TIME politics

Senator Says Republican Plan If Obamacare Struck Down Is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Junior United States Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy addresses journalists in Budapest on Jan. 31, 2014.
Attila Kisbenedek—AFP/Getty Images Junior United States Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy addresses journalists in Budapest on Jan. 31, 2014.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Affordable Care Act this summer

A Democratic Senator used a popular Internet symbol on Thursday to describe what he says is the Republican plan should the Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy presented a poster with an enlarged image of the “shruggie”, or ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, during his speech. Murphy said the image was a “pretty good summary of what the Republicans plan is to respond to King v. Burwell.

“The Republicans plan,” Murphy said, “is essentially a shrug of the shoulders.”

The court is expected to issue a ruling this summer. Watch the full clip below.

Read next: 4 Ways the Supreme Court Could Rule on Obamacare


The Strange Story Behind the Fight Over JFK Assassination Relics

John Krueger Paul Bentley's 32nd Degree Masonic Ring

Why a city in Minnesota is holding onto the ring that cut Oswald during his arrest

On Nov. 22, 1963, Dallas police Detective Paul Bentley hit Lee Harvey Oswald in the face while arresting him in Texas Theatre in Dallas, barely more than an hour after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Pictures of Oswald after his arrest show a cut over his eye caused by a Masonic ring Bentley was wearing that day.

That ring is now at the center of a dispute over its rightful owner—a fight that spans two states and has embroiled Bentley’s relatives along with a collector who bought the ring last year.

More: An End to Conspiracy? Rare Photo of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Arrest Suggests Why He’s Guilty

The argument over the ring just came to light in a civil suit filed on behalf of the ring’s current owner, a Minnesota collector named John Krueger, 68, who buys and sells historical items through his website, Military Warehouse. Krueger is suing the city of Cambridge, Minn. to ensure that the ring, and two Smith & Wesson police service revolvers that Detective Bentley was carrying the day he helped arrest Oswald, remain in Minnesota while Texas authorities in Kaufman County investigate where the items rightfully belong.

Two Smith & Wesson police service revolvers Detective Bentley was carrying the day he helped arrest Lee Harvey Oswald
John KruegerTwo Smith & Wesson police service revolvers Detective Bentley was carrying the day he helped arrest Oswald

Krueger himself has not been charged with any crime, and said he has a notarized statement that the items were gifts and that there was “no question of title,” he told TIME. According to Krueger’s affidavit, it all began when he and his wife were on vacation in Texas in February 2014. While in Dallas, Krueger got a call from a woman who had seen an advertisement he’d posted on the Internet expressing interest in buying war relics. She told him her friend Jerry Holder had something he might be interested in: The masonic ring that had belonged to his brother-in-law, Detective Paul Bentley, who died in 2008.

“This intrigued me because I was in high school when Kennedy was assassinated. We all remember that moment much like today’s generation remembers 9/11,” Krueger said. “When I had an opportunity to help preserve some of the history of that time, I jumped at the chance to do that.”

As Krueger tells it in the affidavit, Detective Bentley’s widow, Mozelle Bentley, had given the guns and the ring to Holder, who was her sister’s husband.

After receiving a notarized letter of authenticity, and a picture of Mozelle Bentley signing the letter, Krueger bought the three items and other Oswald-related artifacts for $10,000 in the fall of 2014.

Then, a few months later, in April of 2015, Krueger got a call from Detective Bentley’s grandson, David Ottinger, insisting that the items he’d bought were “fakes.”After Krueger explained that he had proof of their authenticity, Ottinger admitted they were real, but insisted that the notarized letter of authenticity, and the picture of it signed by his grandmother, had been forged. Ottinger then made a vague threat that he had “‘family friends’ who were in law enforcement in Texas” who could help him get the items back, according to the affidavit.

In May, two Cambridge, Minn. police officers, armed with a search warrant, requested that Krueger hand over the items, which he did. Krueger was not charged with stealing the items, but one of the Cambridge detectives told him that the case might appear before a “property judge” in Kaufman County, Texas, and that the officer handling the case intended to “drive to Minnesota to pick up the items.”

