TIME White House

This is How You Prepare a Hotel Room for Presidential Turkeys

Barack Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Gary Cooper, Cole Cooper
President Barack Obama gestures that his daughters Sasha and Malia would rather pass on touching "Cheese," the turkey during a ceremony at the White House in Washington D.C. on Nov. 26, 2014. Jacquelyn Martin—AP

Birds who’ve grown accustomed to a particular lifestyle require special attention—especially when they’re about to meet the President

On the third floor of the Willard InterContinental Hotel in downtown Washington, a stone’s throw from the home of President Obama, four people (the author included) armed with a giant roll of clear tape, wrapped brown paper, and three large bags of pine shavings faced an important task.

In a couple of hours (the time fluctuated thanks to Monday afternoon traffic) two 50-pound turkeys would need to call the foyer of room 326 their home. There was much work to be done.

Why would two birds be spending the night in a hotel that typically houses dignitaries (many of whom, I’m sure, eat poultry) on the same floor that houses the Martin Luther King Jr. Suite? The answer is simple: these are no ordinary birds.

For the past four months, Cole and Gary Cooper of Cooper Farms in western Ohio have been raising a pair of turkeys that will on Thursday have the pleasure of avoiding the dinner table. As the chairman of the National Turkey Federation, Cooper got the privilege of being home of the turkey —and the back-up turkey— that will get pardoned by the President in the annual Turkey pardoning ceremony.

Gary Cooper told TIME before heading to the District that having the opportunity to raise the presidential turkey is the “pinnacle of the turkey industry” which raised over 240 million turkeys last year—46 million of which were eaten at Thanksgiving.

“It’s a real honor to be able to chosen to do this,” said Gary, whose farm has been in his family for generations. “The whole thing is just a very positive experience for not just my family, but the whole industry and the nation.”

The two-decade old tradition of having the sitting President goofily wave his hands over a nonchalant bird after a brief speech on Thanksgiving morning is often mocked and, at times, compared to the pardoning of actual (human) prisoners. Last Week Tonight host John Oliver recently questioned why we bother pardoning turkeys at all given they’re all “guilty of being delicious.” Yet, it’s one of those harmless traditions likely to stick around.

Life on the farm has been pretty luxurious for the two male, broad-breasted white birds who have been chosen, which were named Mac and Cheese on Wednesday. Cole, 29, built a custom red barn for the flock of potential presidential turkeys he raised near his home. Their dwellings have been kept at a cool 75 degrees for their comfort and they’ve been free to roam in and out of the barn at their will, as long as Cole has been around to make sure the birds don’t become dinner for local predators. They’ve also become pretty fond of Kenny Chesney (in their opinion, Cole says, Life on a Rock is his best work). But between their cozy barn in Ohio and their future home at Morven Park in Virginia, the birds will be a little more restricted.

In recent years, Leslee Oden and Damon Wells of the National Turkey Federation have been preparing hotel rooms for turkeys and they’ve picked up some handy tricks along the way. For instance, two six-foot folding tables can easily be fashioned into a blockade for a bird. Brown paper is a sturdy barrier between a precocious turkey’s peck and the hotels baseboards. And the foyer of the deluxe room with two queen beds at the four-star hotel (currently $229 per night) is the ideal space for the birds.

We roll out the massive strips of tape on the ornate carpet as I toss out questions about life for the birds B.O. (before meeting Obama) and what life will be like after. I ask if we’re cutting the brown paper the “hotdog way” as a nod to my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Snyder. And we discuss the varying breeds of turkeys the Coopers raised in the lead up to Thursday’s ceremony, including Spanish black, blue slate, and bronze turkeys.. In a conversation with TIME, Cole said the two “chosen” birds essentially picked themselves.

“I was actually in the barn on Wednesday, just like any other night to see how they’re interacting with each other,” Cole said last Friday. “And these two birds just walk up to me and started strutting. It was like they said, ‘hey, we’re ready to go.’”

