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IN THIS ISSUE EDITION: U.S. Vol. 175 No. 9
Taking on the Taliban: Will the Afghan Offensive Work? (The Well / Cover) The U.S. and its allies combine an offensive on Marjah with an elaborate plan for what to do when the fighting stops. Will it work?
Family Guy Defeats Palin (Commentary / Tuned In) Politics' master of cultural outrage and personal offense meets her match--a cartoon character
West Bank Renewal (Commentary / In the Arena) The Palestinians have made real progress toward stability. Israel should reward them for it
Sexual Assaults on Female Soldiers: Don't Ask, Don't Tell For too many American women in uniform, the danger also comes from their male comrades
Lonely Joe (The Well / Nation) Working with the White House but still at odds with Democrats, Lieberman tries to overcome the past
Postcard from Denver Few states have embraced medical marijuana as enthusiastically as Colorado. But as dispensaries proliferate, lawmakers are cracking down. Gone to pot and back again
In Haiti, Aid Workers Help Orphans Find Relatives (Disaster Relief) An army of aid workers is helping orphans and displaced children find their families Photos: UNICEF's Haiti Child Registry An army of volunteers help children displaced by the earthquake re-unite with family members
The Moment (Briefing) 2|23|10: Florida
The World (Briefing) 10 ESSENTIAL STORIES
Spotlight: Toyota Hearings (Briefing)
Brief History: Olympic Sore Losers (Briefing)
Kathryn Grayson (Briefing / Milestones)
Alexander Haig (Briefing / Milestones)
Guilty Plea (Briefing / Milestones)
The Skimmer (Briefing) Book Review: The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers by Nancy Sherman
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Off to the Races (Movies) Oscar's hot contests go deeper than Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker. Best Live Action Short, anyone?
A World Map Under Eastern Eyes (Art) A rare and enlightening Chinese map of the world journeys to the U.S.
Critique of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Books) The writer who united Jane Austen and zombies reveals Lincoln's secret career as a vampire hunter
Short List TIME'S PICKS FOR THE WEEK
Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy? (Society) Parents of autistic children call her an inspiration, but doctors say she's a menace to public health. How a former Playmate and television loudmouth became one of the most feared mothers in America
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Homeschoolers (Life / Education) Why this family got political asylum Photos: At Home with Homeschoolers The Romeikes of Morristown, Tennessee fled their native Germany to maintain the right to teach their children at home
ChatRoulette (Life / Web Watch) Webcams put you face to face with worldwide weirdness
Movies for Cheap: Is Redbox the New Netflix? (Life / Cash Crunch) Redbox rentals are fast, convenient and on the rise. Is this the new Netflix?
10 Questions for Lindsey Vonn (10 Questions) The Olympic gold-medal skier talks about setting a record on the slopes. Lindsey Vonn will now take your
Greece's Math Problem (Global Business / Economy) Greeks love to spend, but businessmen say the country's new austerity program is long overdue
Big Girls Still Don't Cry (Global Business / Management) If women dominate the workforce, why do they still need gender-specific advice?
Trains, Planes and Bombardier (Global Business / Front and Center) How CEO Pierre Baudoin plans to ride the recovery to faster growth in China, India and the U.S.
Business Books (Global Business) A history of corporate blind spots, reasons to look sharp and the man who figured Madoff out. Reviews of three new releases
The Cobbler's Child (Global Business / Small Business) The scion of a shoemaking family takes a step in a different direction with Terra Plana
What Lies Beneath (Global Business / Small Business) Geospatial's Smart Probe answers a century-old question in 3-D: Where are the pipes?
Road to Recovery (Global Business / American Re: Reinventing and Retooling The U.S. Economy) Rapid strategic shifts have put Big Brown in position to motor out of the recession
Taking It to the Taliban
By BOBBY GHOSH Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
U.S. Marines and their Afghan allies cross a military bridge in Marjah, Helmand province, where the Taliban is strong. David Guttenfelder / AP
Two days before launching the most ambitious military campaign of the Obama Administration, General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, convened a meeting in Kabul of 450 tribal elders and scholars from Helmand province. The general's objective: to build support for Operation Moshtarak, a massive offensive on the Taliban stronghold of Marjah. McChrystal ran through the military phase of the plan, which would involve 6,000 U.S. Marines and British soldiers and 4,500 Afghan troops and police. Then he described how these troops would protect the town while a "government in a box" — a corps of Afghan officials who had been training for this moment for months — would start administering the town. The elders all signed off on the plan, but not before one of them warned the American general, "You have to understand that if you don't do what you say, we'll all be killed." McChrystal repeated the chieftain's words Feb. 18 in a secure video teleconference with President Barack Obama and his top advisers on Afghanistan and Pakistan. By then, the operation, by all accounts, was going well. NATO troops had encountered only sporadic resistance; much of the town was under the
control of the U.S. Marines. British-led forces, meanwhile, had taken the nearby community of Showal. Some government in a box was already being unpacked. There was good news from other fronts too. In Pakistan, a joint operation in Karachi by the CIA and Pakistan's own spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had netted a very big fish: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban's military chief. In quick succession, the ISI had also rolled up two of the Taliban's "shadow" governors of Afghanistan's provinces and another senior figure. And in North Waziristan, near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, a missile launched from a CIA drone had struck at the heart of the Haqqani network, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group responsible for countless attacks on NATO troops. The network's current leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, survived, but his younger brother Mohammed had been killed. After a year of mostly grim tidings from Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama could have been allowed a moment of satisfaction. But McChrystal's recounting of the Helmand chieftain's warning ensured that the mood in the White House's Situation Room during the conference call was somber. According to National Security Adviser Jim Jones, who was there, Obama added an exhortation of his own, using the idioms of counterinsurgency warfare. "Do not clear and hold what you are not willing to build and transfer," he told McChrystal, a maxim he had repeated often over the previous months. "You've heard me say it many times, but it bears repeating," Obama said as he signed off. That sense of restraint is at the heart of Obama's "AfPak" strategy, which requires McChrystal's troops to help Afghans build and take increasing responsibility for their country, rather than depending solely on Western forces to thump the Taliban. Marjah is the first real test of that plan, and the Administration is determined to keep everyone's expectations to the bare minimum. That is wise, as much could still go wrong. The Taliban could return to areas from which it has been ousted; the Afghan army could turn out to be too slim a reed on which to hang the Administration's ambitions. And so, in contrast to the Bush Administration, which was often accused of overstating small successes, the Obama White House has projected a studied solemnity over encouraging dispatches from the war the President has made his own. Every sign of progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been greeted with circumspection. Yes, say Administration officials in Washington and commanders in the field, things are going well — but let's not beat our chests. Far too much hangs in the balance now: Afghan lives, American lives and, just possibly, the fate of Obama's war. Making Marjah Count A town of 60,000 souls, Marjah is ringed by poppy fields that are watered by irrigation canals built in the 1950s and '60s by U.S. engineers. McChrystal chose this location to launch the reconquest of Afghanistan because it is the western end of a population belt that extends from central Helmand province through Kandahar province — both infested with the Taliban. McChrystal has set out to secure that belt, starting in Marjah, then moving to Lashkar Gah, Kandahar city and finally Spin Boldak. "It's where we hadn't been, it's where the enemy still was, and it's where the population is," says a senior Administration official. Since it's an opening salvo in what promises to be a long, hard-fought year, McChrystal knew Operation Moshtarak would influence perceptions, among allies and enemies alike, about how the war would be fought — and how the peace would be waged. Managing those perceptions would be key to victory. "This
is not a physical war, in terms of how many people we kill or how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up," he told reporters in Istanbul on Feb. 4. "This is all in the minds of the participants. The Afghan people are the most important, but the insurgents are [too]. And of course, part of what we've had to do is convince ourselves and our Afghan partners that we can do this." The offensive was months in the planning, and little effort was made to keep it secret. If the Taliban chose to melt away rather than resist, McChrystal reasoned, it would give him more time to set up a robust administration — a good advertisement for those in other towns where NATO troops would soon have to fight. U.S. commanders even ordered an opinion poll of Marjah residents: they wanted to know how they felt about the U.S. and the Taliban and to gauge what they might want from his government in a box. When the operation got under way, it quickly became clear that only about 400 Taliban had dug in to fight. As in other such encounters between an overwhelming Western military and a local insurgency — in Iraq's Diyala province, for instance — the greatest threat to the troops came from roadside bombs and sniper fire. By Feb. 23, 13 NATO troops had been killed, as the U.S. total in the Afghan war pushed past 1,000. Estimates of Taliban casualties were around 120. Civilian casualties were low for such an intense offensive: 28 were killed in the fighting, though as the operation progressed, there was some bad news when a pair of air strikes, one near Marjah, killed 39 civilians. As pockets of resistance continued, commanders downplayed expectations of a speedy campaign. "I guess it will take us another 25 to 30 days to be entirely sure that we have secured that which needs to be secured," British Major General Nick Carter, the top NATO commander in southern Afghanistan, told reporters on Feb. 18. "And we probably won't know for about 120 days whether or not the population is entirely convinced by the degree of commitment that their government is showing to them." If McChrystal's forces prevail, Operation Moshtarak will serve as the template for the far more challenging battle this summer, the battle for Kandahar. With nearly 500,000 people, it is the Taliban's spiritual capital. The city is nominally under NATO control, but there are reportedly thousands of Taliban in and around it — and every expectation that many will make a bloody stand. The Pakistani Play Under normal circumstances, in planning his offensive McChrystal would have had to keep a close watch on Afghanistan's difficult neighbor. Pakistan's support for the Taliban and the Haqqani network has frequently bedeviled U.S. military plans, as Afghan fighters have too easily slipped across the border and found sanctuary. But a year's worth of diplomatic pressure on Islamabad began to pay off before Operation Moshtarak: Pakistan launched a major military offensive of its own in South Waziristan, not against the Afghan Taliban but against its Pakistani cousins known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP. The Pakistani change of heart had been a long time coming. It was influenced by the TTP's bloody campaign of suicide attacks in Pakistani cities, often targeting military and ISI compounds. "I can remember anecdotally where we had questions for our team in Pakistan at one point and they couldn't get a hold of their ISI counterparts because they were too busy attending funerals of their key leadership," says a U.S. counterterrorism official. This, along with the militants' brazen capture of a town some 40 miles (65 km) from the Pakistani capital last spring, did more than any American finger-wagging
to convince Islamabad that the TTP needed to be taken down. The U.S. helped by mounting drone strikes on TTP leaders, killing its founder, Baitullah Mehsud, last summer and possibly his successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, in January. Even so, Pakistani cooperation in the arrest of Baradar, on the eve of the Marjah assault, was an unexpected bonus for McChrystal. Why did Pakistan roll up Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar's deputy? Islamabad has previously arrested senior figures in the Afghan Taliban, but they've typically been released quickly, without U.S. officials being given access to them. But the Pakistanis made an exception with Baradar, who may have a treasure trove of information on the Taliban. Possibly the Pakistanis were under pressure to reciprocate for the U.S. strikes on the Mehsuds. Or perhaps Baradar had fallen out with Omar and was trying to open a direct channel for peace talks to the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, bypassing his hosts. By taking Baradar out of circulation, Pakistan may be making a case to be given a seat in eventual peace negotiations. Whatever the reason, his arrest doesn't represent a sea change in Pakistan's attitude toward its longtime clients in the Afghan Taliban, say White House officials with responsibility for Pakistan and Afghanistan. While Washington views the TTP, the Haqqani network, al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban as all part of the same terrorist syndicate, Islamabad is concerned mainly about the TTP's legions of suicide bombers. Nor is the effect of Baradar's arrest on the top Taliban leadership yet clear. If he had indeed broken with Omar, then the group has most likely replaced him already. The Taliban was able to shake off the 2007 killing of its top commander, Mullah Dadullah, by NATO forces. "The Taliban are used to this," says Waheed Muzhda, a former Taliban official. "When Mullah Dadullah was killed, some people thought that the Taliban would give up. But it didn't happen, because the Taliban are waging an ideological war, and in an ideological war, this kind of thing doesn't have a big impact." Another bonus for McChrystal: in Operation Moshtarak, he has not had to contend with al-Qaeda. For many months now, Osama bin Laden's once feared legions have been consigned to the margins of the fighting in Afghanistan. Their numbers have dwindled from 500 to 100, says National Security Adviser Jones. In Pakistan they continue to enjoy the protection of the TTP and the Haqqani network but have effectively been pinned down by the CIA's drones. "Neither in Afghanistan nor in Pakistan is al-Qaeda at the tactical front edge," says a senior Administration official. Al-Qaeda remains the strategic reason for the current fighting; one of Obama's grounds for staying the course in Afghanistan is to prevent bin Laden from re-establishing safe havens there. But the only area of real military activity against al-Qaeda at the moment is in North Waziristan, where the Pakistani military is not active. The U.S. is doing the attacking, primarily with drones. To some effect. There have been 17 strikes by unmanned aircraft in Pakistani territory thus far this year, according to the Long War Journal, a nonprofit online publication that tracks such attacks. The spike was triggered in part by a Dec. 30 suicide attack that killed seven CIA officials at an Afghan outpost. The Haqqani network and Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud apparently aided the suicide bomber; some reports say Mehsud was wounded, possibly killed, in a Jan. 14 strike. Meanwhile, the remote-control pilots operating Predators and Reapers continue to peer at their video screens, hoping to catch sight of a very tall, thin, bearded man emerging from a hideout.
Skepticism Makes Sense Well-informed analysts know to keep the champagne on ice. At a conference at Tufts University last week attended by experts on Afghanistan, not a single optimistic take on that nation's long-standing problems could be heard. One comment became a refrain: "I have no doubt that peace will one day come to Afghanistan, but I can't say if it will be in 50 or 200 years," a speaker said. "What I can say is that at the rate we are going now, it's unlikely to be any sooner than that." There was skepticism in Marjah too. Abdul Hadi, a student, fled the fighting along with his family on Feb. 18; now living in Lashkar Gah, he is in no hurry to return. He worries that many Taliban are just waiting for the NATO forces to move on to their next target. "I know the Taliban will come back," he says. Mohammad Hosain, a teacher from Marjah, wonders if they even left. "The Taliban does not have a uniform, so if they leave their weapons at home, they can easily move around," he says. "There is no [sign] on their face that says, 'I am a Talib.' " People like Hadi and Hosain came by their skepticism the hard way: they have seen foreign forces defeat the Taliban in Helmand, then pull out, then repeat the cycle. The town of Musa Qala, north of Marjah, has twice been taken by NATO arms: by British and Danish forces in 2006 and by the U.S. in 2007. On both occasions, a new local government was created, and each time, the Taliban returned to murder those it deemed collaborators. To prevent that from happening in Marjah, McChrystal is counting on his government in a box — a lineup of administrators who have prepped for months — to enforce law and order, provide basic facilities, build schools, create jobs and persuade local farmers to give up the poppy crop. But that's asking a lot from officials who have shown scant aptitude for doing a decent job elsewhere. McChrystal's plan calls for 80 prepacked governments to take root across Taliban-ruled territory over two years, but Afghanistan simply doesn't have that many clean, qualified and experienced bureaucrats, policemen, doctors and teachers. Besides, parachuting officials into former Taliban strongholds may be self-defeating; Pashtuns rarely trust anybody outside their own tribe and clan. It can hardly be reassuring to the residents of Marjah that their newly appointed mayor, Haji Zahir, has only recently returned from 15 years of living in Germany. Even if McChrystal's officials are a huge success, two other crucial planks in Obama's plan to start pulling U.S. forces from Afghanistan in mid-2011 already look worm-eaten. One is the creation of a legitimate, reliable government in Kabul: since Karzai's contentious election late last year, Afghanistan's President has shown little inclination to ditch his corrupt cronies. Nor is there yet an Afghan security force capable of taking over from the Americans. Although U.S. commanders carefully talk up the contributions of the 4,500 Afghan National Army soldiers (two had been killed) and police in the Marjah operation, it's no secret that the U.S. Marines and British troops are doing the heavy lifting. McChrystal's target of a 134,000-man Afghan National Army by late fall — up from 104,000 now — seems hopelessly optimistic. Training is slow, and there's a scarcity in the ranks of southern Pashtuns, who are needed the most in the Taliban's strongholds. Across the border, Pakistan's continuing support for American efforts is far from assured. Right now, Islamabad's immediate interests may coincide with Washington's, but they can just as quickly diverge, especially on the question of what to do about the Taliban's core leadership. The U.S. is adamant that it will not negotiate with Omar unless he parts ways with bin Laden. "There's a clear red line," says Richard
Holbrooke, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. "They must renounce al-Qaeda." American officials are also determined to root out the Haqqani network, which they regard as the greatest danger to NATO troops. Pakistani officials, on the other hand, view the Taliban and the Haqqanis as strategic assets and believe both should have a role in Afghanistan after the NATO withdrawal. They point out that many Afghans still regard Omar as a legitimate figure — more so, in fact, than Karzai, who is seen as an American puppet. Without Omar's endorsement, they think, any peace negotiations will be fatally flawed. Islamabad's long-standing nightmare remains: that when the Americans go, its neighbors — especially India, Pakistan's hated rival — will be influential in Kabul. The Taliban and the Haqqanis are insurance against such an eventuality. Baradar's detention has not yet changed Pakistan's assessment of how its own interests may best be defended. Remember, too, that no matter how well Operation Moshtarak seems to be going, many Taliban commanders think they are winning. Whatever happens in Marjah, they can point to a widening influence across Afghanistan. They also have been heartened by last week's announcement that the 2,000-strong Dutch contingent will be departing this year because Holland's coalition government was unable to agree on an extension of its deployment — another indication of how unpopular the Afghan war is in the nations whose troops are fighting it. Mullah Omar and his colleagues, taking Obama on his word that he wants to begin a U.S. pullout by July 2011, have said they intend to outlast the occupiers. If that means ceding strongholds like Marjah only to pop up elsewhere, then that's what they will do. They have been doing it for years. Call it insurgency in a box. — With reporting by Mark Thompson, Massimo Calabresi and Michael Scherer / Washington, Tim McGirk / Islamabad, Aryn Baker / Boston and Shah Barakzai / Kabul
An Outrage Defeats Palin
By JAMES PONIEWOZIK Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010
Francisco Caceres for TIME
In the movie Annie Hall, Woody Allen's character, Alvy Singer, is standing in a movie line, listening to some blowhard intellectual hold forth about media scholar Marshall McLuhan. When the loudmouth cites his own academic credentials, Singer produces the actual McLuhan to refute him: "You know nothing of my work!" Alvy 1, Egghead 0. Sarah Palin likes to position herself against the eggheads of the world, but she was on the receiving end of her own "I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here" comeuppance when she got in a public feud with the Fox animated sitcom Family Guy. In the Feb. 14 episode, the character Chris goes on a date with a young woman who has Down syndrome. When he asks her about her parents, she tells him, "My dad's an accountant, and my mom's the former governor of Alaska." Palin's 1-year-old son Trig has Down. Palin posted on Facebook that the scene was "another punch in the gut." This time, however, Palin's outrage prompted not an apology but a smackdown, from Andrea Fay Friedman, a Family Guy voice actress — who actually has Down. "My parents raised me to have a sense of humor," she said. "My
mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes." Ouch. Cartoon 1, Politician 0. The Family Guy scene was a personal shot — but at Palin, not Trig. Friedman's character was assertive, intelligent and confident (and a young woman, not an infant boy). Palin seemed to be defending neither her son nor the disabled generally but herself, a public figure whom a cartoon had the temerity to poke fun at. But what's more important is the way Friedman bested her supposed defender: by beating her at her own game. As a public figure, Palin is the embodiment of the "I have Mr. McLuhan right here" argument, taking her authority not from policy papers or résumé credentials but from her biography. Do you believe that white-male conservatives are hypocrites for limiting women's abortion rights? Why, we have Mr. McLuhan right here: Palin — a woman! — says that when she was pregnant with Trig, she had the fleeting thought that she could have an abortion but didn't. Disagree with her foreign policy? Her son Track went to Iraq! Reject her claim that health-reform "death panels" will cull special-needs children? She's worried about her own special-needs child! With Palin, the political is always intensely personal. She styles herself as someone who has given bodily to her beliefs, and that makes her connection with her followers visceral, a blood tie. Likewise, having a baby with Down meant that Palin had the authority to condemn Rahm Emanuel for calling politicians he was arguing with "retarded" but to excuse Rush Limbaugh for using the same term because he's "satirical" — a dispensation that somehow did not apply to Family Guy. You say that's illogical? Well, do you have a special-needs child? Palin is a master practitioner of identity politics, with an ironic twist. When it comes to social issues or the academic canon or civil-rights legislation, it used to be conservatives who would chafe at liberals playing race, gender or other such oppressed-group cards. With Palin, though, conservatives have a champion who uses group identity — rural, female, military mom, special-needs mom, etc. — as her seal of authenticity. But against Family Guy and Friedman, Palin, for once, was outranked by someone enlisting her own biography and personal experience. This time, Palin was not the McLuhaner but the McLuhanee. Now, Palin and her defenders could argue that Friedman is simply one woman with Down and cannot decide for everyone — disabled or not — what is and is not offensive. That response, by the way, would have the advantage of being correct. But it would also implicitly undermine Palin's claim to authority. She would then be just one more military mom, one more teen mom's mother — one more hopeful pol looking for attention. She'll still get that attention, though, because the Family Guys and the David Lettermans can't resist giving it to her. (On March 2, she's scheduled to stick it to antagonist Letterman by guesting on Jay Leno's Tonight Show. And despite Palin's objections to "Hollywood" intruding on her family, daughter Bristol will play herself as a teen mom on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager.) Just as she has made her personal life the basis for her politics, so are the attacks on her consistently
personal. That in turn feeds the victimization that only strengthens her connection with her fans: Hollywood is mocking me, personally, so it is mocking you, personally. Did I say Cartoon 1, Politician 0? Maybe we should call it a tie.
