March 9, 2009 Vol. 173 No. 9

Holding On for Dear Life



House of Cards: The Faces Behind Foreclosures
By David Von Drehle Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

Zachery, a firefighter, was injured in an on-duty accident in 2007. Disabled and battling a weak economy, he had to liquidate his fledgling demolition business. Bills from the failed business deepened his debts. Livia Corona for TIME

Jeff Wagoner is a bankruptcy attorney in Kansas City, Mo., with the brush-cut hair and clear eyes of a former Navy aviator. From his office in a tower on a hill, he can see miles of prairie and a world of hurt. Wagoner's clients (and he has plenty these days) range from folks who had no business ever buying a house to folks freshly fired from executive suites. Based on his survey of the economic wreckage, Wagoner's conclusion is that even the slightest miscalculation or change in

" We have entered the one-strike-and-you're-out era.5 million in 2009." Wagoner says. Trouble stretches beyond the province of liar loans. A decade ago. Consumers have stopped spending. America may see 2.000 foreclosure cases a day." said Lindley Higgins. Or maybe you need to move to find that new job. One medical emergency. "The other day. Or maybe your marriage breaks up. a big wheel need not fear a big mortgage. "I had a visit from a corporate executive who moved to town and bought a house. employers have stopped hiring — and home values continue to fall. the applied-research manager at NeighborWorks America. and you have to liquidate your assets at today's prices. One bad risk or misjudgment of the heart.000 a year. and that one was . One lost job. the more you're paid. If you lose a job. The number of homeowners headed toward foreclosure is rising so quickly that "you need somebody to project what the projections will be — because they're just changing so fast. it's not just the subprime suckers going down." In the one-strike economy. "It sounds crazy. A hard rain now falls on the just as well as the unjust.000 foreclosures nationwide was a busy year." he continued. condo-flipping and the collateralized debt obligations that no one fully understands. where the real estate market is so screwed up that judges in one county are hearing nearly 1. you're going to have a hard time finding another that pays as much. "but I'd say unless you're making over $350. factories have stopped operating. as gray skies hung low over the vast horizon." Which should be fine. Mr. but you're stuck with a house you can't sell. 400. For millions of people. Exec was stuck with his old house too. an urban revitalization project created by Congress. But this guy's one strike was moving from Florida. Higgins said. "I've seen more people lose their houses in the past year than in the previous nine years put together.circumstances could send another customer through his door: "There are not a lot of second chances out there right now. the margin between getting by and getting buried is becoming as thin and as bloody as a razor blade." Wagoner said one recent afternoon. the more vulnerable you are.

Zachery. tightrope walking over the financial abyss. An older white guy. "They save up. American Dreamers are optimistic. you could have sold your home and bought a smaller one with more affordable payments. who was 19 at the time. Or you could have refinanced your home at a lower rate. a partner in Wagoner's firm. They secure a fixed-rate mortgage at a reasonable rate. Picture "a young family. "Or maybe a child gets sick." he suggested. So no bank will return your calls. "Perhaps someone loses a job in the latest round of layoffs. the current value of your mortgage may still be higher than the current value of your house. down — until there was nothing left to do but pay a visit to the bankruptcy attorney. One-strike-and-you're-out is a neck-snapping reversal for a culture accustomed to assuming that fate is a welcome friend." Obama said." says Brent Westbrook. make a down payment. They choose a home that feels like the perfect place to start a life. and no sale will return your investment. and you can't afford to stay. but few can tread that wire now without looking down in panic. In the past. We're geared to believe that risk begets reward and our tomorrows are brighter than our todays. or a spouse has his or her hours cut. You can't afford to leave. could think of no benign reason why this man might be interested in him. They are as responsible as anyone could ask them to be.5 million jobs lost since this recession began. Stay Well. slowing his car to ask a strapping black teenager why he was running down the street." This is a harrowing experience. They search.dragging him down. and make their mortgage payments each month. or Lose It All What's an American dream story without a lucky break? Joseph Zachery's took the form of a mysterious stranger who pulled to the side of the road one day in 1986. President Barack Obama described this stark reality in his recent speech rolling out an expensive plan to keep the housing market from sinking further." Then one thing goes wrong. if you found yourself in a situation like this. one of more than 3. But today home values have fallen so sharply that even if you make a large down payment. but instead of ignoring the driver . " I would bet a majority of people are only a few paychecks away from being in this office.

Zachery's 41st birthday. and 50 blocks was a long way to run. Climb in. a new wife and a stately old house on a large lot with big trees in the center of Kansas City. with eerie conviction. demolishing houses condemned by the city. His car wouldn't start. and another American gets ahead. Zachery would have been behind the wheel of the truck. he gasped out an answer.and running on. He was working in the hazardousmaterials unit. as he reflects on the upward path his life followed from that chance encounter. he was acting captain. he always had a second job — delivering pizzas. one room at a time. His was the textbook tale: a foot in the door. which Zachery planned to do himself. the man called out. because he owed nearly twice the original purchase price. driving a street sweeper. and his head spiderwebbed the windshield. As Zachery bolted from the car. some hard work and enterprise. Like most firefighters. "The job is yours. As home values rose. he'd be locked out. lights flashing. and a call came in from a local hospital: chemical spill. so he rode in the passenger seat. and he was due downtown to take a test for a job with the fire department. he used his equity to buy the heavy machinery required for his business. The home cost him about $100. a son in college. and away they went. 2007. Zachery was a veteran firefighter earning north of $60. so he was almost certainly going to be late — but he had to try." How did he know? Zachery still wonders. He supported an aging mother.000. They arrived at the test site with moments to spare. . The crash folded the front of Zachery's vehicle. If he was late. Siren blaring. Then chance paid another visit. Normally. Zachery swallowed his misgivings. installing meters for the power company. but on that day. He was pursuing the ideal of the self-made entrepreneur. It needed renovation. Twenty-two years after his lucky break. said the man. It was July 13. but his ambition left him dangerously exposed when the housing market soured. Eventually he started his own business. who turned into the path of the speeding haz-mat unit. horn honking — none of it registered with the driver of a city trash truck.000.

the rules change.000 before taxes. As he shuttled from one doctor to the next. the fire department placed Zachery on full disability. fixed-rate mortgage at 8. for his mortgage and other expenses. keeping my head above water. He has about $15. his demolition business went into the tank. Having pledged his home equity as collateral. he said: his pension pays him a little more than $50.The aftermath played out in slow motion — and is playing out still. then when you need them. Zachery suffers from pain in his back and neck. He was in no condition to rip old houses apart. I was at the top of the food chain. at a time when the Federal Reserve is trying to push .400 a month." The math looks like this.647 per month. That leaves some $2. He fell behind on his mortgage payments of $1. His finances began to fall apart. the soft economy was suffocating. His son had to leave college in Virginia to attend a school near home. Zachery told me.99% interest. and even if he had been. "You play by the rules.000 in unpaid medical bills and a similar amount in missed house payments. "I had an occupation. now he was forced to sell his demolition equipment at a loss. mood swings and depression — symptoms that eventually led doctors to a diagnosis of postconcussion syndrome. He has a 30-year. Houses comparable to his in more desirable neighborhoods are selling for less than the amount he owes to the Bank of New York Mellon. But no amount of documentation could resolve his bewilderment over what was happening to him. In time. Then I happened to show up for work on my birthday — and everything since then has just spiraled. He has no significant assets. Zachery showed up for a recent interview at one of Kansas City's barbecue temples carrying a large box full of medical records. lost initiative. His mother passed away. Zachery is under water. It was this math that led him to Wagoner's bankruptcy office." he said. Late last year. his home equity is gone. As the saying goes. he said. but not before a doctor assigned to his case by the city prescribed a course of electroshock treatments that left him unable to remember his own neighborhood. There are unexplained memory lapses. he received an invitation from the company that services his mortgage to apply for a loan modification. out of which he pays about $800 a month for medical insurance.

too. Zachery received the same invitation again. "And then. "she asked me in a nice voice. 'Is there anything else I can help you with today?'" Since the accident. the computer industry. but instead of an answer from the service company. is typical. "demand is hereby made upon you for immediate payment of $188. Zachery's renovations have stalled. the hospitality industry." he says. The woman was polite but unyielding as she informed Zachery that his home was scheduled for sale on March 20 on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse. he received a letter from lawyers for the bank. though. Modifications and foreclosures often proceed simultaneously along separate bureaucratic paths. He has rented a storage unit so that his belongings will never be dragged to the curb. "I want to leave with some dignity. This. you're O. She .57 plus interest. But after faxing his paperwork and waiting for several weeks. No. Stevens has stories from inside the health-care industry." Facing foreclosure.rates below 5%. "As long as you have a place to keep the dew off your head. 1: she is not afraid of work." Zachery immediately called the modification number. said Wagoner. Her résumé starts at age 9 and runs to 56 without significant interruption." Hard Work Is Not Enough A couple of facts stand out when you meet Paula Stevens for the first time. the nub of the message from the lawyers was that Zachery must pay up or get out: "Should you wish to retain the property. The champ used to tell his sons. Jerome Zachery wrestled professionally in the 1950s before settling into family life. She has done everything from catering sandwiches for rock bands to light landscaping for rich old ladies.K. He has fallen behind on the yard work and hasn't gotten around to hanging his father's portrait — a striking shot of a muscular man in dark briefs. so that the bank's customer-service face is encouraging even as the legal arm is threatening." he said. Evidently his application had been lost. only to be told once again that his application was missing.101. In any event. Zachery's documents had vanished in a flood of urgent requests for mortgage relief. the casino industry." the letter declared in boldface type. Joseph Zachery worries about pride more than shelter. So he sent his materials a second time. "If I have to leave.

S. and the free spirit grew into a divorced mom of two daughters.knows the day shift. grossing some $42. "I was working day and night. and she knows the night shift. "Aren't you that girl from the deli?" He had met her years earlier. and he hadn't forgotten. the Doobie Brothers. but Stevens' lucky break gave her enough to raise her kids and put a roof over the head of any friend or relative who happened to hit a rough patch. In her best year. which was then a booming enterprise with a Midwestern flavor. She left that job after eight years for the Kansas City office of Gateway computers. the work ethic and the gift of gab. Suddenly something clicked in his head. Stevens decided she should find a job with better hours and benefits. Fun times. "Those boys from Lynyrd Skynyrd. 2. she could make conversation with a statue. A friend told her about a job processing medical claims. Her break in life — the twist that put her on the path to a snug house in the suburbs with a vaulted living-room ceiling — was the product of these two qualities." Stevens said over breakfast at a burnedtoast diner near her home in Independence.000 — not far from the middle of the pack of U. Stevens liked working in hip restaurants and bars where musicians would hang out when their tours passed through Kansas City. arrived after closing time at a joint where she worked and smashed some things when she refused to serve them — then came back the next day to apologize. And if she sometimes spent too freely on clothes and gear for her girls." as she now calls them. Stevens talked her way into the interview and just kept talking as the boss looked at her quizzically. Mo. but . incomes. As a free-spirited young woman. Bonnie Raitt. Also. But life goes on. she racked up so much overtime that she outearned her supervisor. It wasn't a Wall Street bonus or a corner office. and he said. That's Fact No. "I always managed to make ends meet. she was able to balance the books by drawing on her equity in the home she bought in 1995. maybe with a sandwich in her hands. Stevens rose through the ranks from customer service into sales. There was just one problem: no college degree. There.

and insurance is a big problem. or she could pay the mortgage. Stevens refinanced three times — nothing crazy — but the bad news for her was that the third time was very near the peak of the real estate bubble. for the first time in her life. a fact that discounts her charm while highlighting her lack of education. Maggie.400 per month. I'm not afraid of hard work. Anyway." Along came the curveball. "They're not allowed to say it. Real estate agents have advised her that she could not sell it for more than $145." she lamented. but her oldest daughter. After she fell four months behind on her payments. Sales tumbled. stores closed. the larger of which was recently modified from an adjustable rate to a fixed-rate note at 9% interest." That's when she can manage a face-toface encounter at all.000. and the two payments combined are slightly more than $1. "You just send your résumé into cyberspace and hope that it works. Not both. marketed in cow-spotted boxes. Gateway's personal computers. Stevens briefly considered letting the bank have the house. With only a part-time job — she visits office-supply stores and makes sure that the floor-model printers have enough paper and ink for demonstrations — Stevens found she could pay for food and utilities. but you see it in their eyes: Why hire an older person who might have some medical issue when there are young people behind you in a line that goes clear out the door? I really can't blame them. Businesses are struggling. Stevens was among the last employees let go.000.000-sq. Many employers take only online applications nowadays. lost their appeal. The second loan charges over 10%. her 3. she's finding it difficult to talk her way into a new job. she now owes about $159.000 on it. the bank moved to foreclose. Now. "It's a hard time to be 56. When the Kansas City operation finally closed in 2006.-ft.that's what happens in this country if you're not educated." In the roughly 14 years that she has owned her home. The company's stock price plummeted. . "You can't go in and sell yourself anymore. Fewer customers meant less customer support." she said matter-offactly. At that time. Her debt is actually two loans. in 2005. going on 57. house was appraised at $185. and looking for work.

28. Populist pundits have struck a nerve with angry denunciations of Obama's plan. they're not hiring anymore. You just keep starting over. And her job search continues. "See if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages. but now the terms of the deal have been rewritten by malign forces. though. And that brutality explains another strain of anger beginning to bubble up from the newly bankrupted." Zachery put it ." she said. Not if we have a choice. Stevens had a lead on a customer service job with a large. The company was called Citigroup. "I just have to get her through that." Stevens explained. census. That number has no precedent. "It takes $14 per hour for me to meet my bills. "It's a different world and a different time. the commute was long. They didn't pile up mountains of credit-card debt. according to the U. unquestionably. The Brutal Game There are about 75 million homeowners in America. gas prices were high — yet Stevens had just about concluded it was the best she could do." A few months back. Their bitterness stems from a feeling that they've held up their end of the social contract. and its impact is only beginning to register.4 million homes are at risk of sinking into foreclosure by the end of 2012. People like Paula Stevens and Joseph Zachery weren't flipping houses or lying on their loan applications. The latest gloomy estimates suggest that upwards of 6. has a new baby and is enrolled in nursing school. "That's what I was making at Gateway when I was laid off. venerable company. so I will be starting lower and hoping for a raise.S." CNBC's Rick Santelli demanded — and the gut level reaction of millions of taxpayers across the country was. "Even if you work hard you get laid off. but even Warren Buffett has made occasional mistakes with money. They worked hard for what they had and shared their modest portions with others. in which a single strike makes you a loser. Now Stevens is hoping that Obama's new program will persuade the mortgage company to reduce her debt to the current value of the house. she decided to go see Wagoner and file for bankruptcy. But no one wants to pay that much. It's a brutal game. which stalled the foreclosure process. no. The pay wasn't great." Stevens said ruefully. Each readily admits to making occasional mistakes with money. That's how it works. So after several sleepless nights.

this way: "It's not the United States anymore. Those at the top have sold out the bottom for money." Both the rant and the laments are too broad. Not everyone who has fallen behind on a mortgage is a loser complicit in the housing collapse. And not every solvent American has broken faith with those who are struggling. Obama, in presenting his mortgage plan, promised to distinguish between the sinners and those unlucky bystanders dragged down by the economy's undertow. His lifeline, he insisted, will not "rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible." Delivering on that promise is vital to Obama's future, because hope is a tough sell to people who believe that only the wicked prosper. And though it's not easy preaching cooperation when the public is feeling tapped out and TARPed to death, Obama may not get a second chance. — With reporting by Maya Curry


The Inside Story on the Breakdown at the SEC
By Adam Zagorin and Michael Weisskopf Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009

Illustration by Sean McCabe for TIME; Getty (4); AP; Reuters

Historians looking for an early sign that the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression might be deeper than expected could do worse than listen in on a predawn teleconference one Friday last spring. Top Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank officials hunched over their phones in a last-ditch bid to bail out the giant investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. But a crucial voice was missing from the emergency conference call: Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. And it was not the only time the nation's chief securities regulator was absent during that critical weekend. On Saturday, as bailout talks continued, Cox dropped out to

give a speech at the birthday party of a securities-industry overseer. On Sunday, Cox was a no-show once again, this time for a key conference call dealing with the multibillion-dollar sale of Bear Stearns' remaining assets to JPMorgan Chase. Less than a week later, the SEC chairman slipped away for a long-planned Caribbean holiday. The man who should have played a major role in sounding the alarm about--and perhaps preventing--America's financial meltdown now stands accused by critics of being asleep on the job. While Cox did participate in some of that weekend's deliberations, federal officials involved in the process say he was a bit player, and Cox himself notes that he was skeptical about the bailout. Though he left the SEC on Jan. 20, he has emerged as a symbol of much of what went wrong at the small but crucial federal agency, from ignoring evidence of a massive Ponzi scheme set up by investment guru Bernard Madoff to the passive supervision of giant investment banks that went under on his watch. Partly as a result of this lax supervision, the future of the 75-year-old agency is in jeopardy. Long an evangelist for deregulation, the affable 56-year-old conservative former California Congressman took a custodial approach to a job that called for muscular leadership. The mismatch between Cox and the world he was meant to police became such an embarrassment to the Republican Party that GOP candidate John McCain publicly called for the firing of the SEC boss in the heat of last fall's presidential campaign. Indeed, longtime observers say, Cox allowed complacency and drift at an agency that was created to issue warnings and limit the potential for wider damage from financial malfeasance at publicly traded companies. "The fact that business as usual continued under chairman Cox might have been because he didn't try hard enough to change things, because he didn't really seek reform," says Senator Charles Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. "But once the wrong culture takes hold of an agency, it takes a real crusade to change it." Cox was not that crusader. A prominent SEC historian is more pointed: The Cox years represent "one of the most significant periods of dysfunction in the history of the commission," says Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester.