The combination of Ottinger’s vague threat, and the odd insistence by the Texas officer that he drive to Minnesota to get the items, made Krueger worry that the items would end up in Texas and never be seen again, even if he could prove he was the rightful owner, according to his attorney, James Magnuson. After surrendering the items to the city of Cambridge, Krueger filed suit to ensure that the city would hold onto them until the investigation in Texas is resolved. “We didn’t request the items be returned to my client. We requested that they be held pending the investigation down in Texas,” Magnuson told TIME. Kruger hopes he’ll eventually be able to keep the items. “I have 10,000 invested, plus a lot of time,” he said.

A message was left at the listed number for Bentley’s widow, Mozelle Bentley. Working numbers could not be found for Ottinger and Holder. The Kaufman County police department could not immediately be reached. Jay Squires, the attorney for the city of Cambridge, did not return a call seeking comment.

TIME politics

Senator Shaheen: We Must Provide Better Contraceptive Access to Women in the Military

Senator Jeanne Shaheen reenacts her swearing in to the 114th U.S. Congress with Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2015.
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Senator Jeanne Shaheen reenacts her swearing in to the 114th U.S. Congress with Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2015.

Jeanne Shaheen is a United States Senator for New Hampshire and a member of the Democratic Party.

Senator Shaheen spoke with TIME via email about the need to provide more support for family planning in the military

TIME: You’ve proposed legislation to increase access to birth control for women in the military. Why is this necessary?

Providing complete and current information on contraception will allow active service members—especially women in uniform—to make more informed family planning decisions. We know from studies on this issue, including interviews with servicewomen, that there are serious shortfalls in the family planning that the military provides. There are more than 350,000 women currently serving on active duty today, and 97% are of reproductive age. The rate of unintended pregnancy for servicewomen is 50% higher than the civilian population. That tells me that these servicewomen aren’t getting the best comprehensive counseling and education on contraception. As the number of women in our armed forces increases, it’s important that we recognize the unique challenges they face and provide the support they need as they defend our nation.

Where does your proposal stand?

Last week, we had a real breakthrough when my bi-partisan contraceptive access and education proposal was added to must-pass legislation that establishes national security policy for our country. A similar proposal was added to the House version of this defense bill. So I’m optimistic that this improvement to family planning for women in uniform will become law. The Senate still needs to pass the defense bill, but that provides another opportunity to consider additional improvements to family planning in the military, like my proposal to broaden access to the types of contraception without a co-pay and my proposal that ensures women have access to emergency contraception in military treatment facilities.

Is there anything else the military could do to help members of the armed forces with family planning?

Absolutely. I want to make sure that all servicewomen, and any women that rely on the Department of Defense for their health insurance, have access to all FDA-approved contraception without having to pay out-of-pocket. No woman should have to worry about how they will afford their contraception, especially military families. This would bring healthcare provided by the military in-line with current law for all civilians.

Up until two years ago, servicewomen shockingly didn’t have coverage for abortions if they were the victims of rape, while most other women who receive insurance through the federal government health insurance programs were covered. While I don’t believe that there should be any exemptions on insurance coverage of abortion, women in the military should have the same coverage as civilian women. To correct this inequity, I introduced legislation that became law in 2013 that righted this wrong that had been on the books for decades. Again, we in Congress need to be vigilant and responsive to the needs of women especially as they become a greater share of our armed forces.

What more can be done to support women in the military?

Sexual assault in the military continues to be a big problem: For the most recent year that we have data, there were an estimated 19,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact and assaults in the military. There has been an increase in overall reports of sexual assault, but there has been a reduction in the number of victims who pursue justice which makes it clear that the current system is failing. I continue to support the efforts of my colleague, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who has been leading efforts to prosecute sexual assault outside the chain of command.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME cybersecurity

Edward Snowden Answered the Question We’ve All Been Wondering

The New Yorker Festival 2014 - Edward Snowden Interviewed by Jane Mayer
Bryan Bedder—Getty Images for The New Yorker General view of atmosphre at Edward Snowden Interviewed by Jane Mayer at the MasterCard stage at SVA Theatre during The New Yorker Festival 2014 on October 11, 2014 in New York City.

He talked about Rand Paul, too

In case you were curious, Edward Snowden still enjoys pizza in Russia.

“Do you miss pizza? Favorite thing about Russia so far? If you could be an insect, which would you be and why?” a Reddit user asked Snowden in a recent AMA, or “Ask Me Anything.” Snowden’s response was short and sweet: “This guy gets it. Russia has Papa John’s. For real.”

