TIME Know Right Now

Marijuana Wins, And So Do Money-Backed Candidates

If you were a gubernatorial candidate with a lot of money for TV ad campaigns, you probably won last night

The big winners of Tuesday’s midterm elections were Republicans — specifically Mitch McConnell, who’s expected to assume the role of Senate Majority Leader.

And change also came for states that voted on recreational marijuana use. Those in Oregon and Alaska voted to legalize pot use, while others took smaller steps towards legalization.

Finally, need a sure-fire way to predict which governors won last night? The amount of money they spent on TV ads.

Watch above for the things you need to know right now about Tuesday’s midterm elections.

TIME 2014 Election

This Tiny Election Could Have a Big Impact on the Oil Industry

A small group of North Dakota voters will shape the future of the state's oil industry

As millions of voters across the country weigh in on issues like abortion and marijuana legalization, a new report documents how a small group of American Indian voters deep in the plains of North Dakota are determining the future of an entirely different issue—the course of the state’s oil industry.

Members of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation are electing a new tribal chairman, and both candidates promise new regulations that will make business tougher for the oil industry there. The tribal chairman exercises considerable influence on the state’s oil industry, which produces more oil than any state except Texas, according to Reuters. MHA controls a third of that production.

The two most pressing issues for the candidates, attorney Damon Williams and tax director Mark Fox, are protecting the environment and ensuring that oil revenue supports members of the tribes. Despite collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in oil tax revenue, the tribe still lacks some basic services. “The oil money is our buffalo,” Williams said. “And one of these days, the buffalo will move on.”

Read the full story from Reuters.

TIME feminism

What We Can Learn From Nellie Tayloe Ross, America’s First Female Governor

Nellie Tayloe Ross
AP Images Nellie Tayloe Ross when elected governor of Wyoming in 1925.

Not much has changed for women in politics since 1924

Before there was Sarah Palin or Ann Richards, there was Nellie Tayloe Ross. Ninety years ago today, on Nov 4, 1924, Ross was elected governor of Wyoming, and became the first woman governor in the United States.

Ross was elected a month after her husband, Governor William B. Ross, died suddenly of appendicitis. Her supporters thought it was fitting that the first state to allow equal voting rights (Wyoming passed women’s suffrage in 1869) would also be the first to have a woman governor, and Ross was committed to continuing her husband’s progressive policies. Plus, she wanted the job. Ross was the first woman governor by only a few days — Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, who had also been a state First Lady, was sworn in as governor of Texas just over two weeks after Ross took office.

Ross was inaugurated on Jan. 5, 1925. Eleven days later, when she appeared before the Legislature to review the progress of her late husband, The New York Times ran the headline, “Mrs. Ross Wears Hat Before Legislature,” and noted that she “defied precedent” by “wearing hat and gloves.” Other contemporary media accounts noted that she had “not lost her womanliness” and remained “ever feminine, never a feminist,” as noted in her Times obituary when she died in 1977. “Really, I dropped accidentally into politics,” she told the Times in 1926, saying she preferred to taking a stroll along the boardwalk to discussing rumors of a 1928 bid for the Vice Presidency (which never materialized).

Ninety years later, women politicians are still struggling with the delicate balance of femininity, ambition and power. Even though we may have a woman president sometime soon, female politicians must still be attractive but not too sexy, ambitious but not too scary. And as much as we may want to think that we’re past caring how female politicians look, the recent kerfuffle over Sen. Tom Harkin comparing Iowa Republican candidate Joni Ernst to Taylor Swift proves not much as changed in the last nine decades. That focus on looks is bad for women who aspire to politics. “When [a woman]’s appearance is commented on publicly during a campaign, it undermines her; it actually hurts her,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said at the Real Simple/TIME Women & Success Panel in October. “And it doesn’t matter if the comment is positive or negative. It undermines her credibility.”

Ross also had to dispel the idea that she would use her power to rid the Wyoming government of men, and create an all-woman government ( a 1925 man’s worst nightmare). Here’s what TIME reported in 1925 that she told the Associated Press when asked about her view of women in politics:

“It is most amusing and amazing to me, for example, to be asked, as I was soon after my election, whether I expected to appoint any men to office? This question, telegraphed to me from the East by a well-known metropolitan newspaper, had every indication of being quite sincere, and was apparently inspired by the fear that the elevation of women to executive office was likely to be followed by the dismissal of all men and the substitution of women in their places.”

If Nellie Tayloe Ross were alive today, she’d certainly have some thoughts about #notallmen.

