Early in the 20th century, it was not uncommon for children to suffer the agonies of infectious diseases or witness family members who did. Children got terribly sick and died at home. Their survivors -- including some of our grandparents and great-grandparents -- were intimately acquainted with the sights, sounds and smells of dying and with the deaths of siblings or their own small children.

Thankfully, those traumatic experiences are long past us. Americans born after the mid-20th century belong to the vaccine-spoiled generations. Most probably don't know what diphtheria is or that it was a leading cause of childhood death in the United States before immunizations became widespread. Nor can they imagine being parents helplessly watching their small child cough to death from this bacterial infection.

I came to this understanding while writing a short book about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the rest here.


This story involves mass death, religious zealots, and the worst case of government malpractice to facilitate what was deemed a business opportunity in the history of the United States, so I'll choose the biblical opening:

In the beginning, there was the State.
And the ideologues said, "Let It Be Smashed."
And so it was smashed.

March 6. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Early days in the shit show.

Americans are just starting to die. Infected cruise ships are stranded at sea around the world. No one in Trump's administration has decided what to do--or if they have to do anything.

Nobody in this great edifice of American public health that is the CDC--the gold standard for the whole world, journalists will write and write again--is yet wearing a mask.

Read the rest here.

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For The New Republic 2/3/2021

One of the scariest female characters in English literature is Madame DeFarge, the wine shop owner whose face is the blank, pitiless gaze of the French Revolution's Terror in Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. DeFarge sat beside other women, watching the guillotine's river of blood flow as they worked their knitting needles. In French legend, these women are known as "les tricoteuses"--the knitters--women performing an ultrafeminine domestic chore as a terrifying symbol of implacable fury.

I've found myself thinking of Madame DeFarge and les tricoteuses as it's become clearer that women played an important role in the organization of the January 6 insurrection. Groups like Women for Trump and Women for America First were the advance guard of the Capitol riot: a diversion in lipstick and heels. Using hyperfemininity as a shield, they enabled a fascist rampage right under the nose of the federal authorities. Instead of clacking their knitting needles by the guillotine, they fingered their pearls as the rioters erected a gallows.

Read the rest here.


Can Democrats still wield power once they have it? That is a question I and other political analysts have pondered a lot in the last few decades.

After watching two Republican presidents get elected despite losing the popular vote, and after the Republican Senate majority leader from Kentucky stole President Barack Obama's third Supreme Court seat only to hand it to President Donald Trump, one would think the Democrats would have had enough.

Read the rest here.


NBC THINK - Last week, Loujain al-Hathloul, a young activist who fought for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, appeared in court to hear that her crime has been deemed equivalent to national security and terrorism cases. Al-Hathloul, 31, hadn't been seen in person for over a year, while reports trickled out about torture and threats of rape and being "thrown in the sewer." Her parents, in court,reported that she looked weak, exhausted and shaking. So Saudi authorities have already reduced this vibrant, healthy woman to a quivering sick shell of her former self -- but apparently that is still not punishment enough.

Read the rest here.

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It's fun to make fun of middle aged white women known as "Karens."

But besides the delightful age-ism/ sexism that would never be allowed against any other identity group, there is another reason why the meme exploded this year from a hundred thousand to almost 3 million social media mentions in the first six months of 2020. Separating white suburban women from the rest of the Trump resistance is just another example of the divide and conquer strategy that the right has always and often effectively deployed against the diverse left.

Read the rest of my analysis here.



Spooks, nukes, and celebrities are not all that unusual around Santa Fe and Los Alamos, where the atom bomb was invented, and where, today, the highest concentration of PhDs and millionaires in America are lavished with federal billions to create top secret weapons for the world's last military superpower. The woman luxuriating in the steam has spent a lot of time inside that and other nat-sec inner sanctums -- Langley, Los Alamos National Labs, the CIA's training "farm" and undisclosed locations around the world -- before Republican operatives, furious at her husband for contradicting their excuse for attacking Iraq in 2003, blew her cover. Even then, she didn't see a political future. "Through my years in the CIA, by and large, I did not know people's political proclivities," she says now. "It is just not a good sound bite to say you serve as an American, you don't serve as a Republican or Democrat. You're so busy doing your work. And I loved what I did."

Ten Thousand Waves spa is a long way from Iraq, and 2020 is a long time from 2003, but Plame -- whose congressional future will be decided by New Mexico voters in a few days -- is embedded in the modern history of that war. The U.S. never got its own Chilcot Inquiry, that British forensic investigation into the lies behind the Iraq War. Conventional D.C. wisdom on why not is that both sides in Washington are so enmeshed in the outcome that the establishment couldn't bear the shared shame of the report's scathing conclusion that the war, which killed upwards of 100,000 Iraqis, was "totally unnecessary."

The "Valerie Plame Affair" sits in the middle of that ugly history. It's a keyhole view into a room that never opened.

Read the rest here

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Women for Trump have always proclaimed that no matter how misogynistic Trump appears to be, no matter how many women have accused him of abuse, and no matter that he supports policies to abolish women's liberty, he is in fact "empowering" women. In fairness, "empowerment" is one of those famously flexible terms--akin to that other right-wing go-to word, "liberty"--that's strayed far from its original meaning. But for these women, theirs is a hobbled empowerment, literally and figuratively.

The damage done to women by the Trump administration has been incalculable, the disempowerment immense.

Read the rest Here

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It's a well-known fact among traveled women that the best-looking men on the planet can be observed at the Oslo Airport. Broad of shoulder, lean of shank, with the wellspring of Viking DNA still flowing in Norway. Less widely noted is that Norwegian women run the country.

Last summer, I left New York for a semester as a lecturer at university in a medium-size fjord town four hours south of Oslo. I'd lived in Manhattan off and mostly on for 20  years, but the thrill had begun to wear thin. The thing that had made New York worth living in was its enticing array of amusements. But invitations to gallery openings and soirees with swells had lately failed to compensate for the city's darker side, starting with the cost of living, health care, and education for our teens. Some kind of free fall was evident everywhere. Even friends with jobs and money were twitching with anxiety. Subways rang with the World War III-style warning sound of iPhone bad weather alerts.
Read the rest Here



April is the cruelest month, breeding daffodils and gin and tonics.

If we survive, I will forever associate this period of our lives with the sacrificial slicing of the lime, the pouring of the holy inebriant lightly tinctured with the presidential miracle, tonic of quinine. (Quinine, a treatment for malaria, is also found in tonic water.)

Fleeing New York like rats, my husband and I decamped north to socially isolate in a drafty house in the middle of what the locals call mud season, a time of grassless muck by day and treacherous plains of brown ice as the temperatures dip at night.

In the first weeks, we were giddy, if disoriented. It felt like setting sail on an exciting voyage, an odyssey, with our stores of grain and amphorae of olive oil and wine. And what voyage isn't inaugurated with a pour for the gods?

Read the rest here



Fomo haunted my nights for years, a rat in the dark at 2am, scratching up for review all the things I did not do to stay ahead of the game during the day.

Now, Fomo, like the handshake, belongs to another age.