But Snowden also took the opportunity to answer questions on more serious subjects. After all, the conversation was centered around Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That’s one section Snowden brought to the public’s attention in 2013 when he leaked information about the NSA’s telephone records collection program.

Snowden took the AMA opportunity to respond to a question about Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster against the Patriot Act. Snowden wrote:

It represents a sea change from a few years ago, when intrusive new surveillance laws were passed without any kind of meaningful opposition or debate. Whatever you think about Rand Paul or his politics, it’s important to remember that when he took the floor to say “No” to any length of reauthorization of the Patriot Act, he was speaking for the majority of Americans — more than 60% of whom want to see this kind of mass surveillance reformed or ended.

Snowden conducted the Reddit conversation along with Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the ACLU.

TIME Management

Ex-Staffer: ‘I’d Rather Go to Iraq than Work for Carly Fiorina’

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks at TechCrunchÕs Disrupt conference on May 5, 2015 in New York City.
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks at TechCrunchÕs Disrupt conference on May 5, 2015 in New York City.

Ex-staffers have harsh words for Republican presidential candidate

Carly Fiorina apparently left a trail of unpaid, unhappy campaign staffers after her unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate bid. According to Reuters, the former HP CEO and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful waited more than four years to give her campaign staff the compensation they were promised.

“Federal campaign filings show that, until a few months before Fiorina announced her presidential bid on May 4, she still owed staffers, consultants, strategists, legal experts and vendors nearly half a million dollars,” Reuters reported.

Twelve ex-Fiorina campaign workers told Reuters that, if given the chance to work Fiorina again, they’d rather not. One anonymous senior staffer reportedly said they’d prefer to be sent to Iraq. Ouch.

To be sure, political campaigns often spend beyond their means and end up not having the funds to pay their staff. In many cases, the candidates themselves wind up footing the bill. In the end, Fiorina’s staffers got their paychecks.

Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was particularly tumultuous and involved significant boardroom tension and a massive, strained merger with hardware giant Compaq.


TIME politics

Congressman Grayson: Our Streets Should Not Be War Zones

Rep. Alan Grayson, speaks during a House Democrats' news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.
Bill Clark—Getty Images Rep. Alan Grayson, speaks during a House Democrats' news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

Alan Grayson is the United States Representative for Florida's 9th congressional district and a member of the Democratic Party.

The concern over militarized police goes all the way back to the founding of our country

I’m very happy about President Barack Obama’s decision Monday to restrict federal agencies from providing military-style equipment to local police departments. The president essentially took the Grayson Amendment that I introduced last year before the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and adopted it by executive order. I think that’s going to help America take a giant step back from the militarization of our neighborhoods.

A lot has changed in the year since my amendment failed to pass. Ferguson has made the difference. The sight of an American town in our heartland being occupied by paramilitary police forces displaying and deploying military weapons was extremely disconcerting to millions of Americans, and the president is one of them. The fact that it was a largely white police force deploying weapons against a largely black neighborhood made it that much worse.

The concern over militarized police goes all the way back to the founding of our country. The Third Amendment in the Bill of Rights prevents the quartering of troops in people’s homes. At the beginning, Americans were concerned about the clear line that has to be maintained between police and military forces, which was reinforced by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

We’ve established a great deal of peace and security in the lives of ordinary Americans. Setting aside the Japanese occupation of two islands in the Aleutians during World War II, we haven’t had a military occupation of this country by foreign forces since more than 200 years ago in the War of 1812. That is an enormous accomplishment, and it’s the foundation of American prosperity and the unique American lifestyle. We live in peace, and therefore we can do great things. Having a military or paramilitary presence in our streets is un-American.

The militarization of local police is a relatively recent phenomenon. The 1033 Program, which transfers military equipment, including tanks, missiles, and weaponized drones, to local police, was minuscule for many years. In 1990, there was only about $1 million in military equipment that was transferred for free to local police authorities. In 2013, the most recent year we have statistics, it was almost $450 million.

This trend sends us even further down into the spiral of violence between the governing and the governed, between law enforcement and the general public. There were 623 Americans killed by police officers in the last year. In the last 10 years in the U.K., the number’s 20.

What the president has done is take a good, solid first step to unwinding that cycle of violence. We have a delicate balance in the United States between public rights and individual rights, and every time that we occupy a neighborhood with military equipment, not only are we attacking those who might misbehave, we’re attacking those who are innocent.

