TIME Newsmaker Interview

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Won’t Name Colleague Who Called Her ‘Porky’

Senators Discuss Legislation To Counter Sexual Assaults On Campus
Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) participates in a news conference about new legislation aimed at curbing sexual assults on college and university campuses at the U.S. Capitol. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

Her book is a call for women to run for office, though she says she has no current designs on the nation’s highest office

She still considers herself the “loud mouth” and “fog horn” her father teasingly called her as a child, but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Monday that she is not going to say which colleague called her “porky” after the birth of her second child, or which elderly senator told her not to slim down too much because he likes “my girls chubby.”

Those disclosures in her book, “Off the Sidelines,” which is due out Tuesday, made waves when they were printed in People Magazine last week. While taken aback by the clamor to disclose her critics’ names, Gillibrand says she knew that chapter—the one about her struggles with her weight—would be “the one every women’s magazine would excerpt,” she tells TIME. “I use these illustrations as an example of much larger point. It’s important to have a debate about how women are treated in the workplace. I’m not alone in having someone say something stupid. It’s less important who they are than what they said.”

The New York Democrat is using her book to promote her push to engage more women in politics. She holds her own life up as an example of finding a way to have it all: the big career, two young sons and loving marriage. “We need new and better policies that support women and allow all women to rise,” Gillibrand writes. “We need to end the cycle of women studying hard, starting careers, climbing through the ranks, taking time off to care for children, and never again finding a job as good as the one they left.”

Gillibrand is frank about the hardships: dispiriting credit or criticisms over her appearance, being unable even now to afford full time help and coming home from Congress to clean the bathroom when you have three men in the house (boys, apparently, don’t have great aim). But she also waxes poetic about the good she feels she has been able to accomplish: passing health care for the 9/11 first responders, tackling sexual assault in the military and on college campuses and repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Gillibrand emphasizes that her flexible schedule in the Senate is what allows her to do it all. “These challenges that I face are common and not surprising, and I have it so much easier than working moms,” says Gillibrand, whose husband works in New York and lives up there for most of the week, leaving Gillibrand to care single-handedly for their two young sons in Washington. “I don’t have to be at work at a certain time.”

She writes about the importance of being unabashedly ambitious without the fear of seeming like, well, a bitch. “I was nicknamed Tracy Flick, the aggressive, comical, and somewhat unhinged blond high school student played by Reese Witherspoon in the movie Election,” Gillibrand writes. “It was a put down to me and other ambitious women, meant to keep us in our place. Yes, I’m competitive. I fight for what I believe in, and I drive hard toward my goals. Does that make me ruthless and crazed? No.”

Too many women, she argues, sit on the sidelines because they fear ambition. She says she timed the book to come out just before the midterm elections because she hopes to inspire more women to go out and vote, and to realize that political ambitions of their own are more achievable than they may think. But, when asked if she has further political ambitions in life, Gillibrand is clear about being happy where she is—and that her legislative plate is full with a reauthorization of the 9/11 First Responders bill and another pass at getting prosecution of cases of sexual assault in the military removed from the chain of command. Her bill fell six votes short of breaking a filibuster earlier this year.

She says she doesn’t want to run for governor and hasn’t the slightest intention of seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 2016 against presumed front-runner Hillary Clinton, her predecessor in the Senate and who wrote the glowing forward to Gillibrand’s book (“For Kirsten,” Clinton writes, “public service isn’t a job. It’s a calling.”).

But the book tour still means she gets asked questions about her future ambitions.

“Will you run for President?” I asked her on Monday.

“No,” she said.

“What if Hillary doesn’t run?”

“No.”

“Are you ruling it out?”

“Ask me in 10 years.”

“How about in 2020?”

“No.”

“2024?”

“No.”

“Which will come first, a third kid or running for President?”

“Oooh,” Gillibrand said, “That is such a hard question. I think they’re both off the table. Probably having a third—probably have a third would come first if I could convince my husband. I’d love having a third.”

TIME Race

Abraham Lincoln’s Handwriting Found in Racial Theory Book

Lincoln Handwriting Race
This undated photo provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., shows what historical experts say is Abraham Lincoln's handwriting they’ve found inside a tattered book justifying racism that he may have read to better understand his opponents' thinking on slavery. Courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum—AP

The Great Emancipator was reading a book that seeks to justify racism

Experts confirmed Tuesday what had long been whispered at a public library in the small town of Clinton, Illinois — a name written on a page in the book Types of Mankind was penned by none other than Abraham Lincoln.

