TIME isis

New Report Maps ISIS Support on Twitter

Most of its social-media success comes from a small number of hyperactive users

A new analysis of Twitter accounts that support ISIS provides one of the most comprehensive looks yet at the militant group’s online success in spreading its message.

The paper, The ISIS Twitter Census, was released Thursday by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, having been commissioned by Google Ideas. It’s a deep dive into how sympathizers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria use the platform to disseminate graphic multimedia of its crimes and push out propaganda while simultaneously drawing in support.

The report’s two authors conservatively estimate that 46,000 to 70,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters from September to December 2014, though not all of them were active at the same time. “Typical” supporters were located within Iraq and Syria, where ISIS militants control large swaths of land, and accounts averaged about 1,000 followers each. About one-fifth of supporters made English the primary language when their accounts were registered, and three-fourths opted for Arabic.

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MORE: Inside ISIS: A TIME Special Report

Specific areas that were studied included display names, top hashtags and links, avatars and smartphones used to send tweets (Android handily tops Apple). “Much of ISIS’s social media success can be attributed to a relatively small group of hyperactive users, numbering between 500 and 2,000 accounts, which tweet in concentrated bursts of high volume,” the report notes.

Its release comes on the heels of ISIS apparently threatening Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey after at least 1,000 accounts of supporters were taken offline in recent months.

“Account suspensions do have concrete effects in limiting the reach and scope of ISIS activities on social media,” the authors state, adding, “They do not, at the current level of implementation, eliminate those activities, and cannot be expected to do this.”

Read the full report at Brookings.

TIME celebrities

Harrison Ford Injured in California Plane Crash

The 72-year-old actor was reportedly piloting the single-engine aircraft at the time of the crash

Actor Harrison Ford sustained serious injuries Thursday after a vintage plane he was piloting crash-landed on a golf course in California.

Ford, 72, suffered cuts to his head after the single-engine aircraft hit the ground and was transported to a nearby hospital, NBC News reports. Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott told CBS Los Angeles that the small plane crashed at 2:24 p.m., local time.

“There was blood all over his face … Two very fine doctors were treating him, taking good care of him,” said Howard Tabe, an employee at the Penmar Golf Course, located near the Santa Monica airport. “I helped put a blanket under his hip.”

Patrick Jones, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said at a televised news conference Thursday evening that the pilot had reported a loss of engine power and attempted to return to the runway. “It appears that he clipped the top of a tree and came to a rest on the golf course,” he added.

One eyewitness, Carlos Gomez, told CNN he heard the crash and saw the rescue as people playing golf tried to pull a man out of the plane. “I was like ‘Good, he was alive,” he said.

A fire department official said the pilot left the scene “alert and conscious” after suffering “moderate trauma.” A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department told People that Ford, a longtime pilot, was in stable condition.

Ford’s son, chef Ben Ford, wrote on Twitter that his father was “Battered, but ok!”

The Federal Aviation Administration and NTSB are coordinating an investigation.

“This pilot is an experienced pilot,” Jones told reporters, “and the airplane is obviously a vintage airplane, its a simpler airplane, so it’s got its own idiosyncrasies, whatever they are.”

TIME Transportation

Uber, Lyft Plan to Leave San Antonio

Uber At $40 Billion Valuation Would Eclipse Twitter And Hertz
Bloomberg/Getty Images The Uber Technologies Inc. logo is displayed on the window of a vehicle after dropping off a passenger at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington on Nov. 26, 2014.

If a revised ordinance on the ride-sharing companies goes into effect

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft said Thursday they plan to shut down their operations in San Antonio after the city council passed an ordinance, requiring drivers for transportation companies to pass city-reviewed background checks, which was meant to keep them in the city.

More onerous regulations about permits and registration and inspections, as well as a high insurance policy, were initially set to take effect on March 1, but Mayor Ivy Taylor had asked the city council to revisit some of the more tough rules in late February. Uber, however, says even with the revisions its still too restrictive to keep them operating in the city.

