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Moving In/Moving On: Cohabiters Less and Less Likely to Wed

Moving In/Moving On: Cohabiters Less and Less Likely to Wed

By Scott M. Stanley, Ph.D.

As young adults put off marriage until later in life, cohabitation has inhabited much of the space that used to be made up of married couples. A new study shows that all types of cohabiting couples have become more likely than in the past to break up and not marry. Cohabitation is moving toward being a form of dating with no implications about the odds of marrying.

Moving in together is becoming less and less likely to lead to having a future together. That’s not to say that all cohabiters are in the same boat regarding their destination. Those who are engaged (or have clear plans to marry) before moving in together are far more likely to eventually marry—but as Guzzo shows, even they are becoming less likely to do so. Related to this, my colleagues and I have shown, in numerous studies, that couples with clear plans to marry before cohabiting, along with those who marry without cohabiting, tend to have happier marriages and lower odds of divorce than those who move in together before having a clearly settled commitment to the future in marriage. (We believe this is largely because, while cohabiting unions obviously break up often, they are harder to break off than dating relationships because it becomes harder to move out and move on. So some people get stuck in a relationship they would otherwise have not remained in.)

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg now richer than Google guys
Google's New Moonshot: the Human Body


A contact lens being tested by Google to explore tear glucose.

Google's New Moonshot: the Human Body

Google has embarked on what may be its most ambitious science endeavor: a quest inside the human body. Called Baseline Study, the project will collect genetic and molecular data to create a full picture of a healthy human.

The early-stage project is run by Andrew Conrad, a 50-year-old molecular biologist who pioneered cheap, high-volume tests for HIV in blood-plasma donations.

Dr. Conrad joined Google X—the company's research arm—in March 2013, and he has built a team of about 70-to-100 experts from fields including physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology.

Other mass medical and genomics studies exist. But Baseline will amass a much larger and broader set of new data. The hope is that this will help researchers detect killers such as heart disease and cancer far earlier, pushing medicine more toward prevention rather than the treatment of illness.

"With any complex system, the notion has always been there to proactively address problems," Dr. Conrad said. "That's not revolutionary. We are just asking the question: If we really wanted to be proactive, what would we need to know? You need to know what the fixed, well-running thing should look like."

The project won't be restricted to specific diseases, and it will collect hundreds of different samples using a wide variety of new diagnostic tools. Then Google will use its massive computing power to find patterns, or "biomarkers," buried in the information. The hope is that these biomarkers can be used by medical researchers to detect any disease a lot earlier.

Charles Krauthammer: The vacant presidency

The vacant presidency

The president’s demeanor is worrying a lot of people. From the immigration crisis on the Mexican border to the Islamic State rising in Mesopotamia, Barack Obama seems totally detached from the world’s convulsions. When he does interrupt his endless rounds of golf, fundraising and photo ops, it’s for some affectless, mechanical, almost forced public statement.

Regarding Ukraine, his detachment — the rote, impassive voice — borders on dissociation. His U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, delivers an impassioned denunciation of Russia. Obama cautions that we not “get out ahead of the facts,” as if the facts of this case — Vladimir Putin’s proxies shooting down a civilian airliner — are in doubt.

The preferred explanation for the president’s detachment is psychological. He’s checked out. Given up. Let down and disappointed by the world, he is in withdrawal.


The NFL’s Mindless Misogyny

By Robert Silverman

Professional football players can be suspended up to a year for marijuana, yet the Baltimore Ravens’ star running back was given a measly two-game suspension for brutally assaulting his bride-to-be in a video that’s gone viral.

 This is a thing that happened. A man in peak physical condition, possessing strength that would put the average person to shame, was caught on video dragging his unconscious, much smaller fiancée (now wife) by the hair out of an elevator at a casino in Atlantic City.

What occurred prior has not been made public, but according to witnesses that spoke to Deadspin, the alleged assailant threw an “uppercut,” while another said he struck her “like he [would punch] a guy.”

The gentleman in question is Ray Rice, star running back for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Today, it was announced that as “punishment,” he will be suspended for the first two games of the regular season, and levied an additional fine of $58,000 in addition to a prorated loss of salary.

Take a look at what the Ravens’ head coach, Jim Harbaugh, said upon hearing of the suspension.

“It’s just part of the process. We always said from the beginning that the circumstances would determine the consequences,” Harbaugh said. “There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray, he’s a heck of a guy, he’s done everything right since. He makes a mistake, he’s gonna have to pay a consequence.

“I think that’s good for kids to understand it works that way, that’s how it works, that’s how it should be. We’ll move forward, and the next guy will have to step up and Ray will be back when the time comes. It’s not something that we’re dwelling on, we’re not worrying about it, we’re just moving forward.”

That’s right, parents. Make sure you remind your kids that Ray’s a heck of a guy and this two-game suspension is a fair and just punishment. Tell your boys that they can beat the tar out of a girl, and as long as they can average more than 4 yards a carry, they can pretty much get away with it.

