Table of Contents: January 11. 2010
IN THIS ISSUE EDITION: U.S. Vol. 175 No. 1
COVER
The Lessons of Flight 253 (The Well / Cover) Missed signs, cumbersome lists and spotty screening permitted a terrorist to take a makeshift bomb on a Christmas flight to Detroit. What the U.S. should learn from a near calamity Please Remain Standing (Viewpoint) Alert passengers averted disaster on Flight 253. So let's stop acting like helpless victims

NATION
Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide? (The Well / Religion) Sunday morning remains the most segregated time in America. How some Evangelicals are bridging the divide

ESSAY
2010 and On: Pundits Get Ready for Their Close-Up (Commentary / Tuned In) Pundits are turning media stardom into political power. How far will it take them? The Left's Idiocy on Health Reform (Commentary / In the Arena) The left is attacking health care reform as a sellout--and helping right-wing populists in the process Remembrance of Things Future (Commentary) The start of a new year is a chance to plan ahead before history changes everything

WORLD
Postcard from Banda Aceh (Postcard) Five years after the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, a reporter returns to the disaster's ground zero. A town rebuilt, but scars remain A Bold Opening for Chess Player Magnus Carlsen (Profile) Computer trained yet deeply intuitive, Magnus Carlsen, the youngest No. 1 player in chess history, is reinvigorating the game of kings Merkel's Moment (The Well / World) A trailblazer and the unchallenged leader of Europe's largest economy, Germany's Chancellor now faces an uncomfortable question, How should her country use its power?

LETTERS
Inbox (Inbox)

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Downward Spiral of David Mamet (Theater)

He's America's most influential playwright. But his new play shows how far wrong he's gone Sherlock Holmes (Holiday Movies) It isn't surprising that Guy Ritchie would turn Sherlock Holmes into an action hero. What's surprising is how bland the results are Nine Richard Corliss takes the measure of the film version of the Broadway musical based on Fellini's genre-creating movie It's Complicated Nancy Meyers' wronged-woman's fantasy, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, is crippled by its own wish fulfillment Did You Hear About the Morgans? The Morgans offers what might seem a welcome respite from all the Oscar-wannabe dramas where Grim Death gargles at you from every scene, but its faux-funniness is no less depressing Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel How is it possible that a movie as bad the Squeakquel earned more than $75 million in its first five days of release? Short List TIME'S PICKS FOR THE WEEK

BUSINESS
Can Microfinance Make It in America? (The Well / Business) Grameen makes loans to tiny businesses in the developing world. With credit tight, now seems like the right time to reach the "unbanked" in the U.S. But money isn't everything

SOCIETY
Google Builds a Better Browser (Life / Techland) What does the king of search bring to Web browsing? Simplicity — and speed Why Overcoming Phobias Can Be So Daunting (Life / Mental Health) Amid new data on erasing fear, one man's quest to quash his (odd) source of dread How to Fix a Phobia Three common treatments, plus a promising new one

PEOPLE
10 Questions for Brian Williams (10 Questions) The veteran anchor talks Katrina, Jon Stewart and NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams will now take your questions

NOTEBOOK Brittany Murphy (Briefing / Milestones) Brief History: Fad Diets (Briefing) The World (Briefing) 10 ESSENTIAL STORIES Percy Sutton (Briefing / Milestones) Kim Peek (Briefing / Milestones) The Moment (Briefing) 12|27|09: Tehran The Skimmer (Briefing) Book Review: Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche by Ethan Watters Spotlight: Al-Qaeda in Yemen (Briefing) Verbatim (Briefing) .

embassy in Abuja. Alain Ghonda — a 38-year-old. dark gray smoke coming from the man . who was sitting in seat 18H — immediately stood up. at about 11:40 Christmas morning. He left no contact information with the airline. Seven months earlier. where he met with a CIA officer. 30. he had earned himself a spot on a security watch list in Britain after applying for a visa to attend a dubious English university. and looked to his left. Dec. Md. Not until Northwest Flight 253 was beginning its final descent into Detroit. Ghonda remained upright another minute and soon saw thick. But American officials either missed all these warnings or failed to act on them. He checked no bags. real estate consultant. 2009 CNN The 23-year-old son of a banker from Nigeria should have tripped every alarm in the global aviation-security system put in place after 9/11: He bought a $2. Just as the cabin crew strapped in for landing. an explosion — it sounded like a firecracker — came from the left side of the fuselage just over the wing. his own father reported him as a possible threat at the U..COVER What We Can Learn from Flight 253 By Michael Duffy and Mark Thompson Wednesday.S. in defiance of the seat-belt sign. And when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab broke off contact with his family in October to join the war on the West.831 ticket for flights from Lagos to Amsterdam to Detroit and paid for it in cash. Silver Spring. did a handful of passengers step in to do what all the early-warning systems and security personnel could not: stop a terrorist trying to detonate a bomb on a plane on the quietest morning of the year.

where he was restrained. The airline scare represented the second time in the past 12 months that purported Islamic terrorists have tried to launch a strike on American soil — and may be the first time that such an assault was directed from Yemen. and its allies will need to learn: 1. More than eight years after 9/11 and 21 years after Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in midair over Scotland. Abdulmutallab's name was added to the more than half a million others on the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) list.S. 11. well. He pointed across the cabin and yelled. still resembles a Rube Goldberg contraption. One day after his father visited the U. alarmed by the smell of smoke. He was calm and methodical as he set himself on fire. U.. though those have already become longer and more complicated. was hustled by Schuringa and crew members to the first-class cabin. "Fire!" As he did. Abdulmutallab.S. Jasper Schuringa.S. officials from at least four agencies met to share the information. .. The story of Flight 253 exposed a raft of glaring flaws in the global aviation-security network. granted in 2008 and valid through June 2010. Our methods for tracking terrorists still aren't working It turns out that Washington's way of ranking likely terrorists. There are four different U. They doused Abdulmutallab and Schuringa as well as the burning seat.S. He didn't yell any last-second religious slogans. rushed past the dozens of passengers out of their seats to find fire extinguishers. shouting at his fellow passengers to pass water bottles and blankets his way.in seat 19A. He didn't panic. terrorism databases. hopscotched across the middle section of seats and threw himself on top of the bomber. naked from waist to knees. his pants torched. But exactly what. some ran to other cabins. Almost all are well known to aviation experts. as officials initially tried to play down the weaknesses of the web Abdulmutallab slipped through. a second passenger. That's a reminder that the struggle against jihadism is not confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan. forces are now concentrated. Abdulmutallab's open visa to visit the U. In its provenance and near catastrophic outcome. happened next is unclear. the attempted Christmas bombing revealed that the array of protective measures put in place around the world still can't stop terrorists from smuggling explosives onto packed jetliners. flames began to shoot from Abdulmutallab's lap. the walls and the surrounding area.S. if anything. "I don't want to die! I want out!" yelled one. The attack reverberated beyond airport security lines. Passengers later said there was something curious about the spare young man who had tried to bring down their plane: he was silent throughout the attack. a Dutch video producer sitting two seats behind Ghonda.. which was overhauled after Sept. The whole thing had taken less than 10 minutes.S. and yet Abdulmutallab's name never rose above the least threatening one. embassy in November and told the CIA of his son's growing radical nature. where U. Instantly. here are four lessons the U. Yet what President Obama eventually called a "systemic failure" caught his Administration flat-footed for the first 72 hours after the attack. It was as though he had been trained. Other passengers screamed. To prevent another attack. not very much. leaped up. the floor. A spot on that roster means . the story of Flight 253 is a reminder that the war on terrorism is far from over — and may be spreading. Two flight attendants.

on a flight from Paris to Miami in 2001.S. travelers were barred from carrying containers with more than 3.400 on the no-fly list.S. officials because Abdulmutallab had not been linked to terrorism.U. the authorities are always fighting the last war. the House of Representatives voted in an amendment to a . "If you are on our watch list. "then you do not come into this country. Part of the problem is our chronically reactive approach to airline security: in military terms. Around the world.wasn't revoked once he made that list. That fib bounced him to a U. security measures remain inconsistent — and inconsistently applied. That would not necessarily have affected his journey to Detroit. remain wary of devices that electronically undress passengers. But Amsterdam's Schiphol has only about 15 of these machines serving some 90 gates.S. Abdulmutallab tried to get around the barriers by sewing an 80-g packet of PETN into the crotch of his underpants. neither his bags nor his body were hand-searched.. and they are used on a voluntary basis only on short-haul flights within Europe. U. Experts say the undergarment bomb probably would have shown up on the new generation of whole-body imaging scanners that are chiefly designed to detect explosives. who cannot board commercial aircraft in or bound for the U. Only more-damning evidence could have kicked his name up to the next level — the Terrorist Screening Database (TSD). a list of 400. this information was not shared with U. British officials barred Abdulmutallab from entering last May after he submitted the name of a questionable school in an application to extend his student visa. he would make his way undetected onto the Detroit-bound flight.4 oz.000 people who are permitted to fly to the U. and a set of 3. The search-and-scan system at airports can be beat Security teams have beefed up airport body-scanning and searching protocols continually since 9/11. Will any of this change now? Some lawmakers are pushing for less restrictive rules about who may and may not be put on the no-fly list." British Home Secretary Alan Johnson told BBC Radio on Monday. travelers have had to remove their footwear for scanning before boarding. The scanners are rare in the U. reported that although he passed through a metal detector. using millimeter waves or X-rays.000 — and partly because American airlines and the E. But that will take time and manpower and political will. Abdulmutallab most likely encountered nothing more than ID checks and a metal detector at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. That's partly because the wave scanners are costly — they sell for $180. after extra airport screening.S. Fellow passenger Ghonda. Ever since Richard Reid tried to ignite his shoes. After a plot to blow up several airliners over the Atlantic with small amounts of liquid explosives was uncovered in London in 2006. who transferred to Flight 253 after a flight from Ghana. in June.000 people who merit closer watch.S. He was betting that any pat-down — unlikely as that was — would not come close to the tiny bomb in the crotch of his trousers. And Obama seemed to call for more-aggressive investigation of people when they are first named to the TIDE list. These devices. betting that if he boarded in Lagos and transferred in Amsterdam. generate a picture so detailed that the officials reviewing them are located elsewhere for the sake of passenger modesty." But under British policy. Unfortunately. That worked: during his layover. But another government had identified him as a person of some concern. Abdulmutallab was a long way from a spot on either. but terrorists have been far more aggressive about exploiting their weaknesses. suspicious-persons list.K. That's because the TSD list has two sublists: one consisting of about 14. (100 ml) of fluid each through security checkpoints. loaded with the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN). 2. under any condition.

S. has spent nearly $800 million trying to develop sniffers and scanners that could be more widely used — a whole-body imager." said Representative Jason Chaffetz. Only one device. it carried out air strikes Dec.000 more troops to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for terrorists. Yemen and Somalia. at 19 U. Cole that killed 17 U. can detect metal in guns and knives but are worthless against explosives like PETN. has been harboring — and nurturing — terrorists for years. 17 and 24. and the same is true of terrorists and scanners. Downplaying the threat doesn't help Though Obama learned of it while vacationing in Hawaii soon after the attack was foiled. "The bomber will always get through. the radical cleric and cyber–pen pal of Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan. a bottled-liquid scanner. studying Arabic — and. It is the site of the 2000 attack on the U.S. — and facing internal threats — has recently stepped up operations against al-Qaeda within its borders. Even the fanciest machines. A Stratfor report issued five days later concluded. airports. at just 36 airports — and it would not have detected Abdulmutallab's bomb. Security experts say the hunt for the perfect shield is misplaced: bullets always outrun armor. Only about 40 millimeter-wave devices are in use. "You don't need to look at my wife and 8-year-old daughter naked in order to secure that airplane. according to Stratfor.000 checkpoint lanes nationwide. however. Yemen.S.transportation bill to ban the use of scanners for routine screenings.S. al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). as well as the stomping ground of Anwar al-Awlaki. in places like Pakistan. Abdulmutallab visited Yemen at least twice. "The operation could have succeeded had it been better executed" — a judgment that sounds a great deal like the early verdict on Flight 253. during the debate. shooter who killed 13 people in November. The U.S. it took him more than 72 hours to make a live. which has vast tracts of lawless countryside. is a distinctly creative branch. his target was only slightly wounded. Or as Winston Churchill warned of a different threat in a different war. So five years after the bipartisan 9/11 commission recommended that Congress and the Transportation Security Agency "give priority attention" to screening passengers for explosives. killing more than 60 militants. Texas. most recently from August to December 2009. which are used at the vast majority of the more than 2. sailors.S. Republican from Utah. on-camera comment about the near tragedy. it is obvious that al-Qaeda has set up franchises to wage offensive war against the U. With American help. won't make the system fail-safe. a well-regarded private intelligence outfit based in Texas.S. Although the attacker died. Al-Qaeda is bigger than Osama bin Laden As Obama sends 30. apparently. 4. an automated explosive-detection system for carry-on baggage and another made especially for shoes. is in relatively widespread use. which sniffs the air for trace explosives. under pressure from neighboring Saudi Arabia and the U. But al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen. designed to work while they're still on your feet. the Fort Hood. bombmaking. But they have been slow to be deployed." 3. the practice remains overwhelmingly the exception and not the rule. In August a supposedly repentant member of AQAP drew close to Saudi Arabia's Deputy Interior Minister before detonating a bomb secreted in his anal cavity. (There is some evidence that . Standard magnetometers. The Yemeni government.

Al-Qaeda's high command in Pakistan is under pressure from the U. the system worked. CNN / SIPA . Bush era and its obsession with the war on terrorism. religiously fired or underloved young men to carry out suicide missions. where he may well prove to be a source of intelligence. had he successfully triggered it. 30. "We want to move away from the politics of fear.Democratic partisans were privately pleading with the White House to say something after 24 hours. thanks to the swift action of passengers on Flight 253. Security experts say the chemical packet Abdulmutallab carried was more than enough to blow a good-size hole in the side of the fuselage. Deirdre van Dyk and Sophia Yan / Washington The Lesson: Passengers Are Not Helpless By AMANDA RIPLEY Wednesday. Of course. And yet even if terrorists have been reduced to wearing explosives in their underwear. Janet Napolitano. who announced on Sunday." explaining.) Obama's cause was not helped by the comments of his Homeland Security chief. Abdulmutallab was captured alive and is being held at a federal facility southwest of Detroit. it mostly falls in the category of cold comfort. they are still able to find aimless.'s steady campaign of drone strikes. But this episode suggests there are some things no government can afford to soft-pedal. And while al-Qaeda scientists in Yemen and western Pakistan have not fully mastered the chemistry of high-temperature charges needed to detonate compact high explosives — or acquired deadlier weapons of mass destruction — it is reasonable to assume they eventually will. "Once the incident occurred." Say what? Napolitano has eschewed the word terrorism for "man-caused disasters." That probably reflects the no-drama Obama team's desire to close the books on the George W. Dec. 2009 Dutch filmmaker Jasper Schuringa led the effort to subdue the would-be bomber. Abdulmutallab's plot failed not just because of technical difficulties but also because of the bravery of the people he was trying to murder. It was an unexpected but valuable gift from those who moved quickly on an otherwise quiet Christmas morning. — With reporting by Karen Tumulty. The one hopeful outcome of the saga is that. and the jihadists' indiscriminate cruelty has earned more revulsion than support from ordinary Muslims. Is there any good news here? If there is.S.

