A Troubled Senator Twists in the Wind; A Stirring Plains Comeback; Hacking Away at the iPhone; Facing Up to Troubling Memories; Cover Up Your Underwear or Else
A Troubled Senator Twists in the Wind
At week's end, there was no definitive news on the fate of Sen. Larry Craig, but the sordid drama that enveloped the Idaho Republican seemed destined to end as many do in the nation's capital—with a forced and ungraceful departure from public life.
It was revealed last week that Craig had pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in June after being arrested by police looking into sexual activity in a men's room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Craig said he regretted the plea and had done nothing wrong, and he denied that he was gay. But his defiant stance in Boise was undercut by release of an embarrassing audio transcript of his initial interview with airport police. Republicans tried to distance themselves from Craig in a blizzard of statements; the Senate GOP leadership also removed Craig from his top committee posts and referred his case to the Ethics Committee.
A Stirring Plains Comeback
'I believe I have an unfair advantage over most of my colleagues right now. My mind works faster than my mouth does." With that quip before a raucous crowd in Sioux Falls, S.D., Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson announced he would run for re-election next year, capping a dramatic comeback from a December brain hemorrhage that threatened his life. The hemorrhage has impaired Johnson's speech, leaving it halting and slurred, and forced him to relearn how to walk. But it hasn't sapped his desire to represent South Dakota, which he said "has never been stronger." The speech was his first since the hemorrhage.
Johnson's ailment doesn't mean Republican foes will give him a pass. Johnson is a top GOP target after winning in 2002 by a scant 524 votes. While he was hospitalized, Democratic colleagues took his fundraising duties on themselves, bringing in $1.3 million for his presumed re-election bid. Experts expect Johnson's speech to improve. Like many politicians, his mouth may be working faster than his mind before he knows it.
Hacking Away at the iPhone
With a soldering gun, software, and several cases of Red Bull energy drink, George Hotz, 17, from Glen Rock, N.J., became the first to unlock the Apple iPhone, enabling it for use on wireless networks other than AT&T.
Only the most advanced techies will be able to duplicate Hotz's arduous hack, so AT&T will retain its hold on the Apple superphone for now. But random hackers say they're on the verge of releasing unlocking software—which would allow iPhone use on other networks without actually disassembling the device. Legal analysts say unlocking individual phones is probably OK, but those looking to profit may land themselves in murky legal waters.
Meanwhile, the 500 hours Hotz spent hunched over a $499 phone has paid off. After a stalled eBay effort, the Rochester Institute of Technology freshman traded the phone with a Louisville, Ky., cellphone repair shop owner for a consulting job, three 8-gigabyte iPhones, and a "sweet" Nissan 350Z. He also gets geeky notoriety for years to come.