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From Iraq, U.S. Troops Write Home

In an ongoing series, NEWSWEEK publishes letters and e-mails from fallen U.S. troops in Iraq to loved ones and friends back home. The following are unedited excerpts from correspondence provided by families of the deceased.

Mark Starr's 2007 Baseball Preview

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry in the American League East will finally tip the other way, but both teams will be there in October. And this year's surprise playoff team is ...

Letters From Iraq: Army Cpl. Stephen M. McGowan

In 2004, Army Cpl. Stephen M. McGowan spent some time in Kuwait before being deployed to Iraq. The following are unedited excerpts from his e-mails to family and friends from the last year of his life. Thank God for Subway 8/08/04Hey everyone,Just a quick note. I found an opening at the internet cafe so I jumped on it. I am in Kuwait and doing fine. We got here at 326 am and it was  98 degrees. I have sand in every orifice thanks to the storm that came while we were getting our bags. and...

Iraq: U.S. Soldiers' Letters Left Behind

Of the dozens of e-mails Army Sgt. Sean Fennerty wrote home during his three months in Iraq, the most wrenching dispatch reached his parents on Dec 12, 2006. "I write this with the heaviest of hearts," Fennerty typed into a military computer at his base in Baghdad, after attending a memorial service for two members of his airborne brigade killed in a roadside bombing. "They were two of my best friends and that was the squad I moved to, and then moved back from," he wrote. Fennerty, a...

An Investment You Can't Lick

Ok. you're sitting around dealing with big Financial Questions. Where's the stock market going? Will your 401(k) be fat enough for you to retire on caviar rather than cat food? How are you going to pay your kids' college tuition? Forget all that small stuff. Your new Big Economic Challenge for 2007 comes down to this: should you speculate in U.S. postage stamps?Stamp speculation usually means buying collector-quality issues and seeing whether they rise in price. But starting this spring, the...

Beliefwatch: Bookish

When Julie Sandorf's daughter, Sarah, was 3 years old, she came home from nursery school and declared: "Mommy, I don't want to be a Jewish, I want to be a Christian." These words sent Sandorf, an assimilated Jew with almost no grounding in her own religion, running, aghast, to the first place she could think of: her local bookstore. "I decided at that moment that we were not going to repeat another generation of ignorance and semi-self-loathing," she says.Over the next 17 years, Sandorf...

Environment: Easy to Be Green

You don't have to ditch leather or sell your car to help the environment. We've gathered 10 simple tips for living greener in 2007. Hey, it's a lot easier than losing those 15 pounds.1 Feed The Bees Pesticides, pollution and habitat destruction are taking a toll on the birds and insects that pollinate about 80 percent of the world's food supply (or about one out of every three bites of food we eat), says Rose Getch of the National Gardening Association. To lend a helping hand, plant a...

The Prodigal Returns

George Herbert Walker Bush is a proud father; tears easily come to his eyes when he thinks of his children, all of them, and there is gracious deference in his tone when he talks about the son he calls, with emphasis, " The President." He is not given to boasting about or bragging on his family; he still hears his mother's voice warning him to avoid "the Great I Am," but several times over the past few years the 41st president has mentioned to visitors that the 43rd president has read the Bible...

A Thanksgiving Rebellion

The workers\' rebellion ignited like a brush fire on Thursday morning. Incensed that some of their colleagues had been fired in recent days, Latino laborers at the Smithfield Packing Company\'s hog-killing plant in Tar Heel, N.C. began walking off the job. As the conflagration spread, some of the whites and blacks joined the exodus as well. Before long, some 350 to 500 workers were gathered outside, waving placards and chanting in Spanish, \"Justicia!\" (\"Justice!\") and \"Sí, se puede!\"...

An Evangelical Identity Crisis

It was a cold Halloween in Colorado Springs--The high barely hit 27 degrees--as Dr. James Dobson went about his work last week on the sprawling Focus on the Family campus he built in the shadows of the Rockies. From the evangelical organization's lofty perch (the city sits 6,035 feet above sea level), in the spirit of a day devoted to ghosts and goblins, Dobson's radio show, which reaches 220 million people worldwide, evoked what he hoped would be dark and scary visions for his fellow...

Looking for a Lifeboat

As President George W. Bush jets across Red State America this weekend, Republican candidates are falling further behind Democratic rivals, according to the new NEWSWEEK poll. While the GOP has lagged behind Democrats throughout the campaign season, the trend in the past month—when NEWSWEEK conducted four polls in five weeks—had suggested the Republicans were building momentum in the homestretch.No more. The new poll finds support for Republicans (and for President Bush) receding. For...

For the Faithful, A Trying Time

In Florida, you drive North to reach the South. The "I-4 Corridor" is a Mason-Dixon Line in reverse. I crossed it the other day headed north out of bland, Disney-fied Orlando on a state road with four numerals--past the BBQ shack with palm trees in the dusty parking lot and the Brazilian "ground fighting" school, past orange groves and cow pastures, to the turnoff for the dog track. Across the street stood the Northland Church Distributed; "distributed" because it conducts services at myriad...

In Rove's Footsteps

In a darkened edit room in downtown Dallas, admaker Scott Howell is tinkering with his latest political firebomb. The ad starts with illegal immigrants running across the border. It then cuts to images of Osama bin Laden and Zacarias Moussaoui. Finally comes the real target of Howell's attack: Harold Ford Jr., the Democrat locked in a close race for the Senate seat in Tennessee. Over an edgy hip-hop soundtrack, the ad castigates Ford for voting against border security and the Patriot Act. "No...

