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

"I had a visit from a corporate executive who moved to town and bought a house. an urban revitalization project created by Congress. But this guy's one strike was moving from Florida. employers have stopped hiring — and home values continue to fall. One bad risk or misjudgment of the heart. 400." Which should be fine. it's not just the subprime suckers going down. Or maybe your marriage breaks up.5 million in 2009. Trouble stretches beyond the province of liar loans.000 foreclosure cases a day. a big wheel need not fear a big mortgage. but you're stuck with a house you can't sell." We have entered the one-strike-and-you're-out era. Mr. Consumers have stopped spending. as gray skies hung low over the vast horizon. factories have stopped operating. Higgins said. For millions of people. and that one was ." he continued. and you have to liquidate your assets at today's prices. A decade ago. One lost job. "It sounds crazy. If you lose a job. Or maybe you need to move to find that new job. One medical emergency. the margin between getting by and getting buried is becoming as thin and as bloody as a razor blade. you're going to have a hard time finding another that pays as much. 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. America may see 2." Wagoner says. A hard rain now falls on the just as well as the unjust. the more you're paid." said Lindley Higgins. condo-flipping and the collateralized debt obligations that no one fully understands. "but I'd say unless you're making over $350. Exec was stuck with his old house too.000 foreclosures nationwide was a busy year. "I've seen more people lose their houses in the past year than in the previous nine years put together." Wagoner said one recent afternoon." In the one-strike economy. where the real estate market is so screwed up that judges in one county are hearing nearly 1. the applied-research manager at NeighborWorks America. "The other day.000 a year.circumstances could send another customer through his door: "There are not a lot of second chances out there right now. the more vulnerable you are.

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

said the man. one room at a time. horn honking — none of it registered with the driver of a city trash truck. As Zachery bolted from the car. he was acting captain. he gasped out an answer. He was pursuing the ideal of the self-made entrepreneur. because he owed nearly twice the original purchase price.000.000. he used his equity to buy the heavy machinery required for his business. It needed renovation.and running on. . 2007. as he reflects on the upward path his life followed from that chance encounter. who turned into the path of the speeding haz-mat unit." How did he know? Zachery still wonders. and away they went. His was the textbook tale: a foot in the door. Siren blaring. and another American gets ahead. so he was almost certainly going to be late — but he had to try. The crash folded the front of Zachery's vehicle. demolishing houses condemned by the city. and his head spiderwebbed the windshield. Zachery's 41st birthday. driving a street sweeper. Eventually he started his own business. Normally. the man called out. so he rode in the passenger seat. Zachery was a veteran firefighter earning north of $60. It was July 13. and 50 blocks was a long way to run. lights flashing. Twenty-two years after his lucky break. and a call came in from a local hospital: chemical spill. As home values rose. and he was due downtown to take a test for a job with the fire department. He was working in the hazardousmaterials unit. He supported an aging mother. Zachery would have been behind the wheel of the truck. "The job is yours. he'd be locked out. Like most firefighters. The home cost him about $100. Then chance paid another visit. but on that day. a son in college. They arrived at the test site with moments to spare. he always had a second job — delivering pizzas. Climb in. a new wife and a stately old house on a large lot with big trees in the center of Kansas City. His car wouldn't start. some hard work and enterprise. with eerie conviction. which Zachery planned to do himself. but his ambition left him dangerously exposed when the housing market soured. installing meters for the power company. Zachery swallowed his misgivings. If he was late.

the fire department placed Zachery on full disability. his demolition business went into the tank. lost initiative. then when you need them. fixed-rate mortgage at 8. It was this math that led him to Wagoner's bankruptcy office. Zachery is under water. "I had an occupation. There are unexplained memory lapses. In time. He was in no condition to rip old houses apart.000 before taxes. I was at the top of the food chain. That leaves some $2. out of which he pays about $800 a month for medical insurance." The math looks like this.000 in unpaid medical bills and a similar amount in missed house payments. Zachery suffers from pain in his back and neck. he said: his pension pays him a little more than $50. the rules change." he said. he received an invitation from the company that services his mortgage to apply for a loan modification. Zachery told me. "You play by the rules. He has a 30-year. But no amount of documentation could resolve his bewilderment over what was happening to him. mood swings and depression — symptoms that eventually led doctors to a diagnosis of postconcussion syndrome.400 a month. As the saying goes. 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. now he was forced to sell his demolition equipment at a loss. As he shuttled from one doctor to the next.99% interest. his home equity is gone. the soft economy was suffocating. He has about $15. Houses comparable to his in more desirable neighborhoods are selling for less than the amount he owes to the Bank of New York Mellon. and even if he had been. for his mortgage and other expenses. He fell behind on his mortgage payments of $1. Zachery showed up for a recent interview at one of Kansas City's barbecue temples carrying a large box full of medical records. His finances began to fall apart. he said. His mother passed away. Then I happened to show up for work on my birthday — and everything since then has just spiraled. Having pledged his home equity as collateral. He has no significant assets. His son had to leave college in Virginia to attend a school near home. keeping my head above water.The aftermath played out in slow motion — and is playing out still. at a time when the Federal Reserve is trying to push .647 per month. Late last year.

