TIME States

Woman Dies at Burning Man After Being Hit by Bus

This is a DigitalGlobe satellite image "overview" of the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City Nevada.
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d—DigitalGlobe/Getty Images This is a DigitalGlobe satellite image "overview" of the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City Nevada.

Some 60,000 people are in the Nevada desert for the festival.

A woman died at Nevada’s Burning Man Festival after she was run over by a bus early Thursday, event organizers said.

According to a statement posted to a website affiliated with the festival, local officials say the woman is believed to have died after falling under a bus carrying festival participants. The woman has not been identified, and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

“This is a terrible accident,” Burning Man co-founder Marian Goodell said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and campmates. Black Rock Rangers and Emergency Services Department staff are providing support to those affected.”

Some 60,000 people are converging on the Nevada desert this week for the annual arts and culture festival.

TIME Guns

9-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Shoots, Kills Instructor at Gun Range

The operator says it allows supervised children age eight and up to handle weapons

A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a shooting range instructor in Arizona, police say.

Charles Vacca, 39, was instructing the girl on how to use an automatic Uzi on Monday when the girl, who was accompanied by her parents, pulled the trigger and then lost control of the weapon, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Tuesday. Vacca was shot in the head and died of his injuries.

Sam Scarmardo, the operator of the shooting range Last Stop where the accident occurred, said the range allows accompanied children age eight and older to handle weapons.

He said Vacca, a longtime military veteran, had been working at the range for roughly two years. Scarmardo also said the range had not had an accident since it was opened more than a decade ago.

The girl’s parents were recording the tutorial on their cell phones when the incident occurred and handed the footage over to authorities, according to Scarmardo.

TIME Crime

Ferguson Father Wants ‘Day of Silence’ for Michael Brown Funeral

From left: Michael Brown, Sr., Reverend Al Sharpton, and Lesley McSpadden during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse in St. Louis on Aug. 12, 2014.
Jeff Roberson—AP From left: Michael Brown, Sr., Reverend Al Sharpton, and Lesley McSpadden during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse in St. Louis on Aug. 12, 2014.

“Please, please take a day of silence so we can lay our son to rest. Please"

The father of the unarmed Missouri teenager whose shooting death at the hands of police sparked widespread protests called for peace Sunday as he and his family prepared to lay their son to rest Monday.

“Please, please take a day of silence so we can lay our son to rest. Please. That’s all I ask. And thank you,” Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown, said during a rally Sunday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The event, known as Peace Fest, is an annual festival held in a St. Louis park, but its message held particular resonance this year for a community still reeling from the death of Brown, 18, and its aftermath. Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. Protests and sometimes violent clashes rocked the St. Louis suburb for days following the shooting.

Attention will again turn to Ferguson again on Monday for the funeral. Services are scheduled for 10 a.m., and three White House officials will attend, the Washington Post reports.

TIME 2016 Election

Perry Stops in Washington in Wake of Indictment

Rick Perry
Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry called his Aug. 15 indictment on charges that he abused power an “attack on our system of government” during a speech on immigration at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry called his Aug. 15 indictment on charges that he abused power an “attack on our system of government” during a speech on immigration at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday.

Gov.Perry stopped in Washington on his way to New Hampshire less than a week after being indicted by a grand jury in Texas on charges of abuse of power. He said Thursday he was confident in his case and that he aims to “defend our constitution and defend our rule of law in the state of Texas.”

The charges against Perry stem from his veto of $7.5 million worth of funding to the state entity that investigates political corruption, the Travis County Public Integrity Unit, after Travis County’s embattled District Attorney refused to resign in the wake of a drunk driving arrest.

Democrats in Texas have alleged Perry wanted funding cut to the public integrity unit to delay an investigation into mismanagement at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, one of Perry’s signature programs. In an affidavit released by Perry’s lawyers on Thursday, a former criminal investigator at the Travis County Public Integrity Unit said neither Governor Perry nor anyone from his officer were ever a target in the investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

“Any suggestion that Governor Rick Perry or anyone associated with him was being investigated is untrue; and, based on my investigation, there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that suggests wrongdoing on the part of any individual other than the individual ultimately indicted by a grand jury,” the affidavit reads.