And you girls out there, if you get smacked around by your man, make sure you explain how it’s partially your fault during an absolutely awful, team-sponsored press conference. Now, would you gals be interested in purchasing this glittery pink Ray Rice jersey as a show of support?

Obama's immigration flip flop

Obama's immigration flip flop

President Barack Obama is pictured. | Getty

President Barack Obama insisted for years that he had absolutely no legal authority — none whatsoever, zero, zilch — to slow deportations on a broad scale.

Forget everything he’s said.

Obama’s pledge to use his executive powers by the end of the summer marked both a dramatic reversal in rhetoric and a major strategic shift on immigration. The president is no longer emphasizing his own powerlessness but rather his determination “to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”

The administration is examining how far it can go, legally and politically, to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Despite the flow of young Central American children across the southwestern border, Obama remains committed to taking significant action, according to senior advisers and advocates who have attended recent meetings with White House officials.
Why Hamas is a more formidable foe in Gaza this time


Why Hamas is a more formidable foe in Gaza this time

Hamas fighters are using weapons and tactics not seen in the 2009 war that mimic those of the more powerful militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

By Christa Case Bryant

Israel is facing a far more formidable Hamas than in its last face-to-face battle, thanks to the group's extensive tunnel networks, ambush tactics, anti-tank missiles, and stepped-up production of rockets. Veteran soldiers say this is not the Hamas of 2009, but a far more organized force that has adopted many of the same tactics and weapons seen in the fierce 2006 urban warfare in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.

“It’s widely assumed in Israel that Hezbollah is carefully watching what’s going on in the Gaza Strip…. The more effective Israel can be against Hamas, the more Hezbollah will be deterred” from repeating such tactics, says Daniel Nisman, president of the Levantine Group, a geopolitical risk and research consultancy in Tel Aviv.

Gaza analyst Adnan Abu Amr says there are several firsts for Hamas’s armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, in this conflict: attacking Israel by sea, sending a drone into Israel, and engaging in such heavy face-to-face fighting with the Israeli military.

Such measures have been honed both through physical training and careful study. Mr. Abu Amr says that at a training camp earlier this year, he saw fighters eagerly fine-tuning their battle skills but also studying the tactics of Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and other militant groups – even the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish paramilitary organization from which the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) was formed.

How America Started The Border Crisis


How America Started The Border Crisis

Eleanor Clift 

The kids fleeing to our southern border are escaping criminals who learned their deadly trade right here in the U.S. Two aid workers explain the roots of Central America’s deadly dysfunction.

The leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are meeting with President Obama in the White House on Friday to talk about the surge of children from their countries fleeing gang violence and fearing for their lives if they return. Carolyn Rose-Avila, who has extensive experience working with these vulnerable populations, says she can predict what these Central American presidents will tell Obama.

“Their argument for the last 15 years has been these [gang members] learned their violent behavior in the U.S.,” Rose-Avila told The Daily Beast. “They weren’t born violent, they didn’t learn that behavior in their home countries. They were not given refugee status, and they were thrust into very violent living situations, and they return as L.A. criminals. They’re going to point that history at Obama.”

Rose-Avila and her husband, Magdaleno Rose-Avila, worked in Central America starting in the late 1970s when he was Peace Corps director in Nicaragua and then Guatemala, and they were jumping from country to country, sidestepping wars and revolutions. In El Salvador, where they lived for a time, a quarter of the population fled the country to escape the war in the 1980s, some to Canada, some to the Nordic countries that would take them, and the vast majority to Los Angeles.

The El Salvadorans did not get refugee status in America, but for a long time there weren’t any mass deportations, Rose-Avila recalled. “They went underground, disappeared into the fabric of the city,” until L.A. became mired in gang violence and the deportations of young gang members began in the 1990s. Around that same time, Rose-Avila returned to El Salvador as regional director for Save the Children. “Magdaleno came with me as a husband,” she said, and one day filled in for her at a conference where deported gang members, the children of that earlier wave of illegal immigrants, were speaking.

James Carville: Obama 'Doesn't Really Care' What The American People Think

Former Democratic strategist James Carville sounded a little exasperated Thursday when he admitted President Obama “doesn’t really care” what the American people think about his presidency.

The Fox News contributor sat down with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and “The Five” host Andrea Tantaros to discuss President Obama’s consistently depressed poll numbers.

Carville noted that the president’s low numbers have been “stable” at about “43.6 [percent approval] — which is not very good, but not collapsing.”

O’Reilly — seeking to cut through the “technical garbage” — asked Carville whether the public’s perception of a failed presidency was accurate or “fair.”

Carville tried to dodge a value judgment. “You know what, whether it’s fair or not, that’s public opinion,” Carville said. “And I further think that — honestly — I don’t really think he much cares what we think. And I don’t think he much cares about his poll numbers.”

“I think he thinks he’s done and is doing a good job and history will record him, that’s he’s going about his business,” he concluded. “He doesn’t really care.”

Europe's Jews Blamed For Israel's War


Europe's Jews Blamed For Israel's War

As the fight in Gaza wears on, anti-Semites across Europe are attacking the continent’s Jews under the pretext of protesting Israel’s politics.


