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  • Crime: Stolen Civil War Treasures

    Denning McTague, a 40-year-old unpaid intern at the National Archives in Philadelphia, wasn't home last October when a team of FBI and National Archives agents entered his apartment. They discovered 80 original Civil War-era documents; another 80 had already been lost to bidders on eBay.On Wednesday, McTague pleaded guilty to stealing 164 pieces of government property valued into the tens of thousands. "But they are of incalculable value to historians," says U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan. The pilfered documents include the May 4, 1865, telegram from the secretary of War's office ordering gun salutes in honor of President Lincoln, whose funeral was that day, and a letter from the war's most notable cavalryman, J.E.B. Stuart.At 40, McTague was old for an intern. But that didn't arouse suspicion, says archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper: "McTague had several advanced degrees and perhaps he was interested in securing a permanent job at the archives." McTague told investigators he would...
  • A Money Race Reader's Guide

    Presidential candidates just released their first-quarter fund-raising totals, but we'll have to wait until they file with the FEC on April 15 to get the full breakdown. Look for ...
  • Derby Day: Mint Julep, Anyone?

    To watch the "greatest two minutes in sports"—the Kentucky Derby—you can mix yourself a mint julep and turn on the tube. Or you could head to Churchill Downs for the 133rd Run for the Roses, which is held on the first Saturday in May. You're already too late to snag one of the 55,000 seats. (Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, are among those who have already secured spots.)But if you've got $40 and love a good party, you can get tickets on race day that will allow you and about 100,000 other Derby Day fans—some more sober than others—access to the infield. Bring a crazy hat and be at the gates before they open at 8 a.m.; the first race is at 11. Go to for more. Consider arriving on the Thursday before the Derby to watch the free Dawn at the Downs workouts from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Or attend the fillies-only races at Kentucky Oaks on Friday, where admission is $25. Think about staying out of town or camping in an RV at the Kentucky fairgrounds for a real...
  • The Editor's Desk

    Thirty-seven years ago, in the Jan. 26, 1970, issue of NEWSWEEK, our friend and colleague Kenneth Auchincloss, whom we lost to cancer in 2003, wrote a cover essay titled "The Ravaged Environment." Ken began: "It seems the curse of modern man continually to confront new possibilities of self-destruction. He emerged from World War II armed with nuclear weaponry that soon gave him the power to obliterate all human life ... And now he has come face to face with a new man-made peril, the poisoning of his natural environment with noxious doses of chemicals, garbage, fumes, noise, sewage, heat, ugliness and urban overcrowding." Then as now, Americans seemed to be growing more mindful of environmental perils; those sentences were published the same year the country began commemorating Earth Day.And then, as now, California was a crucial force. "Ecology," said Jesse Unruh, the Democratic leader of the California Assembly, "has become the political substitute for the word 'mother'." Unruh...
  • Inside the Tragedy at Va. Tech

    The early morning calm was shattered by the sound of gunfire. By the time it stopped, at least 33 were dead. Inside the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
  • Alter: McCain's Meltdown

    By his own admission, John McCain knew a little something about crashing aircraft when he was in the Navy. Three times, he ended up losing control in the cockpit, and that doesn't even include when he was shot down over Hanoi and taken prisoner in 1967. Now the combination of his surprisingly poor third-place showing in early fund-raising and that embarrassing photo op at a Baghdad market has sent his presidential campaign spiraling downward. Given his five and a half years as a POW in Vietnam, even serious political mishaps aren't likely to faze him. But he has no easy way to pull out of this tailspin. McCain's in trouble because he is out of sync with the country and with himself.The senator's timing seems off in a way that might be admirable if it weren't so politically clumsy. McCain trashed President Bush when he was popular—and now champions him when he's down. The trashing angered many Republicans, who could never fully trust McCain again after his apostasy on tax cuts,...
  • Gonzales Crams for a Senate Grilling