This will make police officers safer as well. Police officers have told me that the friction between police officers and the general public makes their job very difficult. By presenting a friendly face toward innocent members of the public, the police cannot only enlist their help, but they can also feel safer themselves.

While the president’s actions are an important step, the underlying program that the president has throttled back still exists. The Department of Defense still has the legal authority to buy and deliver military equipment to police forces. What one president stops, another one can start.

I’ll be introducing my amendment again, and I’m hoping for a different conclusion this year. We must make sure that our streets are not war zones.

As told to TIME

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

This Politician Just Said What Everyone Is Thinking About Game of Thrones

"OK, I'm done," Claire McCaskill said

Sen. Claire McCaskill is officially done with Game of Thrones.

“Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones,” McCaskill said Tuesday morning on Twitter.
“Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended.

The Missouri Democrat sent out the stream of consciousness tweet Tuesday morning, likely after wrapping up the HBO series’ most recent episode, which featured a brutal wedding-night rape scene that many criticized.

In the episode, Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner, was raped by her brute of a new husband shortly after saying I do. “It was a brutal, uncomfortable scene that almost certainly had viewers pleading with their screens and cursing them after,” TIME’s Eric Dodds wrote.

Turner, for her part, said she “loved” the scene, and George R.R. Martin, who wrote the books that inspired the series, defended what’s come to be called the “black wedding” scene.

Read next: George R.R. Martin Defends ‘Black Wedding’ Scene on Game of Thrones

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME politics

Joe Biden Obviously Wore Aviator Sunglasses During His Entire Yale Graduation Speech

Oh, and he also offered plenty of humor and wisdom

Joe Biden delivered a very Joe Biden commencement address at Yale University’s “Class Day” ceremony Sunday. He began by acknowledging that he’s known for speaking his mind: “I realize no one ever doubts I mean what I say. The problem occasionally is I say all that I mean. I have a bad reputation for being straight, sometimes at inappropriate times.”

He maintained his signature straightforwardness throughout the speech — and also wore his signature aviator sunglasses the whole time. He managed to poke fun at both Yale’s athletic shortcomings and his own political shortcomings, with jokes like, “One touchdown away from beating Harvard this year for the first time since 2006,” he said. “So close to something you wanted for eight years. I can only imagine how you feel. I can only imagine. So close. So close.”

But the VP also offered some valuable advice to the graduates.

“Intellectual horsepower and tolerance alone does not make a generation great unless you can break out of the bubble of your own making, technologically, geographically, racially, socially,” Biden said. “To truly connect with the world around you because it matters. No matter your material success, it matters.”

To watch Biden’s full speech, skip ahead one hour and 10 minutes in the video above.

TIME Opinion

In Defense of Flip-Flopping

President Abraham Lincoln, circa 1855.
Archive Photos/Getty Images President Abraham Lincoln, circa 1855.

What’s so wrong about admitting you were wrong?

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

The matter does not appear to me now as it appears to have appeared to me then.”– Baron Bramwell, Andrews v. Styrop (1872)

The presidential campaign of 2016 has barely begun. The Iowa caucuses are nine months away. Yet the hounds, baying and snapping, have been loosed against the political crime of flip-flopping, charging after any suggestion that a candidate has reconsidered an earlier opinion.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is being pilloried (hard to resist the rhyme) for changing her views on a foreign trade deal, not to mention immigration, and gay marriage, and government support for ethanol.

Then there’s former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, as close to a front-runner as the Republicans have. Could he have flip-flopped? You betcha. How about Indiana’s “religious freedom/anti-gay” law, plus immigration, or even his wavering commitment to the Paleo diet.

What about fellow Floridian Senator Marco Rubio? Surely he’s too fresh-faced and principled to fall into the flip-flop trap? Ah, but he did. That fiendish immigration issue snagged him squarely in the flip-flop.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey? Flip-flopper on the Common Core education program. And immigration. And the War on Drugs.

What about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a straight-shooting Midwesterner, not him too? Immigration again, this time an “Olympics-quality” flip-flop according to a former Walker aide, plus that pesky ethanol issue, and anti-gay discrimination.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. To paraphrase the Bob Dylan lyric, something is happening here, and we do know what it is. Presidential campaigns are devolving into a circular game of “gotcha.” Have you changed your position, rethought an idea? Then you are by presumptively unworthy, unreliable, and downright scummy. To the political guillotine with you!

