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What Makes Something Erotic?

What Makes Something Erotic?

By Mark Banschick, M.D.

What makes someone or something erotically exciting? For those who would like a little more charge in their lives.

If Aereo wins at the supreme court and broadcasters pull TV off the air, so be it

television color bars

If Aereo wins at the supreme court and broadcasters pull TV off the air, so be it

Dan Gillmor

Sure, the streaming service and companies like Airbnb and Uber skirt the law, but that's better than the old-school cartel hoarding a public service

In the endless war of incumbents versus insurgents, Tuesday's oral arguments at the US supreme court – America's broadcast TV networks against a video-streaming startup called Aereo – will ultimately be one small battle. But they remained a useful, if complex, illustration of the way a supposedly free-market economy has become so beholden to the needs, and whims, of entrenched interests.

And American Broadcasting Companies v Aereo reminds us how innovators in all sorts of arenas so often skirt the edges of legality – indeed, how they regularly skip right over laws and regulations that are designed to protect the business of incumbency as much as, if not more than, to serve the public interest.

For Aereo, the stakes in this case are simple: the business lives or dies. It "probably will go out of business," the broadcasters' attorney proclaimed outside the court this afternoon, "and nobody should cry here."

That's not true for the broadcasters, however much they bleat to the contrary. They are still part of an interlocking cartel that exists entirely because Congress has given a public resource – the airwaves – to a small collection of commercial interests. Yes, TV's broadcast spectrum licenses, worth uncountable billions of dollars, were handed over to these robber barons at no charge. Their claim that Aereo is "stealing" is laughable given the heist they pulled off years ago.

So in the event that Aereo wins and Congress unaccountably does the right thing, and then the networks threaten to take their programming off the air, we should welcome that result. Because then we'd be closer to a genuinely free market for programming – assuming, of course, that the cable industry doesn't simply take control itself.

Aaron Sorkin apologizes for 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin apologizes for 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin apologizes for 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama "The Newsroom" has one more season, but before it leaves the air, the show's creator wanted to clear the air with his fans. And he took a moment during an event at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Monday to do just that.

"I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with 'The Newsroom' and I apologize and I'd like to start over," told his fans, according to Buzzfeed. At the time, Sorkin was on stage being interviewed by Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama (not the "Iron Man" director).

Sorkin talk fest is no fun

The series, set at the fictional cable news outlet ACN, follows a hard-charging anchor, played by Jeff Daniels, and his squad of producers who seek to uncover the hard news underneath the media noise that the series suggests many news organizations fall victim to.

"I think that there’s been a terrible misunderstanding," he told the audience. "I did not set the show in the recent past in order to show the pros how it should have been done. That was and remains the furthest thing from my mind. I set the show in the recent past because I didn't want to make up fake news. It was going to be weird if the world that these people were living in did not in any way resemble the world that you were living in, so I didn’t want to make up fake news, and also, I wanted the option of having a terrific dynamic that you can get when the audience knows more than the characters do .... So, I wasn't trying to and I'm not capable of teaching a professional journalist a lesson. That wasn't my intent, and it's never my intent to teach you a lesson or to try to persuade you of anything."

The Shrinking of David Gregory

The Shrinking of David Gregory

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.  

Gregory’s wife, Washington attorney Beth Wilkinson, a partner in the blue-chip law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, declined to comment on her encounter with the consultant, saying, “No thanks…I’ll leave it to the pros.” 

A source at NBC News said New York-based Elastic Strategy, a boutique firm run by former advertising executive Audrey Francis, is the “brand consultant” which conducted the interviews with Gregory’s wife and friends a year ago—several months before the August 2013 arrival from Great Britain’s ITV News of NBC’s latest news division president, Deborah Turness.

“Our purpose is to strengthen your brand and propel it to lasting success,” the consulting firm’s web site says. “We do this by working with you to design a specific strategy to guide the development of your brand. This strategy will define how your brand will stand out, lead, and thrive in the evolving marketplace. It will impact every interaction anyone has with your brand.”

Jimmy Fallon mocks Hillary Clinton for dressing like a man

Jamie Weinstein

Jimmy Fallon

“I want to say congrats to Chelsea Clinton. Last week she announced that she is expecting her first child,” Fallon said, setting up the joke. “That’s great. That’s great for her. If it is a girl, it will get some of Chelsea’s old hands-me-downs.”

“And if it is a boy,” he continued, “it will get some of Hillary’s.”