TIME Opinion

What Would Lincoln Do? Why This Is the Wrong Question

Last photograph of Abraham Lincoln, (1809-1865), April 1865.
Print Collector / Getty Images The last photograph of Abraham Lincoln, taken April 1865. (1809-1865), 16th

Don't bother looking to past leaders for solutions to today's problems

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.

While on a speaking tour for a new book on Lincoln recently, appearing in bookstores and museums and libraries from Washington DC to Mill Valley, California, one question has been repeatedly asked of me in venue after venue: What would Lincoln do? Of course, it isn’t phrased precisely that way, but the content is the same: If Abraham Lincoln were president today, do you think he would be striking ISIS? Would he endorse universal health care? What would be his policy towards immigration, privacy, campaign finance, global warming, gay marriage? Would he detain enemies at Guantanamo? How would he respond to the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, to the outbreak of the Ebola virus? I usually beg off these pleas. Lincoln, after all, had a hard enough task determining policy for his own time, much less generating a blueprint for problems 150 years hence and, anyway, I am uncomfortable with such responsibility being thrust upon me, as if writing a single book about Lincoln makes me capable of channeling his thoughts. Still, there is something poignant in the repeated asking: Americans so desperately want someone to lead them, to make sense of the confusing world they inhabit, to impose sturdy values upon the confusing array of options before us. Who better than Abraham Lincoln?

The fact that we so revere him today would have amused many in Lincoln’s own day even – perhaps especially – Lincoln himself. He had been elected in 1860 with the lowest voting percentage (39.8) of any president in American history and it would be many years before he would be etched into the nation’s consciousness as the savior of the Union and the Great Emancipator, our most respected president. Americans were judging him in the moment and many of them – in the North as well as the South – judged him unfavorably. He had disappointed his Republican colleagues and enraged his Democratic opponents. He had been elected on a pledge to not disturb slavery where it already existed; yet two years later, he issued an Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the rebellious states and changing the mission of the war in what was for many, even in the North, an unacceptable direction. Challenging constitutional sensitivities, he had instituted the nation’s first national income tax, suspended habeas corpus, and used the arm of the law to pursue critics in the press. At a time when the constitutionality of conscription was still undetermined, he had instituted the first military draft, which included, remarkably, a provision allowing the draftee to pay someone to take his place. That act alone contributed to the worst civil violence in American history, the bloody 1863 New York City draft riot. Indeed, in Lincoln’s time, looking back in an attempt to capture their historical heroes’ vision, people were asking, “What would Jefferson do?” “What would Washington, Adams, and Madison do?” And among those searching for the aura of the Founders was Lincoln himself, who regularly cited them in an attempt to seize some historical cover historical, for he certainly did not yet generate any aura of his own.

That’s the frustrating thing about legends. We rarely recognize them in their own time because we cannot understand our times well enough to know what decisions history will celebrate and what decisions history will decry. We are, so to speak, too close to the painting to make out the contours of the image. Think of it. If history had ceased in 1938, Neville Chamberlain — rolled umbrella confidently tucked under his arm, chin raised in a display of self-satisfaction, as he doffed his bowler to the adoring crowds – would have been a hero for achieving “peace in our time.” If time had stopped in 2003, with George W. Bush standing proudly in his flight suit atop the USS Abraham Lincoln (an appropriate detail, at least for this discussion) declaring “Mission Accomplished” on the war in Iraq, we would never have had to reconcile it with the scene going on now, as American F-22s rain bombs down on ISIS-controlled Syria and western Iraq. For that matter, if we roll back the clock only to December, 2011 with the departure of the last American soldier from Baghdad and the end of the U.S-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, we would still be hailing President Obama for reversing the American tide toward foreign adventure that characterized his predecessor’s presidency, instead of nervously watching the Iraqi army that we funded, trained, and armed, fold under its first challenge, a sign that our earlier confidence that the Iraq war had been won, that the Iraq insurgency had been put down, and that political stability had emerged, was a mere fantasy.

