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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.

Live Free or Shag On

Our Dumb Puritan Sex Laws

The Daily Beast

New Hampshire and Louisiana lawmakers got all hot and heavy over sex laws this week — was it as good for you as it was for them?

When I heard Mickey Rooney had died last week, naturally I wondered: Mickey Rooney was still alive? Likewise, when I heard this week that New Hampshire repealed its longstanding law against committing adultery, I had a similar thought: It was against the law to commit adultery in New Hampshire?  Honestly I didn't know. Immoral, perhaps. Unwise, certainly. But illegal? (And for that matter, what would the dearly departed Mickey Rooney think about it? More on that later.

That's the Spirit

Easter Miracle in Brooklyn

Courtesy of The Droiville Family

Despite being shot in the head twice, a young boy credits his faith in God for keeping him alive and able to sing his praises.

A double Easter miracle will occur today as a 13-year-old Brooklyn boy who survived being shot two times in the head watches a live-streamed concert by the crouch choir in which he would otherwise have been singing.“They are giving me a lap top,” said miracle kid Gama Droiville from his bed in the pediatric unit at Kings County Hospital on Saturday.And anybody who wants to join young Gama in watching an Easter service along with a concert by the French Speaking Baptist Church choir—performed with him in mind—need only go to www.

Watch This!

Watch the Week in 90 Seconds

From the death of a literary titan to the shooting spree at Kansas Jewish centers to NASA’s discovery of Earth’s ‘cousin,’ catch up on the past week's biggest stories.

Unfathomable

The Cheerleader Murders

Flickr

For five long and very strange years, death haunted tiny Dryden, NY, a town near the Finger Lakes where a plague of car accidents, suicides, and even grisly murders involving two popular cheerleaders just kept mounting up.

At the end of Fargo, Frances McDormand’s police chief, Marge Gunderson, captures the psycho played by Peter Stormare. He’s in the backseat of her police cruiser and she talks to him as she drives. We see that she cannot fathom the evil she’s just seen.“And here ya are,” she says, “and it’s a beautiful day. Well, I just don’t understand it.” It’s as true a piece of acting as you’ll find—Marge really doesn’t comprehend a certain kind of human darkness.

PRETTY GROSS

Hollywood’s ‘Twink’ Pool Parties

via Facebook

As Bryan Singer contests allegations he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old teenager, one attendee of the Hollywood director’s infamous pool parties recalls wild nights of no clothes and lots of alcohol.

In gay company, use of the word “twink” is typically paired with a rolled eye and a condescending tone. At its most pejorative, the term describes a uniquely disposable kind of young gay man: Hairless, guileless, witless. The term’s namesake is Twinkie, a junk food containing shiny packaging, a sweet taste, and zero nutritional value.It’s a label that mitigates the need for names or personalities or agency:  “twinks” can be bussed into parties, thrown into pools, put into a tiny Speedo—or no tiny Speedo at all—and ornamentally placed around the water’s edge like living, breathing, giggling statuary.

Legal Authority

Go It Alone, Obama, for Democracy

Pete Souza/The White House, via Getty

He’s been hammered for going around Congress with executive orders. But he’s within his authority—and he should go further on voting and transparency to make government work better.

With Congress paralyzed, President Obama has promised to use his “pen and phone” to overcome the ongoing dysfunction and get some work done. And the White House has already acted several times to help improve America’s economy. But such policies, no matter how valuable, will achieve little if we do not fix our broken democracy.Allow me to suggest some ideas for how the president can do just that.First, some historical context. Presidents have long acted within their authority, from Jefferson’s purchase of Louisiana without consulting Congress to Lincoln’s freeing the slaves by proclamation.

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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