Cox pushed through a rule requiring SEC staff to get authorization from commissioners for financial penalties before settling a case. he was a key leader of Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution. At the SEC. a senior SEC lawyer. corporate bribery and fraud in cases ranging from junk-bond king Michael Milken to Enron. who opposed aggressive enforcement. California. Paul Atkins. Cox says the rule was an experiment designed to streamline the process. the world the SEC regulated was turning upside down. In fact. He later told Congress that his superiors. so much so that SEC officials often stopped seeking penalties." a former commissioner says. . sought to question the chairman of Morgan Stanley in a fraud investigation but was denied permission before Cox arrived. Gary Aguirre. the agency waged high-profile wars against insider trading.An Agency on Autopilot Franklin Roosevelt created the SEC during the Great Depression to clean up financial scandals and rebuild investor confidence. Cox initially sought consensus by soliciting the opinions of two Democrats on the five-member body. But his desire for harmony played into the hands of the most conservative Republican commissioner. "It wasn't worth it. In 2007. A Harvard-trained lawyer. fearing the banker's "very powerful political connections" in Washington. dooming any chance of making a case--allegations that a Republican Senate report later found credible. Meanwhile. "All they got was abuse every time they went before the commission and asked for penalties. Not that the Democratic commissioners offered much resistance: one stepped down in 2007. Cox took charge in August 2005 after 17 years of representing Orange County. giving the Republicans more latitude. it quickly created delays and obstacles. helping enact a provision of the GOP's Contract with America that restricted investor lawsuits against companies accused of securities fraud. For three-quarters of a century. President Bush didn't fill either of the vacant seats until last summer." Some investigations didn't get even that far. had delayed the probe. the other in early 2008.

investment houses.S. as the value of penalties dropped. if SEC supervisors properly performed it. In 2002. Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley--offered to subject their parent companies to SEC oversight. It is a measure of the industry's comfort level with the SEC that investment banks. In theory. The program had no teeth. William Donaldson. A Voluntary Approach But the SEC was missing the much bigger and more important game. but it did permit some government oversight of an otherwise unregulated industry--that is. many involved smaller cases. Goldman Sachs. the SEC agreed to create a voluntary supervisory program that didn't extend to the holding companies the debt limits that the commission had once imposed on brokerages owned by the banks. While their brokerage businesses remained under SEC control. One by one. when faced with the demand that they open their books. key officials left the agency. their parent corporations--huge holding companies with far-flung interests in hedge funds and other financial services--answered to no one but shareholders. To avoid prying European eyes. the European Union threatened to impose its own rules on Europe-based affiliates of the big U. Although 2008 saw the second highest number of enforcement actions in the agency's history. enforcers at the SEC grew demoralized. firms pleaded for the opportunity to find a regulator at home.Eventually. lobbied for the commission to conduct the oversight. A pair of hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns collapsed in June 2007 as a result of huge losses in subprime mortgages. Critics say the SEC wanted to avoid upsetting the powerful securities industry.S. it was only a matter of time before hyperleveraging came unraveled. Aguirre was fired under Cox. Lehman Brothers. five banks--Bear Stearns. The U. Sensitive cases seemed to lag. Those lost penalties--which can reach hundreds of millions of dollars--amounted to peanuts compared with the multibillion-dollar stakes in play at investment banks like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. Cox has admitted that his staff brushed off "credible and specific" reports of fraud committed by Madoff over the past 10 years and did not seek subpoena power or bring tips to the attention of commissioners. Under Cox's predecessor. Despite more bad news--a federal investigation .

there are all these red flags. whose term preceded Cox's. 'Look. The chairman." Critics say Cox either never really understood his job and its powers or simply wasn't interested in flexing the agency's muscles." But Cox kept his distance from the investment banks. Cox insists that he too was in the dark. Goldschmid adds. James Cayne. Other observers say Cox simply checked out. he should have sought regular reports from his staff and demanded changes." says another excommissioner. Why are you still leveraged? We want you to have more capital. With investment banks and Wall Street in trouble. They never saw him. announced on Oct. two consecutive quarters of declining profits and a dropping stock price--Bear Stearns' chief executive. Its voluntary program had given the agency a window into the secretive industry. "They never heard from him. But the SEC failed to warn the public and didn't urge the bank to improve most of its practices. Cox told reporters." Cox. "Most of our businesses are beginning to rebound. it took a long time before he got on the phone to find out from these firms what their exposures were and what they were doing about it. revealing Bear Stearns' rising concentration of subprime mortgages.into the hedge-fund collapse. the inspector general reported. Goldschmid says. adding he was never informed of the problems at Bear Stearns and was surprised by the bank's fall. "He was never a factor. according to a later inspector general's report. should have "gone in and pounded on the table and said. 4 of that year. He says the SEC chairman "typically does not" jawbone CEOs of those firms. says former SEC commissioner Harvey Goldschmid. "was the primary regulator." Investors who wanted to reconcile the numbers with the company's conflicting explanation got no help from the SEC. "We have a good deal of comfort about the capital cushions at these firms. He certainly sounded lost at the time: five days before Bear Stearns collapsed. Even when things got bad." . its questionable risk management and its yawning ratio of debt to capital.' There's never been a time when those firms were not going to respond to demands by the SEC chairman. He should've been there earlier to try to avoid these things from happening.

Schapiro has launched an aggressive campaign to beef up enforcement and reverse a number of Cox-era practices. The whistle-blower in that case. "If you want to cast blame. But Schapiro's steps are overdue and may not be enough to save the SEC. was fired and last spring spent many hours with senior SEC staffers. there are many regulators. She has already canned the rule requiring staff to obtain approval from the SEC's commissioners before resolving cases against violators.000 e-mails and other documents that suggest there was insider trading at Lehman Brothers. the investment giant whose 2008 bankruptcy marked a turning point in the financial crisis. It will fall to 53-year-old Mary Schapiro--a former SEC commissioner and a former head of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority." says Joseph Grundfest. And she has quickly filled senior SEC jobs. agencies and Congress that are as much. or more. whom Barack Obama named to replace Cox--to prevent that from happening.A New Leader Some experts argue that the origins of America's financial crisis are far larger than Christopher Cox. who isn't sure about his next career move. Since taking over on Jan.000 tips the SEC gets from informants annually--like those it received but ignored in the Madoff case. But the SEC's failure under Cox now has some members of Congress working to shrink the commission's authority and hand some of its most important duties to the Federal Reserve and other agencies. "I take full responsibility for the actions of the SEC during my . Allen Stanford and three of his companies with an $8 billion investment fraud. 27. charging R. who was an SEC commissioner in the 1980s. For immediate impact. Schapiro has unleashed a spectacular new case. at fault than Cox or SEC. Grassley recently demanded to know what Schapiro will do about 4. Cox told TIME that he was uninformed about the case. a Lehman Brothers employee. selecting a variety of candidates who have been prominent Cox critics. believes that much of the criticism leveled at him is uninformed or tendentious. The former chairman. She is studying new technology to cope with the estimated 700.

" he said in an interview. as they say about securities.chairmanship. around-the-clock efforts of the SEC staff in attempting to avert the crisis." That is not a view. "And I have tremendous pride in the extraordinary. . that is widely held.

R. 24 MIKE THEILER / EPA Let it be recorded that Barack Obama came into full possession of the U.S. presidency toward the end of his February 24 budget speech to a joint session of Congress. a decency and a determination that perseveres. capable of exhilarating musical effects or rank cacophony. 25." This was the chord that had been missing in the first dour month of Obama's presidency — not so much optimism as confidence. the sense that he was not only steering the presidency. It was the quality that distinguished Franklin Roosevelt's public persona. He had just read a letter from a South Carolina schoolgirl." The modern presidency is a vast electronic synthesizer.D. "there is a generosity. but loving the challenge of it. and he seemed barely able to control his joy and confidence as he attacked his peroration: that even in the toughest times. Bush's presidency was straitjacketed by his inability to command any style . The President needs to be able to throw his voice in a variety of ways — now sober. George W. a resilience.ESSAY Obama's Speech: A Tonal Masterpiece By Joe Klein Wednesday." the girl had written. now soaring. pleading for help with her dilapidated school. "We are not quitters. had in his office: "Let unconquerable gladness dwell. guided by the motto that F. after delivering his first address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. now educating. now soothing. The President's eyes brightened as he repeated that phrase. Feb. 2009 President Barack Obama.

about GOP intransigence. Ronald Reagan just the opposite. interacting easily with a gang of high-powered political and business leaders at his entitlement summit. a brace of polls indicated great faith in Obama. then wonking out on defense procurement policy with Senators Susan Collins and John McCain. especially in the emotional heart of the speech. not so good at set-piece speeches." These were marshaled in the service of public education: Obama explained why. "[I]n a time of crisis. On the day before his budget speech. we cannot afford to govern out of anger. or yield to the politics of the moment. In other words. Barack Obama has now demonstrated an ability to synthesize those two. If the entitlement summit was a conversational concerto. when the rubber met the road." On the public anger over the bailouts: "I promise you — I get it. Indeed. alternately ribbing Eric Cantor. despite the despicable behavior of the bankers. and a crushing consensus that the Republican Party seemed more interested in playing politics at a time of crisis than in behaving constructively. somewhat less faith in his proposed solutions. The two great television-era communicators in the office were yin and yang: Bill Clinton was a master of the conversational. little more than 2%. the system had to be salvaged. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. if businesses were to make payrolls. the budget speech was a full-blown symphony featuring a percussive series of simple declarative sentences that conveyed a sense of command. If houses and cars were to be bought. loans had to be made. a smart fellow if not yet a wise one. aiming a dagger at his detractors. . he supported 98% of the Obama plan. 79% said that the GOP should put more effort into cooperating with the President and only 17% said Republicans should stick by their principles. the President was positively Clintonesque. He had announced noisily that he was rejecting a portion of the stimulus money coming to his state — but it turned out to be a minuscule portion. On corporate extravagance: "Those days are over. the House Republican.but clenched orotundity." he said. the section on banking reform. gave the Republican response to Obama's speech and quickly became the poster boy for his party's vacuity and cynicism. In a New York Times/CBS News poll released the day before the budget speech. Obama's month in office has not been kind to Republicans.

" There are. there is a clearer sense that we have a President who will attack those decisions. a senior Administration official was less sanguine: "Health care will move forward based on our ability to get consensus. It's not as easy as getting 61 votes on the stimulus bill. then lead the way forward with the unconquerable gladness of a man invigorated by the tasks before him. there were precious few details about his policy priorities. He has to govern. For all the spiritual success of his budget speech. the deterioration of Pakistan overseas — that might prove unmanageable. No one really knows what to do about the American auto industry. of course. .All is not joy for Obama. alternative energy sources can revive the economy and salve the planet. There seems to be some confusion about how to proceed on health care. or how quickly. In his speech. then. But in a prespeech briefing. No one really knows if. He has to manage situations — the banks at home. But after the budget speech. It's too big and too complicated to move quickly. strong indications that the big decisions on a range of crucial issues have yet to be made. the President promised a national health plan within the year.

she gathers family and friends at a parlor in the Hamptons for a champagne birthday party.S. 2009 Illustration by Francisco Caceres If there is a new austerity in America. a cable powerhouse whose reality shows follow the pampered class and their various stylists. Feb. You might think that this kind of entertainment would have died with Lehman Brothers.Gold Diggers of 2009 By James Poniewozik Thursday. But as the U." That could be the motto of Bravo. In Episode 2 of Season 2 of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York City. As the parade of CEO hearings--slash--public shamings on . For her dog. no one appears to have told Countess LuAnn de Lesseps. The tagline De Lesseps speaks in the opening credits of RHNYC is. economy sank this winter. Bravo's series scored their highest ratings ever. 26. appropriately. party planners and other modern-day valets. "I never feel guilty about being privileged.

you could at least splurge on trendy clothes at H&M. it remade itself with reality TV about upscale consumerism. There's plenty of consumption porn on Bravo--Rolexes. After 9/11. If you couldn't afford couture. The shows depicted an economy that no longer made stuff but devised services. in retrospect. vacation homes. fashion (The Rachel Zoe Project). etc. Orange County. there's always a window-shopping appeal: the aspirational lure of those spa treatments and seared foie gras. but like artists of old. it discovered the utility of wealthy patrons. trash TV and screen violence. but they're America's favorite spectacle." or mass luxury. They also sold a credithooked country the idea of "masstige. Aren't we through with the rich by now? Not even close. You could. the wealthy may not be universally loved. Bravo began life as a cable arts channel. rich people buy services. movies like Gold Diggers of 1933 packed theaters. even exclusive-travel-booking (First Class All the Way). we got Stephen Colbert. in the Great Depression. iPhones. and soon New Jersey). So Bravo chronicled the high maintenance and the people who highly maintain them. people predicted the end of irony. California. upscale gyms (Work Out). real estate (Million Dollar Listing). hairdressing (Blow Out). From Project Runway to the Real Housewives franchise (about well-off couples in New York City. Whether you snark at the housewives or cheer for Top Chef's hopeful restaurateurs. Bravo is cashing in on the rich.--what distinguishes the truly well-to-do is their ability to pay others to do things. But at the heart of it is a specific 21st century definition of luxury: middle-class people buy stuff. see the makings of the bust in all this.Capitol Hill has shown. cars. pop culture tends to react in an opposite way to what media executives and pundits predict. The opulent soap Dynasty became a hit amid the massive early-'80s recession. No area of pampering was too obscure: luxe hotels (Welcome to the Parker). Atlanta. and Bravo underscores. . The Bachelor and 24. When big news happens. When talismans of indulgence become widespread-lattes. home décor (Top Design). So even as networks are casting working-class sitcoms for fall.

