Niall Ferguson blasts the Obama administration for its foreign-policy debacle in Egypt. Mike Giglio finds the Facebook freedom fighter who helped bring down 30 years of the country’s iron rule. Christopher Dickey unearths the family tragedy at the center of Hosni Mubarak’s fall. Plus, how much is Bristol Palin worth anyway, and is Alex Trebek in jeopardy?
Egypt: How Obama Blew it by Niall Ferguson
Newsweek’s new columnist makes his debut with a cover story on Obama’s Egypt mess and the strategic vacuum it exposes in the White House. Blasting the president’s foreign policy, Ferguson says President Obama missed Middle Eastern democracy’s revolutionary wave. The president faced stark alternatives. He could have tried to catch the wave by lending support to the youthful revolutionaries and riding it in a direction advantageous to American interests. Or he could have done nothing and let the forces of reaction prevail. With Egypt, Obama did both. The result has been a foreign-policy debacle.
The Facebook Freedom Fighter by Mike Giglio
With unique access to the Google executive who sparked the revolution and drawing on numerous interviews with the Egyptian before and after his 12-day detention, Mike Giglio tells the story of how a bespectacled techie became the reluctant and unlikely face of the revolution. Last week, Giglio broke the news internationally on The Daily Beast that Ghonim was El Shaheeed, the man behind the Facebook page that started the revolution.
The Tragedy of Mubarak by Christopher Dickey
The end of Hosni Mubarak didn’t begin with the protests in the streets of Cairo, but with the death of his grandson in 2009. Chris Dickey tells the story of the family tragedy behind Mubarak’s demise. As the light of Mubarak’s family went out, so did his faith in his son, Gamal, the anointed heir. The drama of Egypt’s ruling family rests at the center of the country’s dramatic revolution.
Fashion’s Surprising New Face by Robin Givhan
Michelle Obama’s glamour has democratized fashion and given rise to an unlikely star: Bonnie Morrison, fashion’s unlikeliest “It Girl.” There are still only a handful of black women regularly pictured in New York’s society pages. They include well-to-do doyennes of the city’s charity scene and young swans born into money, but none of them capture the moment in culture quite like Morrison.
The Last Company Town by Tony Dokoupil
Welcome to Scotia, California, the last company town in America, where everything is provided by the employer: houses, hospitals, bars. The logging town has been around since 1863, but now it’s on the brink of extinction: Its owner, the New York hedge fund Marathon Asset Management, plans to sell off the town. Even as Scotia’s Truman Show way of life may be disappearing, in this age of financial insecurity, far-flung family ties and slackening safety nets, the company town model has renewed appeal. Corporate giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have all adopted aspects of the company-town concept to entice workers and increase productivity.
Kitchen Influential by Katrina Heron
Tech tycoon Nathan Myhrvold serves up the ultimate cookbook, a 2,438-page manifesto on the art and science of what we eat. The wunderkind, who began his career as a research assistant to Stephen Hawking, went on to become chief technology officer for Bill Gates at Microsoft, and now leads an invention brain trust that has produced a shelf-busting, six-volume, 43-pound cookbook. Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, which goes on sale next month, is meant to be a true modernist manifesto.
Is Alex Trebek in Jeopardy? by Daniel Stone
Alex Trebek, the robotic Jeopardy! host, is about to get some competition from a real robot: Watson. Starting Feb. 14, just in time for February sweeps, Jeopardy! will air a three-night match between Watson (created by IBM), and the show’s two most successful players ever: Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Trebek, 70, tells Newsweek that he is “a pretty old computer” and a bit of technophobe: “I don’t text, I don’t access the Internet, I don’t blog, I don’t tweet.” The host hints that he may finally call it quits when his current contract expires in 2014. “I don’t want to do this forever,” he tells Newsweek.
A Tale of Two Bad Laws by George Will
The columnist looks at the collision of two laws in Ohio: health-care reform legislation and a “false statements” law, which prevents groups from making false statements about a candidate during a campaign. In Ohio, antiabortion Democrat Steve Driehaus battled with an antiabortion political action committee, which wanted to run ads claiming that Driehaus’ vote for health-care reform supported taxpayer-funded abortions. Will concludes that legislation that must be ambiguous and misleading, even to supporters, in order to be passed should not be passed. And, no good can come of a law that makes government the arbiter of the truth of political speech.
The Siren of the Financial Meltdown by Mary Ann Sieghart
Brainy, beautiful economist Dambisa Moyo castigates the West for its economic profligacy in a provocative new book. She talks with Newsweek about rising from Zambian roots to the heights of Davos. In her new book, How the West was Lost, Moyo argues that we have become feckless, overborrowed, and obsessed with consumer goods.
Bristol Palin, Inc.
Who’s paying big bucks to the daughter of Alaska’s former governor? Newsweek estimates the size of the Bristol-fueled industry, from speaking engagements to radio deals. As the mom and abstinence spokeswoman tries to trademark her own name, we count how much the junior Palin’s brand is worth. The big number? Over $6 million.
Who’s Eating Your Lunch?
AOL has been forced to become a content company and team up with The Huffington Post now that we all get our Internet from the cable guy. Newsweek presents an easy-to-use scorecard explaining which companies are killing, and who’s getting killed. We look at the biggest transformations taking place throughout the corporate landscape. Plus, a look ahead at which competitors are waiting in the wings to conquer companies like Google and Facebook.
Are Dogs Stealing Our Jobs? By Jesse Ellison
Among those in competition at the Westminster Dog Show this week is Elias, a Beauceron who spends his time off the runway sniffing out gluten in food to protect people with celiac disease. And as scientists better understand the power of a dog’s nose—100,000 times more sensitive than a human’s—canines are moving into other professions, too. A look at the Labradors, German shepherds, and Jack Russell terriers stealing our paychecks.
Sleep Your Way to An ‘A’ by Sharon Begley
Getting a good night’s sleep has long been known to cement the day’s memories, moving them from short-term storage into long-term holding, but new research shows that it’s not automatic. A night of Zs is helpful only if you know a test is coming or, more generally, if you explicitly tell yourself you’ll need the information in the future. In other words, don’t expect eight hours of shut-eye to help you on a pop quiz.