Monday, October 23, 2006

Horror in the French Quarter

Oct. 30, 2006:
A love story born in Katrina's shadow comes to a grisly close.

The first crime scene was merely gruesome: Zackery Bowen, a 28-year old New Orleanian, lay bloodied and limp last Tuesday after leaping from the rooftop terrace of a posh French Quarter hotel. But the second was unfathomable. "I had to take my own life," read a note in the dead man's pocket, "to pay for the one I took." Bowen went on to write that he had "calmly" strangled his girlfriend, Adriane "Addie" Hall, twelve days earlier. But he hadn't stopped there. When the cops arrived at the couple's apartment, they found Hall's charred head in a pot on the stove, her partially seasoned limbs on turkey-roasting pans in the oven and carefully chopped carrots still piled on the kitchen counter...

Remembering Michelle

Oct. 23, 2006:
UVM mourns a missing student found dead.

For a week she was missing, and then she was lost forever. As word spread through the small city of Burlington, Vt., Friday evening that police had finally found the body of University of Vermont senior Michelle Gardner-Quinn, hundreds of students gathered around "healing fires" on the campus's central quad. They sat or stood in small groups, with ribbons of green—Gardner-Quinn's favorite color—pinned to their coats. Some held candles, or Kleenex, or cups of hot chocolate. Others silently wrote prayers on pieces of kindling and placed them on the fires. Above a collage of old photographs, two words were printed: ALWAYS REMEMBERED...


Sept. 28, 2006:
MySpace gets all civic and stuff. has a knack for making comedians (Dane Cook), rock bands (Arctic Monkeys) and scantily-clad models (Tila Tequila) cool. But now the social-networking colossus is setting its sights on a slightly squarer property: the ballot box. On Wednesday, the site will begin steering its tens of millions of members to, a new in-house page where they can register to vote and—with a single click—tell their entire network of friends to follow. It's Rock the Vote goes viral. "Putting the simplest voter registration tool on a platform that already reaches 54 million unique monthly visitors is a huge step in promoting civic engagement," says Jeff Berman, MySpace's senior vice president for public affairs. "This is where people are spending their time. The potential is enormous"...

In Defense of Facebook's News Feed

Sept. 7, 2006:
Stalking people is fun.

You know those freakish siblings who are also the best of friends? Who talk regularly? Who hug on occasion? Who act like they "care" about each other? Well, my sister and I, not so much. Don't get me wrong. I love her and all—but this might be the first she's heard of it. Which is why when I logged on to late last night—like millions of bored teenagers and twentysomethings in bedrooms, dorm rooms and rented apartments everywhere—the words came as something of a surprise: "Laura Romano is in a relationship. 11:32pm." I'm 24. An older, warmer brother might have preferred to learn of his sister's budding romance in person. But I wouldn't have had it any other way...

Hot Subject

Aug. 21, 2006:
A is for Arabic.

As a college senior, Dana Stroul had just decided to study Arabic—and Mom was, well, skeptical. "We had some heavy talks," says Stroul. But this was after 9/11, and it wasn't long before the lucrative offers came rolling in: "Once she saw the opportunities, she was relieved." These days Stroul, 25, is earning her stripes as a counterterrorism analyst at DFI Government Services in Washington...

Pass the Haggis

Aug. 21, 2006:
Americans choose Scotland for college. Who knew?

At an age when most toddlers were singing along to Raffi, Zarya Rathe got hooked on Celtic music. She listened with her mom—a violinist—and played herself. So when the time came for college, Rathe applied to four schools in Scotland, ending up at the University of Edinburgh. "I wanted to do something different," she says. Except that when Rathe arrived in Gaelic 101, she was hardly alone. "It was all Americans"...

Can the Dems Win in Tennessee?

Aug. 14, 2006:
Harold Ford, Jr., and Bob Corker face off.

After a bitter primary, Tennessee Republicans chose former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker as their U.S. Senate candidate. But on the eve of the decisive day, it was the virtually unopposed Democrat who couldn't sleep. "I was up all night," says Harold Ford Jr., the young congressman campaigning to be the South's first black senator since Reconstruction. "Elections are like Christmas morning for me"...

How American Myths Are Made

Aug. 7, 2006:
The stories we tell to cope with national traumas.

The story of workaday men and women rising to greatness is one of America's most cherished myths. As a term, myth is much misunderstood; hearing it, many people take the word to mean "lie," when in fact a myth is a story, a narrative, that explains individual and national realities—how a person or a country came to be, why certain things happen in the course of a life or of history, and what fate may have in store for us. Myths are a peculiar hybrid of truth and falsehood, resentments and ambitions, dreams and dread. We all have personal myths running through our heads, and some chapters would withstand fact checking while others would fail miserably...

The Next Big Thing?

July 3, 2006:
The right marries talk radio and the netroots. Should Kos be scared?

