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Kathie Lee Gifford's Favorite Books

15 June 2011 1:53 PM, PDT

When she's not busy on TV, Today show host Kathie Lee Gifford is an avid reader and writer. With her ninth book, The Legend of Messy M'Cheany, debuting this summer, we asked her to pick her favorite novels.

Daytime talk show hosts will sometimes dabble in memoir (see Barbara Walters or Rosie O'Donnell), but the Today show's Kathie Lee Gifford has published a total of nine books in a variety of genres. Her latest is a children's book called The Legend of Messy M'Cheany, about a little boy who can't stay clean.

Related story on The Daily Beast: To Kill a Mockingbird Turns 50

"Since I'm post-menopausal, and I don't sleep, I might as well write all night long," Gifford says.

This whimsical story was based on a hymn that she recorded for a CD years ago. Gifford says she based the parable on her own daughter, Cassidy, now 17, but changed »

- The Daily Beast

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Apple's Brain Drain: Retail Guru Latest to Leave

14 June 2011 10:08 PM, PDT

Ron Johnson, the merchandising guru who created Apple's amazing retail stores, is the second top exec to leave in recent months. What's going on in Cupertino? Dan Lyons on the exodus.

One of the many great strengths of Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been his ability to surround himself with incredibly brilliant people. Over the past decade, Jobs has assembled one of the best executive teams in any industry, comprised of men-and yes, they are all men-who are not just very good at what they do but also extremely loyal to Jobs.

Related story on The Daily Beast: Apple's iCloud Triumph

But in recent months two top lieutenants have left the company, and while it is way too early to say that Apple is in trouble, it seems we may be seeing a changing of the guard at the company, one that will mark the end of an era that »

- Dan Lyons

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Obama's Weinergate Misstep

14 June 2011 9:28 PM, PDT

President Obama's call for Anthony Weiner to resign may have been unavoidable, but it kept what has to be history's least sexually satisfying sex scandal in the headlines for another day-and it won't push the congressman out the door. After all, he's got nothing to gain by going, says Eric Alterman.

"I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,'' President Obama told Today's Ann Curry-thereby ensuring that we would spend at least another day discussing Anthony Weiner's not-so-private parts and the implications thereof.

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Media's Selective Sex Scandal Savagery

This may have been unavoidable. Ducking the question would have looked like a kind of endorsement of Weiner's weird behavior, so instead Obama made sure that his agenda would be buried beneath, um, Weiner's you-know-what for one more day.

It was a rare misstep in a scandal that, »

- Eric Alterman

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Do Antidepressants Make You Sad?

14 June 2011 8:40 PM, PDT

Questions about how effective antidepressants are have swirled for years, but some new research suggests people who take the drugs are actually more likely to experience relapses of depression. Casey Schwartz reports.

In the pendulum-swinging debate over the effectiveness of antidepressants, the latest findings by some researchers will not be good news for users and supporters of the ubiquitous meds: Used over the long term, antidepressants may "do more harm than good," and once discontinued are more likely to cause a relapse in the patient-more so than with a patient taking a placebo.

Related story on The Daily Beast: When Children Commit Suicide

"There are data now that suggest that the longer the period of administration, the more likely the patient will relapse," says Dr. Giovanni Fava, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Bologna in Italy, who has been looking at this possibility for nearly 20 years. His latest article, »

- Casey Schwartz

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Michele Bachmann's Unrivaled Extremism

14 June 2011 8:03 PM, PDT

Her anti-gay platform has alienated parts of her family. A mentor she described as a "great influence" has a history of addresses to white supremacists. A book she collaborated on advocates theocracy. Rep. Michele Bachmann's impressive performance at Monday's debate has catapulted her near the front of the Gop pack, but the radical roots of her ideology remain poorly understood. The Daily Beast's Michelle Goldberg reports.

In April 2005, Pamela Arnold wanted to talk to her state senator, Michele Bachmann, who was then running for Congress. A 46-year-old who worked at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Arnold lived with her partner, the famed Arctic explorer Ann Bancroft, on a farm in Scandia, Minnesota. Bachmann was then leading the fight against gay marriage in the state. She'd recently been in the news for hiding in the bushes to observe a gay-rights rally at the Capitol. So when members of »

- Michelle Goldberg

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Did They Get Her?