Sonia Sotomayor's "Epic" Dissent Against Michigan’s Affirmative-Action Ban

US Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor during a press conference in San Salvador on August 16, 2011.

Sonia Sotomayor's "Epic" Dissent Against Michigan’s Affirmative-Action Ban

By Joe Coscarelli

"We are fortunate to live in a democratic society," she began. "But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups. For that reason, our Constitu­tion places limits on what a majority of the people may do. This case implicates one such limit: the guarantee of equal protection of the laws."

"The Constitution does not protect racial minorities from political defeat," Sotomayor wrote. "But neither does it give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities."

The court, she continued, "ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter."
Who Defeated Prop 8?

  • by Richard Socarides

    Jo Becker’s “Forcing the Spring” has ignited a controversy over who should get credit in a key battle for marriage equality.

The book focuses on Chad Griffin, a Los Angeles political consultant, Hollywood fund-raiser, and former staffer in the Clinton White House (where he and I briefly worked together). Soon after the passage of Proposition 8, in November, 2008, the idea of hiring Olson was serendipitously suggested to Griffin by an acquaintance of one of his clients, who happened to drop in on their lunch one day at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Griffin was pained by the success of the anti-gay initiative and, like a good public-relations man, he knew better than to pass up a headline-grabbing idea. Olson, much to Griffin’s surprise, was more than eager to take up a challenge to what he regarded as the violation of a constitutionally guaranteed right to marry. Olson and Griffin decided to enlist a liberal co-counsel, to help convince gay-rights groups that their plan was not a sinister anti-gay scheme. After their first two choices declined, Boies agreed to sign on—Becker suggests that Boies liked the case from the start, in part because “its history-making potential and odd-couple story line was sure to garner huge amounts of press interest.” (The lawyers and their backers were so sure of this that they not only arranged for Becker to have behind-the-scenes access, they also had a documentary film crew and an award-winning photographer chronicle the story.)

Their strategy was simple: draw attention to the issue by featuring these new and unlikely advocates; wrap the cause in the American flag; embrace support from those who had come late to the fight; and orchestrate the whole thing like a political campaign. As we now know, this was, in many ways, a brilliant stroke, politically if not legally. The Proposition 8 lawsuit did not succeed in obtaining the broad Supreme Court ruling that Olson and Griffin had hoped for; the justices decided that their opponents didn’t have standing, and left in place a lower-court ruling overturning California’s ban. That did restore marriage rights to couples in that state; still, if that was all that the court had ruled that summer, it might have been viewed as a disappointment. But it was decided the same day as the Supreme Court’s historic decision in the case brought by Edie Windsor and her lawyer Roberta Kaplan to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Becker reports that Olson and Griffin originally considered fashioning their case as a challenge to DOMA, but did not want to pit themselves against President Obama, whose Department of Justice would have had to defend the law. Still, there is no question that the Proposition 8 case was a major factor in the shift in public opinion that laid the political groundwork for Windsor.

Germany Helped Prep Russia for War, U.S. Sources Say


Germany Helped Prep Russia for War, U.S. Sources Say

Over the past few years, NATO countries have helped Russia revolutionize its armed forces. Now questions are arising about a German defense contractor that trained the Russian military.

 The world was shocked when Russian special operations forces invaded Crimea with advanced technology, drastically improved operations, and with so much operational security that even agencies in the U.S. intelligence community didn’t see it coming. In Washington, government and congressional leaders are wondering how the Russian special operations forces got so good, so fast, without anyone noticing. Some are wondering how much help Russia had from the West.

In 2011, for example, the German defense contractor Rheinmetall signed a $140 million contract to build a combat simulation training center in Mulino, in southwest Russia, that would train 30,000 Russian combat troops per year. While the facility wasn't officially scheduled to be completed until later this year, U.S. officials believe that Germany has been training Russian forces for years.

Rheinmetall defended the project even after the invasion of Crimea, up until the German government finally shut it down late last month. But many tracking the issue within the U.S. government were not happy with Germany's handling of the Russian contract, and worry that some of the training may have gone to the kind of special operations forces now operating in and around Ukraine.

Sex, abortion and homosexuality: What’s acceptable around the world

Sex, abortion and homosexuality: What’s acceptable around the world

Pam Tobey

See how the U.S. compares with other countries on subjects related to sexuality.