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we hear this blather from President Obama: "The American people should be assured that we are doing everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure during this busy holiday season. three days after the incident. Together. airline passengers — regular people without weapons or training — have helped thwart terrorist attacks aboard at least five different commercial airplanes. And as we do each and every time. and the government goes back to treating us like children. When Obama did speak. we miss the point. stripped and cuffed before the plane landed. Only then did he briefly acknowledge reality: "This incident. he first listed all the security reviews to be conducted while the rest of us sit tight. Consider the record: First. we should perhaps prioritize the public's antiterrorism capability — above and beyond the fancy technology that will never be foolproof. "[This] came close to being one of the greatest tragedies in the history of our country. authorities never succeed 100% of the time at anything. criticizing Obama for not holding a press conference sooner. He did not demand that the government be more open with us about the threats we face." He forgets that Americans have never really wanted the government to do "everything in its power" to keep us safe. This now familiar ritual distracts us from the real lesson. He did not discuss the government's . passengers on United Flight 93 prevented a further attack on Washington on 9/11. a few dozen folks have helped save some 595 lives. which is that we are not helpless. By definition.Since 2001. That would make this a terrible place to live. demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist. In 2007. we still talk like victims. we build a slapdash pedestal for the heroes. Then we go back to blaming the government for failing to keep us safe." Here are some things Obama did not say: He did not propose that we find ways to leverage the proven dedication and courage of the public. Bush. It is more often a psychological threat than an existential one. Bush liked to say that the authorities have to succeed 100% of the time and terrorists only once. almost a dozen passengers jumped on a gun-wielding hijacker aboard a plane in the Canary Islands. three months later. The authorities compound the damage when they overreact — by subjecting grandmothers to pat-downs and making it intolerable to travel. The truth is. And yet our collective response to this legacy of ass-kicking is puzzling. And they never will. Then. Each time. American Airlines passengers wrestled a belligerent. Even though the Christmas bombing suspect had been stopped. biting Richard Reid to the ground. And yet. And since regular people will always be first on the scene of terrorist attacks. And this past November. Instead. He did not call for Congress to cut spending on homeland-security pork and instead double the budget of Citizen Corps — the volunteer emergency-preparedness service that was created after 9/11 and that most Americans have never heard of. like several that have preceded it. then. terrorism succeeds by making us feel powerless. after eight years of paternalistic bluster from President George W." New York Congressman Peter King said on CNN. passengers rose up against armed hijackers over Somalia. we have grown accustomed to the cycle of absurd promises followed by failure and renewed by fear. using their headset cords to restrain him. It happened again on Christmas Day.

After the passengers of Flight 253 deplaned in Detroit. an officer ordered him to sit down. The flight attendants can't be everywhere at once. "They were instantly on him. . Sherrouse rushed to help. When one of the pilots tried to use the bathroom before a bomb-sniffing dog had finished checking all the carry-on bags. If he wanted to do anything. They were given no food.obligation. rapidly recover and adapt to foreseeable risks." And so it should be. who thought it odd. to "support regular people in being able to withstand. They were not allowed to call their loved ones. they were held in the baggage area for more than five hours until FBI agents interviewed them. as homeland-security expert Stephen Flynn puts it. according to passenger Alain Ghonda. "It was a group effort." she remembers." It was a metaphor for the rest of the country: Thank you for saving the day. Now go sit down. When one of her colleagues tried to stop Reid. Nor can TSA officers or the FBI. But she couldn't get down the aisle because so many passengers had already joined the melee." Karen Sherrouse was a flight attendant on the jet that Richard Reid tried to blow up. he could've crashed the plane. "He was the pilot.

once Dutch-boy blond but now white. he was dressed in black. Bill Hybels. Hybels' preaching is economical. nor his 23. 11." As the music swelled. people of different ethnicities worship together Matthew Gilson for TIME One Sunday last fall. reinforcing key phrases. Indeed. 2010 Bridge the Racial At Willow Creek. Again by custom. Since Hybels decided 10 years ago to aggressively welcome minorities to his . that man must glow. was preaching on the logic and power of Jesus' words "Love thine enemy.800-seat sanctuary. he invoked Martin Luther King Jr. a former backup singer for Chaka Khan." As is his custom. if there is a whiter preacher currently running a megachurch. an African-American couple in their usual section in the 7.NATION Can Megachurches Divide? By DAVID VAN BIEMA Monday. Along with Jesus. Yet neither Hybels' sermon. is as white as he is. exchanged glances. founder and senior pastor at the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago's northwest suburbs. Jan. Hybels was working a small semicircle of easels arrayed behind his lectern. which accentuated his pale complexion. Larry and Renetta Butler. who offered a powerhouse rendition of "We Shall Overcome.400-person congregation. blue eyes and hair. precise of tone and gesture. Then he introduced Shawn Christopher.

Renetta says. does not tower so much as . Joel Osteen's Lakewood Community Church in Houston (43. its influence and the ferocious purposefulness with which Hybels has deconstructed his all-white institution.5% for the past nine years. but they are extraordinarily influential: Willow Creek. Some of the country's largest churches are involved: the very biggest. "He always throws in something. In an age of mixed-race malls. but remarkably consistently. churches are still a glaring exception. many minorities have scant desire to attend a white church. in South Barrington. Hybels' Willow Creek is at 20% minority. seeing their faith as an important vessel of cultural identity. often unintentionally. But those many who desire a transracial faith life have found themselves discouraged — subtly. networks another 12. from 6% in 1998 to 25% in 2007. Martin Luther King Jr. Hispanics and a category containing whites and Asians. Since Reconstruction. Despite the growing desegregation of most key American institutions. the slice has more than quadrupled. Surveys from 2007 show that fewer than 8% of American congregations have a significant racial mix. And the Sunday school is still the most segregated school. the church divide seems increasingly peculiar. it makes an excellent window into the new desegregation because of its size. is split evenly among blacks. Willow may also be emblematic in that Hybels appears to have stopped short of creating a fully color-blind church. The argument can be made that people attend the church they are used to. In 1963. Such rapid change in such big institutions "blows my mind. even scandalous. the proportion of American churches with 20% or more minority participation has languished at about 7. that our most intimate public gatherings — and those most safely beyond the law's reach — remain color-coded. mixed-race pop-music charts and. It is troubling.. She's been around long enough to recall when this wasn't the case. it could be one of the final steps transcending race as our great divider" — and it could help smooth America's transition into a truly rainbow nation. few sermons pass without a cue that he is still at it. His efforts illustrate both the possibilities and the challenges that smaller churches may face as they attempt to move beyond black and white. Hybels and his Willow Creek church are already headed down that path. the racial divide is beginning to erode. when African Americans fled or were ejected from white churches." she says.000 people or more.000 smaller congregations through its Willow Creek Association. Though Willow is not the most advanced example of multiracial church. David Campbell." That largely remains true today. a political scientist at Notre Dame studying the trend. According to Michael Emerson. yes. But among Evangelical churches with attendance of 1." says Emerson. famously declared that "11 o'clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week . But in some churches. for instance. Megachurches serve only 7% of American churchgoers. a specialist on race and faith at Rice University. says that "if tens of millions of Americans start sharing faith across racial boundaries. and it is fading fastest in one of American religion's most conservative precincts: Evangelical Christianity. black and white Christianity have developed striking differences of style and substance. Call it the desegregation of the megachurches — and consider it a possible pivotal moment in the nation's faith..500 members). a mixed-race President.lily-white congregation. The Making of a (White) Megachurch Willow Creek Community Church's main complex.

and if it can't be part of who you are. This and other buried assumptions created church climates that unofficially discouraged minority participation. he and several friends founded Willow. "I liked the teaching. wealth and race." Yet they had fewer minority acquaintances than non-Evangelicals. So I thought. college-educated suburbanites. white. Hybels was a youth pastor whose meetings outdrew the church he worked for by a factor of three. Alvin Bibbs. passed him a book titled Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. and we all understood each other. but I didn't know if they had a problem with me. informally dubbed "unchurched Harry and Mary. In 2003.'" The catch was that "I hadn't [preached] about it in 24 years. "I didn't have any problem with the people. But like Hybels himself. When we reached out to our friends." So he promised his congregation. affluent northwest suburbs. sermonizing repeatedly about America's racial history and continuing inequities.' " Other minorities who sampled the church felt similarly uncomfortable. however. Yet Harry and Mary were white: Willow attracted almost nobody of color. you probably need to find a church that doesn't talk about this issue. 57." He was stunned to realize that racism is "not just an individual issue but a justice issue" with "structural and [systemic] aspects" violating dozens of biblical admonitions." says Butler. affluent. Willow Creek is a paradigmatic religious success story. by a then obscure academic named Michael Emerson. hazel-eyed African-American pharmacist from Oklahoma. Hybels was leaving on vacation when Willow's only African-American pastor." How Willow Got Religion Larry Butler first visited Willow Creek in the 1970s and left fast. a former chaplain for the Chicago Bears with many black friends. In '75. Far from reconciling the races. rather than as a societal flaw. Most regarded racial inequality as either illusory or the wages of personal sin. we were all young. says. says that "in the early days." The congregation boomed — the word megachurch was reputedly coined to describe it — and Hybels became the poster boy for the new movement of exurban big-box churches. it became self-reinforcing. telling his flock that the church's racial outreach was "part of who we are. Yet . In 1974. who endorsed the "homogeneous unit principle": people like to worship with people who are similar to them — in age. it abandons pious overstatement for corporate efficiency: church as conceived by Jack Welch.sprawl: eight low-slung buildings. Evangelicalism acted to "drive them apart [and] contribute to the racial fragmentation of American society. but I didn't see anybody like me." Hybels. 'I'll go elsewhere. He pledged to open Willow to every ethnicity. a solidly built. As the church has grown — especially with the 2004 completion of a new sanctuary building with an escalator and interior waterfall — it has become more self-consciously handsome. aiming at people with little Christian affiliation. "I thought I was gonna faint. The gurus of the megachurch explosion were church-growth consultants. "I went from thinking 'I don't have a race problem' to 'There is a huge problem in our world that I need to be part of resolving. he threw down the gauntlet. he recalls. The book's polls showed that Evangelicals tended to "believe that their faith ought to be a powerful impetus for bringing people together across race. "I'm not going to overwhelm you. Hybels." In 1999. that changed." Yet he persisted. landscaped on a swampy and thus underdeveloped grassland amid Chicago's bustling. while denying intentional exclusivity. Emerson concluded.

They built "Bridging the Racial Divide" gatherings into Willow's massive grid of laity-led "small groups. a black 15-year "Creeker. Today its membership is 80% Caucasian. Most disturbing. "Well. explained to the woman and eight other white congregants in the room that "every time you say 'you people. "It broke the ice. Willow had hit the 20%-minority threshold that signifies an integrated congregation. with his convert's zeal on the topic and unique authority. there needs to be someone who speaks for the church." Eventually it became too much.' you're holding us back — it's like we're not included." The meetings were essential. a teaching pastor or staff. "hoping things would change." comments that while "what Bill has done racially has been nothing less than miraculous. "Or African Americans? I never know what to call you people. who's a minority. left the main pulpit for several years." And they did." There were also larger race-oriented seminars and reconciliation-themed book clubs. later inviting his wife Renetta and. what do you like to be called?" Renetta quipped in response. At the very first. was that Hybels never promoted a nonwhite member to a pulpit pastorship or senior staff position at the main Willow campus. Bibbs founded an annual "Justice Journey." . Says Bibbs: "The church would never be the same again. and Bibbs recalls breaking down as the entire Willow staff joined in on "Lift Every Voice and Sing. Willow introduced a Spanish-language service for Latinos. and Larry." busing Willow staff and black Chicago pastors together to bloodstained civil rights pilgrimage sites. Curtis Sallee. Organizational shifts in the church resulted in the disbanding of many small groups." By February 2009.Butler returned to Willow in the early '80s." the "black national anthem. a well-meaning white woman kept using the phrase "you people. When Bibbs disclosed that he had booked speaking engagements elsewhere on Martin Luther King Jr." Stalled Out? Yet in the past few years. according to about a dozen minority congregants." She says. including those concerned with race. who ended up running five: they were a ground-level "safe haven" where congregants could express and dispel received stereotypes.) An African American recently joined Willow's elder board." In 2008 an 18-minute multimedia presentation on the King holiday received a deafening 20. Hybels. in 2001. But they're going to have to address it sooner or later. That's the next step. desegregation proponents have wondered whether Willow's commitment extends to giving minorities a truly representative voice. Hybels inaugurated an annual 48-hour celebration. "It was like everybody had crossed over. But total attendance kept climbing — and people of different races now clasped one another's hands during prayer. 6% Hispanic. who were streaming into the area. I don't know whether they are ready to take it. as Hybels and Bibbs re-engineered the church to match its preaching. along with Renetta and his brother Garnett. 4% Asian. "I've never been so proud of the church." "Do you people want to be called blacks?" she asked. Hispanic and Asian performers to Willow's music and worship teams. 2% African American and 8% "other" ethnicities. Hybels added black. never a "teaching pastor." now advises other churches on multiculturalism at the Willow Creek Association. Day because Willow did not observe it at the time. Some white congregants left.000-person standing ovation." Renetta said. says Renetta. The woman burst into tears and asked. as he says. "I personally like to be a brownie with nuts. (Bibbs." Bibbs says. In 2006.

Martin Luther King Jr. Md.Hybels acknowledges the situation as "extremely frustrating" and attributes it to the fact that paid leadership is drawn from the longest-serving church volunteers. Jim and Ellen Strasma wrangle a band of 2-year-olds: seven Caucasians. he says. observers inside and outside Willow applaud him. doesn't account for the homogeneity of Willow's pulpit pastors. As pickup time approaches. a former Willow young-adult pastor who founded his own fully multicultural River City Community Church in Chicago. crosses an internal boundary between "diversity" (positive) and "affirmative action" (potentially unnerving). "There's a tipping point where the dominant group feels threatened.'s observation about Sunday school is finally refuted. "It's absolutely core to the Gospel.. will contain no racial majority. Willow's predicament is hardly surprising. Daniel Hill. Willow Creek Association head Jim Mellado cites the Census Bureau projection that by 2050 the U. she concludes — but the message seems superfluous. . did a stint as a guest preacher. however. In one room of one huge church striving to do the right thing. I'm going to persevere on this for the rest of my life. To some white congregants. "Every church will have to deal with that or find itself on the side of the road. naming a person of another color to tell you what Scripture means. the past several of whom have been out-of-church hires. Harvey Carey. It speaks to whether all humans are made in the image of God and have the capability of being redeemed and used by God to perform his work. week in and week out. the harmony of His kingdom has already arrived. Willow's vast Sunday-school complex.S. God wants them all to be friends. Hybels differs. Here. founder of the multicultural Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia. pastor to a vibrant mixed-race congregation in Detroit. yet one of his parents is Asian American. says. today. The Indian-American girl and the African-American girl dance together." a positive biblical analysis. The argument. A boy in a T-shirt and sporty maroon track pants shares a miniature plastic baguette with a ponytailed Latina." he says." When I ask Hybels how important racial reconciliation is to Christianity. "I bet they've done it faster and better than anyone else with a church that large starting off as all white. David Anderson. Sixteen small faces of various hues gaze up at her. Ellen explains that Jesus loves everyone. Hybels stands at that point. Willow announced that 80% of its Hispanic attendees were undocumented and had a speaker give a talk explaining "God's heart on immigrants." In December. saying that "there will still be people who will only want to worship amongst their own kind. six Hispanics. He looks like a preschool Bill Hybels." Yet there is one part of Willow already living 2050. an Indian American and an African American." Consciously or unconsciously. It is not the sanctuary. Some think the integration of American churches is inevitable. says. At Promiseland. Ms. who are still mostly white. Still. a Caucasian-Asian.