    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has virtually wiped his public schedule clean to bone up for his long-awaited April 17 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee—a session widely seen as a crucial test as to whether he will survive the U.S. attorney mess. But even his own closest advisers are nervous about whether he is up to the task. At a recent "prep" for a prospective Sunday talk-show interview, Gonzales's performance was so poor that top aides scrapped any live appearances. During the March 23 session in the A.G.'s conference room, Gonzales was grilled by a team of top aides and advisers—including former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie and former White House lawyer Tim Flanigan—about what he knew about the plan to fire seven U.S. attorneys last fall. But Gonzales kept contradicting himself and "getting his timeline confused," said one participant who asked not to be identified talking about a private meeting. His advisers finally got "exasperated" with...
  • It's Never That Simple

    The world of high finance can be a perverse place. Consider the possibility that by playing financial games to make it look like they have less risk than they do, companies and Wall Street are unintentionally making the financial markets riskier for everyone. It's a function of the way accounting rules and financial markets intersect. Here's the deal. Businesses can make their financial statements look less volatile—less prone to up-and-down moves—by using high-cost, esoteric products that fee-hungry Wall Street is happy to provide. However, some of those products—ranging from old-time "portfolio insurance" to today's derivatives that involve lots of borrowing—have blown up in the past, and could easily blow up in the future. That's especially true today with so many companies playing so many games involving securities whose values are based on formulas rather than on actual transactions.The idea that reducing visible risk can increase actual risk isn't my insight—I wish it were. I...
  • Uncorked: Chilean Values

    Wines from Chile are good—and still a great deal. You can't go wrong with a bottle of Cabernet or Merlot, but why not take a chance on a Syrah or Carmenère? You'll also find impressive whites, such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. Here's a sampling of great buys.
  • Giuliani: More Trouble for Kerik

    Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani has issued apologies for recommending that the White House nominate Bernard Kerik as Homeland Security secretary. But the apologies have not staunched the flow of embarrassing revelations.New questions have surfaced about why Kerik's nomination was withdrawn less than a week after it was announced. The White House said a "nanny problem" killed Kerik's nomination because Homeland Secretary is the nation's top immigration law enforcer. But nonpublic law-enforcement records obtained by NEWSWEEK suggest that Kerik was worried about other issues: around the time of his nomination, Kerik spoke by phone with two people with whom he had a potentially embarrassing history. According to the records, on Dec. 2, 2004, one day before President George W. Bush announced Kerik's nomination, three phone calls were logged between Kerik and New Jersey businessman Frank DiTommaso. A few weeks earlier, DiTommaso's construction firms had been described in court...
  • Criminologist: 'The Most Likely Motive'

    The details are still scarce. But as the death toll from a killing spree at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg ratcheted up past 30, law-enforcement authorities and outside experts were trying to learn as much as possible from the little information in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. For Jack Levin, a leading authority on mass killings and those who commit them, the story emerging out of Virginia already has many sadly familiar hallmarks. A professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston with two dozen books to his name, Levin spoke with NEWSWEEK's Brian Braiker about what he's learned from a career spent studying tragedies. Excerpts:   ...
  • Mail Call: Prospects of War

    As an Iranian-born person, I found nothing new in your story "The Hidden War With Iran" (Feb. 19). It is a chronicle, listing historical facts that have been exposed by several agencies in the past. A clash between Iran and the West seems inevitable even as the Iranian regime fears for its existence, politically and physically. The United States' first mission was to bring down the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The second was to bring down Saddam Hussein, who lost the war against the abhorred new regime in Iran and could only survive with military force and help from the West. Now, America's third mission seems to be Iran, whose hostile regime has—along with Iraq and Saudi Arabia—the greatest oil reserves in the world. All these three missions share the common denominator of energy, the life breath of industrialized countries. But a war against Iran could lead to a third world war, analogous to the first world war, which nobody wanted, but everyone got involved in. Russia and China...
  • From Iraq, U.S. Troops Write Home