IN THE ARENA
Renewal in the West Bank: A Little Noticed Success
By JOE KLEIN Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
Life in once volatile Nablus is now more staid. Tivadar Domaniczky / VII Network
Retooled Palestinian security forces have been credited with restoring stability. Mohamad Torokman / Reuters
Prime Minister Fayyad, second from right, unveils a new health center in al-Ram. Mustafa Abu Dayeh / APA / Polaris
Bustling stone and marble quarries bear witness to industrial growth. Najeh Hashlamoun / APA / Landov Sometimes the prosaic can be breathtaking. I am standing in the new showroom of a company that manufactures plumbing supplies in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Mansour Izgayer, one of three brothers who own the factory, is giving me a tour of his business and his life. He and his brothers were living in the U.S. when peace seemed to break out in the Middle East after the 1993 Oslo accords. They decided to return home, as did many other members of the Palestinian diaspora. They built their company, Royal Industries & Trading, persistently, even after the prospects for peace shattered in the second intifadeh and it became near impossible to do business in the midst of a war zone, near impossible to move their products through Israeli checkpoints. It still isn't very easy, but the past few years have been much better. A new Palestinian government quietly began to restore order and emphasize economic growth. Israel removed many, but not all, checkpoints. Royal now has 360 employees, new product lines — fireplaces, welcome mats — and a new wing, complete with an assembly hall. It has an on-site mosque and a cafeteria. The Izgayer brothers' story is at the heart of the new optimism and old frustrations that mark the West Bank territory of Palestine. A young woman enters the showroom, walking confidently toward us and smiling. "Very nice to meet you," she says. "I'm new here." She does not shake my hand; she is religious, dressed in a hijab and bulky overcoat. Her name is Samiya abu-Rayyan, and she is a bit of a miracle as well — a graduate of a new program, Education for Employment (EFE), that trains young Palestinians in how to get and keep
jobs. She is a graduate of Hebron University, but she was entirely unprepared for the workplace. "I had many interviews, but I didn't know how to introduce myself," she says. EFE taught her everything from how to fill out a job application to how to deal with an angry boss — and how to look someone in the eye and smile, even though that ran counter to the tradition in which she was raised. She learned some business English and marketing as well. After several months of training, she interviewed with a bank and the plumbing company and received offers from both. She chose Royal because the Izgayer brothers offered a religiously conservative working environment and because of the company mosque. And here is another odd, but inspiring, thing: Samiya would not have her new skills if it were not for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, a Jewish American real estate magnate named Ronald Bruder was desperately searching for his daughter, who worked in downtown New York City, near ground zero. His daughter turned up safe, but the shock and panic stirred him. "I started reading and thinking about the Middle East," Bruder told me recently. "And what I came to was this: if people were gainfully employed, maybe they wouldn't be so angry at us." Bruder began to travel the region, asking questions. "It was the Minister of Education in Jordan who told me, 'If you really want to help, what we need is soft skills.' I didn't know what soft skills were," Bruder said. "Now they're my life." In fact, they are the sort of skills that Samiya abu-Rayyan has acquired. Bruder started EFE's first program in Jordan in 2006, but he quickly expanded to Morocco, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, plus Gaza and the West Bank. EFE's graduates number only in the dozens in the West Bank, but more classes are about to begin in Hebron and Ramallah. "We can expand pretty rapidly," he said, "if there are jobs for the people we graduate." The West Bank GDP grew at around 8% in 2009, although that was an improvement on practically no economic activity at all. "We started from utter lawlessness, virtual disintegration in 2007," says Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Prime Minister — an economist who graduated from the University of Texas and spent much of his career at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The Palestinian Authority had been sundered by the Hamas coup in Gaza; Fayyad — a technocrat's technocrat — freely admits that governance in the West Bank had long been marked by corruption and ineptitude. "The only way to gain Palestinian statehood," Fayyad says, "was to start building the institutions of a credible state." The first job was to regain control of the streets, which were in the hands of criminal gangs and radical militias. With the help of U.S. General Keith Dayton, the Palestinians trained five brigades (2,500 troops) of a new national-security force — with two more in the pipeline — and began training local police. "We started with Nablus, the most lawless city," says Fayyad. "Our policy was zero tolerance. Anyone who committed a crime was an outlaw, regardless of party affiliation." It seems to have worked. Nell Derick Debevoise, an American woman who works with an excellent pre- and after-school program in Nablus called Tomorrow's Youth, told me, "When I first got here, you couldn't walk the streets or go to the Old City. Now you can. In fact, there are some good restaurants opening there." Security, Fayyad assumed, was one prerequisite of economic development. Another was transparent governance. "We're firing incompetents and thieves in the government. You can't be taken seriously unless you fire people," Fayyad says. As a result, "we're beginning to see some economic growth. Cement consumption is up 30%." Part of the growth has been funded by aid from the U.S., Europe and the Islamic world, which helps pay the salaries of government workers and funds new infrastructure
projects. In 2008, Fayyad held a conference in Bethlehem, looking to begin the next phase — private development — and got some takers, including a Palestinian developer named Bashar Masri who is building an entire new city for 50,000 just outside Ramallah. "We could not have done this without Fayyad's reforms," Masri told me. "I mean, you deal with the police or with bureaucrats. They don't ask for a bribe. That never happened in Palestine before." But the progress is taking place in the context of repression: the West Bank still has many aspects of a low-security prison. Israel controls the borders, the airspace, the water supply and the electricity. As you drive from Ramallah north to Nablus, illegal Israeli settlements and outposts command the tops of many hills — an infestation that most Palestinians, rightly, consider a continuing invasion of their land. Even the most optimistic Palestinians assume that the real Israeli plan is to wait them out, keep building settlements and force as many Palestinians into the diaspora as they can. Benjamin Netanyahu's recent decision to declare sites in the Arab cities of Hebron and Bethlehem Jewish historical landmarks seemed a provocation intended to cause the sort of mass violence that has destroyed the hopes of responsible Palestinians in the past. Fayyad's progress is as fragile as plate glass; the next rock thrown could shatter it. "We are working hard. In fact, we have met every one of the obligations that we were assigned by the road map," says Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, referring to the peace process instituted by George W. Bush. Many Israelis, including members of the Netanyahu government, privately agree that the West Bank Palestinians, who had famously kicked away every good chance for peace they were offered, have finally gotten their act together. There has been no significant violence directed at Israel from the West Bank. Even the Hamas-controlled border with Gaza has been quiet. "On the other hand, what have the Israelis done to meet their road-map obligations?" Abbas continues. "What have they done with regard to stopping illegal settlement on our land?" That is a very good question. Abbas and Fayyad plan to have all the components of a functioning Palestinian state in place in the West Bank by the summer of 2011. At that point, a different question arises — not just for Israel but for the U.S.: What obstacles are there to recognizing a legitimate state of Palestine? What excuses do we have left?
Sexual Assaults on Female Soldiers: Don't Ask, Don't Tell
By NANCY GIBBS Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Ryan McVay / Stone Sub / Getty
What does it tell us that female soldiers deployed overseas stop drinking water after 7 p.m. to reduce the odds of being raped if they have to use the bathroom at night? Or that a soldier who was assaulted when she went out for a cigarette was afraid to report it for fear she would be demoted — for having gone out without her weapon? Or that, as Representative Jane Harman puts it, "a female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire." The fight over "Don't ask, don't tell" made headlines this winter as an issue of justice and history and the social evolution of our military institutions. We've heard much less about another set of hearings in the House Armed Services Committee. Maybe that's because too many commanders still don't ask, and too many victims still won't tell, about the levels of violence endured by women in uniform. The Pentagon's latest figures show that nearly 3,000 women were sexually assaulted in fiscal year 2008, up 9% from the year before; among women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number rose 25%. When you look at the entire universe of female veterans, close to a third say they were victims of rape or assault while they were serving — twice the rate in the civilian population. The problem is even worse than that. The Pentagon estimates that 80% to 90% of sexual assaults go unreported, and it's no wonder. Anonymity is all but impossible; a Government Accountability Office report concluded that most victims stay silent because of "the belief that nothing would be done; fear of ostracism, harassment, or ridicule; and concern that peers would gossip." More than half feared they would be labeled troublemakers. A civilian who is raped can get confidential, or "privileged," advice from her doctors, lawyers, victim advocates; the only privilege in the military applies to chaplains. A civilian who knows her assailant has a much better chance of avoiding him than does a soldier at a remote base, where filing charges can be a career killer — not for the assailant but the victim. Women worry that they will be removed from their units for their own "protection" and talk about not wanting to undermine their missions or the cohesion of their units. And then some just do the math: only 8% of cases that are investigated end in prosecution, compared with 40% for civilians arrested for sex crimes. Astonishingly, about 80% of those convicted are honorably discharged nonetheless. The sense of betrayal runs deep in victims who joined the military to be part of a loyal team pursuing a larger cause; experts liken the trauma to incest and the particular damage done when assault is inflicted by a member of the military "family." Women are often denied claims for posttraumatic stress caused by the assault if they did not bring charges at the time. There are not nearly enough mental-health
professionals in the system to help them. Female vets are four times more likely to be homeless than male vets are, according to the Service Women's Action Network, and of those, 40% report being victims of sexual assault. Experts offer many theories for the causes: that military culture is intrinsically violent and hypermasculine, that the military is slow to identify potential risks among raw young recruits, that too many commanders would rather look the other way than acknowledge a breakdown in their units, that it has simply not been made a high enough priority. "A lot of my male colleagues believe that the only thing a general needs to worry about is whether he can win a war," says Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of the Armed Services Committee. "People are not taking this seriously. Commanding officers in the field are not understanding how important this is." But there are some signs that both Congress and the Pentagon are getting serious about this problem. It is now possible for victims to seek medical treatment without having to report the crime to police or their chain of command. More field hospitals have trained nurse practitioners to treat the victims; more bases have rape kits. "More than ever," Sanchez says, "I believe that our leadership at the very top is beginning to realize that they need to be proactive." According to a report by the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services, the progress made so far remains "evident, but uneven." The failure to provide a basic guarantee of safety to women, who now represent 15% of the armed forces, is not just a moral issue, or a morale issue. What does it say if the military can't or won't protect the people we ask to protect us?
Can the Democrats Forgive Joe Lieberman?
By MASSIMO CALABRESI Monday, Mar. 01, 2010
Lieberman's work for Obama has taken place mostly behind the scenes. Antonin Kratochvil / VII for TIME Late last year, the White House swallowed its pride and quietly asked Joe Lieberman for a favor. Obama was getting ready to deliver on his campaign promise to repeal the 1993 law barring openly gay members from serving in the military when aides asked the man who turned his back on the Democratic Party to take the lead on pushing for the new policy. In reply, Lieberman told Obamas chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, "Let us know what you want us to do." Emanuel replied with a laundry list: work up polling on the issue; start sounding out moderate Democrats and Republicans to see if they would sign on for the bill; most important, find a GOP co-sponsor. It has been a long time since liberals have treated Lieberman with anything but scorn; however on an issue dear to many of them, he came through. He announced on Feb. 22 that he would soon unveil his bill repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" ban, and aides say he is in final negotiations with an unnamed Republican Senator to become a co-sponsor. It is the latest bit of cooperation between the President and the man the party nominated to be its Vice President a decade ago. Over the past year, Lieberman has rounded up votes and searched for compromise on issues ranging from the stimulus bill to energy
legislation and has worked behind the scenes to grease the wheels for a few of the Administration's most controversial nominees. For all the public rancor, Lieberman has emerged as one of Obama's more unexpected, if not always reliable, wingmen. "There's a certain irony to this," Lieberman says as he considers the situation in his Senate office. "I have been called in to help the Obama Administration for the very reason that has made some Democrats unhappy with me, which is that I have ongoing, trusting relationships with some of the Republicans." To call the Lieberman-Obama relationship ironic is an understatement. As chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Lieberman has launched investigations of the Army's handling of the Fort Hood massacre and what he calls the White House's "unsettling" failure to prevent the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day. Meanwhile, Lieberman opposed Attorney General Eric Holder's decision last November to try 9/11 co-conspirators in civilian courts, and earlier this year he rallied Republicans and Democrats to sign a letter to Holder urging him to abandon the trials in favor of military tribunals. In February, Lieberman threatened to cut off funds for civilian trials if Holder didn't relent. Not all is sweetness and light. Some Democrats will never forgive Lieberman for endorsing his friend Arizona Senator John McCain in 2008, counseling Sarah Palin in the final days of the campaign and attacking Obama from the podium at the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minn. "Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself," then campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs said the next day. "It's pathetic what [he] did here last night." But Obama opted to let those bygones pass when his party won a near filibuster-proof margin in the Senate. Obama personally asked the Democratic caucus to maintain Lieberman's seniority and preserve his committee chairmanship. That proved to be wise — mostly. In early 2009, Lieberman helped rescue Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill. Maine Republican Susan Collins had walked out of talks with Senate majority leader Harry Reid over the bill's price tag. Worried that Reid was trying to trick her into agreeing to a costlier bill, she agreed to return to the talks only after Lieberman was brought in to act as an honest broker. In October, Lieberman played bipartisan handmaiden again, this time with South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who had made it clear that he'd engage with White House officials about a possible energy bill only if Lieberman was part of the conversation. Lieberman built a bridge to Republicans by backing expanded funding for nuclear energy. And though the prospects for a cap-and-trade bill this year are dim, representatives from the energy industry and environmentalists remain at the table for what Lieberman aides say are near daily talks hosted by the Senator or his staffers. If any energy or climate legislation is passed, says a White House aide, it will be thanks to Lieberman's "prominent" role. And then there were some random acts of kindness. Lieberman widely credits the President for forging a more realistic foreign policy after years of what he derides as Democratic "pacifism" during the Bush era. And Lieberman shepherded Erroll Southers, Obama's pick to head the Transportation Security Administration, through a contentious committee vote, though Southers was eventually forced to withdraw for allegedly misleading Lieberman's committee about his personal history. Lieberman is doing all of this with an eye to his own political survival. With 25% approval ratings in Connecticut, he needs to woo moderate Democrats and independents if he's going to have a chance at re-election in 2012.