Mike Huckabee has a show on Fox News. of course. One poll showed him attracting Perot-like presidential support. Glenn Beck recently announced a political-activist movement involving a "100-year plan" for America. has long been essential for a serious politician. More so were reports that the outspoken Dobbs was considering running for Senate or even for President as an independent. Is he leader material? Could he become America's most beloved cranky old xenophobe since Jack Albertson's character on Chico and the Man? Dobbs could be a credible spoiler. Sarah Palin left Alaska's governorship to be an author and a media gadfly. 2010 Francisco Caceres for TIME When Lou Dobbs announced in november that he was quitting CNN after nearly 30 years. a media career is itself a viable basis for political power--and even a political career. . And the temptation is understandable.ESSAY 2010 and On: Pundits Get Ready for Their Close-Up By JAMES PONIEWOZIK Monday. But in 2010. Jan. his decision was surprising. Knowing how to work the media. Al Franken went from SNL star to radio host to Senator. in the low teens. because the barrier between politics and media stardom has been getting more porous. 11.

media conservatives could full-throatedly embrace. the conservative-libertarian tea-party phenomenon. but if he has a political future. experience may be a liability. the GOP seems to have divided into two parties: the party in office. a platform without encumbrances. until an ex-con he pardoned while governor of Arkansas murdered four police officers in Washington State. Is there more power to be gained by influencing politics from the outside than by running for office? Fox News chief Roger Ailes recently knocked down rumors that he was considering a presidential run. Ronald Reagan's TV-spokesman work on General Electric Theater marked him as a rising conservative star. expert authority has been discredited. he has more influence on conservatism than John Boehner or Michael Steele does. Palin may have had the right idea. holding forth on Fox and on the radio. If anything. the banking crisis and Saddam's WMD capability wrong--official. leaving Alaska's governorship marked her as a quitter to some voters. Running the network. that might be a better credential than drafting a state budget. . radio demagogue Father Charles Coughlin--the Glenn Beck of his time--founded a third party. For instance. and no wonder. holding down the minority in Congress. But resigning has freed her to be a national figure (making a mint from her book) and shape the national conversation just by updating her Twitter feed.Most of the recent pundit-politician activity has taken place to the right of center. Besides. it's your job! In fact. Yes. This should worry the officeholding GOP: a December Rasmussen poll found that if the Tea Party were an actual party. We live in an era when--after the best and brightest got the housing bubble. It used to be that media skills were necessary but secondary to political seasoning. talk is cheap. And the media party--unencumbered by the responsibilities of office--has been having much more fun. which Fox News has practically owned. Complaining from the sidelines while doing nothing is a failing if you're a politician. One of America's most successful media figures turned politician is New York City's Michael Bloomberg--a mogul rather than a screen personality--and he was barely able to buy a third term as mayor. but politics is expensive. Huckabee was considered a front runner for the GOP nomination in 2012. and the media party. and be embraced by. but his political career unfolded over decades. Fox News and the tea parties may now be hotter political brands than the GOP. But if you're a pundit. Since Obama took office. That's the attraction of media stardom as a political base: a title without accountability. it would win more votes for Congress than Republicans would. it may be in spite of his governing record. In 1936. issuing prescriptions without making actual unpopular decisions. Wall Street--tied conservatives. that raises the question. unlike elected. not because of it. But the tea-party era seems like a more propitious moment for media stars as politicians precisely because they are outside government. And if she can take credit for any Republican gains in 2010. with little success. Polls since then show Huckabee still runs strong. A pundit turned candidate can operate in the realm of the ideal.

Palin has her royalties. 2009 Illustration by Stephen Kroninger for TIME In the snarkier precincts of the left-wing blogosphere. The Left's Idiocy on Health Reform By JOE KLEIN Wednesday. has to do with isolation: we live in this little village on the Potomac — actually. It may finally be better to be kingmaker than king (or queen).So the aspiring pundit cum politician should always have something to fall back on. Dec. deciding who is "serious" (a term of derision in the blogosphere) and who is not. And Beck calls his political movement the Plan--which also happens to be the title of a book he's publishing in August. certain local shamans are . so far as I can tell. I don't. mainstream journalists like me are often called villagers. of course. 30. Dobbs still has his radio show. The reference. some truth to this. when he'll hold an unveiling rally for the Plan in Washington. Washington is insular. but no matter — constantly intermingling over hors d'oeuvres. There is. regurgitating spin spoon-fed by our sources or conjuring a witless conventional wisdom that has nothing to do with reality as it is lived outside the village. It certainly pays better.

The tidbit in the plan that came closest to embodying that message was a worthy but relatively minor provision called the public option. There would be a windfall of 30 million new customers for the insurers and drug companies. Those who were wrong about Iraq can't be trusted on anything else. But it is landmark social legislation that guarantees and subsidizes health care coverage for 30 million Americans who don't have it now. The dyspepsia of the left blogosphere is less easily explained. unabated anger on the left because its opposition to the war was often ridiculed and almost always ignored in 2003. It has its roots in an issue the left got right and almost everyone else got wrong: the war in Iraq. no doubt — found that the message that most roused their troops was the same: a government takeover of health care. When the public option was killed — by Lieberman. both the left and right opponents of health care reform are drinking from the same watercooler. There is still intense. this means a lot of new customers for the insurance companies — but the insurers will face strict new regulations. but none at all on the left. at its worst. like compromise. though.celebrated beyond all logic. What a sellout! Bloggers at sites like Daily Kos. Not only was there no public option. Every Democratic Senator. favors it. it means an annual income redistribution of $200 billion to help the working poor pay for insurance. . the right-wing Fox News and Limbaugh slum. the leading promoter of the public option. deathers. Actually. the Huffington Post (including Arianna herself) and FireDogLake held a village bonfire. (At its best. and it sets the emotional parameters for other issues far more complicated than the war. Democratic conservatives like Joe Lieberman — who supported the war is especially intense. which would offer something like Medicare as one of a menu of choices for several million Americans not receiving health insurance from their employers. is a claustrophobic hamlet of the well educated. The anger at so-called moderates — actually. there has been a coagulation of these extremes — a united front against the turgid ceremonies of legislative democracy. This was the anger that fed the Howard Dean movement in 2004. Yes. The issue that has brought them together is opposition to the Senate's health care–reform bill. of all people — the left saw Iraq redux and rebelled. For the right. including those like Ohio's Sherrod Brown who have impeccable liberal records. but people would also be mandated — forced! — to patronize the same insurance companies that exploit them now. Barack Obama. which makes some sense on the right. But Jacob Hacker. as we stagger from one awful decade into the next. and many of their new customers will be people they refused to cover in the past. and disdain for the politician most responsible for nudging our snarled checks and balances toward action. But there is a great irony here: villagery is a trope more applicable to those making the accusation than to those being snarked upon. The prejudices of the tea partiers. some of my columnar colleagues have lost touch with everything beyond their armchairs and egos. like health care. it was a step toward stripping private insurers of their choke hold on the system. it is a source of clever and well-informed anti-Establishment commentary. The left-wing blogosphere. Dean materialized to help fan the flames. To be sure. the bill that emerged from the Senate has problems. less interested in meaningful debate than the "village" it mocks. it resembles nothing so much as that other. this was socialism. Ultimately. For the left. birthers. which is why Republicans oppose the bill. Palinites and other assorted "real" Americans are well known. Activists on both sides — consulting their focus groups. Hilariously. more populous hamlet. favors it. the historic conservative opposition to universal health care isn't news.) Indeed.

They let us imagine we can impose some order on the fresh calendar page — marking holidays. will be raised from obscurity to eternity in the history books. But they are not. tax-free back-to-school shopping week — even as we wait to see which days. The perversity of this is beyond comprehension. reviewing and previewing are serious business. the sillier left-village practitioners are stoking the same populist exaggeration — the idea that Washington is controlled by crooks and sellouts — that conservative strategists like Bill Kristol believe will bring the Republicans back to power. Remembrance of Things Future By NANCY GIBBS Monday. . now anonymous or devoted to watching groundhogs. movie premieres. women and Latinos are. the wing is not the base. But in uncertain times. 11. 2010 Gerard Dubois for TIME Year-end lists and new year's resolutions are as easy to mock as they are to make. Jan. In the end. as opposed to Republicans. graduations. the legions of loyal African Americans.The denizens of the left blogosphere consider themselves the Democratic Party's base. For Democrats. Jews. union members.

"It's tough to make predictions," Yogi Berra said, "especially about the future." A whole lot of predicting went on 10 years ago, at the door to the new millennium. (We were so unsure about it that we couldn't even get the word right: in 1999, newspapers and magazines misspelled millennium 4,709 times.) In TIME's pages, writers predicted cures for the common cold and baldness (sadly, no). We would give up meat. Religion would replace politics as the prime shaper of American society (sure feels that way sometimes). Retirement would disappear (sadly, yes), along with much of major league baseball. Teeth would become a fashion accessory, like fake nails, and the only thing we wouldn't be doing online is brushing them. People stockpiled gold and grain and canned chicken chow mein in anticipation of the apocalypse that didn't happen. But few foresaw the apocalypses that did, not to mention the then inconceivable phenomena — Twitter, Twilight, Rachael Ray. So we come to a new calendar eager to assign certainty; each month has its rituals, and somewhere, someone is forever celebrating something. January, naturally, is National Oatmeal and Hot Tea Month. April, less naturally, is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month. July seems a strange month to choose as Bioterrorism/Disaster Education and Awareness month. I don't want to be aware of anything disastrous in July other than tan lines. But July is also National Hot Dog Month, Ice Cream Month and Cell Phone Courtesy Month, as well as National Share a Sunset with Your Lover Month. Official bodies at every level, intent on drawing our attention where it would not otherwise turn, carve the year into un-anniversaries marking those things that haven't happened but apparently should. The new year begins the U.N.'s Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification. It is also the Year for Biodiversity and the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, whose mandate is to build "the defenses of peace in the minds of men." Presumably, the other half of the human population is already sufficiently peaceable. Then there are the real anniversaries; how we mark where we've been tells us something about where we are. This is the centennial of the Boy Scouts, and South Africa, and Krazy Kat. It's the 75th anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the 50th anniversary of the Pill, the 40th of the Beatles' breakup — how many Rock Band requiems will be held that night? Then there's the 30th anniversary of CNN and the 20th of the invasion of Kuwait. And there's our once-a-decade constitutional ritual: the U.S. Census, in which we attempt to become more certain about ourselves. The last Census, in 2000, determined that there were 281.4 million of us, more than three times as many as in 1900. Half of us live in suburbs. The center of population shifted 324 miles west and 101 miles south, to Phelps County, Missouri. America used to be majority male, but by 2000 only seven states, all in the West, had more men than women. In 1900, the average household contained five people; by 2000, it had dropped by two. So what will we learn 10 years later? Conspiracy theorists, notes Wired magazine, worry that Census workers equipped with GPS devices rather than paper maps to pinpoint each housing unit will enable the New World Order to "launch Predator Drone missile attacks ... against a long list of undesirables" in the U.S. or help President Obama cede authority to the U.N. Or maybe we'll just discover that there are now more Starbucks in America than there are churches.

Finally, those who believe that language shapes reality eagerly await the annual Lake Superior State University Banished Words List, due out New Year's Day — words and phrases that have earned retirement because of overuse. The 2009 list included Wall Street/Main Street, iconic and game changer, but who could have foreseen that the iconic Tiger Woods scandal would become a game changer that reverberated from Wall Street to Main Street? Whatever is in store for 2010, it's a comforting thought that we'll at least know how not to describe it.

WORLD
BANDA ACEH

Memories of Aceh: Indonesia Five Years After the Tsunami
By ANDREW MARSHALL Friday, Dec. 25, 2009

Indonesian workers walk at a construction site in Banda Aceh on December 4, 2009. Beawiharta / Reuters "The destination you have dialed does not exist." It is Jan. 9, 2005. I have spent two weeks in Thailand reporting on a tsunami that has transformed its famous beach resorts into corpse-strewn ruins. One night, exhausted, my clothes reeking of death, I try calling a colleague in the hard-hit Indonesian province of Aceh. I simply misdial, but the recorded message gives me chills: "The destination you have dialed..." Aceh did exist, of course, but with 166,000 dead or missing it had borne the brunt of the Indian Ocean tsunami, triggered by a 9.15-magnitude earthquake off the Indonesian coast on Dec. 26, 2004. It was a truly international catastrophe: the tsunami struck 13 countries, killing 226,000 people of 40 nationalities. Five years later, a first-time visitor to the worst-affected countries — Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand — might find the wave's terrible path hard to detect, thanks to a multinational, multi-billion-dollar reconstruction effort. Across Aceh, thousands of houses were built with foreign aid in what were once wastelands. In Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, new homes surround a 2,600-ton ship pushed a mile inland by the Tsunami. It is now a tourist attraction. When I traveled to Aceh in 2005, three weeks after the wave struck, some 3,000 bodies were still being pulled from the rubble every day. Most aid-workers and journalists saw more dead in their first few days than in a lifetime of conflicts and emergencies, yet it was the living who haunted us. I will never forget a gaunt, dignified Acehnese woman called Lisdiana, who was combing the debris for any trace of her four-year-old nephew Azeel. She had dreamed he was still alive. "He's a very handsome boy," she told me, "with skin as white as yours." Did she find Azeel? Probably not. The missing stayed missing, the dead stayed dead.

Syamsiah had found only their bones. She seemed unfazed by the prospect of another tsunami ("That's God's business." says Patrick Fuller of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The tsunami helped extinguish a decades-old conflict between Indonesian government troops and separatist rebels of the Free Aceh Movement (known as GAM by its initials in Bahasa Indonesian). for example." she sobbed. Jan.000 a minute to the main tsunami relief fund.000 people in September. 11. and it shows.A return to Aceh today is a heartening experience. More than 100 countries took part in the tsunami response. with an unprecedented $5. One enterprising local travel agent even offers "guerrilla tours" to GAM's former jungle strongholds.000 people — a fifth of the population — is now bustling and prosperous. There is also peace. At one point. and tourist shops selling I-love-Aceh T-shirts. A regional tsunami early-warning system has been up and running since 2006. but the whole world seemed to absorb some of its impact. The wave slammed into Asian and east African shores. a tsunami-annihilated town about 90 miles from Banda Aceh that was rebuilt by the Red Cross. Not since the Live Aid famine-relief concerts of 1985 had the world's compassion been so galvanized. Britons were donating nearly $14. "there's still more work to be done. so too did the relief effort that followed. where the tsunami killed 60. Why should I be afraid?") but is tormented by the loss of many of her relatives. who laid down their weapons in 2005. Today we can reflect upon what our overwhelming response five years ago means as we face other global emergencies: that out of nature's darkest hour can come one of humanity's finest. thousands of bereaved worldwide will observe the tsunami's fifth anniversary as solemnly as its first or its 50th. sits on the northern tip of the seismologically hyperactive island of Sumatra. Banda Aceh. some of its grief. A Bold Opening for Chess Player Magnus Carlsen By Eben Harrell / London Monday. Billions of dollars in reconstruction funds have poured into the province. Some $13. Aceh's war is over. Top of the list: preparing for the next disaster. "It broke my heart. or that they ever will. 47. Syamsiah. This month. including her parents.5 billion was pledged in aid. While most Tsunami-hit areas have been rebuilt. The rest of us can take some solace in the fact that while the tragedy of the tsunami touched every continent. But getting timely and accurate information to imperiled communities is problematic. Time is of the essence: Aceh. where an earthquake in the western city of Padang killed more than 1.5 billion donated by the general public. runs a food stall in Calang. Despite sporadic political violence. There is a new hospital and airport. when the wave swept over their coastal village. 2010 . That's not to say Acenese have truly healed.