When asked about sex between unmarried adults, views were also contrasting. Large majorities in Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria and China consider premarital sex unacceptable while those surveyed in the United States, Canada and Britain found it acceptable. Respondents in France, Russia and Brazil did not consider it a moral issue at all. In Israel, it was close to a tie between acceptable and unacceptable.

Supreme Court to hear dispute over Internet TV broadcasts

Supreme Court to hear dispute over Internet TV broadcasts

By Associated Press

Thirty years after failing to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings, big media companies are back and now trying to rein in another technological innovation they say threatens their financial well-being.

Now the entertainment conglomerates that own U.S. television networks are waging a legal fight, culminating in Tuesday's Supreme Court argument against a startup business that uses Internet-based technology to give subscribers the ability to watch programs anywhere they can take portable devices.

The source of the companies' worry is Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and sends them over the Internet to paying subscribers in 11 cities. Aereo, backed by billionaire Barry Diller, has plans to more than double that total.

Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Changes in Young Adults

Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Changes in Young Adults

By Christopher Bergland

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. A study from April 2014 found that young adults who are light marijuana users—smoking pot once a week—have structural changes in the size and shape of two brain regions. This is the first study to show casual use of marijuana is related to major brain changes.

With Eyes on Possible Clinton Run, Questions on Room for Other Women

With Eyes on Possible Clinton Run, Questions on Room for Other Women

Few doubt that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nomination for president would be good for women. But her candidacy would also likely block the paths for other women running for the White House, and, notably, for those who would like to be vice president.

Never has there been so much rising female talent in the Democratic Party, with a record 20 women in the Senate, 16 of them Democrats. They include Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the liberal fund-raising powerhouse and author of a new book, “A Fighting Chance”; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the former prosecutor with made-for-state-fair charms; the issue-grabber Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York; and others, like Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. Any one of them would be potential candidates for the bottom of a 2016 ticket, or possibly even have a shot at the top.

Supreme Court upholds Mich. ban on affirmative action in college admissions

Supreme Court upholds Mich. ban on affirmative action in college admissions

By Associated Press

The justices said in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions.

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision tramples on the rights of minorities, even though the amendment was adopted democratically. "But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups," said Sotomayor, who read her dissent aloud in the courtroom Tuesday. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sided with Sotomayor in dissent.

Colo. lawmakers get blunt, move to tighten marijuana rules after two deaths

Smokin': Cannabis lovers revel in the freedom to smoke marijuana during the 4/20 festival this weekend in Denver. It was the first time the annual celebration was held since Colorado legalized pot for recreational use. On Monday, however, state lawmakers moved to tighten rules on marijuana products in the wake of two tragic deaths thought to be related to the drug. Story, A5. (Associated Press photographs)

Colo. lawmakers get blunt, move to tighten marijuana rules after two deaths

By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times

The Mile High City was jammed with pot revelers Sunday for the annual 4/20 festival, but the mood was far from celebratory Monday as state legislators moved to tighten rules on marijuana products in the wake of two tragic deaths.

The Colorado House passed unanimously bills to set possession limits for concentrated forms of marijuana such as hash oil, and to make cookies, candy and other foods infused with pot more easily identifiable.

Obama Administration Is Ordered to Reveal Reasons for Killing an American Citizen

The Obama Administration Is Ordered to Reveal Reasons for Killing an American Citizen

By Conor Friedersdorf

The death of Anwar al-Awlaki has remained unexplained—until now?

The Obama Administration has fought for years to hide its legal rationale for killing an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, after putting him on a secret kill list. Citizens have an interest in knowing whether the White House follows the law, especially when the stakes are as high as ending a life without due process. President Obama has fought to ensure his legal reasoning would never be revealed, a precedent that would help future presidents to kill without accountability.

His shortsightedness is breathtaking.

Why Fans Go Nuts: The Psychology of Sports

Why Fans Go Nuts: The Psychology of Sports

By Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.

Why do people care so much about their teams? Is there a home field advantage? Do athletes really choke? Learn more about the psychology of fans, athletes, and sports teams.

1. Why Do People Care So Much About Their Home Sports Teams?

Sports fans can become rabid and out-of-control. Consider riots at European soccer matches and violent clashes between home and visitor fans at U.S. sports venues. Why do sports fans get so involved and heated? Decades of social psychological research has clearly demonstrated what is called the in-group, out-group bias. We identify with “our team” and our team’s fans (the in-group) and come to despise the other team and their fans (the out-group). This is the heart of sports rivalry. We “bask in the reflected glory” when our team wins, and research has shown that fans’ self-esteem rises with victories and falls with defeat.