I realized this a few days ago, while glancing in the mirror at my gray roots and looking down at my unkempt toenails. How swiftly the true body emerges from the polish and preening. At least I am not alone. No one else - from millionaires to paupers - is getting shined up or going anywhere. I'm not missing any premieres with movie stars or other Manhattan diversions. I am not going to hear about a dinner party to which I alone was not invited. Nobody's got good hair right now.

Read the rest here

For years, whenever I found myself in Miami with an afternoon to spare, I sneaked off west to where a road abruptly separates the urban grid from the Everglades. Depending on time, I drove as deep into the saw grass void as I could, parked, got out and gazed up at tropical clouds racing unimpeded by tree or building.

Then, usually, I burst into tears.

Sky and grass. Nothing else. It's a bit embarrassing to admit that anything in Florida -- with its postcard palms plastered against postcard sunsets, its coconut tanning oil and Lily Pulitzer pinks and greens, its schmaltz and buffoonery and hanging chads and "Florida Man," with his love of Styrofoam, weapons and monster trucks -- affects me this way. But it does.

Read the rest here


Thanks to Donald Trump, American women have a fresh, iconic photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the White House on Wednesday. There she is, the only woman at a table of two dozen men, standing up to object to what lawmakers confirm was Trump's verbal abuse. Meanwhile, the white male power elite of the United States look down uneasily at their collective hands.

In situations like this, as the only woman in a room full of men, Pelosi pushes all Trump's buttons at once.

This White House meeting with congressional leaders was supposed to be about the unfolding conflict between Turkey and the Kurds. Before they even got down to business, however, the conversation, perhaps predictably, unraveled. In situations like this, as the only woman in a room full of men -- a woman who is not there as eye candy to help close the deal, but who is present to actually close the deal herself -- Pelosi pushes all Trump's buttons at once.

Read the rest here.


God, Guns, Trump, Queens of Trumplandia, Hillary, #metoo, atseroids, sea level rise, Antarctica, moonlanders and more. Read them all at the archive here.


Bad Heiress Day



Depositions in the case expose Ghislaine Maxwell's alleged crimes: Giuffre was fresh out of foster care and a rehab runaway when Maxwell allegedly started grooming her 20 years ago. Giuffre's lawyers also deposed other girls who accused Maxwell of procuring and grooming them for sex with Epstein and other men, backing up and expanding on Giuffre's trafficking story. Their depositions, and those of butlers, house managers and private pilots suggest an almost industrial-scale operation. The girls -- now women -- added more prominent names to the list of men alleged to have had sex with underage girls, including former Clinton Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, Sen. George Mitchell -- who served as a fact finder for Clinton's Middle East peace process -- and MIT artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky. (Mitchell and Richardson immediately denied the allegations; Minsky died in 2016.)

In the latest documents, one Manhattan billionaire's butler recalled encountering an unnamed 15-year-old Swedish girl who told him Maxwell took her passport after she refused to have sex with Epstein while on Jeffrey's private island. The girl was "shaking uncontrollably" and couldn't remember how she had gotten off the island and back to the U.S, he said.

Another witness-accuser, Johanna Sjoberg, recalled in a deposition how Maxwell appeared on the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University, a small, private Christian school, in February or March of 2001. "She approached and asked if I could tell her how to find someone to work at her house," Sjoberg testified. Sjoberg said she'd take the job herself. How was a Christian-college freshman to suspect a woman who spoke the Queen's English was out virgin hunting?


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Not so long ago, there was no public shame in being a dirty old man. While political pundits proclaimed 1992 the Year of the Woman, Donald Trump was manhandling an NFL cheerleader on camera, with pedo-predator Jeffrey Epstein snickering right next to him.

In the early 2000s, when Donald Trump wasn't putting Melania on the phone with Howard Stern to purr about how much sex they had, he was bragging about how he could "get away" with "inspecting" teenage girls in dressing rooms at his pageant franchises. Har-har-har! went Howard, and millions of listeners laughed along in their cars.

In Florida, during the same years, Epstein was allegedly ordering barely pubescent American and Eastern European girls to stand naked beside him while he masturbated. He was, according to previously filed lawsuits, passing the same girls around to have sex with famous men, while his accused procurers included a prominent British socialite on familiar terms with the royal family.

Read the rest at Rolling Stone

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June 2019: The online phenomenon of Amanda Knox was a portent of the Age of Trump, with its elevation and celebration of unreason, as the digital age linked and energized what most charitably could be called "suspicious minds."

In 2007, Twitter was just coming online, with 5,000 Tweets per day. Facebook was still in its data-harvesting infancy, with less than 100 million users. But the Amanda Knox story tapped into something previously inchoate, a vein of irrationality, rage, misogyny, pettiness and paranoia that -- as the world has since come to understand -- has bubbled along in the human species, unshared and unspoken, until it was enabled and amplified by the World Wide Web.

Read the rest here.

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Newsweek Cover April 26, 2019

New York -- Adam Schiff was angry. It was late March, and Attorney General William Barr had just released his summary of the special counsel's Russiagate report, deflating many Democrats' hopes for impeachment. Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, had spent the past few days trumpeting the finding of "no collusion" and then ridiculing Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee and one of the president's fiercest critics, for continuing to press the case against Trump.

Now, in Schiff's own committee room, one by one, GOP members savaged him, demanding his resignation. Representative Michael Turner of Ohio even invoked the red-hunting legacy of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had brought national disgrace "chasing after Russian Communists" in the 1950s. "Now, we have Schiff chasing Russian collusion," Turner said.

read the rest here,

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Need some brilliance to fill your ears while you get a $400 body polish!

Slate The Waves

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NEWSWEEK -- New research indicates that some 30 to 40 percent of white Americans are "white identifiers" a broad racist spectrum ranging from the KKK sympathizers to the nice lady next to you at Starbucks agreeing that "I think white people have a lot to be proud of." Trump speaks directly to these people. Democrats fight back. But how? My March cover story for Newsweek asked that question. Here are the answers.

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Newsweek Cover Story, Dec. 13, 2018

I interviewed straight white male "ex-vangelicals" - among the youth leaving the Christian right in droves. They are on the front lines of a growing movement among millennials that is reshaping the evangelical church and the nation's political landscape. Since the 1970s, white evangelicals have formed the backbone of the Republican base. But as younger members reject the vitriolic partisanship of the Trump era and leave the church, that base is getting smaller and older. The numbers are stark: Twenty years ago, just 46 percent of white evangelical Protestants were older than 50; now, 62 percent are above 50. The median age of white evangelicals is 55. Only 10 percent of Americans under 30 identify as white evangelicals. The exodus of youth is so swift that demographers now predict that evangelicals will likely cease being a major political force in presidential elections by 2024.

And the cracks are already showing. Read it here.

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I spent a week along the Arizona border and points north, looking at how the administration's "border crisis" rhetoric is playing in a border state where two-thirds of the population is opposed to a border wall, and how Trump is affecting a critical U.S. Senate race, bending Republican moderates to his image in a state that likes its politicians "maverick." I also happened to be there as the family separations were starting to become nationally known. Here's what I found out.


Robert F. Kennedy was killed 50 years ago on June 6--the third in a trio of high-profile assassinations during that dec­ade, the bloody coda to an era of political violence. Today, in our divided, uncivil time, it's worth remembering that Americans survived the horrors of the 1960s and early '70s, which began with the murder of Robert's older brother, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963. But 1968 was something of a watershed: "The year that shattered America," as Smithsonianhas called it, demolished the hippie fever dream of the '60s with an explosive cocktail of escalating war, racially charged riots, ­police brutality and the assassinations of Martin ­Luther King Jr. and then RFK.

