Eat, Drink And Be Wary

FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan oversees almost a quarter of the U.S. economy. Tapped for the job in the fall of 2002, McClellan handles such complex issues as cloned foods and regulating pharmacogenomics using DNA tests to tailor drugs to individual patients. He'll also handle two of the hottest issues of 2004: a proposal to approve over-the-counter sales of the "morning after" contraceptive pill, and the drive to import cheap prescription drugs from Canada.A doctor and economist, McClellan,...

Finance Reform: Loophole Logistics

When the Supreme Court ruled on campaign-finance reform last week, the biggest surprise was that the court upheld a ban on last-minute television and radio issue ads bought with "soft money." (Ads that mention a federal candidate near an election must be paid for with "hard money"--cash raised in small amounts from individual donors--not soft money from corporations, labor groups or big donors.) But if you turn on the tube just before Election Day, you'll probably still see plenty of ads....

Hard Pill To Swallow

When Dr. Brian Bachelder moved back to Mt. Gilead, Ohio, to practice family medicine in 1984, he hoped to emulate the country doc who'd treated him as a kid. The old physician had cured the sniffles, delivered babies, monitored chest pain, even taken out appendixes. Now in his own modest storefront office with Norman Rockwell prints on the walls, Bachelder cares for thousands of patients. But in recent years, Bachelder, 49, has watched litigation reshape his practice. Last December, facing...

The Litigation: Looking For Payback

When Peter Kugi decided to set up a college fund for his young son six years ago, he chose a local Milwaukee firm, Strong Capital Management. The founder, Dick Strong, had "the reputation of the guy next door who would look out for you," says Kugi. And even though Kugi's $6,000 investment dwindled by half, he stayed put. But he was stunned when the mutual-fund scandal led to the office of Dick Strong himself. So Kugi signed on as a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the firm. "I feel...

Amending Their Ways

Matt Daniels was ahead of his time. Long before gay marriage became a potent political issue--even before it was a realistic possibility in the eyes of gay activists--Daniels worried that liberal judges might one day overturn laws barring same-sex unions. Growing up in Spanish Harlem with a single mom on welfare, Daniels always had a keen sense of the importance of family. But as a lawyer pursuing a doctorate in politics, he grew incensed reading about judges who changed social policy from the...

Britain: God Save The President

Britain: God Save the PresidentIt seemed like a swell idea at the time. President George W. Bush's pageantry-filled Nov. 19 to Nov. 21 state visit to Britain was planned long before the war in Iraq--and the U.N. nastiness that preceded it. Since then the political ground under both Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair has shifted dramatically. Bush is no longer untouchable, and Blair has been badly damaged by the ongoing mess in Iraq and his "poodle" closeness to Bush. Add to that a huge antiwar...

Profile: A Millionaire's Last Vocation

Sir John Templeton has the kind of retirement most people dream about. On a recent afternoon, the former mutual-fund tycoon strolled the veranda of his white-columned plantation-style home in the Bahamas, gazing out over the trimmed golf course to the sparkling sea below. But Templeton doesn't spend much time on the links. And he's more likely to steer his Lincoln down flower-lined streets to his nearby office than to the posh beach club at Lyford Cay. At 90, Templeton still works every bit as...

A Firefight Over Abortion

For Dr. Leroy Carhart, last week was deja vu all over again. When Nebraska passed a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion in 1997, Carhart challenged it in court, contending the law was so vague it could restrict nearly all abortions after the first trimester. In 2000 he took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, which declared the law unconstitutional. Last week Carhart watched with dismay as lawmakers in Washington passed a similar federal bill. George W. Bush has promised to sign it...

Ywca: Beyond The Pool

When most people think of the YWCA, they think of swimming pools. But Patricia Ireland wanted to change that. Her presidency coincided with the group's move to Washington-a place Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women, knows well. This week Ireland was set to unveil the YWCA's new agenda: to take a higher profile lobbying for women's issues like domestic violence. As soon as she took the helm last spring, the controversial Ireland, an outspoken feminist, drew fire from...

