Newsweek February 22, 2013

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


follow the leader

THE LATE American historian John Morton Blum begins his book The Pr ogressive Presidents by describing a political gathering on a hilltop in Ascutney, Vermont, in 1967. The people assembled there are not radicals, but liberals: “good burghers … respectable suburbanites.” And they have come to oppose not merely the Vietnam War, but the toxin that lies beneath it: excessive presidential power. Blum spends the rest of his book teasing out the irony: that once upon a time, to be an American liberal was to support “a strong presidency,” the kind of presidency created by Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, the “progressive presidents” Blum admires. Had Blum revisited his subject in 2007, he would have marveled at how well his thesis fared. By the late Bush years, people like the…

united by violence

SINCE NEWS broke on Valentine’s Day of the arrest on murder charges of Paralympian star Oscar Pistorius, a fascinating pretrial saga is already playing out in South African courts. Pistorius, we now know, will be arguing a defense of mistaken identity: that he killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, thinking she was an intruder. The state insists, however, that it can prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was premeditated murder. Time will tell which version of the story the courts accept. What is already clear, however, is that this is an incredible story of how South Africans’ lives are united by violence even in the face of their unequal realities. Pistorius is wealthy, earning millions of dollars annually in appearance fees, endorsements, and competition wins. Steenkamp, too, was a well-off South African model.…

park geun-hye

PARK GEUN-HYE has long been one of the most powerful women in South Korea, and when she is sworn in next week, she will make history as the first female president of the patriarchal conservative country. For those who’ve followed the political career of the “Queen of Elections,” as she is known, it isn’t a surprising turn of events. Park, 61, is nothing if not tenacious—a tenacity she may have inherited from her father, the late dictator Park Chunghee. Both her parents were assassinated, and she was herself once stabbed in the face by a disgruntled voter during an election campaign. Despite such adversity, Park has stayed the course to high office, leading her conservative Saenuri Party to numerous election victories—most recently in December, when she defeated her liberal rival,…

diy dialysis

SEVEN YEARS ago, a 25-year-old Chinese man name Fu Xuepeng was severely injured in a motorbike accident: paralyzed from the neck down, he was unable to breathe unaided. His family rushed him to Taizhou First People’s Hospital, where he was kept on a ventilator for four months. But the money soon ran out. Unable to pay their son’s $1,600-a-week medical bill, the family had no choice but to bring him home. The solution to this desperate situation? They bought an emergency, hand-powered ventilator and, together with other family members, took turns pumping in two-hour intervals. Their task eased when one son-inlaw rigged an electric motor to power the pump after dark. “If our son cannot care for us, we will care for him. As long as he’s still here, all…

scoop of the year

DAVID CORN knew he had landed a big scoop last summer when he obtained a video—surreptitiously recorded at a fundraiser— of Mitt Romney deriding the “47 percent” of voters who “believe that they are victims” and feel “entitled” to government benefits. But it still stunned him how quickly the “47 percent” remarks came to dominate the presidential campaign. And he has a theory about that: “Who gets to go to a $50,000-a-plate dinner and hear a candidate speak candidly?” says the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine. “It had a voyeuristic side to it.” Corn, whose scoop was back in the news this week, when it was recognized with a George Polk Award for Political Reporting, is best known as a fiercely liberal MSNBC commentator, a mile-a-minute talker who can…

‘awash in false findings’

THERE IS, writes Daniele Fanelli in a recent issue of Nature, something rotten in the state of scientific research—”an epidemic of false, biased, and falsified findings” where “only the most egregious cases of misconduct are discovered and punished.” A research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation at the University of Edinburgh, Fanelli is a leading thinker in an increasingly alarming field of scientific research: one that seeks to find out why it is that so much scientific research turns out to be wrong. For a long time the focus has either been on industry funding as a source of bias, particularly in drug research, or on those who deliberately commit fraud, such as the spectacular case of Diederik Stapel, a Dutch social psychologist who was…