" as the English grand master Nigel Short sniffily describes it — and unlike many chess prodigies who are full-time players by age 12. Carlsen offers only subtle clues to his intelligence." Pal Hansen for TIME Vladimir Kramnik.Not Bobby Fischer "It's easy to get obsessed with chess. then 18. "I don't have that same obsession." Carlsen says." In conversation. arguably the greatest player of all time. His father Henrik." Kasparov says. A grand master at 13 (the third youngest in history) and a conqueror of top players at 15. He dresses neatly but shows a teenager's . a soft-spoken engineer." Henrik says. is playing in the first round of the London Chess Classic. is technical. Carlsen. His speech. Today. handsome and expressionless. he is getting methodically and mercilessly crushed. but the origins of Carlsen's talent are particularly mysterious. he looks exactly as a man who has mastered a game of nearly infinite variation should: like a high-end assassin. became the youngest world No. 1 in the game's history." Even pro chess players — a population inured to demonstrations of extraordinary intellect — have been electrified by Carlsen's rise. grammatically flawless and logically irresistible. "Before he is done. he announced a coaching contract with Garry Kasparov. 4. like his chess. capital in 25 years. poxy chess nation with almost no history of success. He gets up and wanders over to the other games. "This certainly is not what we had in mind for Magnus. fidgets. however. staring at the boards like a curious toddler. Magnus Carlsen yawns. His opponent is a teenager who seems to be having difficulty staying awake. Every now and then. Carlsen stayed in school until last year. "Carlsen will have changed our ancient game considerably. inexorably building an attack so fierce that by the 43rd move Kramnik sees the hopelessness of his position and resigns. Genius can appear anywhere. the most competitive chess tournament to be played in the U. slumps in his chair. who quit chess in 2005 to pursue a political career in Russia. he returns to his own game and moves one of his pieces. Henrik will interrupt Carlsen's chess studies to drag him out for a family hike or museum trip. "I still have to pinch my arm. says he has spent more time urging his young son to complete his schoolwork than to play chess. Even now. Tall. He hails from Norway — a "small. former world chess champion and current No. In September.K. In November. he is often referred to as the Mozart of chess for the seeming ease of his mastery.

which is contested every two or three years. Powerful chess programs. Carlsen pauses to ponder the variables." Not that Carlsen lacks computational prowess. the experts did not even consider several of Carlsen's moves during his game with Kramnik until they saw them and realized they were perfect. he's been making all the right moves. Carlsen joins chess's élite at a time of unprecedented change." But Kasparov says Carlsen's mastery is rooted in a "deep intuitive sense no computer can teach" and that his pupil "has a natural feel for where to place the pieces. In the grand-master commentary room. He is one of a generation of players who learned the game from computers." Carlsen says. He often calculates 20 moves ahead and can comfortably play several games simultaneously while blindfolded simply by hearing each move in notation." Carlsen says. The fear surrounding any such beautiful mind is that a life spent probing the edges of the infinite — the possible permutations of a chess game outnumber the estimated number of atoms in the universe — will eventually lead to madness. The great American player spent his later years in isolation. "Sometimes a move just feels right. thanks in part to his victory in London. His father says he is more concerned about "whether chess will make him a happy person. 2010 . even if its ultimate effect is too far away for anyone — even a computer — to calculate. have allowed grand masters to study positions at a deeper level than was possible before. at least. though." he concludes." he says." another prodigy lost to madness. Carlsen must now fight his way through a series of qualifying competitions in order to earn a chance to play for the world-championship title — the game's highest prize. To this day. "I might have one somewhere. "It's too difficult to predict. "I love the game. reappearing only to spout anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. 11. which now routinely beat the best human competitors." Although firmly atop the chess rankings. I love to compete." Carlsen says." It seems to be doing just that. I'm not sure.) He would seem older than 19 but for his habit of giggling and his coltlike aversion to eye contact. So far. Carlsen has a knack for sensing the potential energy in each move. (He rarely makes it through a game without his shirt coming untucked. "That's what happened with Fischer and Paul Morphy. "It's hard to explain. where chess's clerisy gather to analyze play. "I don't have that same obsession. Short says top players can now spend almost an entire game trading moves that have been scripted by the same program and that such play by rote has removed some of the mystique of chess. "It's easy to get obsessed with chess.discomfort with formality. Jan. Asked how long he will continue to enjoy chess and where the game will take him. He likens chess computers to "chainsaws chopping down the Amazon. he's not certain if he has an actual board at home. Angela Merkel's Moment By Catherine Mayer / Berlin Monday. Grand masters say Carlsen's precociousness is reminiscent of Bobby Fischer's." According to Kasparov.

"There's nothing wrong with being ambitious. becoming the first woman to occupy the Chancellery as well as its youngest incumbent. as the emboldened leader of Europe's most populous nation and most powerful economy. "we always ran into boundaries before we were able to discover our own personal boundaries. "Merkel has never given a speech that stayed in the memory. She knew how to navigate around blockages and when to keep a low profile. She outsmarted phalanxes of gray-haired. "the girl. but there should be little doubt that she has confidence and ambition aplenty. But what. she was appointed a Cabinet minister by Chancellor Helmut Kohl just one year later." She was used to . is the head of a democratic form of government and the guardian of individual freedoms that she was denied until her 30s. Elected to the first parliament of the reunited Germany. except by the rivals she deftly derailed along the way. exactly. "You could certainly say that I've never underestimated myself. Merkel excelled at math and science and originally pursued a career as a physicist.Angela Merkel Oliver Mark / Focus Diminutive in the imposing vastness of her office. There are still plenty of observers of the German political scene who regard her myriad achievements as flukes. Then in September. with center-right coalition partners of her choosing." The daughter of a Protestant pastor who settled in the East German state of Brandenburg. Germany's first Chancellor raised in the communist East. But growing up where she did. Angela Merkel appears surprisingly frail for someone who's spent the past 20 years upending political norms. Now 55. Merkel has the ability to make her personality and priorities count on a global stage. Now." Paradoxically. after four tricky years helming a coalition that yoked her conservative Christian Democrat bloc with the Social Democratic Party. does she want to do with her power? And how will she go about doing it? Merkel has spent decades being underestimated." she says. gray-suited machine politicians to set two other precedents. she discovered early on that there were limits to what she would be permitted to do. "In East Germany. Merkel. she won a new mandate." she says with a smile that in another context could only be described as kittenish. Merkel's life under communism may have helped when it came to starting a political career as the Iron Curtain began to crumble. She can indeed seem reserved and self-effacing at times. He called her das Mädchen. Her rise to prominence went all but unnoticed." wrote her most recent biographer.

" So she smiled her feline smile and made no protest but quickly distanced herself from her patronizing patron once he became entangled in a party finance scandal. "There was no real equality in the German Democratic Republic. with its heartfelt and moving thanks and tributes to the U. its unemployment rate has steadily declined to 7. With such commitment to humanist and democratic values. delivering decent growth. Merkel has declared herself willing to pursue policies that could cost her country dearly. Though she claims to bake the occasional plum cake. it is hardly surprising that the nation — and whoever leads it — rarely seeks to thrust itself into acrimonious global issues. When the Great Recession began at the end of 2008. "When it comes to crunch time" on Iran. Even among those who identify themselves as Social Democrats. Merkel initially drew fire for her handling of the crisis. The Quiet Giant So what will she do now? Given Germany's modern history. While Merkel may be able to look at Germany's domestic conditions with some confidence. the German economy contracted 5% overall. too slowly and that her efforts were targeted at the wrong industries. it was easy to see how her past had shaped her view of the world. there are profound international challenges ahead. She argues that her response has been vindicated.5%. the mighty German export machine should click into gear once more. Critics said she was doing too little.. could have been made only by someone who grew up in a Soviet satellite state.S." says Merkel. she doesn't exactly match the ideal of a German hausfrau. criticized its crackdown on protestors after last summer's elections and risked the ire of China by meeting with the Dalai Lama. and many German businesses oppose any restrictions on trade with the country. But as world trade picks up. A December poll by Germany's Infratest Dimap Institute showed Merkel was Germany's favorite politician. But she has recently suggested that she would back new sanctions if the government in Tehran does not curtail its nuclear ambitions. with 70% of Germans proclaiming themselves satisfied with her work.S. Some sense of Merkel's priorities can be gleaned from her Nov. an eminent chemist. 3 speech to Congress. social liberalism and commitment to fighting climate change — a key issue in Germany — have made her surprisingly popular. Such attitudes may have annoyed traditionalists. and in 2009. Merkel was cast as an indulgent mother to the electorate during the 2009 campaign. "zero tolerance towards all those who show no respect for the inalienable rights of the individual and who violate human rights. but her quiet determination has helped her gain broad support well beyond the Christian Democrats' core voters. U. she said. . (She is only the second German Chancellor accorded the honor. Childless and twice married. The German economy began to rebound in the second half of 2009. however.S.) The speech." she says. Throughout. Germany is Iran's largest trading partner in Europe. often ducks out of official events. German political debate overwhelmingly concerns itself with sustaining and extending the widely shared prosperity and personal security that was a hallmark of the old West Germany." That is one reason she has taken a tough line on Iran's nuclear program.sexism. In the past. officials doubted whether Germany's actions on Iran would match its tough words. There should be. but they seem to have confidence that Merkel means what she says. and the head of Germany's federal labor agency has predicted joblessness will rise again this year. No economy is free from the threat of backsliding yet. Her second husband. "He needs the working day for his science. "There were no female industrialists or members of the politburo. and helped by an aggressive "short time" work program. Merkel's unstuffy pragmatism. compared with 10% in the U.

" said Merkel's new Defense Minister. history is important. she will not want to snub the U. believes that nations cannot tackle an issue like economic turmoil.S. (Most German troops. In December the German parliament voted to extend the deployment in Afghanistan for another year. Then in September. many of them civilians. resigned over the controversy. "we'll be looking closely at what Russia and China are willing to do. More and more. which has been relatively safer than the south." Merkel says. have been based in the north of the country. But at 4. compared with 935 Americans in the same period. Giving Up Power However Merkel chooses to settle policy on Iran and Afghanistan. Some 140 people were killed. air strike in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan to destroy oil tankers that had been hijacked by the Taliban.S." For Merkel.says a senior U. But we have no concerns about Germany. State Department official. for example. Germany is a generous donor of humanitarian aid there — as it is elsewhere in the developing world." That view did not go down well at home. Germany also provides the third largest contingent of forces in the theater. "that German soldiers are not any longer in the north only to dig holes for water and to wave at children. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. "With the European Union. "we Europeans have realized a dream for ourselves. terrorism or climate change by themselves. Where she differs from most other leaders is in the direction this analysis takes her: that true leadership involves the surrender of power. As of mid-December. like Obama.S. As a genuine Atlanticist. That changed the perception of the mission among the German public and politicians alike. 36 German troops had died in Afghanistan in 2009. We live in peace and freedom. Franz Josef Jung. which isn't always pleasant. Merkel is now under growing pressure from Washington and other contributors to the Afghanistan mission to boost the German presence as part of Barack Obama's surge strategy. Merkel. her style of decision making will remain her own. Most Germans — 69% in a recent poll — want their troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. who was Defense Minister at the time of the bombing. she knows that public opinion in Germany will not blithely countenance a significant increase. and Britain. Germany's past has convinced its leaders that trouble beckons when the country acts alone and that happiness comes from working with others.) But even comparatively low casualty figures are shocking for many in Germany — a country that eschewed armed conflict for more than 50 years — who had persuaded themselves that their nation's role was solely humanitarian. That naturally entails giving up some powers to Brussels. Many German political analysts think she may compromise by keeping the number of troops steady but pledging a bigger role for Germany in training Afghan security forces. we are also in combat situations.S. But as an arch-pragmatist. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has acknowledged — have reduced the number of so-called caveats that limit when troops may be deployed in combat. despite the inherent brutality of any war. after the U. on a visit to Washington in November. 28.S. call for help." . and the European allies — as U. She refuses to comment on her plans until she attends an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Jan. but other German officials declared that the event galvanized the country's commitment to being a full partner in the conflict. German forces called in a U. "We have made clear.300 troops. The greatest consequence of globalization is that there aren't any purely national solutions to global challenges. But it's necessary. Afghanistan is an even trickier diplomatic and economic mire. Again.

Merkel kept her regular appointment at a sauna. as East German authorities gave up the struggle and opened the Berlin Wall. Merkel keeps her ego remarkably in check. Indeed. On Nov. 9. 1989. But the Chancellor's poise and self-confidence cannot obscure the question that the challenges of Afghanistan and Iran pose to her nation: When you are as rich and secure as modern Germany now is. to people who have never tamed their impulses for fear of drawing the attention of malign authorities nor tempered their dreams before an authoritarian state can trample them. what are your obligations to the world outside? — With reporting by Tristana Moore / Berlin and Mark Thompson / Washington .It might seem odd that a woman whose climb to power was so arduous should contemplate giving away even a smidgen of it. But for a politician. her self-control can seem inhuman.

TRUCKEE. Maggie Salazar. 21]: I was raised in a nondogmatic Christian environment. Toys 101 Thank you. Maybe next year. but it's exactly these acts of mercy that keep the world from falling apart." showing bone-weary Marines dug in for the night in Afghanistan. "The Fatigue of War. while others less lucky will never know how it feels to be free. And a Partridge in a Pear Tree Re "Brief History: The War on Christmas" [Dec. BLOOMFIELD HILLS. 21]. broke my heart. Nancy Gibbs. The work of these physical therapists may be repetitive and unspectacular. 14 issue.. Dinka Souzek. While our young men and women are suffering physical and emotional calamities overseas. DANBURY. MICH. Emelyn McKay. . WASH. these brave young men would be in college. My suggestion for those looking to develop good toys: an advisory board of octogenarians who can remember the magic of Christmas when it was still a time for the child. the talking heads . CONN. for your essay "The Power of Play-Doh" [Dec. Thank you for sharing "The Fatigue of War. VA.S. It's Our War Too DISSENT OF THE WEEK The title of your Dec. CALIF... Lynne Larson." As a Cuban refugee. at a football game or laughing with friends over burgers and fries. I was particularly moved by James Nachtwey's photo of the Afghan amputee and his comments on "veteran" amputees doing physical therapy with those who recently lost a limb. VIENNA. I cherish my freedom in the U. 21]. "It's His War Now. In a perfect world. UNIVERSITY PLACE. We should stop the discussion on how Christmas is being attacked and let people of each faith celebrate the season in their own ways and places of worship. Tracy Leverton." demonstrates a problem with modern media.LETTERS Inbox Moving Images The photos in your Year in Pictures issue made me cry [Dec.

did. I find it offensive not to have even a mention of them in your letter to readers. 4]. It took many years to get us into it. His readiness was evident not just from his academic background but from his oft cited 2002 speech on deflation. Bernanke showed the creativity and open-mindedness that have been hallmarks of the bold actions he has taken during the financial crisis. TAMPA. It's Obama's everything now. FLA. Bob Paolini. Corey Seeman. Tony Crescenzi. ESSEXVILLE. Mike Keller. Person of the Year--Not! Although I respect your choice of Ben Bernanke for Person of the Year. CALIF. MICH. In the online poll you launched over the past weeks. The fact that he faces a complete mess left by the previous Administration cannot be ignored. SALINE. like all others. DENVER Few could qualify for taking on the responsibility that Bernanke. the popular choice was quite clearly oriented toward these freedom fighters. NEWPORT BEACH. 28--Jan. Bernanke and his ilk should be replaced with officials unconnected to Goldman Sachs--a firm that now practically runs the country. does not belong to one man.and magazine editors remain obsessed with declaring winners and handicapping horse races. We are a nation at war. Your choices of Bernanke this year and Barack Obama last year cause me to wonder: Who is next? The captain of the Titanic? William Reid. In the speech. Jacopo Giuntoli DELFT. It will take some time to get us out. THE NETHERLANDS Very poor choice. an expert on the Great Depression. MICH. Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling . and this war. I find it really weird that not a single mention is made of the Iranian protesters [Dec. Maybe they'll have the interests of the people at heart.

fragmented. elliptical dialogue. 62. his cynical take on the American dream--Mamet's style and themes have seeped into nearly every pore of American theater. his twisty. What's more. has called American Buffalo his favorite play. No fewer than three of his plays--American Buffalo. Mamet. in 1999. 11. con men and losers.ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT The Downward Spiral of David Mamet By RICHARD ZOGLIN Monday. 2010 Spade. bottoming out with his labored period piece Boston Marriage. whose Irish black comedies are clear descendants of Mamet's work.) And yet Mamet's reputation as a major playwright rests on a surprisingly slim body of work. Glengarry Glen Ross (1983) and perhaps his scalding one-act Edmond (1982)--can fairly be called masterpieces. Only two or three of his plays--American Buffalo (1975). Jan. has been on a steady downhill slide for nearly two decades. shaggy-dog plots. Washington and Grier in the Broadway production of Race Sara Krulwich / The New York Times / Redux What ever happened to David Mamet? It may seem an odd question to ask about a playwright who is so constantly with us. which landed on Broadway two years ago. . His terse. (Non-American theater too: Martin McDonagh. his rogue's gallery of hustlers. Speed-the-Plow and Oleanna--have been revived on Broadway in just the past year or so. and his brutally unfunny political farce November. rapidly receding into the distance.