"We're not an escort service!" she insists. its subjects' shameless indulgence is just a pricier version of America's credit binge. Maybe we overmortgaged. Bravo executive vice president Frances Berwick promises more schadenfreude to come." Berwick says." Truth be told. the appeal of Bravo is not just about seeing the rich get theirs. . Stanger tells us (and herself). And admiring their beach houses and bling. Patti Stanger sells wealthy men a dating service--for fees of up to $150. RHNYC taped from summer through fall 2008--meaning we'll see its stars' charmed lives against the backdrop of the autumn meltdown. Laughing at the housewives. she has standards. It also helps us deal with the aftermath of getting ours. "but people still want to see it so they can judge other people. we quietly nurture the seeds of the next one. overbought and undersaved. However. But hey. Of course not.But if you want a perfect metaphor for a society selling out to the dollar. Bravo lets us vent at those who have more--while consuming vicariously through them.000 a year--mixing retro courtship rules with a mercenary take on romance. "We're certainly sensitive to the feeling that spending excesses are a little taboo. She'll take only classy rich guys as clients. look at The Millionaire Matchmaker. we see a comforting moral rebuke to the last national spending spree. at least we weren't throwing dog parties at Hamptons Hound! Some people weather bad times by thinking of people who have less. like the one who shows off a painting he did of Britney Spears tongue-kissing Madonna. This is what makes this kind of escapism so sturdily recession-proof. But don't expect them to start clipping coupons. Those are much cheaper. After all.

Sure. and his theme was every man for himself. 25. Lou Dobbs' fear of other cultures. Joe the Plumber's fear of working. Whereas I derive my popularity from ending paragraphs with middling jokes. he was screaming. they seem a lot more popular than I am. George Wallace's fear of black people. Second. and the mass of white men behind him assembled into an angry mob. But CNBC reporter Rick Santelli's now famous rant against President Barack Obama's Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade only seemed like populism. 2009 Illustration by John Ueland for TIME I don't like populists. But Santelli . Not Yours By Joel Stein Wednesday. and — like all the great populists — he is oddly unhandsome. First of all. they derive their popularity from exploiting our base fears — Joe McCarthy's fear of communist takeover.I Bought an Expensive House. Feb. My Bad.

I would also like to yell at them to get computers like everyone else so they can stop executing trades by waving their hands like idiots. who regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. as Santelli put it. for absurdly high prices.wasn't pitting the majority against a minority. That's because your home's value is utterly irrelevant until you want to sell it — the same as your baseball cards. The only plan worth pursuing that works at best 40% of the time is hitting a baseball. But the sudden drop in housing prices hasn't made it any harder for these people to pay their loans. I would love to yell that in front of the traders at the Chicago Board of Trade.7% drop in their investment. says he hopes this backward plan keeps at best 40% of the people it dishes out money to from redefaulting on their mortgage. mortgages held by the responsible people Obama says he is trying to help only go into foreclosure when the owners lose their jobs. If we're saving these poor souls from the 26. He was angry at Obama for offering aid to a middle class that neither deserves nor needs it. In fact.12 million. hoping for a spike in value so they could sell at a profit or take out a new loan based on an increased value. Especially those in Vanguard's Tax-Managed Capital Appreciation Fund. telling everyone there's no risk to gambling. A lot of optimistic people bought houses near the historic height of the market. very sad. Trust me on this. Meanwhile. The only people affected by plummeting real estate prices are the ones who bought a house that cost more than they could afford. say $1. These people are very. If we reimbursed people who lost cash on risky investments — or. "subsidize the losers' mortgages" — we'd create a moral hazard. But the best way to help them is through increased unemployment benefits and job creation. it was an investment they thought they could liquefy at will. James Lockhart. It's why parents fight their instinct to save their kids from . Their home wasn't just a place to live. in places like the eastern Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles. say November 2005. Hummel figurines or casual encounters. we should give twice as much aid to everyone who has lost approximately 50% in the stock market since its peak.

the consequences of their mistakes. Unless they're famous kids, in which case you should encourage mistakes, since it will land them a reality show. Sure, some of those 5%-down speculators were poor people fooled by adjustablerate mortgages — which, it turns out, are too complicated for people to understand. The best way to fix that is by making them illegal, just like those sweet microprint Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes contracts that trick people into subscribing to your finer newsweeklies. Meanwhile, the people we really should be worrying about in an economic downturn, the poor, don't own homes — they rent. Much as it pains me, housing prices need to come down a lot more for the sake of the country. It's not that the housing market has suddenly gotten sick and needs medicine. It was sick, and it's getting better. Just like $4 gas, and Jim Carrey's career, we are undergoing a needed correction. So I want in on the Chicago tea party that Santelli, in his rant, promised to organize, only I'm hoping it isn't in Chicago and is more of a cocktail/wine thing or maybe just a Facebook group. But I'm with him on standing back and letting the housing market lose some of its vaulted ceilings, guarded gates and Argentine Balmoral granite tops. It's not going to be a pretty few years. So let's save our government money for things we need. Like high-definition television converters.

WORLD: Postcard from Baghdad

Iraq's Ancient Treasures Lost and Found
By Mark Kukis / Baghdad Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009

Ancient artifacts, some of which were looted from the Baghdad Museum in the aftermath of the U.S. led invasion, are put on display in Iraq. Essam Al-Sudani / AFP / Getty

Nobody at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad knows exactly how the three stolen Sumerian tablets got all the way to Lima, Peru. All authorities in Lima told Iraqi museum officials was that the three tablets, more than 2,000 years old and each small enough to hold in the palm of one's hand, were found roughly a year ago in the luggage of an American traveling in the country and seized at the airport. "I'm not involved in the other details," says Dr. Amira Edan, who heads of the museum's efforts to reclaim lost artifacts and flew to Peru to retrieve the tablets. "What was important for me was to take the items back." Edan finally brought the tablets from Peru to the Baghdad museum about three weeks ago, adding them to more than 4,000 Iraqi artifacts the museum has recovered since the chaos that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Peru appears to be the farthest that purloined Iraqi treasures have traveled. Most other recovered items have come from neighboring countries. More than 2,500 artifacts

have returned to Iraq from Jordan, along with more than 760 from Syria. Many stolen items have made it to further west. Thirteen pieces were found in Italy; and at least another dozen have surfaced in the United States, including a large statue of a Sumerian king. Not all of the artifacts now being recovered were stolen from the Baghdad museum after its infamous looting in 2003. The tablets found in Peru, for example, were taken from an open archeological site in southern Iraq, one of eight such areas museum officials say remain vulnerable to looters even now. Edan estimates that Iraqi authorities have managed to retrieve as many as 17,000 artifacts lifted from the open sites, in addition to roughly 4,700 pieces taken from the museum when it was sacked in 2003. Museum officials say securing the archeological sites is increasingly a concern as the Baghdad collection gradually comes back. For the first time in Iraq, efforts are underway to form a special police task force dedicated to protecting archeological sites. Museum officials expect to see the first police from the force on duty in the coming weeks. About 400 officers are to guard various archeological sites around Baghdad initially, and the force is supposed to number as many as 10,000 officers across Iraq eventually. For now, however, Iraqi officials acknowledge that priceless artifacts are likely leaving the country in large numbers even as efforts to recover them go forward with increasing success. "I don't think we can stop it completely," says Qais Hussen Rashied, the director of investigation and excavation at the Iraqi ministry of antiquities. "But we can limit it at least." Baghdad museum officials are not sure exactly what the tablets found in Peru say. They eventually hope to have Sumerian language experts decipher the writing, which is etched in great detail over the faces of smoothed stones. But the items will be on display when the Baghdad museum reopens Monday with a special exhibition featuring items that have left Iraq but found their way home.

It's a grim commentary on the iron grip China maintains on Tibetan areas of the country that even a yak herdsman knows to be wary of video surveillance. Feb. Dorje nodded at the video cameras mounted above the road and said we'd better speak somewhere private. a nomadic yak breeder in town on a pilgrimage. Dorje enumerated the wrongs visited on ordinary Tibetans by the Chinese authorities: beatings. something . In a sheltered corner of the monastery's walls. While friendly toward foreigners. he was an ethnic Tibetan. arbitrary arrests and lengthy jail sentences. Daniel Rosenthal / Laif / Redux I first met Dorje in front of the gates of the Longwu Monastery in Tongren. Like the majority there. culminating in attempts to make Tibetans celebrate the Lunar New Year. 2009 The Dalai Lama is tiring of fruitless effors at negotiating with Beijing. 26. forced attendance at public vilifications of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The list went on. extortion. a town in China's far-western Qinghai province.The Pain of Tibet By Simon Elegant Thursday.

But as Tibet scholar Robert Barnett of Columbia University says. the chance of negotiating with the Dalai Lama might well have passed. But short of launching an intifadeh that would condemn the Tibetan people to even greater suffering. Beijing says 19 people. a senior fellow at Harvard Law's East Asian Legal Studies program who focuses on human rights in Tibet. whose exile community has shown increasing signs of fracturing as younger Tibetans push for an approach different from the Dalai Lama's "middle way. When I asked Dorje if last year's protests could eventually be forgotten. the middle way has hit a brick wall. The truth may be irrelevant compared with what Tibetans believe took place. their chance of influencing Beijing's policy before it is too late is vanishingly small: "Eventually. "Even my son's sons and their sons will remember. Even the Dalai Lama recently said he had "given up" on negotiating with the Chinese and hinted he might step down. it became clear that ordinary Tibetans believe hundreds. there appears to be no realistic alternative that could increase pressure on Beijing. there's little doubt that some officials realize their strategy of oppression at home and stonewalling overseas will one day backfire. fearing that his position "is only becoming an obstruction instead of helping . During my trip through Qinghai." That leaves the Tibetan side. We will never forget. But by the time that happens. he shook his head. were killed in the unrest." which stresses patient negotiation. but it's still by no means clear exactly what happened or how many died. possibly thousands of their compatriots were gunned down. the hard-liners are going to be thrown out for having bungled their tasks." he said. On the Chinese side. "I think violence is inevitable. mostly innocent Chinese shopkeepers. The hardening attitudes on both sides mean there is no relief ahead for the Tibetan people. and China will be stuck with an internal quagmire of its own making. The problem is. So it's imperative for both sides to do their utmost to clear the logjam that has blocked progress since the Dalai Lama was forced to flee Lhasa nearly 50 years ago." says Lobsang Sangay.Dorje and others told me they had refused to do out of respect for Tibetans killed in Lhasa last March when anti-Chinese protests turned violent.

Though Beijing has said it would accept him back on those terms. Whatever the possible outcomes. anguished twilight as communist cadres.find a solution to the Tibet issue. . Now it is time for one final. That is why it may be time for the Dalai Lama to acknowledge that he has failed. desperate gesture is one that has to be made. he is the only person who can shift the equation. this has not made and will not make one iota of difference to Beijing. But such a result would only broaden support and sympathy for the Tibetan cause. The only alternative is for Dorje's son's sons and their sons to continue to live in a long. And there are more optimistic scenarios. bold stroke: an announcement that the Dalai Lama is willing to return without any preconditions." Yet as an international celebrity and a deity to his people. he turns 74 in July. The Dalai Lama's presence in China might allow for improvement in the way Tibetans are treated. And the issue is pressing. it is possible that the Chinese leadership--mindful of the return of exiles like the Ayatullah Khomeini to Iran--will try to block his path or refuse to live up to its promise to allow the Dalai Lama to go back to Tibet. Coca-Cola and Chinese immigrants slowly snuff out Tibet's unique heritage. For all his success in keeping the issue of Tibet on the world stage. His government-in-exile has always insisted on discussions about such matters as self-rule. this last.

the . Feb. But they failed to convince locals that they could deliver on their promises of reconstruction and development. Caught in the cross fire of the Iran-Iraq war and Iraq's occupation and retreat from Kuwait. but Abdalhadi encourages his clients to try something new. he gives street vendor Mustafa Abdalsada a modish haircut and shaves his beard. For more than a decade. The barber. driven like many other Basrawis to erase reminders of a painful past. one man at a time. leaving just a hint of designer stubble. is giving his battle-scarred city a makeover. Remaking Basra is no small task. brutally punished for uprisings against Saddam Hussein only to see his tyranny give way to the mob rule of Shi'ite militias. 19. British forces and government agencies based in Basra after the 2003 U.S. leaving young Basrawis prey to the blandishments of the militias. On this February afternoon. Sameer Abdalhadi has been snipping and shaving in the cramped salon with its display case of Dr.Rebuilding Basra By Catherine Mayer / Basra Thursday. both the city and the province of Basra have sustained deep wounds over three decades. Local men cultivate beards or luxuriant mustaches of the kind that make even despots look avuncular.led invasion expected to be received as liberators. as fears of violence recede ABBIE TRAYLER-SMITH / PANOS FOR TIME A picture of a genial Tom Cruise hangs above the door to the King beauty parlor in downtown Basra. says Hilary Synnott. 2009 THE FRUITS OF PEACE: Downtown Basra has gained some of its bustle and buzz and stays open into the evening. James Freckle and Acne Soap and Muscular Man perfume.

so sisters-inlaw Yusra Mahmoud and Saleema Abdalhussein used to hurry home before dark. Basra is daring to dream of peace. Abdalhadi's friend and colleague Shareef was murdered with a drill. When the militias held sway.100 troops by May 31. "In the early days. The transformation from battleground to bustling municipality has been so rapid that it's natural to question whether a return to violence might not be as swift. The militias declared that shaving was unMuslim. but I do find this an incredibly encouraging place to be right now. and with Britain preparing to withdraw all but a small rump of its 4. "That narrative continued long after the development of an insurgency [led by] disaffected youth who didn't want us in their country. "If I had stayed later." he says." he says." he says. The militias also targeted women they deemed guilty of loose behavior. "I'm the breadwinner. Gangs took advantage of the pervasive fear to run protection rackets." Synnott says. but Abdalhadi continued to ply his trade. Now violence has been replaced by an uneasy calm. Talking About the Future Barber Abdalhadi works late and without a bodyguard. Major General Andy Salmon. "I am confident Basra is not going to go back to the previous darkness. Mahmoud has five.m. believes that a tipping point has been reached. ages 7 to .British diplomat who presided over southern Iraq from July 2003 to January 2004. he employed security and had to close up shop at 4 p. when local units of the Iraqi army — trained by the Brits and in control of the region from September 2007 — launched an operation to disperse the militias. Things changed for the better only after March 2008. "I'm probably being wildly over the top. Now on a balmy February evening. they would have come to kill me." says Nigel Haywood. Britain's consul general in the city. the Briton who commands the multinational forces in the region. the Western narrative was that the people shooting at us were alQaeda and former regime loyalists." The British lost the battle to stabilize Basra and spent four years dealing with an increasingly chaotic province. In 2007. they linger in the amusement park overlooking the Shatt al-Arab waterway and discuss their children.