On an early page of the book is written the name Clifton Moore, a local attorney and colleague of Lincoln, NBC Chicago reports. Below that note is one from a different attorney attesting that Lincoln wrote it in 1861, just before he was elected president. Lincoln is presumed to have written Moore’s name in the book to remind himself, or someone else, as to the identity of its rightful owner.

“There are certain letters of the alphabet that Lincoln wrote in a way that were not common to his era,” says the curator of Lincoln’s presidential museum James Cornelius. “A forger can typically do some of the letters in a good Lincolnian way. They’ll give themselves away on a couple of the others. This all adds up.”

The 700-page tome offers up the theory that different races on earth were created at different times and thus could not be equal and it was part of the natural order that Caucasians would enslave Africans and Native Americans. The book, published in 1854, was popular among racists and slave owners for lending support to their way of life.

Historians at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential stressed that Lincoln did not subscribe to the beliefs put forth in the book, but that racial division was a hot button issue at the time of his presidency and he was likely educating himself on opposing arguments.

“Everything we know about Lincoln’s legal, religious and scientific thinking tells us he rejected that argument,” adds Cornelius.

[NBC Chicago]

TIME book

Happy 34th Birthday Harry Potter—You’re Way Older Than We Thought You Were

Harry Potter
Warner Bros.

He isn't even a Millennial!

I still remember meeting Harry Potter for the first time. We were both going through our awkward phases. Granted, he was a prepubescent wizard with a lightning bolt scar instead of acne on his forehead. And he was saving the world from forces of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, while I was still covertly playing with American Girl dolls.

But when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone hit American bookstores in 1998, despite the slightly different circumstances, we were peers. Just two 11-year-old kids with unkempt hair, trying to figure things out.

So imagine my surprise when I read on JK Rowling’s official blog that July 31 this year is Harry Potter’s 34th birthday — when I’m just 26-years-old.

Not only is Harry almost a decade further along than me but, according to Pew researchers, he isn’t even a part of my so-called “Millennial” generation! How did he grow up without me?

Here’s the thing that many Harry Potter fans didn’t fully realize: Though the first book starring an 11-year-old Harry Potter was released in 1997 in the UK and 1998 in America, it takes place almost a decade prior. Rowling concocted her tale on a crowded train in 1990. So Harry Potter’s story begins then–the same year Maggie Thatcher quit as Prime Minister of Muggles.

Rowling didn’t make this timeline explicitly clear in the books. Dates are scarce throughout the series and since the world of Hogwarts is somewhat removed from current events anyway, it was hard to isolate cultural details that would put its timing in a greater context. We might know when the Xbox came out. But a Nimbus 2000? Not so much.

Luckily, some extremely dedicated Potter fans created a timeline on their own, based on one concrete date given in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A 12-year-old Harry and friends were celebrating Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th anniversary of his October 31, 1492 deathday. And quicker than you can say, “Aparecium!” there it is–a clear indication that Harry was born in 1980.

Rowling was wise to leave these details vague: A powerful kinship is created when your target demographic grows up alongside its newfound hero. Every year, the Harry Potter generation would wait in line at midnight to see what his slightly aged wizarding cohort was up to. Over nearly decade, we transitioned from getting chaperoned by parents way past our bedtime at book stores, to driving ourselves to now defunct Borders to pick up a copy.

Harry Potter may not be a peer. The father of three is in the upper echelons of the Ministry of Magic, I’m still on Tinder figuring out what a 401K means. But I still think it’s fair to say that we still grew up together. So happy birthday, Old Man Potter!

TIME Parenting

Breaking News: Having a Father Is a Good Thing

Hey dads, they like you, they really like you!
Hey dads, they like you, they really like you! Jekaterina Nikitina; Getty Images

A new book 'discovers' the obvious—and the headlines follow. Enough already with the wonder of the dad

Science has a deliciously entertaining habit of stating the obvious. For every ingenious, truly groundbreaking insight that has a researcher sitting bolt upright at 3:00 a.m. entertaining dizzy visions of an inevitable Nobel, there other insights—researched, peer reviewed and published—that you don’t exactly need a double Ph.D to figure out. And so you get studies showing that “Moderate Doses of Alcohol Increase Social Bonding in Groups” or “Dogs Learn to Associate Words With Objects Differently Than Humans Do” or the breaking story that opened with the tantalizing headline, “Causes of Death in Very Old People.” Um, old age?