" goes the exchange that brings down the curtain in one scene.") Free will is a joke. Though the staccato dialogue was Mametspeak at its purest. or even logically consistent. the white lawyer has done a nifty 180 (and managed to negate virtually all of his Scene 1 pontificating) by passionately arguing for the man's innocence on the basis of one piece of evidence: the victim claimed that the accused man tore off her sequined dress." "You're white. once it was seen. Like most of Mamet's plays. themes and character revelations bubbled up naturally. The new Mametspeak is more like Mametshout: thematic statements imposed from on high and delivered with an epigrammatic stun gun. scoffing at his claims of innocence.") Justice is an illusion. By Scene 2. Race--with its blunt title promising a no-holds-barred look at Topic A of the Obama era--from becoming. one unnecessary intermission. almost imperceptibly. quizzing a prospective client (Richard Thomas) who has been charged with raping a young black woman. In Scene 1 the lawyers badger him mercilessly. "What's the difference?" Make sense of that line. . Race is a relatively slight affair: three scenes. ("I didn't do anything. out of the rambling dialogue--that miasma of indirection. but at least self-directed. Hatred. Almost none of this is plausible. his 1992 play in which a college professor's patronizing efforts to help a female student lead to an unjust charge of sexual harassment. one white (James Spader) and one black (David Alan Grier). The advent of Barack Obama may not have invalidated Mamet's cynical view of race relations. sight unseen. It's about race. small-time crooks or real estate sharpies. you've got nothing to worry about. Good luck. by contrast. four characters. was Oleanna. Race. It opens with two principals of a law firm. But it was cause for a hard look at whether the playwright's own race has finally run its course. ("Why does he want to confess?" "All people want to confess. In old Mamet. The fact that. fear or envy. Yet Oleanna seemed to grow out of the authentic passions of a particular time (just after the Clarence Thomas hearings). when sexual harassment and political correctness were ripe issues. but it has made it seem shockingly glib and opportunistic.") The turning point for Mamet's theater work. however. euphemism and profanity that has been dubbed Mametspeak. and you just might be able to make sense of where the most important American playwright of his generation has gone wrong. dismissing his naive hopes that the legal system might exonerate him. yet no sequins were found at the crime scene. (Perry Mason.None of which prevented his new play. a political agenda drove the characters in a way it never had any of Mamet's previous slimy. ("The legal process is only about three things. the play turned out to be a dud was not especially surprising. "This isn't about sex. it now appears. seems like a relic of another era. the dramatic event of the Broadway season. a black legal aide (Kerry Washington) who. Racism is universal and unavoidable.) The racial politics grow a little more complicated as the focus shifts in the last scene to the play's fourth character. turns out to be a snake in the grass. in the manner of most females in Mamet's male-dominated universe.

" says Watson. but his legendary embarrassment of mental riches isn't going to embarrass anyone. the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes has been much celebrated for his cleverness. This gives Ritchie an opportunity to show the action twice. Our new Holmes fights bare-chested in the street. "Our rooms. Dec." says Watson. Holmes is jealous. "My rooms. especially when bantering with Dr. "My dog. The story begins with Tower Bridge in the final stages of construction — quick. Ritchie's Holmes is smart. as he's been in dozens of movies and television series. there's even one central mystery that's resolved by him dipping into a volume called The Book of Spells. to be sure. the guys on CSI use more deductive means of reasoning." Holmes retorts. Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. a technique that worked well enough to provide the backstory on shell games and heists in previous Ritchie movies like Snatch and Lock. left. referring to the corpulent white dog Ritchie . he talks through his moves in his head. Watson (Jude Law) about to leave Holmes for a girl. He's a cerebral detecting machine. Robert Downey Jr.Sherlock Holmes: Unmemorable Action By MARY POLS Friday. and Jude Law star in Sherlock Holmes. 2009 Impressive Abs. Since his introduction to the world in 1887 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. and they bicker like something out of a much lesser Judd Apatow movie. But here it feels like he's just trying to maximize the violence because it's so much more fun for him than the brainy stuff. computing the angle of the blow and the damage it will inflict before actually striking. his ability to throw a right hook or dodge a flying fist matters just as much as his brain. referring to the Baker Street apartments they share. able to slip in and out of disguises and make it all look "elementary. to put it mildly. In this movie. which we see in slow motion. but director Guy Ritchie is trying hard to correct our mistake with his populist version of Sherlock Holmes. Frankly.'s six-pack in a starring role and Jude Law as his partner more in bromance than crime solving." But have his steely abs ever been given their proper due? Have we remarked enough on what a cutie pie he is. where do you think the final fight sequence will take place? — and Dr. and when he gets into trouble. Watson? No and no. 25. Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly). which features Robert Downey Jr. Holmes' actual crime-solving scenes slip by in an unmemorable instant..

Or rather. who is saucy and fetching. the one we never imagined was hiding a six-pack under his tweeds. It isn't surprising that Ritchie. Holmes' favorite dangerous lady. "Our dog. doesn't manage to overcome all that. "the woman. He's caught by Holmes in the film's opening scenes in the middle of some Satanic ritual and condemned to death by hanging." Don't they all?) Even more surprising is that Robert Downey Jr. known for dipping into the cocaine here and there. 2009 Daniel Day-Lewis in Nine . In theory. Dec. the Sherlock Holmes. Nor does it feel like a sin against humanity or literature. which stands alone in defiant atrocity) would turn Holmes into an action hero. is still our favorite bad boy. with a penchant for the perverse and the supernatural. lively movie over and over again (with the exception of 2002's Swept Away. is to dream of what could have been. She's played by Rachel McAdams. Holmes was a late-19th-century bad boy. he seems like such a good casting choice for a new Holmes. They'd be "The Odd Couple" if they were funnier and actually mismatched (Law is too pretty to play Watson). a director who essentially keeps making the same glib. What is surprising is how bland the results are. To imagine him in a different Sherlock Holmes movie. no actor of the appropriate age working today seems more quick-witted or verbally agile." Irene Adler is also on hand. but threatens to return from the grave. invigorated by a less standard-issue plot. but we don't believe for a minute that this is really a woman who would give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong. Nine: Not a 10 and Certainly Not an 8-1/2 By RICHARD CORLISS Friday. and Downey Jr. 25.. (Blackwood has "set his sights on America. one darker. reformed though he may be. his hair shaped in a shiny black cap that makes him look like one of the Fisher Price little people). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was fun but he wasn't exactly Henry James. The crime involves a member of the House of Lords.cuts to for an occasional punchline. smarter and less desperate to entertain. The explosions and action sequences have an odd cheapness to them and the central plot is one of those dreary take-over-the-world routines." Holmes says tartly.

as a creative filmmaker. talks about her life. not plumb the pools of their own artistry. Kidman. film directors prefer to make movies based on old movies. on a single bare stage. besides being a wondrous entertainment. all his women. and everywhere. not organic. a collision of song and dance. Guido has an epiphany: he will put his problems. That license may have been issued a bit cavalierly — self-referential cinema. Nine hit Broadway three years later. by the man the movie is about. his life. not advance the plot. is inspired by Federico Fellini's landmark 1963 comedy-fantasy 8-1/2. Attractive notions. Penelope Cruz. Kate Hudson." A few numbers are duds. directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago) and scripted by Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) and Michael Tolkin (The Player). Your producer is throwing money at you. a theme. But each one is there to explain a situation. . Dench. they're ornamental. at the point of suicide. Woody Allen's Stardust Memories and above all Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. his job. Today. Cotillard. So of course you/re miserable — because. a setting — but 8-1/2 was a work of great bustle and brio. passive Guido (Marcello Mastroianni). could easily turn self-reverential — but it spawned some fascinating films. And since the notion was just slightly autobiographical. not inward. including Paul Mazursky's Alex in Wonderland. What would it be about? How will you top yourself. The movie told them they were interesting enough to be the subjects of their own pictures. in a way. For a while. Sophia Loren) throw themselves at you. they can sing too. energy and entropy. After a while. with himself as the ringmaster. maestro? He had the bold brainstorm to make a movie about a man who can't make a movie. Nine. Some of these solo spots are pretty wow-y: Cruz's writhing sensuality in "A Call from the Vatican. 8-1/2. because they expose the show's structure as a variety program. begging you to use them. wants to do both: engage in a little navel-gazing while summoning the glories of Italian cinema in the Cinecitta era of the 1960s. a hundred skilled technicians are ready to turn your whims into cinema reality. beyond-chic production. the movie would be made. like Hudson's attempt (in a new number. an episodic fashion show. Find a role for Sophia Loren! Cast Kidman as an amalgam of Claudia Cardinale and Anita Ekberg! And. at the moment. into the circus of a movie. That was a very distant time. Each of the women in Guido's life comes on. Egotism could be the highest form of artistry. have people sing their troubles." the surprising sass and vocal authority that Judi Dench brings to "Folies Bergere" and a nicely gaudy turn by the pop star Fergie as a zaftig whore who urges the perpetually pre-adolescent Guido to "Be Italian. performs a song. Nine. all. Cruz and Loren) prove that. "Cinema Italiano") to channel Madonna in her "Vogue" period. So why don't they coalesce into a fully satisfying film? In part. Marion Cotillard. The premise contained its own absurdity — nobody makes a movie without a script. skyrocketing neurosis and open-heart surgery. then fades into the crowd.You (Daniel Day-Lewis) are a famous director scheduled to make your next film. the perplexing new film based on the 1982 Broadway musical. beautiful women (Nicole Kidman. Hollywood looks back. you can't get it up. Fellini was besieged with questions about his next film. built around the exhausted. every ambitious American director wanted to do his own 8-1/2. with Raul Julia declaiming Maury Yeston's songs in Tommy Tune's black-and-white. as it was called. just as anachronistic. Nine plays like some Hollywood charity revue where Oscar-winning stars (the movie has six: Day-Lewis. Finally. hey. was a lightning bolt to other filmmakers. After achieving a worldwide smash with La Dolce Vita.

but he's so tense and intense that he can't unleash the showman that has to be at the heart of any musical star. while watching screen tests Guido has made for his new project. and has a spirit that's not even slightly Mediterranean. Day-Lewis has wit. a perpetual sexual adolescence was not a flaw but a goal (especially because women kept throwing themselves at him. Mastroianni was such a natural charmer — so. we have to say. a lovely scene when the ex-actress Luisa. Smiling is an ordeal to him. . Only Cotillard. in that film. was originally to play Guido. Dec. looks and a furious dedication to every role. the Spanish hunk who won an Oscar as the killer in No Country for Old Men. speaking or just staring darts at her philandering mate. It's a moment of emotional truth at the heart of this expertly made but hollow enterprise. Pain rarely seemed so proud. an actor nearly the opposite of Bardem. is in command of her character whether she's singing. who left her 10 years ago for a skinny meanie. It's Complicated: But Not Complicated Enough By MARY POLS Thursday. Jake (Alec Baldwin). the role went to Day-Lewis. dancing a form of enforced calisthenics. wary. The rest is vaudeville. as Guido's long-suffering wife Luisa. In 8-1/2. Italian — that he made indolence attractive. the kind words and gestures she thought were meant for her alone are revealed as a trick directors use to flattter an actress into giving a stronger performance. a woman in her late 50s. played by Meryl Streep. singing an imposition. He's coiled. as in Cotillard's rendition of the melancholic rhapsody "My Husband Makes Movies. 2009 Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin star in It's Complicated In It's Complicated. Her ex-husband.Javier Bardem. is an object of great desire. has suddenly taken to eyeing Jane as if she were the comeliest pole dancer in his favorite strip club." There. and what woman wouldn't?). Jane. 24. 60. sees him lavishing exactly the same attention on a new girl that he did on her when she was just starting in pictures. or hurt so regal. When he dropped out.

and Jake's awfulness does lend itself to comedy of the oh-no-he-didn't variety. a lonely. So what's in it for Jane? We understand that she wants the validation of finally hearing her husband admit he made a mistake. who isn't French or Julie Christie. just waiting for this formerly unappreciated domestic goddess to fill them with homemade bounty. Jane's semi-rural Santa Barbara home is a hydroponic dreamland. is so odious that the affair makes little sense. Her spacious. as he lies in bed with Jane after their first sexual encounter in a decade. Crew catalogue. he was at his mother's teat. where tomatoes grow implausibly round and fully ripe in springtime. beautiful kitchen is filled with shelves of cake plates and creamy white platters. Her heroines are allowed just one problem. or is just generally outraged by how little respect and attention Hollywood gives to women of a certain age (or women of any age). But It's Complicated is positioned more as a which-guy-will-she-choose story. perimenopausal. I mean feminists and/or anyone who can check off the yes box for at least two items on the following list: is a victim of divorce or infidelity. Moreover. loves Baldwin's 30 Rock character.Meanwhile. Producers of porn employ "fluffers" on their sets. Jack Donaghy. and like a wandering dog he just wants to get back home again. This would be sweet. Lauren (Caitlin Fitzgerald). Streep is radiant. I'd hazard a guess that the last time Jake looked this pleased with himself. . as a producer of lifestyle porn. he's good at being bad. "Home!" Jake proclaims. menopausal. Jake. reasonably attractive architect named Adam (Steve Martin) wants to take her to French film festivals and do the Wild and Crazy-guy dance with her. In the role of a successful businesswoman — Jane owns and operates an upscale bakery/café — who finds herself in the unlikely position of having an affair with her ex-husband. but it's a bit more complicated than that. Jake wants to flee. funny and endearingly vulnerable. right? By we. is a huge disappointment: temperamental. Agness (Lake Bell)." a demanding child who diminishes Stepdad Jake every chance he gets. No matter how good Streep is. loves Meryl Streep. watching her in these surroundings feels akin to seeing Sarah Bernhardt trapped in a live-action edition of Martha Stewart Living. It's almost as if her womanhood was chattel he mislaid and is now reclaiming. an extraordinarily limited worldview. But Meyers demonstrates. He's missed sharing nuclear family time with Jane and their three grown children. more than any TV boss since Lou Grant. as well as a feverish desire to get pregnant again. I would like to say that writer/director Nancy Meyers' film is cause for celebration. who seems like such a cheery rogue in all the film's trailers. and it will never. ever include a lack of taste. and Meyers' intent in showing the reality of the fantasy coming true is clever and fresh. Meyers has written some astute scenes about aging and regret. He's missed his first wife/second mother's roast chicken and chocolate layer cake. heartbreak and hope. as she did in Something's Gotta Give and The Holiday. with "a big job. if he weren't saying it as he's clapping his hand over her groin with all the subtlety of a baseball player adjusting his cup. Luke (Hunter Parrish) and Gabby (Zoe Kazan). who look and act as though they've been ordered from the J. making sure every pristine surface and outfit stays that way. a believer in retribution. It's not Baldwin's fault. We should all be grateful that there's a movie about a senior citizen. It's a wronged woman's dream scenario. has heard of menopause. bigger than a size 6. I believe Meyers. The second wife. having a sex life. requires a fulltime bleacher.

who was cuckolded by his ex-wife. Marc Lawrence. Jon Stewart mistakenly called the film What Happened to the Morgans? Stewart might have asked what happened to romantic comedy. Interviewing Grant on Wednesday's The Daily Show. are relocated in the FBI's Witness Protection Program to a Wyoming hamlet where two earth-salt older folks (Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen) teach them life lessons on why it's good to eat pork and pack a rifle. a comedy about a married couple on the outs (Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant) who. nothing new. Dec. Meyers is telling us. The movie is like a car wreck in which no one is injured but the onlookers.and thanks to Jake's clear-cut case of permanent jerkitis. 2009 Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant star in Did You Hear About the Morgans? You think my job is easy. But there are times when I wonder if I shouldn't have tried a less onerous trade. you know how he and Jane met? He's the architect on her remodel. its faux-funniness is no less depressing. Witless Protection) and the application of the genre's most formulaic shtick-in-trade: forcing an uncomfortable intimacy on two people who don't like each other. Did You Hear How Bad The Morgans Is? By RICHARD CORLISS Friday. once the crown jewel of Hollywood genres. after exchanging glances with a mob hit man. At best. and only a humble one like Adam. Speaking of Adam. All those cake plates of hers must be feeling squeezed for space. 18. The Morgans' writer-director. Men are babies. rom-com is simply the recycling of a tired fugitive-couple premise from other bad movies (My Blue Heaven. Apparently Jane needs a bigger kitchen. it died of exhaustion. there's not a lot of dramatic tension to feed that plot line. has no special gift for character nuance or witty dialogue. is really worthy of any successful. Though The Morgans offers what might seem a welcome respite from all the Oscar-wannabe dramas where Grim Death gargles at you from every scene. at worst. independent woman's while. Such dark thoughts percolated during the 103 minutes I spent in the company of Did You Hear About the Morgans?. I'm paid to see the movies you pay to see. To him. like defusing IEDs or chairing the Fed. .