Dishing On Asia's Food

Dining is a joy in Singapore. And in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Hanoi… And yet food criticism in Asia is, relative to the West, still in its formative stages. Recently, however, food bloggers have begun to change all that. They're huge sensations today not just within their respective countries, but throughout the region. Aun Koh, who blogs as Chubby Hubby, is one of the most popular of Asian's food bloggers. A former magazine publisher, Chubby, 33, writes daily on everything food related-from...

Harvard Opts Out

While many educators fretted over Harvard's announcement last week that it was rescinding its Early Admissions policy, Azusa Pacific University stood firm. It will not end Early Action. But wait. The small Christian college near Los Angeles let in 2,300 of 3,100 freshman applicants for this fall. That's a 74 percent acceptance rate. Why does it even need Early Action to attract applicants? "Students kept asking us if we had Early Action," says Deana Porterfield, vice president for enrollment...

Plastic Predicament

Credit-card debt has nearly tripled in the last two decades, leaving many Americans stuck in a sinkhole of fees and penalties. Who's to blame, irresponsible spenders or predatory lenders?

Perspectives

"I am not in any doping process." Tour de France winner Floyd Landis,' denying using any performance-enhancing substances after testing positive for high levels of testosterone."Wow!" Rusty Yates, after his ex-wife, Andrea, was found not guilty by reason of insanity; in 2001, she had drowned the couple's five children. Rusty Yates supported the reversal of a 2002 guilty verdict, saying, "[Andrea] was psychotic. That's the whole truth.""I think it's fair to say we were not dealing with a great...

'Makes No Sense'

Why did the federal government cut the amount of antiterrorism money allocated to New York and Washington? The Department of Homeland Security announcement this week regarding the national distribution of $1.7 billion in grants has left many analysts puzzled—and, in some cases, angry—over what they see as startling anomalies. The biggest surprise: the two cities targeted in the September 11 attacks both saw their budgets slashed by some 40 percent. New York\'s grant was cut from $207.6...

Building Success

By the time Jonathan Reckford was 42, he'd crafted a corporate résumé that would inspire envy: he'd earned a Stanford M.B.A. and done stints at Goldman Sachs, Walt Disney and Best Buy. But life in the Fortune 500 hadn't proved completely fulfilling, and after a financial windfall from a merger, Reckford was working as a Presbyterian minister in Minnesota. So when a headhunter called a year ago wondering if he "knew anyone who might be interested" in becoming CEO of Habitat for Humanity...

Minimizing Your Risk

Research groups indicate that identity theft affected more than 9 million Americans last year. But despite those numbers, the revelation this week that the personal information of 26.5 million veterans had been stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee came as a shock. The information—mainly from veterans discharged since 1975—included the veterans' Social Security numbers, birthdates and, in some cases, a disability rating—a score of between 1 and 100 indicating...

Why Privacy Won't Matter

A friend takes your picture with her cell phone, and puts the phone back in her purse. But the gadget isn't dormant. It gets to work figuring out who you are, and sends that information, along with your precise location, to an organization that adds the data to a file it keeps on where you go and who you hang out with, as well as other things. The organization then charges money to help others who want to reach you, and even notifies certain people nearby of your presence.Who is this shadowy...

Speak It in Chinese, Hear It in English

Alex Waibel doesn't understand Chinese, but he can read street signs when in Beijing. A team of engineers led by Waibel at Germany's Karlsruhe University has developed a heldheld device called the Sign Translator. It uses an integrated camera and software that recognizes, and translates into English, about 3,000 Chinese characters.The Sign Translator is the cutting edge of a raft of breakthrough developments in translation technology coming down the pipeline. Governments in Europe, rather than...

The Good Life

The living room used to represent the showcase for style and comfort in a home. These days, the bathroom is quickly taking its place. New technologies and materials make it easy to linger ever longer. Linda Cragie, designer manager at Urang Limited in London, says the bath is usually the first room slated for renovation. "Everyone likes a new bathroom, don't they?" With fixtures like these, it's hard not to. The award-winning Strip free-standing tub by Aquamass is part furniture and part...

Drug Raid

You don't hear much about Austrian Nordic skiers in America for two reasons: they're Austrian and they're Nordic skiers. Maybe, possibly, you've read a story about Austrian alpine skier Hermann (the Hermannator) Maier, who bronzed in Monday's Giant Slalom. But chances are you haven't seen the United States win a Nordic medal: the last and only time an American did so was 30 years ago.But Nordic skiing is of interest to Europeans--and now Austria's Nordic skiers are of interest to the...

Sex and the Single Baby Boomer

More middle-aged people than ever are single, and they're finding the rules have changed. STDs and Internet dates. Aging bodies and kids at home. Who knew?

Remember Me as a Writer, Not a Survivor

My oncologist's nurse found out I was a writer. "You must keep a journal!" she said. "I have nothing to say on this subject. I have no comment .""But it could help other women.""I don't care about them," I said.That was true enough in the first few months after I discovered I had ovarian cancer, but what I didn't say was that writing had long ago lost its glow. I often found myself remembering Marcel Duchamp's last painting, "Tu m' " ("You Bore Me"). Even my work as a film critic for the local...

Sex & Love: The New World

More middle-aged people than ever are single, and they're finding the rules have changed. STDs and Internet dates. Aging bodies and kids at home. Who knew?

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