Politics

Top McConnell Aide Linked to Shady Deal

Top McConnell Aide Linked to Shady Deal

Politics makes strange bedfellows and there was no pairing stranger in the 2014 election cycle than when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hired Jesse Benton to be his campaign manager. Benton is closely aligned with Ron and Rand Paul. He wor...

Controversial campaign manager Jesse Benton, a Ron Paul protégé, is being edged closer to a bribery scandal from the 2012 Iowa caucuses—and no one knows where the investigation’s goi...

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Summer 2014 Was the Worst Ever

Summer 2014 Was the Worst Ever

Summer is usually my favorite time of year. It’s a season that conjures up joyful thoughts of vacations and fun in the sun.  And in past years, my Facebook newsfeed would be filled with images of friends enjoying themselves, frolicking on the Jers...

From Ferguson to Gaza to Iraq, this summer has been hellish. A recap of three months we’d all rather forget.

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The GOP’s Phony Push to Abolish the IRS

The GOP’s Phony Push to Abolish the IRS

While there’s essentially zero chance that Republican legislators will seriously try to abolish the IRS anytime soon, that hasn’t stopped the Republican National Committee from raising money off the idea, despite the reluctance of GOP candidates t...

The RNC is raising money from grassroots supporters with an ‘Abolish the IRS’ campaign. But the GOP will never do it, and candidates won’t get behind the idea.

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Top McConnell Aide Linked to Shady Deal

Top McConnell Aide Linked to Shady Deal

Politics makes strange bedfellows and there was no pairing stranger in the 2014 election cycle than when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hired Jesse Benton to be his campaign manager. Benton is closely aligned with Ron and Rand Paul. He wor...

Controversial campaign manager Jesse Benton, a Ron Paul protégé, is being edged closer to a bribery scandal from the 2012 Iowa caucuses—and no one knows where the investigation’s goi...

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Top SEAL Swears: I Won’t Be Hillary VP

Top SEAL Swears: I Won’t Be Hillary VP

Admiral Bill McRaven left command of U.S. special operations this week as a somewhat bewildered man – surprised, stymied, and in some cases burned by the fame and notoriety that launched his three years there, as the military commander of the 2011...

He commanded the bin Laden raid—and expanded U.S. commandos’ global footprint. Now Adm. Bill McRaven is leaving the military. He promises—promises—that politics won’t be next.

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Women’s Groups Showing Labor Who’s Boss

Women’s Groups Showing Labor Who’s Boss

With control of the Senate hanging in the balance, progressive groups are linking arms with labor in an unprecedented “Kumbaya” moment to turn out voters in the November midterm elections, especially women voters.The responsibility for motivating ...

The movement ‘in crisis’ has groups like Emily’s List taking the lead—to get needed female voters out this November. The AFL-CIO’s chief on the minimum wage, immigration, and Hillary.

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Entertainment

Grateful Dead I Have Known

Grateful Dead I Have Known

The terrific novelist Jennifer Egan grew up in San Francisco in the ’70s where she felt that she’d just missed out on the party. “I grew up feeling like I wanted to grow up ten years earlier, and I wanted to reconstruct every sense of what that mo...

The Kentucky bard Ed McClanahan once lived in California, where among various endeavors he played Boswell to the Grateful Dead. Here is his timeless report.

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Viral Vid: Jon Stewart's Directorial ...

Viral Vid: Jon Stewart's Directorial ...

Comedy icon and Daily Show host Jon Stewart shocked fans when he took a three-month hiatus from the show in the summer of 2013. Stewart spent that time in the Mideast, working on a film that traces the story of Maziar Bahari, a London-based journa...

A trailer for 'Daily Show' host's first film is out

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Must-Watch Fall TV

Must-Watch Fall TV

Get the DVR ready. With dozens and dozens of new series to sift through, we’ve done the dirty work. Here’s the most intriguing of fall TV’s freshman offerings.

Get the DVR ready. With dozens and dozens of new series to sift through, we’ve done the dirty work. Here’s the most intriguing of fall TV’s freshman offerings.

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Raunchiest Movie of the Year

Raunchiest Movie of the Year

Each year, one movie emanating from Sundance pushes the boundaries of human decency. It incites walkouts by the dozen. Debates rage on in cafes and buses. At the 2007 fest, this honor went to Zoo, a documentary about a man who died of peritonitis ...

‘Wetlands,’ based on the bestselling German erotic novel of the same name, is the year's dirtiest—and weirdest—movie. (Warning: extremely graphic.)

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Viral Vid: Jon Stewart's Directorial ...

Viral Vid: Jon Stewart's Directorial ...

Comedy icon and Daily Show host Jon Stewart shocked fans when he took a three-month hiatus from the show in the summer of 2013. Stewart spent that time in the Mideast, working on a film that traces the story of Maziar Bahari, a London-based journa...

A trailer for 'Daily Show' host's first film is out

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Exclusive Look: New ‘Homeland’

Exclusive Look: New ‘Homeland’

It’s been a pretty uneventful summer on television. But the fall TV season is almost upon us, which means several of our favorite shows will be returning to transfix us on a weekly basis. One of these, of course, is Homeland—Alex Gansa and Howard ...

Watch a sneak peek of the fourth season of the acclaimed Showtime series, which will premiere on Oct. 5, 2014.

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Brangelina Got Married. What About Jen?

Brangelina Got Married. What About Jen?

Kevin: Well, Tim, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married Saturday in France. It was not a drill. It was not an OK! Magazine fever dream. The two most famous people in the world are now the most famous husband and wife in the world, laughing in t...

The most famous people in the world tied the knot secretly over the weekend. How should we feel about it? How should Jennifer Aniston feel about it? Our culture writers debate.

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Why Are Gamers So Angry?

Why Are Gamers So Angry?

Okay, gamers, let’s have a talk.First of all, my cred—rest assured I am one of your tribe. I have saved the princess, I have united the Triforce, I have shot rockets into the giant goat skull to blow up John Romero’s head. There is documentary evi...

The subset of entitled, belligerent gamers convinced that being ‘objectively’ right entitles them to defend their rightness by any means necessary is overwhelmingly male.

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Exclusive Look: New ‘Homeland’

Exclusive Look: New ‘Homeland’

It’s been a pretty uneventful summer on television. But the fall TV season is almost upon us, which means several of our favorite shows will be returning to transfix us on a weekly basis. One of these, of course, is Homeland—Alex Gansa and Howard ...

Watch a sneak peek of the fourth season of the acclaimed Showtime series, which will premiere on Oct. 5, 2014.

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World News

Brit Kidnapped for ‘Gay Cure’ in Congo

Brit Kidnapped for ‘Gay Cure’ in Congo

Christina Fonthes is out, Congolese, and double-proud. “Yes, I am Congolese; yes, I am gay; and yes, my family know!” the 27-year-old writes on her blog, The Musings of a Congolese Lesbian. But the line that follows may be key to the predicament F...

LGBT activist Christina Fonthes tweeted a cry for help from a family vacation in Kinshasa, claiming her mom was handing her over to a Congolese group that ‘fixes’ homosexuality.

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Why Obama Backed Off More ISIS Strikes

Why Obama Backed Off More ISIS Strikes

After a week of talk of eliminating the "cancer" of ISIS, President Obama said Thursday that he was not planning to significantly expand the war against the Islamic extremist movement anytime soon.His remarks came after days of heated de...

After lots of bluster about striking ISIS on Syria, President Obama threw cold water on the idea, disappointing those who wanted him to broaden the war.

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Hamas Claims ‘Victory’ … Amid the Rubble

Hamas Claims ‘Victory’ … Amid the Rubble

AL SHAJAYA, Gaza — Exhausted, battered and traumatized from 50 days of fighting and incessant Israeli bombardment, Gazans are now pouring through the streets lined with the rubble of former buildings and breathing a collective sigh of relief. Whet...

Having achieved virtually none of the objectives it said it fought for, at a cost of 2,000 dead and 500,000 displaced, Hamas tries to make the case it won the war.

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ISIS’s Plot to Kill Pope

ISIS’s Plot to Kill Pope

VATICAN CITY — As Pope Francis continues to straddle the fine line between calling for the end of persecution of Christians in Iraq and blessing American airstrikes against the Islamic State (also known as the “Caliphate,” ISIS, or ISIL), there is...

Vatican scoffs at threats that Pope Francis is “in the crosshairs” of ISIS as Italy issues a terrorist threat and tightens security.

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Why Obama Backed Off More ISIS Strikes

Why Obama Backed Off More ISIS Strikes

After a week of talk of eliminating the "cancer" of ISIS, President Obama said Thursday that he was not planning to significantly expand the war against the Islamic extremist movement anytime soon.His remarks came after days of heated de...

After lots of bluster about striking ISIS on Syria, President Obama threw cold water on the idea, disappointing those who wanted him to broaden the war.

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Russia Invades Ukraine, Lies About It

Russia Invades Ukraine, Lies About It

MOSCOW, Russia – Where U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have failed to make Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledge his ever-more-overt invasion of Ukraine and think about pulling back, Valentina Melnikova, the ...

As Russia troops and tanks make an apparent bid to open the land route to annexed Crimea, discontent is growing in the motherland about the obvious but oft-denied war in Ukraine.

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American Jihadis: From Losers to Martyrs

American Jihadis: From Losers to Martyrs

Why be a loser when you can be a martyr?That was the sad and screwy logic that propelled Douglas McAuthur McCain and his pal Troy Kastigar.The same dynamic has driven other disappointed souls and threatens to drive many more, as ISIS and al-Shabab...

If you can’t make it anywhere, you can make it there—that, at least, seems to have been the theory of Douglas McCain and Troy Kastigar, friends who ended up with ISIS and al-Shabab.

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Gang-raped in an ISIS prison

Gang-raped in an ISIS prison

ERBIL, Iraq — Thousands of Iraq’s Yazidis, driven from their homes by ISIS and trapped in the desperate siege of Mt. Sinjar, have captured the world’s attention and received some relief from U.S. airstrikes and humanitarian aid. But hundreds of Ya...

Held by the terror group, women and girls as young as 14 who are not sold as wives are subjected to rape and torture. One woman is trying to buy their freedom—but time is running out.

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Russia Invades Ukraine, Lies About It

Russia Invades Ukraine, Lies About It

MOSCOW, Russia – Where U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have failed to make Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledge his ever-more-overt invasion of Ukraine and think about pulling back, Valentina Melnikova, the ...

As Russia troops and tanks make an apparent bid to open the land route to annexed Crimea, discontent is growing in the motherland about the obvious but oft-denied war in Ukraine.

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U.S. News

Yes, Obama Was Right to Golf After Foley

Yes, Obama Was Right to Golf After Foley

In 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt warned presidential aspirant William Taft that "golf is fatal,” referring to the reputational toll the game can exacts on one's political future. Taft went on to be our 27th president and chose not to...

Presidents have always needed downtime to recharge to face the next crisis. Carping on Obama’s golf habit is mostly partisan sniping.

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The Gangsters Who Ruled Hell’s Kitchen

The Gangsters Who Ruled Hell’s Kitchen

Michael Daly talks about the Irish gangsters who once ruled the area of Hell's Kitchen, located on Manhattan's west side.

Once upon a time in Hell’s Kitchen, Irish gangsters ruled.

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ISIS Coloring Books for the Kiddies

ISIS Coloring Books for the Kiddies

“We are re-releasing our [coloring] books on terrorism,” announced Wayne Bell, founder of the St. Louis-based publisher Really Big Coloring Books, in a video statement this week.“[Our books] tell the truth, they tell it often, and they tell the ch...

A St. Louis coloring book company looks to educate small children about ISIS and other terror groups with graphic images.

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Yes, Obama Was Right to Golf After Foley

Yes, Obama Was Right to Golf After Foley

In 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt warned presidential aspirant William Taft that "golf is fatal,” referring to the reputational toll the game can exacts on one's political future. Taft went on to be our 27th president and chose not to...

Presidents have always needed downtime to recharge to face the next crisis. Carping on Obama’s golf habit is mostly partisan sniping.

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Lifting the Curtain on Lethal Injection

Lifting the Curtain on Lethal Injection

From the very beginning, this execution was different. On April 29, Katie Fretland and 11 other reporters gathered at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester to watch not one but two death row inmates executed by lethal injection—the state’s...

A botched execution in Oklahoma—which was hidden from the public eye—has prompted a lawsuit over the need for uncensored public access to witnessing capital punishment.

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Past Slaves Haunt Family’s Present

Past Slaves Haunt Family’s Present

After first reading Tomlinson Hill, I found myself intrigued by Chris Tomlinson’s Conradian quest into the heart of his own darkness but frustrated by the book’s flawed structure and lack of authorial warmth. But in the following days, as I digest...

Chris Tomlinson’s Texas forebears were slave owners, but not until he saw the realities of apartheid in South Africa did he begin to truly process the pain of his own past.

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Tech + Health

The Novelist Who’s Obsessed With Code

The Novelist Who’s Obsessed With Code

When Vikram Chandra mentioned he was working on a nonfiction book about computer coding at a literary party in San Francisco last fall, I was startled. Chandra is a gifted and original novelist, author most recently of Sacred Games (2006), a spraw...

Acclaimed novelist Vikram Chandra is equally obsessed with the tech world of computer coding and the realm of imagination. He talks about the two realities.

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Geek Fandom’s Hairball of Hatred

Geek Fandom’s Hairball of Hatred

A harmless woman is being harassed online by a nerdy subculture. The fact that I can use that sentence in a unique way every day should be another strike against our species. But it appears there’s some ray of hope. It’s small, it’s flickering, bu...

Pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video was met with death and rape threats. The men who defended her were accused of “white knighting.” Nobody wins.

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Will the Web Ever Be Safe for Women?

Will the Web Ever Be Safe for Women?

August has been a nightmare for women on the Internet.The editors of the feminist blog Jezebel had to publicly call out their employers at Gawker Media for refusing to permanently ban commenters who spammed the site with animated images of rape an...

August has been a remarkably bad month for women online. Will things ever change?

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Ethics Profs Flunk Richard Dawkins

Ethics Profs Flunk Richard Dawkins

Lately, Richard Dawkins seems to scan the world for sore spots, take a good poke, and revel in the ensuing outcry. A few weeks ago, he proclaimed that stranger rape is worse than date rape. Last Wednesday, he tweeted that if a fetus was diagnosed ...

Richard Dawkins recently tweeted that knowingly birthing a baby with Down syndrome is immoral. That claim is not only offensive—it’s nonsensical.

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Geek Fandom’s Hairball of Hatred

Geek Fandom’s Hairball of Hatred

A harmless woman is being harassed online by a nerdy subculture. The fact that I can use that sentence in a unique way every day should be another strike against our species. But it appears there’s some ray of hope. It’s small, it’s flickering, bu...

Pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video was met with death and rape threats. The men who defended her were accused of “white knighting.” Nobody wins.

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Fighting Ebola With Nothing but Hope

Fighting Ebola With Nothing but Hope

Crouching towards a dirt road strewn with pebbles, Emmanuel Boyah, a Liberian primary health care manager , grips a box of enormous yellow rubber boots with both hands.Black shirt tucked into snug black pants, his role is made transparent by the b...

Primary health care manager Emmanuel Boyah is at Ebola’s frontline in Liberia. If he contracts the disease, there will be no ‘secret serum’ waiting for him. Yet he keeps fighting.

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Too Late to Wean USA Off Vicodin?

Too Late to Wean USA Off Vicodin?

There is a kind of comfort in an objective finding.When I’m taking care of a patient, something abnormal on the exam will often be the one helpful piece of information that leads me toward the correct diagnosis and plan. A knee that wiggles when i...

The DEA’s newest regulations target hydrocodone, an ingredient in America’s most prescribed drug: Vicodin. Will the crackdown help our country’s opiate addiction?

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Buzz Your Way to Better Posture

Buzz Your Way to Better Posture

The Lumo Lift, a new $100 wearable device, aims to buzz desk jockeys into the habit of good posture. A simple magnetic shirt clip recognizes a hunched back and slouched shoulders, pulsing gentle vibrations until the user is back into a straighter ...

A new wearable promises to help you improve your posture. Is it worth the cost?

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Fighting Ebola With Nothing but Hope

Fighting Ebola With Nothing but Hope

Crouching towards a dirt road strewn with pebbles, Emmanuel Boyah, a Liberian primary health care manager , grips a box of enormous yellow rubber boots with both hands.Black shirt tucked into snug black pants, his role is made transparent by the b...

Primary health care manager Emmanuel Boyah is at Ebola’s frontline in Liberia. If he contracts the disease, there will be no ‘secret serum’ waiting for him. Yet he keeps fighting.

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BeastStyle

Best & Worst Dressed of the Week

Best & Worst Dressed of the Week

One week, two red carpets. Disasters, triumphs, what-the-hell-were-they-thinkings? We saw it all. Relive it here again, including Lena Dunham’s turn as a flamenco dancer.

One week, two red carpets. Disasters, triumphs, what-the-hell-were-they-thinkings? We saw it all. Relive it here again, including Lena Dunham’s turn as a flamenco dancer.

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Cleaning Up From Napa's Winepocalypse

Cleaning Up From Napa's Winepocalypse

After nearly a week of grieving and cleanup, Napa is still reeling from the earthquake that struck the county last Sunday, hitting downtown Napa and its surrounding areas particularly hard. Barrels of wine, weighing 900 pounds each, are still topp...

The repercussions of the Napa earthquake may go beyond toppled barrel rooms and a disrupted tourist season. It may also affect the style and taste of the smaller winemakers' prod...

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Paul Shaffer’s Life With Letterman

Paul Shaffer’s Life With Letterman

Like an increasing number of baby-boomers, Paul Shaffer will be 65 and out of a job next year. Actually, it’s much more than a mere job; it’s his life-long vocation (granted, really half his life), the beating heart of his self-identity, and his d...

He’s the bald guy who leads the CBS Orchestra every night on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’—and soon, like his boss and buddy, he’s going to be out of a job.

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Bye Bye Latté, Hello Guayusa

Bye Bye Latté, Hello Guayusa

It’s 4am on the river. The fire crackles beneath an iron cauldron. A boiling brew is scooped into makeshift bowls—hollowed out coconut halves. Frederico leads the others around the hearth as they gently wash their faces with cupfuls of warm liquid...

Grown in the jungle by the indigenous Kichwa, guayusa (gwhy-you-sa) is a sacred leaf used in ceremonial rituals. This clean source of caffeine is the next noble, and healthy, substit...

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Cleaning Up From Napa's Winepocalypse

Cleaning Up From Napa's Winepocalypse

After nearly a week of grieving and cleanup, Napa is still reeling from the earthquake that struck the county last Sunday, hitting downtown Napa and its surrounding areas particularly hard. Barrels of wine, weighing 900 pounds each, are still topp...

The repercussions of the Napa earthquake may go beyond toppled barrel rooms and a disrupted tourist season. It may also affect the style and taste of the smaller winemakers' prod...

Keep Reading

Harry: Perils of a Playboy Prince

Harry: Perils of a Playboy Prince

With just two weeks to go before his milestone 30th birthday, Prince Harry was spotted this week on his rich friend Ben Goldsmith’s yacht near St. Tropez in the company of his rumored new girlfriend, Camilla Thurlow, a charity worker employed by t...

It seems Prince Harry has been having a glamorous, party-filled summer. But he shouldn’t let the playboy image define him, as it has—detrimentally—his uncle, Prince Andrew.

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Inside Morocco’s Blue City Chefchaouen

Inside Morocco’s Blue City Chefchaouen

Perched between two mountain peaks on the northern tip of Morocco, Chefchaouen is a city painted in shades of blue.

Perched between two mountain peaks on the northern tip of Morocco, Chefchaouen is a city painted in shades of blue.

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Morocco’s Secret Blue City

Morocco’s Secret Blue City

Holland’s multi-colored hamlets are nice, there’s no place quainter than England’s yellow-brick Cotswolds, and Greece has beautiful whitewashed islands. But few cities can compete with the magical charm of a hilly northern Moroccan outpost that wa...

A city high in the mountains of Morocco remained shut off from the world for almost 500 years. Now its labyrinthine streets decked in shades of blue are open to visitors.

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Harry: Perils of a Playboy Prince

Harry: Perils of a Playboy Prince

With just two weeks to go before his milestone 30th birthday, Prince Harry was spotted this week on his rich friend Ben Goldsmith’s yacht near St. Tropez in the company of his rumored new girlfriend, Camilla Thurlow, a charity worker employed by t...

It seems Prince Harry has been having a glamorous, party-filled summer. But he shouldn’t let the playboy image define him, as it has—detrimentally—his uncle, Prince Andrew.

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Women

When Lightning Strikes

When Lightning Strikes

It took no small amount of hubris to try to capture the life of legendary photographer Dorothea Lange on film. Her audience would not, I imagine, look kindly on any visual imperfection. Fortunately, this challenge was met by Dyanna Taylor, Lange’s granddaughter – an award-winning cinematographer in her own right – who brings her grandmother’s gift of seeing to "Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lighting,” premiering at 9 pm tonight on PBS’s American Masters.The...

Best known for her photograph “Migrant Mother,” Dorothea Lange is the subject of the new documentary “Grab A Hunk of Lightning.”

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A Continuing Struggle for Working Moms

A Continuing Struggle for Working Moms

Women’s Equality Day, celebrated this week, commemorates the passage of a woman’s right to vote. Starting with our right to weigh in at the polls, the feminist movement has certainly come far. However, for mothers especially, the movement has not ...

Psychologist and mother Dr. Monique Moore argues that, if women hope to achieve true equality, the time has come to unapologetically call for: extended paid maternity leave, more par...

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AT&T Gives $1 Million to Girls Who Code

AT&T Gives $1 Million to Girls Who Code

On a Thursday in late August, inside a windowless, concrete edifice in downtown Manhattan, twenty high-school girls and their families were gathered at the graduation ceremony for AT&T’s Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, in which they t...

At a small graduation ceremony last week, AT&T made a million-dollar contribution to the nonprofit Girls Who Code. Here's why more tech companies should do the same.

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Serena & the Decline of American Tennis

Serena & the Decline of American Tennis

The parking lots are full, but there’s only a sparse crowd this afternoon in Center Court of the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, when the chair umpire of this Cincinnati Open semifinal calls time. Serena Williams, wearing a violet sle...

With no obvious successor in place, 32-year-old Serena Williams, the oldest woman to ever hold the No. 1 world ranking, is one of the lone links to America's past dominance.

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A Continuing Struggle for Working Moms

A Continuing Struggle for Working Moms

Women’s Equality Day, celebrated this week, commemorates the passage of a woman’s right to vote. Starting with our right to weigh in at the polls, the feminist movement has certainly come far. However, for mothers especially, the movement has not ...

Psychologist and mother Dr. Monique Moore argues that, if women hope to achieve true equality, the time has come to unapologetically call for: extended paid maternity leave, more par...

Keep Reading

Beyoncé Is Our Indigo Girl

Beyoncé Is Our Indigo Girl

In a heart-stopping moment during her 16-minute performance at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé made a bold political statement: Projecting a quote from Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie onto a gigantic, glowing screen while...

The R&B diva’s ‘feminist’ proclamation at the VMAs recalls feminism’s all-important ’90s—a decade filled with strong, outspoken female musicians.

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NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Nerd Genius

NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Nerd Genius

Somewhere in a large glass tower in Northern Virginia, there’s a guy who runs guns with a French name having a bad day. With good reason.It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Me...

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg already had the gun lobby in his sights. Now Bill Gates is donating $1 million for universal background checks—and there’s more where that came from.

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An Equal Rights Amendment for Our Time

An Equal Rights Amendment for Our Time

The historic Emmy nomination of transgender actor Laverne Cox has spurred growing talk of a “transgender tipping point” in the United States, reflecting soaring popular support for those who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth...

Since the United States is hitting a "transgender tipping point," the existing Equal Rights Amendment must expand its protections to include gender--with two simple words.

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Beyoncé Is Our Indigo Girl

Beyoncé Is Our Indigo Girl

In a heart-stopping moment during her 16-minute performance at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé made a bold political statement: Projecting a quote from Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie onto a gigantic, glowing screen while...

The R&B diva’s ‘feminist’ proclamation at the VMAs recalls feminism’s all-important ’90s—a decade filled with strong, outspoken female musicians.

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Books

College: Classy Trade School or More?

College: Classy Trade School or More?