    In an ongoing series, NEWSWEEK publishes letters and e-mails from fallen U.S. troops in Iraq to loved ones and friends back home. The following are unedited excerpts from correspondence provided by families of the deceased.
  • From Iraq, U.S. Troops Write Home

    In an ongoing series, NEWSWEEK publishes letters and e-mails from fallen U.S. troops in Iraq to loved ones and friends back home. The following are unedited excerpts from correspondence provided by families of the deceased.
  • Organizer: Big Immigration Rallies Planned for May 1

    Last year’s giant immigrant rallies culminated in a May 1 boycott as an estimated 1 million protesters marched peacefully in two dozen cities from Boston to Los Angeles. Now, organizers plan to do it again. Dubbed The Great American Boycott II and timed again to coincide with Labor’s traditional May Day celebration, leaders want immigrants to flex their economic muscles by abstaining from purchases, skipping school and attending mass rallies in cities from New York and Chicago to San Antonio.Last year’s protests targeted the restrictive House bill authored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin that would have made illegal immigrants felons and mandated 700 miles of border fence. (The House later passed the bill, H.R. 4437, but it died in the Senate, which supported a more liberal measure.) This year’s agenda is broader and more diffuse. Organizers are pushing for an end to the recent spate of raids on businesses that hire large numbers of illegals. They also want to stop the...
  • Fineman: The Return of Tom Daschle

    Endorsements. Key staffers. Fundraising lists. Brotherly advice. Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle is making his presence felt behind the scenes in Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
  • Restoring Voting Rights for Felons

    It is the rare individual whose major concern upon release from prison is whether he or she retains the right to vote. Ex-offenders tend to be more concerned with more mundane matters—such as obtaining proper identification, getting a job and finding a suitable place in the post-prison universe.  Still, in today’s world the right to vote is inseparable from the right to participate fully in society. And a state cannot forever deny that right without also denying the possibility of redemption and rehabilitation.Charlie Crist, Florida’s Republican governor, acknowledged as much last week when he persuaded a majority of his fellow state clemency board members to ease the way back to the voting booth for former felons. The plan—a reversal of the policies followed by Jeb Bush and other former Florida governors, going back to 1868—was touted as something of an Easter gift for Florida’s once-errant citizens.“It is significant that we visit this issue during Holy Week, a week about...
  • The Gulf: The New Hostage Crisis

    A minor incident is becoming a major hostage crisis. In the week and a half since 15 British sailors and Marines were detained near the Shatt al Arab waterway—allegedly by Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats—tensions have worsened. Now British Prime Minister Tony Blair (criticized for not reacting more combatively) has asked for U.N. Security Council help. Tehran paraded the captives on TV and elicited their apologies, and Iran's chief international negotiator, Ali Larijani (a former Guard commander), made a veiled threat to put them on trial.It's still unclear who was behind the seizure. Were Revolutionary Guard zealots acting on their own, forcing Tehran to back them up? Or was the detention ordered from on high, possibly by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who warned only two days before the seizure that if Americans and Europeans "take illegal actions, we too can take illegal actions and will do so"? A retired Iranian diplomat, anonymous because the matter is sensitive, says...
  • From Iraq, U.S. Troops Write Home

    In an ongoing series, NEWSWEEK publishes letters and e-mails from fallen U.S. troops in Iraq to loved ones and friends back home. The following are unedited excerpts from correspondence provided by families of the deceased.
  • Mormons: With Cheney, Even the Faithful Protest