Since the beginning of the current war between Israel and Hamas, eight synagogues in France have been attacked. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked for Jews to apologize for the actions of the Jewish state. In Germany, a prominent Muslim Imam gave a sermon asking Allah to kill all of the “Zionist Jews.”

The atmosphere in Europe since the beginning of the war has been so toxic that the foreign ministers of France, Italy, and Germany on Tuesday issued a rare joint statement condemning anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian demonstrations.


All of this presents a troubling paradox for Zionism. The state of Israel was founded in 1948 as a haven for Jews. But in 2014 Europe’s anti-Semites have attacked Jews for the deeds of the Jewish state.

It is a classic anti-Semitic canard to punish any Jew for the perceived crimes of all of them. There is no evidence also to suggest that if Israel did not respond to rockets fired from Hamas, the Jews of Europe would be any safer or the continent’s anti-Semites would be any more tolerant. After all, some of the worst attacks on Jews in France occurred at a time of relative quiet in Israel. 

But during a war that has claimed nearly 700 Palestinians and far fewer Israelis, Jewish leaders in Europe say their communities are being held responsible for the actions of Israel.

“If you are a French Jew you should not be responsible physically for what happens 4,000 kilometers away,” Roger Cukierman, the president of the umbrella organization representing the Jewish community in France known as CRIF, told The Daily Beast.

Cukierman is also concerned that in some circles the media have portrayed those attacks as being spurred by small groups of young Jewish citizens who have formed self-defense organizations. He said these groups did not represent the community and he opposed vigilantism, but he also said their role in the attacks has been overblown.

How the U.S. Stumbled Into the Drone Era

How the U.S. Stumbled Into the Drone Era

Before 9/11, Washington was still locked in debate over a now familiar weapon

On Sept. 7, 2000, in the waning days of the Clinton administration, a U.S. Predator drone flew over Afghanistan for the first time. The unmanned, unarmed plane buzzed over Tarnak Farms, a major al Qaeda camp. When U.S. analysts later pored over video footage from this maiden voyage, they were struck by a commandingly tall man clad in white robes. CIA analysts later concluded that he was Osama bin Laden.

From that first mission, the drone program has grown into perhaps the most prominent instrument of U.S. counterterrorism policy—and, for many in the Muslim world, a synonym for American callousness and arrogance. The U.S. has used drones to support ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and, particularly under President Barack Obama, to hammer the high command of al Qaeda. A recent study by the Stimson Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., estimates that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed 2,000 to 4,000 people. Other countries are trying to get into the act, including Iran, which U.S. officials say has flown drones over Iraq during the current crisis there.

Drones seem to be everywhere these days, buzzing into civilian life and even pop culture. French players complained before the World Cup that a mysterious drone-borne camera had spied on their training sessions. Amazon owner Jeff Bezos hopes to use drones for faster home delivery. Tom Cruise starred last summer as a futuristic drone repairman in the sci-fi thriller "Oblivion," and Captain America himself faced down lethal super-drones in this spring's "The Winter Soldier." Hollywood is even using drones in real life, helping to film such tricky scenes as the chase early in the 2012 James Bond caper "Skyfall," when Daniel Craig as 007 races across the rooftops of Istanbul.

But as ubiquitous as Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and their ilk may now seem, the U.S. actually stumbled into the drone era. Washington got into the business of using drones for counterterrorism well before 9/11—not out of any steely strategic design or master plan but out of bureaucratic frustration, bickering and a series of only half-intentional decisions.

The birth of the armed-drone program underscores two central ironies. First, the weapon that the U.S. deployed so eagerly after 9/11 was a hot potato that it juggled around internally beforehand. (Indeed, the George W. Bush administration devoted most of its lone pre-9/11 cabinet-level meeting on al Qaeda—convened on Sept. 4, 2001—to wrangling about the drone program.) Second, for a program now so widely criticized in the Muslim world for killing civilians, pre-9/11 policy makers were actually driven toward armed drones because the more traditional alternatives involved unacceptable risks of collateral damage.

Central American leaders blame U.S. for border crisis

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, meets with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina (right) and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Thursday. Mr. Hernandez said ambiguity in Washington's immigration debate has helped human smugglers convince Central Americans that they can stay in the U.S. if they make the long, illegal journey. (Associated Press)

Central American leaders blame U.S. for border crisis

By S.A. Miller - The Washington Times

A day before meeting with President Obama at the White House to discuss the border crisis, the presidents of Honduras and Guatemala blamed the wave of unaccompanied children inundating the U.S. on American foreign policy and on gridlock in Congress over immigration reform.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said ambiguity in Washington’s immigration debate has helped human smugglers, called “coyotes,” convince Central Americans that they can stay in the U.S. if they make the long, illegal journey.

“That is a situation that the coyotes are very perversely taking very much an opportunity to exploit,” Mr. Hernandez, speaking through an interpreter, told reporters.

Would You Rather Be Right or Would You Rather Be Happy?