Face To Face--And Eye To Eye--For The First Time

It took a medical team of 50 doctors, nurses and techs more than 30 hours, but when the pros were done last week, Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim spent the first night of their lives sleeping in separate beds. The 2-year-old Egyptian twins were born joined at the crowns of their heads; they shared skull bones, skin and blood vessels, and the left hemisphere of each child's brain drained blood into the right hemisphere of the other's. Though the surgery was risky--the twins faced blood loss, brain...

Her Accidental Legacy

When 18-year-old Holly Patterson decided to end her pregnancy last month, she chose a relatively new method: the abortion pill RU-486, also known as mifepristone. But four days after she took the pill at a California clinic, Patterson arrived at a local emergency room with severe pain and bleeding. Sent home with painkillers, she returned to the hospital, where she died three days later. "This is a tragedy that never should have occurred," Holly's father, Monty Patterson, said last week. Though...

Washington, D.C.: Panicky, But With Probable Caus

People snickered last week when Washington, D.C., ground to a halt long before the first raindrops from Hurricane Isabel fell. Even in a city prone to panicking over weather, the exodus was striking. On Thursday morning, the House made it through a ceremonial five-minute session before the last lawmakers bolted; the Senate lasted an hour and a half. President Bush sought safety at Camp David and Air Force One was flown out to Georgia. Some 360,000 federal workers got the day off after Kay Coles...

Gay Marriage: Doma Decision

When it comes to the battle over gay marriage, all eyes are on Massachusetts, where the state's highest court is expected to rule soon on whether same-sex couples can marry. Thirty-seven states and the federal government already have "defense of marriage" acts that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. But after the Supreme Court overturned a Texas sodo-my law in June, many think the court could strike down DOMA laws, too. This week, Texas Sen. John Cornyn plans to hold a...

Race: Just The Beginning

Even before the ink was dry on the Supreme Court's landmark affirmative-action decision, both sides were already regrouping for the next round of attacks and counterattacks. Last week about 50 college presidents and university attorneys met at Harvard in what was supposed to be a celebration of the court's backing of diversity as a national priority. But the party mood was dampened as officials discussed how they would deal with the next wave of lawsuits and referendums. Higher-education...

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

When Texans Russell Smith and John Anthony traveled to Vermont to join in a civil union in February 2002, they had all the romantic intentions of any couple exchanging "I do's." But like the 50 percent of Americans whose marriages end in divorce, Smith and Anthony later decided to call it quits. Because the two had shared business deals, Smith worried he might one day face financial obligations from his ex. So he filed for divorce in a Texas court. Though a district judge initially agreed to...

Not Just Black &Amp; White

Sylvia Shaw had encountered plenty of obstacles on the road to medical school. But when she arrived for the first day of classes at the University of California, Davis, in the fall of 1978, she found one more: a throng of protesters and camera crews. They were there to mark the arrival of her famous classmate, Allan Bakke, a white student who'd sued for reverse discrimination after he was twice rejected--and got in only after his case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Bakke had...

Upholding The Status Quo

Twenty-five years after it last ruled on racial preferences in university admissions, a divided Supreme Court today waded back into the emotional dispute over the future of affirmative action. Some on both sides had hoped the court would finally clarify the murky precedent it had set in the 1978 Bakke case, which said that schools could use race as a "plus" factor in admissions, but could not rely on fixed quotas or two-track admissions systems.But today's decisions in two cases essentially...

The War Over Fetal Rights

The Politics Of The Womb Are Becoming Ever More Personal--And Complex. The Peterson Murder Case, Changing State Laws And Startling New Science Are Causing Many Americans To Rethink Long-Held Beliefs

'The Capacity Is There'

Hadley Arkes is the author of "Natural Rights and the Right to Choose" and is a fellow in Princeton University's politics department. He has testified before Congress on behalf of anti-abortion legislation. Excerpts from an interview by NEWSWEEK's Debra Rosenberg.ROSENBERG: What rights does a fetus have?ARKES: On what grounds would one consider a child in the womb as anything less than a human being? Doesn't speak yet: neither do deaf-mutes. Doesn't have arms and legs. There are many people who...

'When Can It Feel Pain?'

Bonnie Steinbock has written several books on medical ethics, including "Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses." She is chair of philosophy at SUNY Albany. She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Debra Rosenberg. Here are excerpts.ROSENBERG: What rights does a fetus have? Is it a crime victim?STEINBOCK: I think the context matters tremendously. For example, when we're talking about the right to terminate a pregnancy, we're talking partly about the status of the fetus--whether...