“The revised ordinance remains one of the most burdensome in the nation,” Uber spokeswoman Debbee Hancock told TIME via email. “We are disappointed that we will not be able to operate in San Antonio when this ordinance is implemented.”

Under the ordinance that passed 8-2 on Thursday, drivers for “transportation network companies” would be required to undergo fingerprinting and pass a background check administered by the city. Uber says their background checks for drivers should be enough to operate.

The San Antonio Express News reports Lyft will also roll back operations in the city if the standing ordinance goes into effect. “We very much hope the council revisits the ordinance before the implementation date,” said Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson.

The city has not indicated it will review the regulations again before they are implemented, but local ABC affiliate KSAT reports the council will review the changes’ impact in September.

The companies’ battle over regulations in San Antonio is just the latest in a string of similar ones across the country. Uber has consistently held that intense regulations are too often pushed by taxi-companies and are designed to stifle competition.

TIME viral

Watch This Group Set the World Record for Knocking Books Over Like Dominoes

Most fulfilling two minutes you’ll spend on the Internet today

Watching 5,000 books fall down never looked so good.

A group of employees at the U.K.-based snack company United Biscuits set out to beat the world record for the most books that fell like dominoes at one time in late January. It took a little over two minutes, but the employees were successful in their effort to beat the old record of 4,998 books.

Their set up of 5,500 (182 books were disqualified) spanned an entire room. Though the record was set on Jan. 28, Guinness World Records released the clip on Thursday in honor of World Book Day.

 

TIME Supreme Court

Obamacare Arguments Center on Chief Justice

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act gather in front of the U.S Supreme Court during a rally in Washington on March 4, 2015.
Alex Wong—Getty Images Supporters of the Affordable Care Act gather in front of the U.S Supreme Court during a rally in Washington on March 4, 2015.

John Roberts saved the law in 2012, but he played his cards close to the vest Wednesday

Chief Justice John Roberts once again holds the fate of Obamacare in his hands.

The conservative Supreme Court Justice who provided the crucial vote to save the Affordable Care Act in 2012 was at the center of many of the arguments Wednesday on another legal challenge to the law. But like the eye of a hurricane, he remained quiet.

Roberts made only two substantive remarks during the hour and a half of oral arguments on King v. Burwell. One was to casually dismiss a line of argument pursued by liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had peppered an attorney behind the lawsuit with questions over whether the plaintiffs had the standing to sue. The other was to note that a future President — presumably a Republican — could reverse the Obama Administration’s readings of the law.

But Roberts was the unspoken audience for an argument made by two other Justices because of his reasoning in the last Obamacare challenge. In that decision, he argued that Congress could not force states to expand Medicaid by threatening them financially — something he compared to putting “a gun to the head.”

This time around, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor and conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that if Congress made health-insurance subsidies dependent on whether a state set up its own exchange — the argument that conservative lawyers were making — that would be similarly improper coercion.

“If we read it the way you’re saying, then we’re going to read the statute as intruding on the federal-state relationship,” Sotomayor told a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “Because then the states are going to be coerced into establishing their own exchanges.”

Kennedy was even more blunt. “If your argument is accepted, the states are being told either create your own exchange, or we’ll send your insurance market into a death spiral,” he said. “The cost of insurance will be sky­ high, but this is not coercion. It seems to me that … there’s a serious constitutional problem if we adopt your argument.”

Two other conservatives, Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, questioned whether the dire warnings that the federal government has presented as potential consequences of a decision really would come true.

“You really think Congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue?” Scalia asked. “Congress adjusts, enacts a statute that takes care of the problem. It happens all the time.”

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli then earned a laugh when he responded, “Well, this Congress…”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Gets Hero’s Welcome at Emily’s List Gala

“Don’t you someday want to see a woman President of the United States?” the former Secretary of State asked the crowd

Hillary Clinton got a warm welcome at the 30th anniversary Emily’s List gala Tuesday night, calling for equal pay and paid leave before a crowd that’s worked to elect pro-choice Democratic women for decades.

