Paying tribute to the King
Tiger wins 13th major at PGA
Relief workers aid victims of devastating floods
Lucy to go on first U.S. tour
Celebrating Pakistan's 60th anniversary
As ice is lost, the Arctic could heat at a faster rate
Smithsonian hosts the National Powwow
Iowa ♥s Huckabee
When the ballots were finally counted in the Iowa straw poll on the evening of Aug. 11, former Governor Mitt Romney was the winner, with 31.5% of the vote. But it was Mike Huckabee, the laid-back former Governor of Arkansas, who bounded into the press tent ahead of the others to exult in his second-place finish. Romney's win was preordained--he spent a reported $2 million on the event and has led in Iowa polls since mid-May. But Huckabee, who has raised only $1.3 million all year and spent less than $150,000 on the straw poll, had scuffled with Kansas Senator Sam Brownback over the all important social-conservative vote.
Social conservatives have historically been overrepresented in Iowa politics: Iowa is the state, after all, where Pat Robertson won the 1988 straw poll. But in 2004, Karl Rove's strategy yielded 3.5 million newly registered Evangelicals nationally. Those born-again voters have been underwhelmed by the 2008 GOP front runners: a flip-flopping Mormon from Massachusetts; a pro-choice, thrice-married New Yorker; and John "Agents of Intolerance" McCain.
Enter Huckabee. He and Brownback are both true conservatives and devoutly religious. But with political skills that rival those of childhood neighbor Bill Clinton, Huckabee, who moonlights as a Baptist preacher, is simply the better candidate. At the straw poll, his campaign purchased about 1,800 tickets for supporters, but he earned almost 2,600 votes. That means 800 voters showed up intending to vote for another candidate but found themselves drawn to Huckabee.
How much of a bounce Huckabee gets from his second-place showing may depend on whether Brownback stays in the race. Combined, they polled 33% to Romney's 31.5%, suggesting that a single social-conservative candidate could be the one to beat when the Iowa caucuses take place in January.
Shuttle Gets Dinged Again
NASA is sweating out another chip in the heat-resistant tiles of a space shuttle, the kind of damage that doomed Columbia. This time it's Endeavour, which was hit by debris on its way to orbit. The wound is near a wheel well, a bad spot because it can provide access to the ship's innards. Shuttles have withstood worse, but no one will relax until the fiery ordeal of re-entry is done. [This article contains a diagram. Please see hardcopy of magazine.] Shuttle Endeavor
6 in. (152.4 mm)
Outer black glazing
Shuttle's aluminum skin
Felt pads and adhesives
Tiles damaged during the Aug. 8 launch
Where Have All the Toys Gone?
Say bye-bye to some of your kid's favorite playthings. On Aug. 14, Mattel, the world's biggest toymaker, called back almost 19 million Chinese-made products--half of which were being distributed in the U.S. It was the fourth major toy recall to hit this summer. What you need to know about the trouble in toyland:
What companies are involved? Since June, Mattel's Fisher-Price unit has recalled almost 1 million preschool toys, Hasbro has called back the same number of Easy-Bake Ovens, and RC2 Corp. has taken back 1.5 million Thomas & Friends train sets.
What's wrong with the toys? It varies. Some of Mattel's Polly Pocket and Batman figures have tiny magnetic pieces that children can swallow. Such toys as Elmo and Thomas & Friends train sets may be coated in paint with toxic levels of lead.
Should parents worry? Yes, particularly if they have toddlers prone to putting toys in their mouths. At least one child has died from swallowing the magnets, which can clump together in the intestines. Eating lead paint can cause vomiting and brain damage.
Who's taking the fall? Mattel's stock price is down 24% from its high in May. The co-owner of a Chinese company named by Mattel as the supplier of some of the toxic toys recently committed suicide.
DEFINITION smext-ing v. The act of sending text messages during a cigarette break outdoors.
CONTEXT Banished from pubs and offices, bored smokers find themselves filling the minutes by tapping out wireless messages. Experts have dubbed the new activity "smexting." The practice is so popular that British cell-phone company Orange reported a surge of 7.5 million messages sent during the first two weeks of July, just after smoking was banned from indoor public places in England.
USAGE The emergence of smexting--as both a word and a practice--is more evidence of the growing ostracism of nicotine addicts. Some English smexters say they have turned to texting since the ban as a way of seeking the support of friends in an effort to quit smoking. It's more fun than the patch.
BACKPACK BULWARK A knapsack lined with a lightweight, bulletproof plate that students can use as a shield to protect against gunfire or knife blades.
SAFETY FIRST Two Boston fathers were motivated by the shootings at Columbine High School to create the $175 knapsack, called My Child's Pack, which went on sale Aug. 8 online and at a local store.
UP TO CODE? The bulletproof plate has passed the National Institute of Justice's safety test. But Boston public schools have yet to decide whether the backpacks could be perceived as "threatening or offensive" under their dress code. If so, they will not be allowed on school grounds.
WARNING LABEL The Bush Administration is making plans to declare Iran's élite military branch, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, a "specially designated global terrorist" group. The decision has reportedly been in the works for months as tensions have escalated over Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions and support for anti-U.S. elements in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would be the first time a foreign government entity has been designated as such by the U.S. State Department.
WHAT TO THINK The move is intended to put pressure on hard-liners in Tehran. But raising the rhetorical heat could also slow efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff.
A New Plan for Kosovo