U.S.

  • Palm Beach Braces For Second Voting Crisis

    During the 2000 election, Palm Beach, Fla., resident Sandy Blank watched, horrified, as her county became a mess of butterfly ballots, hanging chads, erroneous votes for Pat Buchanan—and a national punch line. (The Onion rechristened the state "Flori-duh.") The voting disaster inspired civic activism: Blank become a Palm Beach poll worker. "I wanted to change things," she says. Instead, six weeks before the presidential election, the situation there is as messy as ever, and a botched primary in late August only underscored the threat of another calamity. In that primary, roughly 3,500 votes went missing; then, after an audit, there were more ballots than voters, which should be impossible. But this is Palm Beach. "It's a crisis of confidence," says Blank, reporting a paltry 3 percent turnout at her polling station.Voting-technology experts say that Palm Beach represents a checklist of how not to run elections. The county—with an assist from the state government—responded to the 2000...
  • All the Candidates’ Cars

    When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.One vehicle in the McCain fleet has caused a small flap. United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger, an Obama backer, accused McCain this month of "flip-flopping" on who bought daughter Meghan's foreign-made Toyota Prius. McCain said last year that he bought it, but then told a Detroit TV station on Sept. 7 that Meghan "bought it, I believe, herself." (The McCain campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)Obama's lone vehicle also is a green machine, a 2008 Ford Escape hybrid. He bought it last year to replace the family's Chrysler 300C, a Hemi-powered sedan. Obama ditched the 300C, once 50 Cent's preferred ride, after taking heat for driving a guzzler...
  • Factcheck.org: Spinning Spanish-Speaking Voters

    A Spanish-language ad from Obama calls McCain a friend of Rush Limbaugh and says Limbaugh called Mexicans "stupid." A McCain ad in Spanish misrepresents Obama's role on immigration legislation.
  • Message: Get a Message

    Obama has to explain how his policies could bring back the American faith in broadly shared prosperity.
  • Life in Books: George Pelecanos

    My Five Most Important Crime Novels 1. " The Long Goodbye " by Raymond Chandler. A melancholic ode to loss and the passage of time. 2. " The Burglar " by David Goodis. Hypnotic prose and a shocking ending. Call it pulp if you have the need to. It's disturbing art. 3. "The Last Good Kiss" by James Crumley. The post-Vietnam stunner that reinvigorated the genre and jacked up a generation of future crime novelists. 4. "Swag" by Elmore Leonard. Down-and-dirty, this one smokes front to back, and the voice is one of a kind. 5. "Clockers" by Richard Price. My generation's "Grapes of Wrath."A CLASSIC YOU'VE REVISITED WITH DISAPPOINTMENT: "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo. Except for the page that features Sonny and the bridesmaid. That page never disappoints.A BOOK YOU HOPE PARENTS READ TO THIER KIDS: "True Grit" by Charles Portis. A great adult novel with a strong, teenage female protagonist.
  • Abizaid Says Israel Can't Hurt Iran Nuke Program

    It wasn't an official military assessment, but retired Gen. John Abizaid's remarks at a Marine Corps University conference last week appeared to echo the thinking of at least some in the upper echelons of the U.S. military: Israel is incapable of seriously damaging Iran's nuclear program. Abizaid, who oversaw military operations in the Middle East as head of U.S. Central Command until 18 months ago, caused a stir last year by publicly asserting the United States could live with a nuclear-armed Iran through a strategy of cold-war-style deterrence. Last week, when asked to reflect on the possible consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Abizaid said he doubted whether "the Israelis have the capability to make a lasting impression on the Iranian nuclear program with their military capabilities." An Israel–Iran confrontation, he said, would be "bad for the region, bad for the United States [and would] ultimately move the region into an even more unstable situation...
  • Where's Bill?

    [youtube:4sKhtO6CoeM]With the market in meltdown mode--the "worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," say experts--and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama still struggling to make his economic message heard above the daily din of campaign distractions, we here at Stumper headquarters have a simple question to ask:Whither Bill? As in, Bill Clinton. Last Thursday, Obama and Clinton met for lunch in the latter's Harlem offices. Before sitting down to dine, they told a gaggle of reporters that the former president had agreed to start stumping for his possible successor later "this month." "I'm going out," he said. "Whatever I'm asked to do." The plan was for Clinton to hold regular campaign events in both rural and urban areas of...
  • 'True Blood' and the Lost Art of Opening Credits

    Even as American TV has evolved, one of its most charming aspects—the title sequence—has become scarce. To save precious seconds, many shows have jettisoned opening credits in favor of a brief flash of a logo, à la "Lost." It's a shame. A great title sequence is a gilded invitation to join the show's universe.The credits for the new HBO series "True Blood" (from Alan Ball of "Six Feet Under" ) are the perfect amuse-bouche. The show is about vampires assimilating into rural Louisiana, and the credits are a flip book of Deep South postcards: images of hungry gators and modest homes, neon crosses and dirt roads. In the final shot, a woman is dunked for a river baptism and appears to emerge in hysterics. Either she's in rapture, or just a hairbreadth from drowning. This is the world of "True Blood," where quaint, romantic notions of the South are recast with dread.The package was made by Digital Kitchen, the agency behind "Six Feet Under's" Emmy-winning sequence. By hiring it again,...
  • U.S. Worried Over Lack Of N. Korea Succession Plan

    Some thoughts are even more disturbing than the idea of Kim Jong Il's controlling an arsenal of poison gas, germ-war cultures and nuclear devices. Like what if the North Korean leader suddenly didn't control those weapons of mass destruction? The question grew urgent last week after Kim failed to show up at a parade marking the Stalinist regime's 60th anniversary. The Dear Leader hadn't appeared in public for weeks, and senior North Korean officials soothed no one's doubts when they broke their usual silence to deny that Kim had suffered a stroke. With no solid information on Kim's health, Washington could only hope North Korea wasn't on the verge of a succession crisis.That's the last thing the region needs. Kim, 66, a former smoker who's more than fond of good food and drink, has no designated successor. Rivalries at the top might get ugly, South Koreans worry. What really scares them is the North's desperately poor civilian population. If the demilitarized zone were to disappear...
  • Let’s Rally Around the Green Flag

    In "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," New York Times columnist and globalization exponent Thomas Friedman pleads for Americans to wake up to the perils and opportunities of an emerging resource-strapped world. The author comes across as a blend of Will Rogers, Jack Welch and Norman Vincent Peale—a plain-spoken citizen outraged at the bullheadedness of U.S. politicians, yet optimistic about the power of ingenuity and finely crafted policy to avert disaster. ...

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