But that doesn't mean the West Wing thinks of Lieberman as a sure thing. For months, he has pressured the White House to impose punitive sanctions on Iran. And in October, he threatened to filibuster the President's centerpiece health care measure if it included a public option. Though Obama had not favored that provision for months, Lieberman's move sent the left running for its pitchforks and cast him in the public eye as disloyal, despite his efforts for the President. Most of the tension may never abate. While fellow Democrats in the Senate treat him much as they always have, he is a pariah to the fundraisers, liberal activists and netroots bloggers who have largely engineered the party's comeback since 2006. For his part, Lieberman accuses many of those same actors of "political tribalism" and calls their tactics "vituperative." But he admits that his defeat in a 2006 primary fight scarred him deeply and remains a source of pain. He has had virtually no contact with his state Democratic Party in nearly four years, and it's easy to see that the episode gnaws at him. "The loss in the 2006 primary was as difficult a moment personally as I've had," he says. (Lieberman entered the race as an independent that fall and won a three-way contest.) Friends say Lieberman is partly to blame for his isolation and that his fury about 2006 can still get the best of him. "He has a blind spot to his own continuing or lingering anger toward the left," says someone who knows him well. That makes him more confrontational than he needs to be, as in his strident threat to filibuster health care. "The old Clinton-era Joe would've said he really wanted to get health care done and was hopeful for a compromise," says one former adviser. Now that Obama's margin in the Senate is narrower, the White House can't afford to take offense. Besides, on gays in the military, Lieberman is true blue: he has opposed the 1993 ban since its inception and sees lifting it as part of the next act in his 50-year role in the civil rights movement. It is also a way to bring people on the outside in, something Lieberman knows more about now than ever before.
Postcard from Denver
By RITA HEALY Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Jars of medical marijuana on display in a Colorado dispensary. David Walter Banks / Luceo Walk into the basement showroom of the Colorado Patient Coalition, a marijuana dispensary located in a small medical plaza on the northern outskirts of Denver, and your nostrils fill with the same pungent odor that once stank up your college roommate's underwear drawer. But the visual cues are at odds with the Steppenwolf playing on the sound system: a uniformed security guard leans by the door, while grass is displayed in neatly labeled jars under glass. Along one wall is a large, horizontal one-way window, behind which, one assumes, are eyes sharper and brighter than those of the clerks and customers. Fourteen U.S. states have voted to allow medical marijuana since California first legalized it in 1996; Colorado voters did so by amending the state constitution in 2000. But with drug possession still a federal offense, it wasn't until the Justice Department said in October it would refrain from prosecuting medical-marijuana cases that dispensaries began to proliferate. In Colorado, particularly, they've found fertile ground: when the first dispensary opened in the capital three years ago, it didn't even have a sign in the window. Today, according to an estimate by the Denver Post, the city has more pot shops than it does Starbucks, and twice as many as it has public schools.
Denver is struggling to rein in its mushrooming number of pot stores. On Jan. 11, the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting on-site consumption of the drug and barring dispensaries from setting up within 1,000 ft. (300 m) of a school. But getting marijuana off Coloradans' minds might be tougher. The state has a waiting list 20,000 names long for the medical-marijuana cards that users must show at dispensaries. It's difficult to turn on local radio or TV without hearing about pot. Realtors assess how dispensaries affect local property values. Veterans debate pot's usefulness in treating posttraumatic stress disorder. In November, Westword, Denver's alternative weekly newspaper, hired a pot critic. Ricky Miller, a 50-year-old veteran who lost a foot in a medical mishap, still struggles with pain. "You get up in the morning, you sit on the edge of the bed, and you reach for your medicine. I use a water pipe," he says of his daily routine. "If I try to stand up without my medicine, I won't make it." For Miller, who volunteers at the Colorado Patient Coalition, medical marijuana is as necessary as his hospital bed, scooter, handicapped-access ramp and special lift chairs. And like them, it was recommended by a Veterans Affairs doctor. "Durbin Poison is a nice med. It won't wipe you out," Miller says to a young woman who has just walked in the door, sounding like a clerk in a high-end department store. "What will wipe you out?" she demands. "Sour D," Miller replies. "Guaranteed." Like many in his field, he appears to sincerely believe that every customer is truly ill and will benefit from cannabis' medicinal properties. Yet the encounter puts into focus what many critics of the dispensaries allege: that they are increasingly the destination of choice for healthy folks who just want to get high — "18-year-olds breezing in and complaining about headaches," as a patient advocate describes them. Colorado's legislature is in the process of making things tougher for both customers and dispensaries. The state senate passed a bill that would require 18-to-21-year-olds to get approval from two doctors before allowing them access, and there's legislation afoot to require all dispensaries to be run as nonprofits. As of Feb. 8, Denver requires dispensary owners to undergo background checks, submit security plans and spend $5,000 in licensing and fees. Denver's 484 dispensaries already charge sales tax, which means that — financially, anyway — the city isn't hurting from their presence. In at least one way, they're even driving business: a dispensary security guard — an off-duty cop whose wife uses marijuana to alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia and who declined to give his name — says he is starting a security business that specializes in protecting pot shops. "There's a niche," he says with a shrug.
In Haiti, Aid Workers Help Orphans Find Relatives
By Tim Padgett and Jessica Desvarieux / Port-au-Prince Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Six-year old Dieu Fatone is one of the tens of thousands of Haitian children who lost a parent in the Jan. 12 earthquake. Lynsey Addario for TIME Before the earthquake, Ruthza St. Louis was an accredited therapist in Port-au-Prince, specializing in counseling rape victims. Now she has become a detective of sorts, walking the city's rubble-strewn streets, talking to children who are on their own and then using every resource she can to locate caring relatives who can take them in. This sleuthing is no small feat in a country where an estimated 1.5 million survivors of the Jan. 12 earthquake no longer have homes, let alone official records like birth certificates. But St. Louis is volunteering for the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), which, along with other aid groups, is working to register as many kids as possible who were orphaned or separated from their parents during the disaster, and then trying to reconnect them with their families. So far, UNICEF says, it has registered close to 200 children, and it expects to have thousands logged by year's end. Launched in early February with the help of Haitian officials and aid groups like Save the Children, UNICEF's child registry is similar to one the organization created in South Asia after the tsunami in 2004. In the Indonesian territory of Aceh, the worst-hit area, aid workers took five months to compile the names of about 3,000 displaced children, 240 of whom were eventually reunited with a parent. Hundreds more went to live with relatives whom aid workers found by going door to door and matching information about birthmarks and other identifying details. Marie de la Soudière, who is coordinating the Haitian registry, says that in the 30 years she has spent helping children in disaster and war zones around the globe, the vast majority of kids — child soldiers included — have an immediate or extended family member who, once contacted, is willing to take them in. That's the goal for Haitian children like 13-year-old Yvolene Avril, whose father died years ago and whose mother was killed during the quake by a falling wall. Aside from two half brothers from her mother's previous relationships, Yvolene can't recall any other family members. (Since the quake, one of the boys' fathers has agreed to care for them but not for their half sister.) One of St. Louis's jobs is to try
to jog Yvolene's memory by asking about things like schools she's attended, friends she's had, birthdays and other celebrations. As St. Louis interviews Yvolene, a shy, slender teen whose sentences are as short as her braided hair, the girl whispers, "I don't want anyone to take me away." De la Soudière agrees; one of her slogans is "No to orphanages." Part of what makes UNICEF's mission so urgent is the rampant child trafficking in Haiti, the western hemisphere's poorest nation. There are some responsible orphanages in the country, to be sure, but there are also scores of loosely monitored ones, and children who end up in the latter often get "adopted" by people who turn them into household slaves called restaveks or force them into prostitution. One of the more bizarre elements of the saga surrounding the 10 U.S. missionaries who were caught trying to ferry 33 children out of the country without proper documents is that the Dominican man who served as the missionaries' legal adviser, Jorge Puello, is wanted in El Salvador and the U.S. on human-trafficking charges, accusations he denies. To keep children out of risk, de la Soudière needs the help of people like St. Louis and Edith Philistin. A Haitian nurse volunteering on the U.S. naval hospital ship in Port-au-Prince Bay, Philistin was tending to a 6-year-old boy named Kenzie, who was getting emergency treatment for a fractured leg. Both of his parents had died in the quake, and when he couldn't name any relatives — child psychologists say it's not unusual in traumatic situations for a 6-year-old's memory to get cloudy — doctors on the ship were inclined to send Kenzie to an orphanage. That's when Philistin sprang into action. Working in conjunction with UNICEF, she started asking Kenzie questions about people he knew, where he went to school and what he liked to do. Eventually he mentioned a friend named Benito, and Philistin was able to track him down in Kenzie's neighborhood. Benito then led her to a house full of people he said were the boy's relatives. "I asked them the same questions I asked Kenzie because I had to make sure they could be trusted," says Philistin. "The family thought he was dead, but then I pointed to the big boat out in the sea." This family was happy to bring Kenzie home, and aid workers are checking regularly to make sure he's settling in O.K. Yvolene made it onto the Haitian registry after a concerned neighbor heard a radio program about the UNICEF initiative and contacted the agency. Aid workers have since found a temporary home for her with the godmother of one of her half brothers. One of the key components of the registry's efforts is providing support — both moral and material — for such caregivers, whom UNICEF recruits from the children's neighborhoods. The amount of food, clothing and education assistance provided to foster families is not a lot — agencies don't want to encourage people to step forward just for the aid — but it's enough to make caregivers feel as if they're getting adequate backup. Meanwhile, de la Soudière is working to build as extensive a network as possible of local NGOs and volunteers. This not only creates a larger army of detectives to find relatives and advocate for children's best interests, but it also helps these aid workers persuade relatives and foster families to take children in, because they know they'll have a big system of support when they do.
This community backing may have factored into the offer Yvolene's temporary caregiver made in late February to let the girl live with her on a permanent basis if UNICEF can't locate a legal relative. That would be good news to any aid worker. But to St. Louis, who herself became homeless after the quake, the relief is all the sweeter, she says, knowing that "I've saved a child from a life on the streets." —With reporting by Jason Tedjasukmana / Jakarta, Indonesia
UNICEF's Haiti Child Registry
Alone Tens of thousands of children lost a parent in the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12. Among them was Dieu Fatane, age 6, above, photographed in her aunt's house in Port-au-Prince. An army of aid volunteers is working to help find a permanent home for her.
Hope In an effort to help orphaned and displaced children, UNICEF, along with Save the Children and Haitian officials, has launched a child registry with the goal of finding relatives who can take care of these kids on a permanent basis. In this photo, one of the registry volunteers, Ruthza St. Louis, interviews Dieu, who lost her mother in the quake. Dieu is temporarily staying with her aunt, who is struggling to support her own children.
On the Street The newly formed registry, which is similar to one UNICEF created in South Asia after the tsunami in
2004, is keeping track of and searching for decent homes for orphans like Nana, 10, in the yellow shirt, and Landy, 8, her cousin.
Meeting To help track down extended family members to take them in, St. Louis asks kids a lot of questions, such as where they went to school and what birthdays and other celebrations they can remember.
Searching UNICEF has registered close to 200 children so far and hopes to have thousands logged by the end of the year. Aid workers do a lot of detective work to find suitable caregivers. They also check up on the
Journey St. Louis, an accredited therapist, spends time with Nana and Landy as she looks for a place for them to stay. UNICEF and other organizations provide support — both moral and material — to relatives and foster families.
Refuge Gabriel Regilus, 4, left (in the red shirt), and Napolean Mezil, 3, seated next to him, play at the SOS Children's Village in Port-au-Prince. Both were among the group of Haitian children whom 10 U.S.
missionaries tried to smuggle out of the country before being arrested on kidnapping charges.
Refuge Gabriel Regilus, 4, left (in the red shirt), and Napolean Mezil, 3, seated next to him, play at the SOS Children's Village in Port-au-Prince. Both were among the group of Haitian children whom 10 U.S. missionaries tried to smuggle out of the country before being arrested on kidnapping charges.
By DAVID VON DREHLE Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Few things in life embody hope as effortlessly as spring training. Millions shiver and curse the slush, but somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright, youth swells with promise, and every team has an equal share of first place. Nowhere is this spirit more desperately needed than in Washington, D.C., oppressed by record snowfalls and blizzards of icy distrust. Enter Stephen Strasburg, the pitching phenom drafted first overall by the lowly Washington Nationals. A strapping fella with a record $15.1 million contract and a 103-m.p.h. fastball, Strasburg brings more heat than a Tea Party rally, with more spin than a busload of press secretaries. Washington feeds on the latest sensation. Remember that Obama kid from a while back? Switch hitter out of Chicago? All the righties complained that he favored the left side, while the lefties maintained that he leaned to the right. Strasburg is something that everyone can agree on, something new, a harbinger of warm evenings, popping cherry blossoms and blazing azaleas. A breath of fresh air, and not a moment too soon.
By Harriet Barovick; Laura Fitzpatrick; Alexandra Silver; Claire Suddath; Alyssa Fetini; Frances Romero; Kristi Oloffson; Kayla Webley Monday, Mar. 08, 2010 Correction Appended: March 2, 2010 1 | The Netherlands A Collapsed Government Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's unpopular effort to extend the deployment of the 1,950 Dutch troops in Afghanistan backfired on Feb. 20 when 12 Cabinet members resigned, bringing the government to a standstill. Although Dutch forces account for only 2% of coalition troops in Afghanistan, the move rebuffs President Obama's appeal for increased participation from U.S. allies. Dutch soldiers are expected to withdraw fully by the end of the year. U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan [The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.] U.S. troops CURRENT 70,000 PROJECTED 2010 TOTAL 100,000
Non-U.S. NATO troops CURRENT 39,000 PROJECTED 2010 TOTAL 46,000 SOURCES: U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT; NATO 2 | Istanbul More Arrests In Alleged Coup Turkey's government charged seven high-ranking military officers on Feb. 24 for their alleged roles in a 2003 coup plot. These arrests came two days after as many as 50 former and current military officials were detained as suspected conspirators. Those not charged remained in custody for further questioning. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied that the arrests were motivated by tension between the Islamist-leaning administration and the secular military. Two trials from previous rounds of arrests related to the purported coup are still in progress. 3 | Washington Congress at Work With unemployment at nearly 10% nationwide, the Senate voted 70 to 28 in favor of a $15 billion bill to help create jobs. While it's a victory for Senate Democrats--particularly majority leader Harry Reid, who scrapped a bipartisan draft earlier this month--the bill still has to pass the House or be reconciled with the lower chamber's $154 billion version, approved in December. Reid hopes to push through a series of small jobs-related bills like this one, which includes temporary tax breaks for companies hiring employees and support for highway-construction programs. 4 | Ukraine Refusing to Leave Just days before Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's scheduled inauguration on Feb. 25, his defeated rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, withdrew her petition to annul the election. She then challenged the government to hold a no-confidence vote, believing that opponents do not have enough support to oust her. The infighting threatens to further destabilize Ukraine's political system, which is still recovering from 2004's Orange Revolution. 5 | Texas Suspected Arsonists Arrested After weeks of mystery, authorities in East Texas have arrested two men they believe are responsible for burning down a church in Smith County, about 90 miles (145 km) east-southeast of Dallas. The arrests
(thanks to a telephone tip) are the first in a federal investigation prompted by unexplained fires at 10 unaffiliated churches in the state this year--all of which have been blamed on arson. Daniel George McAllister, 21, and Jason Robert Bourque, 19, who attended a different church together when they were younger, have been charged with arson and face up to 99 years in prison if convicted. 6 | Athens DEBT CRISIS Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Greece's capital on Feb. 24 to protest government austerity measures designed to dent the national debt. The march was organized by labor unions to coincide with the second 24-hour strike in two weeks, which grounded planes, stopped public transportation and shuttered schools. The recently announced belt-tightening measures include tax hikes and government wage freezes. Greece faces a budget deficit estimated at 12.7% of GDP and the possibility of being the first nation to default among the 16 countries that use the euro. 7 | Afghanistan Civilians Killed At least 27 Afghan civilians, including four women and a child, were killed when U.S. helicopters mistook them for insurgents and bombed their convoy. President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, saying, "The repeated killing of civilians by NATO forces is unjustifiable." U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, apologized to Karzai and other Afghans in a video statement that was translated into local languages. Profits from credit-card penalty fees [The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.] 2003 $11.7 billion 2006 $17.1 billion 2009 $22.9 billion SOURCE: R.K. HAMMER 8 | Washington
Where Credit's Due Many of the credit-card changes signed into law last May by President Obama took effect Feb. 22. Some key provisions: retroactive interest-rate hikes are prohibited unless the account is more than 60 days past due, users can opt out of paying for overdraft protection, and annual or application fees cannot total more than 25% of the initial credit limit. While the changes provide more transparency for the consumer, analysts warn that banks may find loopholes for new fees to make up for lost revenue. 9 | Niger Celebrating a Coup A military junta overthrew Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja on Feb. 18, following his decision to push through a referendum abolishing presidential term limits. Although the coup was condemned by the U.N. and African Union, thousands flooded the capital in support of the military council, which promised to return democracy to Niger. It appointed an interim civilian Prime Minister to serve until elections can be held. 10 | Sudan Possible Peace The Sudanese government has agreed to a peace deal with the most powerful rebel group in the war-ravaged Darfur region, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The cease-fire, signed after a year of negotiations, was described by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir as a "major step" toward ending the seven-year conflict in which non-Arab African rebel groups have battled the Arab-dominated government. The agreement paves the way for JEM's inclusion in the government and may ease international pressure against al-Bashir's controversial administration ahead of the national election. However, the absence of other rebel groups from the deal--as well as the failure of past cease-fires--has led analysts to question whether this accord will last. ⋆ | What They're Eating in Australia: There's nothing like a good excuse to eat some curry. Some 17,000 people turned out on Feb. 24 in cities across Australia to eat dinner at Indian restaurants as part of Vindaloo Against Violence. The mass-dining campaign started as a 100-person Facebook event but soon grew into a show of solidarity with Australia's 450,000-member Indian community. Violence against Indians, including the suspected race-related murder of a graduate student on Jan. 2, has been on the rise in the past year. The original version of this article misstated that Smith County, Texas is about 90 miles north of Dallas. It is, in fact, about 90 miles east-southeast of Dallas.