Accepting the fundraising group’s “We Are Emily” award, the former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential front runner gave a taste of the “middle-class economics” she’ll likely campaign on, calling for greater protection of labor unions and taking digs at Republicans’ “old trickle-down economics.”

“We’re fighting for an economy that includes everyone and works for everyone,” Clinton said.

Even when she wasn’t on stage, Clinton was the topic of the night. Nearly every speaker at the two-hour event referenced her still officially unannounced campaign. Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, who opened the event, called her “our next President.” Minnesota Senator Al Franken, who started his speech by jokingly apologizing for being a man, suggested her first granddaughter refer to both Clintons as “POTUS,” instead of grandma or grandpa. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said Clinton would be one of the “most qualified Presidents in the history of the United States of America.”

Pelosi added, “And she just happens to be a woman.”

“Do you want Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States?” Emily’s List founder Ellen Malcolm asked the crowd, which immediately erupted into roaring applause.

“Well, Hillary, you heard us,” Malcolm said before the program paused for dinner. “Just give the word and we’ll be right at your side. We’re Emily’s List. We’re ready to fight and we’re ready to win 2016.”

The other star of the night was Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who announced Monday that she won’t run for another term in office. Clinton, who is known for wearing practical pantsuits, referenced Mikulski’s 1993 fight to overturn a precedent that required women to wear skirts and dresses on the Senate floor.

“She blazed a path forward,” Clinton said. “And among her many accomplishments, one that I’m particularly grateful for, was when she forced the Senate to allow women to wear pantsuits on the floor.”

TIME Senate

Mikulski Will ‘Give It All I’ve Got’ to Elect More Women to the Senate

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress, speaks during a news conference announcing her retirement after her current term, in the Fells Point section of Baltimore on March 2, 2015.
Steve Ruark—AP Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress, speaks during a news conference announcing her retirement after her current term, in the Fells Point section of Baltimore on March 2, 2015.

“I’m not ready to write my last chapter"

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski took the stage at the EMILY’s List 30th anniversary gala to a raucous applause on Tuesday, one day after announcing she would not seek re-election after her current term ends in two years.

The firebrand Democrat, the longest-serving woman in Senate history, said while she’s ready to “turn the page,” she’s not quite throwing in the towel: “I’m not ready to write my last chapter.”

“I want to give it all I’ve got to elect more women to the United States Senate… and a woman to the White House,” she said, before a not-so-veiled nod to presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “In 2016, we will elect that Democratic woman president and you know who I’m talking about.”

Mikulski was the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in 1986, after about a decade in the House, with the support of EMILY’s List. The organization, which was in its early stages at the time, has helped elect pro-choice Democratic women to public office. Calls for paycheck fairness, raising the minimum wage and tax breaks for the middle class were intertwined with others for electing and supporting women in politics.

When they say, “she doesn’t look the part,” Mikulski said, “Tell them, this is what the part looks like.”

TIME Supreme Court

The 4 Words That Could Cause 8 Million to Lose Their Insurance

Marketplace guide Stephanie Cantres works on the Healthcare.gov federal enrollment website to help a resident sign up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act at a Westside Family Healthcare center enrollment event in Bear, Delaware, on March 27, 2014.
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images Marketplace guide Stephanie Cantres works on the Healthcare.gov federal enrollment website to help a resident sign up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act at a Westside Family Healthcare center enrollment event in Bear, Delaware, on March 27, 2014.

Oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell will be delivered on Wednesday

Nearly eight million Americans could lose their health insurance depending on how the Supreme Court interprets four words in the Affordable Care Act.

At the nation’s highest court on Wednesday, justices will hear arguments in the case of King v. Burwell, the latest challenge to President Obama’s signature health care law and one that could potentially leave it gutted from an unexpected direction.

