Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Putin’s Russia

What the two men in this photograph are doing is now illegal in Russia. Amidst an alarming—and frequently violent— government crackdown, being out, or simply supporting gays and lesbians, can now get you thrown in jail, beaten up, or worse. On the eve of the Sochi Olympics, Jeff Sharlet embeds with the new enemies of the state and reports on life in the Russian underground.

Inspire Magazine: The Most Dangerous Download on Earth

Al Qaeda’s scariest and most unpredictable weapon right now? The digital magazine that inspired the Boston Marathon bombers and a growing army of “lone wolf” terrorists around the world. James Bamford investigates the search for the mystery men behind Inspire—and learns that for some, the laptop is mightier than the suicide bomb.

Confessions of a Drone Warrior
He was an experiment, really. One of the first recruits for a new kind of warfare in which men and machines merge. He flew multiple missions, but he never left his computer. He hunted top terrorists, saved lives, but always from afar. He stalked and killed countless people, but could not always tell you precisely what he was hitting. Meet the 21st-century American killing machine.

Confessions of a Drone Warrior

He was an experiment, really. One of the first recruits for a new kind of warfare in which men and machines merge. He flew multiple missions, but he never left his computer. He hunted top terrorists, saved lives, but always from afar. He stalked and killed countless people, but could not always tell you precisely what he was hitting. Meet the 21st-century American killing machine.

The Year of Living Carlos Dangerously

Anthony Weiner’s sexting addiction nuked his political career (twice!), endangered his marriage (twice!), and turned him into a walking penis joke (forever!).

Marshall Sella tails Weiner through his doomed campaign for New York mayor, speaks candidly with The Imperfect Messenger himself, and learns there he are greater lessons here than “Don’t send junk shots to strangers.” (Although, seriously: Don’t send junk shots to strangers)

Read the full story at GQ.com.

Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas

In less than a year, Texas Republican Ted Cruz has become the most despised man in the U.S. Senate. He’s been likened to Joe McCarthy, accused of behaving like a schoolyard bully, and smeared by senior members of his own party. Is this any way to get ahead in Washington? Well, Cruz is no dummy—just ask him—and his swift rise might prove that it’s the only way:

It’s hard for Ted Cruz to be humble. Part of the challenge stems from his résumé, which the Texas senator wears like a sandwich board. There’s the Princeton class ring that’s always on his right hand and the crimson gown that, as a graduate of Harvard Law School, he donned when called upon to give a commencement speech earlier this year. (Cruz’s fellow Harvard Law alums Barack Obama and Mitt Romney typically perform their graduation duties in whatever robes they’re given.) Even Cruz’s favorite footwear, a pair of black ostrich-skin cowboy boots, serves as an advertisement for his credentials and connections. “These are my argument boots,” he told me one morning this summer as we rode the subway car beneath the Capitol to a vote on the Senate floor. “When I was Texas solicitor general, I did every argument in these boots. The one court that I was not willing to wear them in was the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was because my former boss and dear friend William Rehnquist was still chief justice. He and I were very close—he was a wonderful man—but he was very much a stickler for attire.”

It was only after Rehnquist died that Cruz felt comfortable wearing his cowboy boots in the Supreme Court—and only then because John Roberts (“a friend for many years”) blessed it. “I saw John shortly after his confirmation,” Cruz said, “and I guess I was feeling a little cheeky, because I took the opportunity to ask, ‘Mr. Chief Justice, do you have any views on the appropriateness of boots as footwear at oral argument?’ And Chief Justice Roberts chuckled and he said, ‘You know, Ted, if you’re representing the state of Texas, they’re not only appropriate, they’re required.’”

Read More