Much like their digs at Cooper Farms, the tape-lined carpet of the Willard is covered with pine-shavings and outfitted with a feeder strategically placed on top of a mini garbage can. Aside from providing familiar flooring, the pine shavings also make the looming task of scooping up their, um, waste easy.

It took a little over an hour to prepare the room for the birds, who still hadn’t arrived when I left, but got more than enough of their share of the spotlight during a media event on Tuesday.

TIME

Facts and Ferguson

An undated evidence photograph made available by the St. Louis County prosecutors office on Nov. 25, 2014 shows Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson's vehicle at the scene of the confrontation.
Officer Darren Wilson's vehicle is shown at the scene of the confrontation in this undated evidence photograph made available by the St. Louis County prosecutors office St. Louis County

There will be two conversations about this shooting and its investigation. One will be public. The other will be private

It has come down to this in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown: none of the evidence produced a clear enough picture of inappropriate behavior by Officer Darren Wilson. Indeed, the preponderance of forensic and eyewitness testimony suggests that Wilson was acting in self-defense against a violent perpetrator. But the eyewitness testimony is muddled, even among the local residents who supported Wilson’s version of the story. It is amazing how fast violence happens, how hard it is to remember events accurately. And so the grand jury couldn’t say–wasn’t asked to say–what actually happened on August 9 in Ferguson.

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It is probable that a public jury trial would have a tough time establishing Wilson’s guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. The question is, do Michael Brown’s parents–and the rest of us–deserve to have the facts laid out, the case against Wilson argued in a court of law? Undoubtedly, there will be such a case–a federal case or a civil case, brought by the parents. But a grand jury indictment, even on a lesser charge like manslaughter, would have lent appropriate seriousness to a contested, foggy situation. It would have indicated, at the very least, that the evidence wasn’t dispositive and the situation required further public attention.

Several things are absolutely clear, though. The authorities in Missouri, from Ferguson to St. Louis County to the governor’s office, have bungled this case from the start. That Michael Brown’s body was allowed to lie in the street for four hours is inexcusable. That crucial evidence–Wilson’s gun–was not dusted for prints is mystifying and incompetent. And then there was the Monday spectacle of a verdict reached, but not announced until after dark. Sheer idiocy.

But there can no longer be a question that the initial accounts of the case were fraudulent. Michael Brown was not a gentle giant. He was not shot in the back. There was a scuffle of some sort between Brown and Wilson, perhaps with Brown trying to gain control of the police officer’s gun. There was, apparently, at least one shot fired at close range. Brown ran away, then turned and charged the officer.

Again, as I wrote a few weeks ago, Wilson’s actions may have been justifiable under the law in Missouri, but he is not entirely exonerated: the death would have been preventable if he had been better trained. Still, you can’t indict Wilson for not abiding by training he didn’t receive. And you can’t elide the facts of the case. Wilson clearly panicked. He thought his life was in danger. He killed a young man. He should have to defend these actions publicly, under the fierce pressure of cross-examination.

There will now be still more calls for a discussion about race in America. But that conversation can not simply be about white guilt or prejudice. The latter certainly does exist; it exists overwhelmingly, disgracefully. But the assumptions that lead police, and bodega owners, to racial profiling are real–and those must be discussed, too. Liberals have avoided this conversation for 50 years, since crime rates exploded in the 1960s. And by doing so, they have done a real disservice to the disproportionate number of crime victims who are African-Americans, urban and poor. Poverty is no excuse for criminality. People who commit crimes are perpetrators, not victims. Indeed, blaming poverty for criminality is an insult to the vast majority of poor blacks who play by the rules–graduate from high school or college, find a job, are responsible parents–and have improved their lives as a result. As the President said, you can’t gainsay the fact that there has been enormous progress over the past 40 years…with more to come, as a new generation of polychromatic, unprejudiced young people take charge.

