Newsweek Oct-10-14

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39
south sudan, humanitarian failure & celebrity

March 2012, A Bar on the Nile It was mid-morning and the staff were still wiping down the bar and clearing away the empties when George Clooney ambled over to my table. Clooney had a couple of hours before he headed north to the fighting and we’d agreed to meet by the Nile, at the aid worker hotel where he stayed. The river was something to behold, a wide green trench filled with all the rain from the plains of Africa that cut due north, across the Sahara, all the way to the Mediterranean. But Clooney ignored the view. Instead he surveyed the grass-roof over the bar, the tiny collection of bottles clamped to the wall and the empty stools still grouped in small, convivial circles. “You been here at night?” asked…

14
the soothing sounds of bob ross

For decades, public television’s how-to-paint circuit has been dominated by one person: a gentle, Afro-haired landscape artist named Bob Ross. Through his half-hour show, The Joy of Painting—which originally aired between 1983 and 1994 and is still syndicated today—Ross has taught millions of viewers how to pull “happy clouds” and “happy trees” from their “almighty brushes.” Ross distinguished himself from other local-access artists with his self-love approach to landscapes. “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents,” he often said as he painted his tropical beaches and mountain ranges. The approach has worked: By 2001, six years after Ross’s death, his show had become a global phenomenon, prompting The New York Times to suggest that he could be “the most recognized painter since Picasso.” The popularity of The Joy of Painting, which began…

10
as dark money floods u.s. elections, regulators turn a blind eye

With apologies to the cast of Cabaret, dark money makes the political world go round. Confusing rules and a regulatory void in campaign finance have unleashed a tsunami of cash from anonymous donors that is expected to have unprecedented influence over the midterm elections in November. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission judgment in 2010, individuals—and big corporations—received a carte blanche to make unlimited anonymous financial donations to “nondisclosing” organizations, increasingly nonprofit groups whose primary mission is defined as “social welfare.” There are some guidelines: Such groups, categorized as 501(c)(4), can devote no more than half of their funds to political spending if they want to retain their nondisclosing tax-exempt status. The trouble is, who is holding them to account? Since the Internal Revenue Service…

2
two numbers: the gender pay gap

For decades now the pay gap between men and women has been debated in the United States. Does the gap really exist or can it be explained away by the choices women make in their education, careers and lifestyles? The pay gap is equal to the difference between median full time earnings for men and women, according to figures collected each year from the Census Bureau. Last year, the gap was 22 percent, meaning that a typical woman over the age of 15 working full time earned 22 percent less than a typical male over the age of 15 working full time. But there are big regional differences with the smallest pay gap found in Washington, D.C., at around 9 percent and largest in Louisiana at 34 percent. The current pay…

9
has the isis crisis pushed the cia into bed with hezbollah?

A few months ago, a former top CIA operative applied for a Lebanese visa to do some work in Beirut for an oil company. While he was waiting for approval, a package arrived at his client’s office. Inside was a full dossier on his CIA career. “It included things on where I had served, well back into 1990s,” said Charles Faddis, who ran the CIA’s covert action program in Kurdistan during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, among other top assignments. “It had details on my travels to Israel and Lebanon—years ago.” Faddis took it as a blunt message from Hezbollah, the Iran-backed partner in Lebanon’s coalition government that is equal parts political party, social service agency, occupying army and terrorist group. “It was their way of saying, ‘We…

6
hong kong’s student protesters want democracy—at any cost

Sitting in a Hong Kong café, Oscar Lai looks like many of Hong Kong’s young people: slight, bespectacled, with an earnest expression. It’s only when he gets up does it become clear he’s been doing more than focus on his studies recently: He’s walking with a limp and is about to see a doctor about his leg and the scratches on his shoulder, which he reveals by pulling down his T-shirt. “That’s where the police grabbed me and pushed me,” he says. Lai, a 20-year-old second-year university student, is one of the co-founders of Hong Kong’s Scholarism movement, a grouping of mainly high school students that has played a leading role in the city’s pro-democracy protests. He burst through police lines outside the Hong Kong government’s headquarters last month to reclaim…