Spotlight: Toyota Hearings
By ALEX ALTMAN Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Akio Toyoda takes the hot seat at the Feb. 24 hearing. Mark Wilson / Getty Images Congress may be struggling to pass much legislation these days, but its members remain masters at summoning indignation. As political theater, the first few days of congressional hearings into Toyota's customer-safety crisis had it all: testy exchanges, Clintonian hairsplitting, obnoxious grandstanding--even multiple references to Marisa Tomei's automotive wizardry in My Cousin Vinny. On Feb. 24, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder, sat before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to apologize. "Quite frankly, I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick," he said, as members of the Japanese press and employees sporting Toyota buttons thronged the hallways outside. Yet the spectacle failed to answer a key question: whether Toyota has pinpointed the problems that caused it to recall more than 8 million cars, including over 6 million in the U.S., since last fall. By hauling Toyoda and his deputies to Capitol Hill for a public flogging, House members got to vent their outrage at the company's sclerotic response to quality issues ranging from troublesome floor mats to sticky gas pedals to faulty brakes. Committee members asserted that Toyota has failed to sufficiently address the possibility that the computers in its cars could be causing problems. Toyota executive Jim Lentz insisted on Feb. 23 that the company has identified the defects responsible for some 2,600
instances of sudden, unintended acceleration--resulting in 34 deaths--since 2000. But he also conceded that he was "not totally" certain. To safeguard against further occurrences, Lentz said Toyota would install brake-override systems in its new vehicles and retrofit many older models. None of that was any comfort to Rhonda Smith, a retired social worker from Tennessee who, during tearful testimony, recounted a 2006 incident in which her Lexus ES350 accelerated uncontrollably. "Shame on you, Toyota, for being so greedy, and shame on you, NHTSA, for not doing your job," said Smith, referring to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, whose apparently lax oversight has made it a target of the inquiry. Toyoda's appearance is the culmination of a month of unrelenting bad news for the company. On the eve of the hearings, a damaging July 2009 memo emerged in which Toyota execs boasted of $100 million in savings garnered through a limited 2007 recall. The company also announced that it had been subpoenaed by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and a federal grand jury in New York because of the sudden-acceleration issues. Toyoda vowed to "work vigorously and unceasingly to restore the trust of our customers." But he has a long ride ahead.
'I'm living proof that you can survive without sex for that long.' JIM GIBBONS, Nevada governor, saying in his deposition in a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed against him that he has not been intimate with any woman, including his wife, since 1995 'It's my 25 years of experience distilled into one bowl.' SHOICHI FUJIMAKI, Japanese restaurateur and chef, on his $110 bowl of ramen, which takes three days to prepare 'Argentines thought we weren't really committed to the Falkland Islands. We mustn't make that mistake again.' WILLIAM HAGUE, British shadow foreign secretary, calling for an increased naval presence in the region in light of a current dispute with the South American country over oil and gas 'We pushed one of the greatest minds to the side in this country when we needed him most.' BENJAMIN JEALOUS, president and CEO of the NAACP, defending the organization's bestowal of an Image Award on former White House green czar Van Jones, despite his resignation last fall over rumors about his alleged radical past
'We're showing stuff that's racier than the Disney Channel, but not by much.' FRED CLARKE, co-president of a company that makes an iPhone application now banned under Apple's new rules against sexually tinged apps; Clarke's creation allows users to take off the dress of an onscreen woman with the swipe of a finger 'This is not the time to perturb the force that is, at the moment, stretched by demands in Iraq and Afghanistan.' NORTON SCHWARTZ, U.S. Air Force chief of staff, saying he is reluctant to scrap the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy; President Obama recently called for the rule to be repealed 'It was like holding the Holy Grail.' VINCENT ZURZOLO, co-owner of Metropolis Collectibles, which conducted the record-breaking $1 million auction of Action Comics No. 1, featuring the first appearance of Superman TALKING HEADS Jemele Hill Discussing on ESPN.com golfer Tiger Woods' recent mea culpa: "If you want to know the true cost of what Tiger Woods has lost because of his infidelities, note what was missing when he finally made a public statement Friday. His wedding ring and his wife ... I do hope this situation is a teaching moment for those athletes leading double lives the way Tiger did, and for those who believe Tiger's infidelities are really no big deal. Elin's absence and Tiger's missing ring say differently." --02/19/10 Laura Flanders On TheNation.com denouncing supporters of Andrew Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into a Texas building that houses IRS offices: "Someone who carries out premeditated deadly force against civilians to make a political point is by virtually any definition a terrorist, not a hero ... If Stack had been an Arab or a Muslim, you can bet this story would still be getting blaring headlines ... Stack's was a lone act--and let's hope it stays that way, but, as after 9/11, asking why is again worth doing. We have choices about how to respond. Denial's only one of them." --02/23/10 Anne Applebaum
Explaining in the Washington Post why Israel could go to war with Iran: "Many Israelis regard the Iranian nuclear program as a matter of life and death. The prospect of a nuclear Iran isn't an irritant or a distant threat. It is understood directly in the context of the Iranian President's provocative attacks on Israel's right to exist and his public support for historians who deny the Holocaust." --02/23/10 Sources: U.S. District Court of Nevada; Reuters; BBC; CNN; New York Times; AP (2)
Brief History: Olympic Sore Losers
By CLAIRE SUDDATH Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Byun Jong-II sulks on the floor of the boxing ring after losing a match against Bulgaria's Alexander Hristov during the 1988 Seoul Games. Andrew Wong / AFP / Getty
The most important thing in the olympics is not to win but to take part." So goes the Olympic creed. It's a romantic ideal, one that can be hard to follow if you're an athlete who has endured years of intense training only to subsequently fall short in front of millions. Take Evgeni Plushenko. Following his silver-medal performance in men's figure skating, the Russian repeatedly insulted his first-place opponent, America's Evan Lysacek, and all but climbed atop the gold-medal podium ... Wait, he did that too. But Plushenko is hardly the first Olympic sore loser. Athletes have pouted their way home almost since the modern Games began in 1896. Australian boxer Reginald Baker had reason to suspect foul play when he protested his silver medal in the 1908 London Olympics--his opponent's father reportedly refereed the match. South Korean Byun Jong-Il's complaints were less warranted; in 1988 the bruiser lost a match after he was penalized for head-butting his competitor. Like a petulant child, Byun sat down in the middle of the ring and refused to get up. He stayed put for so long that officials eventually turned off the lights and left him sitting in darkness. With so many nations vying for respect, it's no surprise that international politics often plays a role in scoring disputes. A botched 1972 U.S.-Soviet basketball game briefly heated up the Cold War when a disputed time-out and a wrongly reset clock effectively handed the Soviets three chances to beat their political rivals. They did, by a single point. The Soviets got the gold, and the U.S. team angrily refused the silver. Thirty years later, when Russia found itself with an embarrassingly small number of medals in 2002's Salt Lake City Games, the Duma blamed U.S. imperialism and considered skipping the closing ceremonies. So much for graciousness in defeat.
By RICHARD CORLISS Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Once upon a hollywood time, talent scouts searched for pretty girls who could read lines, play comedy and sing ... opera. The girlish Deanna Durbin established the recipe in the late 1930s; Kathryn Grayson, who died Feb. 17 at 88 in Los Angeles, perfected it by adding a saucy sex appeal. For more than a decade, from Thousands Cheer in 1943 to The Vagabond King in 1956, she was the leading soprano at MGM and one of its top stars. Legend has it that as a 12-year-old in St. Louis, Mo., Grayson, born Zelma Kathryn Hedrick, was discovered singing on the empty stage of the local opera house. Ripening into a petite, shapely teen with raven hair framing a Kabuki-pale face, she made her film debut as Mickey Rooney date bait in Andy Hardy's Private Secretary and was a star in Thousands Cheer, with Gene Kelly, and Anchors Aweigh, with Kelly and Frank Sinatra. She had the lead in MGM's 1951 remake of Show Boat and sealed her stardom with the role of Lilli the show-biz shrew, battling Howard Keel as her husband, in the film version of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate.
Her operettic appeal fading in the rock 'n' roll era, she did Camelot on Broadway and played Las Vegas with Keel. From her Hollywood years, Grayson had left a pert afterglow: lovely to look at, delightful to hear.
By HENRY A. KISSINGER Monday, Mar. 08, 2010 Wherever he served, he made a difference. That is the compliment Al Haig, who died on Feb. 20 at age 85, would have most appreciated. Service was his purpose. Courage was his defining characteristic. Patriotism, his impetus.
Societies become rich through ingenuity and hard work. But they become great because they produce men and women who lift them beyond the moment. Alexander Haig, who served his country during turbulent times, was such a person. I recruited him for the National Security Council staff as my deputy. One of his principal tasks was to help end a war that President Richard Nixon had inherited and in which Al had fought. It proved a heartrending journey, especially for a soldier. But with typical skill and dedication, Al carried out the many vital missions entrusted to him, including the dual tasks of extricating America from war while preserving the nation's honor. As Nixon's chief of staff, Al had an even more grueling assignment: holding our government together as its presidency disintegrated in the worst constitutional crisis since the Civil War. Al almost single-handedly saw us through this travail. He was willing, and sometimes eager, to battle for his convictions in the many important positions he held afterward, including those of NATO commander and Secretary of State to President Ronald Reagan. A warrior-statesman, Al Haig will be remembered with respect, affection and the special kind of gratitude reserved for those who stood by their country in times of need. He leaves a big hole in the lives of his many friends and on the ramparts of our nation. Kissinger was Secretary of State from 1973 to '77 and National Security Adviser from 1969 to '75
By ALEXANDRA SILVER Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
"The plan," Najibullah Zazi said in a Brooklyn federal courtroom on Feb. 22, "was to conduct [a] martyrdom operation on subway lines in Manhattan." That scheme, according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, represented "one of the most serious terrorist threats to our nation since Sept. 11, 2001."
Zazi, who was arrested last September, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support to al-Qaeda. The 25-year-old Afghan-born U.S. permanent resident--he attended high school in New York City--traveled to Pakistan in 2008, intending to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. Instead he ended up at a Pakistani al-Qaeda training camp for several months, then moved to Colorado, where he plotted the attack. On Sept. 10, 2009, he arrived in New York in a rented car carrying bombmaking materials but retreated when he realized he was under surveillance. This "investigation is ongoing," says Holder. "We will not rest until everyone responsible is held accountable."
By ANDREA SACHS Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of Our Soldiers By Nancy Sherman W.W. Norton; 338 pages It's difficult to remain neutral when it comes to war. Mindful of that fact, Sherman takes pains to declare on the very first page of her new book that it is "not a political tract for or against a war." But the reader will nonetheless find much within to hate about armed conflict. It would be hard not to. Based on interviews with 40 soldiers, most of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Untold War tells tales of mangled limbs and shattered minds, like one about an idealistic West Point prof who went to Iraq and took his own life in disillusionment. Given Sherman's training in psychoanalysis and philosophy, it is not surprising that her prose can grow alarmingly academic at times. (Many will not care that "the distance between an Aristotelian and Stoic-inspired training for war is considerable.") Yet she successfully makes the case that, with an all-volunteer military, the public has averted its eyes from the psychic damage of our current wars. Says Sherman: "War's residue should not just be a soldier's private burden." READ [X] SKIM TOSS
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Off to the Races
By RICHARD CORLISS Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
FRANK POLICH / GETTY IMAGES
When is the top-grossing movie of all time an underdog to a film hardly anyone saw? When the big hit is Avatar, the little picture that could is The Hurt Locker, and there are major Oscars up for grabs. Though James Cameron's eco-epic has earned 132 times as much as Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq bomb-squad drama at the worldwide box office, it can't match The Hurt Locker's stash of gold medals from the Hollywood guilds, many of whose voters are also members of the Motion Picture Academy. The producers', directors', writers' and editors' groups all chose The Hurt Locker over Avatar. No film in Oscar history has won all those guild awards and then lost Best Picture. Will the Academy give its top award to a gritty indie drama? That would derail its mission to attract larger, younger audiences to the Oscar show by honoring big hits that were also must-see movies. Forced to choose between two superior works — by ex-spouses, no less — the voters may decide to divide custody, awarding the Best Director Oscar to Bigelow and Best Picture to Cameron. This year's ballot is strewn with such dilemmas. George Clooney or Jeff Bridges? In Up in the Air, Clooney gives a career-defining performance, and in his spare time he organized the all-star Haiti fundraiser. Yet Bridges, whose decent, not great, turn won the Screen Actors Guild nod, looks set to win a Lifetime Achievement Award in the shape of a Best Actor statuette. How about Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) vs. Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)? Streep has been invited to the big party 16 times but hasn't won since 1983. Bullock is a first-time nominee whose star turn in a minor weepie helped turn it into a huge surprise hit. One is a comedy specialist in a drama, the other a drama diva in a comedy. The mind says Streep; the Hollywood stethoscope says Bullock. If she and Bridges win, it will be a vote not for best performances but for prom queen and king. And those are just the movies you know. Other categories where two's a crowd: Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Doc Short and Live Action Short. Of the Foreign Language front runners, the
German entry, Michael Haneke's austere The White Ribbon, is the highbrow choice, Jacques Audiard's teeming French prison drama A Prophet the middlebrow. Haneke's possible ace: his movie shows the seeds of Nazism sown in a German village, and Oscar voters love to hate Hitler. Who doesn't? The leading pair of Doc Features, The Cove and Food, Inc., will force Academy members to choose between saving the dolphins and giving the finger to Big Agro. In Doc Shorts, two Emmy-winning teams of filmmakers compete, with a disastrous Chinese flood and the closing of a GM plant as their topics. Of the live-action shorts, the two sharpest both show children in mortal peril: The Door (a Russian boy tainted by Chernobyl) and Kavi (an Indian kid in Slumdog Millionaire misery but with no miraculous reprieve) will battle for this poster-child Oscar. See for yourself if you'd like: the nominees for Live Action and Animated Shorts are showing now in about 125 theaters nationwide. Only a few categories are snaps: Supporting Actor and Actress (Christoph Waltz and Mo'Nique), Adapted Screenplay (Up in the Air), Original Song ("The Weary Kind," from Crazy Heart), Makeup (Star Trek), Animated Feature and Original Score (both to Up). Nick Park's most recent Wallace & Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf and Death, seems a lock for Animated Short, in part because it's fabulous but also because his stop-motion delights have already won four Oscars. The only time he lost was when two of his films had to compete against each other the same year. The visually sumptuous Avatar ought to be the favorite in technical slots like Art Direction and Cinematography, but the very newness of the movie's wizardry may confuse old-line voters: Weren't the splendors of Pandora all achieved through CGI? The Hurt Locker can't be counted on to take every Oscar whose guild vote it won. The film's main competition in Original Screenplay, Inglourious Basterds, was deemed ineligible by the Writers Guild; look for Quentin Tarantino to ace that category on Oscar night. And for Best Picture? Who knows? I certainly don't. We'll all find out March 7. So here's a ballot from one veteran, but rarely prescient, Oscar watcher. The only sure prediction: there will be surprises.
A World Map Under Eastern Eyes
By MICHAEL ELLIOTT Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
Ricci's 1602 map (12.5 x 5.5 ft.) shows the world as a sphere, with China at its center. James Ford Bell Trust What does china really think of the U.S.? Spend some time in the Middle Kingdom, and you'll hear both protestations of admiration and plenty of disparaging comments about the West. Such attitudes have a long history. In 1602 the imperial Chinese court learned that the inhabitants of North America were "kindly and hospitable to strangers." On the other hand, they "kill one another all the year round, and spend their time in fighting and robbery. They feed exclusively on snakes, ants, spiders and other creeping things." Those lines are written on a map of the world on display at the Library of Congress in Washington through April. The map is so rare — only six copies are known to exist — that to a fan of cartography, its exhibition is a bit like giving a devout Christian a chance to hold the Holy Grail. Prepared for the court of Emperor Wanli of the Ming dynasty by Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit missionary in Beijing, the map places China at the center of the world, just where Chinese scholars thought (and think) appropriate. It was purchased last year by the James Ford Bell Trust from a Japanese collector and will move to permanent display at the University of Minnesota after its sojourn in Washington.
Ricci, an Italian polymath, was perhaps the most talented of an extraordinary collection of Jesuits who went to China in the 16th and 17th centuries, taking Western learning with them. It was not a one-way exchange: Ming China was no slouch when it came to science and technology, and China's cartographic tradition was long and rich. Ricci's map is thought to be the first Chinese representation of the world as a sphere. But the map is at its most detailed in its depiction of China itself, an indication, as Professor Cordell Yee of St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., says, that Ricci was able to draw on Chinese gazetteers and atlases for his work. Beyond China and its immediate environs, the map relies on the great European voyages of exploration of the previous 120 years. Unsurprisingly, those areas that had already been settled by Europeans are drawn in greatest detail: the coastline of Mexico, right up to Baja California, for example, is astonishingly accurate, while that of the Northeastern seaboard of North America is much less so. To those used to antique Western maps, Ricci's work — displayed here on six tall screens — is not especially beautiful. The map is densely covered not with gorgeous cartouches and drawings of unicorns, whales and horrible monsters of the land and sea but with text, including endorsements from Ricci's Chinese friends and passages naming territories ("Ka-na-ta," for example) and describing the habits of those who live there. That's how we can be sure that Ming China knew about hammocks. In parts of South America, Ricci wrote, "men sleep without beds or mattresses, but make nets of knotted cords. These they suspend from trees and recline in them." (The Library of Congress does not offer a translation of the text, but you can find a good one in the 1918 and '19 issues of the Geographical Journal.) Seventeenth century Chinese, of course, would have grasped the aesthetics of the map quite differently from the way Occidentals do today. In China, "calligraphy is a visual art," says Yee. Combining European learning with Chinese artistic tradition, Ricci worked to make his map (and his mission) attractive to his Chinese hosts. Ricci, Yee says, "knew his stuff." That he did. But the display of Ricci's great map is a chance to do more than just gawk at his achievement. There is a popular tendency in the West to see China's modern engagement with global society as something brand-new, the sundering of a hermetic seal by which China walled itself away from everyone else. This is quite false. China has been open to other cultures — and influenced them in its turn — for centuries. There's nothing preordained about how its modern rise will play out; much will depend on the skill with which China's interlocutors conduct themselves. That's one more reason to celebrate a legendary mapmaker and his work, even if he was rather rude about Americans' taste in lunch.