    Is there any place left where the vice president can be sure of a friendly welcome? Dick Cheney is traveling later this month to Utah, the reddest of Red States, to deliver the commencement address at the Mormon Church's Brigham Young University. But even there, support is ebbing for George W. Bush and Cheney. The university has approved a rare campus protest this week against Cheney's visit, and is considering a second on commencement day. One online petition asking BYU to rescind the invitation has gathered more than 2,000 signatures, many from students and professors as well as alumni. The university says such criticism is normal. "On this campus there are many diverse viewpoints on any number of subjects," says spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.Bush met with church president Gordon Hinckley in Salt Lake City in September, but that hasn't stopped a shift in Mormon loyalties—just as the polls have moved among Christian conservatives across the country. According to veteran Utah pollster...
  • A Life In Books: Dana Gioia

    He heads the National Endowment for the Arts—which just launched a nationwide literacy project, at—yet Dana Gioia also finds time to compose poetry. Of course, in his position, he has to stay well read, too. A classic that, on rereading, was disappointing: "Ulysses" by James Joyce. I adore early Joyce, but this book still feels ponderously overwritten—the literary equivalent of a fashion show in super slo-mo. The book you care most about having your children read: "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. My wife's and my favorite book. If my boys can manage this, they can read anything.
  • Jon Meacham: The Editor's Desk

    She was not expecting the call. "Em, I'm sick," he told her, and Emily Lazar and Jon Alter's world, like the worlds of so many cancer patients, was suddenly changed forever. It was Tuesday, March 2, 2004, and Alter, the NEWSWEEK columnist, had just learned he likely had cancer. (He was ultimately diagnosed with lymphoma.) He immediately called his wife. "I will never forget his voice that day," Emily recalls. "It really took a lot of innocence out of our lives. Even now, when I hear Jon on an answering machine saying, 'Hi, I just landed at Newark,' or some other mundane message, I find myself feeling disproportionately happy. You find yourself cherishing the normal."In this week's cover, Jon, who is now in remission, writes about his lymphoma, the way he lives with cancer and with the constant threat that it will return in force. The essay was prompted by word of the recurrence of Elizabeth Edwards's and Tony Snow's cancers, developments that put a fresh light on what is all too...
  • Kids' TV: Winnie the Pooh, Reloaded

    The Hundred Scre Wood had welcomed only one human: Christopher Robin. But fans who tune in to the May 12 debut of Disney's latest Pooh series, "My Friends Tigger & Pooh," will find the boy has been largely replaced—by a 6-year-old girl named Darby. In the new show, Tigger and Pooh don superhero duds and solve mysteries (who's stealing Rabbit's rutabagas?). Executive producer Brian Hohlfeld thought Christopher Robin was too old for such sleuthing, so he designed Darby. She was a huge hit in postproduction testing. But Pooh purists won't be pleased: Christopher Robin appears in only two of the 26 episodes. British journalist Hugh Fraser, who launched a "Save Christopher Robin" campaign on his blog, says Darby subverts A. A. Milne's vision. "For a girl to intrude breaks the spell of the story," he says. "They aren't her toys."
  • 'American Idol': The Power of the Brand

    She seemed to be cruising—until she was suddenly voted off the show. Kellie Pickler finished sixth last season on "American Idol," banished from superstardom forever. Except she wasn't. In the fall Pickler's debut album, "Small Town Girl," reached No. 1 on the Billboard country charts. It's gone on to sell a respectable 478,000 copies, helped by a follow-up performance on "Idol," and Pickler even has a sitcom in development."American Idol" used to be the search for a single superstar. But now the show is turning them out by the bunch. Walk into a record store, and the top-selling singles in the country are from past "Idol" performers. Chris Daughtry, who came in fourth, leads the pack for last season, having sold 2 million albums. On a nearby shelf you can find records from winner Taylor Hicks, runner-up Katharine McPhee and a made-over Elliott Yamin, who finished third. There are more releases coming from the less popular contestants: Bucky Covington (April 17), Paris Bennett (May...
  • Rove's Role: New Disclosures