Back in the 1980s, my wife and I lived in a mostly-black neighborhood in New York. Our neighbors were placed in an impossible position: they were infuriated that many of the police who patrolled (or, more often, failed to patrol) our streets treated them as if they were criminals, but they also were terrified of, and infuriated by, the criminals who made it a life-threatening challenge to go down to the corner for a quart of milk. We had some real conversations in those days–about crime, about the double-edged sword of affirmative action, about the hilariously stupid racial assumptions they encountered in the city. Some of our neighbors were public employees; others weren’t and were pissed off about the level of service they were receiving. There were intense conversations about whether it was “racist” to fire incompetents on the public payroll. I miss those conversations. They required a certain amount of candor and subtlety. They would have been impossible for ideologues, because the reality on our block defied any ideology. And they probably would have been impossible in public, since it was very hard for our neighbors to criticize young black men who had grown up in anger-infusing chaos.

It is sad, but inevitable, that there will be two conversations about Ferguson. One will be public, one will be private. The public conversation will be dominated by rant, oversimplification and guilt-mongering. The private conversation will be unspeakable in segments of the white, Asian and Latino communities. If my experience in the 1980s is any guide, the conversations in the black community will be more reasonable, marked by anger, pain, embarrassment and the difficulties of dealing with kids like Michael Brown. It’s a national tragedy that we can’t seem to have that conversation in public, that political correctness stands directly athwart honesty in this republic of free speech.

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TIME Health Care

Over 450,000 Have Signed Up for Health Insurance

Health Overhaul Version 2
This image shows the website for updated HealthCare,gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. The Obama administration has unveiled an updated version of HealthCare.gov. It’s got some improvements and some challenges. There’s also at least one early mistake. (AP Photo) Associated Press

Compared to 125 last year this time

Over 450,000 people signed up for health insurance via the healthcare.gov website during the first week of open enrollment, the Obama administration said Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services says 462, 125 people signed up for insurance between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21. Nearly half of those enrollees were new customers, Vox reports.

Last year during the first month of the rocky rollout of Obama’s signature health care law, only about 106,000 people signed up for insurance.

Enrollment via the Spanish-language version of healthcare.gov, however, lags. The site has had about 95,000 users since the second enrollment period began.

The release of figures after the first week is a part of an Obama Administration effort to be more transparent about how many people are signing up for insurance via the health care marketplace.

[Vox]

TIME Supreme Court

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Heart Surgery

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench, is photographed in the West conference room at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 30, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images) The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

After experiencing discomfort, the 81-year-old justice was taken to the hospital where a blockage was discovered

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent heart surgery on Wednesday. The 81-year-old justice is said to be “resting comfortably” and will likely be released within the next 48 hours, according to a Supreme Court release.

Ginsburg had a stent — a small mesh tube that supports narrow or weak arteries — implanted in her right coronary artery. She reportedly felt discomfort during exercise on Tuesday and was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center where a blockage was discovered.

This is the latest health issue for Ginsburg, who was treated for cancer in 1999 and 2009. The justice has been called on to retire by many on the left who want her to give up her seat so President Obama can appoint a left-leaning successor, though with the Senate soon in Republican hands many think it’s likely too late.

At any rate, Ginsburg isn’t planning on going anywhere soon. In an interview with Elle in September, Ginsburg quashed rumors that she had plans to step down.

“As long as I can do the job full steam…. I think I’ll recognize when the time comes that I can’t any longer. But now I can,” Ginsburg said.

TIME politics

Watch John Boehner Tell You How To Cook Your Turkey

House Speaker reveals the secret to the perfect turkey brine, and it actually sounds pretty good

Nothing could be a more soothing—and more bizarre—than listening to Speaker of the House John Boehner explain in his resonant bass voice how he cooks his turkey for Thanksgiving.

The most powerful Republican in Congress revealed “The Boehner Brine,” the perfect Thanksgiving turkey in a video released Tuesday.

Like a besuited Martha Stewart, Boehner tells the camera with a roguish cock of the head, “Now, I only cook my bird to about 160, max.” He adds, “And then I take it out and I put foil over it and let it sit for at least an hour,” punctuating his culinary strategy with a subtle finger point like a scat singer acknowledging a fan on the Las Vegas strip.