Would You Rather Be Right or Would You Rather Be Happy?

By Dan Mager, MSW

The need to be right separates those afflicted with it from others, and from all that which is beyond the cramped confines of self. Separation closes the heart. Recognizing and shifting out of the attachment to having to be right opens and softens the heart, creating the space that makes it possible to experience greater happiness, contentment, and peace of mind.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu

Hey NFL Fans: Ray Rice Isn’t the Problem. You Are.

Hey NFL Fans: Ray Rice Isn’t the Problem. You Are.

Before football fans get too sanctimonious about the Ray Rice wrist slap, they should worry about their complicity in footballs' culture of violence.

By now, most every football fan in America (and lots of non-fans) will have read about the arrest of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for an altercation with Janay Palmer, his former fiancé and current wife. The fight took place in February at a resort casino in Atlantic City called Revel.

According to the police report summary of the incident, “After reviewing surveillance footage it appeared both parties were involved in a physical altercation. The complaint summons indicates that both Rich [sic] and Palmer struck each other with their hands.” The report goes on to note that, “Ms. Palmer and Mr. Rice refused any medical attention as no injuries were reported by either party.”

What the report fails to note is that Rice knocked Ms. Palmer unconscious, as a subsequently released video attests. (You might want to skip the video, unless you enjoy watching a man who has just knocked out his fiancé attempt to drag her out of an elevator.)

Rice managed to avoid jail time by entering a pre-trail diversionary program. He also met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to explain the incident.

Goodell, a man who recently suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon 16 games for the high crime of smoking pot, has now rendered his verdict. Ray Rice is suspended for … two games.

Meal-Delivery Startups Look for Winning Recipe

Meal-Delivery Startups Look for Winning Recipe

Plated, Blue Apron Use Data to Focus on the Details; Measuring Demand for Crunchy Tofu

 By Ruth Simon and Lora Kolodny

At the Bronx fulfillment center for meal delivery startup Plated, hourly workers in lab coats and hair nets pluck those items, plus basil, oil and other ingredients, from white plastic shelves. The ingredients then are packed, with a recipe, into brown cardboard boxes emblazoned with the tagline "Redefining weeknight dinner."

Software engineers in an office 9 miles away developed algorithms to model and measure prospective demand for Crunchy Tofu with Walnut Romesco and Zucchini Boats with Jeweled Rice and Cherry Tomato Sauce.

At the two-year-old startup, and fast-growing rivals such as Blue Apron Inc., the challenge is to marry software applications and Web- and mobile- technology to a just-in-time supply of ingredients for generally healthy meals.

Crunching data is a crucial chore because Plated says it aims to lose less than 1% of its perishable inventory to spoilage even as it offers a different batch of seven new menu options weekly. It receives orders in as little as the day of delivery in some locations, and ships more than 100,000 meals a month from three different cities to customers in 46 states.

"There is a lot of complexity going on behind the scenes that the customer should never see or know about in order to enable a perfect meal arriving at their door," says Nick Taranto, a 29-year-old Harvard Business School graduate and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, who co-founded Plated in 2012.

By staying focused and keeping a close eye on details and customer experience, the meal-kit companies and their investors are hoping to avoid the fate of era food industry failures such as Webvan and and more recent fizzles, like gourmet food delivery startup Pop-Up Pantry.

What President Obama gets wrong about ‘acting white’

What President Obama gets wrong about ‘acting white’

Nia-Malika Henderson

President Obama often brings up the idea that black students face an “acting white” stigma. But, it’s much more complicated than he allows.

When President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama speak to an audience of African Americans, particularly students, they invariably mention the trope of  “acting white.”  That is the notion that one impediment to black students’ success is the belief in some black communities that academic achievement is synonymous with whiteness, and therefore devalued.

In a commencement speech at Bowie State in 2013, Michelle Obama said to an audience of new graduates and their families and friends:  “And as my husband has said often, please stand up and reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white.”

The first lady is right, the president has mentioned the idea of “acting white” quite often. (And, yes, the Obamas also express pride in and offer praise for black students, especially when they speak at commencement ceremonies.)

As recently as Monday, while speaking to a room full of students at the Walker Jones Education Campus, where he announced a new round of investments for the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, Obama mentioned it again.

In response to a question posed by a young Native American man about what the U.S. government is doing to help American Indians revitalize their language and culture, Obama talked about the importance of “knowing your culture — the traditional cultures out of which your families come, but also being part of the larger culture.”

He then went into a riff on “acting white”:

Sometimes African Americans, in communities where I’ve worked, there’s been the notion of “acting white” — which sometimes is overstated, but there’s an element of truth to it, where, okay, if boys are reading too much, then, well, why are you doing that? Or why are you speaking so properly? And the notion that there’s some authentic way of being black, that if you’re going to be black you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that has to go. Because there are a whole bunch of different ways for African American men to be authentic.

Obama is right when he says that the notion of acting white is sometimes overstated. Perhaps, it’s overstated by Obama himself.