" Improved security has enabled Britain's aid ministry to push ahead with infrastructure improvements and plans to woo foreign investors. benefited from his action against the militias. The provision of jobs and services is key to stability. Phone-in programs on the local radio station are dominated by discussions of sewage and the electrical brownouts that hit the city several times a day. representative to Basra of Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric. a son born in 1981 — not long before her husband. Now they have to walk the walk. a conscript.19. We hope our children will have happier lives." That walk is strewed with trash. the streets of Basra are full of stinking tangles of plastic and organic matter. Nouri al-Maliki. Abdalhussein has just one." says Emad al-Battat. That's why Hizballah did well elsewhere." says Mahmoud. jobs for young people and a better Iraq. "The fact that Iraqis chose secular politicians over religious ones does not mean Iraq has become any less religious. "We have a new breed of politicians who can take Basra into a new phase. was killed fighting Iran. she opted for candidates she felt could offer "sustained security. Unemployment currently stands at 17% and reaches 30% among younger Basrawis. private polling undertaken by the British government has seen the poor state of public services and infrastructure leapfrog security as a popular concern. Sayyed Ali al-Sistani. But the top priority of the Iraqi people is national unity. messages of national unity played better than did religious or sectarian appeals." Voting went off without violence in Basra (the only incident came when an overenthusiastic Iraqi policeman fired a gun into the air to encourage voters into a polling station). They promise to tend to the needs of the people. "We're always talking about the future of the children and what it holds for them. The bloc affiliated with Iraq's Prime Minister. "The only people who listened [to local complaints] were [the militias]." He adds. "We've been through many wars as a generation. . Michael Wareing. In Basra. Indeed. says Salmon." When Mahmoud voted in the regional elections in January. Tackling these problems is essential if the economy is to keep growing. since last fall. "The politicians made promises.

is optimism — among Basrawis as well as their soon-to-depart overlords — that the corner has been turned. their city faces years of struggle to rebuild and heal. reports that "about $9 billion" of proposed foreign investment is on the table. Allawi plans a career in business. says Salmon. Eventually.head of the Basra Development Commission. "There really is a significant spread. "My mission has been to protect that optimism. shape it and build it." he says. For now." Wareing says. Salmon can find some of it among Basra's children. One essential resource. Muqtada wants to be a soldier. 4-year-olds wrestle with the universal question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Several want to be doctors. It doesn't seem unrealistic to hope that he won't be needed to keep the peace in his own city. . with just half of that interested in Basra's oil and gas industry. At a multifaith school run by the Chaldean church. and it's increasing as the security improves. those deals will translate into new opportunities for Basrawis.

" Dismiss it as a flourish of modesty or a side effect of middle age. 26. . 2009 Deidre O'Callaghan Shortly after the release of 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Feb. I asked Bono about U2's place in contemporary music.ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT U2's Unsatisfied — and Unsatisfying — New Album By Josh Tyrangiel Thursday.." he elaborated: "Our biggest accomplishment is that we've made a few songs people want to play during important moments in their lives.." he said decisively. Before I could inquire about availability and if the Edge knew the chord progressions on "Hava Nagila. That's a very humbling thing . "We're a wedding band now. I'll take it. but U2 has steadily softened its ambition during its 30-year existence. If we're remembered as a great wedding band. and that's not such a bad thing.

with the band flourishing in its contented third act as the one group people of all ages can agree on. Having set the bar high." another catchy. oh. After an almost five-year absence. After 1997's Pop — a disastrous mix of disco and hubris that provided a harrowing glimpse of career death — the band decided to banish the lead singer's politics to venues like the U. thunderous love song out of the recent U2 playbook. U2 proved that no one else is better at making universal small ones. It's not terrible. oh. No Line on the Horizon starts well. It's a fine place to close the curtain. chasing Bono up the scale note for note and yawp for yawp. oh. At least it seems that way until the arrival of the portentous line "I was born to sing . but it feels like the work of musicians torn between the comfort of the present and the lure of one last run into the adventurous past. and focus on writing songs whose chief ambition was to charm rather than to persuade.Early on. This lateversion U2 has produced a run of hits ("Beautiful Day. not satisfied to rock you on "Sunday Bloody Sunday. Unburdened by the need to make big statements. oh. oh. It offers up a few new hits for the wedding playlist. Bono sang with a moral force that suggested Cotton Mather with a mullet. the soaring inarticulateness — "Ohhhhhh/ Oh. U2 gradually limbos underneath it." he needed to convert you. during which Bono was named one of TIME's Persons of the Year for his work on global poverty and the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." Bono screams on the title track. thrusting us into the familiar cosmos of a U2 hit. oh" — followed by the Edge chugga-chugga-chugging away on his guitar. There's the martial beat.N. In the towering period that spanned The Joshua Tree to Zooropa. It makes you giggle in amazement that the same old tricks keep generating new thrills. U2 made stadiumsize art rock with huge melodies that allowed Bono to throw his arms around the world while bending its ear about social justice." "Wild Honey. the band returns on March 3 with an album called No Line on the Horizon. Except that U2 isn't quite content. "I know a girl." "City of Blinding Lights") united by a lightness of theme and an ease of sound. The trouble begins with "Magnificent. oh. the fickle female object of desire. but No Line on the Horizon is mostly restless. tentative and confused. oh.

scats like a young Beat poet and. the band also paid visits to Dublin and London to . Some songs — like "Stand Up Comedy. Achtung Baby)." the rock star can't resist intruding with a lyric that first appeared as a pull quote in several of his magazine profiles ("The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear"). But the pleasures these moments provide are at best voyeuristic." a journalist in "Cedars of Lebanon"). He slips into characters (a soldier in "White as Snow. To his credit. Bono never stops noodling with ways to make a connection. the effect is jarring enough to raise the question. in a moment he will probably regret." Delivered with an ambivalent growl by one of the most famous men in the world — one who got that way by being a singer of songs and lifter of souls — it suddenly sounds less like a love song and more like a grievance. As a hedge. Multiple times he asks. the man has earned the right to sing his life." a goofball attempt at funk — are explicitly told through Bono's rose-colored specs. when the band decamped to Morocco with Brian Eno and Danny Lanois.for you/ I didn't have a choice but to lift you up/ And sing whatever song you wanted me to." as if looking for a place to hide. But convergence rarely happens here. "Let me in the sound. After a few albums of disciplined universality and lyrics everyone can relate to. and plenty of people are interested in the thoughts of the philanthropic and famous. But the sound doesn't provide much refuge. ("Stand up to rock stars.") But on the otherwise breezy power pop of "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight. they create distance between U2 and the average listener. Napoleon is in high heels/ Josephine. Each time Bono slips out of the Everyman first person ("I know a girl") and into the specific ("I was born to sing for you"). impersonates your office IT guy ("Restart and reboot yourself") on a ham-fisted attempt at lifecoaching. the answer is both. Is he trying to speak for us or to us? On U2's best albums (The Joshua Tree. while great pop — the kind this band used to produce consistently — strives to erase distance. daring rock. the men who oversaw U2's 1980s transformation from anthem singers to makers of textured. be careful of small men with big ideas. Work on No Line on the Horizon began in 2007.

The one song that seems to work on all the levels U2 intended is "Moment of Surrender.) The problem is that too often Eno's tricks are the steak. U2 has clearly found itself stuck in a very strange moment of selfreckoning. the album lacks a unified feel.) Not surprisingly. but they gradually converge into a heartbreaking melody as Bono stares into the reflection of an ATM and discovers he can no longer recognize his own face.check in with Steve Lillywhite. it slumps under the weight of its own need to surprise. he lets loose another of his famous "Oh-oh-ohs. who helped U2 crank out some of its muscular early and recent hits. Eno invented the bleeps and whirs that are mixed into the background of so many rock albums. But as No Line trudges on. As the tune fades out. his effects still have the power to create mystery. the Edge. it sounds as if Bono is duetting with a quasar — very cool. (On the title track. (Most bands would have to take out a second mortgage to cover the per diem for just one of these producers. ." and it's hard not to hear an echo of his closing blast on "With or Without You" but in a minor key. and used as seasoning. drummer Larry Mullen Jr. it gives Bono a shot to channel Sinatra at his loneliest. You can hear an organ and a cello and a lot of other sounds that are hard to pinpoint. and bassist Adam Clayton sound at home rumbling through the verses and blowing out the choruses in the old familiar way. And a great band's horizon has never looked so close. On a few tracks. Melody — the most surprising effect of all — dodges in and out but rarely makes itself at home." Clocking in at more than seven minutes and moving with the deliberate shuffle of a man wandering empty streets. and all we're left with is an increasingly dull series of tricks killing time where the tunes should be.

More than 40 years later. 581 pages). After all. Feb. Peter goes about writing a memoir to set the record straight. N. and . Peter is an imaginative soul.Eric Kraft's 'Flying' By Radhika Jones Thursday. Peter's "full and frank disclosure" is much more a Proustian exercise in creative recollection than a marshaling of the facts. conscience-stricken by the effect his legend has had on the town. but strictly speaking. 26. 2009 Back when starry-eyed inventors dreamed up airborne contraptions.. This is the story of Eric Kraft's novel Flying (Picador. he never quite got off the ground. At least that's what the proud residents of his hometown of Babbington.Y. not online social networks. think Peter did. a teenage visionary named Peter Leroy built an aerocycle in his parents' garage and flew it solo across the country. Turns out he did cross the country. And of course.

Having his way with words is Kraft's project too. a novel about hope. an aerodynamic impossibility. love. You begin to feel that you and your account of yourself are one. with all the road-tripping wordplay and none of the incest. But for the most part. "When you are a seat-of-the-pants memoirist. and you start to wish the memoir as frame would temporarily recede. like a mythical beast. The source of the plans for Peter's aerocycle is a do-it-yourself magazine called Impractical Craftsman--an inspired title for the age of armchair American ingenuity and. a nifty description of a fiction writer. This is true even of Peter's winged steed. . The effect is like a happy-go-lucky Nabokov. more astute." The beast gets a little heavy-handed when Peter and his wife Albertine re-create his childhood journey. They're more witty. Kraft's characters don't talk like people actually talk." he writes. which may not be an ace at lifting off but proves a surprisingly excellent road buddy. not incidentally.he knows it--that's what got him into this mess in the first place. buoyant language makes Flying soar. this time by car. disillusionment. the charmingly anthropomorphized Spirit of Babbington. and they express themselves with infinitely more pizazz. as when Peter describes the verbally dexterous Albertine not as having a way with words but as having her way with them. The strict alternation of chapters between the '50s and the present feels mechanical. Flying is a reminder of how entertaining a novel can be when it slips the surly bonds of realism. It's a joy to watch Kraft resuscitate stale idioms with a simple twist. nostalgia. you live your memoirs. But Kraft's affectionately satirical. pataphysics and the science of lift might seem like a hopelessly overdetermined bucket of bolts. On paper. "you don't write about your life.

Georges Braque. And his influence didn't end with the first cohort of modernists. Boston. in 1906. 2009 Museum of Fine Arts." Could there have been a more influential master than he? "The master of us all" is what Henri Matisse once called him. Feb. it was plain he was the hinge on which the art of the new century was turning. Pablo Picasso. By the time of his death. Fernand Léger once told an interviewer about his "battle to quit Cézanne." Léger insisted. 'Zut!'" But shaking Cézanne is not so easily done. "Then one bright day." as though he were a narcotic. 26. "I said. His discoveries were too fundamental to the course that painting would take. Estate of Pablo Picasso 2008 / ARS It's one of the ironies of art history that Paul Cézanne used to warn young painters.The Master of Us All By Richard Lacayo Thursday. by which he surely meant himself. "Beware of the influential master. His grip on the imagination continues . Piet Mondrian and any of the other pioneers of modernism.

dissolving them into a force field of shimmering hatch marks. loadbearing diagonals in an arching composition. For years the Philadelphia Museum's smart and spirited director. Marie-Thérèse is a more yielding figure.well into the present. (This may help explain why the later versions of his naked bathers. Cézanne conferred on her a monumental stability that's constructed somehow out of a field of pulsing strokes. Picasso painted his young mistress Marie-Thérèse in The Dream with the same weighty decorum. As proof. In a mature Cézanne. but chief among them is that he shattered the picture plane. Jasper Johns and Brice Marden. and adjunct curator Katherine Sachs. the show is dedicated to Rishel's late wife Anne d'Harnoncourt. d'Harnoncourt died. he confounds the viewer's natural impulse to treat the canvas as a window onto a scene. With her lavender flesh and gentle contours.) But it's the paradox of Cézanne that his multitude of discrete strokes can destabilize forms even as he builds them up. More than a half-century later. the museum's chief curator of European painting before 1900. What was it that Cézanne did that was so important to the future? Many things. last year. hands in lap just like Madame Cézanne. Organized by Joseph Rishel. Had she lived to see this fascinating mix and match. This opened the way to everything from Cubism to abstraction. which runs through May 19. Almost any human figure painted by him possesses the weight and mass of an Egyptian tomb carving. He compels your attention instead to the fact that it's a field of marks on a flat surface. insistent strokes. there's "Cézanne and Beyond. she would have loved it. And as the Philadelphia show makes clear. Look at his 1877 portrait of his wife Hortense. it was a discovery that continues to reverberate more than a century later in the work of living artists like Ellsworth Kelly. a patch of pigment on a canvas. much too soon." an ingenious new exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that combines a choice selection of Cézannes with the work of 18 artists whose practices owe something to his. are as sexless as shopping-mall escalators. Cézanne took the immediacy of the Impressionists--their flickering surfaces--and joined it to an ambition to create an art that was more stable and solid. By constructing each painting as a series of plainly separate. every brushstroke leads a double life. as part of a painterly illusion and as a thing in itself. But Picasso also lends a pulsating charge to her image--the .

a color-field wall panel from 2002 that distills and abstracts the visual experience of water. The enduring reach of Cézanne can even be felt in Ellsworth Kelly's Lake II. Almost everybody learned from Cézanne. Given the phallic upper half of her head. Braque pored over the great still lifes--all those apples and bunched tablecloths--and took from them ideas about distorted forms and tilted planes that he and Picasso would carry into the profound thickets of Cubism. The serene heft of Cézanne's many views of Mont Sainte-Victoire inform the muscular Maine landscapes of the American painter Marsden Hartley. an indicator of what's on her dreaming mind. you wonder just what that girl's hands are up to.pulse of sex. just as the old Frenchman distilled the forms of nature. Cézanne zut? Finished? Gone? Not a chance. .

26.BUSINESS One Bad Bond By Stephen Gandel Thursday. Home loans. mortgage bonds are made up of thousands of home loans. would hardly recognize Jupiter. 2009 David J. and you can understand why we're in trouble. Feb. collect the payments and pass them on to its investors. even today. when mortgage bonds first took off. giving them safety through diversity. have a lot going for them: the vast majority of people. . after all. So how did these bonds become so toxic that they've poisoned banks and threatened the entire economy? Look under the hood of a bond called Jupiter High-Grade CDO V. make their mortgage payments on time. What's more. Bankers from the 1970s. Jupiter's underwriter does not buy people's mortgages. Instead. Phillip / AP Mortgage bonds used to be the stars of finance. Jupiter holds other mortgage bonds--and not just any. Unlike a traditional bond.

and as the bonds fell in value or were wiped out completely." A recent Goldman Sachs report estimates that most investment banks believe bonds like Jupiter are worth 40% less than what was paid for them. But when things unwind--and have they ever--any default gets compounded by the chain of linked bonds. such risks were deemed acceptable. value. toxic asset. One of those bonds is Mantoloking. Not done yet. A top bond trader who looked at Jupiter for TIME said that on the basis of where loan . "It's an informational nightmare. Jupiter owns 223 other mortgage bonds. director of MIT's Laboratory for Financial Engineering. Geithner and others believe that rescuing banks from these bonds will save them. or 60¢ for every dollar invested. A look at Jupiter shows how hard that can be. Banks hold tens of billions of dollars in mortgage bonds. In early February." says Andrew Lo. To do that. But given how many of Jupiter's bonds have gone bad. "It's very hard to collect all the information you need to figure out what these things are worth. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he wanted to start a public-private partnership to buy up toxic assets. 93% of the Jupiter deal was rated AAA. you could just as easily guess that it is worth 41¢ on the dollar. Those mortgage bonds are then all made up of thousands of actual loans.Jupiter's investments are made up of the riskiest portions of other bonds. nearly 59% of Jupiter's investments are now worthless. or par. The valuation of a mortgage bond like Jupiter is a white-hot argument. Hello. The multiplier effect works like this: while 4. they erased precious capital the banks need to survive. How much less is central to resolving the financial crisis. When it was issued in March 2007. perhaps trillions--are worth far less than their stated. the bonds have to be priced to sell. In a rising real estate market. And that might be generous.4% of the typical loans tied to Jupiter's bonds are in default. Go figure. Most Wall Streeters agree that a large number of such bonds--amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. which in turn owns 126 other bonds. while others may have expired. Mantoloking's mortgage bonds own hundreds of other mortgage bonds. some of which are themselves a collection of other poorly rated mortgage bonds. some of which may be current.