14 June 2011 7:47 PM, PDT

The Casey Anthony prosecutors wrapped up their case yesterday. Diane Dimond analyzes whether they proved that she killed her toddler daughter-and what the defense needs to do to free her.

After 19 days of testimony, the prosecution wrapped up its case in one of the most notorious murder trials the state of Florida has ever put on. And with 25-year-old Casey Anthony facing the possibility she will be put to death for the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, the state called the defendant's mother, Cindy, to tie up loose ends.

Related story on The Daily Beast: Amanda Knox's Second Chance

Cindy explained why the mitochondrial-matched 9-inch-long hair found decomposing in Casey's car trunk couldn't have been anyone else in the family's except little Caylee. She testified that the child's Winnie-the-Pooh blanket had mysteriously disappeared from the home along with black plastic trash bags and a canvas laundry bag that had »

- Diane Dimond

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Jon Huntsman: I'm Running for President

14 June 2011 11:30 AM, PDT

President Obama's former ambassador to China declared Tuesday he'll announce his candidacy against his old boss "a week from today." The Daily Beast's McKay Coppins reports from the event. Plus, read about the Mormon moment in this week's issue of Newsweek.

Jon Huntsman, Jr. told a VIP crowd of journalists, diplomats, and CEOs Tuesday afternoon that he plans to announce his presidential candidacy in one week, joking that "since we're in selected company and there aren't many people listening in" he could safely declare his intentions.

Related story on The Daily Beast: Why Obama's Still Untouchable in 2012

Huntsman, a moderate Republican who is fluent in Mandarin, is expected to announce his candidacy at Liberty State Park in New Jersey on June 21. His campaign will be based in Florida.

Tuesday's event was a Thomson Reuters luncheon featuring a discussion about the rising power of China, between Huntsman-who served as U. »

- McKay Coppins

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Eight Fascinating Moments From Gop Debate

14 June 2011 9:08 AM, PDT

Michele Bachmann threw her hat in the ring. Mitt Romney said he'd blow the debt ceiling. Herman Cain would be uncomfortable with a Muslim in his administration. Watch Video of eight of the most fascinating moments from the New Hampshire Gop debate. Plus, Daily Beast contributors weigh in on who won the debate.

Bachmann Throws Her Hat in the Ring

Related story on The Daily Beast: Britain's Crush on Obama

‘Bout time: Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann announced her 2012 candidacy during the debate, saying she filed her paperwork earlier in the day on Monday. Up until the debate, the Minnesota congresswoman had been in the exploratory stages of her candidacy, but it was the presidential debate, after all.

The New Obamacare: Obamneycare

Killing two birds with one stone: A day after coining the phrase "Obamneycare" to criticize Romney and President Obama's health-care plans all at once, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty »

- The Daily Beast Video

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At Last, Some Gop Contenders

14 June 2011 4:25 AM, PDT

For the first time this troubled season, the Republican candidates looked like plausible White House contenders. Matt Latimer grades the New Hampshire debate, from Bachmann's entry to Newt's return to the Paul Ryan debacle and Santorum's Leno gaffe.Plus: More Daily Beast contributors on the Gop debate. And watch eight video highlights.

This evening commenced with a warning from CNN moderator John King. Tonight's forum, he vowed, "would be different than any presidential debate you've ever seen." Uh-oh. I hate it when journalists say things like that-it always means there will be lame gimmicks, such as having random voters we don't care about waste TV time with dull questions, or a demand that the candidates introduce themselves to an audience of millions using only a single sentence. Just one candidate on stage bothered to follow that stupid rule: Newt Gingrich. The famously undisciplined former House speaker actually showed some discipline. »

- Matt Latimer

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LeBron James, the Most Hated Athlete in America

13 June 2011 10:02 PM, PDT

Yes, LeBron James stunk up the court during Miami Heat's NBA Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks. But he still doesn't deserve all the abuse, says Buzz Bissinger.

I was listening to the press conference of Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra Sunday night after the team's humiliating loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association finals. I knew of the media's perverse obsession not only with the dismal play of LeBron James but also with James himself. I still thought the first question at least would have something to do with the Mavericks and how well they had played.