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

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

000-sq. and looking for work. her 3. "It's a hard time to be 56. a fact that discounts her charm while highlighting her lack of education. lost their appeal.000. . Many employers take only online applications nowadays. Sales tumbled. "You just send your résumé into cyberspace and hope that it works.that's what happens in this country if you're not educated. I'm not afraid of hard work. When the Kansas City operation finally closed in 2006." Along came the curveball. marketed in cow-spotted boxes.000. for the first time in her life. and insurance is a big problem. Now. After she fell four months behind on her payments. Her debt is actually two loans. 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. and the two payments combined are slightly more than $1. The company's stock price plummeted. Businesses are struggling." In the roughly 14 years that she has owned her home.400 per month. Real estate agents have advised her that she could not sell it for more than $145. Not both. she now owes about $159. 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. but her oldest daughter.000 on it. 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. At that time. Maggie. The second loan charges over 10%." she said matter-offactly." she lamented. in 2005. Gateway's personal computers. Fewer customers meant less customer support. going on 57. the bank moved to foreclose. "They're not allowed to say it." That's when she can manage a face-toface encounter at all. Stevens was among the last employees let go.-ft. "You can't go in and sell yourself anymore. Anyway. Stevens briefly considered letting the bank have the house. stores closed. house was appraised at $185. she's finding it difficult to talk her way into a new job. or she could pay the mortgage. the larger of which was recently modified from an adjustable rate to a fixed-rate note at 9% interest.

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

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.

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

In 2002. Although 2008 saw the second highest number of enforcement actions in the agency's history. In theory. Sensitive cases seemed to lag. Goldman Sachs. 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. key officials left the agency. It is a measure of the industry's comfort level with the SEC that investment banks. their parent corporations--huge holding companies with far-flung interests in hedge funds and other financial services--answered to no one but shareholders. it was only a matter of time before hyperleveraging came unraveled. but it did permit some government oversight of an otherwise unregulated industry--that is. investment houses. Lehman Brothers.Eventually. Aguirre was fired under Cox.S. A Voluntary Approach But the SEC was missing the much bigger and more important game. Critics say the SEC wanted to avoid upsetting the powerful securities industry. A pair of hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns collapsed in June 2007 as a result of huge losses in subprime mortgages.S. To avoid prying European eyes. One by one. William Donaldson. firms pleaded for the opportunity to find a regulator at home. lobbied for the commission to conduct the oversight. The U. While their brokerage businesses remained under SEC control. the European Union threatened to impose its own rules on Europe-based affiliates of the big U. enforcers at the SEC grew demoralized. five banks--Bear Stearns. The program had no teeth. Under Cox's predecessor. 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. Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley--offered to subject their parent companies to SEC oversight. as the value of penalties dropped. if SEC supervisors properly performed it. many involved smaller cases. when faced with the demand that they open their books. 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. Despite more bad news--a federal investigation .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

"The fact that Iraqis chose secular politicians over religious ones does not mean Iraq has become any less religious. That's why Hizballah did well elsewhere. Michael Wareing. Abdalhussein has just one." Improved security has enabled Britain's aid ministry to push ahead with infrastructure improvements and plans to woo foreign investors. a son born in 1981 — not long before her husband." says Emad al-Battat. Nouri al-Maliki. she opted for candidates she felt could offer "sustained security. ." He adds.19." 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). "The only people who listened [to local complaints] were [the militias]. In Basra. benefited from his action against the militias. jobs for young people and a better Iraq." says Mahmoud. Now they have to walk the walk. messages of national unity played better than did religious or sectarian appeals." That walk is strewed with trash. "We're always talking about the future of the children and what it holds for them. Tackling these problems is essential if the economy is to keep growing. Sayyed Ali al-Sistani. "We've been through many wars as a generation. "We have a new breed of politicians who can take Basra into a new phase. a conscript. Indeed." When Mahmoud voted in the regional elections in January. since last fall. The bloc affiliated with Iraq's Prime Minister. was killed fighting Iran. private polling undertaken by the British government has seen the poor state of public services and infrastructure leapfrog security as a popular concern. Unemployment currently stands at 17% and reaches 30% among younger Basrawis. 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. But the top priority of the Iraqi people is national unity. says Salmon. The provision of jobs and services is key to stability. We hope our children will have happier lives. "The politicians made promises. the streets of Basra are full of stinking tangles of plastic and organic matter. representative to Basra of Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric. They promise to tend to the needs of the people.

