TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: October 21

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

Behind the Fear Outbreak

The almost-zero probability of acquiring Ebola in the U.S. often doesn’t register at a time of mass fear, and the country is in the midst of a national panic attack that has seen schools emptied, businesses temporarily shuttered and travelers from West Africa shunned

Oscar Pistorius Gets 5 Years

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for the February 2013 killing of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Apple Bears Fruit in Fourth Quarter

The tech giant reported a 12.7% bump in fourth-quarter profit, beating analyst expectations, with strong sales of iPhones and Mac computers

Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at Age 82

The world-renowned fashion designer passed away on Monday at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer, with which he was diagnosed in 2006. De la Renta shot to fame in the 1960s after he dressed First Lady Jackie Kennedy

Turkey Says It Helps Kurdish Fighters Enter Syria

Turkey claimed to help Iraqi Kurdish fighters cross into Syria to support others battling ISIS in the border town of Kobani, but activists said no forces had arrived by Monday evening, raising questions about whether the mission was really underway

2014 Could Be the Hottest Year on Record

The earth could be heading for its warmest year since measurements began, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Monday. Last month was the warmest September in 135 years of record keeping

Toyota Announces U.S. Recall Over Faulty Passenger-Side Airbags

Toyota is warning hundreds of thousands of Americans who own its cars not to use the passenger seat until faulty airbags are repaired. On Monday, the automaker announced a fresh recall of 247,000 vehicles produced from 2001 to 2004

Banksy Parodies Girl With a Pearl Earring in New Mural

The famous and elusive street artist has parodied Johannes Vermeer’s famous Girl With a Pearl Earring in a new mural in the English city of Bristol. Banksy posted a picture of the work, reportedly titled Girl With a Pierced Eardrum, to his website

Amazon and Simon & Schuster Reach Deal Over E-Books

Amazon and Simon & Schuster have reached a multiyear agreement over the sale of print and digital books following the online retail giant’s falling out with the Hachette Book Group. The publisher will set its own prices for e-books, while Amazon will promote titles

Toys “R” Us ‘Breaks Bad’ With New Crystal Meth Toys

Parents aren’t happy that the toy retailer is selling drug dealer dolls, complete with bags of crystal meth and sacks of cash, a la Walter White in Breaking Bad. A petition for the chain to pull the dolls had attracted nearly 6,000 signatures by early Tuesday

Hong Kong’s Minorities Join Democracy Protests

Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers have flooded the streets since the end of September, demanding free elections in the Special Administrative Region of China. Among the crowds are many ethnic minorities, who insist that they, too, belong to the Umbrella Revolution

Guardians of the Galaxy Tunes to Get Cassette Release

The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is getting a rerelease on cassette on Nov. 17, giving film fans their own version of the 1970s mixtape that the film’s star, played by Chris Pratt, is never without. The Marvel film’s soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 over the summer

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TIME 2014 Election

Ebola Travel Ban Wins Support From Another Embattled Democratic Candidate

Jeanne Shaheen,Scott Brown
United States Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), right, listens as her Republican rival, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown speaks during their debate , Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 in Conway, N.H. Jim Cole—AP

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is the latest Democrat to open up to an Ebola travel ban

Over the past several days, New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown has not let up hammering his Democratic opponent about Ebola.

On Thursday, he called on President Barack Obama to institute a travel ban from West Africa. On Friday, he said Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, is “rubber-stamping the President’s policy,” by opposing his position. He also told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade that if 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had won, Ebola wouldn’t be a problem. The next day he wrote a letter urging Shaheen to accept a travel ban, saying that the position goes “beyond partisan politics.”

By Monday, Shaheen could take no more. “Senator Shaheen has contacted New Hampshire officials about local preparedness,” her spokesman Harrell Kirstein said Monday afternoon, just days after Shaheen said a travel ban did not make sense. “She strongly supports any and all effective measures to keep Americans safe including travel bans if they would work.”

Brown and other Republicans in tightly contested Senate races have put Democrats on their heels by following public polls that show a majority of the country wants to combat Ebola with a travel ban, even though health experts warn that such a move would make the crises in West Africa worse and ultimately increase the likelihood that the virus travels again to the United States.