The video also includes footage of Boehner in what is presumably his kitchen, wearing a flattering green apron over a crisp shirt far too white for messy cooking. But what’s the real secret to the turkey brine? “Sixteen ounces of pure maple syrup,” Boehner says.

TIME

Morning Must Reads: November 26

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Ferguson Protests Across the U.S.

Anger over a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown to death, continued to reverberate around the country on Tuesday, with protests and demonstrations from coast to coast

Thanksgiving Travel Tips

There are going to be some 41 million people in motion before and after Thanksgiving. Here’s how to navigate the chaos

 

Bill Cosby’s Nephew Speaks Out

Braxton Cosby, head of Cosby Media Productions, said his 77-year-old uncle “is innocent” in light of the “unjustified claims” of sex assault by multiple women

 

The One Battle Michael Brown’s Family Will Win

Body-worn cameras are poised to become standard for police around the U.S. after the tragedy in Ferguson, Mo. Circumstances surrounding the death of teenager Michael Brown, shot by police officer Darren Wilson, remain muddled due to the lack of visual evidence

S.F. Passes First-Ever Retail Worker ‘Bill of Rights’

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved new protections for the city’s retail workers aimed at giving staffers more predictable schedules and access to extra hours ahead of their hectic Thanksgiving and Black Friday shifts

 

Thanksgiving Travel Chaos Amid Winter Storms

More than 200 commercial flights had been canceled by late Tuesday night ahead of the busiest travel day of the year for Americans, as weather forecasters predict that snowstorms and rain are likely to pound the northeast throughout Wednesday and Thursday

 

ISIS Got Up to $45 Million in Ransoms, U.N. Says

A U.N. expert told a meeting of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee that an estimated $120 million in ransoms were paid to terrorist groups between 2004 and 2012. She called kidnapping “the core al-Qaeda tactic for generating revenue”

 

Ebola Isolation Is ‘Vacation’ for U.S. Service Members

Ebola quarantine for health care workers has been likened to prison, but isolation for military personnel appears much more relaxed. American service members returning from missions in West Africa are required to undergo 21-day quarantines

 

HBO Lands Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain Documentary

Two years after airing Brett Morgen’s Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, HBO has signed up to air his long-simmering documentary on Kurt Cobain. The film will debut on HBO, and Universal will release the film internationally in 2015

 

Hong Kong Police Clear Protest Site

Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong, who featured last month on the cover of TIME’s international edition, was arrested Wednesday along with several more pro-democracy activists, after police continued their crackdown on the Mong Kok protest site

 

The First 3-D Printer in Space Prints Its First Object

The object, a replacement faceplate for the printer’s casing that holds its internal wiring in place, is one of about 20 objects that will be printed aboard International Space Station over the coming weeks and then sent down to Earth for analysis

Johnny Depp Doesn’t Care Anymore

Johnny Depp doesn’t care anymore — not about what you think, nor what his critics think, nor even about what he himself thinks. But contrary to what it sounds like, the Hollywood superstar says letting go of expectations allows him to be more free and versatile

TIME United Kingdom

Save the Children Staff Call Tony Blair’s Award ‘Morally Reprehensible’

Former British prime minister Tony Blair attends the 2nd annual Save The Children Illumination Gala at the Plaza in New York, Nov. 19, 2014.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair attends the 2nd annual Save The Children Illumination Gala at the Plaza in New York, Nov. 19, 2014. Erik Pendzich—Demotix/Corbis

The charity faces major backlash for its decision to give an award to former British prime minister

A week after the U.S. branch of Save the Children (STC) presented Tony Blair with a “global legacy award” in New York, almost 200 staff at the charity have signed an internal letter saying the award is “inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children’s founding principles and values.”

The letter says that U.K. management were not consulted about the award and want it to be withdrawn since it was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally.”

The American arm of STC presented Blair with the award at a gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York on Nov. 19 for his “leadership on international development”, citing his debt relief work and the Make Poverty History campaign.

A separate online petition calling for STC to revoke the award says Blair’s “legacy in Iraq overshadows his achievements in Africa”, adding that many see him “as the cause of the deaths of countless children in the Middle East.” The petition had gathered more than 97,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.

