Political MoJo

Josh Duggar Resigns From Family Research Council Amid Molestation Allegations

| Thu May 21, 2015 10:56 PM EDT

On Thursday, Josh Duggar resigned as head of the Family Research Council's lobbying arm amid allegations from a sealed police report obtained by In Touch Weekly that he sexually molested multiple underage girls when he was a teenager.

Duggar, the eldest son of the reality TV family on TLC's 19 and Counting, expressed regret for his actions in a statement on the Duggar family's Facebook page:

Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.

Josh's parents Jim Bob and and Michelle Duggar reportedly knew about the alleged sexual misconduct, which began in 2002, for more than a year before reporting it to the authorities. After the Springdale Police Department received an anonymous tip in 2006, they investigated, but Duggar was never charged with anything. You can read the partially redacted police report here

The Duggars emerged as political players for the social conservative right in 2007, when Jim Bob, a one-time state representative, endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for president. After the 2012 election, when the family backed Rick Santorum, Josh Duggar catapulted into conservative circles in Washington as the executive director of FRC Action.

The family remains an influential force among social conservatives due to its pro-life views and strong Christian faith. In December, Michelle Duggar pushed for the repeal of a measure in Arkansas that would have prevented housing and employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In May, Jim Bob and Michelle endorsed Huckabee, calling him "a man of faith." As of Thursday night, Jim Bob's endorsement is still on Huckabee's presidential campaign site. Mother Jones has reached out to the Huckabee camp for comment.

mikehuckabee.com

 

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Could LA's $15 Minimum Wage Sweep the Nation?

| Thu May 21, 2015 4:46 PM EDT
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti after announcing his support for a $15 minimum wage.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles became the third major West Coast city to pass a $15 minimum wage ordinance. Though the law won't fully go into effect until 2020, it's a huge deal. LA is larger than San Francisco and Seattle, the two other $15-an-hour cities, combined. It also has a much larger contingent of low-wage workers. The ordinance will give a raise to an estimated 750,000 Angelenos, or about 46 percent of the city's workforce.

LA's wage hike points to the potential for a major minimum wage boost to sweep the country. Although experts disagree about the LA measure's impact on growth and employment, the City Council passed it by a 14-to-1 margin. The $15 wage polls well in LA and nationally, despite a dearth of national politicians pushing for such a large increase. If organizers play their cards right, this suggests a $15 wage could gain traction in other cities.

"The facts and campaign brought to bear in LA were in many ways only a next step in the move to address income inequality."

So how did it happen? The original proposal, after all, was a more modest one. The measure's backers attribute their success to a combination of grassroots and national organizing. The umbrella group leading the push, the Raise the Wage Coalition, includes more than 260 local organizations from labor, business, entertainment, and the civil rights movement. It marshaled economic studies to justify a $15 wage and delivered more than 100,000 petition signatures in favor. But it also benefited from what organizers call "air support"—the national campaign to pressure Walmart and McDonald's into implementing a $15-an-hour base wage.

"It created a narrative that made it really hard for council members to simply look past the realities of what hard-working people are experiencing," says Rusty Hicks, executive secretary treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor. "The facts and campaign brought to bear in LA were in many ways only a next step in the move to address income inequality."

The organizers are already eyeing other SoCal cities. "It is not our intention to just stop in LA," says Laphonza Butler, president of the Service Employees International Union in California and co-organizer, with Hicks, of Raise the Wage Coalition. "We need to raise the wage all across the region."

The group's next most likely contenders are Pasadena and West Hollywood.

Job-Seeker Hillary Clinton Posts Resume on LinkedIn

| Thu May 21, 2015 10:38 AM EDT

Have you heard the news? Hillary Clinton is on the hunt for a new gig.

And in an effort to attract prospective employers, the former secretary of state just joined LinkedIn with her very own profile. She even dressed up her page with an article on how to "jump-start small business." 

Enjoy the imminent deluge of spammy messages, Hillary! Everyone deserves a distraction from "sensitive but unclassified" emails.

Here's What Osama bin Laden Wrote About Climate Change

| Wed May 20, 2015 12:59 PM EDT

On Wednesday morning, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a trove of newly declassified documents discovered during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. Among the many letters, videos, and audio recordings is an undated document apparently written by bin Laden discussing the "massive consequences" of climate change, a phenomenon he describes as having more victims than wars.

The newly released document is very similar in content and language to a recording released in 2010, in which the Al Qaeda leader expounded on climate change and criticized the international community's lackluster relief efforts in response to flooding in Pakistan. The speech, about 11 minutes in length, was accompanied by a video compilation that included images of natural disasters and Bin Laden.

In the document, Bin Laden calls attention to the fate of Pakistani children, who, he says, had been "left in the open, without a suitable living environment, including good drinking water, which has exposed them to dehydration, dangerous diseases and higher death rates." He also laments that "countries are annually spending 100 thousand million euros on their armies" while failing to address the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan.

This was not the only time Bin Laden spoke about climate change. In a different letter between Bin Laden and senior Al Qaeda leaders—also seized during the 2011 raid and written about by Foreign Affairs in March—Bin Laden remarked on a study about climate change and asked his associates to send it Al Jazeera. In 2010, Al Jazeera obtained an audio recording of Bin Laden criticizing the "industrial states," the United States among them, for contributing to climate change.

Read the full text of the undated letter below:

 

Obama Finally Joins Twitter

| Mon May 18, 2015 12:44 PM EDT

After years of being bound to the occasional "-bo" sign-offs on the official @barackobama Twitter account (run by his political group Organizing for Action), President Barack Obama finally got his own personal account today!

