signal crashed. "There...
  • Power Struggle: Wolfowitz Fights Back

    Just as Paul Wolfowitz's enemies were counting the days until he quit, the besieged World Bank president went on the offensive. He denounced allegations that he acted unethically when he negotiated a salary and new post for his companion, Shaha Riza. He rebutted in detail the criticism of former Bank Ethics Committee chairman Ad Melkert and former general counsel Roberto Danino. And as a special Bank committee investigating the charges began deliberating, Wolfowitz's high-powered Washington lawyer, Bob Bennett, told NEWSWEEK that Wolfowitz would not step down no matter what the verdict. "He is not going to resign, and we're going to fight this," said Bennett. "This is just a bogus case being used as vehicle for other reasons to diminish the power of the United States and try to smear Mr. Wolfowitz." Bennett accused top Bank execs of hypocrisy in complaining about Riza's compensation. "One of the things I want to do is have some sort of independent investigation of the perks and...
  • Truman Primary: Courage and the '08 Field

    They all want to be Harry Truman. Hillary Clinton invokes his iconic sign (THE BUCK STOPS HERE) to call for better treatment of wounded veterans. Barack Obama reminds us that Truman was the first politician bold enough to call for universal health care. Rudy Giuliani notes that Truman was unpopular in his day, but if he hadn't stood up to the Soviets in the late 1940s, asks Giuliani, "Who knows how much longer the cold war would have gone on?"There are some eternal verities about politics—chiefly, that most politicians are (surprise, surprise) carefully calculating and keenly attuned to what is possible. There are some eternal truths about history, too. History has a habit of changing its mind. The case of the now sainted Truman, the Platonic presidential ideal of 2008, is an example of just this phenomenon. In 1953, when Truman left Washington for Independence, Mo., few were unhappy to see him go. His administration was accused of corruption and the Korean War was stalemated. Yet...
  • Justice Flap: The Loyalty Enforcer

    The role of Monica Goodling, a former GOP "oppo" researcher who became a top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, is getting new scrutiny in the U.S. attorneys flap.Justice confirmed it's investigating whether Goodling improperly assessed the political loyalties of applicants for career assistant U.S. attorney posts. Two government officials (not ID'd when talking about an ongoing probe) told NEWSWEEK the inquiry began after Jeff Taylor, the interim U.S. attorney in D.C., complained that Goodling tried to block the hiring of a prosecutor in his office for being a "liberal Democratic type." Justice e-mails show Goodling also played a pivotal role in selecting which U.S. attorneys were fired. When the e-mails surfaced in March, a distraught Goodling went to see veteran DOJ official David Margolis and "bawled her eyes out," saying, "All I ever wanted to do was serve this president," and "everything is unraveling," according to Margolis's confidential testimony to congressional...