[Guardian]

TIME

Arkansas, Mississippi Gay Marriage Bans Overturned

Both states had voter-approved constitutional amendments pass in 2004

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Arkansas and Mississippi became the latest two states Tuesday to have their gay marriage bans overturned by federal judges, but there are no rushes to the altar as both orders are on hold so the states can consider appeals.

Like several states, Arkansas and Mississippi had voter-approved constitutional amendments pass in 2004 that defined marriage between one man and one woman.

In Arkansas, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who had challenged the amendment. They argued the ban violated the U.S. Constitution and discriminated based on sexual orientation.

“The fact that Amendment 83 was adopted by referendum does not immunize it from federal constitutional scrutiny,” Baker wrote in her ruling.

Besides the amendment, Mississippi has a 1997 law that bans same-sex marriage.

But U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote in his ruling, “The Fourteenth Amendment operates to remove the blinders of inequality from our eyes. Though we cherish our traditional values, they must give way to constitutional wisdom. Mississippi’s traditional beliefs about gay and lesbian citizens led it to defy that wisdom by taking away fundamental rights owed to every citizen. It is time to restore those rights.

“Today’s decision may cause uneasiness and concern about the change it will bring,” he wrote. “But “‘(t)hings change, people change, times change, and Mississippi changes, too.’ The man who said these words, Ross R. Barnett, Jr., knew firsthand their truth.”

Barnett Jr. is an attorney and son of segregationist Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett, who was in office from 1960 to 1964.

The ruling was similar in Arkansas.

The state’s marriage laws and the amendment violate the U.S. Constitution by “precluding same-sex couples from exercising their fundamental right to marry in Arkansas, by not recognizing valid same-sex marriages from other states, and by discriminating on the basis of gender,” Baker wrote.

Baker put the ruling on hold, anticipating an appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis.

A spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said McDaniel was reviewing the ruling and would decide after the Thanksgiving holiday whether to appeal in consultation with Republican Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge in Arkansas.

Mississippi officials had already said they planned to appeal any ruling that overturned the law.

Judges across the country have ruled against bans similar to Arkansas’ since the U.S. Supreme Court struck part of a federal anti-gay marriage law in June 2013, and gay marriage is legal in more than half of the U.S.

Jack Wagoner, a lawyer for the Arkansas couples who had told the judge last week that same-sex marriage would eventually be legal nationwide, said he was pleased with her decision.

“She’s on the right side of history,” Wagoner said. “It’s pretty clear where history’s heading on this issue.”

Another lawyer, Cheryl Maples, said eyes would turn now to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which heard arguments last week in a similar but separate case.

“If the state Supreme Court strikes down on state constitutional issues, then it’s gone as far as it can go,” Maples said.

Justices are weighing whether to uphold a decision in May striking down the 2004 amendment and earlier state law as unconstitutional. The decision led to 541 same sex couples getting married in the week before the state Supreme Court suspended his ruling.

Justices have not indicated when they will rule in that case.

Lawyers in McDaniel’s office had argued in federal court that same-sex marriage was not a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. McDaniel has said he personally supports allowing gay couples to marry but will stay in court defending the ban, which voters approved by a 3-1 margin.

One of Mississippi’s plaintiff couples, Jocelyn “Joce” (JOH’-see) Pritchett and Carla Webb, live in Mississippi and married in Maine in 2013. Pritchett said Tuesday that she, Webb and their two young children were dancing around their living room after hearing about Reeves’ ruling.

“If gay marriage can be legal in Mississippi, the whole country can feel hope,” Pritchett said.

 

TIME White House

President Obama Says There Is ‘No Excuse’ for Ferguson Violence

US President Barack Obama speaks on ferguson and immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on Nov. 25, 2014 in Chicago.
US President Barack Obama speaks on ferguson and immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on Nov. 25, 2014 in Chicago. Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images

Riots, looting and violent protests roiled the area Monday evening

President Barack Obama condemned the violence in Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday, after a night of protests in the area turned violent following the announcement that a grand jury chose not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death.

