How a girl who wanted to make big in fashion world traveled from a sleepy town of Slovenia to the most coveted house on earth….How the most powerful man on earth needs her more than she needed him 20 years ago! Presenting Melania Trump…..

The union made perfect sense for Donald too. After demanding Ivana and needy Marla, Melania would be the perfect mate, one who would be an advertisement for his virility while giving him his “space.” Federico Pignatelli, a longtime Trump friend and business associate, who founded the fashion studio Pier 59, says, “Ivana was an intelligent, entrepreneurial woman. Also a very strong-minded person and very feisty. While instead, Melania . . . really no fights.” For her part, Melania would get a luxurious home where she could indulge her hobbies—Pilates and reading fashion magazines, according to People—in peace, and a promise that she would never have to return to drab Eastern-European prospects. Donald accompanied Melania to her homeland once. “I was there for about 13 minutes,” he later said to Larry King with Melania by his side. “We landed. I said, Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad. Bye.” Eventually Trump brought her family over to New York (where her parents now live for most of the year), allowing her to cut ties with the Old Country.

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Evgenia Peretz — Vanity Fair

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The Family Man


Now, that Trump has been thoroughly analyzed by all kinds of newspapers and news channels, the focus is shifting to his son-in-law Jared Kushner. What kind of person is he? How does he decide? Where do his loyalties lie?

He grew up in a fiercely loyal clan that flourished in large part because it understood that city councilmen and big-league developers made good bedfellows. Sometimes that coziness went too far: In 2005, Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. (He’d attempted to blackmail his sister by hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was planning to deliver incriminating evidence to a judge in federal district court.) Charles was dealt a two-year prison sentence, just more than half of which he served. Jared, then in his mid-20s, traveled to Alabama every week to see his father in federal prison.

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Katy Waldman — Slate

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Warren Hastings ‘Loved India a Little More Than His Own Country’


Recently, I was listening to a Malcolm Gladwell podcast which spoke about the protest related to removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from some building at Cambridge. Historical figures are reevaluated. Today’s needull is a relook at Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of British India.

When Hastings retired in 1785, he left British administration in India on a sounder footing than ever before. He expected his successes to be rewarded with the same favours as Clive had received, and at first all seemed to go well. Hastings was warmly received by King George III, although Whig wits ridiculed him for showering the royal family with ‘fine diamonds’ and ‘a certain richly carved ivory bed which the Queen had done him the honour to accept from him’. London gossip was particularly cruel about the extravagance of Hastings’ beautiful, German wife, who allegedly appeared at one function wearing jewels worth a staggering £2 million in today’s money.

In the public mind, Hastings had become symbolic of the East India Company, widely unpopular for its role in buying up British MPs and corrupting British politics. His old enemy, Philip Francis, now an active Whig backbencher in Parliament, had been feeding Edmund Burke with ammunition. When Burke threatened to bring a motion of censure against him, Hastings dared him to do his worst. The result was one of the last impeachments in British history, a procedure whereby the House of Commons acts as prosecutor in a case tried by the House of Lords. It was a measure reserved for what were considered ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’ beyond the remit of other courts, and it could carry the death penalty.

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Zareer Masani — Open

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Stephen King on Donald Trump: ‘How do such men rise? First as a joke’


Stephen King talks to a few Trump supporters to understand why they supported Trump. Tons have already been written on Trump, but  still this has something new to offer.

King I think we’ve about finished, but I’d like to run one more thing by you before we break for lunch. Psychologists mention four basic traits when diagnosing a sociopathic condition known as narcissistic personality disorder. People suffering from this condition believe themselves superior to others, they insist on having the best of everything, they are egocentric and boastful, and they have a tendency to first select love objects, then find them at fault and push them aside. Comments?

[A long silence at the table.]

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Stephen King — The Guardian

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This is one of the most interesting needulls that I have come across in a long time. I am truly fascinated by writers who manage to create an authentic persona just on the basis of secondary research.

I Spit On Your Graves marked the emergence of a beautifully corrosive African-American author, given full expression, as Chester Himes later would be, in France, except that, as it turned out, there was no Vernon Sullivan. He didn’t exist. For all its bitterness about race and racism, the novel was the work of a white man, its supposed translator, Boris Vian. And Vian had never even been to the United States. In contrast to his fictional creation, a black man who passes as white, Vian adopted a black persona, and his literary hoax, at least at first, succeeded. French readers thought Vernon Sullivan was real. They didn’t suspect Vian had done more than “translate” and supply the book’s informative preface. But who was Boris Vian exactly, and why had he perpetrated the hoax? What lay behind what now would be rightly called an egregious act of cultural appropriation?

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Scott Adlerberg — Literary Hub

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Jane Austen: Galloping girl


Jane Austen wrote fast and died young. Her life on paper may have spanned three decades, but all six of her celebrated novels made their public appearance between 1811 and 1817. The phrase “tell-tale compression,” self-consciously applied by the narrator towards the end of Northanger Abbey (1817), captures something of Austen’s authorial career, too. Indeed, in her case it is appropriate that the word “career” can mean a short gallop at full speed, as well as the potentially slower progress of an individual’s working life. Novelists are more usually seen as long-distance runners than as sprinters, and Austen’s mature fiction has been cherished for the gradual emergence into consciousness of its heroines’ thoughts and feelings. Yet speedy progress—described in Emma (1815) as the “felicities of rapid motion”—remained central to this writer’s craft from start to finish.

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Freya Johnston — Prospect

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What makes a person magnetic and why we should be wary


Why do some people seem to have charisma and others don’t? This needull tries to look at this scientifically. The needull also discusses why we should be cautious of someone with charisma.

Campolo had long believed that was true. “I was convinced charisma flowed directly from God,” he told me. “It was a gift.” As he began to lose his faith, he said, “I passed through every stage of apostasy on my way to heresy, I slowly left my ability to believe in all this stuff.” He began to preach that charisma may be something you’re born with, but it wasn’t supernatural; you could employ it at will. “You can use it to get women in bed, you can use it to win people down the aisle for Jesus, or you can use it to sell insurance,” Campolo said. What’s more, it was a quality that could, at least in part, be learned and perfected.

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Adam Piore — Nautilus

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