Critique of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
By LEV GROSSMAN Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Matt Dorfmann for TIME
In 2008, Jason Rekulak, an editor at a small Philadelphia publishing house, had the bright idea to combine classic works of literature with pop-culture tropes for fun and profit. He phoned Seth Grahame-Smith, a.k.a. the luckiest freelancer in the world, and told him to write Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Grahame-Smith did — in two months flat — and it sold more than a million copies. Now it's being made into a movie starring Natalie Portman. The success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies kicked off a literary land grab, with publishers rushing spin-offs and clones of the quote-unquote original to press. (Note to self: Clone With the Wind? A Room of One's Clone? A-clone-ment?) As for Grahame-Smith, he turned around and sold a novel called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to a large New York City publisher for a sum rumored to be in the mid — six figures. Bennett Cerf, founder of Random House, once remarked that the most surefire best seller imaginable would be a book called Lincoln's Doctor's Dog. He was close. But there are specific reasons Pride and Prejudice and Zombies worked that don't necessarily pertain to the knockoffs. It wasn't an arbitrary mashup. Austen's novel is about the comedy and pathos of people whose lives are shaped by monstrous realities that they're too polite to talk about, namely money and sex. Zombies are just another unspeakable thing to tiptoe around. There's a certain dream logic to it, but it doesn't follow that the trick will work twice. The conceit of Abraham Lincoln is that Grahame-Smith — his very name is a mashup! — has come into possession of Lincoln's secret diaries detailing his life as a stalker of vampires. As a frontiersboy, Lincoln loses his mother to the undead and swears lifelong vengeance. A giant among men — he was 6 ft. 4 in. (1.9 m) tall — Lincoln adopts the ax, that most American of edged weapons, as the tool of his trade, hiding it inside his signature long black coat.
From there, Grahame-Smith scrolls forward through Lincoln's life, concocting a vampiric explanation for its every bump and wrinkle. The death of Lincoln's grandfather Abraham? Vampire. The death of his first love, Ann Rutledge? Vampire. Civil War? Vampires. He doesn't explicitly state that Millard Fillmore was a vampire, but I have my suspicions. Vampires are like health care plans: everybody has his own idea about how they should work. Grahame-Smith's are inhumanly strong and only mildly fazed by sunlight. Like the vamps of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they appear human until they show their true form: fangs, gross veiny blue skin and all-black eyes. Grahame-Smith describes a vampire getting his game face on: "His eyes turned black in the space of a single blink, as if the inkwells in his pupils had suddenly shattered — the spill contained behind glass." As that evocative image suggests, Grahame-Smith isn't just lucky. He's a lively, fluent writer with a sharp sense of tone and pace. And as in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the mashup is not as arbitrary as it first seems. Vampirism is a metaphor for slavery: like slave owners, vampires live off the blood of others. The fit is actually a little too neat. Once the connection is made, it feels obvious, and neither slavery nor vampirism reveals anything in particular about the other. One could imagine a richer, subtler treatment of the subject, in which the two horrors multiply each other rather than cancel each other out. The institution of slavery revealed something about the true face of young America, something unspeakable, but literalizing it in the form of a vampire turns out to not get us any closer to understanding what it is. Then again, if one were seeking richness and subtlety, one wouldn't be reading a book called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The Short List of Things to Do
WEEK OF FEB. 26
Alice in Wonderland
Now on DVD
Not the new Tim Burton-Johnny Depp Alice (though it has its own weird wonders) but Jonathan Miller's 1966 BBC version, with Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts, Leo McKern as the Duchess and Peter Cook as the Mad Hatter — nearly every Brit comic royal in a scrumptious Carrollian custard.
Now in Stores
It's customary for radically sardonic, corrosively funny writers to put in time as mere cult icons, but enough already: everybody should read Sam Lipsyte. His new novel concerns Milo Burke, a professional fundraiser with rage issues who gets one last shot at a big score.
Now in Stores
Nashville singer-songwriter Josh Rouse spent the past five years in Spain, and it shows: his Spanishand Brazilian-inspired album is a polyglot mix of instruments and cultures — with just enough Americana to please those of us who speak only one language.
Now in Stores
In nine elegant essays, John McPhee displays his singular gift for finding beauty and humor in ungainly subjects that would defeat a less perfect writer: fact-checking, college lacrosse, the geology of chalk, using a 19th century camera, eating road-killed weasel.
George Bernard Shaw on Film
Now on DVD
AFP / GETTY IMAGES
Late in his long life, Britain's greatest 20th century playwright entrusted some of his works to producer Gabriel Pascal. Criterion has three Shaw gems — Major Barbara, Caesar and Cleopatra and Androcles and the Lion — in a low-price pack. Pygmalion you buy separately.
Lauren Graham's Short List
ILLUSTRATION BY ZACH TRENHOLM
She played cool mom Lorelai Gilmore to critical acclaim on Gilmore Girls. On NBC's new series Parenthood (which debuts March 2), she's a mother of two moving back in with her parents. In her spare time, Graham
dreams of the beach and listens to Blue all the way through. Kitchen confidential I am obsessed with the recipes in the Momofuku cookbook, which shares secrets from one of my favorite restaurants in New York City. Maybe I will cook my way through and blog about it and someone will turn it into a movie. Nah, that could never happen. Family history I've become hooked on Kathy Ebel's blog Fatherland (kathyebel.wordpress.com). It's a memoir in progress about her application for "restored" German citizenship through a program for Holocaust survivors and their descendants. With heart and humor, she looks at how the forces of history shape the intimate emotional terrain of our families. Beach retreats I love paintings by artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders, particularly her depictions of the beach, which make me nostalgic for summers on Long Island. And I'd love to own one of Massimo Vitali's large-scale beach photographs. Why so much beach on the brain? Maybe it's time for a vacation. Long-playing records In this age of buying music a song at a time, I appreciate albums that hold up from beginning to end. Two in this category: Joni Mitchell's Blue and Sufjan Stevens' Illinois. Enjoy on your next road trip. Film king I recently purchased the Criterion Collection's Five Films by John Cassavetes. I've seen most of them already, but I plan to geek out on the DVD extras, which include interviews with actors Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands. I love Cassavetes' raw style. My favorite actors are those whose acting doesn't feel like acting, which for an actor is a puzzling concept.
The Autism Debate: Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy?
By Karl Taro Greenfeld Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
Jenny McCarthy's son Evan plays at Teach2Talk, the school the activist actress co-founded. Jeff Minton for TIME In person, surprisingly, Jenny McCarthy comes across as corn-fed cute rather than overwhelmingly beautiful. She has a common touch, and a woman even slightly more beautiful would struggle to connect as she does. When McCarthy meets a mom, when she spits forth a stream of profanity and common sense — the foulmouthed comedian from Chicago never far from the surface — she is there as a mother, not as a celebrity or starlet. That's what got her there, but that's not who she is once she's there. She speaks to so many frustrated, despairing mothers of autistic children because she is plausible, authentic. If you needed a woman to bring hope to these mothers, you couldn't ask for better casting than Jenny McCarthy. We are sitting around a sushi-laden coffee table in the Sherman Oaks, Calif., headquarters of Generation Rescue, the autism advocacy group she heads. It's a gray, one-story house with white trim and a picket-fence-enclosed yard, across the street from the home she lived in for four years with her son Evan, 7, and John Asher, who is her ex-husband and Evan's father. She has converted the house into a
state-of-the-art school for very young autistic kids, an intensive early-intervention program called the Teach2Talk Academy. The school is a model in many ways, not least because of its 1-to-1 teacher-student ratio and sparkling facilities. It's the kind of place she was desperate to get Evan into when he was first diagnosed with autism in 2005. The lacerating pilgrimage that parents of autistic children know all too well, lugging their child from specialist to specialist, from program to program, seeking help, answers, a cure — catalyzed her mission. First McCarthy was a mother "finding a window" into her son. Then she became a mother who felt she needed to tell other mothers how she found that window. Those mothers have become her flock. She greets them all, here in Sherman Oaks, on her way through airport terminals, in restaurants, on talk-show sets; she will stop, nod, listen, proffer advice, give a phone number and tell these mothers, these families, to never give up hope. "Hope is the greatest thing for moms of autism," McCarthy says. "Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning. I'm on a mission to tell parents that there is a way." McCarthy's way, however, is one that flies in the face of all credible research on what does and does not cause autism and whether it can be treated. McCarthy claims Evan was healed through a range of experimental and unproved biomedical treatments; even more controversially, she blames the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine for giving her son autism. And yet research conclusively shows that vaccines are safe for children; just last month, the U.K. scientist who had published a study linking the MMR shot to autism was found by a British medical panel to have acted unethically. McCarthy says she does not believe all vaccines are bad — though she swears she will never allow Evan to receive another — nor is she saying you shouldn't vaccinate your child. Her position is more slippery but just as heretical to prevailing medical wisdom: do everything necessary to cure your child, no matter what the doctors tell you. This message has won her a wide audience, based on her three best-selling books on autism. She has just completed shooting the pilot for a daytime talk show for Oprah Winfrey's TV network to begin airing later this year — which will be, she promises, yet another platform for her message. But her profile has also made her, among pediatricians, other doctors and many parents, a deeply polarizing figure. Though close to 80% of American children receive the standard battery of vaccinations, skepticism about their safety remains widespread, in part because of the antiscientific clamor of the McCarthy camp. Enough parents are refusing to vaccinate that some long-dormant maladies, like measles and meningitis, have re-emerged. Nonvaccination rates among kindergartners in some California counties have been reported at 10%. To McCarthy's opponents, from the public-health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the pediatricians of the American Academy of Pediatrics, this makes McCarthy much worse than a crank: she's a menace to public health. But she can't be ignored. If the debate about vaccine safety is settled — vaccines don't cause autism; they don't injure children; they are the pillar of modern public health — then why are so many parents reconsidering vaccinating their children? The answer has to do with our era's strained relationship with scientific truth, our tendency to place more faith in psychological truths than scientific ones. McCarthy's emergence — the Playmate turned pseudoscientist, the fart-joke teller cum mother warrior — can make one feel nostalgic for the time when celebs turned up on talk shows only to hawk their flicks or books, not to promote explosive public-health ideas. But McCarthy says she is speaking the truth — her truth.
It goes something like this: in McCarthy's world, there is scientific truth and there is emotional truth. There is the fact of a mother looking into her son's eyes and knowing something has gone very wrong and the fact of about two dozen studies showing no link between vaccines and autism. There is the truth of the parents and the truth of the doctors. And she believes that some truths are more equal than others. "She's a mom," says her boyfriend, actor Jim Carrey. "That's what she is. That's her truth." It all sounds so reasonable, expressed by the charming, gamine Jenny McCarthy. And this is what makes her dangerous.
The Catholic girl from Chicago who got her start as a Playboy model was the second of four daughters of a steel-mill-foreman father and courtroom-custodian mother. She attended Mother McAuley High School. "It can be hard for the cute girl," she recalls. "I was blond, cute, broke. I was beat up. I was thrown inside lockers. I was burned with cigarettes. My hair was lit on fire." To earn money for college — she studied nursing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale — she sent her photos to Playboy and was Miss October and eventually Playmate of the Year in 1994. Her subsequent career as a comedian and actress took her through MTV game shows, her own sitcom and various roles in B movies. She is now probably more famous as an advocate for her views on autism than she ever was as an actress, and it has given her a power out of proportion to her show-business success.
In 2005, McCarthy's son Evan, then 2, began having seizures so severe he required repeated emergency hospitalization. McCarthy had noticed that Evan had some developmental delays, compared with his peers in a playgroup they attended, and he exhibited some atypical behaviors: arm flapping, repetitive actions and fixation on strange objects. She describes her panic at Evan's diagnosis in her memoir Louder than Words: "I wished to God the doctor had handed me a pamphlet that said, 'Hey, sorry about the autism, but here's a step-by-step list on what to do next.' But doctors don't do that. They say 'sorry' and move you along." McCarthy began to try almost every treatment that turned up on Google. Evan went through conventional, intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy as well as a host of alternative approaches, including a gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, chelation, aromatherapies, electromagnetics, spoons rubbed on his body, multivitamin therapy, B-12 shots and a range of prescription drugs. McCarthy says she made a deal with God. "Help me fix my boy," she prayed, "and I'll teach the world how I did it."
She believes she did fix her boy. A psychological evaluation from UCLA's neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was "conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder," and yet here, running toward us on a warm California afternoon, is Evan, shouting out, "Are you here to play with me? When are we going to play?" McCarthy's boy is a vivacious, articulate and communicative child who seems to have beaten the condition. He is an inspiration, the fact of him as incontrovertible as any study done in any laboratory in the world.
Or is this the truth? There are dark murmurings from scientists and doctors asking, Was her son ever really autistic? Evan's symptoms — heavy seizures, followed by marked improvement once the seizures were brought under control — are similar to those of Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological
damage. Or, as other pediatricians have suggested, perhaps the miracle I have beheld is the quotidian miracle of childhood development: a delayed 2-year-old catching up by the time he is 7, a commonplace, routine occurrence, nothing more surprising than a short boy growing tall. It is enraging to the mother to hear that nothing was wrong with her boy — she held him during his seizures, saw his eyes roll up after he received his vaccines — and how can you say that she doesn't know what she knows?
With the diagnosis of her son and the book she wrote about their journey together, McCarthy became the world's most famous parent of an autistic child. "I knew I was going to be the voice of the families when this happened," she says. "Because I had the platform. In my head, something said, 'You can get booked on talk shows.' If there was a purpose from God, he just picked someone who can get booked on talk shows. I just fell into this truth ... The only reason I'm getting this much attention is because I represent hundreds of thousands of mothers who have the same story." During appearances on Oprah, 20/20, Good Morning America, Larry King Live and other television shows, she decried what she claimed was a vast, profitable conspiracy to vaccinate children, which she said was responsible for the great upsurge in autism diagnoses. Often appearing with her boyfriend Carrey (who lives with Jenny and Evan), she glibly and with irate dismissal of the scientific evidence accused pediatricians and doctors of poisoning children and then withholding the treatments that could save them.
During her appearance on Oprah in 2007, she launched a typical fusillade: "What number does it have to be ... for people just to start listening to what the mothers of children who have autism have been saying for years ... I told my pediatrician something happened ... after [he was vaccinated] ?... Boom — the soul was gone from his eyes." Later, when Oprah read a comment from the CDC stating that the vast majority of the science to date did not support her assertion, McCarthy replied, "My science is Evan. He's at home. That's my science."
Such statements could not have won over mothers and found such a ready audience if there weren't many who felt they were hearing someone state what they had long suspected. McCarthy may have been promoting her book, but she had inadvertently become the poster mom for a movement. "Jenny gave us a face," says Kim Stagliano, a mother of three autistic girls and one of the founders of the popular blog Age of Autism. "I feel like Jenny going public was pretty brave ... There is a certain personality within the Curebie community [parents who believe they can cure their autistic children], and that was who she was."
The biomedical treatments McCarthy espouses — and it is hard to find a controversial, novel or alternative treatment that McCarthy doesn't say has some merit — are often decried by mainstream pediatricians and other physicians and as being untested or unproven. Yet it is rare to find a family struggling with an autistic child that hasn't tried at least some version of one of them. While every illness brings forth unproven treatments, autism, because there has been so little progress in terms of finding a cause, much less a proven cure, has been a field replete with controversial therapies that lure in desperate parents.
"Try everything," says McCarthy. "Hope is the only thing that will get us up in the morning." Her critics, however, describe that as false hope. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has been outspoken in decrying the antivaccine movement and various
alternative autism treatments in his best-selling book Autism's False Prophets. He categorically condemns McCarthy's message. "It's not fair to these parents," he says. "I think false hope is worse than no hope."
The Autism Riddle The history of autism treatments has been too often filled with false hope. There are 730,000 Americans under age 21 who have been diagnosed with autism. But for decades, autism was considered an exceedingly rare disorder and was viewed as a life sentence. In the 1970s, parents sought out a range of alternative and unconventional treatments. There was patterning (in which the autistic child was retaught to crawl), multivitamin therapy, bee-pollen therapy and various restrictive diets. There was the gentleman who claimed he had cured his son by hugging him a lot — he wrote a best-selling book about it — and others who claimed they had cured their child by teaching him or her to swim. There has been the facilitation movement, in which "facilitators" supposedly helping nonverbal autistic children type words turned out to be making the statements themselves, and the secretin controversy, in which parents paid thousands of dollars for a hormone believed to successfully treat autism before several clinical trials showed no actual impact. All of these cost parents small fortunes and years of anguish. And all of them are still being practiced by some segments of the autism community today.
Yet it is important to remember that?the first and still the only treatment that has been shown to make a demonstrably positive developmental impact on autistic children started out as a somewhat radical movement. Behavioral therapy — involving methods, not so different from animal-training techniques, that are now known as ABA, PRT (Pivotal Response Training) and a host of other acronyms — was vilified by many, including what was then the mainstream of autism, when it started in the 1960s. After clinical trials produced positive results, it became the basic treatment for autism. But the success rate for this therapy remains painfully low. A recent study by University of Connecticut psychologist Deborah Fein shows that at least 10% of autistic children undergoing ABA can overcome the disorder by age 9, while others show more modest improvement. That makes for a depressing picture for most parents of autistic children.
And that's where McCarthy comes in. She is telling the parents that yes, your son or daughter can be healed. "I have three children on the spectrum," says Stagliano. "I have yet to really get one actionable piece of assistance from my pediatrician. They offer nothing. Nothing ... These treatments are filling a vacuum."
McCarthy's conviction stems from her having "recovered" her own son from autism. "Evan couldn't talk — now he talks. Evan couldn't make eye contact — now he makes eye contact. Evan was antisocial — now he makes friends," she explains. "It was amazing to watch, over the course of doing this, how certain therapies work for certain kids and they completely don't work for others ... When something didn't work for Evan, I didn't stop. I stopped that treatment, but I didn't stop."