Western states move to take over federal land

Nevada range war: Western states move to take over federal land

The fight over Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cows grazing illegally on federal land is a symbol of a much larger issue: control of land in western states, where the federal government is dominant.

In Salt Lake City Friday, representatives from Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington met for a “Legislative Summit on the Transfer of Public Lands.”

"Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands," Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder said at a news conference. "We have to start managing these lands. It's the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms."

In other words, today’s revival of the “Sagebrush Rebellion” is as much about political philosophy as it is about great stretches of the largely-arid territory west of the 100th meridian splitting the Dakotas and running down through Texas.

The map accompanying this article shows the difference between the West and the rest of the country. Here’s a list showing percentages of federal land by state, according to the Congressional Research Service. It includes the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, National Parks, and military bases: Nevada 81, Alaska 62, Utah 67, Oregon 53, Idaho 62, Arizona 42, California 48, Wyoming 48, New Mexico 35, Colorado 36.

State lawmakers say they’re better prepared to manage such lands, both for the environment and for regional economies.

"There is a distinct difference in the way federal agencies are managing the federal lands today," Sen. Fielder said. "They used to do a good job, but they are hamstrung now with conflicting policies, politicized science, and an extreme financial crisis at the national level. It makes it impossible for these federal agencies to manage the lands responsibly anymore."

‘Hurricane’ Carter Was Wrongly Convicted, But He Wasn’t Innocent

‘Hurricane’ Carter Was Wrongly Convicted, But He Wasn’t Innocent

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’?

In 1964, a Saturday Evening Post profile of the up-and-coming fighter reported that “society had [already] confined [Carter] for a total of 10 years for crimes of violence.” The Newark Star-Ledger, his hometown newspaper, later explained that “he was sent to…reformatory for breaking a bottle over the head of a man from whom he stole a wristwatch and $55.” He confessed to the Post in 1964 that “my partner and me…used to get up and put our guns in our pockets like you put your wallet in your pocket. Then we go out in the streets and start fighting—anybody, everybody. We used to shoot at folks.” He bragged in the same interview that he had once knocked out an uncooperative horse with a single punch. (Bob Dylan sang that Carter wanted nothing more than to go “where the trout streams flow and the air is nice, and ride a horse along a trail,” while failing to mention his penchant for equine assault).

But it was in 1966 when Carter, along with an accomplice, was accused—and later convicted by a jury—of a gruesome triple murder in Paterson, N.J. After a campaign to establish his innocence was promoted by supporters like Muhammad Ali, Carter was paroled in 1976 and granted a new trial, a brief spell of freedom during which he knocked out a 112-pound woman running his “free Rubin” support committee. As she told the Newark Star-Ledger in 2000, “I didn’t see it coming. I felt everything getting dark. I remember praying to Allah, ‘Please help me,’ and apparently Allah rolled me over, and he kicked me in the back instead of kicking my guts out. Allah saved my life.”

The second jury upheld his conviction.

 Vaunted lefty journalist Jack Newfield complained that “I knew Rubin Carter, attended his fights, covered his retrial, and I didn’t see much reality on the screen,” while also stressing that the judge who vacated Carter and Artis’s two convictions did “not say they were innocent, only that their rights were trampled on.” In 2000, another New York Times writer reminded readers that “Mr. Carter was never exonerated; he was released in 1985 when a federal judge ruled there had been procedural errors during the second trial, and prosecutors decided not to try him a third time.”

USC great Keyshawn Johnson arrested in Calif. for domestic violence

Keyshawn Johnson arrested for domestic violence

Keyshawn Johnson arrested in Calif. for domestic violence

By Bryan Rose

Former NFL wide receiver and current ESPN football analyst Keyshawn Johnson has been arrested for domestic violence,  according to TMZ Sports.

Johnson, a three-time NFL Pro Bowl talent, was detained on Monday morning in Calabasas, Calif., after an alleged confrontation with his girlfriend. Law enforcement officials told TMZ that things allegedly got physical, which ended in Johnson supposedly smashing the phone of his girlfriend, cutting her hand in the process. That confrontation lead to Johnson being arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery and booked. The former USC Trojan star posted the $20,000 bond and is out on bail.
Why Republicans Can’t Beat Obama

Columnist Steve Deace says the only way for Republicans to beat a crusader like President Obama is to defeat him with a crusader of their own. (Associated Press)

Why Republicans Can’t Beat Obama

By Steve Deace - The Washington Times

To understand why the Republicans can’t beat President Obama, you must first recognize the three kinds of people that inhabit contemporary American politics – crusaders, gangsters, and groupies.