. I see movies so you don't have to. and a few times makes it better (though he was more relaxed. Grant seems to think he's in a better movie. Michael J. Chicago sounds more like Chichester. rail-thin and well-toned. and to the sound track of numbers way older than Meryl and Paul . They are the opposites who might conceivably attract. FBI agent to Meryl: "Would you rather live somewhere else than die in New York?" Meryl: — long pause — "I'm thinking. Bullock and Grant in Two Weeks Notice. wouldn't everyone live there? And if they did. clever and ingratiating on The Daily Show). He also co-wrote the Bullock vehicle Miss Congeniality. ("A week ago." Elliott and Steenburgen lend a human dimension to the roles of a small-town sheriff and his wife. Fox and a sassy child felon in Life with Mikey. she always looks as if she's just completed a session at the poshest workout spa in the gulag. But the ordeal did help me realize my true calling: I'm your critical Early Warning System. which is virtually the same movie — including the compulsory re-education in American values and Steenburgen as the adoptive mother figure — and with Alaska standing in for Wyoming. I have to say. After his first night away from New York's 24-hour symphony of noise. after Meryl proves her mettle with firearms. it beats working. and to the picture's constant badgering about how much more wonderful a one-horse town with a grizzly bear.." he tells his Wyoming hosts. I have to admit. if Wyoming were so fabulous. an imported killer and a guy who smokes in the local restaurant is than dirty old Gotham.") Grant can't do much with the rest of the movie's banter. Large-featured. Instead. about two middle-aged marrieds who give shelter and wisdom to outsiders on the lam. but Grant's function in the film is to provide a running commentary on Parker's cartoonishly tense career gal. . But since this Grant makes no more serious an attempt to hide his English accent than Cary did.K. is a startling presence on the big screen. I thought I could actually hear my cells dividing. on hiatus between her two Sex and the City feature films.Lawrence has been plowing this fallow field for more than a decade: with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck in Forces of Nature. wouldn't it be just as unlivable as New York? These were some of the thoughts I shouted to myself while sitting through The Morgans. which had actual entertainment value. But her sinewy perkiness makes an appropriate contrast to Grant's soft features and stammering charm. And. Lawrence cast Sarah Jessica Parker. As moneyed Manhattanites Meryl and Paul Morgan. But Elliott and Steenburgen are mere supporting figures to the grating central couple . "she was basically Amish. or maybe a sitcom. long mothballed in the Museum of Old Jokes. she's a homegrown real estate agent and he's a lawyer from Chicago. Hey. One bit comes from the Jack Benny Gagbook. as the heroine. The ease with which they inhabit these characters suggests that somewhere inside the charred husk of The Morgans is the premise for an O. Paul awakens to observe that Wyoming is "very quiet. circa 1937. So why didn't Lawrence reteam with his favorite actress? Perhaps because Bullock was off making The Proposal..." His role as sinning husband is to confess and win his wife back. Parker. movie.

it should at least stir in young minds a healthy skepticism toward movie mediocrity — and zero tolerance for crap. the Stuart Little. Scooby-Doo and Garfield sequels all tanked. most imaginative entertainment in film history: the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series. These films did more than teach life lessons about the value of friendship. they gave priceless instruction in what movies can be. and how to watch them. Kung Fu Panda and Chicken Run — not to mention this year's Up. If the good doesn't drive out the bad. No. Dec. . Coraline and The Princess and the Frog — should create in kids the demand that any movie aimed at them must be at least within shouting distance of those masterpieces. together. Theodore and Alvin was a hit? But that's no guarantor of success. to be sure. then. loyalty and initiative. Were parents seeking a celluloid babysitter over the Christmas holiday? They could have taken the cherubs to The Princess and the Frog or Disney's A Christmas Carol.Alvin 2: The Unspeakable Squeakquel By RICHARD CORLISS Wednesday. Fantastic Mr. Fox. 30. why Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel earned more than $75 million in its first five days of release. Seeing Finding Nemo. that is? A child of the decade just ending has been exposed to some of the grandest. Explain to me. worthy efforts that. 2009 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 20th Century Fox / AP Do kids know what's good for them? In movies. Was the boffo gross due to brand recognition after the 2007 movie about Simon. Dreamworks and Aardman. took in only about a fifth of the Chipmunks' revenue in the same period. but mainly the animated features from Pixar.

high school? Affirmative action in California admission policies now apparently applies to 8-in. in traction in Paris. The musical numbers. especially those performed by the Chipettes. What the heck happened? Squeakquel seems not to have been written so much as manufactured from an unwarranted pride in the first Alvin and desperation about what to do next. consider the stars who lend their voices to the Chipettes: Christina Applegate. John Tucker Must Die) that help give a bad name to the movies shown on airplanes.) But when it talks. Betty Thomas. a PlayStation addict and all-around loser played by Zachary Levi (star of TV's Chuck). As for the movie's writers — Jon Vitti.. Theodore (Jesse McCartney). Maybe I'm missing the wit in the Alvin 2 pileup of purloined plot points. no comic nutrition. His main function — except for failing in public. the Chipmunks perform the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" while opening a bag of Utz Cheese Balls. laboring under the management of evil Ian Hawke (David Cross).) Or maybe kids aren't as cinematically precocious as I thought they were. 28 Days. (As in G-Force. During one of their many demolition scenes.-tall brown animals. Pain is the key here: the movie has more gags that involve hitting. I don't mean the director. is thunderously obvious product placement. (If the director played by Daniel Day-Lewis in Nine had seen this movie.somebody — somebody young — must be enjoying this soul-sapping would-be comedy. toilet and fart jokes and tired references to old movies. the Chipettes. Alvin 2 relies on shtick that sinks below even the dismal standards of high school comedies and buddy farces. smart comediennes all. runs away from home and gets menaced by an eagle at the zoo. . fretting that his brother act is close to breakup. then being romantically rewarded for it — is to make sure the chipmunks go to . Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) gets a toilet swirlie from the jock bullies. that's the best that can be said about the movie's CGI animation. true to the mercantile nature of the enterprise. sends them back to Los Angeles. Instead. The whole movie follows suit: empty calories. the villain from the first movie. or tries to develop a situation. and Aibel and Berger helped script Kung Fu Panda and Monsters vs Aliens. Send in the teen clichés. This time Dave. our singing rodents followed the guidance of their perplexed owner Dave (Jason Lee) and became international rock stars. hurting and humiliating than you'll find in an entire Super Bowl's worth of commercials. Last time out. What's really frustrating about Squeakquel is the pedigree of some of the movie's perps. Seeing Squeakquel is like gorging on Cheese Balls for an hour and a half. the Hill Street Blues actress who helmed one good movie (the Howard Stern Private Parts) before loading her résumé with the sort of dispiriting comedies (Doctor Dolittle. the animated rodents interact with the live-action humans. Amy Poehler and Anna Faris. Alvin (voiced by Justin Long) joins the football team and wins a game.. Writing funny for animals should not be a chore for these guys. (The "You talkin' to me" bit from Taxi Driver simply must be retired from overuse. his sudden awareness of what the competition was producing would have instantly unblocked his creative sinuses. have a generic verve.) The picture's single triumph. There's also a musical-talent sing-off that pits the little guys against a female trio of chipmunks. I Spy. Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger — they've spent a decade or two creating clever words and strange thoughts for characters on The Simpsons and King of the Hill. where their caretaker is Toby.

In its second year. convincing tale about a murderous AI loose on the Net. Nerd wish fulfillment doesn't get funnier than this. an enthralling. Daemon. Freedom™ Now in Stores Daniel Suarez came out of nowhere — or at least the book-world equivalent: he self-published his first techno-thriller. Now he has a publisher and a sequel. this action-comedy (returning to NBC Jan. The Short List of Things to Do WEEK OF JAN. Freedom™. a big-box-store clerk (Zachary Levi) received an errant e-mail that turned him into a superspy. It's even better. 10) found a higher gear as Chuck embraced his geeky superbadness.Enjoy. . kids. 1 Chuck: The Complete Second Season Now on DVD In Season 1.

aided by her formidable intelligence and willingness to try anything. . Coetzee (Disgrace) ends his fictionalized-memoir biographer piecing trilogy together by his imagining life a through interviews with four women who knew him as a lonely soul in his 30s. Corneliu Porumboiu's procedural proves that less can be more — mordant and oddly moral. she spent a year road-testing every theory about happiness she could get her hands on. So. It's a bracing read: no one critiques Coetzee better than he does. 3 Weeks and 2 Days).M. The Happiness Project Now in Stores Gretchen Rubin wasn't happy. Police. Or at least not happy enough. using her own life as the road. In its darkly comic way.Summertime Now in Stores Nobel laureate J. Adjective Now in Theaters A Romanian cop (Dragos Bucur) assigned to a minor drug case debates the meaning of justice with his boss (Vlad Ivanov of 4 Months.

She went on to add several TV and movie roles to her resume and currently can be seen as a brassy lawyer on the CBS drama The Good Wife. The Wilder Shores of Love by Lesley Blanch is a classic.Christine Baranski's Short List Baranski had a 20-year career onstage. biographies.S. I read her bio by Janet Wallach just as the U. where a small band was playing a medley from . I was engrossed in Niall Ferguson's book Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World. Mamma Mia! Pioneering women I adore books about adventurous women of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who spent time in Africa or the Middle East.. James's Park. An amazing woman! Born in England. The empire of Abba When I was in London filming Mamma Mia!. a novel I reread every few years. for which she won an Emmy. thinking that with his fascination for East meets West. There's also West with the Night by Beryl Markham. One of my happiest days that summer was a rainy afternoon spent in the Cabinet War Rooms followed by a walk through St. he would be the perfect director for her story. was about to invade Iraq. X chrome — accented I'm drawn to reading any kind of book about women — novels. autobiographies. My all-time favorite is The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I read Living History by Hillary Clinton this summer. and she established the National Museum of Iraq. And. racking up two Tonys before landing a role on the hit TV show Cybill. as I play a tough feminist lawyer on The Good Wife. Big-screen fave My favorite film from the time I saw it when I was a student at Juilliard is Lawrence of Arabia . That's a book I read to both of my preadolescent daughters.. In her downtime this bookworm might be found with a volume about female pioneers in her hands or lost in London memories. so cinematic! West meets East Gertrude Bell was the female Lawrence of Arabia. . I sent the book to Ridley Scott. she spent much of her life in the Middle East...

S.BUSINESS Can Microfinance Make It in America? By BARBARA KIVIAT Sunday. Profit has long eluded U. Grameen is taking on a different sort of challenge: one of the planet's richest countries. all immigrants — pack into a room with shelves full of the herbal health remedies Suarez sells. is whether there is a role for a Third World lender in the world's largest economy. Medina and 10 borrowers gather in Ziomara Suarez's apartment in the northern prong of Manhattan. 11. but this is still a nation of 100.500 check in my hand. As the petite 26-year-old works her way through some of New York City's poorer neighborhoods. despite what people often think.000 bank branches. The organization Medina works for. His great discovery was that even with few assets. Boogie for TIME Emily Medina isn't running a pyramid scheme. she approaches women selling food and trinkets on the street and offers to lend them money to grow their businesses.S. Grameen. then. As the borrowers — all women. microfinanciers. is one of the world's largest microfinance outfits and has a Nobel Prize to its name for this work. but by coming to the U. Here is how Grameen is trying to establish one: on a Thursday afternoon. . Grameen and microfinance have since become financial staples of the developing world." Yunus said on a recent trip to the U. "If it's not profitable. Thirty years ago Muhammad Yunus.S. it can take a while to build trust." says jewelry seller Rosa Lopez. Yes. Yet Yunus believes that in just a few years Grameen America will be so successful that it turns a profit. thanks to 9 million U. But in New York neighborhoods where loans to street vendors tend to come with interest rates north of 40%. the founder of the Grameen franchise. it's not microlending — it's charity. these entrepreneurs repaid on time. The question. "I didn't believe it until I had the $1.S. Jan. 2009 A loan from Grameen America allows Altagracia Familia to buy ingredients for the empanadas and sweets she sells from her cart. households untouched by mainstream banks and another 21 million using the likes of payday loans and pawnshops for financing. money may be tight in the waning recession. started lending small sums to poor entrepreneurs in Bangladesh to help them grow from a subsistence living to a livelihood.

. Imported talent helped Grameen rival Acción. Like other financial giants. Southern Bancorp started making microloans to entrepreneurs in Arkansas. mostly to Mexican immigrants stocking up on inventory for small businesses selling things like cosmetics. director of microfinance at Citibank. and last June it opened a second branch in Omaha. N. In Omaha. loans at rates much above Grameen America's standard 15% would most likely be attacked as usurious. the loss rate was a shocking 30%. do that by charging hefty interest rates — as high as 60% or 70%. not training an American bank to do it. that's a colossal rate but one that's necessary to compensate for the risk and to attract bank funding. But attracting those customers isn't easy. a pooling of talent designed to help all the groups more quickly remove their dependence on grants and community-reinvestment money. Acción has probably gotten closer to self-sufficiency than any other microlender by using technology and partnerships to boost efficiency. Even after getting that under control. in the late 1980s. hands out checks to borrowers at Grameen America headquarters — a sparsely furnished one-room office above a laundromat.C.. In New York City.S.700 borrowers in New York City.000. Microlenders overseas. — anywhere local businesspeople raise seed capital and a bank will host low-cost savings accounts for borrowers with just a few dollars. Since 2008 Grameen has collected 1. Other cities in its sights include San Francisco. including Grameen. credit will be cut off to the entire group — stunting the small businesses they've each developed. since savings are a key part of the Grameen philosophy. establish a presence in the U. The folks running Grameen America say that this time around results will be different because Grameen employees themselves are making the loans. clothing and Herbalife weight-loss products. Neb. Citi sees a lucrative new market in the unbanked. (Yes. Acción still isn't profitable — an example of the challenge Grameen faces if it thinks it won't have to depend on donations for funding. In the U. Boston and Charlotte. At first.S. and tripped up. That was also true when Grameen first came to the U. "There are whole populations that aren't being reached by the banking sector. And yet even after years of making loans to small and upstart businesses.) But in the U. who has worked for Grameen since 1985 and is a veteran of its Kosovo start-up. Under Grameen's tutelage." says Bob Annibale. If any one of the women doesn't pay her weekly installment. who started working for Grameen in 1982. Acción Texas now underwrites loans for 12 different microfinance organizations. Shah Newaz.they each hand Medina a small blue ledger with a loan payment tucked inside. but peer pressure is powerful. a big player in Latin American microfinance. The working microfinance equation consists of borrowing funds cheaply and keeping loan defaults and overhead expenses sufficiently low. in the early 1990s. has found more than 250 borrowers since June and has already lent $378. Southern found that what people really needed wasn't seed capital but broader help developing work skills and finding jobs.S.. which partners with Grameen in New York.S.S. The result: a 99% repayment rate in the U.. Habib Chowdhury. and Citi is overjoyed to have Grameen deliver them. Collateral and credit scores may be missing.

but the women of the Progressives — what the group has named itself — stick around. Back at Ziomara Suarez's apartment. The loans from Grameen. for example) as well as side businesses — selling toys or Amway products. for instance. As Emily Medina leaves to deposit the cash she's collected. but they don't create businesses out of nothing. one of the main things she gets from Grameen is something else: "their interest is in developing women workers. to refer customers to each other. Not by way of a loan. Take. a lot of the groups would still meet — to help with bookkeeping. but then she upgraded to metal.500 loan can do. a former schoolteacher in the Dominican Republic who now lives in New York City and sells empanadas and coconut sweets." she says through a translator. though. Familia slowly saved profits and bought a new cart once she had amassed $7. provide a steadier source of funding. the borrowers continue to chat and laugh and swap stories about the ups and downs of business. That's not to say the money isn't helpful. but at its height the entrepreneurs were tremendous sources of support to one another..S. More often than not. Her vending cart used to be wooden. which had branches from Burlington. it is still important to keep in mind exactly what a $1. "I'd say that might have been more important than the loans. to Miami. Whether that setup will eventually allow Grameen to stand on its own two legs is a huge question mark. But according to Familia. it uses the group-lending model. the formal loan collection ends." he recalls." That correlates with what Jeffrey Ashe found in the 1990s when he ran a group-lending outfit. What she spent her Grameen loan on is much less flashy: ingredients and cart repairs.Grameen's approach is different.S. "After they stopped borrowing. microfinanciers. "Women share their ideas and help each other out. says Ashe. by and large. Then one of them opens up a suitcase and starts selling jeans and T-shirts out of it. tying together their financial fates and eliminating expensive loan officers entirely. And even if it can. Vt. Altagracia Familia. Costs are kept down by having borrowers vet one another. Grameen America provides a fascinating lens through which to view that ideal. eventually collapsed.000. Working Capital. — With reporting by Natasha del Toro ." Even if microlending isn't a clear-cut pathway out of poverty — and years of studies have yet to settle that debate — it could still be doing something very useful. since unlike most U. cleaning houses or giving haircuts. The ultimate promise of Grameen — and of microfinance more broadly — is to use business lending as a way for people to lift themselves out of poverty. already have jobs (as factory workers or home health aides. the borrowers Grameen finds in the U.

clean and fast. (For example. Google is looking to change the way we go about surfing it. as long as it allows us to check our e-mail. It was simple. A little more than a year ago." Yet most of us barely notice which browser we're using — we tend to stick with whatever comes loaded on our computer. It now trails only Firefox and the ultimate preloader. We live and work within a browser. do a little shopping. "Many users probably spend more time in their browser than they do in their car. and it makes no difference whether it's Microsoft's Internet Explorer. as long as it gets the job done. right? But things are different now. Explorer. Apple's Safari or Mozilla's Firefox. Independent studies show that Chrome boots up and loads Web pages faster than Explorer or Firefox. it launched the beta version of Google Chrome for Windows. Jan. 11. In December the company released Chrome for Mac and Linux. peruse Facebook and send the occasional tweet. which helped catapult the browser past Safari in total market share. 2010 Hinterland for TIME We spend an inordinate amount of time browsing the Web every day. As a Google exec put it.) But speed stands out as its key differentiator. if a site crashes on you. After years of dominating search on the Web. Who doesn't want that? .SOCIETY Google Builds a Better Browser By PETER HA Monday. Chrome's many virtues include security and stability. the rest of the tabs in your browser will keep working — no need to relaunch the whole thing.