There was no 24-hour news cycle back then. Social media was not spreading hate or forging divisive bubbles. The president wasn't fanning flames with regular tweets, covert Russian hackers weren't propagating fake news, and books proclaiming the end of democracy hadn't become a lucrative sideline for publishers--all of which exacerbates our current turmoil, which can feel intractable.

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Much of what can charitably be called irregularities in Trump's business past are public, but he has always managed to negotiate or settle his way out of trouble. Now, Mueller's lawyers with subpoena power will be able to go far beyond what Johnston and other investigative journalists have already turned up. With three members of Trump's campaign (Rick Gates, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos) cooperating with the special counsel--as well as another, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, under indictment and facing decades in prison--the president has never looked more vulnerable.

Yet some analysts worry that Trump--if he in fact committed a crime--could still get away with it. The president is a singular figure in the annals of American politics, and his critics fear that the U.S. legal system is not up to the challenge, or that perhaps only changes in politics and policy can actually impede someone like Trump.

Full story here.


Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland -- Parishioners at the Stornoway High Church on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland still remember the dignified blonde who came back from America every summer. She walked with a formal, erect posture, provoking whispers about how she'd picked up her "airs and graces" in New York, where she'd married a rich man. But mostly they remember her speaking Gaelic as though she'd never left the island.

The woman, Mary Anne MacLeod, is the mother of Donald Trump, the aggressive rich kid turned real estate mogul turned President of the United States. And the contrast between her humble immigrants roots and the 1950s McMansion where she wound up is the key to understanding Trump's deep insecurity.

MacLeod spent the first 17 years of her life in Tong, a fishing village on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, closer to Iceland than to London. Though her son was raised in a mansion in Queens, she grew up among poor islanders in a two-bedroom rented cottage crammed with her and 10 siblings.

Full story here.

Weinsten cover by Nina Burleigh.jpg"Women, you have to treat 'em like shit." --Donald Trump, New York magazine, November 9, 1992

To understand how this bonfire started, we must speak frankly about the Garden of Dicks, a mythical place in the caveman lobe of the male brain. Like that other primeval paradise, the Garden of Eden, men have tried for millennia to create it here on Earth.

The Garden of Dicks is a Hooters. It's an NFL locker room. It's the Vatican. It's the Rolling Stones' private jet. It's Harvey Weinstein's suite at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. It's a top modeling agency in New York City run by a man who, after years of preying on his models, was disgraced for having sex with underage girls. He excused himself by saying, "I'm a man, and I have urges."

Full story here

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October 5, 2017

A flinty, closed-door Christianity is increasingly common on the conservative fringes of American fundamentalism, where profitability is considered next to godliness. Versions of that theology, sometimes called prosperity gospel, dominate President Donald Trump's evangelical panel, 25 pastors and religious conservatives who have mostly dispensed with those Sunday school homilies about Jesus loving the sick and poor, and Jesus responding to attacks with a turn of the cheek. They preach that their Lord hates entitlements, from welfare to Obamacare, that climate change is the talk of pagan heretics and that their heavenly father is fine with nuclear first strikes, as long as it's America droppin' the hammer.

And many of them believe their mortal messiah is Donald J. Trump, long a sybaritic scion but now the man who has solemnly vowed to take America to the promised land of deregulation, tax breaks and resegregation.

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Newsweek Cover, April 6, 2017:

Mr. Monopoly, that mustachioed fat cat with the Taftian profile, was about as close as most Americans got to a New York City billionaire until candidate Donald Trump started flying his jet to their cities and villages last year. Now they are practically an everyday sight, because President Donald Trump has coaxed a pack of them out of their penthouse triplexes, yachts and private jets to either join his Cabinet or sit on his councils and advisory boards. Trump voters know they've had a government for billionaires--that's one reason they're so mad--but to have one by billionaires means the Mighty Oz is now setting the nation's agenda, and there is no curtain.

Anybody with $1 billion in net worth possesses a tranche of wealth greater than the gross domestic product of 60 nations. So what can a president give to these men who have everything? And what can they do for him and to the rest of America? The answer may be found in the most famous line from the Italian classic novel The Leopard, about the decaying Sicilian aristocracy: "Everything must change so that everything can remain the same." The best gift Trump can give his rich friends from Manhattan is to appear to be shaking up the system while leaving their myriad tactics for manipulating and amassing capital unaffected by federal regulation and higher taxes. Less than three months into his presidency, Trump is well into that agenda--quietly deregulating the financial industry, stripping Barack Obama's climate change rules from fossil fuel producers and promising to lower taxes on the very rich.

A billionaires' takeover of the U.S. government was not one of Trump's signature campaign promises, but in retrospect it was obvious he wasn't going to bring in the sustainability MBAs--he doesn't know any. Instead, he set up a government of, by and for his peers (or men the famously insecure Trump wishes to call his peers). His Cabinet of millionaires and billionaires is the richest in American history. The New York billionaires, though, have more in common with Russian oligarchs and Nigerian petro-magnates than with almost any other Americans--whether they are flipping burgers at McDonald's or performing heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic. They have been sold to the public as men who will help Trump run the country "like a business," in which the public is the consumer. After careers in which they put growing their colossal bank accounts ahead of the interests of small towns, working stiffs and the common weal, there is no reason to believe they will worry about how predatory lending or letting Obamacare "explode" affects real people. Trump's billionaires are not government-hating ideologues like the Koch brothers or mega-donor Robert Mercer. They are more like what Trump used to be--unaffiliated centrists. And their agenda--and now the country's agenda--is defined by those matters that affect their wallets.

Read the rest at Newsweek.


Just a few hours after American voters bitch-slapped feminism on November 8, two women followed Donald Trump onto the stage at his postelection party. Gliding in heels that would challenge a ballerina, first-lady-to-be Melania Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump were camera-ready at 3:30 a.m. Melania had wriggled into a white, off-the-shoulder Ralph Lauren palazzo pants jumpsuit; Ivanka was wearing one of the ice-skating dresses she favors, a powder-blue Alexander McQueen frock that showed off her long legs. Somewhere out of the frame, two former wives of the president-elect, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples, already had notions of ambassadorships buzzing in their brains like vibrators.

These queens in the House of Trump--all of them having served variously as models, arm candy, reality-show stars, humiliated sidekicks and shopping channel mavens--are vestal virgins in the temple of acquisition. They are significant even for those who don't worship there for what they reveal about the emotional life of the 45th president of the United States and his views on the role of women. During the course of Donald Trump's adult life, a span of 50 years, America became a better, more tolerant nation, and the women's movement was a big reason why. Trump, however, is a living link to another era. His first prenuptial agreement was penned by mob lawyer, Senator Joseph McCarthy acolyte and Richard Nixon ally Roy Cohn. (Former President Barack Obama was in junior high when Cohn wrote it up.) Norman Vincent Peale--evangelist of mid-20th-century self-improvement--presided over his first wedding.

REad the rest at Newsweek here.