Perry has come across as calm, and at times cheeky, in the face of the charges. The governor presented a slight smile in his mugshot, released Tuesday. After being booked, Perry went out for ice cream. And now, Perry is hitting the road, with scheduled appearances in states that would be crucial if the governor were to run for President in 2016 as expected, including New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina.

Even during his brief remarks in Washington, Perry seemed to be focused mainly on the idea of one day serving as commander-in-chief: following a brief mention of the case against him in his home state, the Governor focused his attention on the crisis at the border, calling it a threat to national security. Perry said there should be no conversation about immigration reform, “until the border is secure.”

TIME States

Rick Perry Digs in for a Fight

Texas Governor Rick Perry acknowledges the crowd after being finger printed at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center on Aug. 19, 2014 in Austin.
Stewart F. House—Getty Images Texas Governor Rick Perry acknowledges the crowd after being finger printed at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center on Aug. 19, 2014 in Austin.

2016 presidential hopeful pleads not guilty in abuse-of-power case

Rick Perry isn’t going quietly. In fact, he says he’s not going anywhere at all.

The Texas governor pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the abuse-of-power case against him, waiving a formal arraignment that had been scheduled for Friday and signaling again his readiness to fight a prosecution that he has decried as a “farce.” This after Perry, who just days ago was barnstorming Iowa as he weighs a 2016 presidential bid, strode up to the Austin courthouse here on Tuesday to be booked and fingerprinted—and looking every bit the congenial, confident, quintessentially-Texan politician he has played with success for 30 years.

“I’m here today because I believe in the rule of law,” Perry said after having his mugshot taken Tuesday for booking.

“Like a true West Texan, in the face of adversity Rick Perry is doubling down and meeting his critics head on,” Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said. “Unlike most politicians facing indictments, Perry is reaching out to the media as opposed to running away from it.”

That approach led Perry’s lawyers to hold a briefing on Monday at an Austin hotel, unveiling a stellar team of star lawyers, and advising the media well in advance Tuesday that the governor would be turning himself in for the obligatory mugshot. After the booking, like the good Texan that he is, Perry made a point to thank the Travis County sheriff’s deputies who booked him—evoking a contrast with the torrent of abuse an intoxicated Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg unleashed on deputies and jail guards when she was booked on a DUI charge in April, 2013.

Perry’s response to a video of Lehmberg’s tirade, which prompted calls for her resignation from both Democrats and Republicans, is at the heart of the indictment against him last week. Prosecutors say he abused his power by threatening to veto funds for the Public Intergrity Unit she heads if she didn’t resign, an assertion that Perry and even some liberals have warned constitutes prosecutorial overreach into policing even the most basic posturing in modern politics. But Lehmberg is also at the center of Perry’s public relations strategy so far.

“If I had to do so, I would veto funding for the public integrity unit again,” Perry told a cheering crowd of supporters Tuesday. “I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being. And we will prevail.”

For Perry, this is a black hat-white hat YouTube range war, with a vodka-guzzling, out-of-control, drunken Democratic prosecutor on one side and a self-styled champion of the people and the rule of law on the other. Perry’s political action committee, RickPAC, unveiled a new ad Tuesday featuring, of course, the Lehmberg video.

“Governor Perry’s public relations strategy is to present this indictment as one blow, low and foul, in an ongoing fight between a disgraced, partisan, Democratic, district attorney and a Republican governor fighting for common decency, the rule of law, and the sanctity of the Texas Constitution,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University and longtime observer of Texas politics. “This framing is working pretty well, especially among Republican leaders and activists, but it is at best a short term strategy that will be of no use at all if the case goes to trial.”

Perry’s only hope of remaining a viable presidential candidate for 2016 is to get the charges dismissed before trial, Jillson said. “But if he goes to trial, there will be weeks of testimony from Austin insiders describing in most unappetizing terms precisely how the political sausage was made,” Jillson said. “If that happens, it will make Chris Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’ troubles look like a walk in the park.”

Some Democrats have pressed the argument that Perry’s attempt to dethrone Lehmberg was aimed at derailing an investigation into connections between Perry campaign contributors and the Cancer Prevention and Research Insitute of Texas (CPRIT). But other Democrats see the indictment as baseless, including David Botsford, a prominent Travis County Democrat and a member of Perry’s legal team. He was the first to greet Perry at the podium with a handshake and an embrace Tuesday.

