Brian Braiker

Kicking Up Dust

When he heard earlier this year that the Pentagon had forbidden taking or distributing images of caskets containing the remains of soldiers who died overseas, Russ Kick did what he always does: he filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Fitness: Pavement Pounding

Spring's gorgeous weather robs us of excuses for not exercising. If you're a jogger, here are a few tips on finding the perfect shoe. Think on your feet: are you flatfooted or do you have high arches?

What Would Jesus Say About Pete?

Pete would prefer that parents pass on pornography. Pete is repulsed by porn, and he's prepared to proselytize. But Pete's not a person--Pete's a puppet. Meet Pete the Porno Puppet, coming soon to a Public Service Announcement near you.Part "Sesame Street," part "Odd Couple," Pete is the brainchild of two pastors and a pornographer.

Slated for California

The Los Angeles Times announced Wednesday that the paper had chosen a new editorial and opinion editor. What was surprising was the fact that the masthead's new No.

'Access of Evil'

Depending on your own brand of politics, you either view Amy Goodman as a crusader, a kook, a nuisance, a threat, or a hero. But one thing is almost irrefutable: she has courage.

Newsweek Poll: The Race Heats Up

After weeks of increasingly violent news from Iraq, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts now leads the president in a two-way trial heat by seven points (50 percent to 43 percent), according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll.Even after adding independent candidate Ralph Nader to the hypothetical race, Kerry enjoys a four-point lead (46 percent to 42 percent), with Nader drawing 4 percent of the vote.Meanwhile, just 36 percent of those polled say they are satisfied with "the...

Safely Grazing Again

Of all his formidable talents, Leon Fleisher's ability to appreciate irony may be the most useful. Arguably the greatest classical pianist of his generation, Fleisher, 75, first sat behind the ivories at the age of 4 and by the time he turned 9 was studying under the legendary Artur Schnabel.

ONLINE: TIME WELL WASTED

Killing time on the boss's dime? Well, we've scoured the Web just for you--afterhours, of course. Our top three sites:HomestarRunner.com, the gold standard of Flash animation, posts weekly toons of its puckish hit character Strong Bad responding to real fan mail.

The World On A String

Brian Greene likes to think he's got it all figured out. Literally. And it all boils down to string. A Columbia University physics professor, Greene is one of the world's leading thinkers and writers on string theory, which purports to be the unifying theory of everything.

MEDIA: THE DEAN'S BLAIR TAKE

Nicholas Lemann wears two hats. He's dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, and also a longtime writer and student of the press. As a dean, he won't be assigning New York Times plagiarist Jayson Blair's new book to J-school students--"The short answer is 'No'," he told NEWSWEEK--but the writer in him was interested enough to review Blair's book for The New Yorker this week. "Burning Down My Masters' House" is Blair's memoir.

'It Has To Be Al Qaeda'

What started off as a typical weekday commute to work ended in a hell of twisted metal, shattered glass and broken bodies Thursday morning. Exactly 911 days after September 11, 2001, Spain was rocked by the biggest terrorist attack on European soil since World War II: 10 synchronized bombs ripped through commuter trains outside Madrid, killing at least 199 people and wounding 1,400 others.

The Blair Bitch Project?

He's baaack. Disgraced reporter Jayson Blair has released "Burning Down My Masters' House" (New Millennium) a memoir of his booze- and plagiarism-addled four-year tenure at The New York Times.

National Disaster?

Lucy Spelman, director of the 114-year old National Zoo in Washington, D.C., announced plans to retire Wednesday, the same day a highly critical, yearlong independent review by the National Academy of Sciences was released.

Portraits of the Town Drunk

The man has songs written about him. He has fan sites dedicated to him. People have had his image airbrushed onto T shirts. He's been on late night TV. And sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, he's--almost certainly, as you read these very words--doing what made him so famous: time.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The big cell phone news was tough to miss this week: Tuesday's announcement of a $41 billion buyout of AT&T Wireless by Atlanta-based Cingular Wireless had pundits chattering and pontificating on the future of the industry.

Crude Awakening

Remember 1973? If you do, there are plenty of reasons to wish you didn't. Chief among them (right after leisure suits) would be the oil crisis that began in October.

Serious Muslim Seeks Spouse--Online

Imam Luqman Ahmad had heard so many stories about members of his mosque meeting their Muslim mates online that he finally decided to log on for himself and see what the fuss was all about. "I went to the site and I saw all these hundreds of prospective spouses," he recalls of his first visit to Al-Usrah.net in January 2000. "I was taken aback; I didn't know it was that widely used."A religious leader at a mosque in Sacramento, Calif., Ahmad, 45, admits to having had initial concerns about...

Reich's Reprimand

Sen. John Kerry cemented his position as the leading Democrat in the race for his party's nomination with wins in Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Delaware last night.

A Beef Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith got it wrong. In 1943, she kicked off her novel "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" with a simple apothegm: "Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, N.Y." But Brooklyn was hardly "serene" in 1939, when Robert Moses plunked an elevated highway over Third Ave., destroying homes, businesses and the fabric of the Sunset Park community. "Serene" is also the wrong word to describe Brooklyn in 1957, when "dem Bums," the Dodgers, played their last game at Ebbets Field because the team's...

Changing of the Guard

Launched in 1953 by a group of friends that included Editor in Chief George Plimpton, Peter Matthiessen and Harold Humes, The Paris Review made a splash publishing a number of unknown writers who later became stars.

Justice, Iraqi Style

Basking in Sunday's predawn capture of Saddam Hussein, a jubilant George W. Bush did not mince words. "He is a torturer, a murderer and they had rape rooms, and this is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice," the U.S. president said of the deposed despot. "I've got my own personal views of how he ought to be treated."But the president's private desires are not likely to figure much in determining Saddam's ultimate fate.

The Long Wait

Ayanda Ntuli, 6, wanted to spend Christmas with her father in America. But those plans were dashed when U.S. consular officials in South Africa recently refused to grant her and her mother visas for a two-week visit.

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