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There have been some nasty presidential campaigns in the nearly 250 years of American politics. Supporters of Herbert Hoover claimed Catholic opponent Al Smith had commissioned a tunnel from New York to the Vatican; John Quincy Adams's backers tarred Andrew Jackson's wife as a bigamist; and Thomas Jefferson's opponent claimed he was dead. But there has never been a campaign that so clearly and (often viciously) split along gender lines. It will take the United States a long time to recover from the "Trump that bitch" T-shirts and others decorated with Clinton flying on a broomstick, which were for sale at the Republican National Convention; chants of "Lock her up" rocking stadiums from Orange County to Lubbock and Akron; Trump's "grab them by the pussy" taped comment, not to mention allegations by a dozen beauty queens, journalists, receptionists and random women that he kissed and groped them against their will. Amid Trump confirming the size of his manhood on national TV, the return of Bill Clinton's sexual-assault accusers and a nearly campaign-capsizing FBI announcement regarding Anthony Weiner's sexting, election 2016 was punctuated by penises--which is apt, since this often vitriolic campaign was a national referendum on women and power.

Read the rest here.

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A George W. Bush painting

(This was the most shared Newsweek online story in history as of early November 2016)

Hillary Clinton's much-discussed email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House "lost" 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America's recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Read the rest here.


NEWSWEEK COVER STORY 8/26/16: Like their candidate, most came of age in the 1960s. Leaf through their yearbooks and wedding albums and you find bell-bottoms, long hair and granny glasses--the same look Hilary rocked at Wellesley. Flip forward a few pages and there they are in shoulder pads, often the only woman in sight at the law firm or corporate office. They started getting jobs before 1980, when more women identified as housewives than as workers, and were part of the social revolution that has led to women now making up almost 50 percent of the American workforce.

Many in the Clinton circle were, like her, "firsts." A close high school buddy was the flight attendant who led the fight against airline gender discrimination. Another was the first in her business school.

Some made their own fortunes, some inherited money or married rich, but all started writing big checks at a time--not that long ago--when men handled that dirty business. Clinton's top female donors now rank among the 150 most generous givers--who are still mostly male--to Clinton super PACs. That is a mark of dubious distinction in the era of Citizens United , but a milestone in the rise of female political power.

If they were men, they might be called kingmakers. Reporters would have encountered them in hotel lobby bars, tossing back scotch as they tried to spin the media. But these queenmakers drink herbal tea (and the occasional martini) and pepper their talk with New Age-isms like "our journey" and "the goddess of light."

Read the rest

Hillary Clinton

Misogyny is the last acceptable taboo, and Republicans--and even some Bernie backers--have illustrated it on numerous occasions, including Thursday, when they booed Clinton as she spoke of equal pay for women. It is almost impossible to imagine, for instance, how progressives and black Americans would have responded if the crowd in Cleveland had chanted "Lock him up" in reference to Obama, America's first black presidential candidate.

To ponder that is also to ponder the ugly direction this campaign will take over the next three months, regardless of how many soccer moms Hillary may have won over tonight with her touching personal story about her mother's hard childhood and her father's work ethic--or her deft dings about Trump tweeting his way through a nuclear crisis. "I physically cringe when I think of the battles ahead for her," said New York delegate Judith Hope, a longtime Hillary supporter.

read the rest here.


Much has been written about her influence in the campaign. It's been widely reported that she and Kushner were behind the firing of hockey-playing ruffian Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager who famously shoved a female reporter and who was sacked after leading his candidate through the primary season.

The mother of three campaigned for her father into the final weeks of her third pregnancy. A week after the birth of her child, she was introducing her father on a platform in the white, blue-collar enclave of Bethpage, New York.

Among other things, the election in November will have profound effects on the Ivanka Brand, a project to which she's clearly applied her brains and a lot of money. She has had her own line of shoes and scarves (both of which have been subject to litigation--a Trump family pastime, apparently), but she's also taken a cue from her father and published a best-seller, in the vein of the great male works of business porn like her father's The Art of the Deal.

In addition to advising her father, she's working on a second book, Women Who Work: Redefining the Rules for Success, which is "designed to be the millennials' manual for architecting a life you love," according to her website. "It's an inclusive conversation, recognizing that success looks different to every one of us."

On her blog, she's lately been soliciting input from young women to "Weigh In On Ivanka's New Book!" And on Twitter, she's filing links to tips for working women, with the hashtag #womenwhowork. The public solicitation enables her to create an online community of precisely the demographic her father is going to need at least some support from in order to win the presidency--young, working females.

Read the rest here


What About Bill?

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It could go this way: The FLOTUS office has been converted to a man cave. The boudoir-peach paint is covered with dark paneling. Heavy green drapes block out the sun, the better to channel-surf on that 6-foot flat-screen. Sometimes there's a sweaty towel draped over the treadmill, since the first man exercises at odd hours and the staff can't keep up. There's a dog bed in a corner, and an antique brass spittoon welcomes the ashes of anyone who fires up a cigar (the host stopped lighting up years ago but keeps some Cohibas around for his bros).

There's beer in the mini-fridge and Scotch and a bucket of ice on the trolley. He can often be found jawing in this dark den with congressional leaders who need a little Southern charm to get behind the Hillary Clinton stimulus package, or watching soccer with buddies like Irish telecom magnate Denis O'Brien and Canadian mining billionaire Frank Giustra, or sharing dirty jokes with Putin, Erdogan, Hollande and any other male world leader eager to chill after his official meetings with the no-nonsense president of the United States.

Or it could go like this: The peach paint stays. The first man eases himself behind the pale desk where Jackie Kennedy once penned thank-you notes. (He picked it out himself because of his admiration for JFK.) He runs his eyes down a briefing paper on the day's activities: morning photo ops with the wives of the leaders of the Caribbean Basin, a vegan lunch to host at a middle school in Anacostia for his Childhood Obesity Awareness Initiative, some spinning time (he took Michelle Obama's spot at the gym) and finally an evening at the Kennedy Center to honor the last performance of the American Ballet Theatre's retiring prima ballerina. Despite his reputation, the first man is an abstemious and quiet fellow now and enjoys checking the lists the White House social secretary sends him to sign off on--menus and floral arrangements, although he refuses to be involved in the negotiations over the new White House china pattern.

One White House, two presidents. What will it look like? I examine the possibilities here


During his 18 years as president of Lebanon Valley College during the middle of the past century, Clyde Lynch led the tiny Pennsylvania liberal arts institution through the tribulations of the Great Depression and World War II, then raised $550,000 to build a new gymnasium before he died in 1950. In gratitude, college trustees named that new building after him.

Neither Lynch nor those trustees could have predicted there would come a day when students would demand that his name be stripped from the Lynch Memorial Hall because the word lynch has "racial overtones." But that day did come.

When playwright Eve Ensler wrote The Vagina Monologues, which premiered in 1996 and has been performed thousands of times by actors, celebrities and college students, she probably did not foresee a day when a performance of her feminist agitprop would be canceled because it was offensive to "women without vaginas." And yet that day did come--at Mount Holyoke, one of the nation's premier women's colleges.