    New disclosures in the U.S. attorney controversy have increased the pressure on White House aide Karl Rove. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's ex-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, testified last week that "during the run-up to the midterm elections," the A.G. told him Rove had "complained" that David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, and two other federal prosecutors, were not doing enough to prosecute voter fraud—a top GOP priority. It was shortly after that, Sampson said, that Iglesias got added to the list of U.S. attorneys to be fired. (Iglesias told NEWSWEEK he had been repeatedly pushed by New Mexico GOP officials to prosecute workers for ACORN, an activist group that was registering voters in minority neighborhoods, but he found no cases worth bringing.) Justice was also forced to correct its earlier assertion that Rove did not play "any role" in replacing the U.S. attorney in Little Rock. Sampson's e-mails showed he had described the replacement as "important to ......
  • Hot Dogs: Get 'Em While They're Hot

    NATHAN'S FAMOUS BEEF FRANKS $4.99 (8 dogs, 1 lb.) JOHNSONVILLE STADIUM STYLE BEEF FRANKS $3.99 (6 dogs, 14 oz.) HEBREW NATIONAL BEEF FRANKS $4.69 (7 dogs, 12 oz.) OSCAR MAYER BEEF FRANKS $3.99 (10 dogs, 1 lb.) KAYEM DELI JUMBO BEEF HOT DOGS $3.99 (8 dogs, 1 lb.)
  • Women: The Risks of Opting Out

    Leslie Bennetts, a working mother of two, wondered about the downside of opting out of the work force. The author of "The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?" spoke with Peg Tyre. ...
  • Mail Call: Exercise Might Just Aid What Ails You

    Readers were invigorated by our cover story on the benefits of exercise that reach beyond weight loss and may make us smarter and possibly prevent dread diseases. One exercise enthusiast who came to it later in life said, "And now to find out that we're all smarter because of it—what a bonus!" Another added, "Exercise is the best generic medicine." A 23-year-old who at the age of 11 weighed 163 pounds and is now down to a size 4 wrote, "Those who are overweight and don't enjoy exercise can change. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Not only is losing weight and achieving goals good for your health, it will build your confidence and spill into other areas of life." Another hoped that schools would heed this research at a time when curricular demands diminish time for recess and PE. "In the future, successful schools will have to understand a student's need for fitness and using the body as a learning tool." ...
  • Giuliani: What Did He Know About Kerik?

    What did Rudy know and when did he know it? New York City documents show that the chief of an internal watchdog agency briefed Mayor Giuliani and his top aides several times on the background of Bernard Kerik before the mayor appointed his pal commissioner of the New York Police Department in 2000. Edward Kuriansky, then head of the city's Department of Investigation, knew at the time that Kerik had dubious relationships—including with his former best man, who'd been indicted for stock fraud, and two brothers who owned a company with suspected ties to organized crime (allegations that the company denies). The documents, entries from "daily calendars" maintained by Kuriansky, show the investigator was scheduled to attend five meetings with Giuliani to discuss Kerik's NYPD candidacy. (The documents were released to NEWSWEEK in response to a Freedom of Information request; Kuriansky did not respond to requests for comment.) According to The New York Times, Giuliani told a grand jury...
  • The Military: Out, and On the Lam

    The number of active-duty soldiers who deserted the Army last year is higher than previously reported—at 3,301, the military said last week. (The Army said the original figure was tallied incorrectly.) Deserters are branded after abandoning their posts without permission for 30 days. The tally is hardly at Vietnam War levels, but it's still significant for an all-volunteer military.Many of today's deserters have served a term or two in Afghanistan and Iraq already, and were slated to redeploy to Iraq, says Jeffry House, one of the more prominent lawyers for deserters. A Vietnam-era draft-dodger in Toronto, House represents more than 30 American service members who have sought refugee status in Canada. "People can't justify to themselves what they're doing there," he says. "It just seems wrong, wrong, wrong to them."Since these troops disagree only with the premise of this war, it's more difficult for them to escape deployment as conscientious objectors, who oppose all wars. So House...
  • Assessing the Iranian Nuke Threat