" . and what we are finding is one big mess. "Now those doors are being pried open." says Rohan Douglas. "Banks thought they could buy these bonds and lock them in their closet. even the best part of the bond could be worth as little as 5¢. A near total loss.defaults are headed and the loans Jupiter holds. which helps investors and banks evaluate the riskiness of their portfolios. chief executive of Quantifi.

Or maybe the crucial moment came in 1933 when Congress decreed that small depositors should be protected from bank failures by the FDIC. Feb.Thursday. then the nation's seventh largest bank. was too big to fail and put the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in charge of it. . then the nation's seventh largest bank. that's one way of looking at it. You could also say bank nationalization began in 1984 when regulators decided that Continental Illinois. Lee Balterman / Time Life Pictures / Getty Our country's banking system was effectively nationalized in October when then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson called the heads of the nine biggest banks into his office and told them they couldn't leave before agreeing to take billions of dollars of government money and hand over ownership stakes in return. 26. At least. Or in 1913 when Congress created the Federal Reserve System to halt banking panics and regulate the money supply. 2009 Nationalizing Banks: What's All the Fuss? By Justin Fox Some say bank nationalization began in 1984 when regulators decided that Continental Illinois. was too big to fail and put the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in charge of it.

What confronts us at the moment is not so much a philosophical debate over nationalization as a practical discussion about how best to put the banking system back on its feet. Successful bank cleanups in the past have involved triage. Or even the chartering in 1791 of the partly government-owned Bank of the United States--Alexander Hamilton's baby. the Comptroller of the Currency. We're talking tactics. Regulators deem them too . if you really wanted to stretch it. The tough questions have to do with the banking giants. The Paulson approach was to throw money at good banks and bad alike. The point is that the current breathless talk about bank nationalization is more than a little historically obtuse. In the context of the imminent collapse of the financial system that Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke feared. Apart from a few on the libertarian right who think we'd be better off with no government involvement in banking and an even smaller group on the socialist left who would like to see complete government control of the financial system. go back to the 1864 advent of the national banking system and the first federal bank regulator. That's been combined with a mechanism to take bad loans and other unwanted assets. in which government differentiated good banks from bad. if you will--14 smallish banks so far this year. which died in 1811. Now it's time for a different approach. Beyond that. now cited as a blueprint. like real estate. judgments--guesswork. our banking system has been a public-private partnership. At least since the founding of the Fed. off banks' books. The rest of the country's banks remained in private hands. even though the government guaranteed their assets. The FDIC has taken over--nationalized. almost everyone seems to be in favor of continuing that partnership. there's no precise recipe. seven years after he did. involved the takeover of precisely two banks.You could. so there would be no stigmatized bad ones--in return for preferred shares that promised income for taxpayers but no direct federal control. The government response in Sweden in the early 1990s. this was understandable.

big to be sold off or shut down according to standard FDIC procedures without risking another market breakdown like the one that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers. but he hasn't outlined how he's going to do that. The argument for a takeover is that it makes executives answerable to taxpayers rather than shareholders. But that isn't the standard banks are judged by. nobody knows for sure how exacting they should be. we're stuck with more judgment calls. The Obama Administration has already said it will buy shares in banks that need more help.S. The argument against it is that execs solely answerable to taxpayers won't take the entrepreneurial risks needed to return their banks to health. But it has so far dismissed suggestions that it should take full control of Citi and other big banks. and to be honest. Then again. Bank regulators have embarked on "stress tests" of the 19 largest banks to determine that. In a panic. and is negotiating a deal that would give it a big minority stake in Citigroup. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner hopes to get around this by jump-starting a market for troubled mortgage securities. Judged by liquidation value--what they could get for selling their assets on the open market today--most major banks in the U. relying on bank execs to price their assets is no good either. and relying on the market to determine the health of banks means succumbing to panic. markets for certain assets simply stop functioning. . So for the moment. are probably insolvent and due for a total government takeover. But it's not clear how exacting the tests will be. And guesses. The toughest question of all may come down to which banks actually stand a chance of returning to health.

Dr. A few months before Noah went off to camp. Noah is now 16 and a surprisingly well-adjusted member of what might be called the Allergy Generation. coughing and gasping. Noah's allergist at UCLA.S." says Fradin. when he was 9. tree nuts. Feb. beans. and her nighttime torment began during his first trip to sleepaway camp. she woke up one night to find him covered in hives. In addition to peanuts. Her son Noah is allergic to peanuts and almonds. sesame and shellfish. he is allergic to lentils. 2009 Michael Duva / Getty Susan Fradin has nightmares about Cheerios. the Honey Nut variety." She's calmer these days. Specifically. Fradin is one of those incredibly anxious parents who would prefer that her son never so much as lay eyes on a Mr. but her concerns are not unfounded. who has treated him since babyhood. Gary Rachelefsky. "I woke up in the middle of the night thinking. Peanut logo ever again. "It was horrendous.SOCIETY Why We're Going Nuts Over Nut Allergies By Alice Park Thursday. What if he eats Honey Nut Cheerios thinking they are regular Cheerios?" she says. . and she had to jam a syringe full of epinephrine into his thigh to help him breathe. peas. a former publicist in Los Angeles. worried that her son would eat cereal he shouldn't and go into anaphylactic shock. The Fradins and the 3 million other families in the U. 26. Fradin. Yes. describes her as initially "one of the most fearful mothers I ever came into contact with.

they are climbing fastest among Hispanic children. European nations have posted increases similar to the one in the U. a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital.000 people in the U." says Dr.. it's the community reaction to them that is getting out of hand. which he wrote after his son's school bus had to be evacuated because someone spotted a peanut on board. "I just need to spend a little more time ordering and talk about how I could die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). children under 18 with a reported food allergy jumped 18% from 1997 to 2007.with food-allergic children have to navigate not only the complexities of the grocery aisle but also the growing skepticism among those who wonder if the sudden rise in food allergies is due more to hysteria than to histamines.S. who die from them — 15 to 20 a year — is relatively small.S. the abundance of caution is starting to trigger a backlash. soy or other allergens. and in a study of the relatively confined residents of Britain's Isle of Wight." he says. and instead the overresponse to food allergies is preposterous.S. rates of peanut allergies among toddlers doubled . When asked about his editorial. A waiter.S. Each year. and the number of children hospitalized for food allergies has nearly quadrupled in recent years. may not grasp the seriousness behind Noah's endless questions about the menu. More people die each year from bee stings. food. according to new data from the CDC. "But we don't remove flowers from schools or playgrounds. Given all the attention paid in recent years to food allergies. allergy in pediatrics is all about food. are rushed to the emergency room suffering from an allergic reaction to food. commented recently in the British Medical Journal. Allen Lapey. 30. Nicholas Christakis." Christakis notes that peanut and other food allergies are a real problem. food. the number of people in the U. the percentage of U. "We should be having a sober-minded. he said. a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School. And while these allergies are rising among all major racial and ethnic groups. So forget pet dander and pollen. publichealth debate. for example. The trend is not an entirely American phenomenon. As more and more schools set up peanut-free zones and as food manufacturers add warning labels that their products might contain particles of peanuts. "In this day and age." Dr.

What's behind the rise in food allergies? Has a generation of kids.from 1989 to 1994. a. allergists often shrug when it comes to advising parents about forecasting anything about their child's next reaction. with little or nothing to fight. So why are children making so much IgE these days? Part of the fault may lie in modern medical practices: with antibiotics and immunizations to protect against micro-organisms and parasites. the result is a rash and hives.k. blood pressure drops and fluid builds up in tissues. experts warn that could simply be the result of spottier awareness. While prevalence in Asian countries. or their moms. Airways can constrict. an immune-system component that serves as the body's supersonar for detecting any foreign and potentially harmful proteins. remains low. but the so-called hygiene hypothesis remains the leading answer to baffled parents' questions. diagnosis and reporting of allergic reactions in those nations. Once a massive IgE cascade is activated. knowing the why of food allergies is less important than knowing whether their children will be affected — and how. To signal the need to annihilate these invaders. where peanuts are a popular dietary add-in.and germ-laden) families. only a shot of the hormone epinephrine. life-threatening reaction and who . even within the same person.a. Sanitation can't demystify the entire trend. In mild cases. It could explain the climbing incidence of all allergies — not just those to foods — as well as asthma. been exposed to things in the environment or in their diets that could make them more sensitive to certain food proteins? Perhaps. Allergies are the direct result of too much IgE. In others. (Noah has a brother who has no food allergies. "We really have no test that can tell us who is apt to have a severe. This theory was first posited 20 years ago by a British epidemiologist who noticed that children with more siblings had less hay fever than kids in smaller (and presumably less snot. For families like the Fradins. can stop a hypersensitive immune system from killing the body it set out to protect. triggering coughing and eventually respiratory distress and even death.) Because allergic reactions to food can vary. adrenaline. however. children's immune systems may be getting weaker and even bored. leading to swelling. IgE attaches like antennae to the surface of cells that release histamines and other inflammatory agents.

" Reports in 2005 of a peanut-allergic girl who died from anaphylactic shock after kissing her boyfriend. Contact — in kissing. It turned out that the girl also had asthma. Too often parents of newly diagnosed children aren't given enough information about when and even how to inject the lifesaving epinephrine. raised alarms that the slightest exposure could prove fatal. for example — through mucous membranes can also heighten the chances of an attack." she says. a dangerous combination. When her daughter had a reaction several months later. since the lungs of asthmatics are more prone to swelling and shutting down when aggravated. Here's a prescription and see you in a year. which are more common but . Even so. who had eaten some peanut butter hours beforehand. For the most part. parents' worries about the mere possibility of inhaling peanut dust prompted airlines to stop serving the popular flight snack. Given the uncertainty in the medical world. Even the act of diagnosing allergies has become a source of confusion. director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.' " says Dena Friedel. 'Here you go. "the doctor yelled at me and said I should have used the EpiPen. Hugh Sampson. but when they reached the hospital. an Ohio mom whose daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when she was 2. it's easy to understand the frenzy outside the doctor's office. The EMT told her she had made the right decision." says Dr. Increasing reliance in recent years on a blood-based test instead of the classic skin-prick screening means that not just allergists but also pediatricians can find out if children are carrying IgE antibodies for certain foods. Friedel didn't know when to use the syringe and called 911 instead. "I was so confused and overwhelmed. touching a food allergen is not a problem unless you then rub your eyes or stick your fingers into your mouth — both of which young children are fond of doing. But some positive tests may be false alarms that lead families to spend a lot of energy avoiding common foods that their kids can actually more like the vast majority who will never have that kind of reaction. There has been no such treatment for passengers with milk or egg allergies. "Our allergist said.

peanut-free zones seem downright silly. a pediatrician at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. and peanuts are also more likely to result in fatalities than are other food allergens. The same went for smelling peanuts. Only one child had difficulty breathing — and that was after sniffing the fake peanut butter. Scott Sicherer. eggs.also more likely to be outgrown. "To my knowledge. which have made the labels essentially useless. wheat and soybeans. The result is ubiquitous warnings about possible cross-contamination. . there aren't any studies where peanut-free zones decrease the incidence of anaphylaxis." In some instances. a Mount Sinai pediatrician. In 2006 a federal law started requiring companies to use plain language to note the presence in their products of any of eight major allergens: milk. In fact. and none developed a reaction to the peanut butter." says Dr. fish. Moreover. Still. Sean McGhee. Thirty peanut-allergic children were asked to sniff peanut butter and a placebo paste for 10 minutes each. peanuts. Delta and Northwest airlines will set up a peanut-free buffer zone spanning three rows in front of and behind an allergic passenger. showed that 90% of peanut-allergic children who got peanut butter on their skin developed nothing more than a red rash. tree nuts. smaller amounts of peanut protein can trigger allergic reactions in those who are sensitive. Such studies are starting to suggest a more nuanced way of handling the peanut problem in schools and other places. very few people with a peanut allergy die from it. "You are probably better off teaching the faculty how to manage food allergies than making the classroom or school a peanutfree zone. But concern about liability claims led manufacturers to voluntarily supplement these labels with alerts on products that were made in the same facility or on the same machinery as food containing any of the eight allergens. Upon request. crustacean shellfish. none developed a systemic reaction in which their airways swelled up. a 2003 study led by Dr. (Why three rows instead of four or five?) Foodmakers have also gone a little overboard.

while the untreated group developed allergic reactions after 1 ½ peanuts. Which is why some researchers are trying to find a better way to treat allergies than simply advising their patients to avoid certain foods. the agency is now studying systems like Australia's VITAL program. received a peanut-allergy diagnosis at a year old. 5. "Doing this was the lesser of two evils. Massachusetts last year became the first state to pass legislation requiring training for restaurant staff in safe food-allergy practices to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. For parents. in which companies voluntarily rank the risk of cross-contamination on a scale of low to moderate to high." And he's not alone. "I was sure that at some point in her life. and there was a good chance she was going to die. allowing their kids to participate in the study was a leap of faith. in increasing doses. she was going to ingest peanuts. doctors try to retrain the immune system by hitting it with the offending protein enough times. But until more rigorous standards are in place. a Virginia resident whose daughter Hannah. "It's the first generation of treatment that would make people less or even no longer allergic. unsure exactly how great the danger of cross-contamination was. In an effort to make food labels more useful. After holding hearings on these advisory labels last fall." says Kimberly Carter. Wesley Burks. On average." says Dr. A study by Sicherer in 2007 found that 75% of food-allergic people ignored these labels when shopping. In a new strategy called oral immunotherapy." says Noah." Hannah recently had no adverse reaction after she ."You find yourself having to take a chance. The same study also found that 1 in 10 products tested actually contained the allergen noted in the warning on the packaging. children treated this way for a year are able to tolerate the protein equivalent of 15 peanuts. that the body's defenses eventually relent and accept the protein as friend rather than foe. eating continues to be a game of Russian roulette for the food-allergic. the Food and Drug Administration is considering a new standard that would give consumers a better sense of how much cross-contamination may have actually occurred. who continues to eat his favorite brand of pretzels even though it now carries the warning "Produced in a facility that handles peanut butter. chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center. Meanwhile.

000 mg of peanut protein — the equivalent of a dozen peanuts. "We want people to understand what they have to do in case of an allergic reaction. but we don't want them to be so scared that they totally shelter allergic children. If that happens. she will be among the first generation to conquer a food allergy. she will be challenged again with the same 5.downed chocolate pudding mixed with 5. "It's a hard line to walk. lowering blood pressure ." How Food Allergies Can Affect The Body When a hypersensitive immune system attacts proteins in peanuts or other foods that are harmless to most people. And perhaps it will be this scientific success that will provide the ultimate antidote to the hype and hyperbole. Burks will deem her "peanut tolerant" and allergy-free. Hannah is now on a one-month reprieve from her daily pudding treatments.000-mg dose of peanut flour. If she does not have a reaction. in four weeks." says Sampson. the antibodies attach to mast cells 4 IgE signals these cells to flood the body with histamines and other chemicals Allergic reactions can include: COUGHING/WATERY EYES Histamines cause eyes and nose to run HIVES The activated immune system triggers eczema and hives VASODILATION Blood vessels become leaky. allergic reactions vary from a mild rash to anaphylactic shock. which can be fatal 1 Peanuts are first introduced to the immune system 2 The body reacts to peanut proteins by generating IgE antibodies 3 During the next encounter with peanuts. because that is not realistic.