The temptation to turn longingly to history’s heroes – whether recent or long-celebrated – arises from the evident truth that so many of our contemporary problems have their antecedents in, or at the very least correlations with, the problems of the past. Indeed, many of the decisions that Lincoln reached have powerful resonance with the issues of our own time. The clash with the Southern rebels produced plenty of terrorists and Lincoln treated them harshly, denying them due process; Lincoln injected the question of equality of peoples of difference into the American idea, though in his time it was race, not sexuality; Lincoln preferred negotiated ends to problems though war was thrust upon him even before he entered the office and after a period of hesitation and indecision Lincoln fought a hard war, a very hard war, convinced that rebellions need not simply be quelled but stamped out lest they rekindle. But those were responses keyed to his time. They do not necessarily tell us how to respond to ours. Even more important, we still cannot say with certainty that Lincoln chose the right path for his own day. Sure, the nation was saved and slavery was ended, but at what price? To paraphrase Faulkner, history is never history; it is always ripe for consideration and reconsideration.

Perhaps the prime thing we can learn from Lincoln is not what he did but how he did it, his deliberate method for decision-making which was characterized by the honest weighing of all sides to an issue, including the challenging of long held principles and assumptions before settling upon one inevitably imperfect plan. In a charming display of this approach, Lincoln once invited his friend Leonard Swett to the White House to listen to him read aloud the letters he had received containing all manner of arguments for and against emancipation. (Lincoln loved to read aloud for “when I read aloud I hear what is read and I see it” and thereby “catch the idea by two senses.”) The president then responded, also aloud, to each argument, both for and against, while Swett remained silent, his reactions never even sought by Lincoln nor provided. Lincoln knew what the choices were. He just wanted to project them into the air in the room so that they had substance for by doing that, maybe, just maybe, he would find a new clarity. Roughly a month after this scene, Lincoln issued the imperfect yet courageous Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

What would Lincoln do? Until they invent a computer program that allows us to construct his personality and then face him off against income inequality, Net Neutrality, and every other issue inconceivable in his time we can only absurdly speculate. But the real answer to that question is that it is not worth the pursuit. Our troubles are our troubles and they are ours to solve.

Todd Brewster has served as Don E. Ackerman Director of Oral History at the United States Military Academy, West Point, and is a longtime journalist who has worked as an editor for Time and Life and as senior producer for ABC News.
TIME Opinion

How to Understand Republican Strategy: Look to the Vietnam War

Early Voting
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images People line up for early voting outside of the Pulaski County Regional Building on Nov. 3, 2014, in Little Rock, Ark.

A historian describes why he sees a similarity between American politics today and those of North Vietnam

War, wrote Carl von Clausewitz, is politics by other means—but for at least 20 years Republicans and Democrats have been fighting a civil war by political means. The Republicans seem likely to win a big victory Tuesday by taking over the Senate. Should they succeed, it will be a new victory for a long-term strategy with a very surprising analog: the strategy that allowed the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese to win the Vietnam War.

In one of his many books on the Vietnam War, the late historian Douglas Pike described the overarching Communist strategy, called dau tranh, or struggle. Although the United States spent many years, billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives fighting the military aspects of dau tranh, it runs out that the political aspects were always more important. The Viet Cong always had more political workers than soldiers. They conducted motivational propaganda among their own troops, but also infiltrated and did whatever they could to make it impossible for the South Vietnamese government to function effectively. That is why, for example, they tolerated inept South Vietnamese officials who would discredit the Saigon government, but were likely to assassinate effective ones. If they could reduce South Vietnamese society to chaos, they reasoned, the well-organized Communist party could easily take over, and in 1975 the South Vietnamese army and government completely collapsed in the face of the last North Vietnamese offensive. Some years ago, I realized that that the Republican Party has been practicing its own kind of dau tranh for more than twenty years. Recently, the strategy has intensified. It has significantly weakened government at all levels and has a good chance of eliminating the remaining vestiges of the New Deal and the Progressive Era.

Although it is very unlikely that Newt Gingrich had heard of dau tranh when he began his all-out assault on the Democrats in the House of Representatives in the 1980s, he employed a parallel strategy from the beginning. He created a new vocabulary to make his pro-government opponents look corrupt and weak. Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge has gotten nearly every Republican in Congress to commit never to increase taxes, hurting the government’s ability to do its work. The Federalist Society has developed a network of lawyers and judges who side against government, and conservative media serve as an echo chamber for those ideas. Since I first noticed these similarities between this strategy and dau tranh, the Republican struggle has continued on many fronts. Oddly, while this attack on government has done a great deal to contribute to our current economic mess, the mess also makes dau tranh more effective, because it undermines confidence in the government. All these tactics spread the idea that government is a powerful conspiracy against the interests of the American people.