Russia, MH17 and the West: A web of lies

Russia, MH17 and the West: A web of lies

Vladimir Putin’s epic deceits have grave consequences for his people and the outside world

IN 1991, when Soviet Communism collapsed, it seemed as if the Russian people might at last have the chance to become citizens of a normal Western democracy. Vladimir Putin’s disastrous contribution to Russia’s history has been to set his country on a different path. And yet many around the world, through self-interest or self-deception, have been unwilling to see Mr Putin as he really is.

The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the killing of 298 innocent people and the desecration of their bodies in the sunflower fields of eastern Ukraine, is above all a tragedy of lives cut short and of those left behind to mourn. But it is also a measure of the harm Mr Putin has done. Under him Russia has again become a place in which truth and falsehood are no longer distinct and facts are put into the service of the government. Mr Putin sets himself up as a patriot, but he is a threat—to international norms, to his neighbours and to the Russians themselves, who are intoxicated by his hysterical brand of anti-Western propaganda.

The world needs to face the danger Mr Putin poses. If it does not stand up to him today, worse will follow.

John Boehner calls on Obama to support legislation speeding up deportations

John Boehner calls on Obama to support legislation speeding up deportations

Susan Ferrechio

House Speaker John Boehner sent a letter to President Obama Wednesday warning that it could be impossible for Congress to green-light additional money to deal with the border crisis unless the president publicly supports a change in a law that is slowing deportations.

President Obama has backed away from his June 30 request to change in a 2008 law that prevents fast deportation of minors who come from countries other than Mexico or Canada.

Democrats in the House and Senate have also expressed growing opposition, but Republicans are insisting on a change in the law, because many of the nearly 60,000 people who have arrived here illegally in recent months are children from Central America. The law prevents them from being sent straight back to their home countries, and they are instead processed and provided court dates, which is costly and is more likely to result in fewer deportations.

Obama’s about-face on the matter has angered Republicans, who said they were already displeased with the notion of providing a “blank check” to the president to deal with the border crisis.

Where Child Migrant Surge Could Hit Home

Where Child Migrant Surge Could Hit Home

By Dante Chinni

Immigrant populations tend to cluster in the U.S., and some House districts are much more apt to feel a direct impact from the crisis.

The surge of unaccompanied minors coming over the U.S. borders looks to remain a hot topic for the 2014 midterms, as it adds another troubling dimension to Washington’s long-simmering, intractable fight over immigration.

On Friday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are set to meet with the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to talk about the crisis.

But beyond the national headlines, the impacts may be highly localized. Immigrant populations tend to cluster in the U.S., and some House districts are much more apt to feel a direct impact from the crisis.

Districts with large populations from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are more likely to have residents who are following the story closely. And, perhaps more important, those communities are more likely to see an influx of young immigrants from any unaccompanied children granted even temporary residency to live with a close relative.

Hillary 'claimed Bill was addicted to sex because he was abused by his mother'

Hillary 'claimed Bill was addicted to sex because he was abused by his mother'

Family ties: Bill Clinton with his mother Virginia and her husband Dick Kelley. Hillary allegedly claimed her mother-in-law abused Bill as a child

In the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Hillary Clinton claimed that her husband was addicted to sex because he was abused by his mother, a journalist said.

The then First Lady allegedly made the claims during a 1999 interview with Lucinda Franks, but the Pulitzer prize-winner declined to use them for the article she was working on. The revelation is one of a series of sensational claims made in a series of new books being published in anticipation that Clinton will make a presidential run in 2016.

Clinton claimed that Kelley, who died in 1994, hurt her son 'in ways you wouldn't believe' and, while not giving details about the alleged abuse, claimed it had been responsible for her husband's affair.

'When a mother does what she does, it affects you forever,' Clinton allegedly told Franks, 68.

The claims were not included in the article Frank was writing for a magazine called Talk.

But the Daily News has seen a version of the memoir that discussed a fraught relationship between the President's mother and grandmother.

Franks has said she wanted to publish the interview in its entirety at the time but didn't because of the media storm over the Lewinsky affair.

In the 1999 interview, Clinton described her husband's affair as a 'sin of weakness', and said she remained devoted to him despite 'enormous pain, enormous anger' over his infidelities.

She added that the affair had come at a time of upheaval for the President, who was coming to terms with the loss of his mother.

Frank alluded to a difficult upbringing for the President, according to, and quoted Clinton as saying: 'He was so young when he was scarred by abuse. There was a terrible conflict between his mother and grandmother.'

Chris Cillizza: why President Obama’s dismal approval ratings matter this November

Here’s why President Obama’s dismal approval ratings matter this November

Here’s why President Obama’s dismal approval ratings matter this November

Chris Cillizza

More than half of people who plan to vote Republican say it is a vote against the president.

Any time I write about President Obama's lackluster poll numbers, any number of people take to Twitter to helpfully remind me that he isn't on the ballot this fall and is constitutionally barred from seeking a third time. Their argument comes down to this: Who cares what President Obama's approval ratings are?