Shaheen joins an ever-growing cohort of vulnerable Democrats running for Senate that have moved on the issue. Over the past week, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, and Georgia candidate Michelle Nunn, have announced they are in favor of some type of travel ban. On Friday, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan even flip-flopped in favor of a ban, saying she supported it just days after saying it would not help.

Other Senate Democratic candidates may still shift under Republican and public pressure. On Tuesday, a Washington Post-ABC poll found that two-thirds of respondents support restricting entry to the United States for people who’ve been in the West African affected countries. The next Senate Democratic candidate to support a travel ban could very well be Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who has advocated to expand airport screenings, but has faced pressure to commit to a ban from her opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

Dr. Pearson Cross, an associate political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, says that Landrieu could face a “high,” short-term political cost otherwise. “If Landrieu doesn’t support a travel ban it may be spun that she is insufficiently concerned with protecting America and Louisiana’s health and interests in the name of political correctness,” says Cross. “That could be used in a campaign ad and on the trail where people are quite concerned about this fast-moving and often misunderstood issue.”

On Friday, Cook Political Report, the nonpartisan election handicapper, threw the race from leaning Shaheen to a “toss-up,” citing the unfavorable Democratic environment, voters finally tuning in with two weeks left in the race and Brown’s campaign abilities. “There’s been a lot of public attention to the threat of Ebola, so it’s definitely playing here,” says Dr. Dante Scala, an associate political science professor at the University of New Hampshire. “I’m sure there’s a lot more concern about that among voters than there is about the Senate race itself. I think it transcends politics in that way.”

With the political winds growing so strongly, even the White House has, at times, encouraged Democratic candidates to criticize the administration over Ebola. Last week, Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for Senate against Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst and said he would consider the travel ban, admonished the Administration for not acting fast enough. Asked about the comments, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Braley was “somebody that has a reputation for being willing to speak truth to power, whether they’re in the same party as him or not.”

“I think this is another indication that he’s willing to do that,” Earnest added.

TIME 2014 Election

Pelosi and Hillary Join Forces to Rally Democratic Women

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Doris Matsui, Nancy Pelosi
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gathers with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, left, and other Bay area congresswomen after speaking at a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidates hosted by Pelosi at the Fairmont Hotel Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in San Francisco. Eric Risberg—AP

The event brought together Clinton and Obama supporters from 2008

Three generations of Birmingham family women turned out on Monday to see House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rally for female Democratic candidates.

“It was fabulous, a wonderful event,” gushes Alanna Birmingham, 17, clutching one of the lunch’s floral centerpieces, a keepsake for her to take home. “You could just feel the energy in the room, all this beautiful female energy.” Birmingham was there with her mother and grandmother in a show of political unity the family hasn’t always enjoyed, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton—and they weren’t the only ones.

Billed as “The Ultimate Women’s Power Luncheon,” the event raised $1.4 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from the 820 mostly women in attendance bringing the DCCC’s money lead of its GOP counterpart to a whopping $38 million with just two weeks to go before the election. The event also featured a set by singer Carole King (including a rendition of “Sweet Seasons” where she changed the lyrics to “Some times you win; sometimes you win” instead of lose).

But the 2014 midterms, where Dems are expected to lose seats in both chambers and possibly control of the Senate, were not the elections on most women’s lips at the lunch. Cynthia Birmingham, Alanna’s mother, was there to show early support for Clinton’s anticipated 2016 presidential bid, in part to make up for not supporting her primary candidacy in 2008. “I’m so excited to support Hillary in 2016,” she says.

Birmingham wasn’t the only one. California Reps. Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, George Miller and Barbara Lee—all close allies of Pelosi—were all in enthusiastic attendance on Monday and all endorsed Obama during the primaries in 2008. Indeed, many saw then Speaker Pelosi’s call in 2008 on super delegates to respect the will of the voters in their home states, rather than endorsing the candidate of their choice, as one of the nails in the coffin of Clinton’s candidacy. Though Pelosi very carefully never endorsed either candidate in 2008.

The event was a healing one for the Birminghams as well. Ann Birmingham, Alanna’s grandmother and Cynthia’s mother-in-law, was also in approving attendance, happy to see her women kin supporting the candidate she’s long adored. “I loved and supported Hillary back in 2008 and I will love and support her in 2016,” Ann says. “I was terribly disappointed when she lost.”

