Martha Brant

Off Beat: Political Theater

In my book, the fiery Rev. Al Sharpton won Tuesday's Baltimore debate when he--alone among all nine Democratic White House hopefuls--told the disruptive Lyndon LaRouche supporters to shut up.Fans (or paid agitators?) of LaRouche, a perennial candidate who was not invited to take part, interrupted the debate five times.

Log On And Learn

When Becky, an 18-year-old Londoner, wanted to learn about sex, she did what any red-blooded teenager would do: she went online. At the controversial sex-education Web site, she discovered that if she picked up enough condoms and stayed "off the drink," she'd learn how to "shag" safely. "I found a few things I didn't know before," says Becky, who declined to give her last name. "This [Web site] allows you to have straight language," says Joan Worsley, a project manager for...

Cars: Zipping Along

Ed and Penny Cherubino have a love-hate relationship with cars. He loves them; she hates them. But even he had become fed up with their '87 Saab, which was costing $5,000 a year to hang on to--even though they typically walk or take public transportation in their congested Boston neighborhood.

Off Beat: Out Of Step

Why is it politicians are always the last to know? The more time I spend in Washington, the more I realize that social change takes root everywhere but here.While politicians and judges dither over legislation, small but radical shifts are taking place outside the political arena.


When Becky, an 18-year-old Londoner, wanted to learn about sex, she did what any red-blooded teenager would do: she went on the Internet. She logged onto, a Web site designed to teach kids about safe sex by way of a computer game.


When Becky, an 18-year-old Londoner, wanted to learn about sex, she did what any red-blooded teenager would do: she went on the Internet. She logged onto, a Web site designed to teach kids about safe sex by way of a computer game.

Off Beat: Appraising Arnold

Like most Southern Californians, I had plenty of brushes with fame when I was growing up in Orange County--now of TV fame thanks to the new series, "The O.C." (Note to TV writers: we never called it that.)O.


Really, they're trying to be helpful! But, Mom and Dad, maybe steaming open those letters from the admissions office isn't a great idea. It's their application, after all.

Off Beat: Such A Deal

The tips keep pouring in. Saddam Hussein is in Mosul, Tikrit, Kirkuk. He's disguised as a vendor, a woman, an oil worker. All of a sudden, Iraqis seem very interested in helping Coalition forces find their former oppressor.

Off Beat: On The Road With Colin Powell

I saw a whole new side of statesman Colin Powell early this week on his visit to Chile and Argentina: a side that wears blue track suits, sings Calypso tunes and is better than most PR slicks at handling the press.Unlike President Bush, who never came back to talk to reporters on Air Force One when I was covering the White House, Powell was no stranger to the press cabin.

Off Beat: My Tech-And-Threat Tour

"We're not having a sarin gas attack," explained Deputy Assistant Secretary Bill Pierce of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I was eyeing one of the high-resolution screens that cover an entire wall in the new secretary's Command Center.

Off Beat: It's Lonely At The Bottom

I drove down to Chicago's South Side on Wednesday to find the Carol Moseley Braun for President headquarters. It took some looking. "Never heard of it or her," said one woman who asked me if I needed help as I wandered around South Wabash and 29th.The former U.S. senator--the first African-American woman ever in that job--announced in February that she was forming a presidential exploratory committee.

Off Beat: Farewell To 'Ari Bob'

Just hours after White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer announced Monday that he will leave his job in July, the press-office fax machine was humming with queries from book publishers and speaking bureaus.For now, Fleischer hasn't committed to anything. "If I can't have my first choice, playing short stop for the Yankees, then I'll take my second: catching up on my sleep," he jokes.Whatever he chooses, he's bound to make more money.

Tommy Franks

Military commanders have long touted boldness and surprise as keys to victory. "L'audace, l'audace," said Napoleon, "toujours l'audace!" But how do you achieve surprise in the age of instant information?

Front Lines: The Unveiling

The veil got lifted a little further on democracy in Qatar on Tuesday. Women--many with their faces covered--strolled into the Al Eman girls school, one of 125 polling places for the country's referendum on a new constitution.When they stepped behind the voting-booth curtain, they had company: a female police officer.

Front Lines: Fade Away

There had been speculation among reporters at Central Command in Doha, Qatar, that at the end of the war we would finally see what some dubbed the MOAB--the Mother of All Briefings.The wishful thinking was that Gen.

A Crashing End

Today was payday at Central Command in Doha, Qatar. Ever since the start of the war, military officials here have been hoping for just the kind of footage that came across TV screens worldwide today: jubilant Iraqis tearing down the vestiges of Saddam Hussein's power.They had hoped to have those images out of Basra weeks ago.

A Soldier's Soldier

If it had been completely up to General Tommy Franks we might never have known about his top secret trip "forward" into Iraq Monday. He's no fan of press--especially his own.But Franks liked the idea that bringing a pool reporter along on his seven-hour foray would help shine the spotlight on the troops in the field.

'She's Alive'

It sounded like one of those fanciful Hollywood scripts. On Tuesday night, more than 1,000 Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Marines and Air Force pilots joined forces for a mission to get back one American POW: Private First Class Jessica Lynch, a "junior enlisted" soldier with a maintenance division.The military had received HumInt (human intelligence) that the 19-year-old--a member of a maintenance unit that was ambushed more than a week ago--was being held at Saddam Hospital in the southern city of...

Front Line: The Io Options

Every day coalition forces are bombarding Iraqi cities and towns with leaflets, nearly 30 million of them since October and counting. The latest message: Stay Home!They want civilians off the roads and bridges.

Media: Live From Qatar!

The "battle rhythm" at Central Command's press center in Qatar is set to the tune of Islam's call to prayer. That daily schedule shows the times of strategy sessions, meetings and briefings--and the exact times of the five daily prayer sessions for Muslims.

Front Lines: Waiting

One of the hottest selling items at the PX--the Post Exchange store--here at Camp As Saliyah in Qatar has been a folding deck chair.There has been a lot of sitting around waiting for diplomacy to take its course.

Front Lines: High-Tech Battle Planning

Talk about productivity gains. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, it used to take hours to get the ATO (Air Tasking Order) to aircraft carriers. Some poor soldier at Saudi Arabia's Prince Sultan Air Base would have to print out the comprehensive flight schedules for the region-a telephone-book-size document that charts everything from cargo hauls to bombing runs.Then he'd lug that to a pilot who flew it to the carriers.