Well before McCarthy's son was diagnosed, that was the course most parents were following anyway. I recall my parents in the 1970s trying out a range of therapies and various diets for my younger brother Noah, a low-functioning adult autistic: everything from chiropractic adjustments to megavitamin doses to copper bracelets. McCarthy was the first celebrity to embrace this approach publicly and to hit the
airwaves pep-talking mothers to never give up. That is what she tells those parents who seek her out here at Generation Rescue — and the 200,000 mothers she has met on her various autism tours and speaking engagements.
Of course, McCarthy is not a doctor. She really has only the one prescription: hope. And then parents should try every treatment out there until they find one that works. She is careful to avoid the word cure, always using recovery. "I look at autism like a bus accident, and you don't become cured from a bus accident, but you can recover," she says.
The Persistence of Hope It is precisely that word that makes her views incendiary. "Recovery" from what, exactly? The treatments promoted by McCarthy purport to treat an injury, specifically one to the immune or digestive system of the autistic child — and the agent that activists like McCarthy most commonly point to as the cause of the injury is the MMR vaccine. The antivaccine movement has by now gone through numerous iterations in trying to explain how autism happens. The latest alleged culprit is the sheer number of vaccines: at least 10 administered, in 26 shots, during a child's first 36 months. Each of these theories has been thoroughly discredited by scientific research, but that has done nothing to silence McCarthy and her Generation Rescue colleagues. "Come and see our kids," says McCarthy. "Why won't the CDC come and talk to the mothers, talk to the families? Then tell us there isn't a link."
For all her bravado, McCarthy prefers to cast herself as a voice of moderation. She claims her goal is to move the debate toward what she sees as the middle, where more research dollars are poured into alternative treatments and the search for an environmental cause. (A great deal of research is currently focused on finding a genetic cause.) She has backed off from her most heated rhetoric and says she is now not against all vaccines but is in favor of studying them further and modifying the schedule by which they are administered. The problem is that every study has shown there is no correlation between vaccines and autism and that the risk of injury from vaccination is far lower than the risk of disease from being unvaccinated. Alison Singer of the Autism Science Foundation bemoans the potential loss of research into causes and treatments for autism because of continued preoccupation with the vaccine issue. "I felt that 22 vaccine studies were enough," she says. "Given that we don't have unlimited resources, it made sense to say we looked at vaccines and found no causal relationship." McCarthy, she goes on to say, "has been very successful at bringing the politics into the science."
McCarthy vows to continue her fight, spreading her truth, for "the rest of my life?... I would love to be on Stage 19, yukking it up as a Hollywood actress, but how could I not step up here and be the voice? And I'll continue to be the voice." It is impossible to overlook the larger and direct dangers inherent in her position on vaccines. Yet it is equally difficult to ignore the emotional core of what she is saying: Listen to parents. If doctors won't, then McCarthy will. While I was reporting this story, I talked to my parents about what I was working on. They have been living with autism for the past 40 years. My father listened and then told me to ask McCarthy about a specific alternative therapy he had heard about and was interested in trying on my 42-year-old brother Noah.
I thought about this as I was driving out to the San Fernando Valley to see McCarthy and realized she was right: parents will never stop hoping.
Karl Taro Greenfeld is the author of Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir, an account of his family's struggle with autism
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Homeschoolers
By TRISTANA MOORE Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Uwe Romeike and his wife, reflected in the glass, homeschool their children in Tennessee Carl Kiilsgaard for TIME Update Appended: March 1, 2010 The Romeikes are not your typical asylum seekers. They did not come to the U.S. to flee war or despotism in their native land. No, these music teachers left Germany because they didn't like what their children were learning in public school — and because homeschooling is illegal there.
"It's our fundamental right to decide how we want to teach our children," says Uwe Romeike, an Evangelical Christian and a concert pianist who sold his treasured Steinway to help pay for the move. Romeike decided to uproot his family in 2008 after he and his wife had accrued about $10,000 in fines for homeschooling their three oldest children and police had turned up at their doorstep and escorted them to school. "My kids were crying, but nobody seemed to care," Romeike says of the incident. So why did he seek asylum in the U.S. rather than relocate to nearby Austria or another European country that allows homeschooling? Romeike's wife Hannelore tells TIME the family was contacted by the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which suggested they go to the U.S. and settle in Morristown, Tenn. The nonprofit organization, which defends the rights of the U.S. homeschooling community — with its estimated 2 million children, or about 4% of the total school-age population — is expanding its overseas outreach. And on Jan. 26, the HSLDA helped the Romeikes become the first people granted asylum in the U.S. because they were persecuted for homeschooling. The ruling is tricky politically for Washington and its allies in Europe, where several countries — including Spain and the Netherlands — allow homeschooling only under exceptional circumstances, such as when a child is extremely ill. That helps explain why in late February, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement formally appealed the Romeike ruling, which was issued by an immigration judge in Memphis, Tenn. His unprecedented decision has raised concerns that the already heavily backlogged immigration courts will be flooded with asylum petitions from homeschoolers in countries typically regarded as having nonrepressive governments. "It's very unusual for people from Western countries to be granted asylum in the U.S.," says David Piver, an immigration attorney with offices in a Philadelphia suburb and Flagstaff, Ariz. In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, only five Germans received asylum in the U.S. (The Justice Department declined to comment on specific cases.) Piver, who is not involved in the Romeike case, predicted the U.S. government would appeal the decision "so as not to offend a close ally." Successful asylum petitions typically involve applicants whose situations are more dire, such as women who were forced to undergo abortions or genital mutilation and men whose lives were threatened because they are homosexuals or political dissidents. But Piver believes the Memphis judge was right to grant the Romeikes asylum, since the law covers social groups with "a well-founded fear of persecution" in their home country. In Germany, mandatory school attendance dates back to 1717, when it was introduced in Prussia, and the policy has traditionally been viewed as a social good. "This law protects children," says Josef Kraus, president of the German Teachers' Association. The European Court of Human Rights agrees with him. In 2006, the court threw out a homeschooling family's case when it deemed Germany's compulsory-schooling law as compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, an international treaty drafted in 1950. Given this backdrop, it's little wonder the Romeikes came up against a wall of opposition when they tried to talk to their school principal about the merits of homeschooling. One of the Romeikes' concerns was about their kids getting bullied. But their main objection involved what was being taught in the classroom. "The curriculum goes against our Christian values," Uwe says.
"German schools use textbooks that force inappropriate subject matter onto young children and tell stories with characters that promote profanity and disrespect." While there are no official figures, it's estimated that up to 1,000 German families are homeschooling their children. Elisabeth Kuhnle, a spokeswoman for a German advocacy group called the Network for the Freedom of Education, says a recent homeschooling meeting attracted about 50 families in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where the Romeikes used to live. She also reckons many German homeschooling families have relocated to countries like France and Britain, where homeschooling is allowed. In 2007, Germany's Federal Supreme Court issued a ruling — which did not specifically involve the Romeikes — that parents could lose custody of their children if they continued to homeschool them. "We were under constant pressure, and we were scared the German authorities would take our children away," Romeike says. "So we decided to leave and go to the U.S." German officials, for their part, note that the Romeikes had other options. "If parents don't want to send their children to a public school, they can send them to alternative private schools," says Thomas Hilsenbeck, a spokesman for the Baden-Württemberg education ministry. Homeschooling advocates counter that there are few private schools in Germany, and they tend to be expensive. But beyond that, many religious parents have problems with sex education and other curricular requirements. "Whether it's a state school or a private school, there's still a curriculum that is forced onto children," says Kuhnle. And then there are the social aspects of going to school. Homeschooling parents tend to want to shield their children from negative influences. But this quest often runs counter to the idea that schools represent society and help promote tolerance. "No parental couple can offer a breadth of education [that can] replace experienced teachers," says Kraus, of the German Teachers' Association. "Kids also lose contact with their peers." Concerns that homeschooling could lead to insularity — or worse, as Kraus puts it, "could help foster the development of a sect" — are shaping policy debates in European countries. In Britain, for example, Parliament is considering legislation that would create a new monitoring system to ensure that homeschooled kids get a suitable education. In Sweden, where parents have to apply for permission to teach their children at home, the government is planning to impose even tougher restrictions on homeschoolers. And in Spain, parents are not allowed to educate their children at home. Period. If a child has special needs that prevent him from attending school, a teacher will be sent to his home. By contrast, homeschooling is legal in all 50 U.S. states, some of which don't require families to notify authorities of their intent to teach their children at home. Tennessee is among the states that require some form of notice as well as periodic assessment tests. When Uwe and Hannelore heard that the judge had ruled in their favor, they celebrated by taking their five children — who range in age from 4 to 12 — to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. But the next day, they were back to their regular schedule. Lessons start at 9 a.m. and end at around 4 p.m. The school-age
kids are learning all the usual subjects — math, science, etc. — with the help of textbooks and other teaching materials, in compliance with state law. The family has also joined a local group that organizes activities and field trips once a week for homeschooled children. Meanwhile, the HSLDA says it is working to defend a homeschooling family in Sweden and is investigating cases in Brazil, where homeschooling is banned — all good fodder for a comparative-government class, whether it's taught in school or at home. The original version of this article has been updated to reflect the fact that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has submitted an appeal requesting to overturn the judge’s decision to grant the Romeikes asylum.
At Home with Homeschoolers
Classroom Originally from Bissingen an der Teck, a town in southwestern Germany, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their five children immigrated to the U.S. in 2008 because homeschooling in Germany is illegal. Evangelical Christians, the Romeikes wanted to decide for themselves how and what their children would learn.
Reading Time The Romeikes settled in Morristown, Tenn., near other families that homeschooled their children.
Husband and Wife The Romeikes began homeschooling their children in 2006. But not long after they withdrew their kids from public school, the German authorities started to fine them and police officers turned up at their doorstep and escorted the children to school. Once in the U.S., the couple applied for and received asylum from an immigration judge who sided with their argument that they were part of a persecuted
group in Germany.
At Work The Romeikes say they are disciplined teachers. Their school day begins at 9 o'clock in the morning and ends between 3 and 4 p.m.
Three Rs Their curriculum includes math, science and history, and relies on textbooks and other teaching materials
that are in compliance with state law.
Yard The couple has joined with a local group of like-minded families for activities and field trips.
Library The five children read while their mother prepares lunch.
Reflection Uwe and his wife were strongly opposed to the public-school curriculum of their native Germany. "The curriculum goes against our Christian values," he says. "German schools use textbooks which force inappropriate subject matters onto young children and tell stories with characters which promote profanity and disrespect."
Melody In Germany, Uwe was a concert pianist. He now gives piano lessons to Morristown residents. While he
teaches, his kids do their schoolwork.
Focus "There are no distractions when [the children] learn at home," says Uwe. "We can track their interests and skills, and they're flourishing in Morristown."
ChatRoulette: The Perils of Video Chats with Strangers
By DAN FLETCHER Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010
I spent 15 seconds at work on the computer watching a man dance around his room in a gas mask while wrapped in the American flag. He was watching me back, and when he saw that I wasn't laughing, he danced over to the computer, clicked his mouse mid-beat and (I can only assume) continued performing for someone else. As for me, it only got worse from there; my video suddenly changed to a live stream of someone masturbating. Interactions like these are the hallmark of the increasingly popular website ChatRoulette. In and of itself, the site is just a platform for live, face-to-face conversations with total strangers, with few rules and no guidelines. It takes anonymous online chatting (not a new thing), adds webcams and lets users have at it. You don't need a user name, a profile or a friend request to participate — there's an immediate connection to a random stream of total strangers from all around the world. Bored by what you see? Click "Next," and someone else is waiting. Whether it's voyeurism, curiosity, collective boredom or a little bit of each, there's something strangely addictive about ChatRoulette. Launched in November, the site usually has more than 10,000 people logged on at any given time. You can spend hours on the site passing through an endless stream of faces and never encounter the same person twice. Using the site gets you into a rhythm, clicking and instantly passing judgment on a blur of people while they do the same to you. Notice that nowhere in there did I use the word chatting. That's because, though the site's called ChatRoulette, there's little actual conversation. A typical interaction lasts less than a second before one or both of you races for the "Next" button. When I tried to actually chat with people — mainly to ask what they were looking for on the site — they either stared blankly or skipped ahead. It seems that the only way to get anyone to stop their endless scroll is to either a) be female (in my unscientific test, about 85% of the people on ChatRoulette were male) or b) be ridiculous. The latter explains my gas-mask friend, faux Hitler and people posing as cast members from Jersey Shore. But as amusing as some of the gimmicks may be, there's still the likelihood that you'll encounter one of the disturbing number of people video-chatting in the buff, a risk that makes ChatRoulette a site decidedly unsafe for work or for kids. For its part, ChatRoulette offers a disclaimer that the site is meant only for users over age 16 and provides a link to report offensive streams. But there's no virtual bouncer at the door to boot underage participants, and by the time you could report anything offensive, you've already seen way more than you wanted. Trust me on that one. In an (excellent) essay on ChatRoulette, New York magazine's Sam Anderson approaches his first foray into the video streams with "an open mind and an eager soul," seeing the Whitmanesque potential in the "ecstatic surrender to the miraculous variety and abundance of humankind." Sorry, Sam, but I'm no Internet naïf. I've plumbed the depths of the Web, and one thing I've learned is that when you give anyone an open platform with anonymity and no moderating, it inevitably gets overrun by the lowest common denominators: trolls, exhibitionists and an endless stream of hopeful men prodding women to take off their clothes. (It's worth noting that, in the end, Anderson left "crushed" by what he encountered.) ChatRoulette isn't a site that leaves much to the imagination, but one of the enduring mysteries is who exactly got the site started. In an interview with the New York Times, Moscow teenager Andrey Ternovskiy stepped out as the site's founder. Ternovskiy says he coded the site himself, with hosting for
the project funded by family and friends. (The site now funds itself through a small line of advertisements at the bottom of the screen.) What's next for the 17-year-old whiz kid? More "weird" updates for ChatRoulette, and perhaps a trip across the Atlantic. Ternovskiy told the Times he's never traveled to the U.S., but the success of his creation has attracted attention from venture capitalists. ChatRoulette might be all about skipping ahead to the next person, but Ternovskiy is already proving he's someone to watch.
Movies for Cheap: Is Redbox the New Netflix?
By BRAD TUTTLE Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Renting a DVD from a Redbox kiosk is as easy as getting a Snickers from a vending machine and costs about the same too. The $1-a-night DVDs can be returned to any of Redbox's 22,400 kiosks, which are located in supermarkets, McDonald's, pharmacies and strip-mall parking lots — pretty much anywhere consumers are already headed. My local supermarket has a Redbox kiosk in each entryway, and I sometimes bribe my kids to behave while shopping by promising them we'll rent Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on our way out. Should we fail to return it, the most we'll be charged is $25 — or about the cost of a new DVD. Redbox is one of the Great Recession's great success stories. In 2009 it added one new location per hour and made twice as much in revenue — $774 million — as it did in 2008. But studio execs aren't happy that many consumers who used to amass big video collections are now more likely to be entertained on the cheap by Redbox, on-demand cable services that usually charge $5 or $6 for new releases or Netflix, which costs $9 per month for unlimited DVD exchanges. On Feb. 16, Warner Bros. (which is owned by TIME's parent company, Time Warner) cut a deal that makes it easier and cheaper for Redbox to acquire its DVDs; in exchange, Redbox agreed not to rent the studio's movies until 28 days after their DVD release. In those first four weeks, 90% of a typical DVD's
sales occur. Netflix has agreed to the same waiting period, and other studios are expected to make similar deals. Of course, for cheapskate consumers who have already waited five months since a movie's theatrical debut to see it, having to hold off for four more weeks may not be that difficult. "We asked customers what was most important to them," says Redbox president Mitch Lowe. "It was saving money." One provision of the Redbox deal, however, seems downright wasteful, even mean-spirited. The kiosks, in addition to renting movies, have been selling two-month-old DVDs for $5 to $7. But under the new agreement, once Redbox is done renting a Warner DVD, it will be destroyed. (It will be recycled, but still ...) The logic here is that if customers can't buy used DVDs from Redbox, they'll be more likely to purchase new ones at a Best Buy or Walmart. How much will the Warner Bros. agreement hurt Redbox? Not a whole lot, according to Tom Adams, principal analyst of California-based Adams Media Research. "Consumers know they're still getting quite a deal," he says. "I mean, it's a dollar. People will find something they want to watch. It's not like they're going to walk across the parking lot to a Blockbuster." That's especially true because in many places, there is no longer a Blockbuster across the parking lot. Last fall the brick-and-mortar video giant announced it was closing about 1,000 stores, or one-quarter of its locations. Recently released DVDs are often in short supply at both Redbox and Netflix. After seeing the words very long wait next to The Hangover at the top of our Netflix queue, my wife and I decided to race the rental services against each other. Every time we passed a Redbox, we checked if it had the movie in stock. After two weeks, Redbox prevailed, and we removed the title from our Netflix queue. So here's my new formula: Use Redbox for big releases and Netflix for lesser-known stuff. And true tightwads should use the public library. Ours lends films for seven days at no charge. After that, late fees kick in at $1 a day, at the same price as Redbox.
