Susannah Meadows

Periscope

Is this the end of Lebanon's brief "Cedar Revolution"? The signs aren't good. On Dec. 12, a massive car bomb exploded in a suburb of Beirut, killing Gibran Tueni, a member of Parliament and a crusading newspaper publisher.

Hillary's Military Offensive

This summer, the reserve Officers Association presented Sen. Hillary Clinton with its President's Award for her work on behalf of soldiers. On the morning of the ceremony, the event's organizers were a little nervous.

AN ANGEL'S DIRTY SECRET

Ashley Smith regretted the words the moment they came out of her mouth. While she was held hostage in her apartment last March by Brian Nichols--the man accused of a murderous rampage in Atlanta that left four people dead, including the judge hearing his rape trial--he asked her if she had any marijuana.

NEWSMAKERS

Q&A: GRETCHEN WILSONSelf-proclaimed "Redneck Woman" Gretchen Wilson went from filing for bankruptcy to selling more than 4 million records with her anthem for the common gal.

HILLARY: FEELING THE LOVE

When Republican guru Arthur Finkelstein launched a campaign in March to ruin Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential prospects, she appeared to be in for a Swift Boat Veterans-style thrashing.

Still The Boss

There are two Bruce Springsteens. There's the rousing E Street Band guy. And there's the quiet story-teller. Many fans go for both, but each Bruce inspires his own exclusive devotees.

SOLO AGAINST THE SEA

Thirteen days into her attempt to set a new record for sailing alone around the globe, Ellen MacArthur discovered that her boat's generator had been burning so much oil it wouldn't last her even half the trip.

'Liberalism is Dead'

During the presidential campaign, Mary Matalin helped craft Dick Cheney's potent words. Now, her new Simon & Schuster imprint will give voice to the rest of the conservative crowd, starting with the vice president's daughter.

NEWSMAKERS

Was Jane's Hubby Fonda Hookers?Well, we always knew Jane Fonda enjoyed a good workout. According to reports about her forthcoming memoir, "My Life So Far"-- passages of which were leaked to British papers last week--she and her first husband, French director Roger Vadim, spent part of the early '70s inviting prostitutes into their bed for threesomes.

BOOKS: LIVING HISTORY

"102 minutes," by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn, is an astounding reconstruction of what happened inside the World Trade Center between the time the first plane hit and the second tower fell.

FAST CHAT: ELVIS IN LONDON

Ricky Gervais became a star playing an icky character you had to watch through your fingers on the hit series "The Office." Now Gervais has written a children's book, "Flanimals," about globular creatures such as the Munty Flumple, a "dough-brained chump" who falls in love easily.

'We Will Not Faint'

Ohio officials concluded their recount of the presidential vote last Tuesday--reaffirming President George W. Bush's victory. But the state's election woes aren't over yet.

KERRY: JUST A WORKING STIFF

At a campaign stop in Oregon this summer, John Kerry greeted the thousands of fans who'd waited three hours to meet their man. Doused in their own bottled water to withstand the 100-degree heat, they were happy, expectant, ready to love.

BOOKS: NOT SHELVED YET

They may be swept off the front tables to make room for "Christmas for Dummies," but all those political books aren't going away. The juicy volumes that dominated the news this election--Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies," John O'Neill's "Unfit for Command" and even "The 9/11 Commission Report" brought new relevance to the woe-is-me book industry.

NEWSMAKERS

Q&A: Gisele BundchenGisele Bundchen has had all the supermodel prerequisites: the magazine covers, the movie-star boyfriend (a certain Mr. DiCaprio) and now, a film debut, driving the getaway car in "Taxi." She spoke to NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin.Are you a good driver?I think so.

THE BOYISH WONDER

In politics, self-made men seem to fall into two categories: sunny and dark. Both Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon began as farm boys, but while Ike radiated corn-fed smiles, Nixon seemed to be constantly brooding over some slight.

Politics: The Struggle To Shape Kerry's Story

Renowned documentary filmmaker George Butler, whose "Pumping Iron" made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, is now turning to John Kerry's story. A longtime friend, Butler is armed with 6,000 photographs of Kerry taken over a lifetime, footage of the young soldier in Vietnam and access to the people who know Kerry best. "I started taking pictures of him because I knew one day it would pay off," says Butler.

Losing is Working for Him

Last Sunday on a flight bound for Madison, Wisc., former Vermont governor Howard Dean wandered into the back of his campaign plane, in his socks and bifocals, to hang out with the reporters.

SERENA'S NEXT GAME

A year ago Serena Williams was on her way to beating her sister Venus to clinch the Australian Open title and complete the Serena Slam--holding all four major championships at once.

BETWEEN THE LINES

Dennis Kucinich would like you to know that in addition to opposing the war in Iraq, he is against using ghostwriters. Because he wrote "A Prayer For America" himself, he believes he's better than the six other Democratic presidential candidates who collaborated with writers on their books. (Carol Moseley Braun doesn't have one and according to retired Gen.

Q&Amp;A: Ricky Gervais

After two seasons of co-writing, co-directing and starring in pretty much the funniest TV show ever, there was only one thing to do: pull the plug. Susannah Meadows talked to the star of "The Office" about the importance of going out on top.Please let there be more episodes.

Design: Coming Out Of Hiding

For shelter magazines, showing a home's TV has been as taboo as a photo spread of the toilet. Designers and editors have never liked a TV's clunky appearance, says Mark Mayfield, editor in chief of House Beautiful, where there was always a "pretty hard and fast rule" about hiding them from readers.

Arrested Development

Elaine Lutringer could never quite pinpoint what was wrong with the four Jackson boys next door. The blinds of the worn Collingswood, N.J., house were always down, and in six years she'd never seen them playing.

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