COVER: "Rudy's Roots" (p. 30). Senior Writer Suzanne Smalley looks at
GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's background and influences that
explain his moral code, which is at once rigid (in public) and flexible (in
private life). The roots of Giuliani's outsized, complex adult personality
can be traced back to his childhood and youth in New York City and Long
Island, to a family of cops and hoods and to a Catholic culture with a
strict moral code but always holding out the possibility of redemption and
grace. On the one hand, Giuliani has been a crusader against outlaw
policemen, as well as mobsters, pornographers, drug dealers, crooked
businessmen and politicians and death-dealing jihadists. He now offers
himself as the presidential candidate who would deliver us from evil, from
terrorism abroad and corruption at home. With Investigative Correspondents
Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, Religion Editor Lisa Miller and Miami
Bureau Chief Arian Campo-Flores.
THE MONEY CULTURE: "The Sermon on the Mall" (p. 22). Senior Writer Daniel Gross writes about the holiday shopping season and the annual doom and gloom predictions that come with it, and never really pan out. "Hardy American consumers have clearly conditioned themselves to shop till they drop in the frenzied five-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year's, no matter the distraction," Gross writes. And evidence suggests that buying toys for children, jewelry for spouses and "fruitcakes for those random folks for whom we have to buy presents isn't a matter of choice. It's compulsory at some level."
IRAQ: "There's No Place Like ... Iraq?" (p. 38). Baghdad Correspondent Larry Kaplow, Chief Foreign Correspondent Rod Nordland, and Special Correspondent Silvia Spring report that thousands of Iraqis are finally returning to Baghdad, lured by news of lessening bloodshed in the city and increasingly unwelcome in the neighboring lands where they tried to escape the war. Although they're scarcely a fraction of the roughly 2.2 million who have fled into exile since 2003, they represent a big shift: for the first time since the war began, more Iraqis seem to be reentering the country than leaving.
CAMPAIGN 2008: "Barack Strikes Back" (p. 42). Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe reports from the Barack Obama campaign, where the oblique, exceedingly polite Obama has vanished. The new Obama exchanges blows with Hillary Clinton -- in his own voice. Obama wanted to run a different style of campaign, true to his central message and he wouldn't sling mud. That approach seemed sure to fail. Clinton's message that she was tough and experienced, and Obama wasn't, was defining him and he wasn't responding. So at a debate in Philadelphia last month, he confronted his main rival head-on.
MIDDLE EAST: "Messiah On a Hill" (p. 44). Jerusalem Bureau Chief Kevin Peraino reports on Palestinian billionaire Munib al-Masri, who, like a Palestinian Ross Perot, recently announced he was forming a movement called the Palestine Forum to challenge the two major Palestinian factions. Al-Masri has a couple things going for him. One is the depth of Palestinian anger. Since its May coup in Gaza, Hamas has been strangled by Israeli and international sanctions. "If elections were held today, there's no chance Hamas would win," says Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki.
BUSINESS: "Ben & Jerry's Bitter Crunch"(p. 50). Senior Writer Suzanne Smalley reports on some Ben & Jerry's embittered franchisees who say the company misled them into investing their life savings in stores that were doomed to failure and did little to help them stay afloat. Ben & Jerry's says the complaints are either exaggerated or just plain wrong, and don't represent the experience of most of its franchisees.
CRIME: "Murder Most Wired" (p. 51). Special Correspondent Barbie Nadeau and Paris Bureau Chief Christopher Dickey report on the gruesome homicide case of 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy. Italy's Communications Police, a special division focused since the 1990s on pornographers, pedophiles and terrorists, have taken the lead in the case. Cell phone tracking gave police some of the initial breaks in the investigation, and they exploited the Web phone service Skype to nail the location of a key suspect after he'd left the country.
FAMILY: "Love, Loss-and Love" (p. 53). Chicago Correspondent Karen Springen reports on what families go through after the death of a child from cancer. Every year, about 25,000 kids under age 10 die, most from congenital analomies, unintentional injury (mainly car accidents), premature birth and cancer. The loss of a child can put tremendous stress on even the best marriages and the closest families. Springen talks to experts about how families can cope.
CULTURE: "A Director Confronts Some Dark Material" (p. 56). Senior Editor Devin Gordon previews the upcoming film version of "The Golden Compass" and reports on the religious controversy surrounding it. The Catholic League accuses author Philip Pullman of using the film as bait to lure children to his novels, where they will be ensnared by his atheist agenda. Pullman tells Gordon his only agenda is to get us to "turn the page." The film is an honest adaptation of the book. Director Chris Weitz says the film is not an attack on people of faith; it tells a story "that attempts to rescue the religious spirit from its perversion into political power."
THE ARTS: "Makeover for a Motor City Gem" (p. 60). Senior Editor Cathleen McGuigan reports on the reincarnated Detroit Institute of Arts, a museum stuffed with masterpieces that no one knows about. Detroit, a shrunken metropolis with a battered economy and a big image problem, is also a city of wondrous treasures, with the symphony, vibrant jazz and hiphop scenes, stunning architecture and the DIA. The $158 million DIA make-over made the expanded and renovated galleries easier to navigate and the art is displayed in a radical, user-friendly way.
TIP SHEET: "The Season to be Wary" (p. 63). Contributing Editor Linda Stern offers some guidelines on how to shop safely this holiday season and avoid toys that may contain lead or pose other dangers. Clean out the toy box, toss toys that your toddler has been chewing. Unpainted wood blocks are always a kid pleaser and stuffed animals, books, videos and athletic equipment might be a better choice than lots of brightly painted plastic pieces.
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