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

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

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. oh. oh. 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. the band returns on March 3 with an album called No Line on the Horizon. the soaring inarticulateness — "Ohhhhhh/ Oh. with the band flourishing in its contented third act as the one group people of all ages can agree on. 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. This lateversion U2 has produced a run of hits ("Beautiful Day. At least it seems that way until the arrival of the portentous line "I was born to sing . Having set the bar high. In the towering period that spanned The Joshua Tree to Zooropa.Early on." another catchy. It makes you giggle in amazement that the same old tricks keep generating new thrills. U2 proved that no one else is better at making universal small ones. The trouble begins with "Magnificent. thunderous love song out of the recent U2 playbook.N. oh. oh. chasing Bono up the scale note for note and yawp for yawp. No Line on the Horizon starts well. "I know a girl. the fickle female object of desire. not satisfied to rock you on "Sunday Bloody Sunday. and focus on writing songs whose chief ambition was to charm rather than to persuade." Bono screams on the title track. oh. thrusting us into the familiar cosmos of a U2 hit. There's the martial beat. It's a fine place to close the curtain. It offers up a few new hits for the wedding playlist. 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." he needed to convert you." "City of Blinding Lights") united by a lightness of theme and an ease of sound. Bono sang with a moral force that suggested Cotton Mather with a mullet. but No Line on the Horizon is mostly restless. Except that U2 isn't quite content. U2 gradually limbos underneath it. oh. After an almost five-year absence. It's not terrible. tentative and confused. oh." "Wild Honey. Unburdened by the need to make big statements. oh" — followed by the Edge chugga-chugga-chugging away on his guitar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

an indicator of what's on her dreaming mind. a color-field wall panel from 2002 that distills and abstracts the visual experience of water. Cézanne zut? Finished? Gone? Not a chance. you wonder just what that girl's hands are up to. Almost everybody learned from Cézanne. . 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. just as the old Frenchman distilled the forms of nature. The enduring reach of Cézanne can even be felt in Ellsworth Kelly's Lake II. The serene heft of Cézanne's many views of Mont Sainte-Victoire inform the muscular Maine landscapes of the American painter Marsden Hartley.pulse of sex. Given the phallic upper half of her head.

2009 David J. would hardly recognize Jupiter. 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. Jupiter holds other mortgage bonds--and not just any. giving them safety through diversity. 26. Jupiter's underwriter does not buy people's mortgages. .BUSINESS One Bad Bond By Stephen Gandel Thursday. Feb. Unlike a traditional bond. Phillip / AP Mortgage bonds used to be the stars of finance. Bankers from the 1970s. and you can understand why we're in trouble. collect the payments and pass them on to its investors. Instead. have a lot going for them: the vast majority of people. What's more. Home loans. when mortgage bonds first took off. mortgage bonds are made up of thousands of home loans. even today.

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

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

. 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. then the nation's seventh largest bank. Or maybe the crucial moment came in 1933 when Congress decreed that small depositors should be protected from bank failures by the FDIC. Feb. 26. was too big to fail and put the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in charge of it. 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. that's one way of looking at it. Or in 1913 when Congress created the Federal Reserve System to halt banking panics and regulate the money supply. You could also say bank nationalization began in 1984 when regulators decided that Continental Illinois. At least.Thursday. then the nation's seventh largest bank.

The point is that the current breathless talk about bank nationalization is more than a little historically obtuse. go back to the 1864 advent of the national banking system and the first federal bank regulator. there's no precise recipe.You could. in which government differentiated good banks from bad. now cited as a blueprint. so there would be no stigmatized bad ones--in return for preferred shares that promised income for taxpayers but no direct federal control. almost everyone seems to be in favor of continuing that partnership. if you really wanted to stretch it. seven years after he did. Beyond that. if you will--14 smallish banks so far this year. the Comptroller of the Currency. That's been combined with a mechanism to take bad loans and other unwanted assets. 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. this was understandable. We're talking tactics. even though the government guaranteed their assets. Successful bank cleanups in the past have involved triage. The rest of the country's banks remained in private hands. The government response in Sweden in the early 1990s. Now it's time for a different approach. Or even the chartering in 1791 of the partly government-owned Bank of the United States--Alexander Hamilton's baby. involved the takeover of precisely two banks. off banks' books. like real estate. In the context of the imminent collapse of the financial system that Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke feared. which died in 1811. The Paulson approach was to throw money at good banks and bad alike. our banking system has been a public-private partnership. Regulators deem them too . The FDIC has taken over--nationalized. judgments--guesswork. 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. At least since the founding of the Fed. The tough questions have to do with the banking giants.

and is negotiating a deal that would give it a big minority stake in Citigroup. and to be honest.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. we're stuck with more judgment calls. The toughest question of all may come down to which banks actually stand a chance of returning to health. But that isn't the standard banks are judged by. But it's not clear how exacting the tests will be. and relying on the market to determine the health of banks means succumbing to panic. . So for the moment. The argument against it is that execs solely answerable to taxpayers won't take the entrepreneurial risks needed to return their banks to health. Then again. 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. are probably insolvent and due for a total government takeover. 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 it has so far dismissed suggestions that it should take full control of Citi and other big banks. The Obama Administration has already said it will buy shares in banks that need more help. And guesses.S. In a panic. markets for certain assets simply stop functioning. nobody knows for sure how exacting they should be. Bank regulators have embarked on "stress tests" of the 19 largest banks to determine that.