    Iranian President Ahmadinejad announced his country is now capable of producing 'industrial-scale' uranium enrichment. Assessing that boast—and what it means for nuclear negotiations.
  • To Catch a Thief at the National Archives

    With its stacks of yellowing historical documents and staff of earnest archivists and librarians, the National Archives doesn’t seem like a typical setting for intrigue. So workers at the Philadelphia branch have understandably been shaken by a whodunit that has unfolded in their normally placid corridors during the last few months.The unusual crime began to unravel last September, when Dean Thomas of Gettysburg, Pa., had the sensation of déjà vu while reading an eBay offer for three Civil War documents from 1861 and 1862 that his brother was bidding on for him. Thomas, who publishes Civil War and American Revolution history books, got up from his desk and looked into one of his many black binders, the one that holds the letters he photocopied some 20 years earlier at the Philly National Archives. There, he found the same ones he was seeing on eBay, being sold by a private seller, “hchapel.” His brother won the bid on a Sunday night and the purchase went through for $298.88. Payment...
  • From Iraq, U.S. Troops Write Home

    In an ongoing series, NEWSWEEK publishes letters and e-mails from fallen U.S. troops in Iraq to loved ones and friends back home. The following are unedited excerpts from correspondence provided by families of the deceased.
  • The Squabble Over Pelosi's Scarf

    Speaker Pelosi's headgear draw fire from both right and left. What it says about Western attitudes toward Islam—and the state of American politics today.
  • Edwards: Balancing Cancer and the Campaign

    John Edwards wanted to talk about predatory lending. Stumping at a convention center in Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday, the Democratic presidential candidate delivered a wonky speech about home foreclosures and exploitive mortgage terms. But when it came time for questions from the audience, one woman had something else on her mind. She bypassed Edwards and directed her comments at his wife, Elizabeth, who was seated nearby. “Thank you for your courage and inspiration,” the woman said. Praising Elizabeth for battling her recent resurgence of cancer with dignity, she asked what the candidate’s wife might do for the cause of cancer prevention. Elizabeth rose to offer a frank, stirring and self-critical response. “I did not have to be in this situation,” she said. “I did that by my negligence of my own health,” in not getting mammograms when she should have. So she urged the women gathered to “make different decisions” than the ones she had made. The crowd responded with a standing...
  • Mail Call

    Readers of our March 5 cover story on the the United Nations' new chief protested that it was unfair. "You're writing him off before he's even settled in," wrote one. Another said, "Give him a chance, his task is crucial." ...
  • Reality Check on Bush's Rose Garden Talk

    Bush came out swinging against a Democratic Congress determined, he argues, to undo the benefits of the "surge." Time for a reality check. Finding the thorns in Bush's Rose Garden address.
  • Terror Watch: A Fired U.S. Attorney Strikes Back

    The Justice Department called David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, an 'absentee landlord'—a key reason listed for his firing last December. Just one problem: Iglesias, a captain in the Navy Reserve, was off teaching classes as part of the war on terror. Now Iglesias is striking back, arguing he was improperly dismissed.
  • From Iraq, U.S. Troops Write Home

    In an ongoing series, NEWSWEEK publishes letters and e-mails from fallen U.S. troops in Iraq to loved ones and friends back home. The following are unedited excerpts from correspondence provided by families of the deceased.
  • From Iraq, U.S. Troops Write Home

    In an ongoing series, NEWSWEEK publishes letters and e-mails from fallen U.S. troops in Iraq to loved ones and friends back home. The following are unedited excerpts from correspondence provided by families of the deceased.
  • A Life In Books: Walter Mosley

    All writers lie about their favorite books, says Walter Mosley, author of 28 novels, including "Devil in a Blue Dress." He says the most important books are read before the age of 12, so any list of books read later must be arbitrary. He humored us anyway. An Important Book that you admit you haven't read:Einstein's papers on the theory of relativity. I have it around and I keep trying, but it's hard to understand it. I want to, though.