But all that was forgotten on Monday with Clinton and Pelosi hugging and kissing onstage and united in their common cause to not only elect more women to Congress, where women make up less than 20%, but to start a women’s empowerment movement in politics. “When women succeed, America succeeds,” both women—and the crowd—chanted over and over throughout the program.

“For too many women, for too many families they don’t just face ceilings for their dreams,” Clinton said, referring to the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, or the 18 million Americans who voted to make her the first female Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, she famously referenced in her concession speech, “they feel floor has collapsed beneath their feet.”

Clinton lavished praise on Pelosi’s ground-breaking leadership as the first female speaker, a post she held from 2006 until Democrats lost the House in 2010. And Pelosi started her speech saying she hoped she would soon be surpassed. “I’m frequently introduced as the highest ranking woman in U.S. office; I’d like to give up that title. And soon,” she told a roaring crowd. “If Hillary Clinton, mother and grandmother, decides to run for president she will win… and she will be one of the best prepared leaders, one of the top presidents in the Oval Office. That she happens to be a woman is a bonus and a wonderful, wonderful thing. But she happens to also be a leader of visions and values.”

Indeed, Cynthia Birmingham says she’s supporting Clinton this time around because she’s an experienced, proven leader at a time when the country most needs that experience. “No one else in the field even comes close,” she says, “Hillary just blows them all away. It’s not so much that she’s a woman, but that she’s the best person for the job.”

TIME 2014 Election

GOP Wields Romney Fundraising List in Senate Battle

A potent tool for raising cash

If Republicans retake the Senate next month, they’ll have done it with a lot of help from Mitt Romney.

The former GOP presidential nominee’s digital operation may have been a generation behind President Barack Obama’s effort, but his email list has proven to be a potent fundraising too for the party as it looks for victory this fall. “It’s easily our most successful digital fundraising source,” said Matt Lira. executive director of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm. “As far as our fundraising is concerned, there’s the Romney list and there’s everything else.”

In the past week, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has emailed the list no fewer than 16 times, many times with emails addressed from Romney himself, while the National Republican Congressional Committee, House Republican’s campaign arm, has used it at least once.

Maintained in a nondescript office overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria by his former digital consulting firm Targeted Victory, the list is one of the Republican Party’s most valuable assets, containing millions of email addresses and records of more than 1.5 million digital donors to that campaign. “This is the largest donor base in the history of politics on the right,” said Zac Moffatt, a co-founder of the firm and the former Romney campaign’s digital director.

Moffatt’s firm maintains day-to-day control of the list and takes a cut of the fundraising proceeds and list maintenance fees, according to people familiar with the arrangement. The firm, which has been paid millions by the NRSC for its digital fundraising work, transferred more than $100,000 into Romney’s campaign account in June for the rights to use the list.

“Governor Romney is excited that Republican candidates and committees are making use of the Romney for President email list for fundraising and [get-out-the-vote purposes this cycle,” said Romney aide Kelli Harrison. “Hopefully access to this tool will make a difference in races all across the country.”

The value is clear, Lira said. “It’s the largest list of people who are predisposed to donate, predisposed to volunteer, predisposed to vote Republican,” he said. “The Romney donor base is broader, compared to some more ideological lists.” When donors give through the Romney list, it both freshens the underlying list and provides the NRSC with a new contact for its internal lists.

Renters have the option of reaching out to the entire universe of donors, or just segments, like those who purchased merchandise or participated in contests on the Romney campaign, in hopes of generating greater return on investment.

In 2012, the Romney campaign, flush with cash, rented almost every GOP email list available so it could build its own list of contacts and donors, making it the most comprehensive collection of GOP emails, outstripping even the Republican National Committee according to industry sources.

“Email is king to online fundraising,” said Vincent Harris, whose firm Harris Media works for clients like Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell. He added the Targeted Victory arrangement “brings about a big point that candidates don’t think of: who owns their data?”

Lira declined to say how much the NRSC has raised off the Romney list; the committee has been massively outraised by its Democratic counterpart.

The Romney approach differs from that used by Obama, whose campaign also maintains control of the his small-dollar donor and volunteer lists for the use of Organizing for Action, the nonprofit issue advocacy group he has thrown his name behind. Obama transferred his data and other lists to the Democratic National Committee.

While the Romney list remains fresh, don’t look to it as evidence that the two-time White House hopeful will make a third bid. The list has also been used by potential 2016 candidates like Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Rick Perry.

