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The Shrinking of David Gregory

William B. Plowman/AP

A report that NBC employed a ‘psychological consultant’ to interrogate the ‘Meet the Press’ moderator’s wife and friends about how he connected with viewers has been met with incredulity and amusement.

Did NBC News stage a psychological intervention on Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, hiring a shrink to interrogate his wife and friends last year in hopes of discovering what can be done to save his cratered ratings?Reaction in the television news business varied from gobsmacked to amused after The Washington Post's media reporter, Paul Farhi, suggested on Monday that the network seemed to have done just that, “commissioning a psychological consultant to interview his friends and even his wife.

THE LOVE PUNCH

‘Hurricane’ Carter Wasn’t Innocent

Michael Bradley/Getty

Following his death on Sunday, there’s been a rash response to the famed boxer’s life—both pre and post prison—all of which poses the question: Was he really ‘all love’?

“This man right here is love. He’s all love,” announced Denzel Washington while swaddling his Best Actor gong at the Golden Globes in 2000. The man of love, former boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who died yesterday at 76, rubbed his hands nervously, managing a meek smile as Washington spoke while patting him on the back.How could one dispute Denzel’s characterization? This paragon of love, who once beat people up for a living, had long since transformed a life of violence, including a 19-year spell in prison, into a crusade for justice, prompting Washington’s award-winning Hollywood hagiography of a man falsely accused and falsely convicted by a corrupt and racist system.

Bubble

Your Rent Is Too Damn High

Louis Mazzatenta/Corbis

The average nationwide percentage of income spent on rent is now the highest it’s been in 30 years. Unaffordable rents aren’t just a New York problem anymore.

In 2005, Jimmy McMillan founded The Rent is Too Damn High Party. The ever-eccentric, independent campaigner focused his message on housing affordability, or lack thereof, in New York City, later launching mayoral and gubernatorial runs in 2005, 2008, and 2010. While only receiving a small percentage of the vote—tapping out at 40,000 in 2010’s statewide race—his character soon floated away into the dreamland of fringe, single-issue campaigns that dominate our election cycles.

School Standards

The Stupid War on the Common Core

Bruce Ackerman/Landov

An unholy alliance between the Tea Party and the teachers’ unions threatens to derail the most promising education reform in decades.

Like Rocky in the early rounds, the new Common Core math and reading standards are being pummeled left and right. From the left: Education icon Diane Ravitch says the Common Core represents a “utilitarian view of education” that is too focused on testing, data, and accountability. From the right, “ObamaCore” is denounced as federal intrusion. Heritage Foundation education fellow Lindsey Burke calls it “an effort to impose a uniform, standardized curriculum across the country.

Toiling Together

U.S. Military: Socialist Paradise

David Pollack/Corbis

It may come as an unwelcome surprise to conservatives, but America’s military has one of the only working models of collective living and social welfare the country has ever known.

Every day before dawn, brave men and women of different races and backgrounds rise as one, united by a common cause. They march together in formation, kept in step by their voices joined in song. These workers leave their communal housing arrangements and go toil together “in the field.” While they are out doing their day’s labor, their young are cared for in subsidized childcare programs. If they hurt themselves on the job, they can count on universal health care.

No Peace

Abused by Military Justice

Over a year ago, a civilian woman accused her Marine ex-husband of beating and raping her. She’s still waiting for the incidents to be fully investigated.

Three years after she separated from her husband, Bobbie Herron still suffers from his abuse. Last week she went in for another round of surgery, this time to fix the broken orbital socket and deviated septum he left her with after an attack in 2010.For over a year, Herron has been working through the military system, appealing for justice against the Marine ex-husband she says routinely raped and beat her. To Herron it has felt like “a marathon that I ran in quicksand, getting nowhere quickly.

POWER

To Be Totally Frank

Michael Chandler

Not for nothing did Barney Frank inspire a biography called ‘The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman’. A singular politician, he talks about political power-play, a hardly-quiet retirement—and defending Alec Baldwin from accusations of homophobia.

When retired Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank takes the Tribeca Film Festival’s stage later this month for the premiere of Compared to What—a documentary chronicling his life as a liberal lightning rod, influential lawmaker, and the country’s first sitting House member to celebrate his own same-sex marriage—he will be interviewed by Alec Baldwin.        The actor has been on a grudging apology tour since various gay rights groups and celebrities slammed him for homophobic tweets and angry outbursts at paparazzi in recent months, while he blamed “the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy” for the cancellation last November of his short-lived MSNBC show.

High Holy Day

How to 4/20 Without Getting High

The Daily Beast

In honor of Sunday’s pot-smoking holiday, a definitive guide to art of the fake ’n’ bake.

“You already know about [4/20]. Either [it] lives in your heart, or [it] doesn’t.” —Don Draper, paraphrased for our purposesTwo kinds of people don’t need this column:1. People who have been lovingly constructing their 4/20 plans the way a songbird constructs her nest: a flurry of calls to the dealer here, a little bit of Cheetos Mix-Ups and chocolate-covered gummy bears there, bound together with the confused delight and improbability that is the hallmark of any satisfying THC-blurred day.

Really?

Fix America in Six Easy Steps!

Todd Heisler/The New York Times, Redux

From campaign finance to political gerrymandering, the retired Supreme Court justice skips hard arguments in his new book in favor of unrealistic, poorly drafted solutions.

Reading retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, I was reminded of an old Steve Martin routine from his standup days. “First, get a million dollars,” Martin explains in “You Can Be a Millionaire and Never Pay Taxes.” Then if the tax collector comes to your door asking why you didn’t pay taxes on your million dollars, just say, “I forgot.” Just like Martin, Justice Stevens wants to skip all the tough stuff, using his slim volume to offer overly simplistic solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems, from political gerrymandering to Second Amendment gun rights and campaign finance.

Houses of Mammon

Come for Easter, Hit the Jackpot

The Daily Beast

Desperate to stand out, some megachurches are baiting Easter crowds with flat-screen TVs, iPads, and Starbucks gift cards. The craziest part? They don’t think it’s crazy.

It’s Easter Sunday, y’all, the most important day on the Christian calendar, a day when many of us Christians hashtag our tweets with #HeIsRisen and plaster our Facebook profiles with memes featuring pictures of sunrises, empty tombs, drops of blood, and casually anti-Semitic medieval poetry. For America’s churches, Easter is the busiest Sunday of the year. According to statistics, more Americans attend church on Easter than on any other day, many congregations reporting swells in attendance ranging from 25 to 50 percent.

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.

  1. Buried in Mud, Washington Grieves Play

    Buried in Mud, Washington Grieves

  2. Winter Wonderland on the Border Play

    Winter Wonderland on the Border

  3. The Spoiled Generation Play

    The Spoiled Generation

THE LATEST

Red State Obamascare Tactics

Red State Obamascare Tactics

In Kansas and Georgia, Democrats running for governor are closer than expected. The GOP response? Rewrite the laws so they couldn’t take Medicaid money. It’s 2014’s sleeper controversy.

SEEING RED, VOTING BLUE

Dems, Get Angry or Lose Congress

Fired Up

Hopelessly Devoted to Hillary

Political Dynasties

Why America Needs Mary Cheney

Fake Baby?!

The Chelsea Clinton Birthers