Graduates of the Class of 2016 are leaving behind campuses that have become petri dishes of extreme political correctness and heading out into a world without trigger warnings, safe spaces and free speech zones, with no rules forbidding offensive verbal conduct or microaggressions, and where the names of cruel, rapacious capitalists are embossed in brass and granite on buildings across the land. Baby seals during the Canadian hunting season may have a better chance of survival.

Read the rest here.

Sheldon Adelson

In a sign that the billionaire class might now be ready to get behind Donald Trump, who spent most of the primary disparaging their influence, Sheldon Adelson--the second most important GOP financier after the Koch brothers--has announced he will pour $100 million into the formerly self-funded Trump campaign.

Adelson, whose net worth is $26 billion, is chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp. But, as befits a donor to such a populist campaign, the billionaire described himself as "the grandson of a Welsh coal miner and the son of a Boston cab driver" when announcing his support for the New York real estate magnate last week.

Read the rest


Inside the cavernous concrete film studio where a Spider-Man movie was filmed, the hometown hero got a superhero's welcome from what he said were 15,000 people inside and another 5,000 outside. The press vultures would later estimate the crowd at 8,000 to 10,000, but he had already warned the assembled to watch out for that trick. "I love you, I love you," the crowd shouted at him. The favorite son crooned back, sounding ever so slightly Sinatra: "I love you too. I looove these people."

Donald J. Trump and his entourage had rolled into Long Island and right up to the venue. The other 10,000 people at the event were herded on an extended and inexplicable perambulation around the entire structure--a length of football field on each side--after leaving their cars. They had walked in a biting wind to the venue, a former aerospace factory building and hangar turned movie studio on the edge of Bethpage, New York.

Read the rest here.

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An unusual January storm bent palm trees and turned city sidewalks into creeks as a small group of Miami-area mayors and administrators huddled in Pinecrest, one of Miami-Dade County's 34 municipalities. They had come at the invitation of Pinecrest's mayor to discuss rising sea levels, long predicted by climate change scientists and now regularly inundating their towns. The mood in the room was somewhere between pessimism and panic.

On the agenda: making flood prediction maps to help prioritize which roads, schools and hospitals to save as waters rise; how to keep saltwater from leaching into the aquifer; and what to do about 1.6 million septic tanks whose failure could create a Third World sanitation challenge. Someone also brought up the alarming possibility of the sea engulfing the nearby Turkey Point nuclear power plant.

The scale of South Florida's looming catastrophe--$69 billion worth of property is at risk of flooding in less than 15 years--is playing out like a big-budget disaster movie, but dealing with it has been largely left to local political and business leaders in tiny rooms like the Pinecrest Municipal Center's Council Chamber.

Read the rest of the story at Newsweek here.


The Big Melt


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In all mythic, transformational trips--acid, ayahuasca, Mars or across the river Styx--the voyagers must, at some point, face down their deepest fears. For expeditions into Antarctica, the most deeply strange place on Earth, the Drake Passage is where that happens.

This tumultuous realm--where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans converge at a latitude where water unimpeded by land flows in a continuous circle around the globe--was first sailed by Sir Francis Drake, the storied 16th-century English naval explorer. Winds and swells in the passage are commonly "hurricane" on the Beaufort scale. Its harrowing reputation prompted a 19th-century theory that the Drake Passage was a planetary drain leading to the South Pole, a notion Edgar Allan Poe used to terrifying effect in his short story "MS. Found in a Bottle," in which a cargo ship passenger narrates the destruction of his vessel and the events before his death.

Read about Antarctica.


In the hills around Narrowsburg, N.Y., where second-home owners tend gardens and the Lenape once roamed, people don't forget a mysterious death. They still talk about the bar owner who shot his waitress in the chest late one night and served just six months in jail after saying it was an accident. Then there was the story about the man who arrived home one night only to notice that his wife, who had been in the back seat, was no longer in the car. Her body was found on the side of a road along the route he'd taken. Charges were never filed. We own a house near Narrowsburg, but I never knew anybody who died mysteriously, until one day a couple of weeks before Christmas 2008, when I saw a picture of a burning house on the front page of our town paper with the headline "Local Woman Dies in Fire." The woman was Catherine Novak, a cheery neighbor I'd known since 2004.

Read the rest of the story in the New York Times Magazine here



newsweek.pngNina Burleigh is national politics correspondent based in New York. The full archive of her cover stories on Hillary Clinton, Colorado's God, guns and ganja scene, Antarctica, and Trump and the 2016 gang can be found here.

Hillary Clinton NewsweekWhen you consider hiring someone for a job, it's usually a good idea to see how they handled their last one. I looked at Hillary Clinton's work style and priorities at State, to get an idea of how she might handle a bigger federal job. Read it here.

ross ubricht cover.jpgI covered the trial of Ross Ulbricht, at Manhattan's federal court. He was charged with founding the online drug market, Silk Road, and running it, trafficking in narcotics and laundering money - using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The subtext of the trial was just how public our virtual lives really are, and how, on the internet, you can run, but you can't hide.The Man will find you.

Read the story here.

imgres.jpgNot much, it turns out. I wrote about the epic gender war underway in the Bay Area. Many people were offended by the magazine cover image, those who took time to read the article understood why it was apt, if not, in fact, understated. Read the article here.

Nina Burleigh on Al Jazeera Charlie Hebdo.png

Watch. Of course, the power of words and images is exactly why the assassins went into the offices of Charlie Hebdo today. Sticks and stones break bones, but words and images change minds-- images like the satirical pictures that the murdered French cartoonists excelled at scratching out on blank sheets of paper.

Those images are what the gunmen wanted to eradicate. But they wanted to destroy something else, too: wit and laughter, a sense of the ridiculous, the freedom to think, to read what one wants, to wear what one wants, to live and work and bear children how and where and when one wants, and the freedom to speak truth to power.

Many men and certainly most women on this planet will never have power. That's why speaking truth to power is so important. And why laughing at power should be a human right.

Thumbnail image for rs.jpegA new wave of the women's movement - organized by college women and abetted by social media - put the fight against the plague of campus rape on President Obama's desk. Read how this happened in my story for Rolling Stone here.

Thumbnail image for nyt.jpegIn 2008, a Narrowsburg, N.Y., mother and friend named Catherine Novak died in a house fire. Many of us were suspicious because she had been in the middle of a nasty divorce and her kids just happened to be with their father that night. Five years later, justice was done. Here's my story in the Sunday Magazine.


Out of Africa

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nyt.jpegLagos.jpgAfter some delays, I got my visa and headed over to Lagos last month. In steaming equatorial heat, I met members of the petro-state's micro-elite. I'm afraid words can't do justice to the Chief's birthday party, but I tried. Here's the story for the New York Times.

rs.jpegRS Hawks.jpgPresident Obama's decision not to bomb Syria after his "red line" on chemical weapons was crossed last August inspired scorn from neocons and some in the permanent foreign policy class in DC. But my reporting found there was more strategy involved than the White House gets credit for. Read the story here in Rolling Stone.

Nina Burleigh SnowdenYOU LEAK YOU LOSE

There are about 65,000 journalists working for brands of one sort or another, according to a report in the Nieman Journalism Lab. And 5 million Americans now hold a security clearance.

In other words, there are about 77 people keeping secrets about the government for every single person whose professional duties might include asking questions about that government.