10 Questions for Lindsey Vonn
Lindsey Vonn Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images
What was it like to become the first American woman to win gold in an Olympic downhill? —François Xavier Warlomont, Libramont, Belgium It was incredible. I didn't know that an American woman had never won a downhill. When I found that out after winning the race, it was really something special. I was just trying to ski well and accomplish a childhood dream. How did you find the strength to ski with an injury? —Erin Lack, La Crescent, Minn. It's been a real challenge for me to be able to ski well despite this injury. I've been doing as much therapy as I can. I use castor oil. My mother-in-law's from Norway, and she's always liked old-school remedies. And I do laser therapy and massage. I pretty much do everything humanly possible to make it feel better. There was a mixed response regarding how open you were to discussing your injury. Do you think that criticism was fair? —Frank Pennisi, Bayside, N.Y. Everyone has an opinion, and I can't stop that. I initially didn't want to tell anyone. That's why I kept it secret for a week. But it didn't heal the way I was hoping. I just felt like I wanted to be open with everyone. That was my choice. I think it was the right one. How do you feel about the controversy that erupted over your Sports Illustrated cover? —Joanne Choi, Brentwood, Tenn. I think it was just blown out of proportion. There's nothing sexual or controversial about it. That's how I ski. Every time you watch me ski on a mountain, I'm in that position. I'm fully clothed. I thought it was just kind of ridiculous. I actually thought it was a cool picture and great for my sport. What motivates you to get back on skis after terrible falls? —Lindsay Newton, Concord, Mass. I feel like, with ski racing, you need to have a short memory. You crash all the time, and sometimes it's a
really bad one, but sometimes it's not so bad. I'm never scared. I love skiing fast. You're going 80 to 85 m.p.h. down an icy slope, and I love it. As an animal lover, I appreciate that you kept the cow awarded to you for winning the World Cup downhill in Val d'Isère, France. How is she? —Wendy Giberson, Seattle Olympe's good. My cow's good. I'm definitely happy that I kept her. I don't know if I can call her a pet, but she's really great — very photogenic. When she came to me, she was pregnant. She had a calf, and then she had another one. And the first baby had a baby. I'm producing cow after cow. What's your favorite Summer Olympics event? —Bhavya Kaushal, New Delhi Definitely gymnastics. I think it's such an athletic sport, and the women who do it are gracious yet powerful. I did gymnastics when I was a kid. I wasn't very good at it. Do the alpine cowbells pump you up during your runs? —Jennifer Kardian, Roswell, GA. I love the cowbell. I think it's awesome. My family got the cowbell app on their iPhones. It's a classic part of ski racing. The cowbells are what make all the noise. It's like cheerleading. Anything to make you feel like people are behind you, I think that's special. Have you tried snowboarding? —Austin Meyer, Prairie Village, Kans. I have, and I was bad at it. I don't like the feeling of having my feet stuck together. My husband and I were watching [snowboarder] Shaun White, and we were saying that he's like Yoda in Star Wars, who's always hobbling around and then in the fight scene goes crazy. That's what Shaun does. He's really agile. It's not easy, what he does. I couldn't do it. How do you feel about some sports broadcasters, coming into the Olympics, comparing you to Michael Phelps? —Bill Bae, Colorado Springs I'm no Michael Phelps. He's obviously a great Olympic champion. I was never expecting to win five gold medals. For me, my goal has always been just to win one. Thankfully, I've already got gold, and that's what I came here for. I'm no Michael. I'm just me.
Greece's Math Problem
By Dody Tsiantar / Athens Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Angry firefighters protest planned spending cuts outside Parliament on Jan. 29 Petros Giannakouris / AP On the Thursday 10 days before lent begins, Greeks turn out in droves to stuff themselves with grilled meat before the 40-day fast. It's known as Tsiknopempti, literally "Barbecue Thursday." With their country at the center of a debt crisis that has world markets on edge and has cast a shadow over the long-term viability of the euro, Greeks this year must have felt as if they were the ones on the grill. Decades of overindulgent public spending have finally caught up with Greece, which, at $338 billion, is one of the smallest of the European Union's economies but has some of its biggest macroeconomic problems. Greeks and Greek companies are bracing for what's undoubtedly ahead. Although bigger E.U. members, including France and Germany, will essentially keep Greece from going under, the country faces years of belt-tightening, whether Greece does it for itself or the E.U. imposes it from Brussels. Members of Greece's somewhat insular business community are rooting for the government to summon the willpower to do what it has never done before. But most of them fret that it's not moving fast enough--and that Greece's activist labor unions, which will fight every austerity measure, including wage freezes, will make the socialist government falter. The sense of urgency, though, seems to be finally hitting home. "Greeks have realized in the past 40 days that this is no joke," says Eftichios Vassilakis, vice chairman of Aegean Airlines, Greece's largest air carrier. "We are at a critical moment. Some like to say that Greeks respond best when we're at the edge of the cliff. Well, we're definitely at the edge of the cliff." Greece isn't alone on the precipice. Together with Portugal, Italy and Spain, it is part of a bloc referred to as the PIGS--PIIGS if you include Ireland. These are the E.U.'s overburdened economies, whose massive debt and high unemployment have investors worried that economic recovery is going to be a lot bumpier than anticipated.
Greece's current financial mess unfolded when the newly elected socialist government revealed in October that the country's deficit was far larger than the previous, center-right government had let on--nearly 13% of GDP. The European Commission blasted Greece for the faulty stats, and the ratings agencies downgraded Greek debt in mid-December, sending yields on government bonds skyrocketing and stirring fears that the country was on the brink of default. In January, Prime Minister George Papandreou announced an ambitious three-year austerity plan, which the government says will reduce the deficit to 2% of output by 2013. "Greece will put its house in order," Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou tells TIME. "To borrow words from an ad: Watch this space." To which traders said: We've already seen enough. The markets calmed a bit after Brussels announced it would support Greece, although the E.U. didn't offer specifics and imposed a deadline giving Greece until mid-March to show results or risk demands for tougher measures. The real test will be the outcome of the country's next bond offering. "If any other country was making the kinds of adjustments that we are, it would be applauded," says Papaconstantinou. "In our case, they are not sure we are actually doing it." Some Greek economists and business leaders believe that the medicine, though bitter, will eventually produce a healthier economy. "The crisis was inevitable," says Ioannis Kamatakis, CEO of MLS Multimedia, a technology company that produces GPS systems and translation software. "It represents a unique opportunity for Greece to turn the page." For Greece's businesses, this new math is a challenge to growth. Borrowing costs are heading north, and with the country's banks in a noose because of their holdings of Greek debt, credit is tight. New projects, expansion plans and investments have been put on hold, say executives. MLS's Kamatakis, for example, admits he's had to slow down plans to expand into Western Europe. "Everything is frozen," says financier Paul Papadopoulos. "It's a wait-and-see scenario." Most Greeks agree that the tax system and the bloated public sector, dubbed "the country's sickest patient," are at the root of the problems. In a country of 11 million people, nearly 850,000 workers are employed by the state--the country's biggest companies are state-run or -managed. They get generous perks, like 14 paychecks a year instead of 12. Many enjoy a workday that runs from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. "The state has an irrational control of the economy," says Yannis Stournaras, director of research for the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research, a nonprofit, independent think tank. "We need nothing less than a revolution in the public sector." The government expects to close the $75 billion fiscal gap by cutting operating expenses 10%, freezing wages and halting new hires. The plan calls for the creation of a new independent statistical service, which should make it harder for officials to manipulate data. It also includes an improved tax-collection system designed to catch tax cheats, who have created an underground economy worth possibly as much as 25% of the country's output. The method proposed: incentives that encourage Greeks, who for decades have paid for services in cash, to ask for receipts, to pressure service providers to report the income. "That's a huge cultural change," reports an American diplomat posted in Athens. Tax hikes are in the cards too: a 20% tax on alcohol and tobacco has already been approved by Parliament, a fuel tax is likely to follow, and other taxes are rumored. This worries executives like Doros Constantinou, the CEO of Coca-Cola Hellenic, which sells soft drinks in 28 countries. "An increase in
taxes will have an impact on disposable income," he says. "That's not a good thing." While he feels his company has already reduced operating costs and won't be affected too much by Greece's crisis, he admits, "We can't be immune. After all, we're living in a difficult environment." Debt-laden Greek companies, with nowhere to turn for further loans, may go belly up or be gobbled up. "Without cash, you're dead as a business," says Aegean's Vassilakis, whose company is in discussions for a possible merger with Olympic Air. For Basil Stephanis, president of Selonda, a $167 million aquaculture company with fish farms in Greece, Turkey and Wales, Greece's woes are an "opportunity to consolidate and buy up companies with liquidity problems." Constantine Petropoulos, chairman of Petros Petropoulos, a $158 million firm that sells cars, automotive supplies and industrial equipment, has already diversified his business, inking a deal to distribute Shell lubricants in Greece and Cyprus, a move he figures will keep revenues flat and prevent them from deteriorating. He plans to beef up his portfolio further. "We will acquire businesses that we wouldn't have ever been able to consider in better times," he says. "We will come out of this a stronger company." Companies that have interests outside Greece are also likely to fare better. Kyriakos Sarantis, CEO of Sarantis, a $363 million consumer-products company, expects revenue to remain flat despite the problems at home, in large part because nearly 60% of his business is in Eastern Europe. "That exposure is helping," he says. Aegean Airlines, which may have to move to short-term leases for some of its fleet, is looking outward too. In the past six months, the carrier has added routes to Egypt, Israel and Turkey. Greece's $40 billion shipping industry--the country controls 22% of the world's oil-tanker fleet and nearly 25% of its cargo ships--should also prove immune to the financial maelstrom because of its global reach, according to Theodoros Veniamis, the president of the Union of Greek Shipowners. "Shipping is a cyclical business that operates worldwide," he says. "The current crisis won't have a direct impact." To survive the financial mess, the Greek state must also go global. Athens needs to lure foreign investors aggressively, which means everything from offering tax breaks to helping investors navigate the bureaucracy associated with setting up shop. "We must transform Greece into a welcome place to do business," says Nikolaos Karamouzis, deputy CEO of Eurobank EFG, an Athens-based bank with $84 billion in assets in 10 countries. The potential for future investment--in tourism and renewable energy, in particular--is certainly promising. Wind-energy generation alone is expected to increase fivefold in the next decade. By the end of this year, the number of wind turbines is expected to go up 150%, to nearly 2,600, from just over 1,000. "The new Greek government seems determined to push the green economy and is taking measures in the right direction," says George Peristeris, executive chairman of GEK TERNA Group, one of Greece's largest construction and energy companies. "But changes must be radical and drastic if Greece wants to achieve its goals." That will prove difficult. For the last month, farmers have driven their tractors along Greece's highways to protest plans to cut subsidies. Even the government's tax collectors walked out for a day, and on Feb. 10, state employees paralyzed the country for 24 hours. A long season of more strikes is almost a certainty.
It's not easy to be told that your attitude needs to change, but that's the Greek government's message.
Still, even as Greeks grapple with changing their lifestyle, the fact that they like to spend could turn out to be a blessing. "Greece is a poor country with rich people," says Sarantis. "It's a strange thing." He has a point. Despite the economic downturn, Golden Hall, a luxury mall in the capital that opened in 2008, was packed on a recent weekend, and the shelves in many of its 131 stores were bare. Perhaps it's a final party, just like Tsiknopempti, before things get leaner. A recent poll in the newspaper Ethnos reported that 73% of those surveyed said they were willing to make sacrifices to turn the crisis around. "Greeks know the days of living on borrowed money are over," says investor and economist Timos Melissaris. "The time has come to pay the bill." Lent, it seems, is going to last a hell of a lot longer this year.
Big Girls Still Don't Cry
By ANDREA SACHS Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Jason Lee for TIME
"You know you shouldn't cry at work, but there are times when it feels you just can't help it!" proclaims the ad. "Tears in the workplace are seen as inappropriate and have adverse effects on your professional image, making you seem inept, overemotional, unable to think logically and generally incompetent." Fortunately, for $12.95, there is a solution, which even comes with a money-back guarantee: a self-hypnosis lesson for working women. A relic of the 1970s and '80s, like those goofy navy blue suits that female managers wore then? No, it's an ad currently running online. You might suppose that since women now make up nearly 50% of the workforce, there would be less of a market for such career aids. Shouldn't we be the ones making the rules now? Some things haven't changed, as Wharton Business School management professor Nancy Rothbard explains: "The distribution of those women in the workforce is not even. There are still many fewer women at the top of organizations." Experts say women continue to face special issues in the office, such as wage
discrimination, sexual harassment and penalties for pregnancy and family leave. It remains a steep climb for them to move up in the corporate world. So the advice industry for the distaff half is still going strong. That is particularly true of the publishing world, which pumps out dozens of self-help books for female professionals each year, from Motherhood Is the New MBA to Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire. What kind of advice are they dispensing to the 2010 working woman? Some of it has a distinctly retro sound, as if little has changed in the decades since Betty Friedan. "A woman attempting to succeed in a company where men have always occupied key positions may reach a certain level and then be turned down for promotions for which she's qualified," warns Roxanne Rivera, the author of There's No Crying in Business: How Women Can Succeed in Male-Dominated Industries (Palgrave Macmillan). "But she may find it impossible to stay at a higher-level job because there's no other woman she can talk to at work to get the support she needs." Rivera, the co-founder of a large construction firm in New Mexico, is not afraid to espouse traditional notions of femininity. Her "nine standards of ladylike behavior," she reassures readers, "aren't designed to turn you into a prissy, ultrafeminine type of person." Among those rules: speak articulately, intelligently and cleanly ("women who curse are cursed in male-dominated businesses"), dress appropriately ("wearing high-quality clothes that mark you as a professional woman, as opposed to a member of the oldest profession"), and project an aura of authority and confidence ("too many women rise to speak in a room filled with men and their voices are tiny and hesitant"). Shaunti Feldhahn, the author of The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace (Broadway), takes a different tack. Feldhahn, a syndicated columnist, has surveyed and interviewed more than 3,000 men, including many C-level executives, granting them anonymity in exchange for frank boy talk. Among her findings: men are better able to compartmentalize what she calls "Work World" and "Personal World." Men report that "at work, the personal world goes away." Women who don't follow that precept and take things personally are deemed "emotional" and "high maintenance." Says Feldhahn: "I found that the assumption that 'emotion' means 'you are not thinking' is nearly universal among men and often lends itself to a fear of emotion getting involved." Business-school professors agree. "When a woman acts in a stereotypical way, people then evaluate her in a stereotypical way," says Ashleigh Rosette of the Duke Business School. "So, unfortunately, when a book advises a woman to be careful of the manner in which she displays her emotions, it probably is sound advice." In other words, the workplace remains a low-emotion, no-cry zone, even though more of us are in it.
Trains, Planes and Bombardier
By STEPHEN GANDEL Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Pierre Beaudoin, President and CEO of Bombardier Christinne Muschi
No one is looking forward to economic recovery more than Pierre Baudoin, CEO of Bombardier. The company makes big-ticket items like high-speed trains, corporate planes and regional jets. He spoke with TIME's Stephen Gandel. You became CEO of Bombardier in mid-2008, as we were heading into the financial crisis and a global slowdown. Nice timing. One of the advantages of Bombardier's being a family-controlled company is that we can keep perspective. So we kept our long-term investments in place. But what we did that was not part of my plan was to really slow down our production rates, which meant layoffs and expense cuts. Anything we didn't need to do today, we didn't do. What parts of your business have snapped back quickest? We see a recovery definitely in Asia. In China, in particular, there has been an immediate impact of the stimulus. In the rest of the world, I would say it's O.K. Our rail-transportation business never really slowed down. On the aerospace side, which was slow in 2009, we are seeing larger business aircraft come back in orders. These are our Challenger and Global Express private jets, which cost $20 million or more. At the auto-industry hearings, the Detroit Three managed to turn owning a corporate jet into a disease. How do you fly? When the economy recovers, you will see corporate-jet sales recover as well. In North America, we have a fraction-ownership business called Flexjet. So that's what I use. If it's a short trip, we use a Lear 45. For a longer trip, it's the Challenger or Global Express. President Obama has discussed investing in fast rail in Florida. Is investment in our railroad infrastructure really possible, given the cost?
First of all, there is a large amount of money from the stimulus, so projects can be looked at across the country. Second, it's important to look at the rail system and say, How do we make it more appealing to passengers? It is not only about putting very high speed rail here and there. By improving signaling, you can put more density on the lines and therefore have better service. You need to look at every sector in the U.S. where there is interest in rail and say, Before you go for very high speed, how can we make what you have better? A number of companies, including GE, Philips, Siemens and IBM, are very focused on cities. How does that fit Bombardier's strategy? How do you plan to compete? Everybody accepts that rail transportation is an eco-friendly way to move people in large cities. The Chinese, for example, have no choice. But wherever the infrastructure for roads is not as efficient as it should be, put in a metro, and there are going to be a lot of people on it. Our first metro is going into India, in Delhi, and it is very popular. Across India, there are metro projects in every major city. The advantage of Bombardier is that we have the widest product portfolio in the industry. That is especially important in countries where they are just starting to lay track. In the airframe business, you are taking on Boeing and Airbus. Can you compete? In commercial airplanes, we have been the world leader in turboprops and regional jets. Now we are going more mainline, but not to compete against Boeing and Airbus. These are the planes that can seat five people across, or about 130 passengers. These airplanes exist, but they are getting old. We are going to offer a unique product that consumes 20% less fuel, has 15% better operating costs and is 50% quieter than what is offered today. Boeing and Airbus have shrunken versions of their larger planes, but they are not efficient and don't sell well. That's why so many MD-80s have remained in service.
By ANDREA SACHS Monday, Mar. 08, 2010
Bernard Madoff arrives at federal court in New York City on Thursday, March 12, 2009 Chris Hondros / Getty
Denial: Why Business Leaders Fail to Look Facts in the Face--and What to Do About It By Richard S. Tedlow; Portfolio; 261 pages It's not hard to understand why Henry Ford loved the Model T just as it was. After all, the sturdy black car had made him rich and famous. But by the 1920s, car buyers were developing a taste for different colors and models. Ford wouldn't budge. As he wrote in 1922, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants as long as it is black." So car buyers fled. By the end of World War II, Ford Motor was near bankruptcy. How could a visionary like Ford miss the obvious warning signs? Denial, says Tedlow in his smart new book--"the unwillingness to see or admit a truth that ought to be apparent and is in fact apparent to many others." Toyota's management exhibited the same behavior recently in refusing to believe the company could make faulty cars. The author believes that denial "may be the biggest and potentially most ruinous problem that businesses face, from start-ups to mature, powerful corporations." Tedlow, a professor at the Harvard Business School, presents a lively history of corporate blind spots and blunders, although some may be a tad familiar. Take Akron, Ohio, once the headquarters of the U.S. tire business. Then radials rolled in. The industry ignored the trend, sure that drivers would reject tires from foreign firms. Big mistake. Or take the Coca-Cola Co., where the word Pepsi was never to be used. The company's refusal to acknowledge the aggressive competition led straight to the New Coke fiasco in 1985. And then there is IBM, whose "hidebound culture and leadership" disastrously denied the coming of the personal computer. But some companies look squarely at hard truths, says Tedlow, and come out winners. A prime example is Johnson & Johnson, whose product Tylenol was tampered with in 1982, resulting in seven deaths from cyanide poisoning. But Johnson & Johnson CEO James E. Burke "never attempted to minimize or sugarcoat the suffering of the victims and their families--or, remarkably, his remorse at his company's role, however innocent, in the tragedy." The brand survived. The lesson? Tell the truth, says the author. Welcome honest talk, and never forget that "the time to deal with denial is right now, this very day. Don't wait for a crisis. It will be too late." THE BOTTOM LINE: Unlike Henry Ford, don't deny what you see coming in the rearview mirror. Louder Than Words By Joe Navarro; HarperBusiness; 242 pages Does it feel like everyone at work is judging you? They are, says behavior expert Navarro, and not just on what you say: "We are being observed to see if we look sharp or dreadful, presentable or dreary, alert or tired, interested or bored, confident or timid." The author, a former FBI agent, believes that nonverbal communication can be the make-or-break factor in business. Thank goodness it's learnable, he says.