Weird as it sounds. And don't get me started on popcorn. every movie is a horror movie.Chrome is not only fast. Every morning when I get on the subway. "So we decided to start designing a browser from the ground up to see if we could build one that is faster. Microsoft Office Online). But Google's plan for world domination is far from complete. At any moment. 2010 Let's get this out of the way right up front: I'm afraid of people eating. edit photos (Piknik. phobias are not that unusual. These devices will be optimized for the Web and will boot up directly into the browser. According to a study published in 2008 by the National Institute of Mental Health. you won't be able to purchase Chrome OS to install on your computer. because of the rise of Web-based applications. I'm filled with overpowering. 11. where there's a lot of ambient noise and distraction.7% of people in the U. I do well in restaurants. director of product management for Google Chrome. Photoshop. Lala).S. It doesn't make any more sense to me than it does to you. Either way. Good luck. It doesn't take much to set mine off. it's free. Zoho. Some people are scared of snakes or flying or heights or other things that can actually be dangerous. When I go to a movie theater. You will have to buy a new netbook if you want the full Google experience. somebody could whip out a bagel or a danish. 8. So why has Google been putting so much effort into developing it? For one thing. A swig from a water bottle can do it. It's your move. If there's any doubt that Google has been gunning for Microsoft. Why Overcoming Phobias Can Be So Daunting By LEV GROSSMAN Monday. or someone chewing gum. irrational dread by the sight or sound of another human being eating or drinking. easier to use and fundamentally more secure. more than 40 million users have downloaded it. It's unclear whether Google will license the operating system to manufacturers like HP and Acer or put out its own hardware in the form of an official Google Chrome OS netbook. listen to music (Pandora. with no desktop as we know it today. I scan the passengers like an air marshal looking for terrorists. But that's what a phobia is: a fear that has nothing to do with logic or common sense. Microsoft. then Chrome OS certainly puts that to rest. Jan. iLike. . "But the pace of innovation in the browser space wasn't keeping up.com and check your voice mail (Google Voice) online." says Brian Rakowski. but one-on-one meals are a minefield. These let you create documents and spreadsheets (Google Apps. Scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2010 are netbooks that will run on Chrome OS rather than Windows or some other operating system. over the age of 18 have a specific phobia of some kind or other." So far.

The fear went away. It was still gone when the participants were retested a year later. full of demons and neuroses and fascinating dreams that I can bore my co-workers with. The participants in the Nature study were first trained to fear a certain arbitrary stimulus — they were shown colored cards while receiving mild electric shocks — then reconditioned during the reconsolidation period. Researchers at New York University have even gone beyond CBT. That's because it involves deliberately. rewrite it in a way that removes the fear. That isn't a model of my brain that I feel especially comfortable with. . It's part of cognitive behavioral therapy. According to a study published in December in Nature. and I avoided it for as long as humanly possible. my phobia was just a piece of bad neural wiring that needed troubleshooting. CBT is your weapon of choice. As far as CBT is concerned. when a person's phobia gets activated.The treatment for a phobia like mine is simple and routine. But when you're fighting a phobia. CBT views your symptoms not as clues to the secrets locked in your tormented unconscious but as a set of learned behaviors and bad habits that you can be trained to give up. there's a period immediately afterward when the traumatic memory that the phobia is based on becomes vulnerable. Insurance companies love it. It's a very practical kind of therapy — it has no truck with mystical Freudian mumbo jumbo. I like to think of my brain as profound and mysterious. Often you can cure a phobia like mine in about 12 sessions. The results of memory-reconsolidation experiments are impressive. or CBT. It's reliable and well documented. systematically exposing yourself to the thing you fear. During that time — which lasts about six hours — you can reshape the memory.

plus a promising new one Flooding Develops patients tolerance of a feared object.How to Fix a Phobia Three common treatments.g. through a high degree of exposure e. like a spider.. a roomful of spiders DOWNSIDE Patients may not be willing to undergo such immersive therapy Desensitization Employs muscle-relaxation techniques to help patients tolerate gradual increases in exposure to a feared object DOWNSIDE Therapists say the process risks lowering patients self-esteem Medication Uses antidepressants called monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors to reduce panic and increase confidence DOWNSIDE Side effects can include decreased sexual ability and weight gain .

but lab results show promise .Reconsolidation Uses noninvasive methods to rewrite traumatic memories with information that prevents the return of fear DOWNSIDE Practicality and durability are still uncertain.

Suffolk.J. it's very hard to single out one thing in a lifetime of 50 years. We lost a very visible war in Vietnam. How do you expect TV journalism to change in the next five years? — Debra Turner. Have you interviewed anyone who made you really nervous? — Barb Micetic Lancaster. We won a very visible space race. The most surprising news story in my lifetime is the Soviet Union's collapse. I'm proud to report that NBC Nightly News viewers have increased over last year. the choices we have. It changed how we are viewed in the world and changed how my children's generation will grow up as Americans. I was born in 1959 in Ridgewood.Y. . The worst interview I ever conducted was with TV host Steve Allen. have perhaps become so dizzying that there is a kind of "Come home. Boston I would say 9/11. Though the end of the Cold War and all it has wrought is probably as good an answer as any. America" aspect to our increased audience. and I think it took 20 minutes. We're fighting two wars in its name. It changed how I entered this building today. N. so if you think back. What is yours? — Ed Winters. who was having a bad day and decided that one-word answers should suffice. Gridley. I think with media rapidly multiplying. N. Ill. The interview felt like about a week and a half. Not only are we still standing.PEOPLE 10 Questions for Brian Williams Marc Bryan-Brown / WireImage / Getty What do you consider the most important story of this decade? — Jared May. New York City I've seen a lot of death notices come and go about what I do for a living..

I think it's a tawdry trick. I'm working in my first love. But I can't shake the sight of a dead body on a major street corner next to the Superdome and how these people were failed by grownups and their government. Austin. I love the guy. When are you going to start Twittering? — Tracy Marino.Do you actually wear pants while doing the news? — Curtis Ohl. Have you ever thought about giving up journalism and doing comedy? — Matthew Thacker. I see it as kind of a time suck that I don't need any more of. Shawnee. Everett. Bowling Green. What are your thoughts on losing TIME. Texas Our team has used Twitter on occasion. We have evidence that it wasn't fair. . I don't know what I would do for a living if I couldn't work in journalism. Just too much "I got the most awesome new pair of sweatpants. Al Roker — I know people in the industry who don't: Garrison Keillor. I choose to. Idaho I have some buddies in New Jersey who would argue that there's a big ugly one anchoring NBC Nightly News. They play a role in holding media and politicians accountable. I know colleagues — and I'm not going to use any coy initials here." I'm going to go ahead and assume that people buy awesome sweatpants every day and that I don't need to know them by name. It's not right. that someone tinkered with the machinery of the "most trusted" poll. Has there been traditionally a fiendish double standard for men and women on television? Yes.000 people died. There are a whole bunch of us on television who look normal. I'd love to shake what we saw in Banda Aceh. it's a cruel. where 30. Ohio Thanks. I'd love to shake what we saw in Baghdad. I got played. Escondido. What story have you felt most passionate about covering? — Keith Spencer. whom we entrust to protect us. but no. I think probably Hurricane Katrina. Mass. Matt Lauer. I consider Jon Stewart and The Daily Show and their freakishly talented staff to be an entire branch of government. cruel medium. I cover a lot of perfectly horrible things. This is a bitter and divisive issue. Especially with the advent of high-definition television. I don't celebrate that. Kans.com's "most trusted name in news" poll to Jon Stewart? — Kirk Bado. Calif. Why are there no ugly people reading the nightly news? — David Keyes. In real life. as they say. Sandpoint.

for 12 glorious years. Luanne will be a shining legacy for an actress with a comic gift and a tragic fate. though. enduring roles were ones she was never seen in: Gloria.NOTEBOOK Brittany Murphy Actress. 32 REBECCA MCALPIN / RETNA An actress more famous in death than in life. Murphy. A dizzy blond with a knack for disastrous relationships. Luanne busted out of stereotype thanks to the deep-throated Texas texture Murphy provided for the character. the hero penguin's girl friend.J. She was a hot property. Interrupted and kept busy working on other movies and scores of TV shows. Luanne Platter on the Fox cartoon series King of the Hill. in Happy Feet and. 32. While not becoming the star she dreamed of. and her vocal ability to switch in a trice from humor to pathos as Luanne's inane enthusiasms would explode into fortissimo fears. gauche girl who gets a makeover from Alicia Silverstone in the 1995 hit Clueless. Her most endearing. she did strong work in 8 Mile. though her recent career was marked by trouble: she was fired from one movie. to Los Angeles. 20 and died before police could get her to the hospital. N. Murphy soon landed the role of the tough.. Uptown Girls and Girl. autopsy results have not been released. became a year-end tabloid and Twitter sensation when she was found unconscious in her West Hollywood home on Dec. A natural entertainer who as a kid convinced her mother to move them from Edison. —Richard Corliss A BRIEF HISTORY OF Fad Diets . and so seemingly addled while shooting another that a new character had to be hastily written in to pick up Murphy's slack. in the specialized field of voice work for cartoons.

William the Conqueror devised an alcohol-only diet in 1087. In 1829. Despite its dubious beginnings. Dr. 15." and the plan became so popular that banting became a synonym for dieting across Britain. fad dieting gained mass appeal in the 19th century. which means 'tis the season to overindulge. as these aren't snickerdoodles or chocolate-chip cookies but rather protein. The monarch didn't grow thinner. Forgive our skepticism. 2009 Masterfile / Radius Images / Corbis The holidays are upon us. Fletcher's acolytes were not. instead. From there. . Sanford Siegel appeared on the Today show on Dec. (Pleasant dinner guests. 14 to tout a mouthwatering diet plan: eat six cookies a day as part of a limited-calorie diet.) In 1928 dieters could choose between eating only meat and fat (sometimes in trimmings bought directly from the butcher) on the Inuit diet. Dec. Thirty-five years later. Herman Taller was touting the Calories Don't Count diet. But once the calendar turns. leaving his subjects to struggle with finding a coffin big enough to fit the corpulent king. things got a little strange.By DAN FLETCHER Tuesday. he died later that year after falling from his beleaguered steed. and watch that extra weight melt away. He published his results in the 1864 "Letter on Corpulence. an English casketmaker named William Banting became famous by pioneering the concept of a low-carbohydrate diet.and nutrient-packed biscuits that stretch the definition of cookie. The diet became so popular that the students of Oberlin College were forced onto it for a brief period in the 1830s before they successfully rebelled through mass dissent in 1841. There's a (possibly apocryphal) story that after becoming too fat to ride his horse. or skim milk and bananas on Dr. which helped him lose 50 lb. which is why Dr. George Harrop's aptly named bananas-and-skim-milk diet. In 1903 self-taught nutritionist Horace Fletcher became known as the Great Masticator for advancing the notion that one should chew food exactly 32 times before spitting it out completely. The cookie-meal plan has actually been around since 1975. we'll have to shed some of those pounds. but the quest for the magic diet solution goes back much further. As late as the 1960s. Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham touted the Graham diet — centered on caffeine-free drinks and vegetarian cuisine and supplemented by the eponymous graham cracker — as a cure for not just obesity but masturbation (and the subsequent blindness it was thought to cause). which held that the quantity of food consumed was unimportant provided that you chased it with vegetable oil.

) Its success spawned imitators like the popular South Beach diet. But other modern diets remain pretty far-fetched.S. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Abdulmutallab. Claire Suddath. Alex Altman. 2 | New York City Shopping Spree The 2009 holiday season proved merrier than expected for U. Siegal's cookie diet looks that much more appealing by comparison. The World By Harriet Barovick. 2010 1 | Detroit Terrorism in the Air On a Northwest/Delta plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day. in a week by eating only cabbage soup. Tamara Weston. told U. Transportation Security Administration and its policies. which requires dieters to subsist on a concoction of lemon juice. Laura Fitzpatrick. snarling holiday transportation on one of the year's busiest weekends. The apparent lapse that allowed Abdulmutallab to travel--he had been placed on a list of persons of interest but not on the so-called no-fly list after his father warned authorities about his radical tendencies--has led to increased scrutiny of the U. (Critics say it can also cause high cholesterol and bad breath. with MasterCard estimating a 3. Alyssa Fetini.S. 2008. Frances Romero. While it may not rely on sound science. a 23-year-old Nigerian. The Atkins diet. Jan. red pepper and hot water for as long as 10 days.S. Analysts credit the surge in part to an extra day of shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas.The bizarre early history of planned weight loss makes recent fad diets seem enlightened by comparison. which promises that adherents will lose 10 lb. One example is the cabbage-soup diet. maple syrup. was written in 1972 and became in later years a weight-loss plan favored by millions. A more challenging competitor might be the lemonade diet. 11. who was charged in federal court with attempting to destroy an aircraft. allegedly tried to ignite explosives concealed in his underwear but was overpowered by other passengers. The incident prompted a swift escalation of security measures by airlines. retailers.6% increase in sales vs. Kristi Oloffson Monday. officials that he was given the explosives and instructions on how to use them by an al-Qaeda group in Yemen. a modern-day Banting plan that has eaters eschew carbs in favor of protein-rich meals. 2009 holiday retail sales compared with 2008 . a more lenient version that invokes the same low-sugar principle.

8% APPAREL -0. nephew of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Among those killed was 43-year-old Ali Mousavi Khamane. which were held as Iran marked the major Shi'ite holiday of Ashura.3% SOURCE: MASTERCARD ADVISORS SPENDINGPULSE 3 | Iran Turmoil in Tehran At least eight people were killed and hundreds more arrested in the most violent antigovernment protests in Iran since those that followed June's disputed presidential election.5% ELECTRONICS +5.0% LUXURY +0. Authorities accused foreign governments of backing the demonstrations.] ONLINE SHOPPING +15.[The following text appears within a chart.9% JEWELRY +5.4% DEPARTMENT STORES -2. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart. 4 | Argentina Gay-Marriage Firsts .6% FOOTWEAR +5.