Since the revelations about the warrantless requisitioning of the AP's calls, this problem has only grown more troubling. We've learned about the scale of the surveillance, and we are beginning to see just how far the state will go to protect itself from tough questions.

Read more about the criminalizing of investigative journalism here

Megyn Kelly Nina BurleighDecember 16 -- Every intern, cameraman and anchor at Fox News knows one thing is true: no one ever went broke mongering white fear. Selling the idea that brown people are coming to get your stuff - whether it's your presidency, your kid's rightful college slot, your medical insurance or the true racial identity of Santa Claus - has always been Fox's calling card. Over the years that has proven to be a remarkably successful marketing strategy. But never has it been so winningly packaged as in the brand called Megyn Kelly. ...   

Read the ful article at Alternet here.


During the last week of Audrie' Pott's life, her California high school quad was an agora of final judgment. A curvaceous sophomore in the cool-girl's uniform of skintight top and super-short skirt, she looked the same as always, but inside she was quivering with humiliation. Every cluster of students she passed was snickering. Girlfriends were shunning her. Guys congregated around phones, smirking. Everywhere she turned, she was sure that i-pads, i-phones, Palms and Treos glowed with the horrid, ineradicable proof of her shame. Home was no escape. Facebook messages pinged into the inbox, stinging like snapped rubber bands.

"shit went down ahah jk i bet u already got enough ppl talking about it so ill keep it to myself haha ..."

"honestly like really no joke everyone knows... ."

"u were one horny mofo."

On the last day of her life, a Monday, the reputational apocalypse was at hand. There was no way out.

Sexting, Shame and Suicide: A Silicon Valley Tragedy. Read it online here.

timelogo.gifNina Burleigh covered the fraudulent but fascinating underbelly of the Jerusalem Biblical relic trade in Unholy Business. More from our files on the lucrative proof-for-faith industry: A story on the ongoing lawsuit that documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici has filed against Jerusalem curator and scientist Joe Zias, for Time, is here

byliner.jpegThe Byliner archive contains my stories from many publications on a wide array of topics from Lance Armstrong to the Sudanese Lost Boys and Iraq's late, embattled antiquities director. Find the links here.

rs.jpegMy investigation into the Buddhist community founded by Geshe Michael Roach, and the death of Ian Thorson at Diamond Mountain University in Arizona, was published in the June 6 issue of Rolling Stone. It is here online now. 


Swanee Hunt

swan.jpegI profiled Texas heiress Swanee Hunt, who is using her super-conservative, Red-baiting Daddy H.L. Hunt's money for feminist causes. She wears red cowboy suits, walks around with an African Grey on her shoulder and is generally in the can't make it up category. A real American original. Here.

Nina Burleigh BusinessweekA nine-month investigation I did with Bloomberg and Businessweek, on homelessness and young female veterans, led me to meeting Nira Williams, a former army truck driver with a harrowing and sadly too common story involving prescription drugs in the field, sexual assault, PTSD and addiction, followed by homelessness.
Readt he full story here.

, former White House Chief of Staff

, former White House Chief of Staff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent Columbus Day in my hometown with the new Mayor, Rahmbo Emanuel. I knew him as a Clinton soldier in DC back in the 1990s, when he mailed dead fish and stabbed tables. He's mellowed quite a bit. Interesting man.
Here's the profile.

discover.jpegBeneath the arched, soaring, pale yellow ceiling of a room in the maze of Al Azhar University, past the wall of black-and-white portraits of imams dating to the 12th century, Heba Zakaria, age 32, sits across from a blackboard scrawled with the email address [email protected] (English is still the lingua franca of the Internet.) Zakaria is a member of the ascendant ruling party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. She is one of the new generation of postrevolutionary, politically active, religious Egyptians using social media, cell phones, and other ostensibly liberating technologies--tools that just may end up tamping down intellectual freedom and women's rights. When I asked to meet with members of the Muslim Brotherhood's new media outreach team, their spokesman sent me to her.
Read the rest at Discover Magazine.

In spring 2011, I was in the southern Italian region called Cilento, reporting on the tragic and stillNina Burleigh Vassallo murder unsolved murder of Angelo Vassallo, the beloved "sindaco-pescadoro" of a town called Pollica consisting of six tiny villages on the Mediterranean Coast about two hours south of Naples. The town is famous first as the home of the so-called Mediterannean Diet, popularized by American cardiologist Ancel Keys, who based himself there. It's also where Hemingway lived for a while, and gathered stories from the local fishermen for his book Old Man and the Sea.
Vassallo had been re-elected four times and had transformed his impoverished town into a world-class model of sustainable development, promoting the local bounty - goat cheese, olive oil and other traditional farmer fare as "artisanal" food all over Italy, and even beyond its borders. Vassallo was instrumental in the international slow food movement. He was ambushed and shot while driving home one night, after a series of arguments with crooked developers who would like to cash in on the region's beauty and turn it into another Positano.
My story finally runs this month, and you can read it here in Men's Health.
The photo here shows him holding a wine glass of sea water aloft, showing how clean it was after he installed the town's first sewer purification system.

observerlogo.gifAll of NYC was trying to guess what high-rollers were in the black book of Anna Gristina, the Scottish madam with a soft spot in her heart of pot-bellied pigs who ran an escort service with prostituted women from Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, NYPD has a new program underway to arrest the johns.

Just before Christmas last year, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly hosted a small, cosmopolitan group of pretty young women in his office at 1 Police Plaza. Most were immigrants to the city, having come from Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe and around the United States. Because of the sensitive nature of what they would discuss, only two other officials were present--the NYPD's chief counsel and the commanding officer in charge of vice.

The women spoke different languages but had at least one thing in common: they had all been brought to the city to labor in the sex industry. The non-natives' first English words were "blow job" and "fuck."

They told harrowing stories of being kidnapped, imprisoned and forced to sell their bodies. One immigrant without legal status in the U.S. described being shuttled around in a livery car, the driver delivering her to various "customers" one after another. "She was basically a prisoner," said one participant at the meeting.

Read the article here at the NY Observer.

photo of James ossuary

photo of James ossuary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 14, a Jerusalem judge acquitted a man accused of forging an inscription on a small stone coffin. The writing, on what's known as the James Ossuary, reads "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus." Its promoters claim that it's the first archaeological evidence of Jesus Christ's existence and that the box once held the bones of Jesus' brother James. Its detractors, including most scholars, say the last two words of the inscription are faked, modern additions to a genuinely ancient limestone casket.
The box was first brought to public attention in 2002. Tens of thousands lined up in freezing Canadian weather to see it go on exhibit -- with a sly caveat about its authenticity -- at the Royal Ontario Museum in January 2003.

The box was seized on by believers as proof of the Bible. But Israeli authorities, who eventually found what appeared to be a forgery workshop in the apartment of the box's owner, Tel Aviv industrial designer and antiquities collector Oded Golan, called it a fraud. The workshop contained half-made "antiquities," plans for others and even labeled baggies of silt from different archaeological sites around the Holy Land. The state would later assert that the silt was used to create a paste to coat the objects and fool scholars.

A trial commenced in 2005 against Golan, accused of "the fraud of the century" for creating objects meant to both make money and headlines. In effect, the lengthy trial put science in the dock. Science lost.

