Loving on a prayer
May 20, 2014
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Pope Francis recently received an unusual letter signed by 26 women, La Stampa's Vatican Insider reports. "Dear Pope Francis," the letter begins, "we are a group of women from all over Italy (and beyond) who are writing you to break the wall of silence and indifference we encounter every day." Why? "Each one of us is living, has lived, or wants to live in a loving relationship with a priest she is in love with."

As Pope Francis noted in a dialogue with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, published in 2010 as the book On Heaven and Earth, priestly celibacy was optional until 1100, and is still optional in the Eastern Orthodox churches. The women, who say they are just "a small sample" of women in love or in relationships with Catholic clerics, are asking for the pope to allow them to openly live with their priest-lovers (or prospective lovers), and even "bless these our loves, giving us the biggest joy that a father could want for his children: to see them happy."

But, perhaps more realistically, they are also trying to put a human face on the priest celibacy debate, expressing the "devastating suffering" of women like themselves who "experience with a priest the powerful experience of falling in love." The signatories put their first name, last initial or town where they live (which could be uncomfortable for that town's priests), and phone numbers. You never know — Pope Francis may call. (The Daily Beast's Barbie Latza Nadeau has a more extensive English-language recap of the letter.)

This just in
7:44 a.m. ET
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The Senate approved a GOP-led budget at 3:28 a.m. Friday in a 52-46 vote.

The budget seeks to reduce the federal deficit to zero within a decade and includes repealing ObamaCare. The vote comes after the House passed a similar budget blueprint on Wednesday. Both chambers face an April 15 deadline to hash out a final budget.

The New York Times notes that of the 52 votes in favor of the budget, not one was from a Democratic senator. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, meanwhile, were the only Republicans not to vote in favor of the budget.

too many dursts
2:25 a.m. ET

Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst is here to remind you that he is not, in fact, accused murderer Robert Durst.

I am NOT ROBERT

A photo posted by Limp Bizkit (@limpbizkit) on

Durst — the one whose band once released an album called Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water — posted a photo on Thursday showing him in a gray sweatshirt that reads "NOT ROBERT." In case that didn't get the point across, he captioned the photo, "I am NOT ROBERT." Unfortunately, there wasn't a follow up picture of Durst — the one who was caught on tape during filming for the HBO documentary The Jinx saying he killed people — wearing a sweatshirt that said "I am NOT FRED."

Durst — the one who famously declared he "did it all for the nookie" — likely posted the photo in response to The Associated Press getting the Dursts confused and erroneously reporting on March 16 that "an arrest warrant was issued for the former Limp Bizkit frontman." AP issued a correction, but the damage was already done: The nation once again was talking about Limp Bizkit.

$$$$$
1:48 a.m. ET
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Before he dies, Apple CEO Tim Cook says he plans to give away his entire $800 million fortune.

Prior to donating it all, Cook will make sure that his 10-year-old nephew's education is paid for, he told Fortune. He did not say which charities he will be giving money to, but he has spoken publicly about his support of human rights and equality and the need to stop HIV/AIDS and climate change, The Guardian reports. In 2012, Cook donated $25 million to Stanford to build a new children's hospital and $50 million to Project Red.

paying their respects
1:20 a.m. ET
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There are so many people waiting in line to view the coffin of Singapore's late leader Lee Kuan Yew that officials are asking mourners to stay away and instead visit community tributes spread out across the island.

Lee died Monday at the age of 91, and his funeral will be held on Sunday. The line to get into the Parliament House to see Lee stretches for several kilometers, with wait times of as long as 10 hours, The Associated Press reports. By late Thursday, close to 150,000 people had already viewed Lee's coffin, and officials were passing out water so people would stay hydrated in the heat. Those who came out to pay their respects said they had no problem standing in the hot sun. "I'm not afraid to wait," Idy Leong told AP. "Even waiting for 8 hours, I'll still want to wait. Ten hours, I'll also want to wait."

Late Night Antics
12:58 a.m. ET

What happens when you take Jimmy Fallon, add five wax figures of Jimmy Fallon, and throw in some Beach Boys music? You get a rather bizarre — and kinda dark — Tonight Show sketch. If you can get through the clip without singing along to "Barbara Ann," I salute you. —Catherine Garcia

livin' that big mac life
12:36 a.m. ET

If you want a Big Mac but could do without the calories, now you can just wear the burger instead.

McDonald's has launched a website in Sweden featuring Big Mac-emblazoned jackets, rain boots, blankets, and even dog sweaters, Ad Week reports. The collection is part of a global marketing stunt that McDonald's launched on Tuesday, with special events and activities around the world, including a performance by a McOrchestra in Vienna and a Ne-Yo concert in Los Angeles. This actually isn't the first time a McDonald's-inspired clothing line has found success in Sweden: People went crazy for Big Mac thermal underwear, which the company made just as a sponsor for the Swedish Alpine and Cross Country Ski Team.

Quotables
March 26, 2015
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In his last speech on the House floor before resigning his seat at the end of the month, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said on Thursday he is leaving with "sadness and humility" — and then compared himself to the man who preserved the Union, abolished slavery, and strengthened the government.

"I also know that every person faces adversity in life. Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term but few faced as many defeats in his personal, business and public life as he did," he said. "His continual perseverance in the face of these trials, never giving up, is something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valley in life."

In his goodbye address, Schock also said he tried his best to "contribute constructively to the process and to serve the people of my district and my country," and apologized to "those whom I've let down." Schock, 33, was elected to Congress in 2008 at the age of 27, and resigned his seat after questions came up about lavish spending of both taxpayer and campaign funds on private jets, concerts, and Downton Abbey-inspired office decorations.

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