But the thing about these studies is this: somebody had to do them. Science is nothing if not persnickety about proof, and if you don’t have the data, you can’t officially establish the case. So the work gets done and the box gets checked and progress marches on. It was with that in mind that I tried to read with equanimity a Father’s Day gift from The Washington Post, which led its review of Paul Raeburn’s book Do Fathers Matter? with the headline, “Yes Dads, You Do Matter.”

And so, too, I tried to embrace the idea that Raeburn’s book needs to exist at all.

It’s not that the book isn’t a good, solid piece of science journalism. It is. And it’s not that Raeburn isn’t a good, solid science reporter. He’s been in the game a long time and is the media critic for MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

The deeper question is: are we not yet past this? It’s a question Raeburn himself raises but seems to answer with an emphatic no simply by having written his book. There seems to be no killing the idea of dad the extraneous; dad the superfluous; dad, who’s nice to have around the house but only in the way that air conditioning is nice to have in the car — it makes things more comfortable, but you’ll still get where you’re going without it.

It’s as if the steady shrinking of the Y chromosome over the ages is somehow being mirrored by the dwindling relevance of the parent who carries this dying scrap of DNA. That vanishing Y, as recent studies have established, has been both arrested and overstated, but not before giving rise to headlines like “As Y Chromosome Shrinks, End of Men Pondered.” And that bit of silliness came from NPR, not, say, TMZ.

The idea of the father’s expendability has been exacerbated by the persistence of the doofus dad stereotype, something else Raeburn addresses: the well-intentioned bumbler who is still a staple of kid-targeted TV (thank you, Disney Channel). He’s the guy who can’t quite boil an egg and can’t be trusted to go shopping, but is eventually bailed out by mom or one of the kids, who set things right. Eyes roll, dad looks abashed and hilarity ensues. Except it’s not really funny—though not because it’s profoundly offensive or causes deep wounds to the sensitivities of a newly defined oppressed group. There’s enough elective umbrage at large already without adding one more voice of grievance to one more cable news show.

It’s just … off, somehow—like Jay Leno’s cringe-worthy performance at the 2010 White House Correspondent’s dinner, during which he made jokes about President Obama’s courage because (wait for it!) he invited his mother-in-law to live in the White House. There was a time, maybe, when the mother-in-law as harridan image was an apt—or at least fresh—source of humor, but that time is long past. Ditto dad as dunce.

Raeburn’s book is guilty of none of this. It’s stuffed with studies showing the vital role fathers play in their children’s lives from the moment of conception, through the mother’s pregnancy and onward. But there’s still a sense of wonder that comes with it. “The discovery of the father is one of the most important developments in the study of children and families,” is a nice line. But is it true? Is this really something that needs “discovering?” And do fathers really need a new book and a major newspaper reminding them that “You Do Matter?” Not on Father’s Day at least. And certainly not on one in the 21st century.

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Book-Tour Overload: Just Don’t Call It a Campaign

The campaign-that-is-not-a-campaign is kicking into high gear

Sixteen months after leaving the State Department and six months before she decides whether to run for President again, Hillary Clinton is undertaking a rollout worthy of the highest office.

It officially begins Tuesday, when her book Hard Choices hits stores and mailboxes across the country by the hundreds of thousands. But you can also say it began a year ago, when Clinton began hitting the lucrative speaking circuit. And there’s of course been the carefully targeted leaks of nuggets from the book and media interviews. In many ways, the next few weeks are just more of the same: there will be lots more public speaking, as well as a campaign-style bus, courtesy of Ready for Hillary, the Clinton-insider sanctioned super PAC laying the groundwork for a campaign. In just about every way, it appears to be the continuation of a campaign that began the moment she left the Obama Administration. But Clinton says pay no attention — she has not yet made up her mind. “The time for another hard choice will come soon enough,” she writes in her book, a copy of which was reviewed by TIME.

So the campaign-that-is-not-a-campaign rolls on.

On Monday night, ABC News will air an hour-long prime-time special with Clinton interviewed by Diane Sawyer, followed Tuesday morning with a live interview on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. It’s an arrangement similar to that negotiated by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when they released their memoirs.

Hillary Clinton’s book isn’t a memoir in the traditional sense, but rather a delicately curated account of her time at the State Department clearly aimed at shoring up her vulnerabilities in preparation for a possible presidential campaign. It is filled with behind-the-scenes tales of meetings with foreign leaders and modestly revelatory insights into the Obama Administration’s inner sanctum. There is her long-delayed apology for her vote for the Iraq War, but more often than not the book presents her as a levelheaded decisionmaker, whose foreign policy recommendations were right, even if sometimes unheeded by President Barack Obama, her onetime rival.