Maybe someone should have taught the bosses of the Detroit Three about it, he says, before they flew to the capital in private jets to beg for a $25 billion bailout. THE BOTTOM LINE: It's like Mom told you: Stand up straight, dress well, keep your office tidy, and pay attention. No One Would Listen By Harry Markopolos; Wiley; 354 pages Because the author was a would-be Madoff whistle-blower, you might expect his anger to be pointed at the Ponzi king. In fact, the unrelenting Markopolos aims it at the Securities and Exchange Commission. For 10 years, the author, a quantitative analyst, tried unsuccessfully to convince the agency that Madoff was a crook. When the latter's racket was revealed in 2008, says Markopolos, "it was exactly as I had warned the government of the United States approximately $55 billion earlier." THE BOTTOM LINE: Being the Cassandra in a scandal is no fun. At least give the author a starring role in the Madoff movie.
The Cobbler's Child
Terra Plana shoe founder, Galahad Clark photographed in December of 2009 on the Millenium Bridge across the River Thames. Graham Jepson
Correction Appended: March 2, 2010 Like family members before him, young Galahad Clark, a seventh-generation scion of the $1.6 billion Clarks shoe dynasty, spent school vacations in his native England learning the business hands-on at the local factory. Academically, his interests leaned toward the exotic — he studied Chinese and medical anthropology at the University of North Carolina — but by the time he was 27, his cobbler gene had kicked in.
In 2002, Clark took over a floundering men's shoe company in Holland called Terra Plana, whose use of eco-friendly materials and sustainable techniques he found appealing, and relocated it to London. The following year, a friend suggested that Clark create a shoe that would simulate being barefoot. Smitten with the idea, Clark partnered with a podiatrist to design a shoe with a distinctive footlike shape that would allow unrestricted natural motion of the foot. In 2005, after two years of research costing about $150,000, Clark launched Terra Plana's VivoBarefoot line. The hallmark of the VivoBarefoot shoes is an ultra-thin sole, a configuration of honeycomb-like hexagons made from abrasion-resistant thermoplastic urethane (TPU). At first, not many of the shoes sold. "Store buyers weren't ready for them," says Clark. But in 2008, thanks to what he calls a perfect storm of better design, quality, pricing and an improved supply chain, sales picked up. In 2009 Terra Plana's revenue was $12 million — an increase of 40% over the previous year — with the VivoBarefoot line accounting for 40% of sales. Clark expects 50% revenue growth in 2010. Clark isn't alone in the barefoot-shoe business — Vibram's Five Fingers shoe is also a popular brand — but the shoe's concept is gaining attention, through books such as ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer and Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. And barefoot may be better. A study in Nature found that most habitual barefoot runners land on the middle or front part of the foot, which produces less impact than heel striking. That means there's no need for shoes with elevated cushioned heels to cope with the strike force, says Daniel E. Lieberman, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and the study's lead author. That's the idea behind VivoBarefoot's debut running shoe: the Evo, short for evolution. Evos weigh in at 17 oz. (480 g) a pair, carry a $160 price tag and are svelter and lighter than the original VivoBarefoots. A sucked-in arch area grabs the underfoot "like a second skin," says Clark, and a lightweight TPU-and-mesh upper provides increased breathability and support. "With the Evo, we've gotten even closer to mimicking the foot in a performance way," he says. Dreyer, president of ChiRunning, a company in Asheville, N.C., that teaches a barefoot-like, injury-free style of running, notices more people wearing flat, thin-soled shoes, which he defines as "minimal shoes that help the feet educate the body how to move." He sees a huge market for these shoes, as does Michael Atmore, editorial director of the trade publication Footwear News. "There's enormous interest in this niche from commercial brands and manufacturers, most of whom are very aware of the success of the Vibram Five Fingers shoe," Atmore says. Clark, who wants VivoBarefoot shoes to lead the "barefoot revolution," believes the tipping point of barefoot running is still to come. This year, he'll add children's footwear to the line, open a West Coast Terra Plana store and add five new franchises to the 12 stores in Europe, Asia and Australia. "The biomechanical masterpiece is the foot, and the technology we've been using has been developed over the past 6 million years," says Clark. His family has been covering those feet since the 1800s. Now it's his turn. See 10 tech-savvy fitness gadgets.
The original version of this article misstated that Vibram's Five Fingers shoe beat VivoBarefoot to the market.
What Lies Beneath
By COELI CARR Tuesday, Mar. 09, 2010
A detailed 3D graphic of a City Cut Away showing an underground pipeline network and the Smart Probe zoomed in. As the CEO of underground solutions, a water-pipeline technology business he founded in the late 1990s, Mark Smith was well aware of the nemesis that plagued his industry. Companies and municipalities need to monitor their underground infrastructure — oil, gas, water and sewer pipes and electric and telecommunications cables — but most of the time have no idea exactly where these conduits are. In 2005, at 51 and as a part owner, he left his company, ostensibly to retire. But the following year, the minute he spotted a new 3-D-imaging technology developed by Reduct, a small mapping company in Belgium, Smith knew he was back in business. In 2010, Smith's three-year-old Geospatial Corp., in Pittsburgh, Pa., projects revenue of $20 million, a stunning 20 times 2009's numbers. The rapid growth comes from the increasingly critical need of Geospatial's clients — including Comcast, Qwest, Sunoco and various federal and local government agencies — to accurately identify the positions of their underground pipe and cable assets. Pinpointing them has become a huge challenge. As far back as the 19th century, all that mattered to most contractors was making sure pipelines started and ended at the designated points. During the installation process, if a boulder or other obstruction presented itself, the customary fix was to swerve the pipe to the side of, above or below the obstacle. Keeping the pipe in a straight line was not a priority. Maps typically showed the conduits as designed, not as they were actually laid. "Many underground utility pipelines were installed without a thought of ever finding them again," says Ron Peterson, a consultant and the executive director of the National Utility Locating Contractors Association, adding that concrete and plastic pipes aren't detectable with electromagnetic devices. These aberrations have come back to haunt many firms whose contractors unwittingly hacked into their own — or other companies' —
pipelines that were supposed to be somewhere else. "Our members see the time-saving and damage-reduction benefits of using new technologies to locate pipes," says Peterson. Smith, who is Geospatial's CEO, estimates that in the U.S., utilities and state agencies collectively spend more than $3.5 billion annually to locate subterranean pipes. The standard method is to excavate and then call in a surveyor to take measurements at the top of the pipe at various intervals. This method is relatively slow and expensive, and in most cases, it does not identify the conduit's depth, says Smith. Geospatial's technology, which Smith has branded Smart Probe, does all its 3-D mapping while coursing through the pipe at a speed of 6 ft. (about 2 m) per second. The probe's cylinder contains measuring devices that perform 800 calculations a second to create an accurate three-dimensional rendering of the conduit. At both ends of the cylinder are wheel sets equipped with odometers. Geospatial customizes the final data for client viewing on different geographic information system (GIS) platforms. Mapping fees depend on project complexity, but in most cases, the cost represents a tiny part of the client's budget, he says. William Chaparro, who manages pipeline relocations in the western region of the U.S. for Sunoco Logistics, hired Geospatial to map a short section of oil pipe in Tyler, Texas, because of the advanced technology and cost-benefit ratio. "For this project, $5 a foot was not much to pay for the accuracy and long-term accessibility to the data," he says. Underground data management is the next frontier, says Smith, who's the exclusive licensee of the Smart Probe technology for North and South America as well as Australia, where he'll set up shop this year. For an annual fee, clients can see the 3-D maps of their subterranean assets on a secure Web-based GIS portal called GeoUnderground, which can be easily accessed on a netbook or smart phone. He plans to partner with private equity to create fee-based, revenue-sharing libraries digitally stacked with underground-conduit data for use by engineering companies, developers and municipalities. "There's a spaghetti bowl of cables and pipes below the earth," says Smith. "Our clients are beginning to understand the value of mapping out their entire underground system." But not before he did.
Road to Recovery
By KATHLEEN KINGSBURY Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
A UPS training truck with see through walls allows driver trainees and their instructors to see each other David Yellen "It looks like this recession is finally over," declared Scott Davis, CEO of UPS, earlier this month while announcing 2009 earnings that were better than expected for the world's largest package carrier. Speaking to analysts on Feb. 2, Davis added, "Believe it or not, that makes 21 that UPS has successfully managed through." No doubt UPS shareholders are relieved after two of the hardest years in the 102-year-old firm's history. Indeed, only four months ago, the $45 billion company disclosed a 43% drop in third-quarter profit, and 2008 likewise saw staff reductions, shuttered facilities and deep cost controls. Now it appears that UPS's ability to continually adjust to the economy and its ongoing evolution as a logistics provider has paid off. You may know it as an outfit that delivers the goods, but for UPS it's becoming less important that the folks in the brown trucks make the final handoff. Delivering a package efficiently is what it gets paid for. And the company is getting paid more often. "It's very rare to hear such bold statements from UPS management," says Helane Becker, transportation analyst for Jesup & Lamont Securities. "So we can take this to mean they truly believe the worst is behind us and UPS is ready to move forward." Good news from UPS may also be good news for Main Street. The Atlanta-based UPS and its main rival, FedEx, are in some ways economic bellwethers. The 15.1 million packages that UPS handles every day translate into about 6% of the U.S.'s gross domestic product and 2% of the world's. Consider too that the shipping giants may actually be lagging indicators. "In downturns, companies let inventories deplete before they restock," Becker says. "That means demand--and the economy overall--must go up significantly before UPS's business improves." UPS has not escaped this recession unscathed. Revenue last year shrank by about $6 billion from 2008, forcing widespread belt-tightening. Just last month, despite the improved outlook, Davis revealed a major restructuring that included 1,800 management and administrative layoffs. Two weeks later, on Feb. 8, he announced plans to furlough at least 300 of the company's 2,800 pilots. These cuts come on the heels of a 4% reduction in UPS's 408,000-strong global workforce in 2009.
Yet UPS's willingness to adapt to changing market conditions has rarely let it down. Founder Jim Casey was 19 at the turn of the 20th century, when he started his private messenger service in Seattle financed by $100 of debt. By 1930, UPS had expanded to the East Coast. Air service was available in every state by 1978 and in 200 countries 15 years later. "As World War II ended, we were still primarily delivering housewives' packages from the market," says Greg Niemann, a UPS exec who worked at the company from 1961 to 1995 and is the author of Big Brown. "If we hadn't looked ahead and moved from retail to wholesale [shipping], we would have been out of business a long time ago." Packages are not just objects; they are also data, and in all its decisions, UPS has used the latter to make delivering the former more efficient. Since the late 1980s, the carrier has invested billions in technology to perfect the art of tracking shipments. Data now decides everything from the number of drivers needed each day to the exact routes their trucks should travel. "This traditionally is a company of engineers obsessed with detail," says Doug Caldwell, a principal at ParcelResearch.com based in Portland, Ore. "And all of those hundreds of little things add up to impressive advantages in efficiency, in cost and in keeping service levels high." This precision will most likely prove to be UPS's best tool as it absorbs a major industry shift--the rapid rise of e-commerce. Residential delivery this year will account for about a third of domestic shipping, up from 20% in 1997, according to the investment bank Morgan Stanley. Meeting this new demand is vital for UPS, which generates roughly 60% of its revenue from the U.S. small-package market. This shift presents a logistical puzzle, because there's no way the engineers can make a single Amazon shipment to the far reaches of, say, Alaska economical. The answer might surprise you: UPS and FedEx are now outsourcing delivery to a longtime rival, the U.S. Postal Service. "The postal service is already mandated by Congress to stop at every house," Caldwell says. "So why not outsource that last-mile delivery?" In other words, let USPS handle the money losers. It's part of an evolving intermodal strategy that has environmental benefits as a by-product. For instance, UPS is now U.S. railroads' largest customer, paying a premium for the fastest trains. "Instead of putting some of our larger loads on an airplane, we can send them by truck, which has an eight times smaller carbon-dioxide footprint, or even better, rail, which is four times as energy efficient as a truck," Davis told TIME. All these advances are bolstered by UPS's logistics segment, which includes freight forwarding, warehousing and LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping. Despite its thin margins, this unit now represents about 17% of UPS's revenue and is a fount of viable synergies for the company. But UPS's real growth engine will probably be its international business, which saw double-digit profit growth last year. Overseas, UPS networks include exclusive ground service throughout Europe. In Asia, it has acquired regional carriers, opened an air hub in Shanghai and broken ground on another in Shenzhen, China. "FedEx and DHL have dominated Asia so far," says David Ross, an analyst for Stifel Nicolaus. "But FedEx isn't as strong in Europe, and DHL doesn't do the U.S. UPS doesn't have those gaps."
Abroad, though, is also where UPS faces some of its biggest risk. Increasingly stringent environmental laws and rising costs for Asian labor and raw materials all make this business vulnerable. An even more immediate concern is the possibility of government-imposed tariffs or border restrictions. "Global trade is going to lead this recovery," Davis says. "I get on my bully pulpit against anything that could impede it." Volatile energy prices are another worry. When crude-oil prices rise to $100 a barrel, for instance, UPS and FedEx both recover that increase through a fuel surcharge. "They essentially lose money on the way up but make it back on the way down," Ross says. "Longer term, though, higher prices hurt the consumer, and they will downgrade service." At home, UPS treads a fine line on labor costs. Unlike at FedEx, most of its workers are unionized, meaning salaries are higher. Over the years, however, this has engendered tremendous loyalty to the firm--the average tenure for drivers is 16 years. UPS will try to reward some of that loyalty by restoring raises to about 40,000 managers and unfreezing 401(k) matching. Citing strong free cash flow, it will also up its dividend. "We're not hiring yet, but we hope to be soon," Davis says. In other words, recovery is en route.
Long May We Run In your cover story, "How to Live 100 Years," you suggest living to 100 is a worthy ideal [Feb. 22]. Not always. Before she went blind, was confined to bed for several years and passed away at 91, my mother, who lived in a distant city, confided in me that she wished she could die. "I've outlived my close friends and relatives," she said. "I'm the only one left." Why live to 100 if life is miserable? Jim Cox, LOUISVILLE, KY. Dr. Oz's nicely written "Living Long and Living Well" advised, "Finally, have a purpose." Life's purpose should be understood early in life, or the journey will be like an aimless drive without proper directions. According to the Hindu philosophy, which advocates a long, happy, healthy and blissful life, the primary purpose of life is to righteously do one's duty, with honesty, love and justice. Yoga and meditation provide the techniques for gaining a long, blissful life. Ravi Rustagi, AUBURN, PA. Preventing Another Fort Hood In "The Threat from Within," Jim Frederick misses a key reason the Fort Hood massacre happened [Feb. 22]. The National Command Authority has made a misguided but conscious decision not to educate the country too well about the strategic goals of al-Qaeda et al. Had it done so early on, politically attuned junior officers and noncoms would have stepped forward from the get-go to identify Islamist sympathizers like alleged shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan. That's the way it works. With a more honest and robust definition of the enemy, proaction would have been expected. Sadly, the country is not "all in" intellectually as it was in 1942, and our finest men and women are fighting with half their leaders' brains tied behind their backs. Gary Harrington, ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. Armed and Safe Re "Why Crime Went Away" [Feb. 22]: Legally armed Americans use their firearms to stop a crime in progress more than 2 million times a year. Most of these incidents involve no shooting. The increase in the number of states offering concealed-weapons permits to qualified citizens is a factor in the reduction of crime. To leave this out truncates the inquiry unfairly. Robert Brummett, LEWELLEN, NEB. School Fixing
In "A Quick Fix for Bad Schools," you say, "The adults left, the kids remained, and the once failing school has been turned around" [Feb. 22]. Somehow I think there was a lot more to the fix than this, but the article does not describe it in any real way. You left too many questions unanswered. Robert Melczarek, MONTGOMERY, ALA. I suggest noncooperative students be placed in a public-service program and spend their schooltime doing menial labor in municipal parks and buildings. Some will drop out; others will see the advantages of learning and cooperation and return to class. Competition and incentives are necessary to succeed in the real world. Philip Schirm, LOS GATOS, CALIF. Toyota's Troubles Re "Toyota Tangled" [Feb. 22]: In the late 1950s I traveled frequently to Japan on business. I've never forgotten the morning when I had a meal at my hotel with two executives from General Motors who were in Japan to teach automakers how to build strong engine blocks. The men spoke derisively and arrogantly about Japanese auto quality. I remembered those comments later as Toyota was hailed as great and GM denounced as mediocre. The lesson I learned: Do not ever be satisfied with the status quo. It takes constant effort to maintain quality and reputation. Marvin Rubin, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. I am surprised and disappointed that you gave no credit to W. Edwards Deming. The American statistician was responsible for helping elevate Japanese manufacturing across the board and making the Japanese car industry competitive with the Big Three, which had initially refused his ideas. A. Trujillo Escareño, TUSTIN, CALIF. Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling