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Unlucky Seven

The Famous Artist Lost on MH370

Edgar Su/Reuters

For Chinese calligrapher Liu Rusheng, who had narrowly escaped death six times in his long lifetime, his seventh and final brush with mortality proved to be the most unlucky.

The fate of Flight MH370 has now been declared with the barbarity of a text message notifying the families that their loves ones are almost certainly dead.  But when the vanished plane was still a world baffling mystery, there arose a hope against hope that MH370 had not just crashed into the sea; that maybe the famed Chinese calligrapher Liu Rusheng had survived yet another brush with death and shared his remarkable luck with the 238 others aboard.

Under Coverage

Your Health Care, Your Choices

Landov

The contraception mandate rightfully highlights preventative care, including a woman’s right to use her benefits as she so chooses—whether it impedes on a company like Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs or not.

Arguments start this week for Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court case that will determine the fate of the contraception mandate put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services after the Affordable Care Act was passed into law. The contraception mandate is part of a larger mandate by the ACA to classify dozens of medical services, like wellness checks and vaccinations, as “preventive” care, which would then require insurance plans to cover them without a copay.

Church Coups

This Man Is The Future of Westboro

Jerod Harris/Newscom

Steve Drain was Fred Phelps’s closest disciple inside Kansas’s rabidly anti-gay Westboro Baptist. But did he orchestrate the excommunication of the church’s late founder?

A man of about 48 sits in front of an orange and blue ‘80s school portrait-style backdrop, offering tips on how to tell whether your church is “a stronghold for fags and the majesty the devil himself.” His doughy brow furrows as he drawls in a southern accent, “If your pastor preaches that God loves everyone, you should run as fast as you can from that vile place. This is the granddaddy of all lies belched forth from the bowels of hell.”This is Steve Drain, the future of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Moral Courage: Burq Off!

Moral Courage

By Antonia Marrero, Moral Courage Project"The freedom that compelled them to leave their own land was also the source of their deepest fear. In this freedom, they could find everything, be anyone, but rarely did they have the courage to let go of what had previously defined them." ~ Nadia P. Manzoor, creator and star of Burq Off!Cognitive dissonance hits some women harder than others. We're talking about ubiquitous, contradictory demands that feminists have analyzed for decades: be pretty and sexy, but dress modestly and keep your knees together.

History Repeats

A History of Surveillance

Harvey Georges/AP

In the ’70s Americans learned the hard way that intelligence agencies hate to tell the public what they’re doing. Recent revelations about the NSA prove that oversight and accountability are as necessary now as they were four decades ago.

Twice in their history Americans have been forced to confront a challenging question: Is excessive government surveillance a necessity in a threatening world or a crime against democracy? In both instances, the evidence of such operations was gathered and publicized by citizens whose consciences compelled them to risk many years prison in order to inform the public about illicit government actions.We are currently living through one of those times, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the massive surveillance of the National Security Agency.

Why?

Lesser Mysteries for News Junkies

© Jason Reed / Reuters

Is the missing plane driving you insane? Worry about these far less important riddles in the news.

If you are like every single other person in the world, you’ve been keeping up on the story of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. By “keeping up,” I mean “obsessively devouring every bit of news, speculation, conspiracy theory, and even metaphysical questions posed by the fact that I guess a plane with 239 people on it can just disappear and no one has the slightest clue where, why or how.” It is, in short, a big fucking mystery. Terribly mysterious, even.

Invisible Wounds

An Amazing New Way to Fix Trauma

AFP/Getty

Thanks to a new invention, we’re finally learning how to diagnose and treat the lingering affects of explosive events that have led to a mass of traumatic brain injuries in veterans.

In 2011, Scott Featherman was in Kandahar, Afghanistan as a scout platoon leader with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. He patrolled on foot, and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) filled the donkey paths that crisscrossed the wadis and hills.“I was hit several times when I was over,” he says, “and you have no clue if you’re hurt. You get back up, say “Am I good? Looks good.” And then you go back out.”Was Featherman really “good,” though? How can you tell? If he wasn’t bleeding out, had all of his fingers and toes, knew what day it was, and had no nausea or headache, was he good?A recently released report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) says maybe not.

Ursa Major

Bears Invade Florida Suburbs

Landov

Officials are worried about the sharp growth in human-bear interactions—and a vicious attack—in a state where the number of people has tripled. Can ‘bear-awareness’ keep the peace?

It was just a regular day in Longwood, Fla., and Marshall Adler had no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary as he waited for his garage door to open so he could take his dog, Lola, for a morning walk.As the door rose, his nonchalance turned to shock. There, three paces away, was a black bear—“a big-ass, 400-pound bear”—standing 8 feet tall on its hind legs, staring him down. Adler seized Lola by the collar and slammed his hand against the garage door closer.

Calling Foul

Liberals’ College Hoops Pity Party

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty

Think top college programs are just using up poor, helpless athletes then tossing them aside? One graduation statistic slaps away that argument.

One of the silliest arguments I’ve heard in recent years is this idea that college athletics represents some kind of indentured servitude. According to the website of the College Board, the average four-year cost at an in-state public school is about $74,000 in education, housing, and meals. For an out-of-state student at a public school, it’s a little north of $120,000. And at Duke and Stanford and all the other private institutions, the price tag averages $164,000.

SHARPEN UP

Can De Blasio Be Less Blah?

© Lucas Jackson / Reuters

From charter schools to snow-clearing controversies to taxing the rich to pay for pre-K, Bill de Blasio has had a rough first few months as New York’s Mayor. To rehabilitate his battered public image, he needs to do more than take selfies on the steps of City Hall.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who roared into office with 73 percent of the vote, has spent his nearly three months on the job facing up to a cruel reality: Presiding over the nation’s media capital is no day at the beach. (Unless we’re talking about Omaha Beach.)        The city’s 52-year-old, 6-foot-5 chief executive has served as a human piñata for a local press corps eager to highlight his every rookie mistake and preventable political flap—and de Blasio has obliged with some beauts over the past several weeks.

Who Is Frazier Glenn Miller?

Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon dissects the story of Miller, a 'nightmare image' of 'hate groups nestled in the heartland' who went on a Kansas killing spree on Sunday.

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    Buried in Mud, Washington Grieves

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    Winter Wonderland on the Border

  3. The Spoiled Generation Play

    The Spoiled Generation

THE LATEST

Rick Perry Is Coming for Your Job

Rick Perry Is Coming for Your Job

No more talk of Texas seceding or ‘oops’ moments—the governor is relaunching his image and luring businesses to the Lone Star state. And he was doing just that in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Bad Match

It’s Not Racist to Oppose Gay Marriage

JUST SAY IT IS SO

In the Obamacare Closet

SNEAKY MOVES

Red State Obamascare Tactics

SEEING RED, VOTING BLUE

Dems, Get Angry or Lose Congress