There is a tradition in this country stretching back to Thomas Jefferson of lofty ideals for our colleges and universities. Liberal learning is said to prepare one for autonomy and for citizenship. As Ralph Waldo Emerson emphasized, it also led on...

Booker T. Washington promoted a utilitarian approach to education, while W.E.B. Du Bois argued for a broader, more liberal curriculum. The debate resonates to this day.

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  • The Novelist Who’s Obsessed With Code

    The Novelist Who’s Obsessed With Code

    When Vikram Chandra mentioned he was working on a nonfiction book about computer coding at a literary party in San Francisco last fall, I was startled. Chandra is a gifted and original novelist, author most recently of Sacred Games (2006), a spraw...

    Acclaimed novelist Vikram Chandra is equally obsessed with the tech world of computer coding and the realm of imagination. He talks about the two realities.

    Keep Reading

Still Fighting the Opium Wars

Still Fighting the Opium Wars

The politics of victimization are a potent force in the world today. In the U.S., the dredge of cable news seems to be a daily battle between conservatives and liberals over who has been most victimized by the cruelty of the opposing side. On the ...

The 19th century Opium Wars between England and China had lasting ramifications for both countries—so much so that in some ways the wars never ended.

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Past Slaves Haunt Family’s Present

Past Slaves Haunt Family’s Present

After first reading Tomlinson Hill, I found myself intrigued by Chris Tomlinson’s Conradian quest into the heart of his own darkness but frustrated by the book’s flawed structure and lack of authorial warmth. But in the following days, as I digest...

Chris Tomlinson’s Texas forebears were slave owners, but not until he saw the realities of apartheid in South Africa did he begin to truly process the pain of his own past.

Keep Reading

The Twisted History of the Noose

The Twisted History of the Noose

Jack Shuler’s The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose features an evocative account of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, which reached its infamous nadir when 38 American Indians were hanged in public in Mankato, Minnesota. At the heart of this chr...

The story of hanging is long—there are hangings in Homer and the Bible—and often tragic—if for lynching alone—but rarely less than fascinating.

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Still Fighting the Opium Wars

Still Fighting the Opium Wars

The politics of victimization are a potent force in the world today. In the U.S., the dredge of cable news seems to be a daily battle between conservatives and liberals over who has been most victimized by the cruelty of the opposing side. On the ...

The 19th century Opium Wars between England and China had lasting ramifications for both countries—so much so that in some ways the wars never ended.

Keep Reading

This Week’s Hot Reads: August 26, 2014

This Week’s Hot Reads: August 26, 2014

Flings: Stories By Justin TaylorPerhaps the most immediately striking feature of Flings, a new collection of short stories from Justin Taylor (author of Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever and The Gospel of Anarchy) is the spectrum of the stori...

This week, a biography of the cowboy gangster who created the World Series of Poker, a new collection from a talented young writer, and a 12th novel from a veteran at the height of h...

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Fiction Honed in a Combat Zone

Fiction Honed in a Combat Zone

Future Iraq and Afghanistan war writers despair: Michael Pitre has already identified the quintessential tagline of this conflict and commandeered it for the title of his first novel, Fives and Twenty-Fives. Like “duck and cover” or “hearts and mi...

Veteran Michael Pitre takes the measure of modern warfare both up close and from a reserved distance in his debut novel, ‘Fives and Twenty-Fives.’

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The History of Hip-Hop Gets Graphic

The History of Hip-Hop Gets Graphic

The disgraceful show America was putting on for the world in Ferguson, Missouri, put a slight damper on the international meeting of rap enthusiasts and comic art lovers on Aug 18. The second volume of Ed Piskor’s “The Hip-Hop Family Tree” was bei...

A skinny white kid from Pittsburgh has created one of the defining histories of hip-hop in the form of a graphic novel that brings together rappers and comic nerds.

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This Week’s Hot Reads: August 26, 2014

This Week’s Hot Reads: August 26, 2014

Flings: Stories By Justin TaylorPerhaps the most immediately striking feature of Flings, a new collection of short stories from Justin Taylor (author of Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever and The Gospel of Anarchy) is the spectrum of the stori...

This week, a biography of the cowboy gangster who created the World Series of Poker, a new collection from a talented young writer, and a 12th novel from a veteran at the height of h...

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