Speaking in Chicago before a scheduled speech on immigration reform, the President acknowledged that many Americans are upset by the decision but appealed for calm.

“Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk, that’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it,” Obama said. “Those are criminal acts. People should be prosecuted if they commit criminal acts.”

He continued, “nothing of significance, nothing of benefit results from destructive acts.”

Obama also said he is deploying Attorney General Eric Holder to lead regional discussions to address the roots of the crisis in Ferguson: Distrust between law enforcement officials and the local community. He called on those dissatisfied by the grand jury’s decision not to take the easy route of violence, but rather to come together to improve their communities.

“To those that think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for them,” he added. “I have no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities.”

Obama was briefed by Holder on Monday evening’s violence in Ferguson, and members of his administration have been working to diffuse tensions. White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One that the President’s senior advisor Valerie Jarett spoke with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday night and Tuesday morning to receive updates from the ground. Broderick Johnson, the White House cabinet secretary, convened a call with the Missouri delegation Monday evening.

Also on Monday, White House staffers held a call with mayors across the country, while Jarrett and Holder spoke with civil rights leaders. Schultz added that Obama would consider visiting the city once “things calm down a little bit.”

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TIME Congress

How Will Congress React to Ferguson Decision?

Rand Paul TIME 100
Win McNamee—Getty Images

Capitol Hill's response to the Darren Wilson decision may be limited to empathy

As the fires of unrest smolder in Ferguson, Mo., some members of Congress expressed their solidarity with the protesters of the Michael Brown grand jury verdict sparring police officer Darren Wilson from charges connected to the August 9 shooting.

“I know this [is] hard,” tweeted Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the civil rights hero, on Monday. “I know this is difficult. Do not succumb to the temptations of violence. There is a more powerful way.”

“Only love can overcome hate,” he added. “Only nonviolence can overcome violence.”

But the official response from Capitol Hill may not amount to much more than empathy, as the Republican leaders who control both chambers of Congress next year appear unlikely to support efforts reigning in police departments from obtaining Pentagon gear like mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles. Such bills aren’t focused on reducing incidents like the Brown shooting but the danger in the aftermath, in which protesters are confronted by a threatened police force with military-grade weapons and technology.

After the Brown shooting, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri led hearings diving into the lack of police training with such weapons and if police departments should have to purchase body cameras before obtaining military equipment. In September, McCaskill announced some of the results of her investigation, finding that over a third of the supposedly “excess” military equipment provided to police departments was barely used, if at all. She also found police departments armed for Iraq-level warfare, with 49 of 50 states having more MRAP vehicles than their state’s National Guard. McCaskill recently told BuzzFeed that she would continue her efforts to investigate how the police are trained, but stopped short of calling to bar the departments from receiving military equipment in the first place.

“We learned we have no oversight and the people that are doing these programs aren’t even talking to one another and there hasn’t been any rhyme or reason to who’s received this equipment, whether or not they’ve been trained, and how they are utilizing it,” she told BuzzFeed. “So we’re now looking more at an oversight function of those issues. I’ve visited with other senators who are interested, including some of my Republican colleagues, and we’re going to try and sit down between now and the first of the year and see if we can come up with some guidelines.”

Her Democratic colleagues in the House appear to be pretty glum about the prospects for reforming how the police obtain Pentagon equipment.

A spokesman for Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, who plans on reintroducing his bill to limit police militarization next session, sees the effort as “really an education campaign” due to opposition from Republican leadership, according to the Huffington Post. But Democrats are also divided if there should be an outright ban on transfer of this equipment or if there should simply be more stringent requirements and training for officers who will use it.

Some libertarian-minded Republicans have also joined the call to demilitarize the police, including Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who wrote in a TIME op-ed less than a week after the Brown shooting that “there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.” On Tuesday, Paul’s office confirmed that he will introduce his own bill addressing police militarization next year. He’s working with retiring Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on the legislation and will talk to other senators “over the coming months” to garner support, according to an aide.

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