001 Sources: National Center for Health Statistics. wasps or bees) 82 Malnutrition 3.976 Accidental poisoning 23.AIRWAY CONSTRICTION Inflammation in the lungs can lead to difficulty breathing Food allergies are becoming more common .615 '01-'03 4.135 '04-'06 9...618 Flu and pneumonia 63... Average hospital discharges per year of children with any diagnosis related to food allergies 1998-2000 2. but cause fewer deaths than other hazards Food allergies 18 Lightning strikes 48 Stings (hornets.537 .003 Accidental drowning 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

the cigarette-lighter-size (and awkwardly named) Smheart .Family Tech Pocket-Size Personal Trainers By Josh Quittner Thursday. One. from diabetes to elephantiasis. that Utopian scenario will arrive around the same time as the flying car. During the past month. I've focused on two gizmos that promise to pound the Quittner bod back into its more kittenish shape. there's a raft of new gadgets on the market that use high-tech sensors to help me get a handle on my love handles. A recent checkup confirmed my worst suspicions: I'm borderline everything. Meanwhile. the number of calories I want to burn and how much time I have. 2009 Here's my idea for a dream exercise machine: I input my weight. Luckily. 26. Then I power up the gleaming. my waistline is expanding in proportion to the national debt. Sadly. play online poker and eat maple-glazed doughnuts. multigeared thing--and it goes to work by itself while I return to my favorite chair. Feb.

in Zone 2. 50 min. stress test. say. The mask was connected to a computer that measured my oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide output during a 20-min. I." This test is part of the New Leaf's structured fitness system. The Smheart Link ($155 at Amazon. live personal trainer. height. chose the crème de la crème app: iNew Leaf. that can perform a $250 "metabolic assessment. in Zone 2. Some days I'm assigned repetitions--2 min. I went to BreakAway Performance in San Francisco. though. 2 min. I use it while on an exercise bike. repeated 20 times-and on wirelessly tethers an iPhone to a heart-ratemonitor belt. It's tricky. (Additional assessments are $150 per eight weeks--still cheaper than a real. age and gender. the Bodybugg. works with an iPhone to monitor my heartbeat during customized daily workouts. The other. but it's effective. I wirelessly upload the results to the New Leaf site and get a grade based on how well I stayed within the zones. just fill in your New Leaf user name and password. The iPhone tracks my heart rate and tells me which zone I'm in and which zone is coming up. 1 min. I do "recovery" workouts. in Zone 3.Link. BreakAway's founder. measures my caloric expenditure. and the iPhone grabs your daily workouts from the server. put me on a stationary bike and placed an oxygen mask over my face. I recommend each. Then the New Leaf system generated an eight-week daily fitness plan and uploaded it to New Leaf's website.S. plus my weight. With those data. I can use it with any exercise machine. Joel Ramirez. (I got a $42 garden-variety Garmin belt. Mainly.) I'm amazed how efficient it is to burn calories when everything is based on your . of course.) Once that's done. The beauty of the system is that it's portable. in Zone 1. To get started.) Smheart Link uses several free apps to manage fitness routines pegged to your heart rate. (As usual. the computer created a report on my current health--including the ideal fat-burning and carbohydrate-burning heart-rate zones for me. After each workout. like walking a tightrope with my heart. one of some 400 gyms in the U. I'm a C student.

One day I burned 1. Perhaps someday. My low-tech bike had estimated I burned only 550 calories. Pretty color graphs then compare intake with burn rate. (To lose. Gerald Neuberg.150 calories--an output that requires me to take a daily two. a cardiologist in New York City and an old friend. how much you typically burn. body heat and sweat 32 times per three-mile walk and do an hour on the bike. "It's engaging and motivating.000 "TruCalories" in 70 min. As it turns out." says Dr. A database on Bodybugg's website of foods and their calorie counts helps. The company says the calorie estimate is better than 90% accurate. I would surely slow down my eating. the user interface is excellent here. plus a recurring monthly fee) acts as the CIA. then run the data through an algorithm. which syncs to the Bodybugg and gives you a read on calories burned so far. The hardest part for me has been estimating how many calories I consume at each meal. ha. The Bodybugg is a collection of sensors that measure such things as motion. An online questionnaire helps you understand what you eat and sets daily goals. ha. . my daily burn target was 3. and I can manually add my own favorites. Still. That's nearly two mai tais. that would perfect the system: a nose-mounted camera that measures caloric intake. I also recommend getting the optional digital display wristband ($100). it's been working for me.) Given my penchant for booze and fatty foods. the Bodybugg ($249 for the device. surreptitiously monitoring my caloric burn. Then I periodically connect the Bodybugg to my laptop via a USB cable. a pound a week. "Feedback is great. the average human needs to consume 500 fewer calories per day than he burns. whom I called for a second opinion. and the device uploads to the site how many calories I burned. If I had a calorie meter reading everything I put in my mouth. But even these super-tailored workouts may not be enough. Ha.individual metabolism. The idea is to figure out how much you usually consume vs. Or I can just eat less. say." In fact. while the Smheart Link plays digital drill sergeant in my new life. how many steps you've taken and other real-time data.

2009 Chris Meier / Corbis The one guy is 63. "You do see that — someone lost their job.Dentists: Smiling in the Face of Recession By Sean Gregory Thursday. Woody Oakes. "You can fracture your teeth when you do that. . Ind. just lost his job at a health insurer.5% from 2007. and they come in with their jaws clenched. The stress caused them to grind their canines and molars. According to Sageworks." There's at least one profession for which the recession might not bite: dentistry. dentistry outpaced accounting. tax preparation. bookkeeping and payroll services. So they each wound up in the office of Dr.. one in college. dentists' offices had higher profit margins than any other industry in 2008. Feb. The other has three kids. and is afraid he'll never find another one. a dentist from New Albany. according to Sageworks. and lost his construction job." says Oakes. With average profit margins at 17%. 19. Dental margins rose about 1. legal services and mining support services among the top five performing professions in '08. who is also editor of the Profitable Dentist magazine. with a fractured tooth. a firm that tracks private-company financial performance.

2% in the fourth quarter of '08 compared with the third quarter. The device costs between $2. That has helped keep revenues strong. founder and president of the Academy of Dental CPAs. 'Do as much as you can do.'" says Dr. which can cost $30.000 for a full-mouth restoration. you want to look good going into an interview. But economic forces are more likely to be responsible. and if it doesn't hurt.500 and $4. people are still spending money on big-ticket dentistry. "In this job market. Dentists note that patients who receive limited or no insurance tend to skip cleanings and other dental maintenance during tough times as they look to save a few bucks. and you need to do it within 30 days!' " You would think cosmetic dentistry would completely collapse during a recession." says Cotumaccio. a dentist from Garden City. Who wants to part with thousands of dollars just to look good? But some evidence suggests that this business is still healthy. "Then all of a sudden you need a root canal. "It has .000 to $50. you want to feel good." At the same time. Cary Ganz.000-to-$60. "They say. December sales were 62% higher than those in October. they damn well better use their dental insurance. says last spring he saw a "miniboomlet" in these types of cases. rose 22. whose members provide accounting and tax-prep work for some 7.000 dentists across the country. who had his best year ever in 2008. 'I can't afford that right now. sales of Snap-on Smile. a much cheaper alternative than restorative veneers. insured patients want to hit the chair while they're still lucky enough to have the insurance. a cosmetic device that snaps over your teeth. "People know that if they're going to lose their job." says Rick Willeford. Snap-on Smile CEO Adam Cotumaccio has heard feedback that some patients buy the product for very practical purposes. Patients who've skipped checkups now have achy teeth and have no choice but to undergo a more expensive procedure. tooth-grinding and nervous eating habits — I'm going to chomp on chocolate as an escape — may be driving traffic to the drill. But dentists pick up even more revenue later on." Spindel. N.. "So they want to use their benefits.What could be keeping dentistry strong during this recession? Sure. Dr. "It's human nature to say. Plus. I don't have a problem. "We're seeing that a lot of folks are fearful of losing their jobs.000. a dentist in New York City. For example.Y.000 procedures this year." Spindel says. Lawrence Spindel. has done several $50.

it takes six to 12 months for economic trends to affect dental practice. "Traditionally." he says. "We're seeing a lot more open appointment books through March. "The full impact of the downturn may be yet to come.amazed me." ." Dr. "People think. "If people keep losing jobs. however. a dental-management consultancy. "I might as well put it my mouth. is also very cautious. CEO of the Levin Group. These dentists serve patients across a broad socioeconomic spectrum. who also reports having his best year ever." says Ganz." Dentists should still stay warily optimistic." says Willeford." says Ganz. we're going to edge off a cliff. people still have the need to take care of themselves. "Regardless of the economy. Rather than lose all this money in the market. Willeford reports an overall fourth-quarter slowdown among the Academy of Dental CPAs' clients. Roger Levin." Dentistry is not pain-free.

26. I didn't have the resources to do the full thing live. whereas most of my other records were done live a lot. People have been waiting a lifetime to hear you perform Astral Weeks live. that's one reason. SAN DIEGO This is the first time I've been able to do it with a full orchestra. . And I don't own the original record. Why did you pick this moment to finally do it? Laurie Miller. 2009 Van Morrison Listen to the Lion Films Inc. Feb. It kept coming up over the years. many more. and at the time. It seems like the songs are fresh now because they weren't performed very much.PEOPLE 10 Questions for Van Morrison By Van Morrison Thursday. There are many.

you get both at once. GA. Did you ever think songs like "Moondance" and "Brown Eyed Girl" would still be on the radio 40 years after you wrote them? Brett Tidwell. COLO. which is something I usually do when I want to get offstage very fast. why would you want to do business with a record company? Are albums/CDs still relevant? Gerald Whelan WESTMINSTER. They're still relevant to me because I'm not a download artist. But it seems the record companies all want to be . That's the interesting thing about this live recording. You can hear it. ST. MO. Some songs start with lyrics first and then the melody.What do you like best and hate most about performing live? Rudi Obermair SCHWANENSTADT. Downloads are a very small percentage of my product. and the record companies say. No. There are no plans right now. some of them. I've got about 300 other songs I think are better than that. TEXAS Sometimes you get the melody first. where both sort of worked at the same time. or do you work them out on an instrument? Philip Miller DOUBLE OAK. "Moondance" started out as a jazz instrumental that I'd written for saxophone. "Astral Weeks" was written more spontaneously. ATHENS." So if it's really bad. and it's a really bad time. LOUIS. Do melodies come to you spontaneously. "Brown Eyed Girl" I didn't perform for a long time because for me it was like a throwaway song. actually. We don't know where the record business is going. So I can open it up more rather than play songs that they know from the radio. AUSTRIA My favorite type of audience can follow me when I start stretching out. "We don't know what's happening. where the audience is following me. When will we see your out-of-print albums back in stores? Sean Nolan.

Absolutely not. ALA. You have worked with many famous musicians. And I'm not going there. . If you say something has got spirit or "I feel the spirit. so that's another reason I don't need them. I probably got more experienced. you know? More than any other artist. I wouldn't have become famous. I'm just getting back into doing what I want to do. W. Are there any musicians or groups today that excite you? Terry Yarbrough BIRMINGHAM. Do you think of yourself as more religious or more spiritual? Kristine Bybee-Finley HURRICANE. ATLANTA Well. Religion is a kind of word game. How different are you today as a musician than you were 40 years ago? Tim McLemore. that the mind and body and spirit are one thing. and I'm probably better at it than when I started. I didn't really have any choices. that would be more appropriate--spirit in the Aristotelian sense. you make me think about our connection to God. Is there anyone left you would like to do a project with? Matt Godin. and I got put in situations where I got ripped off. with handpicked musicians that I want to work with. Which is different from religion. that's up to the listeners. If I'd known what I know now." to me. BOSTON Not really. No. I had to become something I didn't want to be just to make a living. I'm not bored anymore.the agents for downloads.VA. so I don't really need to do that. It's all been done. for one thing. It's whatever it means to those individuals who are following that belief system. I was doing those kinds of things more out of boredom.

2009 A child suffering from malaria gets a dose of Coartem at a hospital in Tanzania. On the other hand.000 children under 5 each year. "Novartis could be making a lot more money making hypertension or diabetes medications that the people in the U. "Instead. In late January. the $42 billion firm has actively sought applause on the world stage. FREDERIC COURBET/WPN FOR TIME For the past nine years. it's investing real funds in finding medicines that will never be profitable. That's added up. the firm reports.SPECIAL SECTION A Better Deal on Malaria By Kathleen Kingsbury Thursday. and Europe would buy. Feb." . to public-health officials in the developing world at a loss totaling more than $253 million — not counting the millions spent on R&D. executive director of Roll Back Malaria. the company unveiled the first pediatric dose of Coartem — less bitter and easier to swallow than the adult version — which is expected to help in the battle against a disease that kills more than 700.S.000 lives saved." says Awa Coll-Seck. the drug company Novartis has been selling Coartem. Novartis' foray into fighting malaria is emblematic of the ongoing debate in health care about where good public relations gives way to real corporate responsibility. one of the most effective antimalarials on the market. to more than 550. True. Coartem is a drug that has virtually no commercial value in the highmargin markets of the global North. 26. a global partnership founded with the goal of halving the world's malaria cases by 2010.

'That's'.'" says Bradley Googins. "Companies have realized they can't just simply be bystanders anymore.A prepares a dose of Coartem for her child suffering from malaria at a hospital in Tanzania. Developed in 1994. FREDERIC COURBET/WPN FOR TIME Though malaria is both preventable and curable. the Geneva- . Novartis now spends more than $1 billion a year on ensuring better access to medicines. the pill combines artemisinin. where the mosquito-borne disease is most prevalent. many of those in the developing world struggle to get affordable treatment. with lumefantrine." For its part. In the past. a compound derived from a wormwood plant. Blame for that lack of access has been laid largely at the feet of Big Pharma. which does not kill parasites as quickly but lingers in the blood longer to help prevent resistance. executive director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. That Coartem was even discovered is remarkable. says Chris Hentschel. but we've got people dying here. CEO of one of Novartis' partners. long vilified for pricing medicine beyond the poor's reach and ignoring diseases that are endemic in poverty-stricken areas. designed by Chinese scientists. "The critics just got louder and said. The firm has built two research labs dedicated to preventing and curing neglected diseases such as dengue fever and tuberculosis and has pledged to eradicate leprosy. drugmakers have tried to justify high prices by the amount it takes to make major discoveries. But at the core of these programs is Coartem.

"We had the drug and the knowledge to help. however. all the malaria drugs developed were for prevention — that is." Hentschel says. FREDERIC COURBET/WPN FOR TIME Almost from the get-go." A packet of Coartem Disposable. or just about the cost of making it. "Historically. drugs for wealthy people going on vacation.based nonprofit Medicines for Malaria Venture.40-a-dose price tag was criticized by public-health officials and activists." Vasella says. "It was our responsibility to be engaged. Meanwhile. slashing that price again. Daniel Vasella. CEO of Novartis." . "A cure is for the common good. Dr. it ramped up production. to 80 cents — in other words. says the company realized it was pointless to try to sell a medication to people who couldn't afford it. taking a 20% loss. Then the drugmaker went one step further. So in 2001 the company signed an agreement with the World Health Organization to bring the price down to $1 per dose. Coartem's high $2. subsidizing plant cultivation in China and Kenya in order to be able to provide 100 million doses of Coartem a year throughout Africa and Asia.

. Novartis hopes its new pediatric dose — which the company spent the past four years developing — is the next step toward the eventual eradication of a childhood killer.A mother comforts her child that is suffering from malaria at a hospital in Tanzania." he says. Vasella recalls visiting a Catholic mission in a Tanzanian village recently and finding that the nuns there were still paying $1 per dose. and so far. Distribution — which is largely the job of health officials and NGOs — has proved particularly difficult. Until that happens. which makes finding the next new breakthrough antimalarial all the more vital. "We've heard reports of some charging as high as $8 a dose to get Coartem to remote areas. FREDERIC COURBET/WPN FOR TIME Making the product cheaply available isn't the whole answer. "We have all the intermediaries marking up the price dramatically." There is also the issue of drug resistance. no good solution has been found. The problem lies in how to successfully monitor the supply chain while still minimizing costs.