Perry’s legal team is a mix of colorful, political, heavyweight and well-connected lawyers. Botsford is regarded as a top criminal lawyer in Texas, but also someone who knows the inner workings and politics of the Travis County courthouse. Lead lawyer Tony Buzbee, who said the Perry prosecution is an example of “banana republic politics,” is a charismatic Houston plaintiff’s attorney. Also on the team are two star Washington attorneys—Ben Ginsberg, who represented President George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount, and Bobby Burchfield who has led the Republican National Committee’s successful legal fight against a key campaign finance law. The goal is likely to get the indictment thrown out as quickly as possible, and to get the case moved out of Travis County, where the judges and the majority of jurors are Democrats

While Perry’s stellar legal team plots the maneuvers ahead, Perry needs to focus on a different jury, political analysts say. “The principal problem for Perry is not so much how the indictment is being viewed by Republican caucus and primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere, but rather the doubts it is creating about Perry’s political future among major donors as well as political elites whose endorsements Perry needs to be viable, especially in the early caucus and primary states,” Jones said.

“Both the donors and elites are thinking far more about the long game of winning not only the GOP primary, but especially the general election, and are quite likely to view the indictment, regardless of merit, as a significant political liability,” Jones said. “If Perry cannot get the charged dismissed, the indictment will be a dark cloud following any Perry 2016 presidential campaign.”

TIME States

See Governor Rick Perry’s New Mugshot

Texas Governor Rick Perry indictment over charges of alleged abuse of power left him required to something not common of a sitting governor: take a mugshot.

Perry turned himself in to have his mugshot taken on Tuesday at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas.

Perry ardently objects to charges laid out against him by the Travis County District Attorney. He stated on Tuesday that he remained confident because of his belief that “the rule of law would prevail.”

Perry followed up his trip to the courthouse with a trip to an ice cream shop.

TIME 2016 Election

Rick Perry Defiant in Face of Criminal Charges

"We don't settle political differences with indictments"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Saturday dismissed the criminal charges leveled against him as partisan political gamesmanship, and vowed to stand by his decision in 2013 to veto funding for a public integrity unit.

“We don’t settle political differences with indictments,” said Perry, referring to the grand jury’s Friday indictment against him. “‘It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to tear away the fabric of our constitution.”

The indictment is a response to Perry’s 2013 veto of $7.5 million in funding to state’s public integrity unit, based in the Travis County district attorney’s office. District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who ran the unit, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2012. Perry vetoed her office’s funding after she refused to step aside.

At the time that Perry vetoed the funding, the unit was investigating one of Perry’s signature achievements, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, for alleged mismanagement.

The grand jury indicted include abuse of official capacity, which carries a penalty of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, which carries a penalty of two to 10 years.

Perry said Saturday that as governor, he is constitutionally within his rights to veto funding for any office. “I exercise the authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership has lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically,” said Perry. “I intend to fight against those that that would erode our state constitution and laws purely for political purposes.”

Perry added that he will continue to focus on his governorship and focus particularly closely on border security.

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, both likely contenders against Perry for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, have voiced their support for the governor.

Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum, a noted San Antonio criminal defense attorney who led the indictment against Perry, told reporters he will be working with the governor’s attorney to set up a time for Perry to be arraigned and booked. “I feel confident with the charges that have been filed,” he said.

TIME Fast Food

Fast-Food Franchise Holders in California Score a Major Legal Win

A McDonald's restaurant sign is seen at a McDonald's restaurant in Del Mar, California
Mike Blake/Reuters A McDonald's restaurant sign in Del Mar, Calif., on April 16, 2013

Supporters of the SB 610 bill say employees as well as franchisees will benefit

Major fast-food companies — ranging from McDonald’s to 7-Eleven — will find it harder to terminate agreements with their franchise holders after the California state legislature passed the SB 610 bill granting franchisees additional rights.

The proposed law pits industry bodies like the International Franchise Association (IFA) and the California Chamber of Commerce against small businesses as well as labor unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The SEIU argues that the bill’s passage will pave the way for increased wages and benefits for employees, as franchisees no longer have to worry about the threat of contract termination for introducing such benefits.

