My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.

Anwar al-Awlaki: The Next Bin Laden

With Osama dead, U.S. intelligence is zeroing in on the remaining most dangerous terrorists alive, and one man is at the top of the list. Of the eighteen terror attacks attempted in the United States over the past two years, Anwar al-Awlaki’s fingerprints are on eight of them. The moderate turned radical is eloquent, he is popular— and he’s American.

Did My Brother Invent E-Mail With Tom Van Vleck?

Noel Morris’s place in history? Noel Morris was my older brother, who had dropped out of MIT and spent most of his waking hours holed up in an apartment working at a computer terminal. This was in the ‘60s, long before there was anything close to a home computer. The name Tom Van Vleck was not unfamiliar. He was a friend of my brother’s who worked with him at MIT in those days. I called him.
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The Celebrity Rehab of Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew has turned addiction television into a mini-empire, offering treatment and cameras to celebrities who have fallen far enough to take the bait.  His motivations, he insists, are pure:

Whether the doctor purposefully cultivates his celebrity stature for noble means or wittingly invites it because he himself likes being in the spotlight, he is operating on the assumption that his empathetic brand of TV will breed empathy instead of the more likely outcome, that it will just breed more TV.

The Romance of Birthright Israel

On the Birthright Israel program, which sends young American Jews on a tour of Israel free of charge, thanks to massive funding from both the Israeli government and philanthropists like the conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

A new era is dawning for Birthright. What began as an identity booster has become an ideology machine, pumping out not only Jewish baby-makers but defenders of Israel. Or that’s the hope.

AOL Hell

The surreal existence of an AOL content writer:

I was given eight to ten article assignments a night, writing about television shows that I had never seen before. AOL would send me short video clips, ranging from one-to-two minutes in length — clips from “Law & Order,” “Family Guy,” “Dancing With the Stars,” the Grammys, and so on and so forth… My job was then to write about them. But really, my job was to lie.

The Man Who Would Be King

The first five years of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s tenure have been marked by a dangerous consolidation of power.

According to political allies and Western diplomats who have worked with Maliki, he isn't so much power-hungry as deeply cynical and mistrusting. The Dawa Party, which Maliki joined as a young man, was hunted by Saddam's Baathist regime. Even those living in exile -- like Maliki, who lived in Syria and Iran for more than 20 years -- organized themselves into isolated cells to protect against the regime's spies and limit the information that any one member might divulge if he were captured or compromised. Maliki's early career was saturated in perpetual suspicion.

Post-Artifact Books and Publishing

How digital shifts the way we produce, distribute, and consume content:

The future book — the digital book — is no longer an immutable brick. It's ethereal and networked, emerging publicly in fits and starts. An artifact ‘complete’ for only the briefest of moments.

The Secret History of Iraq’s Invisible War

In the early years of the Iraq war, the U.S. military developed a technology so secret that soldiers would refuse to acknowledge its existence, and reporters mentioning the gear were promptly escorted out of the country. That equipment—a radio-frequency jammer—was upgraded several times, and eventually robbed the Iraq insurgency of its most potent weapon, the remote-controlled bomb.

American Marvel

A profile of Chris Evans, star of the upcoming Captain America:

At this point, which was a…number of drinks in, it was easy to forget that it really was an interview, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't cross my mind that something might happen (and that we'd go to the Oscars and get married and have babies forever until we died?). But there was always the question of how much of it was truly Chris Evans, and whom I should pretend to be in response.