There will always be recessions. The latter have helped Paris maintain its lead over Singapore as the largest convention venue on earth. and the welcome mat will be out. with nearly 35 million visitors in 2008 (compared with more than 15 million for No. tourism-dependent Paris is looking for ways to ride out what promises to be a dismal. and tourists will always visit Paris. Paris is most frequently credited as the world's tourism capital. Paris has a unique balance of vacationers and business travelers. recession-plagued 2009. It generates more than $10 billion annually and accounts for nearly 150. and tourism is the single most important industry in the metropolis of over 10 million. 2 London. Feb.000 jobs--or 12% of the city's employment. Emmanuel Fradin for TIME Like most of the world's favored travel destinations. defying Parisians' reputation for a certain aloofness when it comes to receiving visitors. Unlike many capitals. . as long as there's a Louvre and an Eiffel Tower and that wondrous food. though. and 12 million for Hong Kong). 26. There are bargains to be had. They have gone there for centuries.Global Business > France Much Greater Paris By Bruce Crumley / Paris Thursday. Yet it's not a lack of tourists that has Paris' city fathers concerned about the future. 2009 La Grande Arche de la Defense is one of the most recognizable structures for tourists to visit in the suburb of Paris.

Real estate--cramped central Paris is a mere 41 sq. experts say. So how will the city of romance avoid being loved to death? The answer to that is something few might have expected. Paris got a dose of overload when Japanese visitors. Paris' Charles de Gaulle-which has increased capacity 20% since 2006--already operates four. with people traveling to or staying near attractions such as Versailles and its famed château to the west or the Marne-la-Vallée home of Disneyland Paris to the east. The city has no place to go but out. mi." says Jean-Bernard Bros. that's already happening. better-organized region is a major key to both the future of Paris and its tourism industry. deputy mayor of Paris in charge of tourism. But the plan is to now go farther in other directions and to all the suburbs. structuring the city within the framework of an enlarged. will involve throwing the city's arms open to its surrounding suburbs--including some associated more with blighted housing projects and periodic rioting than with culturefilled summer vacations. But that challenge carries with it a considerable opportunity for Paris-area authorities figuring out how to keep up with an expected boom in tourism over the next two decades.Getting to Paris is already becoming easier. Handling that influx is what concerns the planners most at l'hôtel de ville. the city hall. mi. Now think about Chinese and Indians arriving in similar numbers. That will be vital to keep pace with what some forecast to be a 75% to 100% increase in Paris-bound tourism in the next 20 years. armed with the supercharged yen. "Whether you call it Paris métropole or a Greater Paris. While London's maxed-out Heathrow Airport struggles to win approval to build a third runway. Officials say that effort involves reintegrating suburbs and populations victimized by racial and economic disadvantage into more affluent French society--a remedial move the rest of the country must also make. (105 sq km). and CDG has even more space set aside for considerable expansion. arrived by the 747-load in the 1980s. Increasing Paris' appeal to tourists. That may not compare badly with Manhattan's 24 sq. In tourism terms. (62 sq .

These places have long been protected by strict zoning laws prohibiting high-rises and imposing harmony on new buildings through regulation. offices and big hotels that couldn't be constructed in town." notes Paul Roll. First among them is the northern suburb of St. (1. Meanwhile. But building towers and big hotels in outlying suburbs.580 sq km) of Greater London. businesses and tourists somewhere Paris can't: high in the air. while the region benefits from innovative construction similar to London's. But it has limited the city's hotels to their current. director general of Paris' Office of Tourism and Conventions. cultural events and attractions and bustling life out there in skyscrapers. "In that way. he cites the skyscrapers built in the western enclave of La Défense for companies looking for headquarters. The unloved suburbs offer fewer impediments to growth. or a Trump Tower from giving the Palais Garnier a size complex. It similarly required architect Jean Nouvel to design the new Quai Branly Museum to achieve virtual invisibility to protect the grandeur of the neighboring Eiffel Tower. "The historical decision to preserve the buildings of intra muros Paris means that we're now pushing those walls into the surrounding suburbs in numerous ways. That safeguarding of the city's authentic Old World look and feel has prevented any Paris version of London's Gherkin from casting a shadow over the Louvre." he says. "won't get people flocking to them unless there's also business activity." Henriette Zoughebi says there's all that in places Parisians and tourists rarely think of looking. but it's dwarfed by New York City's total 305-sq.-Denis--known to much of France as the home of some of the most disaffected and explosive of the nation's . London and New York City can accommodate residents. (790 sq km) reach and the 610 sq.-mi. As an example. One of the elements that make Paris so appealing in the first place is the well-preserved state of the city's elegant buildings and neighborhoods (a product of Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann's ambitious redevelopment of the city in the mid-1800s). Paris remains protected. says Roll. relatively small structures--a handicap to both hoteliers and guests. mi.

Defying some predictions. meanwhile. cultural centers-there are also some of France's most vibrant and creative newer populations. they're surprised at what they find and are curious about what else there might be. the . comfortable. serving St. as people learn they can find new. In addition to visiting St. St. boasts popular tours of the architecturally stunning sports stadium Stade de France. and businesses have moved in. tourists are also inspecting Paris' peripheries. "Once people get out there.-Denis to the north.unemployment-racked housing projects.and subway-rail network is among the most efficient and dense in the world. 13.-Denis.-Denis's basilica and Versailles's château. Zoughebi." says Zoughebi. which was built to host the 1998 World Cup but has wound up becoming a magnet for the area since then. Ways need to be found to unclog saturated Parisian lines--particularly the No. Though Paris' commuter. "What many visitors don't discover until they get to that final resting place of France's ancient rulers is that right outside--in open markets. who also presides over the Paris--Ile-de-France Regional Tourism Committee. points out that St. Transport is the last and possibly most vital remaining element in improving Paris and its region's future--and not just for tourists. shops. more affordable accommodations and interesting cultural activities a short Métro ride away from central Paris. Trips to the National Dance Center in northeastern Pantin.-Denis also hosts the Basilica of St. an elected official on the regional council. "Tourism will also issue from that trend.-Denis--the burial place of French royalty since Clovis I--which French and foreign visitors flock to in spite of the area's less noble reputation. The answer is 'a lot'--and the same is true of most suburbs. We just have to connect people to them. offices and shops have been built in the Stade de France area since the Cup. Says Zoughebi. modern." To some degree." she says. its rolling stock is in need of significant modernization. the MAC/Val museum of contemporary art in the southeastern suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine and the City of Science and Industry on Paris' northern border with Aubervilliers are on the rise. that's already happening.

" says Bros. the rest of the world just likes to drop in from time to time. "The key to making Paris an even better place to visit is making it a better place to live--for Parisians as well as their neighbors. . the municipality plans to add 7. which runs east-west from the Etoile to the Bastille. the goal being to get Parisians to act with greater hospitality out of economic selfinterest (since go-out-of-your-way kindness to strangers is not. shall we say." Roll says.500 rooms to the existing stable of 75. Three different plans that would cost tens of billions of dollars are being studied to renovate and extend existing Métro and commuter lines and build a circular rail link around the city. and the parallel RER commuter line. 1 main line that all tourists use. Certainly. To address the looming shortfall of hotel rooms. Tourism boards have set up information and hospitality offices at airports and throughout metro Paris.No. a rating many nations already have. To help tourists choose. "You can relieve a lot of traffic pressure within Paris itself by allowing suburban commuters to get to work in other suburbs without passing through Paris--which also saves them time and offers visitors a new opportunity of getting around and seeing things too. To that end." It's Parisians' town too.000 over the next few years. a particular Parisian strength). "The real attraction Paris offers visitors is the peerless lifestyle and experience of being a Parisian during their stay. a direct rail link from central Paris to Charles de Gaulle is expected to go into service in 2013. it will also be designed to make the area a more pleasant place for residents. improving tourists' stays is the best way for Paris to hang on to the largest slice of a global tourism pie valued at nearly $900 billion. connecting its first row of suburbs and two airports. Yet even as the effort to reconnect Paris to its suburbs seeks to cater better to tourists. officials have introduced a fifth star for hotels. Paris is rolling out a campaign introducing new quality standards for businesses serving tourists. And as part of the transport revamp.

It's understandable if you want to dismiss the hundreds of millions spent on someone else's stuff as just another example of clueless extravagance in an age of thrift. But for those with means. As Christie's Giovanna Bertazzoni said of the viewing. but the real investment is in something far scarcer: Saint Laurent's eye. Oh. his love of beauty and mannerisms and the exotic dream world within which he lived. Feb. if not their pennies. . He introduced them to a universe of color and dared them to adopt a male silhouette. and it was not a sale at all but an auction of the art collected by the late iconic French designer Yves Saint Laurent and his business and former life partner. Pierre Bergé. there was something else for sale. 26. Just not so much that they're willing to bypass a rare opportunity to pay $37. gives new meaning to provenance. who announced that proceeds from the three-day sale--$484 million total-would be donated to charity. Today a Russian oligarch or a Park Avenue hedge-fund manager might still have the bucks to buy Saint Laurent's Matisse. The Sale of the Century. was held at Paris' Grand Palais.7 million for a Brancusi statue or $46. revolutionizing the way men see women and women see themselves.NOTEBOOK The Moment By Kate Betts Thursday. which was open to the public. as valuable and just as likely to drive a person to irrational spending as a masterpiece: taste. 2009 Perhaps you've heard: The very rich are not like you and me. "it gives ordinary people the experience of what it might be like to actually own works of this quality." Perhaps the greatest and last gesture of good taste came from Bergé. Saint Laurent changed everything about the way women exist in public life. To own a piece of art or an object collected by Saint Laurent. as it was called. Taste is a disappearing commodity. During his 45-year career. they're feeling the impact of the financial crisis and watching their portfolios.4 million for a Matisse. who helped define an aesthetic for the 20th century.

was overseen by Russian officials. but chief executives at private colleges reaped just 11 of the top 88 salaries awarded during the 2006-07 fiscal year.The World By Harriet Barovick Thursday." Bobby Jindal. Moscow will supply the Russianbuilt plant with nuclear fuel under a U. The plant should be operational by the end of the year. 3 | Washington Outearning the Boss Critics have blasted colleges for doling out lavish pay packages to their presidents. 26. Please Some of the Republican Party's highestprofile governors say they may reject a small percentage of the Federal Government's $787 billion stimulus funding in the name of fiscal conservatism. amid increasing international concern over its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. Haley Barbour. 2009 1 | Washington Easy on the Stimulus. . They say taking federal funds to expand unemployment insurance. A recent International Atomic Energy Agency report said Iran has enough uranium--albeit not weapons grade--to eventually make a bomb. Even those educators may feel the pinch soon: a separate survey warned that fundraising totals at major schools are dipping amid the recent economic swoon. South Carolina He says the stimulus package represents a "fundamental misdiagnosis of the problem. for example. which did not use fissile material." 2 | Iran Another Step Toward Nuclear Capabilities Iran successfully tested its first nuclear reactor in the southwestern port city of Bushehr on Feb. 25. according to a compensation analysis. Feb.N. Mississippi The former GOP chairman believes the stimulus plan is "filled with social policy and costs too much. The Bushehr test. Mark Sanford. arrangement meant to avoid its potential misuse. would create a future burden on their states and lead to tax increases. Louisiana The rumored 2012 presidential candidate deems it "irresponsible" to expand unemployment insurance.

3 million 3 MICHAEL JOHNS Emory University executive vice president of health affairs $3. government had him tortured prior to his transfer to Guantánamo Bay was released and returned to the U. soil--dropped all charges in October 2008. on Feb.1 million *LEFT VANDERBILT IN 2007 (SOURCES: CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION.K. 6 | Kyrgyzstan BYE-BYE.S.S. He says he was then sent to Morocco and Afghanistan and tortured before ending up at Gitmo. BASE Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted to unilaterally terminate a U. Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed (above) was arrested in Pakistan in 2002.4 million 2 DAVID SILVERS Columbia University professor of dermatology $4. Tests on mice produced promising results.Highest-paid private-college employees OVERALL 1 PETE CARROLL University of Southern California head football coach $4. Gordon Gee* Vanderbilt University $2. the only such facility left in central Asia.S. lease on Manas Air Base (above). although clinical trials with humans won't occur for a few years. The British government had been lobbying for Mohamed's release since 2007. IRS FORM 990) 4 | Boston A New Way to Fight the Flu Researchers have developed an antibodybased therapy for the flu virus that may help combat seasonal illnesses as well as more dangerous strains like the infamous H5N1 bird flu. and American authorities--who claimed he was planning a dirty-bomb attack on U. The antibodies attach to a part of the virus that is less mutation-prone than the section targeted by current vaccines (which must be redeveloped every year to counter the virus' changes). . COUNCIL FOR AID TO EDUCATION. 5 | London FREE AT LAST A former resident of Britain who claims that the U. 23.8 million PRESIDENT 15 E.

pledged over $2 billion in loans to bolster Kyrgyzstan's faltering economy shortly before the decision was made. pending further financial discussions. 9 | Argentina A Bishop Gets Booted A formerly excommunicated Roman Catholic bishop has been expelled from Argentina after publicly questioning accepted facts of the Holocaust and declining to recant without "proof" that the Nazis executed millions of Jews in gas chambers. Part Three Forget third time's a charm: President Barack Obama is probably just hoping there won't be a fourth. Bishop Richard Williamson. where Holocaust denial is a crime.depriving Washington of a crucial staging point for troops.S. After his first two picks for Commerce Secretary--New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg--withdrew their nominations. Moscow. Locke--should he decide to keep the job--is expected to focus on trade issues with Beijing. 10 | Israel Netanyahu: The New Boss Right-wing Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu has been tapped to form Israel's next government. The ruling. negotiators hope Manas will be reopened in the future. He still faces investigation in Germany. munitions and cargo destined for Afghanistan. though both parties insist that the aid was not contingent on the base's closure. The nation's first Chinese-American governor. 10 parliamentary . returned to his native Britain. revives a poisonous rivalry between Pakistan's main parties. which Sharif claims was ordered by President Asif Ali Zardari. 8 | Pakistan A Return to Turmoil Pakistan's Supreme Court barred opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz from holding elected office--a move that sparked nationwide protests among supporters. but not before scuffling with a reporter at a Buenos Aires airport. which has opposed America's presence in the region. a member of an ultraconservative sect. even though Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima party won one more seat in Israel's Feb. 7 | Washington Commerce. U. Sharif supporters have campaigned to reinstate members of the Supreme Court dismissed by ousted former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007. Obama has selected former Washington governor Gary Locke.

Results of Israel's parliamentary election KADIMA T. the average citizen tuned in to 151 hours of TV per month during the fourth quarter of 2008. Yishai OTHER (SOURCE: MALAM TEAM GROUP) RECESSION WATCH With mobile devices and Internet video affording a wider menu of viewing options and the dismal economy forcing people to hunker down at home. Netanyahu's support among far-right parties gave him the advantage over Livni. Lieberman LABOR E. According to a Nielsen report. Barak SHAS E. who under Israeli law is allowed to select the party leader best equipped to assemble a coalition. According to President Shimon Peres.election. . up from 145 the previous year. Netanyahu YISRAEL BEITENU A. Americans are watching more television than ever before. Livni LIKUD B. Netanyahu must forge his coalition within six weeks in order to be confirmed as Prime Minister. who has clashed with Likud on its hard-line stance regarding Palestinian peace talks.

who recently underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. U. homo-loving sons of guns.' JIM BUNNING. director of Baghdad's Displacement Committee. Senator. and you can get away with it.' NIKOS DENDIAS. after two of the nation's most infamous criminals orchestrated a brazen prison break via helicopter for the second time in three years 'You can do it.' TIGER WOODS. accepting the Best Actor Oscar for his role as gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk Back & Forth: . the world's No.Verbatim By DEPARTMENT Thursday. they will spend it unwisely because they are uneducated. on his return to the sport after an eight-month absence following major knee surgery 'I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg. 26. charging that its members robbed his great-grandfather's grave in 1918 'I will not tolerate this embarrassment. 2009 'If we give the money to the widows. greatgrandson of the famous Apache warrior. deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Moscow. lamenting the acquittal of three suspects in the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya 'My short game has gotten a little bit better. on his plan to pay men to marry Iraqi war widows and take control of their finances 'I believe strongly that his spirit was never released. Greek Justice Minister.' TATYANA LOKSHINA.' HARLYN GERONIMO.S. had less than nine months to live 'You commie. 1 golfer.' MAZIN AL-SHIHAN. misspelling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's name in a written apology.' SEAN PENN. who is suing Yale University's élite secret society Skull and Bones. after implying that Ginsburg. Feb.