A new national Pew Research Center poll shows why any Democrat on the ballot this November should care. Roughly three in ten people said that their vote this fall would be "against" Obama as compared to just 19 percent who said that their vote would be to show support for the president. Those numbers aren't as bad as what George W. Bush and Republicans faced before the 2006 midterms (38 percent voting against Bush, 15 percent voting for him) but are worse for Obama than at this time in the 2010 election cycle (28 percent vote against, 23 percent vote for) in which the president's party lost 63 house seats.

Isis orders all women and girls in Mosul to undergo FGM, says UN

Iraqi refugees

Isis orders all women and girls in Mosul to undergo FGM, says UN

UN says 'fatwa' issued by militant group in and around Iraqi city could affect 4 million

The militant group Islamic State (Isis) has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations says.

The "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Jacqueline Badcock, told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Irbil.

"This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed," she said.

"This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists," she added.

John Kerry 'wanded' by security guards at Egypt's presidential palace

John Kerry 'wanded' by security guards at Egypt's presidential palace

Patrick Kingsley in Cairo 

John Kerry meets Egypt's president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

Incident raises suspicion that US secretary of state was humiliated, weeks after 'snubbing' over al-Jazeera journalists

John Kerry has spent much of this week shuttling between Middle Eastern capitals, trying to get Hamas and Israel to put down their guns. For his efforts, Kerry probably did not expect to be suspected of being an armed threat himself.

Yet that was what briefly happened on Tuesday, when Kerry was stopped by security guards as he entered Cairo's presidential palace to meet Egypt's president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Footage shows America's top diplomat being "wanded" with a hand-held electronic scanner. It was a move that raised eyebrows among members of Kerry's travelling press corps, who said the US secretary of state was usually afforded every courtesy when on official business abroad.

The incident caused a small diplomatic kerfuffle, amid suspicion that Kerry had been purposefully humiliated in a show of Egyptian independence. But taken to task on Egyptian television, Sisi's spokesman, Ehab Badawy, shrugged it off as a "spontaneous" incident. "This security measure is very natural," said Badawy, "one that Egyptian officials abroad are subjected to – and Nabil Fahmy, a former foreign minister, experienced it during his visit to the United States."

Jeb Bush Jumps Back Into Changing Immigration Debate

 Neil Munro

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, June 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert)

The Central American migration has scrambled GOP politics

Potential presidential candidate Gov. Jeb Bush jumped back into the GOP’s increasingly hot debate over immigration, with an op-ed article simultaneously calling for the deportation of Central American migrant children and for quick passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

“Except for those deserving few who may demonstrate true cause for asylum or protection from sex trafficking, these children must be returned to their homes in Central America,” said Bush, in a Wednesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

The fix for the nation’s immigration problem, Bush said, is a revamp that reduces the number of green cards for the family relatives of recent immigrants, but also increases green cards for people “whose skills and drive will make a difference” to the economy.

“The best antidote to illegal immigration is a functioning system of legal immigration,” Bush wrote. “Congress should not use the present crisis as an excuse to defer comprehensive immigration reform.”

Many GOP insiders and consultants want Congress to pass an immigration rewrite this year, partly to minimize the pro-Democratic turnout by Latino voters in 2016. But the GOP’s populist wing has blocked the Senate’s 2013 immigration rewrite.

Bush’s “must be returned” comment is a sharp change in tone from his comment in April, when he said that many illegal immigrants cross the border in an “act of love” for their dependent families.

Dear John, It Gets Better: A Letter to Travolta


Dear John, It Gets Better: A Letter to Travolta

As another legal battle unfolds around his alleged homosexuality, what the actor can do for the best—and why gay Hollywood needs to shake itself from its hypocritical slumber.

In 1991 you married Kelly Preston, yet still stories persisted that you hit on men in hotel and country club shower rooms. You have been photographed kissing a man. Are all these setups, coincidences, misunderstandings, a shabby mass tabloid conspiracy, people on the make? Are the stories false, but you yourself gay?

I feel for you, of course. It's been a strange few years for you in the public mind: your great film roles like Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Pulp Fiction (and I loved you in Primary Colors) seem squarely in the past. Your hair-weaves or wigs or whatever's going on up there have become alarming. You are now best known for appearing in public in your pilot’s uniform, as when Oprah promised to fly her audience to Australia.

I don’t know if you are gay, John, or maybe something else, its definition known only to you. But one thing that is indubitably true is that, no matter the progress in society and law, Hollywood’s top tier remains a warped paradise of closetry. No major Hollywood movie star of your stature is out, male or female. The very fact of that tells us either that there are no lesbian or gay movie stars—unlikely—or that the industry is hostile to the idea; the same industry that prides itself on its liberalism, its alignment to liberal causes, and whose denizens can regularly be relied upon to talk about the importance of freedom, artistic or otherwise.

The fear that keeps the closet so active in Hollywood, one supposes, is that no one would buy a leading man who is gay, that the macho, gun-wielding swaggerer he has to play on screen, the charming skirt-chaser, would be heinously compromised by the offscreen knowledge that he sleeps with, and loves, men.