Tracking Sars

It was 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, when Dr. Michael Ryan, a contagious-disease specialist at the World Health Organization in Geneva, was jolted out of bed by a phone call. The WHO's regional office in Manila was on the line, alerting Ryan that the mysterious new illness spreading its way through Asia might now be hopping continents. A 32-year-old Singaporean physician had attended a conference in New York and was on his way home--and he was exhibiting suspicious respiratory symptoms....

Michigan's Day In Court

When the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases involving admissions at the University of Michigan, the legal showdown was billed as the most important test of affirmative action in 25 years. Businesses, universities--even the White House--deluged the court with more than 100 briefs. Some sided with the plaintiffs, three white students who said they were denied admission to Michigan's undergrad program and law school because of their race. But most backed the university, which argued it...

Rumble For The Robes

When George W. Bush nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in May 2001, Miguel Estrada seemed like a shoo-in. A 41-year-old Honduran immigrant with a solid resume, he'd clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, served as a federal prosecutor during Bush I and then as assistant solicitor general in the Clinton administration. As a trial lawyer, he didn't even have the kind of incriminating paper trail that sometimes derails judges and law professors....

Chipping Away At Roe

When aides to Rep. Charles Canady of Florida prepared to introduce a ban on certain abortions in 1995, they couldn't find the practice in any medical textbook. So Canady and his aides decided to name it themselves. They hoped to outlaw a technique in which the doctor "partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before killing the fetus and completing the delivery," as the original bill put it. "We wanted the most descriptive term," says former staff lawyer Keri Folmar. "The hope was that people...

Congress: While You Were Sleeping

While most Americans were preoccupied with terrorist threats last week, House Republicans got a quiet start on their domestic agenda. Without a public hearing and only a brief floor debate, House leaders passed a new, stricter welfare-reform bill--which calls for tougher work requirements and limits on training, education and child-care funding. "I think the Republicans are using what's going on to get their goods through Customs," says Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton aide who helped shape...

Periscope

United States: Of Politics And PanicDuct tape was adhered to America's consciousness last week, as if it were the only thing holding the country in place. On Monday, the U.S. government told citizens to stockpile food and water and to designate a safe room in their homes to be secured against germs and gas with duct tape and plastic sheeting. By Wednesday, hardware stores in the New York and Washington, D.C., areas were already running low on survival supplies. One Connecticut man even wrapped...

Supreme Court: Moving On, Moving In, Moving Up

It's been nine years since the last vacancy opened up on the U.S. Supreme Court. That historically long drought could end this year with at least one resignation. Eager White House aides are stepping up preparation efforts, vetting candidates and contemplating a special media operation to deal with a potential confirmation battle. With the White House and the Senate both in Republican hands, GOP-nominated Justices William Rehnquist, 78, and Sandra Day O'Connor, 72, are considered most likely to...

Periscope

Belarus: Lukashenko's LinksBelarus hasn't been in the limelight for a while--its appalling human-rights record and disinterest in democratic progress have largely isolated dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko. But Lukashenko's pariah status has ingratiated him with one world leader: Saddam Hussein. Now their relationship seems to be attracting Western attention once again.In recent years Belarus has regularly exported goods to Iraq under the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program. But lately Washington has grown...

Aids: A Crisis Gets Its Due

When George W. Bush unveiled a $15 billion AIDS-relief package in last week's State of the Union, he showed a new enthusiasm for solving the epidemic--and a willingness to buck two of his key constituencies: the pharmaceutical industry and the religious right. Big Pharma has long resisted the idea of letting poor nations use generic AIDS drugs, contending that generics undermine their patents. But the new Bush plan relies on the lower-cost generics to make widespread treatment affordable. "The...

Periscope

NORTH KOREAHow to Confront Kim?For the Bush administration, the worsening nuclear crisis in North Korea is turning into an exercise in frustration. For years, conservatives inside the administration have longed to face down the Stalinist state. But now that they have a cast-iron case--satellite pictures show the North is moving its stockpile of nuclear fuel rods--they can only shrug their shoulders.When North Korea took its first aggressive steps--by kicking out U.N. nuclear inspectors in...

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