I've never had a helicopter before.2 billion.' Media mogul RUPERT MURDOCH. apologizing in a written statement for the cartoon LEXICON Moral hazard n. pointing specifically to an order by the Bush Administration for a fleet of 28 new presidential helicopters 'The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me. Washington Post . CNN. from $6. slamming the New York Post for an editorial cartoon that depicted the police shooting of a chimpanzee with the caption "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill" 'I can assure you--without a doubt--that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation." -Wall Street Journal.The idea that people may take more risks when they know there's a safety net in place USAGE: "Administration officials say it is impossible to help large groups of borrowers without introducing some degree of what has come to be known as moral hazard.' JOHN MCCAIN. 21. Of course.1 billion Media 'It is not a reach to wonder whether the Post cartoonist was inferring that a monkey wrote it. saying he had asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review the project.Budget 'Your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One.' OBAMA. MSNBC.-. Reuters. New York Times. chairman of the New York Post. confronting President Barack Obama over the military's procurement process.' Civil rights leader AL SHARPTON. visit Sources: New York Times (2). 2009 For daily sound bites. whose cost has ballooned to $11. Feb.

Swiss Banks By Kate Pickert Thursday. After France. 26. Erich Hartmann / Magnum Along with Chocolate and Cheese. the consistent (not to mention neutral) Swiss franc attracted depositors. as many European currencies became unstable. incensed by the loss of revenue. but it's a safe bet that the decision by Swiss bank UBS to turn over the names of some accused tax evaders has a few of the world's richest criminals a bit nervous. In the wake of World War I. to be sure. Not an entirely fair characterization. Feb. 2009 Swiss banks' anonymity and confidentiality have attracted streams of illicit cash from around the world. Switzerland's tradition of financial discretion goes back at least to the 17th century. raided a Swiss bank's office in Paris and revealed the names on its accounts. the Swiss passed a law in 1934 making such disclosures . Switzerland is synonymous with secrecy: it's long been known as a place to put your money if you don't like taxes or you commit crimes for a living.

offices. Switzerland might not be the jurisdiction it should worry about. Faced with criticism from foreign governments.criminal.000 UBS employees working in U. which loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues every year on assets stashed overseas. When the U..25 billion compensation fund for Holocaust victims). Switzerland has changed some of its ways. Swiss banks both sheltered the assets of German Jews and accepted looted Nazi gold (and later set up a $1. . But that doesn't mean the banks open their vaults for just anyone.000 accounts.S. the bank refused.S. Of course. with some 27. It added laws to combat money-laundering and cracked down on numbered accounts in the 1990s. demanded that UBS release information on an additional 52. Corrupt leaders ranging from the Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos to Nigeria's Sani Abacha have used Swiss banks to hide ill-gotten gains. saying the move would violate Swiss law. Years later.

1 blockbuster that sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. 2009 Peaks and Valleys: Making Good and Bad Times Work for You--At Work and in Life By Spencer Johnson. 26. the pensées are punier. But was it really necessary to ape Johnson's motivational manual Who Moved My Cheese? in every way.The Skimmer By Andrea Sachs Thursday. Feb.D. print-endangered times. 103 pages You can hardly blame a publisher for wanting to play it safe in these economically treacherous. the author's previous book was a No. Here. from its distinctive cover to its format (inspirational parable) to its length (fleeting)? Granted. where he is instructed by a wise old man given to restating the obvious . M. but the difference is that his original was far superior: a deceptively simple but ultimately smart lesson on coping with the inevitability of change. Atria Books. A confused young Everyman journeys to the top of a mountain.

. The peaks and valleys of the title are the ups and downs of life that we all must master in our own way. Got it? Next time out. one hopes that the author--who has a genuine talent for motivating readers--will find the courage to look for some fresher cheese.("Find and use the good that is hidden in the bad time").

M. Feb.Pop Chart By DEPARTMENT Thursday. The recession has hit us all BEYONCE'S Oscar performance of "At Last" threatens to reignite feud with ETTA JAMES Third lowest ever rated Oscars declared success TOM HANKS to switch on Hadron Collider. We always knew Forrest Gump was smarter than he looked ANDY RICHTER to reunite with CONAN as Tonight Show announcer Old. 30 Rock writes itself PREDICTABLE The late TAMMY FAYE and PAMELA ANDERSON: Separated at birth? THE LOVE GURU wins worst-picture-of-the-year prize. 2009 SHOCKING Pushing the "celebrity"-memoir threshold even further. awesome Battlestar Galactica to big screen TRACY MORGAN in fish-tank-fire incident. sucky BATTLESTAR GALACTICA might beat new. KATHY GRIFFIN sells hers for a rumored $2 million NICKY HILTON makes a citizen's arrest--at an IHOP. 26. Night Shyamalan loses last chance to win award of any kind Change has not come to America. TROPICANA does an about-face on new OJ packaging .

exactly six weeks after eventual death of vampire craze NICOLE RICHIE realizes that getting pregnant is the only way she can gain weight JENNA JAMESON'S perfume line: lilac. orange blossom and crippling regret KIM KARDASHIAN regrets renting that chimp after all SLUMDOG kids live it up at Disneyland SHOCKINGLY PREDICTABLE .Third TWILIGHT film to be released in 2010.

Yet Christopher Nolan. . Under the Eye of the Clock. Bill Clinton's secretary. one of the first famous female bullfighters. REOPENED Five years after the atrocities committed within its walls shocked the world. Conchita Cintrón. Socks. on April 15. APPOINTED Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan. 2009 Milestones DIED A stray cat adopted by Chelsea Clinton when her father was governor of Arkansas. • A successful entrepreneur who owned the NBA's Utah Jazz. Abu Ghraib now touts modern amenities and humane treatment of its inmates. 64. he died of complications from diabetes. Feb. since 2001. He had been cared for by Betty Currie. Dolan will assume the post. perhaps the most prestigious in American Catholicism. became the nation's First Feline in 1993. 21. approximately 19. 43. became a literary sensation. besting authors like Ian McEwan and Seamus Heaney to capture the 1988 Whitbread Award for his autobiography. was tapped by Pope Benedict XVI to be the 10th Archbishop of New York City.Thursday. Larry Miller. 26. was a larger-than-life figure in the Beehive State. 86. forcing him to write with a "unicorn stick" strapped to his forehead. is still considered among the best. After a long battle. rechristened Baghdad Central Prison. 59. • She faced her first bull at 13 and notched more than 750 kills during a storied career. formally reopened on Feb. • Oxygen deprivation rendered him mute and quadriplegic at birth. The renovated jail. Known as a genial but steadfast defender of church orthodoxy.

The more I got to know him. 18 at 73. I was lucky to get that chance during his last few months. Max was the architect of choice for many of the city's prominent public projects. Adjaye is an acclaimed London-based architect . Max Bond died on Feb. Max Bond Jr. Feb. He was a great collaborator. From his office in New York City.Thursday. including the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. In a profession with few role models of color. I first discovered Max in the early '90s at the beginning of my career and was instantly a fan. 26. and worked with the Architects Renewal Committee of Harlem. able to hear and work with other voices and to push them toward realizing their goals. the more my admiration and love for this architect. his career became a reference point for others to emulate. 2009 J. Max left an incredible legacy that will continue to inspire our profession and open opportunities for future generations. He was a tireless campaigner for the inclusion and recognition of architects from the African diaspora. when we teamed up in a competition to design a new museum of African-American history and culture. Since meeting him. I had always had the goal of working with Max on a public commission. By David Adjaye The most accomplished and influential African-American architect of his generation. humanist and wonderful counselor increased.

he was educated at universities in London and Khartoum. That book was Season of Migration to the North. he worked for cultural organizations in the Middle East and Europe. including him. 18 at 80. I have over the years recommended the novel to dozens of people. Feb. Long before the era of globalization. and the beauty of his prose redefined fiction for me. 26. 2009 Tayeb Salih By Laila Lalami When I was in college. someone else in his village has undertaken the same voyage before him--with tragic consequences. who passed away in London on Feb. He wrote in his native Arabic and found great success in English translation. His death is a loss not just for his readers but for everything that binds us together. by the Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih. I had been writing for some time by then. his complex weaving of personal and political lives.Thursday. Secret Son. as if he were aware it would satiate a hunger I didn't know I had. Salih was a treasure. To make matters worse. For most of his life. who in turn have done the same. Season of Migration to the North is about one man's journey from Sudan to England and his return seven years later to find that everything and everyone. before the supposed clash of civilizations. Lalami's new novel. Like my college friend. although none of them inspired the kind of devotion that Season evokes in its readers. Salih came to represent what is best about cross-cultural encounters. but Salih's perceptive assessment of the relationship between East and West. a friend of mine pressed with great urgency a copy of a slim little novel into my hands. will be published in April . Born and raised in a small village on the bank of the Nile. Salih's other novels include The Wedding of Zein and the Bandarshah stories. has changed.

Rounding Up the Bad Guys . ST.C. Chen. Barrios. Carole Jackson. Alfred A. As a cancer survivor who has been through chemo-radiation therapy and surgery. COLO. who have. health professionals who are able to recognize that physical illness is often accompanied by complex emotional and spiritual challenges. OXFORD. Scientifically. MO. 26. The organization has accumulated about 2 million members since 1935. N. CULVER CITY. Yang K. and who can competently and sensitively address these concerns in order to take care of the whole person. 2009 A Spiritual Solution? I find it ironic that anyone in medicine would question whether faith and belief can heal when a good part of medicine's effectiveness can actually be traced to the power of belief: the placebo effect [Feb. are the most likely to achieve the desired clinical response with better patient satisfaction. I can attest to the myriad difficult psychological and social issues cancer patients have to grapple with. ENGLEWOOD. Feb. In my opinion." Gary K. 23].LETTERS Inbox By DEPARTMENT Thursday. Readers looking for a link between spirituality and health might also take a look at Alcoholics Anonymous. taken the step and "come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. JOSEPH. we can see that creating a positive belief in the possibility of being healed can actually facilitate healing. CALIF. among other actions.. Many of these healings are documented and well known to the medical community. How can you publish an entire feature on faith and healing and never once mention Christian Science? Christian Scientists have been healing reliably through prayer for more than 100 years.

bonuses and perks being paid to California's school superintendents and administrators? These measures should have been taken long before anyone thought about eliminating librarians and nurses. present and future. though. Even more outrageous was Dodd's acceptance of a VIP loan from Countrywide. cutting school hours . The economy continues to suffer while we point fingers. I can think of 25 reasons for the economic mess we are in. but none of them relate to specific people. MASS. Tim Grosscup. Each of them blocked attempts at tighter controls over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. MOUNTAIN VIEW. 1 and No. I'm surprised that Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank were left off the list of 25 people to blame for the economic meltdown. These two characters ought to be No. an expectation that the government will handle all our needs-you get the idea. Jennifer Payne. instant gratification. We can all take blame. CALIF. If it sounds too good to be true. The culture into which we have evolved includes no moral compass and is based on greed. No matter how nicely packaged the subprime mortgages were or how pretty those overpriced houses looked. It is nice to see who is responsible for this implosion. it probably is? Annalisa Michielli. selfish disregard for others. VILLA PARK. 2 in the lineup.Thank you for the list of 25 people to blame for the economic mess [Feb. ILL. Each of them chairs a committee with oversight of banking and housing. 23]. if it were not for the consumer's utter gullibility. the two sectors that got us into this mess. Teaching Us How to Cut Back Re your story on slashing education budgets [Feb. DALLAS Though the article "25 People to Blame" was insightful. MEDWAY. Does no one remember the housing bust of the 1990s? How about the adage. 1. Joe Gordon. I cannot help but wonder why we are wasting time trying to place blame when we have so many problems to solve. I do think you should have put the American Consumer at No. we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with. 23]: Why isn't anyone cutting the excessive salaries.

when we were developing electronic-speech synthesis. Three cheers for Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for voting their conscience! Uta M. In fact. Since separate but equal is not to be tolerated. I am confused. NASHVILLE Mavericks in Maine I was so pleased to read your article "The Power of Two" [Feb. 23]. I hope it is just a phase and will disappear from music soon. there is usually an undertone of racism. 16]: As an R&D engineer.or increasing the number of pupils per teacher. Yet when there is a segregated all-white institution. Out of Tune Re your story "Singer's Little Helper" [Feb. It isn't too late to do the right thing. Celebrating Segregation? After reading Laura Fitzpatrick's article on Savannah State University. it's with a degree of pride. WIS. I have been upset that we as Americans put so much emphasis on "party" voting rather than issue voting. PHOENIX . back in the '80s. Our children can learn very well by going back to the basics of education. 23]. John Vogt. Which is pride. and which is racism? Stephen E. Behrens. CALIF. For years. Johnson. and I agree that Auto-Tune works well. I was struck by a familiar pattern [Feb. MADISON. it sounds sickening. it sounds as if something went wrong. When African Americans talk about African-American segregated institutions. So when I hear it today. But when artists use it to make their voices sound artificial. that same artificiality was considered unpleasant and an indicator that we needed to improve our algorithms or our hardware. I've designed many digital special effects. Paul Schmidt. Peggy Hadaway MORENO VALLEY. Get real! There are no crises in our schools that can be solved by throwing more money at them. LINDENHURST. ILL. family support and discipline that in themselves do not cost much money.

23]: I can fully agree with those who believe the U. They voted to help the banks and money institutions in TARP. 23]. N. Wow.and lowincome citizens. FREEHOLD. I used to take my son to Yankees games. The love of the "crowd-pleasing homers" has outshined the love of the game.S. Will Markham. N. but we shouldn't forget all the dope-free players in the major leagues who still manage to awe cynical fans like me with their natural athleticism and passion for the sport. agility and strength would inspire him. MAINE Words can't express how disappointed I am by Alex Rodriguez's steroid use. RAYMOND. I still believe! Mason Wood. Scott Fowler. Don't Interfere with Iran Re "Talking and Listening to Iran" [Feb. I can understand why players like Rodriguez feel the need to use steroids to keep up. has no justified reason to interfere with domestic policies and practices in . hoping that Rodriguez's talent. Ron Reich. Now I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that A-Rod's lying and cheating skills don't rub off on him instead. GRAND HAVEN.J.How ironic and reprehensible that the Republican minority in the House and all but three of the Republican members in the Senate refused to vote for President Obama's economic-stimulus plan. socially moderate-what's not to like? It sounds like the "Maine-iacs" have cornered the market on common sense. and he has always been a favorite of mine. MICH. Could we get an exemption on human cloning long enough to copy Collins and Snowe enough times to replace the rest of the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and perhaps the House as well? Fiscally conservative. Feb. I have followed his career through the years.Y. but when it came to voting for assistance to middle. A-Wrong David Von Drehle's piece on a-rod was right on the money [The Moment. WESTCHESTER. Baseball culture has deteriorated into nothing more than a strongman competition. they refused to respond.

Iran. . David Bartholomew. Obviously.S. people there resent our objective of imposing our desires on them. ILL. Doing so just creates more enemies of the U. DUNDEE.

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