But as long as Hollywood doesn’t trust society to suspend disbelief in its actors’ ability to act, this ugly, progress-inhibiting standoff will persist. Sportsmen like Michael Sam faced similar granite walls of incomprehension and outright prejudice after they came out, but they still did it. And they’re still in the game. And people’s respect for them grows, not diminishes. The right people are on their side, the bigots are the dinosaurs.

If you are gay, John, what an absurd position you keep painting yourself in. But also, Hollywood, what’s up with you, elevating a culture of lies, secrets, and repression around lesbian and gay sexuality—this when so many gay people work in Hollywood?

Obama locks out the press — again

Obama locks out the press — again


President Barack Obama is pictured. | AP Photo

President Barack Obama went to the West Coast to meet donors from two top Democratic super PACs, but the press wasn’t invited.

Tuesday, the reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s house in the Seattle suburbs where Obama sat for a Senate Majority PAC fundraiser with a $25,000 entrance fee.

Wednesday morning, when he met with big donors for the House Majority PAC at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown San Francisco, they weren’t even told what room or floor he was on.

“We think these fundraisers ought to be open to at least some scrutiny, because the president’s participation in them is fundamentally public in nature,” said Christi Parsons, the new president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “Denying access to him in that setting undermines the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing. It’s of special concern as these events and the donors they attract become more influential in the political process.”

Despite constant complaints from the press corps and promises from White House officials, access to the president continues to be limited. The constantly repeated line that they’re running the “most transparent administration in history” tends to prompt snickers. Halfway through Obama’s West Coast swing, it’s tipping toward outrage.

Plane Tragedy Fails to Quiet Ukraine

Plane Tragedy Fails to Quiet Ukraine

By Anton Troianovski in Kiev, Ukraine, Lukas I. Alpert in Moscow and Carol E. Lee in Washington

The escalation in fighting in Ukraine suggests Vladimir Putin has no intention of dialing back his support for the pro-Russia separatists, denting hopes that attention from the Malaysia Airlines crash would force him to change course.

Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday over separatist-held territory not far from the site of the Malaysia Airlines crash as international outrage over the tragedy has done little to slow the fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.

While Kiev made significant advances against rebels in the country's east in recent days, Ukrainian and U.S. officials say Russian weapons are continuing to pour over the border. The escalation in fighting suggests Russian President Vladimir Putin has no intention of dialing back his support for the separatists, denting Western hopes that international attention from the airliner crash would force him to change course.

"The fact that you have two additional planes shot down speaks to the pattern we've seen over the last several weeks—which is Russian-backed separatists, armed with Russian anti-aircraft [weapons], posing risks to aircraft in Ukraine," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy White House national security adviser.

Mr. Putin, who has denied supporting the rebels, remained defiant. His apparent unwillingness to pressure the separatists to lay down their arms—even after the global outcry over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that killed 298 civilians—poses a challenge for U.S. and European diplomats who have for months tried to offer him a diplomatic route to step back from Ukraine.

With Mr. Putin appearing undeterred from continuing to fuel a conflict in Ukraine's east in what diplomats and analysts say is an attempt to cripple Kiev's turn toward the West, senior European diplomats will meet Thursday to decide on new sanctions targets. They will also discuss a plan to impose sanctions on entire sectors of the Russian economy, including high-tech goods and oil and gas exploration equipment. 

Foreign ministers from the European Union this week said they would activate that plan if Russia didn't use its sway over the rebels to allow international investigators access to the Malaysia Airlines crash site and stop the flow of weapons and men across the border from Russia. With progress being made on the first condition, an EU diplomat said governments will be focusing on whether Mr. Putin has scaled back his alleged support for the rebels.

Sen. Jeff Sessions: Obama wants amnesty for 6 million illegals

Sen. Jeff Sessions: Obama wants amnesty for 6 million illegals

Paul Bedard

Sen. Jeff Sessions, taking a hard line on immigration, Wednesday blasted a House reform proposal as weak and warned that President Obama is on the verge of granting amnesty to some 6 million illegal immigrants — half the population of undocumented workers in the United States.

“The border crisis is the direct and predictable result of the president’s sustained policies undermining America’s immigration laws. The president’s continued determination to carry out this nullification remains the singular obstacle in the way of restoring lawfulness,” he said in a just-issued statement.

Turning to the House working group immigration reform plan also issued Wednesday, he added, “They made no mention of the president’s threat of sweeping new executive actions. Multiple reports indicate that these imminent actions are likely to take the form of administrative amnesty and work permits for 5-6 million illegal immigrants.”

Sessions has been urging the president to enforce already established border control laws and said that the House package lets him off the hook.

“Any attempt at improving the border situation would be rendered utterly void if the president follows through on his dramatic nullification acts. How can Congress ignore this brewing constitutional crisis? In fact, granting the president new funds without tackling these orders would be an institutional surrender to the planned illegality.”