The book closes with an outline of the economic challenges facing the nation, a tacit acknowledgement that foreign policy has faded on the public’s list of presidential priorities. Its release comes as Clinton has worked to align herself, at least rhetorically, with her party’s populist wing, delivering a rousing critique of rising income inequality last month in a speech at the New America Foundation in Washington.

Clinton will kick off the book tour with a stop at the Union Square Barnes & Noble bookstore in New York City, followed by a paid speech to the United Fresh Produce Association and Food Marketing Institute in her hometown of Chicago. On Wednesday morning, she will be interviewed by a former aide to both her husband and Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The subsequent days will take her from Toronto to Austin, and next week she will tape a town-hall-style event airing on CNN at the Newseum in Washington. At no fewer than eight locations, she will be trailed by the Ready for Hillary bus and its volunteers.

There’s even a counter-narrative, offered in the 112-page e-book Failed Choices authored by Republican research outfit America Rising that will be released later this week.

In the book and on television, Clinton says she has not made up her mind about another run for the White House. But that won’t stop her from already doing everything that a full-bore candidate for President would do at this point in the 2016 election cycle.

TIME Bizarre

This Harvard University Library Book Is Bound in Human Skin

Experts at Harvard have confirmed that the binding could not have come from any other animal

A book bound in human skin sits in one of Harvard University’s libraries, experts at the school said this week. Scientists tested the 19th-century book Des destineés de l’ame and concluded that they were “99.9% confident” that the binding comes from a person’s epidermis.

The library says that Dr. Ludovic Bouland bound the book in the mid-1880s after receiving it as a gift from the author, Arene Houssaye. He wrapped it using skin from the unclaimed body of a female mental patient who died of a stroke. He left a now-missing note in the book to shed some light on his decision, albeit : “A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering.”

The tests of the binding ruled out other animal sources, including sheep, cattle, goats and primates closely related to humans like apes and gibbons.

TIME celebrity

All Hail Your Latest Young Adult Sci-Fi Authors: Kylie and Kendall Jenner

Kendall And Kylie Jenner Sign Copies Of "City Of Indra : The Story of Lex And Livia"
Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner sign copies of "Rebels: City Of Indra: The Story of Lex And Livia" Dave Kotinsky—Getty Images

"I don't even think they read."

You know who loves keeping up with trends? Kylie and Kendall Jenner. Apparently that applies to the literary world as well.

The two reality stars are now “authors” of the latest piece of young adult, dystopian fiction. Behold Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia, a YA novel that hit shelves Tuesday and is so complex, it’s worthy of not one but two colons in the title.

We always knew that the girls had imagination. “In first grade I told my friends I had a third story in my house filled with jewels and lions,” Kendall once told HuffPost.

Rebels is slightly more complex. According to the overview, it’s about “a beautiful paradise floating high in the sky, and a nightmare world of poverty carved into tunnels beneath the surface of the earth.” Almost as telling as the back cover copy is a page inside that states manager Elizabeth Killmond-Roman and YA writer Maya Sloan also “worked” on the Simon & Schuster book.

While E! raved, simply raved, about the Jenner’s genius prose—did we mention that Keeping Up with the Kardashians is an E! show?—reading the whole thing seemed like… a lot. So instead, let’s see what reviewers had to say about the instant classic.

From Amazon, which has a one star rating:

Amazon
Amazon

“I don’t even think they read. That’s what annoys me the most,” said a two-star Good Reads review.

But not everyone is a hater. The Barnes and Noble score averaged 3 stars. Here’s a rave review:

Barnes and Nobel
TIME 2016 Election

The 5 Least Mind-Blowing Things About Hillary Clinton’s Book Tease

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaking in Washington on May 14, 2014. Cliff Owen—AP

Clinton’s much-anticipated book is due out early next month, but early glimpses haven't given away much

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock with no media access for the last month, you’ll be well aware that former First Lady, former Secretary of State and the once-and-potentially-future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a book coming out next month.

Vogue readers got a first glimpse of Hard Choices in Mother’s Day excerpts which drummed up a million advance purchases of the book, but Clinton revealed more about the memoir in an author’s note on Tuesday. In it, she explores her reasons for wanting to write her eleventh tome — if you count some of her more academic early offerings — this one on her tenure as Secretary of State.