Yet despite their rhetoric, while George W. Bush was in power, most Republicans had no choice but to collaborate in the funding and operation of the federal government. Their views changed when a liberal Democrat, Barack Obama, took office in 2009, and Congressional Republicans decided to do everything they could to make his administration fail. In that same year the Tea Party opened its own campaign against government, Democrats and moderate Republicans. The Republican struggle is financed by several networks of donors—including the Koch brothers, who have financed the most extreme candidates. Helped by the recession that Obama inherited, the Republicans gained control of the state legislatures of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania in 2010, and ruthlessly gerrymandered the Congressional districts in those states to assure themselves of majorities for some time to come.

Since winning the House of Representatives and taking away the Democrats’ 60-vote majority in the Senate in 2010, Republicans have made it impossible for large parts of the federal government to function. The Surgeon General should in theory be the point person for dealing with the Ebola outbreak, but we have not had one for many months, because the NRA opposes President Obama’s nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and the Republicans have refused to allow a vote on his confirmation. The same tactic brought the National Labor Relations Board to a halt for some months, after the expiration of board members’ terms had left the board short of a quorum necessary to do business. Republicans have used the Congressional investigatory power to create scandals, even though many of them, such as the IRS flap, never lived up to the headlines they generated. Six years of endless propaganda against the Affordable Health Care Act, combined with the problems in its initial roll-out, have made Democrats too frightened to campaign as supporters of it, even in states where it has given many people health insurance for the first time. And since 2011, the Republicans, while forcing further reductions in the discretionary budget of the federal government, have made it impossible for President Obama to do anything significant to speed the economic recovery, much less to strengthen his own constituency with immigration reform.

The genius of the Republican strategy is that it validates itself. Crippling government tends to prove that government does not work, and allows Republicans to argue that the nation would do better with even less government. Democratic administrations on the other hand depend on the idea that government can help the people. Starving and immobilizing the government makes it look ineffective, which seems to validate Republican propaganda. Franklin Roosevelt created the modern Democratic Party by convincing every section of the country, from the agricultural south and the resource-rich west to the urban areas of the northeast and Midwest, that the government could help them. Now that belief has nearly disappeared in most of the Red states, and those states may well give the Republicans control of the Senate.

Some months ago Mitch McConnell told a symposium hosted by the Koch brothers that if the Republicans win the Senate, a Republican Congress will use the budget process to defund every part of the federal government that they do not like—a recipe for even more disorder. That is bound to create an even worse conflict between Congress and the President, and could easily lead to a further government shutdown. By 2016, the country may be so sick of this that it will elect a Republican President just to bring gridlock to an end. That would be the final triumph of several decades of dau tranh. But while the Vietnamese Communists practiced it to put a totalitarian party in power, the Republicans are doing so to reduce the power of government to the minimum necessary for society to function—or perhaps, to below that minimum. Their struggle against governmental authority is not simply a means, but also an end in itself.

David Kaiser, a historian, has taught at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Williams College, and the Naval War College. He is the author of seven books, including, most recently, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War. He lives in Watertown, Mass.

TIME Know Right Now

Super PACs Are the Big Spenders in the Midterm Elections

They'll spend some $700 million throughout this election season

The momentum headed into the midterm elections on Tuesday appears to be in the GOP’s favor, with a Senate majority thought to be within reach. That means Democrats could lose seats, despite boosts from Super PACS, which overall will spend some $700 million on campaigns this election season.

Here’s all you need to know about the midterm elections.

TIME politics

Homeschooled Kids Shouldn’t Be Scapegoats for Sandy Hook

EMMANUEL DUNAND—AFP/Getty Images A man pays tribute to the victims of an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 15, 2012.

Quinn Cummings is a writer of three books, Notes From the Underwire, The Year of Learning Dangerously and Pet Sounds.

Fear of another school massacre is inspiring bad policies

Adam Lanza was a deeply troubled boy long before he set foot in Sandy Hook Elementary school. His father knew it. His psychiatrist knew it. His classmates knew it. What his mother knew or suspected, she has taken to her grave – one of the six adults and 20 children he shot to death that morning. So it’s reasonable that one focus of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is trying to prevent another troubled child from repeating this carnage.

But reports have surfaced that under a proposal being considered by the governor’s Commission, “Parents who home-school children with significant emotional, social or behavioral problems would have to file progress reports prepared by special education program teams.”

The impulse behind such a sanction is understandable. If someone had killed 20 children in my community, I’d be trying to put every safeguard in place. But it’s bad policy. For one, who defines “significant emotional, social or behavioral problems”? The parent? The child? An expert appointed to assess every homeschooler in the district?