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

S.. publichealth debate. Allen Lapey. food. And while these allergies are rising among all major racial and ethnic groups. food. are rushed to the emergency room suffering from an allergic reaction to food. Each year. children under 18 with a reported food allergy jumped 18% from 1997 to 2007. and the number of children hospitalized for food allergies has nearly quadrupled in recent years." he says. Nicholas Christakis. A waiter. The trend is not an entirely American phenomenon.S. who die from them — 15 to 20 a year — is relatively small. he said." Dr. Given all the attention paid in recent years to food allergies. "In this day and age. When asked about his editorial. European nations have posted increases similar to the one in the U. and instead the overresponse to food allergies is preposterous. the number of people in the U. a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital. the percentage of U. which he wrote after his son's school bus had to be evacuated because someone spotted a peanut on board. "We should be having a sober-minded.S. a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School. according to new data from the CDC. commented recently in the British Medical Journal. for example. soy or other allergens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "I just need to spend a little more time ordering and talk about how I could die. rates of peanut allergies among toddlers doubled . So forget pet dander and pollen.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. "But we don't remove flowers from schools or playgrounds. may not grasp the seriousness behind Noah's endless questions about the menu. it's the community reaction to them that is getting out of hand. allergy in pediatrics is all about food.S. More people die each year from bee stings. 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. 30.000 people in the U." Christakis notes that peanut and other food allergies are a real problem. they are climbing fastest among Hispanic children. and in a study of the relatively confined residents of Britain's Isle of Wight." says Dr. the abundance of caution is starting to trigger a backlash.

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

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. but when they reached the hospital. There has been no such treatment for passengers with milk or egg allergies. raised alarms that the slightest exposure could prove fatal. "Our allergist said. it's easy to understand the frenzy outside the doctor's office. "I was so confused and overwhelmed. director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. 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. who had eaten some peanut butter hours beforehand. When her daughter had a reaction several months later. Contact — in more like the vast majority who will never have that kind of reaction." says Dr. since the lungs of asthmatics are more prone to swelling and shutting down when aggravated. for example — through mucous membranes can also heighten the chances of an attack. It turned out that the girl also had asthma. which are more common but . Friedel didn't know when to use the syringe and called 911 instead. For the most part. a dangerous combination. The EMT told her she had made the right decision. 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 tolerate. an Ohio mom whose daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when she was 2. Here's a prescription and see you in a year. Even so. Hugh Sampson. Even the act of diagnosing allergies has become a source of confusion." Reports in 2005 of a peanut-allergic girl who died from anaphylactic shock after kissing her boyfriend. 'Here you go.' " says Dena Friedel. Too often parents of newly diagnosed children aren't given enough information about when and even how to inject the lifesaving epinephrine." she says. "the doctor yelled at me and said I should have used the EpiPen. 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.

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

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

"We want people to understand what they have to do in case of an allergic reaction. If she does not have a reaction. in four weeks. 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. but we don't want them to be so scared that they totally shelter allergic children.000-mg dose of peanut flour. because that is not realistic.000 mg of peanut protein — the equivalent of a dozen peanuts. 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. "It's a hard line to walk. lowering blood pressure . she will be among the first generation to conquer a food allergy. Hannah is now on a one-month reprieve from her daily pudding treatments." says Sampson. she will be challenged again with the same 5. 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." 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. If that happens.downed chocolate pudding mixed with 5.

135 '04-'06 9. wasps or bees) 82 Malnutrition 3.003 Accidental drowning 3.615 '01-'03 4..537 .. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . but cause fewer deaths than other hazards Food allergies 18 Lightning strikes 48 Stings (hornets.001 Sources: National Center for Health Statistics... Average hospital discharges per year of children with any diagnosis related to food allergies 1998-2000 2.AIRWAY CONSTRICTION Inflammation in the lungs can lead to difficulty breathing Food allergies are becoming more common .976 Accidental poisoning 23.618 Flu and pneumonia 63.