TIME 2014 Election

Obama White House Finds Ebola and ISIS Crises Silver Lining

US-VOTE-OBAMA
President Barack Obama casts a ballot in early voting for the 2014 midterm elections at the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center October 20, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

An excuse for why he's not campaigning for more Democrats.

President Barack Obama has found a silver lining in months of global crises: an excuse for why he’s not out on the campaign trail for Democrats this fall.

Asked Monday if it was odd two weeks before the midterm elections that Obama was not spending more time on the road for Democrats, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz pointed to all the president’s other commitments, including the twin crises of Ebola and ISIS, which have upended Senate campaigns around the country.

“I don’t think it’s weird given everything that we are trying to manage,” he told reporters in Chicago, where Obama cast an early ballot this morning and held one of just seven pre-Election Day rallies last night. “As I think we’ve said now for some time there’s a lot of significant, complex situations going on both around the world and here at home and I think a lot of those issues have dominated the president’s time. Given that the elections are a few weeks away, obviously that is a priority as well. So I think you’ll see the president as he did yesterday campaign when he can.”

Few Democrats around the country have invited Obama out on the campaign trail, given his toxic appeal in swing states this cycle. Nationwide, Obama’s approval rating, as measured by Gallup, stands at 40%, just above his historic low of 38%. In the second week of October, 41% of the country disapproved of Obama’s performance, compared with the 37% approval rate George W. Bush had at the same point in his presidency.

Last week the White House announced that Obama would appear at only seven rallies in Democratic-leaning states, and would only appear with a single Democratic Senate candidate before Election Day. The Senate appearance will be with Gary Peters, a Democratic candidate in Michigan, who has been leading by double digits in some recent polls. One of the seven rallies, for Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, was postponed last week so Obama could attend meetings at the White House on Ebola. The White House said it would be rescheduled before the election.

Republicans need to pick up six seats to win control of the U.S. Senate next year. Current polling averages suggest the party is slightly favored to win at least that many, with fifteen days to go before polls close.

TIME 2014 Election

Obama Votes Early in Chicago

"I love voting"

President Barack Obama cast his ballot for November’s midterm elections on Monday during Illinois’ early-voting period, during a trip to the state to campaign with Democratic candidates.

Obama’s motorcade arrived at Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center in his hometown of Chicago shortly after 11 a.m. to cast a ballot two weeks before Election Day. “I love voting,” Obama said. “Everybody in Illinois, early vote. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

When a poll worker if he was Barack Obama before handing the President his ballot, Obama replied, “That’s me.”

Obama declined reporters’ requests to say who he voted for, but he was in Illinois to campaign for Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday evening and appear at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee on Monday afternoon.

Immediately after voting, Obama stopped by a Quinn campaign office bearing donuts and pastries to inspect the get-out-the-vote effort for the Democratic governor. “Nothing like campaign fever,” he said.

“Michelle sent these,” Obama said of the treats, joking, “We got broccoli, carrots.”

TIME Internet

Monica Lewinsky Just Joined Twitter

Here she goes

Updated Oct. 20, 10:30 a.m. EST.

Monica Lewinsky joined the flock on Monday morning, and here’s what she had to say:

Vanity Fair, which featured her tell-all story earlier this year, was the first to confirm her new account. It quickly received a Verified checkmark.

Is it just that she’s excited to join Twitter? Or is Monica getting ready to tweet her way through the 2016 election?

TIME 2014 Election

Voters Say Events in U.S. ‘Out of Control’

Poll finds anxiety on a range of issues, from Ebola to health care costs

Call it the Freakout Election.

Two-thirds of likely voters in the most competitive states and congressional districts in the midterm election fight think events in the U.S. are “out of control,” according to a new poll. The survey by Politico found widespread anxiety about the Ebola outbreak, terrorism, health care costs and President Barack Obama’s leadership. Only 36% think the U.S. is “in a good position to meet its economic and national security” challenges.

The poll underscores how both Obama’s low approval ratings and a general sense of disarray are weighing down Democrats just weeks before voters go to the polls to decide which party will control the Senate. A majority of voters, 54%, either strongly disapprove or somewhat disapprove of Obama’s job performance.