The 2010 law already survived an earlier Supreme Court challenge on the constitutionality of its requirement that most Americans buy health insurance. But the current case centers on whether, as many Republicans argue, one line in the law was intended to restrict subsidies to people who bought insurance through a state exchange or whether, as Democrats contend, that line was a simple oversight in the law’s drafting.

The consequences are potentially huge. Thirty-four states rely on the federal government to run their exchange, meaning that their residents would lose subsidies, making insurance unaffordable and causing rates to rise for those who remained insured. One study by the Rand Corp. found that eight million people would lose their insurance in those states if the court rules against the Obama Administration.

The Administration contends that the phrase is a “term of art,” and says that other parts of the law show that there is no distinction between federal and state run exchanges.

“If you look at the law, if you look at the testimony of those who were involved in the law, including some of the opponents of the law, the understanding was that people who joined the federal exchange were going to be able to access tax credits,” President Obama said in an interview with Reuters. “And there’s in our view not a plausible legal basis for striking it down.”

The Obama Administration has stated it has no backup plan ready if the Supreme Court rules against it. “If they rule against us, we’ll have to take a look at what our options are,” Obama said recently. “But I’m not going to anticipate that. I’m not going to anticipate bad law.”

Republicans on the other hand, are eager to show they have a Plan B. In the past two days, lawmakers from the House and the Senate have said they’re in the process of working on alternatives to the law, should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs. Reps. Paul Ryan, John Kline and Fred Upton wrote in the Wall Street Journal, they’re proposing an “off-ramp out of Obamacare,” that would allow states to opt-out of insurance mandates and offer options for those who can’t otherwise insurance. Sens. Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander and John Barrasso wrote in the Washington Post, they too would help those who can’t afford coverage during a “transitional period” and let states create alternative marketplaces.

Grace Marie Turner, the president of the health-policy organization the Galen Institute, says though Congressional lawmakers are in only in the process of shaping legislation, there’s real opportunity.

“This case provides an accelerator,” Turner tells TIME. “This could provide a real opportunity to begin the process of fixing the law.”

Read next: Here’s the Tough Choice the Uninsured Have to Make Now

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Speech Draws Big Names

Israeli PM Netanyahu Addresses Joint Meeting Of Congress
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is greeted by members of Congress as he arrives to speak during a joint meeting of the United States Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.

As many as 50 Democrats may be missing the speech, but Republicans have packed the house

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress felt a bit like a State of the Union.

Despite the partisan contention around the speech which led as many as 53 Democratic lawmakers to skip the speech, it proved popular with Republicans, former lawmakers and interested citizens, according to reporters tweeting at the event.

It was a hot ticket. Speaker John Boehner’s office said there were 10 times as many requests for tickets as there were seats available in the gallery.

Some former lawmakers seen on Capitol Hill Tuesday include former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former representative and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, former representative and current Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Reps. Michele Bachmann and Dennis Kucinich and former Sens. Joe Lieberman and Norm Coleman.

The event drew some big names in conservative circles. Casino magnate and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, Weekly Standard founder William Kristol, conservative radio host Mark Levin, Republican political consultant Frank Luntz and attorney Alan Dershowitz were also spotted by reporters inside the Capitol.

The speech drew interest from outside politics too. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart.

TIME 2016 Election

Ben Carson Launches Presidential Committee for 2016 Run

Former neurosurgeon and grassroots favorite is preparing for a potential run in 2016

Conservative grassroots darling Dr. Ben Carson is formally exploring a bid for president in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Carson, a former neurosurgeon and author, has formed an official committee to raise money for a potential campaign. Although he has no experience as an elected politician—or perhaps because of it—he has already won the favor of some conservative voters; at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Carson ranked fourth in the straw poll.

The Gifted Hands author has also made a number of strategic hires as of late, picking up staff members for a potential campaign in early caucus states like South Carolina and Iowa.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

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