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

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

150 calories--an output that requires me to take a daily two. the average human needs to consume 500 fewer calories per day than he burns. Pretty color graphs then compare intake with burn rate. the Bodybugg ($249 for the device. . a pound a week. The company says the calorie estimate is better than 90% accurate. Then I periodically connect the Bodybugg to my laptop via a USB cable. and the device uploads to the site how many calories I burned. body heat and sweat 32 times per second. Ha." says Dr. The idea is to figure out how much you usually consume vs. whom I called for a second opinion. The hardest part for me has been estimating how many calories I consume at each meal. If I had a calorie meter reading everything I put in my mouth. that would perfect the system: a nose-mounted camera that measures caloric intake. An online questionnaire helps you understand what you eat and sets daily goals. My low-tech bike had estimated I burned only 550 calories. three-mile walk and do an hour on the bike." In fact. One day I burned 1.000 "TruCalories" in 70 min. I would surely slow down my eating. (To lose. Gerald Neuberg.) Given my penchant for booze and fatty foods.individual metabolism. a cardiologist in New York City and an old friend. how much you typically burn. ha. Or I can just eat less. The Bodybugg is a collection of sensors that measure such things as motion. the user interface is excellent here. ha. A database on Bodybugg's website of foods and their calorie counts helps. surreptitiously monitoring my caloric burn. while the Smheart Link plays digital drill sergeant in my new life. Perhaps someday. "It's engaging and motivating. how many steps you've taken and other real-time data. then run the data through an algorithm. I also recommend getting the optional digital display wristband ($100). That's nearly two mai tais. But even these super-tailored workouts may not be enough. which syncs to the Bodybugg and gives you a read on calories burned so far. my daily burn target was 3. Still. and I can manually add my own favorites. "Feedback is great. plus a recurring monthly fee) acts as the CIA. As it turns out. it's been working for me.

and they come in with their jaws clenched. a dentist from New Albany. The stress caused them to grind their canines and molars. legal services and mining support services among the top five performing professions in '08.Dentists: Smiling in the Face of Recession By Sean Gregory Thursday. The other has three kids. Dental margins rose about 1. . one in college. 2009 Chris Meier / Corbis The one guy is 63. according to Sageworks. Woody Oakes. bookkeeping and payroll services.. and is afraid he'll never find another one. tax preparation. "You can fracture your teeth when you do that. 19.5% from 2007. With average profit margins at 17%." There's at least one profession for which the recession might not bite: dentistry. "You do see that — someone lost their job. dentists' offices had higher profit margins than any other industry in 2008. a firm that tracks private-company financial performance. just lost his job at a health insurer." says Oakes. So they each wound up in the office of Dr. According to Sageworks. Feb. who is also editor of the Profitable Dentist magazine. Ind. and lost his construction job. with a fractured tooth. dentistry outpaced accounting.

rose 22. a dentist from Garden City. That has helped keep revenues strong." says Rick Willeford. December sales were 62% higher than those in October. 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. The device costs between $2.2% in the fourth quarter of '08 compared with the third quarter. "We're seeing that a lot of folks are fearful of losing their jobs.000 for a full-mouth restoration." says Cotumaccio. "People know that if they're going to lose their job. But dentists pick up even more revenue later on. tooth-grinding and nervous eating habits — I'm going to chomp on chocolate as an escape — may be driving traffic to the drill. and if it doesn't hurt. founder and president of the Academy of Dental CPAs. "In this job market. has done several $50. Plus.What could be keeping dentistry strong during this recession? Sure. Dr." At the same time. "Then all of a sudden you need a root canal. Patients who've skipped checkups now have achy teeth and have no choice but to undergo a more expensive procedure. "It has . Snap-on Smile CEO Adam Cotumaccio has heard feedback that some patients buy the product for very practical purposes. which can cost $30. Cary Ganz.'" says Dr. whose members provide accounting and tax-prep work for some 7. 'Do as much as you can do. you want to feel good. who had his best year ever in 2008. and you need to do it within 30 days!' " You would think cosmetic dentistry would completely collapse during a recession." Spindel.500 and $4. they damn well better use their dental insurance." Spindel says. Lawrence Spindel. a dentist in New York City..000. "They say. N.000 to $50. But economic forces are more likely to be responsible.000-to-$60. I don't have a problem. a cosmetic device that snaps over your teeth. For example.000 dentists across the country. "It's human nature to say.000 procedures this year. insured patients want to hit the chair while they're still lucky enough to have the insurance. says last spring he saw a "miniboomlet" in these types of cases. "So they want to use their benefits.Y. 'I can't afford that right now. people are still spending money on big-ticket dentistry. Who wants to part with thousands of dollars just to look good? But some evidence suggests that this business is still healthy. a much cheaper alternative than restorative veneers. you want to look good going into an interview. sales of Snap-on Smile.

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

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

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

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

000 children under 5 each year. That's added up. executive director of Roll Back Malaria.S. the drug company Novartis has been selling Coartem. and Europe would buy. it's investing real funds in finding medicines that will never be profitable. On the other hand. Coartem is a drug that has virtually no commercial value in the highmargin markets of the global North. FREDERIC COURBET/WPN FOR TIME For the past nine years. 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. a global partnership founded with the goal of halving the world's malaria cases by 2010. one of the most effective antimalarials on the market." says Awa Coll-Seck. the $42 billion firm has actively sought applause on the world stage. "Instead. 26.000 lives saved. True. In late January. "Novartis could be making a lot more money making hypertension or diabetes medications that the people in the U. the firm reports. 2009 A child suffering from malaria gets a dose of Coartem at a hospital in Tanzania." . to more than 550. 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.SPECIAL SECTION A Better Deal on Malaria By Kathleen Kingsbury Thursday. 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.