But don’t we want our leaders to revise their views and understanding of the world based on new information or new ideas? Indeed, don’t we want them to be wise and candid enough to figure out when they’re just plain wrong?

Today’s demands for unyielding political consistency would disqualify a number of former presidents from office. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln supported a constitutional amendment to preserve slavery in those Southern states where it was legal. Eighteen months later he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Flip. Flop. Or maybe it was the sharpening of moral sensibility and strategic sense in the face of a horrible civil war.

Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916 by boasting that he “kept us out of war,” shielding American boys from the slaughter of The Great War. Less than five weeks after he took the oath of office for his second term, Wilson responded to German submarine attacks by asking Congress to declare war.

James Madison so disliked Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of the United States – fearing it as a centralizing force – that he created a formal opposition to the administration of President George Washington. When the bank’s charter expired twenty years later, Madison decided the bank was useful after all and called for its renewal. After Congress created the second Bank of the United States, Madison signed the enacting legislation into law.

Even the great Washington, pillar of American rectitude and integrity, was forced by British military successes to abandon his strategy of confronting the British Army in major battles. He adopted instead a “Fabian” strategy of avoiding pitched fights while harassing the British and draining its soldiers and its citizens of commitment for a foreign war.

We’ve all flip-flopped on something. Between 2003 and 2013, an opinion survey found that support for gay marriage rose from 32 percent to 53 percent. That’s millions and millions of flip-floppers.

Presidents sometimes need to stand up against public opinion and political opposition. Sometimes they need to accommodate both. A candidate who changes position frequently may lack the ability to stand firm. One who rarely changes position may be impervious to reason. What really matters isn’t whether the candidate has changed his or her view, but whether the candidate makes good decisions, whether he or she makes sense. Let’s concentrate on that.

David O. Stewart is the author of “Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America” and other works of history and fiction.

TIME feminism

Austin Held Sexist Training on How to Deal with Women, Outraged Leaders Say

Members of the Austin city council listen to city manager Marc Ott during a news conference at City Hall, on May 13, 2015, in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay—AP Members of the Austin city council listen to city manager Marc Ott during a news conference at City Hall, on May 13, 2015, in Austin, Texas.

"I heard about it last night and was speechless"

Women aren’t interested in math, ask a lot of questions and process ideas differently from men.

That’s what members of the Austin city council staff heard during a recent training session on how to work with female leaders, which the city manager organized in March after Austin elected a majority female city council (seven women out of 10 members) for the first time in the city’s history.

The training, billed as a diversity meeting entitled “The Changing Dynamics of Governance: Women Leading in Government,” sparked widespread outrage in the city’s government and beyond after it was recently reported in the Austin-American Statesman, shocking the female members of the city council, who had not been invited to attend a meeting that was designed for staff. The training was so offensive that the city removed the video of it from its website, saying in a press release: “the training was not consistent with the City’s culture, philosophy, and management approach.”

Fox’s local station in Tampa Bay has a link a snippet of the video, depicting one speaker, Jonathan K. Allen, the city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., who has since been fired, saying: “If you use or attempt to use the same communication or management techniques that you used or attempted to use in a predominantly male-dominated environment, you will be making a serious error in your professional development because they don’t process things the same way.”

Allen also said women ask a lot of questions, citing conversations with his 11-year-old daughter, according to the Austin-American Statesman, which broke the story on Tuesday night. “My daughter taught me the importance of being patient,” he said, and added that women weren’t much interested in financials, paraphrasing female leaders he worked with: “Mr. Manager, I don’t want to hear about the financial argument, I want to hear about how this impacts the whole community.”

“I heard about it last night and was speechless,” Leslie Pool, an Austin city councilwoman, told Fox, adding: “Oh math is hard, right. Well I took Qualitative Analysis in my master’s degree class at the LBJ School a decade or more ago, and I actually did pretty darn well.”

Several female council members addressed the controversy in a press conference held Wednesday.

In a joint response to the controversy over the training session, speakers Jonathan K. Allen and Dr. Miya Burt-Stewart issued a statement published by the Austin-American Statesman: “Any interpretation that we do not support and appreciate the growing number of women executives and elected officials in both the public and private sector is absolutely not true.”

Austin City Manager Marc Ott indicated that the training had been a mistake. “I take responsibility for this,” he told Fox. “The buck stops at the city manager so I take responsibility, it should not have happened, it should have been vetted.”

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