Newsweek December 13, 2013

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


is pope francis a socialist?

“It’s nothing short of miraculous,” Don Franco Ottonelli says as he admires his brainchild, a modern, new apartment complex for immigrants and the homeless near the center of Acqui Terme, a town in northwest Italy. Its 26 apartments, grassy courtyard, and adjoining soup kitchen were built with funds from the local church and the town council. Some might find any collaboration of Catholic priests and local politicians miraculous - the church of Rome moves slowly, and Italy’s burdensome bureaucracy can hobble even the most agile politician. But for Ottonelli, who worked on this project for 10 years, the miracle lies elsewhere: townspeople are stopping him in the street, offering to help. “In over 35 years as a parish priest, I’ve never witnessed anything like it,” he says. “They come up and say,…

your tax dollars at work … expensively

The budget debate now consuming Washington often seems to come down to guns versus butter, or at least its contemporary manifestation, Reaper Drones versus food stamps. What gets lost in the increasingly caustic rhetoric is just how inefficient the U.S. government is when it spends, especially when it is outsourcing tasks to hugely profitable private companies. Fortunately, the budget deal just worked out between the White House and Capitol Hill will prevent a government shutdown and all of its attendant global financial inconveniences. But it does nothing to curtail wasteful spending on companies that are among the nation’s richest and most powerful - from Booz Allen Hamilton, the $6 billion-a-year management-consulting firm, to Boeing, the defense contractor boasting $82 billion in worldwide sales. In theory, these contractors are supposed to save taxpayer money,…

’a graveyard for homosexuals’

In a bleak little apartment on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, nearly a dozen men in their 20s take turns trying on a pair of black skinny jeans and watching Project Runway episodes downloaded off YouTube. There’s no plumbing, Internet or furniture, but because the space is private, it’s paradise. When friends enter, they’re greeted with chirpy Hiiiiis - an homage to RuPaul’s Drag Race - before joining the jumble of cute boys sitting on the floor, drinking tea, eating spaghetti, and sharing photos from a recent “glamping” (glam camping) trip. Boche ruffles his boyfriend’s hair - they share this apartment with a friend -as he tells me how they met. Victor shows me the cursive tattoo over his heart: B.T.W., which stands for Lady Gaga’s acceptance anthem Born This Way.…

texas tea

For months, Tea Party conservatives in Texas have been praying for a challenge to incumbent Senator John Cornyn, whom they think of as a moderate. As the filing deadline of 6 p.m. Central Time on Monday approached, no credible candidate had stepped up. Then, minutes before 6 o’clock, the Tea Party got its wish. Representative Steve Stockman surprised nearly everyone by submitting his paperwork and announcing he would take on Cornyn in the 2014 primary. The race between a Tea Party darling and an establishment-backed incumbent promises to be one of the most explosive contests next year in a number of similarly high profile GOP races in which Republicans battle for the soul of their party. Stockman is just one of 435 members of the House and one of 36 from the state…

stuck in the middle

Last week, the United Nations Security Council put the tiny kingdom of Jordan center stage in its efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. It elected Jordan as one of its nonpermanent members, granting the small nation at the epicenter of the troubled region a key role in dispatching missions, appointing special envoys, imposing sanctions, and issuing ceasefires. The move is significant during this highly volatile time. Jordan, which has always had cordial relations with the five permanent members of the council - the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and the United States - will take up its new role as President of the Security Council, starting in January. The election of Jordan did not come as a surprise. After Saudi Arabia refused to accept the seat in October, Jordan -often considered…

the new spy catchers

Not that long ago, top FBI counterterrorism officials didn’t know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. And, judging from their public statements, didn’t really care. “You don’t need subject-matter expertise,” the FBI’s chief of counterterrorism, Gary Bald, said in one of several risible statements a few years ago by high-level FBI officials. “The subject-matter expertise is helpful, but it isn’t a prerequisite. It is certainly not what I look for in selecting an official for a position in the counterterrorism [program].” That was 2005. Now, slowly, and with little notice, the FBI is finally fielding a team of intelligence and counterterrorism leaders who came of age, professionally speaking, in the post-9/11 era. Unlike most of their FBI forebears, who impressed their bosses by collaring bank robbers, kidnappers, Mafia bosses, and white-collar criminals,…