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Media's Selective Sex Scandal Savagery

The first question was about James. The second question was about James. The third question was about James, all of them in the same vein of what went wrong with him and why had he been so »

- Buzz Bissinger

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And the Gop Presidential Debate Winner Is...

13 June 2011 9:23 PM, PDT

Who won Monday night's Gop debate? Michele Bachmann was the breakout star, Mitt Romney the most polished-and Herman Cain got lapped. Daily Beast contributors Howard Kurtz, Mark McKinnon, Michelle Goldberg, Michael Tomasky, John Avlon, and more weigh in. Plus, watch eight video highlights from the debate.

At Last, Some Gop ContendersBy Matt Latimer

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Gop's Bin Laden Jitters

For the first time this troubled season, the Republican candidates looked like plausible White House contenders. Matt Latimer grades the New Hampshire debate, from Bachmann's entry to Newt's return to the Paul Ryan debacle and Santorum's Leno gaffe.

This evening commenced with a warning from CNN moderator John King. Tonight's forum, he vowed, "would be different than any presidential debate you've ever seen." Uh-oh. I hate it when journalists say things like that-it always means there will be lame gimmicks, such as having random voters we »

- The Daily Beast

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Romney Wins Debate Gold

13 June 2011 9:22 PM, PDT

Mitt Romney showed great strides from 2008, Michele Bachmann was smart on policy, and Rick Santorum deserved his seat at the table-but Pawlenty, along with Cain, Paul, and Gingrich-disappointed.Plus: More Daily Beast contributors on the Gop debate. And watch eight video highlights.

If you ask me for order of finish, I'd say Romney, Bachmann, and Santorum for the medals, with the rest interchangeably lagging. Romney was the most polished by far. Sometimes over-polished, as is his way, but he was much improved over 2008, when he was in fact pretty bad at this. His defense of his health-care plan was surprisingly strong and sharp, and I was surprised that he was challenged on it just once. Bachmann is smarter on policy than most people think, and she made good use of the minutes allotted to her. Santorum mostly trotted out tried and true platitudes (Obama has "embraced our enemies" ), but at »

- Michael Tomasky

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Michele Bachmann Grabs Gop Presidential Debate Spotlight

13 June 2011 8:35 PM, PDT

The congresswoman used her bluntness and charm to overshadow the men at the Gop debate-announcing her presidential bid and passionately defending the Tea Party. Howard Kurtz on why she shouldn't be underestimated.Plus: More Daily Beast contributors on the Gop debate and Michele Bachmann's 17 wackiest moments.

Michele Bachmann all but stole the show at the Republican presidential debate.

Related story on The Daily Beast: How Palin's Winning the Media War

The only woman on the New Hampshire stage deftly utilized the CNN spotlight Monday night to announce that she filed her papers to officially run for president, setting off a flood of breaking-news alerts in the event's opening moments. But she accomplished far more than that.

The Minnesota congresswoman got the first audience roar of the night, promising that Barack Obama would be a one-term president.

She offered a passionate and inclusive defense of the Tea Party, saying that »

- Howard Kurtz

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Minority Kids' Crippling TV Addiction

13 June 2011 8:34 PM, PDT

Black and Hispanic kids spend way too much time on electronic diversions. Michael Medved on why TV addiction could cripple their future, and how it can be reduced.

Educators who worry about the persistent achievement gap between white and minority youngsters ought to pay more attention to a disastrous development hidden in plain sight: the terrible (and rapidly growing) over-use of entertainment media by children of color.

Related story on The Daily Beast: How Michelle Got Her Fashion Mojo Back

Focused efforts by parents, community groups, teachers and the students themselves to limit their immersion in electronic diversions might bring more immediate improvements in educational outcomes than expensive and bureaucratic schemes to restructure schools.