Read the full article at the LA Times here.

images.jpegThere's a new book out further elaborating on the conspiracy theory that Mary Meyer, the original "dangerous blonde" of the Cold War and subject of my first book, was murdered over war, peace and JFK's assassination. Peter Janney (who optioned my book for years before writing his) proposes that she had to die because she knew too much. It's a good read, although I disagree with some of Peter's conclusions. The truth is that the Mad Men of the A-Bomb, entitled arrogant alcoholics, were capable of more than we probably know. My Daily Beast story here.

morelogo.gifI profiled Jill Abramson for More Magazine this month. A newswoman and a smart fighter, also a dog-lover, her appointment as the first female editor in chief of the nation's paper of record is of course, encouraging to me and any woman in the business.
However, lest we celebrate a "trend" prematurely, I note that there is only ONE other major newspaper with a woman at the top, and it's in Ohio.
Men still run everything at all the high-culture publications, and they pick their own gender to write, and review other people's writing whenever possible. Actually, when I told one of these entitled lads that I was writing this profile for More he sniffed condescendingly: 'Uhh, does 'More" even exist anymore?"
Yes, apparently it's doing pretty well, thanks.
That's why I read the Lives of the Saints for style tips before writing about Jill.
She also talked about her regrets regarding the Judy Miller/Iraq war p.r. campaign, the full story is linked here.

observerlogo.gifOn a fall day in 1935, a broke and broken Jewish émigré from Nazi Germany named Alfred Flechtheim sat down and wrote a pleading letter to a New York art world potentate. Before the Nazis ran him out of Germany and turned his visage into the caricature of the "degenerate ArtJew," Flechtheim had been Weimar Germany's pre-eminent dealer, representing dozens of modern masters from Picasso to Klee. Now, he had a single modernist piece left in his possession, he said, and he desperately needed money. How much, he wanted to know, would donors to the new Museum of Modern Art pay?

Not too much, it turned out.

Read  the full story here.

beast.jpegFor the Daily Beast, here, a story about how sexual violence has been a tool to keep women silent, and how the greatest step forward for women in Egypt has been taken by a few brave souls who have stood up and talked about it, publicly.


The Bioethicist

morelogo.gifI profiled lawyer Lori Andrews, the leading expert on bioethics and new technology. She's been hard at work fighting big Pharma on the patenting of DNA, a case that probably heads to the Supreme Court next year. The story here.

timelogo.gifHere, for, an interview with Egypt's Nour Party spokesman, in which we debate the veil, and I get to ruminate on how the common ideal of covered, not to say, erased women, could be the path to peace between the religious parties in Israel and the newly democratic Arab neighbors.

slatelogo.gifI talked with a number of the sisters of the Brotherhood while I was in Egypt.
Here, a story for Slate on one of them.

The Italian Jobs


I spent the Ferragosto week, Italy's big summer holiday, in Prato, interviewing Chinese workers and entrepreneurs who have come to Prato, Italy's historic textile producing city, and taken over a sector of the fashion industry. The whole feature is here, in Businessweek.

Rebecca Kiessling embodies the right-wing female firebrand in all the clichéd ways. She has long, straight blonde hair, a law degree, and bears a resemblance to Anne Coulter. She's married, a home-schooling mother of five, and vehemently pro-life. What sets her apart though, and what has made her the optimal spokeswoman for radical pro-lifers in the abortion wars, is that she is a daughter of rape, conceived when her biological mother was abducted at knifepoint in 1968. She likes to point out that she has spent her 41 years on this earth only because abortion was illegal in the state of Michigan that year. Her mother went to two back-alley abortionists before being forced, because of the law, to carry Rebecca (whom she gave up for adoption but recently re-adopted) to term.
Read the rest of the story here at TIME.


On the Rightwing

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Down in DC, with the rightwing fringe and Ronald Reagan's ghost, for the Brits.

salon.jpegThe man New Yorkers elected as their latest Sheriff of Wall Street seems so much smaller than one expects a man in such an outsize job to be, sitting behind his huge desk flanked by a potted rubber plant on one side and the state flag on the other. Behind him, the behemoth black iron shell of the Freedom Tower -- Manhattan real estate's rough, unfinished rebuke to terrorists -- hogs the sky and blocks out the sunset.
Read it here

Read Nina in the Observer here.



Regis Giles glides from chair to podium with the lithe, twitchy ease of a big cat, hazel-eyed and trailing a honey-colored mane, all 20 tawny years of her packed into a skintight electric blue stretch-satin cocktail dress. She doesn't look like this when she's spearing wild boar on the shores of Florida's Lake Okeechobee or taking aim with her favorite CZ 550 rifle, but today Giles is addressing America's largest annual conservative convention, in Washington, DC, so she's sexed it up a bit.

Besides being a hunter, she's an entrepreneur. From a website called Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, she peddles T-shirts, buttons, and coffee mugs, but no actual guns--yet. That's only because she must wait until she turns 21 to get a federal license to sell firearms. Meanwhile, she's bagged her own reality hunting show, Primal Urge, slated to air on cable's Pursuit Channel (devoted to all things hunt) in 2012.

Giles keeps her speech short, sweet, and to the point. "I'm sick and tired of seeing defenseless girls being abducted in broad daylight," she says in an unstudied nasal drawl. "My company stands for those girls who've decided to arm themselves with a gun that will pump lead into an attacker at 1,200 feet per second. I wanna see more headlines stating 'Girl kills attacker with gun' than 'Girl found dead after being raped and choked to death.'" The audience packed into the Marriott's Grand Ballroom erupts in cheers, stomps, and whistles. She's brought the house down.

Like all goddesses, Regis Giles may be considered the progeny of two greater deities: Gloria Steinem and Glenn Beck. In real life, Regis' dad, Doug Giles, is a conservative radio host, the self-described "pastor" of his own "Clash Church," and a man who calls himself "a big pain in the butt to people who dislike God and the U.S.A." Her mom homeschooled her and now teaches low-income kids in Miami, where the couple live.

My voyage into the perfumed, gun-totin' world of the young women of the Right, in Elle.


Sex and the Souk

tmaglogo.jpegIn Beirut, I met this courageous character.

parade-logo.gifLike the pioneer families in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books, Iraqi refugees Naef and Suad and their seven children spent their initial winter on the Great Plains huddled indoors, suffering from shock and cabin fever. "The first time we saw snow, we were so excited, and the kids went outside and played," their father recalls. "But after that we felt like prisoners in our own home. There was so much ice, we only went to the store once a week. Continue reading at Parade 
The clues to the great secret were always there, but growing up in a neat-as-a-pin beige ranch house in northeast Portland, Oregon, in the 1980s, Amanda Campbell could never connect them. It was like trying to see the outline of a forest made of mirror trees. Supposedly she had two baby books; someone had half-joked about it long ago--back when everyone was still talking--but she could only ever open the pink ribbony one filled out in her mother's flawless script, the one that told how much she weighed, ate, and slept in her first year of life, that described the gymnastics and dance classes she took, the words she babbled before she was five. Continue reading at Elle.
Roberto Saviano is only 30 years old, a slight, balding man of average height. There's a hipster edge to him, his black clothes, three thick silver rings, a cool day's growth of beard. He is young, famous and easy on the eyes, an Italian superstar. Continue Reading at The Huffington Post