The official word from the White House informs us the new account will serve as a  way for the president to "engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him."

The shiny new @POTUS handle describes Obama as a "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States." One probable mistake, though: He left his DM's wide open.

 

Obama Just Announced a Plan to Restrict Police Use of Military-Style Equipment

| Mon May 18, 2015 8:42 AM EDT

On Monday, the White House announced a plan to set new restrictions on local police departments from obtaining military-style equipment from the federal government. The limitation on military gear is part of an ongoing effort to rebuild trust between community members and law enforcement officials following the unrest seen in Ferguson, Missouri, particularly the police response to protesters there.

The announcement is in response to a report put forth by a task force created by the president in December to address broken police relations, especially in minority communities, across the country. Banned items include wheeled-armored vehicles, battering rams, grenade launchers, and more.

"We are, without a doubt, sitting at a defining moment in American policing," Ronald Davis, head of the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, told reporters on Monday. "We have a unique opportunity to redefine policing in our democracy, to ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, but it must also include a presence for justice."

For a deeper look into how local police departments became so militarized, check out our in-depth report, "The Making of the Warrior Cop," here.

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Grinning, Sparring, Losing: Mitt Romney's Surreal Night Inside a Salt Lake City Boxing Ring.

| Sat May 16, 2015 12:06 PM EDT
So, this happened.

Muhammad Ali's winning formula for boxing was to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." There was plenty of floating, but not much stinging, for former presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday night, during a two-round charity bout in Salt Lake City, against former five-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

Revealing some prime #grandpabod in bright red satin shorts (remember, he only ate organic on the campaign trail?), and sporting an "I can't believe I'm doing this but WTF" grin, the former governor's sparring skills just couldn't cut it.

The Associated Press captured what's been dubbed the "Quake on the Lake":

Romney, 68, and Holyfield, 52, sparred, if you could call it that, for just two short rounds before Romney ran away from the boxer and threw in the towel, giving up a round early in the lighthearted fight that came amid several other fights by professional boxers and an auction.

The two barely threw any punches and largely just danced around, occasionally lightly jabbing each other in the midsection in what was much more of a comedic event than an actual bout.

Let's be honest: Holyfield, who once famously lost part of his ear in a fight with Mike Tyson, could have knocked out the former governor of Massachusetts with a single punch. But the joyous thing, the meaningful thing, was that he tried. Please proceed, governor:

Romney landed at least one solid jab, it seems:

Kapow! Rick Bowmer/AP

Holyfield then took a fall to make things interesting:

In the end, a ring-side Anne Romney—who always has her boyfriend's back—threw in the towel on Mitt's behalf, and Holyfield emerged victorious:

The black-tie affair raised at least $1 million for Charity Vision, a Utah-based nonprofit that helps doctors perform surgeries for the blind in developing countries. That amount of money is apparently equivalent to Holyfield's net worth, and 1/25 of Romney's, according to Buzzfeed's Tale of the Tape.

After the match, Holyfield apparently quipped to Romney: "You know what? You float like a bee and sting like a butterfly."

And so everyone had an enjoyable time, especially Ann Romney:

BREAKING: Jury Sentences Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to Death

| Fri May 15, 2015 3:19 PM EDT

Update: They sentenced him to death.

They are reading the verdict right now. The jury only has two choices: sentence him to life in prison or death.

Here's a live stream from NECN:

 

 

Important Advice From the CDC: Don't Poop in the Pool

| Thu May 14, 2015 5:04 PM EDT

On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a very important message for anyone planning to swim this summer: Don't poop in the pool. Also, try not to be in a pool where someone else has pooped. At least, if you can avoid it, don't swim with your mouth open in a pool if you, or someone else, has pooped nearby.

These are just a few of the ways you can try to avoid getting norovirus—a nasty and highly contagious stomach virus that sometimes makes its way onto cruise ships—as you enjoy all sorts of aquatic activities that are not limited to pools. Lakes have high levels of poop-related-risks it seems, as the CDC announcement describes how some people in Oregon swam in a lake last year and ended up getting the virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. The outbreak ended up sickening 70 people, some of whom didn't even swim in the lake (state health officials found, however, that swimmers were over twice as likely to get sick). 

Other important tips include not peeing in the water, not vomiting in the water, and maybe skipping swimming that day if there's a chance you might do any of those things.

This important message comes in honor of Healthy and Safe Swimming week and is mostly geared toward children (or parents of children) who are not only more at risk for norovirus but are also prime suspects of doing things in water that one shouldn't do. They also, apparently, are bad at swimming with their mouths closed. Per the CDC's press release:

"Children are prime targets for norovirus and other germs that can live in lakes and swimming pools because they’re so much more likely to get the water in their mouths," said Michael Beach, Ph.D, the CDC's associate director for healthy water. "Keeping germs out of the water in the first place is key to keeping everyone healthy and helping to keep the places we swim open all summer."

Alan Grayson Just Called a Reporter a "Shitting Robot"

| Wed May 13, 2015 11:23 AM EDT

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.)—known as something of an active volcano ever since he said in a 2010 floor speech that the Republican health care plan was to "die quickly"—is considering running for Senate next year. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already settled on a candidate, Rep. Patrick Murphy, but Grayson believes that "our voters will crawl over hot coals to vote for me."

That feeling of invincibility extends to his dealings with reporters. To wit, today's interview with Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times:

Alan Grayson!