Hugh Hewitt is a master of multitasking. Week after week, the sanguine, persistent pundit hosts his "center-right" talk radio show from a nondescript office in Orange County, Calif.—and more than a million people tune in. Two computers flank his mike. While on the air, Hewitt uses the first to surf news sites, then swivels to the second during breaks to update his well-trafficked blog. "Both spoken words and written words are powerful," he says. "Acting in harmony, the effect is exponential." Just ask Rick Santorum. In May, he urged Hewitt's listeners to fork over campaign funds, and the host, ever eager, posted a link. Donations shot up 500 percent...

Middle School of Rock

June 19, 2006:
Smells like 'tween spirit. Blame the internets.

Of all the bands debuting in Brooklyn bars last weekend, the most remarkable may have been the Tiny Masters of Today. Since December, the sibling duo's brief, bratty songs have tallied more than 13,000 listens on, prompting British record label Tigertrap to snap up their "Big Noise" EP, due out in July, long before they'd played a single show. Oh, and we forgot to mention: Ivan, guitar, is 12 years old—and Ada, bass, is 10...

Walking a New Beat

April 24, 2006:
How cops are using MySpace to crack cases.

As far as Jennifer Joffe was concerned, the party started the night of Feb. 23, when she let four friends raid the liquor cabinet of her mother's Boulder, Colo., mansion—and it ended when she stumbled up to bed. But the next morning it was clear that Joffe, 18, had missed some revelry. Mirrors were shattered. Walls were spattered with blood. Police say $40,000 worth of property was gone. And Joffe was certain that she'd been sexually assaulted (Joffe is a pseudonym; NEWSWEEK does not name sexual-assault victims). What she didn't know, however, was who was responsible for the rampage—and, without other witnesses, neither did Detective Ali Bartley. Until she spotted on Joffe's PC. "It was like a Pandora's box," says Bartley, who spent the next few days monitoring Joffe's online network of "friends" (and friends of friends) and assembling a "police lineup" of suspects from the portrait photos displayed on their profiles. By March 14, Bartley had arrested six young men—two of the original partygoers, plus four friends they invited over while Joffe slept—in connection with the crimes...

A 'Fantastic Voyage' Into Your G.I. Tract

Feb. 20, 2006:
A little videocamera that you can swallow. Trust me, I did it.

Gastroenterology has always been high on grossness and low on glamour, but you'd never know from visiting the Manhattan offices of Dr. James Aisenberg. On a recent evening, the lanky physician led a NEWSWEEK reporter into an exam room, lowered the lights and parked at a PC. Tonight's feature presentation: a full-color video of the reporter's empretzeled innards—from gullet to gut to small intestine. Eight hours earlier, he'd swallowed a bullet-size capsule—the PillCam—packed with a tiny blinking camera set to transmit two photos per second to a wearable hard drive. Now Aisenberg was pointing out a "beautiful" shot of the bile duct. "This is the sexiest technology imaginable," he says of the device, which he's used to detect digestive-tract ailments in more than 400 patients. "It's 'Fantastic Voyage'—and it's changed gastroenterology as much as any single breakthrough in the past 10 years"...

The Rise of the 'Yupster'

Jan. 9, 2006:
It's the Invasion of the Indie-Yuppies. Or the Grups. Or the Yupsters.

Music fans, rejoice: "list season"—that wintry instant when our nation's critics whittle a year of records into tidy top 10s—has come again. According to the album-review aggregators at, Bob Dylan scored highest in 2001. Tom Waits took '02, '03 was Led Zeppelin's year and Brian Wilson owned '04. So who's winning this round? Some guy named Sufjan Stevens. That's "SOOF-yawn"—in case you haven't heard of him...

Boeing's New Tailwind

Dec. 5, 2005:
Airbus falters; Boeing soars.

On Dec. 7, 2003, Boeing executives arrived in Dubai for the city's biennial air show—and they were hoping for some good news. After all, the company's profits and stock price were slumping, and with 13 years since the last new-model launch, its product lineup looked stale. But the worst headline was yet to come: by the year-end, Boeing would, for the first time, deliver fewer airplanes than rival Airbus...

Endless Dylan

Sept. 2, 2005:
Down in the flood.

How much Bob Dylan does one man really need? For me, the answer is “all of it.” You'd think 31 albums, eight live discs, four greatest-hits collections, two boxed sets, a pair of documentaries, one novel, one sketchbook, one movie and one motion-picture soundtrack was enough. But no. That was the tally two years ago. Then we got “Masked & Anonymous,” Dylan’s latest “movie” (I use the term loosely). Then SuperAudio CD reissues of his 15 must-have records. Then, the first volume of his "Chronicles.” Then his complete "Lyrics.” Then a concert disc recorded at New York's Philharmonic Hall on Halloween night, 1964. And—that’s right—I got all of it...