Snoop Dogg smoked weed in the WHITE HOUSE

Snoop Dogg smoked weed in the WHITE HOUSE

Rapper admits he lit up while in the bathroom

By Dan Bloom

Confession: Taking a big puff on a joint, the rapper told his story to comedian Jimmy Kimmel (left)

The rapper - who was at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in December for the Kennedy Center Honors - confessed to smoking a joint and 'pretending it was a napkin'.

He's been to some high places in his time, but now Snoop Dogg has turned even the White House green - by lighting a cannabis joint in the bathroom. The rapper claimed he reassured Secret Service agents he would only be igniting a 'napkin' before having a luxurious solo smoke on a recent visit.

If his story is true he joins the likes of country singer Willie Nelson, who famously lit up a joint at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

And of course he ranks with the President himself - who has probably never lit up in the executive mansion, but was a heavy smoker as a young man. When asked about his habit in 2006, Barack Obama famously replied: 'I inhaled frequently. That was the point.'

Harsh Rule, but Order in Jihadist Capital

To those entering Raqqa Province, home to about a million people, ISIS makes clear, immediately, who is in charge. Credit Reuters

Harsh Rule, but Order in Jihadist Capital


Islamist extremists in control of the Syrian city of Raqqa have blended their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam with the practicalities of governance.

When his factory was bombed in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the businessman considered two bleak options: remain at home and risk dying in the next airstrike, or flee like hundreds of thousands of others to a refugee camp in Turkey.

Instead, he took his remaining cash east and moved to a neighboring city, Raqqa, the de facto capital of the world’s fastest growing jihadist force. There he found a degree of order and security absent in other parts of Syria.

“The fighting in Syria will continue, so we have to live our lives,” said the businessman, who gave only a first name, Qadri, as he oversaw a dozen workers in his new children’s clothing factory in Raqqa.

Long before extremists rolled through Iraq and seized a large piece of territory, the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, took over most of Raqqa Province, home to about a million people, and established a headquarters in its capital. Through strategic management and brute force, the group, which now calls itself simply the Islamic State, has begun imposing its vision of a state that blends its fundamentalist interpretation of Islam with the practicalities of governance.

In time, it has won the surprising respect of some war-weary citizens, like Qadri, who will accept any authority that can restore a semblance of normal life. Rebel-held areas of Aleppo, by comparison, remain racked with food shortages and crime. But there is a darker side to Islamic rule, with public executions and strict social codes that have left many in this once-tolerant community deeply worried about the future.

In the city of Raqqa, traffic police officers keep intersections clear, crime is rare, and tax collectors issue receipts. But statues like the landmark lions in Al Rasheed Park have been destroyed because they were considered blasphemous. Public spaces like Al Amasy Square, where young men and women once hung out and flirted in the evenings, have been walled off with heavy metal fences topped with the black flags of ISIS. People accused of stealing have lost their hands in public amputations.

“What I see in Raqqa proves that the Islamic State has a clear vision to establish a state in the real meaning of the word,” said a retired teacher in the city of Raqqa. “It is not a joke.”

Norm Ornstein: When Extremism Goes Mainstream

When Extremism Goes Mainstream

Just how far out is the Republican fringe?

By Norm Ornstein

 The most interesting, and important, dynamic in American politics today is the existential struggle going on in the Republican Party between the establishment and the insurgents—or to be more accurate, between the hard-line bedrock conservatives (there are only trace elements of the old-line center-right bloc, much less moderates) and the radicals.

Clinton's election in 1992 moved the Democrats firmly to the center on previously divisive issues like welfare and crime. But it also provided the impetus for the forces that have led to the current Republican problem. These forces were built in part around insurgent Newt Gingrich's plans to overturn the Democratic 38-year hegemony in Congress, and in part around a ruthlessly pragmatic decision by GOP leaders and political strategists to hamper the popular Clinton by delegitimizing him and using the post-Watergate flowering of independent counsels to push for multiple crippling investigations of wrongdoing (to be sure, he gave them a little help along the way). No one was more adroit at using ethics investigations to demonize opponents than Newt. In 1994, Gingrich recruited a passel of more radical candidates for Congress, who ran on a path to overturn most of the welfare state and who themselves demonized Congress and Washington. At a time of rising populist anger—and some disillusionment on the left with Clinton—the approach worked like a charm, giving the GOP its first majority in the House in 40 years, and changing the face of Congress for decades to come.

Newt's strategy and tactics were abetted and amplified by the new force of political talk radio, which had been activated by the disastrous federal pay raise in 1989-90, and of tribal cable television news. As Sean Theriault details in his book The Gingrich Senators, many of Newt's progeny moved on to the Senate and began to change it from an old club into a new forum for tribal warfare. Move on through right-wing frustration with George W. Bush's combination of compassionate conservatism and unfunded social policy (and wars) and then the election of Barack Obama, and the ingredients for a rise of radicalism and a more explosive intra-party struggle were set. They were expanded again with the eager efforts in 2010 of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Young Guns (Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan) to exploit the deep populist right-wing anger at the financial collapse and the bailouts of 2008 and 2009 by inciting the Tea Party movement. But their expectation that they could then co-opt these insurgents backfired badly.

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