Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to review its standards on grooming, in light of the confusion over new limits on hairstyles traditionally preferred by black women. The updated standard, the New York Times reports, "implies that there is something wrong with black women's natural hair."
The front page of today's New York Times has astonishing news for a nation accustomed to life on an eternal war footing: Defense secretary Chuck Hagel has proposed shrinking the United States military to a size, as the subheadline puts it, "Equal to That of 1940." Online, where the subheads are more expansive, the paper elaborates:
Non-Senator Rick Santorum has announced his intention to combat the Senate confirmation of Chuck Hagel for Defense secretary. There's a lot to that sentence, so let me re-state: Rick Santorum, who as a regular, non-elected citizen has no more power than you or me or Bobby McGee, is going to attempt to hold up Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense. Because Congress needs help to be inert and unproductive.
According to Politico, President Obama will nominate former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense on Monday. For those dreading the current, post-fiscal cliff lull in political bickering, the announcement will come as great news; Hagel has already faced criticism for anti-gay remarks in 1998, an interview in which he discussed the "Jewish lobby" in 2007, and for breaking ranks with Republicans during the Iraq War.
It's been a tough year for Annie Leibovitz, but maybe she can start fresh from here on out? The financially challenged photographer turns 60 today. Others celebrating: designer Donna Karan is turning 61. Kelly Ripa turns 39. Lorraine Bracco is 55. Sting is 58. Actress Camilla Belle is turning 23. '80s pop star Tiffany is 37. And two of Hugh Hefner's latest girlfriends, Karissa and Kristina Shannon, are turning 20. A roundup of a few people celebrating birthdays this weekend—including Al Sharpton and Liev Schreiber—is below.
Lyor Cohen and Al Sharpton are both celebrating today: The Warner Music chief (and boyfriend of Tory Burch) turns 49; the rabble-rousing clergyman is 54. Others marking the special occasion: socialite Alexis Bryan is 32. Clive Owen is 44. Jake Shears is 30. Gwen Stefani is 39. Ashlee Simpson is 24. Composer Steve Reich is 72. Tommy Lee is 46. Neve Campbell is 35. Actor Sean William Scott is 32. And the notoriously precise Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley is 53. Weekend birthdays after the jump.