28. 53. authorities dismissed criticism of the activist's trial as "gross interference" in China's internal affairs. . to 11 years in prison for activities that include co-authoring last year's Charter 08 petition calling for freedom of speech and religion.. Amid an international outcry. Because Argentina's constitution does not declare that marriage must be between a man and a woman. to which they traveled to be pronounced husband and husband.U. Rights groups. Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre became the first gay couple in Latin America to wed. Sunni extremist groups were accused of orchestrating the attack. 54. also alleges that Irish police repeatedly failed to investigate claims of abuse and conspired to protect Catholic clergy. two Argentines led the charge to the altar. A Dissident Imprisoned In a crackdown on challenges to the government. On Dec.. which Chinese officials defended as being in accordance with the law. and the E. 21 Mexico City became the first Latin American metropolis to vote to legalize same-sex marriage. 29 lethal injection. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "appalled" by the Dec. London had sought clemency for Akmal Shaikh. Critics of President Asif Ali Zardari pointed to the events as evidence of his inability to combat increasing sectarian violence in the country. the U. 6 | China . issued by the Irish government in November.Although on Dec. which killed at least 40 people.S. Beijing sentenced Liu Xiaobo.. condemned the sentence. the men asked for and were granted special permission from the governor of the southern province of Tierra del Fuego. and government officials have asked Shi'ite clerics to delay upcoming processions for safety reasons. 8 | Dublin Implicated Priests Step Down Four Roman Catholic bishops resigned in December after being named in a report that allegedly documents the Dublin archdiocese's practice of safeguarding priests--at least 170 of them from 1975 to 2004--accused of sexually abusing children. The Dec. arguing that he was mentally ill and had been exploited by other smugglers.. 28 bombing. The report. China carried out the death sentence of a British man convicted of smuggling heroin into the western province of Xinjiang. 5 | China A Foreigner Executed . was the third in a week to target Shi'ites. 7 | Pakistan A HOLY DAY MARRED BY BLOODSHED Pakistan's minority Shi'ite community was rocked by a suicide attack on a religious procession in Karachi during the holy festival of Ashura.

was a Renaissance man--a gentle. who died Dec. who was born in Texas and studied law at Columbia University and Brooklyn Law School on the GI Bill.N.9 | Washington Health Care Reform Clears the Senate Now that the U. Percy Sutton By The Rev.N. The Hmong fought on the side of the U. 26 at 89. Bangkok refused to continue providing them asylum. lawmakers in the two houses of Congress must reconcile the small but critical differences in their versions before President Obama can sign a bill into law. Please see hardcopy of magazine. who denies any wrongdoing. 2010 In Harlem they called him the Big Rock: when it hit the water. and a former Tuskegee Airman. who say they face persecution at home.S. 11. Another woman purportedly provided the consorts in exchange for a mining lease. as declared by the U. he made plenty of waves. the 86-year-old governor of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. in the conflicts that ravaged Southeast Asia in the 1970s.000 ethnic Hmong to their native Laos on Dec. 27 after a video surfaced allegedly showing him cavorting in bed with three young women.] 10 | Thailand Sending the Hmong Home The Thai government began forcibly repatriating more than 4. 28. Some crucial health care sticking points [This article contains a table. Jesse Jackson Sr. despite expressions of concern from the U. Jan. who resigned Dec. Percy Sutton. a long-distance runner.S. Percy.. Both proposals are expected to expand health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. became Manhattan borough president in 1966--making him the highest-ranking black official in .000 Hmong have fled to Thailand since the '70s. * | What They're Talking About in India: Indian tabloids are buzzing over the saga of Narain Dutt Tiwari. and foreign governments and pleas from the refugees. Senate has passed a wide-ranging health care reform bill. the concentric waves kept going. Some 300. Although 158 deportees are legitimate refugees. Monday. and a handful of rebels are still waging an insurgency against Laos' communist government. scholarly. but most have already been repatriated or resettled in other countries. tough social transformer. Women's-rights groups have protested Tiwari. In his long career as one of the nation's most influential black political and business figures.

In 1971 he bought WLIB-AM. "Malcolm. King and Malcolm and made good use of that time. Percy was a tireless advocate for African Americans' economic rights. Peek. His belief was that radio was the only way blacks running for office could get their message out. you need a lawyer." Percy represented him until his 1965 assassination. 11. We always want some special gift for Christmas. So many of us are indebted to him. Ala. Percy went to his office and said. When Percy went to join the civil rights marchers in Selma. His 1977 run for mayor was unsuccessful. was indeed riven by disabilities throughout his life. Martin Luther King died violently. But God let Percy down easy. he might have memorized every name. After the Apollo Theater's lights went out in 1975. One day. Peek was a so-called megasavant. a man with such dazzling recall that he seemed to have ingested encyclopedias whole. heaven wanted a present. 19 at 58. another later recommended a lobotomy.. Peek became an overnight star and spent the rest of his life showcasing his gifts to more than 64 million people. In 1984. He lived 40 years longer than Dr.000 to help revive the institution. Percy invested $250. But buried beneath these afflictions was a mighty intellect unique in the world. 2010 When Kim Peek was 9 months old. Percy's friends in the military died violently. Malcolm X and Dr. Peek's skills floored screenwriter Barry Morrow and helped inspire Dustin Hoffman's savant character in the Oscar-winning drama Rain Man. I suppose this time. who in 1989 was elected the city's first black mayor. but his work cleared the way for politicians like Representative Charlie Rangel and David Dinkins. Born without a corpus callosum--the nerve tissue that connects the brain's hemispheres--he never learned to brush his hair or button his shirt without help. One physician suggested he be institutionalized. He had to go to 62 banks to get the money for it. doctors pronounced him so mentally retarded that he would never walk or talk. It became the first black-owned radio station in the city. the father of New York's current governor. he took along Rangel. Dinkins and Basil Paterson. Jan. . who died of a heart attack Dec. after hearing Malcolm X speak in Harlem. He could read both facing pages of a book--one with each eye--in seconds and could instantly tell you everything from the day of the week for a bygone date to esoteric facts about sports history or Shakespeare's canon.the state at the time. Had he chosen to. Kim Peek By ALEX ALTMAN Monday.

for better and worse. acted on the belief that light will eventually overcome darkness. The protesters. He traces how conditions first widely diagnosed in . Tens of thousands took to the streets.The Moment By HOWARD CHUA-EOAN Monday. almost boastful of its long-lived defiance. the pre-eminent Shi'ite nation. Brief History: Fad Diets PAGE 18 The Skimmer By ANDREA SACHS Monday. with bullets and batons. exports plenty of things that much of the world would gladly send back: the Golden Arches. chanting. the declared loser in last June's presidential election to the "usurper" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 11. Jerry Bruckheimer movies and Baywatch. "In teaching the rest of the world to think like us. 2010 Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche By Ethan Watters Free Press.. the usurper of the Caliphate.. "We are the army of Imam Hussain . America is literally exporting its mental illnesses. The authorities reacted ferociously. The opposition responded with fists and stones. Yazid defeated the beloved Hussain. their bloody conflict is re-enacted as a Shi'ite cri de coeur. 11.400-year-old passion play of political succession: the hero is Hussain. however." Hussain had become Mir-Hossein Mousavi. It's worth remembering. we have been. the villain is Yazid. and each year on the holy day of Ashura. to name a few. grandson of the Prophet." writes journalist Ethan Watters. commemorated Ashura amid its own power struggle. supporters of Mir-Hossein. that Ashura is not a joyful festival but a day to mourn martyrs: in history. darkness still reigns in Tehran. killing several people. 2010 At the heart of Shi'a Islam is a 1. Iran. Jan. And for now. Jan. whose campaign has lasted for more than six months. homogenizing the way the world goes mad.S. But in addition to the cultural flotsam that drives the rest of the world crazy. 306 pages The U.

such as anorexia and PTSD. 2009 Yemenis in the Radfan district of Lahj protest the government raid that targeted suspected al-Qaeda members .. who didn't know they had a problem with depression until drug marketers informed them. GlaxoSmithKline was selling over $1 billion worth of Paxil a year to the Japanese. Though Watters' indignation can be wearying at times.the U. health standards have made the ailing American psyche the primary diagnostic model. Dec. By 2008. he is on to something worth pondering. for example. have spread abroad "with the speed of contagious diseases.S.S." The growth of Big Pharma and the widespread adoption of U. 28. READ [X] SKIM TOSS Yemen: Al-Qaeda's New Staging Ground? By TIME STAFF Monday.

S.AFP / Getty The claim of responsibility was a haughty cackle. al-Qaeda began turning the lawless mountain areas of Yemen into a new staging area. Sana'a helped the U. Since we are coming to you with slaughter and we have prepared for you men who love death as much as [you love life]. But in the past two years." The Detroit incident.8 million people — compared with 28. as an exemplar of the mission "to kill every crusader with all means that are available. Texas." the accused perpetrator of the Fort Hood. al-Qaeda could launch attacks on the Red Sea gateway to the Suez Canal as well as stage operations against Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. "making all they have spent upon security technologies a waste to them. even if the operation it reveled in had ended in failure. killed and identified insurgents in Iraq — continues to be one of the biggest suppliers of fighters to regional conflicts. al-Qaeda in Yemen began to regroup. In an Internet post* on Dec. with the assassination of an al-Qaeda leader in 2002 by missile attack from a Predator drone. military–assisted attacks on "the noble Yemenite tribes in Abyan and Arhab.S." With a base in Yemen. and families in their entirety" were killed — assaults that took place in the preceding week.S. It is common knowledge in the tearooms of the Yemeni capital of Sana'a and in Western embassies that the government of northern Yemen used jihadis to help defeat the south in the civil war that ended in 1994. and Yemeni governments met with considerable success — so much so that Yemen later fell off the radar to some extent as the Bush Administration shifted its focus back to battling insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. military action. massacre. director of national intelligence to note that Yemen was "re-emerging as a jihadist battleground and potential regional base of operations for al-Qaeda. Long a source of jihadis. even as it turned a blind eye to other extremists as long as they didn't cause trouble. Under pressure in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.S. . It came into being when North and South Yemen merged in 1990. the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula declared that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempt to blow up Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas had demonstrated the "frailty" of American intelligence." The letter. spurred by the dramatic 2006 prison break of its leader Naser al-Wahishi and 22 other members. Wahishi announced a merger between his organization and al-Qaeda's Saudi branch to form al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — a move that caused the U. it praised "the hero mujahid [Major] Nidal Hasan. and God willing will come to you with something for which you are not prepared. really let loose its rage on the American people: "Receive the tidings about what will happen to you. The post-9/11 cooperation between the U. the group claimed. That staging area is now sending more and more violent probes out into the world. posted on the jihadist Shumukh al-Islam Network. when the Yemeni government worried that it too might be on the receiving end of U. Early this year. was retaliation for U. 2009.S. Stretched around the southern heel of the Arabian Peninsula and home to 23. and finally in Sibwa" in which "scores of Muslim women and children. and as you are killing [so] will you be killed." In an additional shout-out. the region sent hundreds of fighters to the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and — to judge by the number of captured. But the symbiotic relationship between the government and al-Qaeda shifted after 9/11 and the American invasion of Iraq.7 million in geographically much larger Saudi Arabia — Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. 28.

With one strike. both the U. We are investigating [Abdulmutallab] according to what the FBI told us. The Yemeni government insists it is doing its utmost in the war against al-Qaeda. the al-Qaeda leader who is believed to be behind a 2007 bombing in central Yemen that killed seven Spanish tourists and two Yemenis — is still at large." says Johnsen of the targeted al-Qaeda chief. Gregory Johnsen. which is in tatters." says a Yemeni official. much more than the Pakistanis.S.. some experts say that al-Qaeda seeks not to overthrow the government but only to establish a base in Yemen — a link between the Horn of Africa and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula — and that so long as Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh leaves al-Qaeda alone. it's possible that it happened before last week's strike. It thrives off the ruins of Yemen's economy.? That may be their ambition. And reports of a U.S. a shrub whose young leaves contain a compound with effects similar to those of amphetamines. however.S. and other foreign powers should have done more to address. When Iran is mentioned. Indeed. "And at the same time. we cut off their head. If there was a plot from Yemen. something they say the U. storing a wad in one cheek as it slowly breaks down and enters the bloodstream. Something like this does much more to extend al-Qaeda. The top estimate is that no fewer than 90% of men and 25% of women in Yemen chew the leaves. Our priority is to prevent this. a primary target in the attacks — Qasim al-Raymi. have sparked public outcry and added to anti-American sentiment across the country. "We have been cooperating closely with the U." Indeed.S. in the fight against al-Qaeda. So now you have something where there are all these pictures of dead infants and mangled children that are underlined with the caption 'Made in the USA' on all the jihadi forums. contends the strategy will ultimately prove counterproductive: "You can't just kill a few individuals and the al-Qaeda problem will go away.-assisted attacks on alleged al-Qaeda strongholds in Yemen appear to be a stepped-up attempt to stamp out the threat. no friend to any of the parties. a Princeton University expert on Yemen. they ended up killing a number of women and children in the strike on Abyan. and Saudi Arabia. However. in large part because going after the Islamist group hasn't always been in the government's best interests.S. That introduces the shadow — both real and imagined — of the primary Shi'a power in the region." Meanwhile. which is happy to take credit even if its actual influence may still be negligible. plus mass civilian casualties at the sites of the attacks. most of the country's arable land is devoted to the plant. "The strike last week [that killed top al-Qaeda commanders in Yemen] was a huge blow to them. "They missed that individual. in large part because of the national addiction to khat. is happy to sow destabilization so it can thrive. the predominant Sunni power in the region. Is al-Qaeda using Yemen as a base to attack the U. against its Houthi minority. for instance. Observers warn that poverty and unemployment are prime recruitment factors for al-Qaeda. And al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Astonishingly. Meanwhile. they'll do the same for him. analysts say Yemen has been slow to confront the al-Qaeda threat with the gusto that the U.The recent U. Yemeni followers of the Zaydi sect of Shi'ite Islam. start quaking. has been pushing for. and it also coincides with American interests. which accounts for approximately a third of the country's water usage. but first they are attacking Yemen itself. trying to destabilize the country and destroy the government. Yemen also struggles with a severe water shortage. and 50% of Yemeni children suffer from malnutrition.S. its population complains of neglect and development woes. role. Iran. the Sana'a government is in the middle of another ferocious war.S." .

a U.Indeed. the claim of responsibility made it clear that the voice and the ambitions of al-Qaeda in Yemen have not.' .U.S.' JANET NAPOLITANO. a suburban-Washington homeowner who is purposely defaulting on her mortgage despite having the money to pay it.' NABIL ABU RDAINAH. defending the department in the wake of a failed terrorist attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight on Dec. which passed on Dec. to the late Massachusetts Senator. But though that head may have been cut off. referring to Anthony Cucolo III. dedicating his vote in favor of the chamber's health care bill.S. The decision prompted criticism from U. president of the National Organization for Women. who made health care reform the hallmark issue of his career 'The Israeli government proves every day that it is not ready for peace. 24.' HEATHER BAKER. Homeland Security Secretary. — Reported by Andrew Lee Butters. one of the jihadi commanders reportedly killed in the pre-Christmas raids in Yemen was al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula founder Naser. it will receive a slap in its face. Bobby Ghosh and Abigail Hauslohner *The al-Qaeda claim was translated into English by yhe Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). and E. but I'm really O. officials 'The system worked.' TERRY O'NEILL. She cites the property's devaluation as her reason 'This is for my friend Ted Kennedy: aye!' ROBERT BYRD. 92-year-old Democratic Senator from West Virginia. with it. a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 25. but that's really not a very good idea. after Israel announced plans to build nearly 700 homes in East Jerusalem. Napolitano later said screening measures did not work "in this instance" 'If this country does not stop its prattling.K. Verbatim 'It may be his prerogative to be dumb. Army general in Iraq who directed that female soldiers who become pregnant--as well as the male soldiers who impregnate them--be punished 'I hate to sound cold and uncaring and contract breaking.

" and he didn't say anything. The downside. Between the stimulus package. Reuters. after winning a five-year custody battle for his 9-year-old son Sean. is that sometimes what gets done isn't worth doing. The child had been living with his deceased mother's family in Brazil when a judge ordered on Dec. though. Obama will soon be able to claim more major legislative accomplishments than any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson.' A Democrat of convenience. "You can call me Dad. Iranian Foreign Minister. the pending health care bill and a new raft of financial regulations. CNN. he retains a position of trust among the very people he betrayed. AP (2) .' DAVID GOLDMAN." --12/29/09 Sources: ABC News. threatening Britain for allegedly fomenting the unrest that has erupted in Iran after a spate of opposition protests 'I said." --12/22/09 Ross Douthat Discussing President Obama's willingness to cut deals with his political opponents. in USA Today: "2009 has turned out to be the year of the antihero. a far greater prize is in sight: the Iranian people and their manifest aspirations for a freer society and an accountable government." --12/25/09 DeWayne Wickham Criticizing Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman's threat to join a health care filibuster. threats and further isolation aimed at forcing a nuclear deal with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will risk [the] promise of real change. The question is whether a Western policy of pressure. in the New York Times: "The upside of this approach is obvious: It gets things done. Huffington Post. Lieberman has succeeded in doing what Benedict Arnold couldn't.MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI. In a masterful act of treachery. 22 that he be returned to his father TALKING HEADS Nader Mousavizadeh Writing about Iran in the Times of London: "For all the concern about a fitful and still highly vulnerable nuclear program. It is the year in which Joe Lieberman gets my nod--cynical though it is--as 'American of the Year. NPR.

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