Donor-Groupie: These brilliant and ruthless captains of industry suddenly become naïve jock sniffers once they enter the political arena, as they mindlessly and repeatedly cut big checks to smooth-talking gangsters with little to no return on investment. What the donor-groupie calls “influence” is really just a feature story somewhere about how important of a political power broker they allegedly are, which they can share with their trophy wives and/or safari buddies. Of course, this “feature” only runs in media other groupies are consuming — thus the echo chamber is subsidized into perpetuity on sheer ego alone.

Students Deploy Riot-Ready Social Media

Students Deploy Riot-Ready Social Media

By Caroline Porter and Douglas Belkin

Fueled by Flurry of Tweets—and a Selfie Fascination—Campus Gatherings Challenge Traditional Crowd-Control Tactics

At least 10 riots have rocked colleges in the past two months, resulting in hundreds of arrests and dozens of injuries amid a growing sense that social media are helping to fuel misbehavior at student mass gatherings. Police arrested 19 people near the University of Minnesota's flagship Twin Cities campus after a recent Gophers hockey loss. At a University of Cincinnati party that drew about 450 students, police had to be summoned when things got out of hand. At an off-campus party at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., police resorted to pepper-spray projectiles to bring the crowd under control.

"This is new as far as I can tell," Mr. Carrothers said. "It used to be the winners go out and celebrate and the losers go home and sulk, but that's not true anymore. Now the losers are out there celebrating. We don't even have a name for this yet."

"It used to take a lot more work to generate a gathering," said Gary Margolis, who manages the National Center for Campus Public Safety. "Now one tweet and you've just reached 40 people. Everyone has their own mass communications device in their pocket."

Beijing, From the Back of a Rolls Royce Wraith

Beijing, From the Back of a Rolls Royce Wraith

Ever wondered what it’s like to ride in a $300,000 car? The Wall Street Journal’s Te-Ping Chen takes a tour through the streets of Beijing in the back seat of a Wraith and finds while the car might mean luxury, it also means attracting plenty of paparazzi.

Is there any wiggle room in monogamy?

The Omnigamist's Dilemma

By Christopher Ryan

Love for your spouse, no matter how profound and sincere, will probably not eliminate your innate yearning for erotic novelty.

Why Corporations Fail to Do the Right Thing

Why Corporations Fail to Do the Right Thing

By Christine Bader

Businesses still harm workers and the environment, even when leaders genuinely want to do better.

3. Safety and responsibility cost money—and no one gets rewarded for disasters averted. Even those companies not living explicitly by Ford’s 1970s model have to perform some sort of cost-benefit analysis. Since the work that I did for BP and that my peers do for their companies is preventative and complex, it can be hard to justify the expense of any one intervention.

Calif. tax preparers paid bounty for every Obamacare sign up

U.S. President Barack Obama listens as Ann Johnson, one of five supporters of Obamacare he is having lunch with, speaks at The Coupe restaurant in Washington, January 10, 2014. Andre Cruz (C), another lunch guest, looks on.    REUTERS/Larry Downing   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH) - RTX178SC

Calif. tax preparers paid bounty for every Obamacare sign up

At least 79 tax service providers, including offices of major companies like Liberty Tax Service and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, are listed as certified Obamacare enrollment entities in the state of California, according to state exchange records.

California’s Obamacare exchange, Covered California, pays enrollment entities for signing people up for Obamacare.

“Certified Enrollment Entities are paid a flat-fee of $58 per successful application and $25 per successful annual renewal,” according to California Health Benefit Advisers. ”The Enrollment Entities compensate the individual Enrollment Counselors.”

Robert Shrum: Why the GOP Needs a Return to the Bush Leagues


Why the GOP Needs a Return to the Bush Leagues

Does anyone really believe Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Chris Christie can contend against Hillary Clinton? At least Jeb, the establishment’s establishmentarian, would put up a fight.

In presidential nominating contests, the Republican establishment has always won out—from the first Bush, to the tried but tired Dole, to W., then McCain, and most recently Romney, who nonetheless had to labor mightily to emerge from the weakest field of candidates in either party, ever. Really, Rick Santorum? Although casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s millions of misspent dollars propped him up, Romney, with even greater resources from the party’s long-reigning plutocrats, ground Santorum down over time and along the way dispatched the unthinkable Newt Gingrich. The journey was excruciatingly long for the establishmentarians and cost them more than they ever anticipated. But in the end, they had their way.