A powerfully disturbing new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that black and Hispanic kids consume 4-1/2 more hours of media every day than their white counterparts-investing a startling total of more than 90 hours a week on television, »

- Michael Medved

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The Mitt and Michele Show

13 June 2011 8:28 PM, PDT

Romney showed front-runner status, while Bachmann proved she belonged on stage. Mark McKinnon on why they shone-and the rest of the debaters flopped Monday night.Plus: More Daily Beast contributors on the Gop debate

The two clear winners in the Gop debate hosted Monday night in New Hampshire were former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Political debates are all about expectations. Mitt Romney had more than anyone to lose. Michele Bachmann had more than anyone to gain. Romney deftly fended off attacks particularly on health care, and Bachmann proved she's smart and credible, and has every right to be on the stage.

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Gop's Bin Laden Jitters

The rest were window dressing.

While former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum leapt out forcefully for a question or two, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proved the depth of his knowledge, »

- Mark McKinnon

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White House: Weiner Is a 'Distraction'

13 June 2011 4:43 AM, PDT

Commenting for the first time, the White House said Monday that Obama sees Anthony Weiner's behavior as a "distraction" from the real issues-but declined to press for his resignation. See the latest batch of racy pics, his online messages with a teenager, and more.

Plus, Peter Beinart on why Weiner shouldn't quit.

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Media's Selective Sex Scandal Savagery

Obama: Weiner a 'Distraction'

The White House stopped short of demanding Representative Anthony Weiner's resignation, Monday but spokesman Jay Carney made it clear they wish the scandal would go away."The president feels, we feel at the White House, this is a distraction," Carney said when asked about Weiner. "Obviously, as Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, his dishonesty was inappropriate, but the president is focused on his job." House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats have urged therepresentative to step down, »

- The Daily Beast

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15 Juiciest Palin Emails

12 June 2011 9:24 PM, PDT

Flip-flopping on climate change, denying that Bristol is pregnant, asking God for budget help-read the most "flippin' unbelievable" messages from the Palin email trove.

The state of Alaska has released 24,199 printed pages of emails from Sarah Palin's tenure as governor, ranging from her 2006 inauguration to the 2008 presidential campaign. And for the most part, the media and the public have found themselves shocked--to learn how pedestrian the trove turns out to be. "No big revelations," read a Reuters headline. "The bombshell that wasn't," sighed Yahoo! News.

Related story on The Daily Beast: How Palin's Winning the Media War

Indeed, a large portion of the emails seems to confirm already-well-known Palin lore: her feuds with the Alaska state senate president, her association with a controversial pastor. The Freedom of Information Act (Foia) request for the emails was submitted by news organizations way back in 2008, leaving some political journalists to question whether »

- The Daily Beast

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The Media's Selective Sex Scandal Savagery

12 June 2011 7:37 PM, PDT

Why is Anthony Weiner getting destroyed for sins that other politicians have skated past? Howard Kurtz explains why the press pounces selectively-and outlines the new rules of survival.

On the afternoon that Anthony Weiner tearfully confessed to all manner of X-rated misadventures, I furiously scribbled notes and banged out a story for The Daily Beast-one of several on a seamy saga that, as they say, has nothing but readers.

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Salesman Obama Needs

I did much the same-writing, editing, blabbing-when Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and John Edwards became tabloid fodder over the past few weeks, interviewing everyone from the Los Angeles Times reporter who disclosed Arnold's love child to the lawyer for Andrew Young, who claimed to be the dad of Edwards' love child as part of one of that bizarre coverup.

In short, I am not a conscientious objector in these matters. I »

- Howard Kurtz

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Why Police Think D.C.'s Rapist Could Be Back

12 June 2011 7:34 PM, PDT

Twenty years ago, a man began raping women around Washington, breaking into their homes and lying in wait. Now cops tell Christine Pelisek he may be operating again-this time as a killer.

It was 7:30 p.m. on a crisp November evening in 1997 when Jane L. arrived home to her townhouse in North Potomac, a tony enclave near Washington, D.C. She was walking down the hallway when she noticed what looked like a blanket draped over a chair in her den. When she moved closer, a ghostly figure arose from the chair, tossed the blanket over her head, pushed her to the floor, and sexually assaulted her. The man, who police had dubbed the Potomac Rapist, threatened to kill her before he walked out the front door. Outside on the front steps, the sound of his scream ripped through the night.

Related story on The Daily Beast: David Kenney »

- Christine Pelisek

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