Read more at Politico

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: October 20

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

Nigeria Declared Ebola-Free

The World Health Organization declared Nigeria free of Ebola early on Monday, marking a containment victory in an outbreak that has killed more than 4,500 people and stymied other countries’ response efforts

Apple Pay Starts Today

Apple’s new e-wallet feature is set to launch today, and here’s why it might be the company’s most challenging endeavor to date

Manning Breaks TD Record

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw his 509th touchdown pass on Sunday night and broke the record set by Brett Favre

U.S. Airdrops Resupply Kurdish Fighters Battling ISIS

U.S. aircraft delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces in the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani who have been battling fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria for more than a month

Will and Kate Announce Due Date for Royal Baby No. 2

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge confirmed Monday that their second baby is due in April — the first time they’ve offered a month for the royal birth. The couple’s second baby will join older sibling, Prince George, who was born in July 2013

Rioting Keene State Students May Be Expelled

The New Hampshire school will take serious action against students who participated in recent riots at an annual pumpkin festival. College President Anne Huot said authorities were “actively working to identify the individuals who participated in unlawful behavior”

Letterman Cue-Card Holder Canned After Writer Altercation

A former cue-card holder for CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman said he lost his job after grabbing a co-worker by the shirt on Oct. 9. Tony Mendez said the outburst was “coming for a long time” but “I know I shouldn’t have put my hands on him”

Possible Break in University of Virginia Case

Police may have found the body of Hannah Graham, the University of Virginia student who has been missing for several weeks. Charlottesville police announced on Saturday that a body had been discovered at an abandoned property, but an official identification is pending

Supreme Court Okays Texas Voter-ID Law

The Supreme Court decided that Texas can enforce its controversial voter-identification law in November’s midterm elections, despite recently blocking similar laws in other states. The law’s supporters believe it will reduce voter fraud

Serena Williams Blasts Official’s ‘Sexist’ Remarks

Tennis star Serena Williams commended on Sunday the Women’s Tennis Association for disciplining the head of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, for his “sexist as well as racist” remarks on a Russian television program

Leo DiCaprio Teams With Netflix on New Documentary

The actor is teaming up with streaming giant Netflix to serve as executive producer of Virunga, a documentary directed by Orlando von Einsiedel that looks at gorilla preservation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park

‘External Forces’ Aiding Protest, Says Hong Kong Chief

Hong Kong’s embattled leader Leung Chun-ying has accused the city’s pro-democracy Occupy Hong Kong movement of being aided by foreign elements, echoing the Chinese government’s attitude toward the demonstrations that are now entering their fourth week

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TIME Supreme Court

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says She Has Quite a Large Supply of Notorious RBG Shirts

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks with National Constitution Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen, Sept. 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke—AP

"Now my grandchildren love it"

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is intimately familiar with the popular Tumblr created in tribute to her, Notorious R.B.G.

At an event at the 92nd St Y in New York Sunday evening, Ginsburg said she maintains “quite a large supply” of t-shirts bearing her face and the reference to the late rapper Biggie Smalls, known also as The Notorious B.I.G. In an interview with National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg said she gives them out as gifts.

Totenberg: On a somewhat lighter note, I want to ask you about the Notorious RBG t-shirt.[Applause, Cheers]. I gather there are some people he who’ve worn them. I wear mine on the weekends all the time. And people will occasionally—The guy at the drug store said to me last weekend, he said, who is that woman, she looks very familiar, but who is she? I said she’s a supreme court justice. He said, oh good, I’ve learned something today. So how did you find out about the notorious RBG t-shirts.

Ginsburg: I think a law clerk told me about this tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr. I have—and in fact I think I gave you a Notorious RBG—

Totenberg: Two of my three. I bought one.

Ginsburg: I have quite a large supply.

Totenberg: Do you have the one—what’s the one ‘you can’t have truth without Ruth'”

Ginsburg: Without Ruth. [nods]

Ginsburg offered high praise for Tumblr earlier this year in an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric.

“Most of it I think is very funny. There is a rap song, and there is one using the words from the Hobby Lobby dissent. I haven’t seen anything that isn’t either pleasing or funny on the Web site,” she said. “I think she has created a wonderful thing with Notorious R.B.G. I will admit I had to be told by my law clerks, what’s this Notorious, and they explained that to me, but the Web site is something I enjoy, all of my family do.”

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