Nina Burleigh archive at The Huffington Post
In a hilltop suburb South of Jerusalem called Efrat, Sharon Katz serves a neat plate of sliced cake inside her five-bedroom house, surrounded by pomegranate, olive and citrus trees that she planted herself. She glances out the window at the hills where, she believes, David and Abraham once walked. "We are living in the biblical heartland," she sighs. Continue reading at Time

Amanda Knox has finally spoken. Ever since the 21-year-old American student was arrested in Italy in late 2007 and charged with the grisly murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher, tabloids on both sides of the Atlantic have bubbled with scandal and speculation. Was she, as Italian and British reports suggest, a promiscuous party girl who lived like a slob and took strange men back to the house? Did she, as Italian prosecutors allege, cut Kercher's throat after she refused to take part in group sex with Knox; Knox's boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito; and Rudy Guede, an Ivoirian now serving a 30-year prison sentence for the murder? Or was Knox, as friends and family in Seattle insist, a hardworking honors student railroaded by incompetent and overzealous police work? Testifying on June 12 for the first time, Knox fought back in her own words, claiming that she had been bullied into making a false confession, accusing Italian police of abusing her and insisting she was sleeping at Sollecito's at the time of the attack. Continue reading at Time

Standing with his video camera at the Auckland, New Zealand, airport in February 2004, Mike Nyberg watched the adoption agency worker lead in a saucer-eyed 4-year-old wearing a dirty blue dress and clutching a rubber ball. She was crying, but that didn't surprise the adoptive father in light of the heartbreaking story the agency had told him and his wife--that the girl had been abandoned by her destitute parents in Samoa and left in an orphanage. Under the circumstances, "there's not a child on the planet that wouldn't act this way," Mike recalls thinking. Still, he noticed, as she wept, she repeated a single word: "Tupu." Continue reading at People
If the 300,000 West Bank settlers identified by the U.S. President as an obstacle to Middle East peace were expecting Bibi Netanyahu to support their cherished dream of an Israel stretching from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, they were disappointed on Sunday night. The right-wing leader instead took a sharp and unexpected lurch to the center and said he would support a two-state solution, meaning something called Palestine is a step closer to being inked onto their 3,000-year-old biblical map. Continue reading at Time

The Florida sky is just turning pink outside the new beige stucco house, and Staff Sgt. Russ Marek and his father, Paul, have already been awake for an hour. Paul has hauled his 37-year-old son out of bed, attached his prosthetic arm and leg and helped him shave. Leaning on a walker, Russ makes his way into the kitchen. He tucks into a bowl of bran flakes, then scratches his neck with his prosthetic hand while glancing at the morning paper. "I missed a spot shaving this morning," says Paul, 64, leaning in to examine his son's neck. "I've got to get you some lotion." Continue reading at People

'I Was There'

As a teen, LaVon Bracy helped desegregate her high school in Gainesville, Fla., where she endured verbal abuse and a physical assault. "I went through the entire year not having one person ever speak to me," says Bracy (center, with, from left, Alfray Moore, husband Randolph Jr., son Randolph III and daughter LaVon). "If I went to the library, it immediately emptied." So what does Obama's inauguration mean to her? "I think Jan. 20 makes me heal just a little bit more. I did not feel it would happen in my lifetime." Continue reading at People


Pamela Davis, blond suburban mother of three, was told that her bra would be the best place to wear the wire that kick-started a long investigation into Chicago graft and that ultimately caught the governor of Illinois trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. Davis is the president and C.E.O. of Edward Hospital, in Naperville, Illinois. She is proud of the fact that on her twenty-year watch the hospital has grown from a hundred-and-sixty-two-bed community facility to a four-hundred-and-twenty-seven-bed regional medical center that leads the county in babies delivered .. continue reading at the New Yorker
Sarah Van Zanten, 15, was lying on the floor, an ice pack on her aching ribs. For a moment, she had no idea where she was; then her boyfriend's face came into focus. They were at a party, and Joe (not his real name), the cute football player she'd been dating, had kicked her, hard, propelling her into a wall, where she had hit her head and blacked out. "I woke up and he was hovering over me," Sarah, now 18, recalls. "I just wanted to get away." Continue reading at People
Montgomery McFate, senior adviser to the Department of Defense in a controversial effort toput anthropologists in the service of national security, long ago went undercover. This former California-hardcore-punk-scene denizen's only nod to that past life is her tightly cropped dyedblonde hair. The pantsuits McFate now wears could easily be from Hillary Clinton's closet, and she has gold studs, not safety pins, in her ears.
I don't know when I decided to invite my mother along. The mere fact that I was seriously considering it felt as though it were proof of incipient middle age. I used to travel to exotic places to get away from my family

There were obvious difficulties to making my plan work. Arthritic knees were slowing her down. She was deeply afraid of flying. My mother had flown to New York from Chicago, where she lives, on the night my son was born, but for all subsequent visits, she chose two pungent days on Amtrak instead of two white-knuckled hours in the air. What's more, I could not imagine spending almost three weeks with her. Just the two of us. In a hot Islamic country, post 9/11, post-American invasion of Iraq.
Lying in bed, Judy Mays ran her hand over her stomach, trying to soothe the pain. In the four months since her son was delivered by cesarean section, nearly every morning had started the same way: She'd take a few deep breaths and slowly roll herself off the bed sideways onto the floor, wincing as if stabbed in the abdomen. This day, however, as she touched her belly, she felt a hard, softball-sized lump in her lower abdomen. It seemed to have emerged overnight. Continue Reading at Self
As she settles into her latest role as comforter-in-chief, the president's wife recalls how she heard the news and describes how her life has changed 

For first lady laura bush, the morning of september 11 started out just like any other day at the White House.  She got up early.  There were her two dogs, Barney, a frisky black terrier, and Spot, an English springer spaniel, to walk, meetings to attend and senators to see.  The president was out the big doors first, catching Air Force One for a day trip to an elementary school in Florida.  Soon after, the in-laws, former President George Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who had spent Monday night at the White House, hopped a private jet to Minnesota for a political speech.


"Lose weight now ask me how." That is the slogan you see on the buttons worn by the late Mark Hughes's Herbalife family. And on the May morning that Hughes was found unconscious in his black bikini briefs, the multimillionaire messiah of diet drugs and dreams was, indeed, slim and trim. In fact, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office, the strong, healthy, somewhat macho man with chiseled features and Hollywood teeth had the arteries of an 18-year-old.

The Liar's Club

Like a certain President of the United States, Dr. Barbara Battalino was caught lying about sex in a civil case. Unlike Bill Clinton, she lost her job immediately, served time for perjury, and became a darling of the right wing.

To find a perjury case like the President's, the seeker must dive into a rabbit hole where the characters are fun-house-mirror versions of the ones we have come to know and love.  Down this hole, just as in Washington, logic and reason are bent by lies, bureaucratic jargon, and possibly, personality disorders.


King of Hearts

For several years, I was tethered to Bill Clinton on pool duty, in which reporters from national magazines and newspapers take turns traveling with the president.  I had done it so often, Air Force One almost bored me, with all that windy waiting on the tarmac, Clinton's practiced wave on the steps, the Secret Service men shoving and glaring at us through their mirrored lenses.