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

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

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

It generates more than $10 billion annually and accounts for nearly 150. as long as there's a Louvre and an Eiffel Tower and that wondrous food. defying Parisians' reputation for a certain aloofness when it comes to receiving visitors. There are bargains to be had. Paris is most frequently credited as the world's tourism capital. 26. though.000 jobs--or 12% of the city's employment. tourism-dependent Paris is looking for ways to ride out what promises to be a dismal. Emmanuel Fradin for TIME Like most of the world's favored travel destinations. Feb. They have gone there for centuries. The latter have helped Paris maintain its lead over Singapore as the largest convention venue on earth. Unlike many capitals. with nearly 35 million visitors in 2008 (compared with more than 15 million for No. 2009 La Grande Arche de la Defense is one of the most recognizable structures for tourists to visit in the suburb of Paris.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. . Paris has a unique balance of vacationers and business travelers. and 12 million for Hong Kong). There will always be recessions. and tourism is the single most important industry in the metropolis of over 10 million. 2 London. recession-plagued 2009. and the welcome mat will be out. and tourists will always visit Paris.

armed with the supercharged yen. "Whether you call it Paris métropole or a Greater Paris. So how will the city of romance avoid being loved to death? The answer to that is something few might have expected. arrived by the 747-load in the 1980s. the city hall. and CDG has even more space set aside for considerable expansion.Getting to Paris is already becoming easier. Paris got a dose of overload when Japanese visitors. better-organized region is a major key to both the future of Paris and its tourism industry. The city has no place to go but out. Increasing Paris' appeal to tourists. (105 sq km). 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. that's already happening. structuring the city within the framework of an enlarged. experts say. deputy mayor of Paris in charge of tourism. While London's maxed-out Heathrow Airport struggles to win approval to build a third runway. 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. 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. 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. Paris' Charles de Gaulle-which has increased capacity 20% since 2006--already operates four. That may not compare badly with Manhattan's 24 sq. In tourism terms. mi. Handling that influx is what concerns the planners most at l'hôtel de ville. (62 sq . But the plan is to now go farther in other directions and to all the suburbs. mi." says Jean-Bernard Bros. 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. Real estate--cramped central Paris is a mere 41 sq. Now think about Chinese and Indians arriving in similar numbers.

or a Trump Tower from giving the Palais Garnier a size complex. 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. "won't get people flocking to them unless there's also business activity. (790 sq km) reach and the 610 sq. businesses and tourists somewhere Paris can't: high in the air. Paris remains protected. But it has limited the city's hotels to their current. but it's dwarfed by New York City's total 305-sq." Henriette Zoughebi says there's all that in places Parisians and tourists rarely think of looking.-Denis--known to much of France as the home of some of the most disaffected and explosive of the nation's .km)." he says. 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). director general of Paris' Office of Tourism and Conventions. 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. cultural events and attractions and bustling life out there too. These places have long been protected by strict zoning laws prohibiting high-rises and imposing harmony on new buildings through regulation. As an example." notes Paul Roll. First among them is the northern suburb of St. offices and big hotels that couldn't be constructed in town. relatively small structures--a handicap to both hoteliers and guests. "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. London and New York City can accommodate residents. he cites the skyscrapers built in the western enclave of La Défense for companies looking for headquarters. "In that way. while the region benefits from innovative construction similar to London's.580 sq km) of Greater London. Meanwhile. (1.-mi. But building towers and big hotels in outlying suburbs. says Roll. in skyscrapers. mi. The unloved suburbs offer fewer impediments to growth.

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

500 rooms to the existing stable of 75. which runs east-west from the Etoile to the Bastille. a rating many nations already have. Tourism boards have set up information and hospitality offices at airports and throughout metro Paris. 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. officials have introduced a fifth star for hotels. shall we say. Certainly." It's Parisians' town too. connecting its first row of suburbs and two airports. 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. and the parallel RER commuter line. "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. And as part of the transport revamp. a direct rail link from central Paris to Charles de Gaulle is expected to go into service in 2013. "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. . it will also be designed to make the area a more pleasant place for residents. the rest of the world just likes to drop in from time to time. "The real attraction Paris offers visitors is the peerless lifestyle and experience of being a Parisian during their stay. To that end.No. 1 main line that all tourists use. a particular Parisian strength). To address the looming shortfall of hotel rooms. Yet even as the effort to reconnect Paris to its suburbs seeks to cater better to tourists." says Bros. the municipality plans to add 7. To help tourists choose.000 over the next few years." Roll says. Paris is rolling out a campaign introducing new quality standards for businesses serving tourists. 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.