My partner and I have been homeschooling our daughter since she finished fourth grade and we know dozens of families who homeschool as well. When I was researching the homeschool option, I became aware of the depth and breadth of homeschooling across America. Many of these children have never seen the inside of a formal classroom; some live as far off the grid as one can get in the 21st century, so besides the state’s mandatory annual testing (assuming the homeschooler resides in such a state), there may be no record of them in the education system. What is the school system going to do? Send a psychiatrist to each house to assess each child? I don’t know about your neighborhood, but the Los Angeles Unified School District is spending every dollar they have trying to educate the children within their walls. They have 640,000 students and 305 mental-health professionals dedicated to those students. If California were considering a similar proposal, would those numbers be increased to attend to homeschoolers, or would the enrolled students have to wait even longer for help?

There are quite a few families who homeschool because they believe, correctly or not, that the school system doesn’t understand or help their exceptional child. Homeschoolers aren’t overly concerned with maintaining the status quo, or they probably wouldn’t be homeschooling. If a stranger, even a well-meaning one, walked into the community and started handing out diagnoses and sanctions, they would get get hellish pushback. I’m not saying these families would be right. Many homeschooled children have been hurt by parental blind spots and many of these children could benefit from professional attention and therapy. But, as with bricks-and-mortar schools, there are always students who are quirky, or emotionally immature or just weird little kids. Most of them outgrow their weirdness and emerge quite nicely into adulthood; some will develop a passionate outlet or join up with other kids who are just as offbeat, and a few of these will change the world in meaningful ways. This group includes some of our greatest thinkers, artists and captains of industry, so we need to be alert to any potential for abuse by “special education program teams.”

But perhaps the most troubling element of the commission’s proposal is the adjective “significant.” Exhibiting a behavioral problem isn’t like exhibiting a sixth toe, which anyone would easily recognize, or a heart murmur that an EKG could spot in an instant. Mental-health diagnostics are as much art as science, and unless the community is prepared to not only diagnose but also help treat what they find, then the only yield of all this effort would be a paper trail of “progress reports” and very little else.

It’s important to note that Adam Lanza was only homeschooled during his last two years of high school. He hadn’t slipped through the cracks. He wasn’t one of those kids who never show up on the mental health radar. The school knew about him, his classmates knew about him and the people close to him cared and worried about him. Nevertheless, Lanza showed up that morning with a Bushmaster XM15 semi-automatic and started firing.

Since Sandy Hook, there have been 87 school shootings; at least 34 people have been killed. All of these shootings were by non-homeschoolers who had access to guns. Perhaps the unspoken tragedy of the Sandy Hook massacre, and its most bitter irony, is that a mentally ill homeschooler had easy access to a machine gun that he used to murder 26 people in less than five minutes, and the part they want to regulate is the homeschooling.

Quinn Cummings is a writer of three books, Notes From the Underwire, The Year of Learning Dangerously and Pet Sounds. Her articles have been published in, among others, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, The Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping. She is a passionate animal lover, an indifferent housekeeper and would eat her own hand if you put salsa on it.

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

How the Legend of the ‘October Surprise’ Came to Haunt D.C.

The Nov. 8, 1968, cover of TIME
TIME The Nov. 8, 1968, cover of TIME

Ebola and ISIS and oil prices, oh my!

You may have heard of the ‘October Surprise,’ a news story that bursts onto the public consciousness shortly before Election Day. Legend has it this sort of event can swing votes and sway electoral outcomes. The legend’s propagators — pundits, mostly — sift through the news all October long, searching for that one event worthy of being declared the October surprise. Only this October, the surprises kept ducking and bobbing the punditry like a game of Whac-A-Mole. No sooner than one story had made front page news, a rival story bumped it to page two. As October draws to an end, consider just a few of this season’s contenders.

Nominations kicked off in late September, with Barack Obama’s declaration of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Ebola stole the show as a patient in Dallas transmitted the virus to two nurses. ISIS came roaring back with an assault on the Syrian village of Kobani, until the interagency tussle over Ebola quarantine protocols got top billing. Then there were the dark horses: Secret Service slip-ups, plummeting oil prices, “dark money” swamping the campaign trail. As late as Wednesday, a headline on CBS News pleaded, “Why aren’t gas prices the Democrats’ October surprise?”

“We’re up to our necks in them,” wrote syndicated columnist Bob Franken, a seasoned pundit who has previously tried to retire the phrase as an outdated relic from a cynical era. Surely there are more rational ways to interpret the news than to fixate on events that immediately precede election day, as if the voting public had the collective memory of a goldfish. So the legend’s refusal to go away raises an important question: Where did it come from and why won’t it die?