But the sneak peak doesn’t give away much about what the book actually contains — and what was included is hardly surprising. Here are five key things she was either bound to mention, or decided to skip:

1. Not mentioned: Monica

The book is called Hard Choices, she says, because of all the hard choices in life that make us who we are, whether that’s a parent, a politician or a world leader. Though she mentions the choice of “whether to get married—or stay married,” she avoids mention of a certain former White House intern who made waves with an interview of her own this month, Monica Lewinsky. And, anyway, the book is about Clinton’s time as secretary of state, so despite referencing her early choices in life in the tease, she quickly moves on to focus on her choices in office.

2. Mentioned: Osama Bin Laden

Not unsurprisingly, the lead choice is the decision to kill Osama bin Laden, which Clinton pushed for behind the scenes. Given its prominence in the teaser, it would seem this will be her top hard choice—and a very successful one at that—in her book.

3. Not mentioned: Benghazi

Some of Clinton’s less successful hard choices go unmentioned, including her response to the attack in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of Amb. Chris Stevens and two other Americans. She does mention some regrets, though. “As is usually the case with the benefit of hindsight, I wish we could go back and revisit certain choices,” she says. We’ll all have to wait until the book’s release on June 10 to find out what those choices were.

4. Mentioned: Hatred for the press

In recent weeks much has been written about Clinton’s potential 2016 bid, including the fact her biggest hitch is having to deal with the media she loathes. That comes through in her teaser.

“While my views and experiences will surely be scrutinized by followers of Washington’s long-running soap opera—who took what side, who opposed whom, who was up and who was down—I didn’t write this book for them.

I wrote it for Americans and people everywhere who are trying to make sense of this rapidly changing world of ours, who want to understand how leaders and nations can work together and why they sometimes collide, and how their decisions affect all our lives: How a collapsing economy in Athens, Greece, affects businesses in Athens, Georgia. How a revolution in Cairo, Egypt, impacts life in Cairo, Illinois. What a tense diplomatic encounter in St. Petersburg, Russia, means for families in St. Petersburg, Florida.”

5. Mentioned: A tantalizing hint

For anyone hoping and dreaming that Clinton will run for president in 2016, she gives yet another vague hint that she’s leaning that way. She signs off the letter: “One thing that has never been a hard choice for me is serving our country. It has been the greatest honor of my life.” So, perhaps the choice to serve again isn’t so agonizing after all?

TIME 2016 Election

These Were Hillary Clinton’s Options For a Different Book Title

35th Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
Hillary Clinton delivers the Keynote Address at the 35th Annual Simmons Leadership Conference Paul Marotta—Getty Images

Hillary Clinton gave her first at-home interview since leaving her government post in 2013 to PEOPLE

PEOPLE magazine scored Hillary Clinton’s first at-home interview since she left government last year, and the potential presidential candidate offered a preview of her new book Hard Choices on Tuesday.

“I considered a number of titles,” the former secretary of state writes in a newly-released excerpt. “Helpfully, The Washington Post asked its readers to send in suggestions. One proposed It Takes a World, a fitting sequel to [my previous book,] It Takes a Village. My favorite was The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It’s Still All about My Hair.”

PEOPLE’s interview with Clinton hits newsstands June 6.

Read more at PEOPLE.

 

TIME movies

Madonna To Give Directing Another Go with Adé: A Love Story

56th GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
Singer Madonna arrives at the 56th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Axelle/Bauer—FilmMagic

The Material Girl will direct her third film based on the book by Rebecca Walker

Madge is returning to filmmaking. The legendary pop star will be directing a movie adaptation of Adé: A Love Story, based on the novel by Rebecca Walker.

Madonna, who has been acting since the ’80s, made her first foray into directing in 2008 with the comedy Filth and Wisdom, about three roommates in London, struggling to achieve their dreams. She followed that up with 2011’s W.E., based on the life and love of Wallis Simpson. Both films were widely panned by critics, though that hasn’t prevented her from taking on this new project.

Adé: A Love Story was written in 2013 by Walker, the daughter of Color Purple author Alice Walker. The story follows two American students travelling in Kenya, when one of the women falls in love with a Swahili Muslim man named Adé. The two lovers plan to marry, but are faced with political and cultural realities that are difficult to overcome. Madonna was an immediate fan of Walker’s book, providing a blurb for it that read, “Read this book! An incredible journey! A beautiful LOVE story!”

The book’s big screen adaptation will be produced by Silver Linings Playbook producer Bruce Cohen and Walker herself. They are currently hunting for a screenwriter to adapt the novel.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

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