Saint Laurent changed everything about the way women exist in public life. Oh. 2009 Perhaps you've heard: The very rich are not like you and me. which was open to the public. .7 million for a Brancusi statue or $46. if not their pennies. Taste is a disappearing commodity. The Sale of the Century. 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. As Christie's Giovanna Bertazzoni said of the viewing. "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. was held at Paris' Grand Palais.NOTEBOOK The Moment By Kate Betts Thursday.4 million for a Matisse. gives new meaning to provenance. 26. as it was called. During his 45-year career. To own a piece of art or an object collected by Saint Laurent. Just not so much that they're willing to bypass a rare opportunity to pay $37. But for those with means. revolutionizing the way men see women and women see themselves. as valuable and just as likely to drive a person to irrational spending as a masterpiece: taste. they're feeling the impact of the financial crisis and watching their portfolios. 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. He introduced them to a universe of color and dared them to adopt a male silhouette. Feb. who helped define an aesthetic for the 20th century. Pierre Bergé. there was something else for sale. 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. but the real investment is in something far scarcer: Saint Laurent's eye. his love of beauty and mannerisms and the exotic dream world within which he lived.

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

BASE Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted to unilaterally terminate a U.K.S. on Feb.S. and American authorities--who claimed he was planning a dirty-bomb attack on U. . 23.3 million 3 MICHAEL JOHNS Emory University executive vice president of health affairs $3. lease on Manas Air Base (above). although clinical trials with humans won't occur for a few years.1 million *LEFT VANDERBILT IN 2007 (SOURCES: CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION. COUNCIL FOR AID TO EDUCATION.Highest-paid private-college employees OVERALL 1 PETE CARROLL University of Southern California head football coach $4. Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed (above) was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. Gordon Gee* Vanderbilt University $2. 6 | Kyrgyzstan BYE-BYE. 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.8 million PRESIDENT 15 E. soil--dropped all charges in October 2008. The British government had been lobbying for Mohamed's release since 2007. Tests on mice produced promising results. 5 | London FREE AT LAST A former resident of Britain who claims that the U.4 million 2 DAVID SILVERS Columbia University professor of dermatology $4. the only such facility left in central Asia. 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). He says he was then sent to Morocco and Afghanistan and tortured before ending up at Gitmo.S. government had him tortured prior to his transfer to Guantánamo Bay was released and returned to the U.

which has opposed America's presence in the region. U. 10 | Israel Netanyahu: The New Boss Right-wing Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu has been tapped to form Israel's next government.S. negotiators hope Manas will be reopened in the future. returned to his native Britain. The ruling. Locke--should he decide to keep the job--is expected to focus on trade issues with Beijing. 7 | Washington Commerce. even though Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima party won one more seat in Israel's Feb. pledged over $2 billion in loans to bolster Kyrgyzstan's faltering economy shortly before the decision was made. revives a poisonous rivalry between Pakistan's main parties. Moscow. which Sharif claims was ordered by President Asif Ali Zardari. Bishop Richard Williamson. a member of an ultraconservative sect. munitions and cargo destined for Afghanistan.depriving Washington of a crucial staging point for troops. Part Three Forget third time's a charm: President Barack Obama is probably just hoping there won't be a fourth. 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. pending further financial discussions. but not before scuffling with a reporter at a Buenos Aires airport. though both parties insist that the aid was not contingent on the base's closure. Sharif supporters have campaigned to reinstate members of the Supreme Court dismissed by ousted former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007. After his first two picks for Commerce Secretary--New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg--withdrew their nominations. He still faces investigation in Germany. The nation's first Chinese-American governor. Obama has selected former Washington governor Gary Locke. where Holocaust denial is a crime. 10 parliamentary . 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.

Americans are watching more television than ever before. . Barak SHAS E. who under Israeli law is allowed to select the party leader best equipped to assemble a coalition. Livni LIKUD B. Results of Israel's parliamentary election KADIMA T. According to President Shimon Peres. Lieberman LABOR E.election. Netanyahu YISRAEL BEITENU A. who has clashed with Likud on its hard-line stance regarding Palestinian peace talks. 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 must forge his coalition within six weeks in order to be confirmed as Prime Minister. up from 145 the previous year. Netanyahu's support among far-right parties gave him the advantage over Livni. According to a Nielsen report.

lamenting the acquittal of three suspects in the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya 'My short game has gotten a little bit better. Senator.' TIGER WOODS. they will spend it unwisely because they are uneducated. 2009 'If we give the money to the widows. director of Baghdad's Displacement Committee. accepting the Best Actor Oscar for his role as gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk Back & Forth: . Feb. U. and you can get away with it. the world's No. deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Moscow. greatgrandson of the famous Apache warrior. 1 golfer. 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. 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. misspelling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's name in a written apology.S.' HARLYN GERONIMO.' TATYANA LOKSHINA.' JIM BUNNING. had less than nine months to live 'You commie. homo-loving sons of guns. who is suing Yale University's élite secret society Skull and Bones. Greek Justice Minister. after implying that Ginsburg.Verbatim By DEPARTMENT Thursday. on his return to the sport after an eight-month absence following major knee surgery 'I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg.' MAZIN AL-SHIHAN. charging that its members robbed his great-grandfather's grave in 1918 'I will not tolerate this embarrassment. 26.' NIKOS DENDIAS. who recently underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer.' SEAN PENN.