It has been traced to various sources. Former New York Times columnist William Saffire recalled hearing the phrase uttered by a Nixon aide in the run-up to the 1968 presidential election. The aide predicted that president Lyndon Johnson would announce an end to hostilities in Vietnam, thereby boosting public support for democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey. At the close of October, the announcement came with great fanfare, taking the cover of TIME on November 8, as seen above.

It also appeared to confirm the Nixon aide’s suspicions, which by then were referred to in shorthand as the “October surprise,” according to Saffire. Historians have offered alternative narratives, some tracing the invention of the phrase to George H.W. Bush on the 1980 campaign trail.

Whoever coined the phrase, it didn’t come into popular use until 1980, when Reagan supporters began invoking it with rising alarm. Jimmy Carter, they insisted, would spring an announcement on the public shortly before election day. The announcement would relate to some modest policy achievement overseas. Carter would inflate its significance and rally voters to his side. They called it the “October surprise” and an early instance of that use was recorded by TIME in the July 28, 1980, issue.

It might have ended there, but the phrase resurfaced again in September. “The Reaganites talk nervously, and sarcastically, of an ‘October surprise,’” read one account from a TIME reporter. By October, it had become a common refrain. “All the Republicans now believe” it, read one story in TIME. A second story in the same issue noted that Republicans were “setting aside much of their warchest and buying up television time in advance in order to respond to an ‘October surprise’ by the President.”

With such a dramatic build-up, it’s no wonder that the phrase stuck after Jimmy Carter announced, as if on cue, the impending release of 52 American hostages from Iran. However, the release wouldn’t take place until after the inauguration, spawning competing theories that the announcement was timed to help Carter, while the release date was timed to help Reagan.

After that, the phrase took on a conspiratorial hue, referring to any event staged by a campaign to manipulate voters. Through gradual use, however, the phrase lost its potency. Today, it can refer to any surprise at all that falls within the calendar month of October. In short, it became a superstition. Anyone who has a Rube-Goldberg-like ability to connect world events to the electoral prospects of candidate so-and-so can play along. This month, the game was irresistible.

Read TIME’s 1968 cover story about Lyndon Johnson’s original October Surprise, here in the archives: The Bombing Halt

TIME People

Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino Dies at 71

Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino
W. Marc Bernsau—Boston Business Journal Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino

Menino was the city's longest-serving mayor, who led for more than two decades

Thomas M. Menino, the beloved former mayor of Boston who led the city for more than two decades, died Thursday. He was 71, and his passing was confirmed in a statement on his Facebook page.

Menino, who served five terms in office to become the city’s longest-serving mayor, was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer soon after stepping down earlier this year. Last week, Menino announced that he would stop chemotherapy treatment — and suspend a tour to promote his book Mayor for a New America — to spend more time with his family and friends.

“At just after 9:00am this morning the Honorable Thomas M. Menino passed into eternal rest after a courageous battle with cancer,” the statement said. “He was surrounded by his devoted wife Angela, loving family and friends. Mayor Menino, the longest serving Mayor of the City of Boston, led our city through a transformation of neighborhood resurgence and historic growth — leaving the job he loved, serving the city and people he loved this past January. We ask that you respect the families’ privacy during this time and arrangements for services will be announced soon.”

Menino is credited with overseeing the ascent of Boston’s skyline and leading the city through economic downturns to become a hub for business and technology. The city’s first mayor of Italian descent, according to the Boston Globe, Menino’s old-school political style won him the support of the city, leaving office with an approval rating of nearly 80%. A 2008 Globe poll found that more than half of the Boston respondents said they had met him personally.

Read TIME’s 2013 profile of Menino here: The Last of the Big-City Bosses

TIME #TheBrief

#TheBrief: Ebola Quarantines Get Political

While the federal government works to contain Ebola in the U.S., states are taking matters into their own hands—and butting heads with the White House and the CDC in the process.

The attempt to contain the spread of Ebola in the United States is becoming political, with governors imposing varying, stringent, and sometimes unclear quarantine rules that are hard to enforce across state lines.

President Barack Obama spoke out against these policies Wednesday, saying, “We don’t want to discourage our health care workers from going to the front lines. They are doing God’s work over there, and they are doing it to keep us safe.”

Here’s your brief on the science and politics of Ebola.

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