Kourtney Kardashian is on vacation
Riding to the Rescue of Obama's Manhood

A Manhood Problem

By Laurie Essig, Ph.D.

David Brooks is like a Disney Princess waiting for a prince to ride in and defeat all of America's enemies with a mighty sword/Phallus. And that is a really dangerous political fairytale.

David Brooks, macho man and New York Times columnist, accused President Barack Obama of having a "manhood problem." On Meet the Press, Brooks said:

"And let's face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a -- I'll say it crudely -- but a manhood problem in the Middle East. Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad or somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair, but certainly in the Middle East there is an assumption that he's not tough enough."

But when it comes to politics, we all suffer from a "manhood problem." And that problem is that "manhood" functions in the same way "happily ever after" does. It assures us that a bold prince will come storming in and keep us safe with his mighty sword/Phallic symbol. In our romantic lives, this fantasy can cause us to wait around for someone else to be responsible for our happiness and well being or to resent our spouses because they do not really have magical powers and thus cannot really make us eternally happy and safe. In the political world, this fantasy is even more dangerous.

Julia Roberts on Her Family and Fame

Julia Roberts on Her Family and Fame

By Elisa Lipsky-Karasz

The Academy Award winning actress, thankful for the life she shares out of the spotlight with her family, brings her star power to the small screen in HBO's film adaptation of 'The Normal Heart'

THE CONCEPT OF FATE comes up a lot in conversation with Julia Roberts. "I don't want to toy with the gods," she'll say. Or, "I don't want to tempt the fates." This is understandable since by any accounting she has been phenomenally lucky: a career that has lasted more than 25 years and includes a best-actress Oscar, legs that are still coltish at 46 and a marriage that has sailed past the decade mark and given her three kids. But these days, she's trying to live a life more ordinary, admittedly a difficult proposition for someone who found superstardom at 22 with 1990's Pretty Woman and to date has brought in $2.6 billion in box office receipts—almost twice the annual GDP of Belize. So tinkering is not something that Roberts is keen to do. 

Roberts is nostalgic for the Hollywood of her early career, where having arrived meant a dinner invitation to agent Sue Mengers's house and "there seemed to be a method to it," she says. "You had your job and you got paid $1, and you got your next job and got paid $2. It made sense to me." Today, when the only surefire hits are star-packed blockbusters like The Avengers or tentpole franchises starring relatively unknown actors, it's unclear who can reliably open a movie anymore. (It's telling that both Roberts's current film and her most recent one, August: Osage County, were adapted from plays that have a more narrow, focused appeal. Meanwhile, Pretty Woman is currently being transformed into a splashy Broadway musical.) "It used to be that you could build from weekend to weekend and people talked," says Roberts, who also has a production company. "Now, if there have been two showtimes and it hasn't sold 10 bazillion tickets, you're dead in the water.  


How does she feel about not having another role in the pipeline? "It's nice. We have the rest of the school year," she says, brightening at the thought. "The thing about being a parent is that as your kids get older, Fridays start to get super exciting again, and Sundays start to get melancholic. Spring break is exciting again."

Jerry Seib: Obama's Impending Ukraine Decision

Jerry Seib: Obama's Impending Ukraine Decision

President Obama is reluctant to ramp up military aid to Ukraine. However, with diplomatic alternatives failing and pressure mounting from Congress, a decision is imminent.

Hillary Clinton blamed in USAID memos outlining chaos in Afghanistan aid

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., reacts to supporters as she campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., at an American Federation of Teachers Union rally in Cincinnati Friday, Oct. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

Hillary Clinton blamed in USAID memos outlining chaos in Afghanistan aid

By Guy Taylor - The Washington Times

Top officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development repeatedly cited former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for setting into motion a policy to waive restrictions on who could receive U.S. aid in Afghanistan, resulting in millions of dollars in U.S. funds going directly into the corrupt Afghan ministries.

In internal government documents with potential repercussions for the 2016 presidential election, top officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development repeatedly cited former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for setting into motion a policy to waive restrictions on who could receive U.S. aid in Afghanistan, resulting in millions of dollars in U.S. funds going directly into the coffers of Afghan ministries known to be rife with corruption.

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