' Civil rights leader AL SHARPTON. 2009 For daily sound bites. 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. CNN. I've never had a helicopter before. MSNBC.' OBAMA. from $6.1 billion Media 'It is not a reach to wonder whether the Post cartoonist was inferring that a monkey wrote it. Feb. chairman of the New York Post. Reuters. New York Times.-. 21. confronting President Barack Obama over the military's procurement process. visit time. 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. apologizing in a written statement for the cartoon LEXICON Moral hazard n. Washington Post ." -Wall Street Journal.' JOHN MCCAIN.' Media mogul RUPERT MURDOCH.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.Budget 'Your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One. whose cost has ballooned to $11.2 Sources: New York Times (2). saying he had asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review the project. Of course.

Erich Hartmann / Magnum Along with Chocolate and Cheese. 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. to be sure. In the wake of World War I. incensed by the loss of revenue. After France. 26. raided a Swiss bank's office in Paris and revealed the names on its accounts. Switzerland's tradition of financial discretion goes back at least to the 17th century. as many European currencies became unstable. Feb.Swiss Banks By Kate Pickert Thursday. 2009 Swiss banks' anonymity and confidentiality have attracted streams of illicit cash from around the world. Not an entirely fair characterization. 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. the consistent (not to mention neutral) Swiss franc attracted depositors. the Swiss passed a law in 1934 making such disclosures .

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

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

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

M. 2009 SHOCKING Pushing the "celebrity"-memoir threshold even further. sucky BATTLESTAR GALACTICA might beat new. awesome Battlestar Galactica to big screen TRACY MORGAN in fish-tank-fire incident. 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. Night Shyamalan loses last chance to win award of any kind Change has not come to America. 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. TROPICANA does an about-face on new OJ packaging . We always knew Forrest Gump was smarter than he looked ANDY RICHTER to reunite with CONAN as Tonight Show announcer Old. Feb. 26. KATHY GRIFFIN sells hers for a rumored $2 million NICKY HILTON makes a citizen's arrest--at an IHOP.Pop Chart By DEPARTMENT Thursday.

orange blossom and crippling regret KIM KARDASHIAN regrets renting that chimp after all SLUMDOG kids live it up at Disneyland SHOCKINGLY PREDICTABLE . 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.Third TWILIGHT film to be released in 2010.

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

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

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

taken the step and "come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Carole Jackson. Barrios. Feb. Alfred A.LETTERS Inbox By DEPARTMENT Thursday.. Scientifically. who have. MO. OXFORD. health professionals who are able to recognize that physical illness is often accompanied by complex emotional and spiritual challenges. 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. Many of these healings are documented and well known to the medical community. CULVER CITY. we can see that creating a positive belief in the possibility of being healed can actually facilitate healing. among other actions. I can attest to the myriad difficult psychological and social issues cancer patients have to grapple with. Rounding Up the Bad Guys .C. As a cancer survivor who has been through chemo-radiation therapy and surgery. 26. In my opinion. Chen. Yang K. 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. COLO." Gary K. JOSEPH. are the most likely to achieve the desired clinical response with better patient satisfaction. and who can competently and sensitively address these concerns in order to take care of the whole person. ST. CALIF. 23]. Readers looking for a link between spirituality and health might also take a look at Alcoholics Anonymous. ENGLEWOOD. N. The organization has accumulated about 2 million members since 1935.

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

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

S. 23]: I can fully agree with those who believe the U. FREEHOLD. I used to take my son to Yankees games. I can understand why players like Rodriguez feel the need to use steroids to keep up. Scott Fowler.and lowincome citizens. has no justified reason to interfere with domestic policies and practices in . and he has always been a favorite of mine. 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.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. Don't Interfere with Iran Re "Talking and Listening to Iran" [Feb. they refused to respond.J. Wow. MICH. RAYMOND. N. Feb. Ron Reich. Baseball culture has deteriorated into nothing more than a strongman competition. but when it came to voting for assistance to middle. socially moderate-what's not to like? It sounds like the "Maine-iacs" have cornered the market on common sense. Now I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that A-Rod's lying and cheating skills don't rub off on him instead. A-Wrong David Von Drehle's piece on a-rod was right on the money [The Moment. 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. I still believe! Mason Wood. They voted to help the banks and money institutions in TARP. WESTCHESTER. I have followed his career through the years. Will Markham. hoping that Rodriguez's talent. N. GRAND HAVEN. MAINE Words can't express how disappointed I am by Alex Rodriguez's steroid use. agility and strength would inspire him. The love of the "crowd-pleasing homers" has outshined the love of the game.Y. 23].

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

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