Newsweek Jan-02-15 -Jan-09-15

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United States
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English
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The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
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Weekly
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38
the bible: so misunderstood its a sin

They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation. They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words. This is no longer a matter of personal or private faith. With politicians, social leaders and even…

15
a startup of her own

“Before I tell you this story, let me set the stage.” I haven’t yet posed a question, or even cleared my throat, when Anne Greenwood launches into an anecdote about her colleague Sallie Krawcheck, the former president of the Global Wealth & Investment Management division of Bank of America and former chief financial officer of Citigroup. Krawcheck has been dubbed everything from “The Last Honest Analyst” (Fortune) to the “First Lady of Wall Street” (New York) to one of the 100 most creative people of 2014 (Fast Company). She was also fired twice, in spectacularly public ways, the first time during America’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Greenwood explains that she was leading one of Smith Barney’s top wealth-management offices in Boston when Krawcheck became chief executive officer in 2002.…

5
hail mary in havana: pope francis’s divine diplomacy

Call it a miracle, or simply an exercise in artful negotiation, but in brokering the historic talks between the United States and Cuba that ended a five-decade-long embargo, Pope Francis managed to accomplish something that had long eluded some of the world’s finest diplomats: resolving a seemingly intractable stalemate between two bitter Cold War rivals. Yet the pope’s ambassadorial audacity with Washington and Havana is perhaps only the start of a more subtle and assertive diplomacy from the pontiff in Latin America, Asia and perhaps even the Middle East. Indeed, the Cuba negotiations were so successful that one participant, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state in charge of the Holy See’s foreign affairs, called them a “model” for future talks. “What came together here was the flower of one of…

7
who gets hurt with russia’s falling ruble?

When an economic crisis looms, Russians go shopping. As the ruble crashed through new lows last month, tills buzzed late into the night in the mega-malls that surround Moscow’s ring road as Muscovites rushed to buy Ikea sofas, new cars and washing machines. Russian state television, attempting to put a cheerful spin on the ruble’s collapse, reported the panic buying as a “consumer boom.” Of course, the rush by Russians rush to spend their rapidly devaluing rubles is anything but a boom, and the buzz of tills is the sound of history repeating. Ordinary Russians are deploying survival skills learned during previous devaluations, in 1992, 1998 and 2008. Lesson number one is convert your rubles into anything hard and tangible, such as foreign currency or a new refrigerator. “Everyone knows the…

9
the fed’s special cookie jar

In spring 2009, a bank examiner inside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York called colleagues with worrisome news: Yet another crisis was brewing for Citigroup, the global banking giant that despite taking more than $476 billion in bailout cash and guarantees, the most of any rescued bank, was near collapse. That financially tumultuous spring, Citigroup wasn’t just another casualty in the fallout of the 2007-2008 mortgage meltdown. With around $1.9 trillion in assets, it was so woven into the fabric of American and global financial life, and so infested with soured mortgage-related loans and derivatives, that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had six months earlier deemed the behemoth too big to fail, later telling a government bailout inspector that it was “not even a close call to assist them.” Now the…

4
motherless tongue

Kunal Sarda remembers the first time a foreign language proved a crucial barrier. “I was traveling in France a few years ago, and I found myself caught in the back of a taxi at 2 in the morning without my wallet, trying to explain to the taxi driver what had happened but unable to do so,” recalls the 32-year-old entrepreneur. “My partner had a similar story; he was caught in China, really sick, and he could not explain to the pharmacist what medications he needed. He could actually see the medicine over the pharmacist’s shoulder.” Those frustrations led Sarda and his partner, Ryan Frankel, to found VerbalizeIt, a company that instantly pairs international travelers with live translators via phone call or video chat. In 2012, a few months after forming, the…