“Corporate headquarters control nearly every aspect of our business — we can be punished for speaking out or joining with other franchise owners to improve business conditions, and the franchises can even be shut down for arbitrary reasons — as mine was,” said McDonald’s franchisee Kathryn Carter to SEIU California.

Opponents, however, say the bill will negatively affect quality control and consistency — and reiterated their concerns following the assembly’s 41 to 27 yes vote.

In a statement obtained by MSNBC, IFA president and CEO Steve Caldeira criticized language used in the bill: “SB 610, particularly the termination language, is more vague and obscure in its definition than any other state franchise law.”

He added: “This bill without question will undermine franchise growth in California, lead to frivolous, unnecessary and costly litigation, reduced product quality, harm brand integrity.”

The bill’s next stop is California’s senate, where it is expected to pass.

TIME States

Missouri Governor Stumbles in the Ferguson Spotlight

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man
Scott Olson—Getty Images Missouri Governor Jay Nixon listens to residents and community leaders as they discuss unrest in the town of Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown during a forum held at Christ the King UCC Church on August 14, 2014 in Florissant, Mo.

Jay Nixon seems tone-deaf in crisis to many observers

If the citizens of Ferguson, Mo., were looking Thursday for a voice that reflected the grave situation facing their city after days of violence, they did not find it in their governor, Jay Nixon.

The Democrat stumbled and mumbled his way through a 38-minute news conference Thursday, when he announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol would replace the aggressive St. Louis County police department as the lead agency for securing Ferguson after nights of confrontations between protesters and police.

“I try to put gasoline into the engine of fire engines when I see them and not on the fires that are existing,” he said haltingly, when asked about his lack of visibility for most of this week.

Nixon had been silent on Saturday’s shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown for 72 hours, until delivering brief comments at a local community meeting Tuesday evening. But his pleas for prayer and patience went unheeded, as violence and the heavy-handed police response escalated. Rubber bullets and tear gas were aimed at mostly peaceful protesters, as law enforcement officers armed in tactical gear aimed scoped rifles from the tops of military surplus vehicles.

By Wednesday, the situation drew additional national attention after the arrest of two journalists and images that resembled a domestic war zone on television screens across the country. Meanwhile, Nixon was on the other side of the state preparing to attend the 62nd Annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the State Fair. Political activists, journalists, and community leaders blasted Nixon’s silence, and by 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, the governor was playing defense.

“The immediate security responsibilities will now be directed by the Missouri highway patrol,” he announced at a news conference after canceling the state fair appearance to travel to Ferguson to meet with residents and law enforcement.

This was not Nixon’s first time under fire from the state’s black community. The local NAACP criticized him in the mid-1990s as state Attorney General for efforts to undo Missouri’s desegregation school busing program. A longtime political observer told TIME that Nixon appeared gun-shy and lacked warmth when dealing with the state’s black community and St. Louis county in general.

Asked Thursday about his relationship with the state’s black community before and during this crisis, Nixon reached for an answer before saying he “[appreciates] the relationship” he has with them but expects criticism in his job. Asked whether a special prosecutor should be appointed he chuckled, adding “We’ve got two already.” State and federal prosecutors are investigating the circumstances of Brown’s death, as the credibility of local officials has been put in doubt.

That was better than an earlier appearance Thursday at a meeting with residents at a church, where Nixon tried his hand at comedy to defuse the tense situation, cracking a joke about being late because he had just gotten off the phone with President Barack Obama, and quipping that he didn’t mind that he looked heavy on television.

Obama, meanwhile, defended Nixon. “He is a good man and a fine governor, and I’m confident that working together, he’s going to be able to communicate his desire to make sure that justice is done and his desire to make sure that public safety is maintained in an appropriate way,” the President said.

Nixon had long been seen to have national ambitions, declining to rule out a presidential run in 2016 as recently as February. Democratic operatives had seen him as a short-list contender for the role of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s running mate. But his handling of the Ferguson crisis could hinder his national prospects.

Nixon spoke in faux mil-speak as he tried to project command of the situation, saying the new police efforts would be geared at toward “maintaining the peace but allowing more movement, trying to bring in different tone of the amplitude of the protective force.”

Meanwhile, St. Louis County Executive Charles Dooley and Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson delivered impassioned pleas for calm and promised a new approach that respects the rights of the people of Ferguson. “We can do better than this,” Dooley said. “Calm down, stand down, and let’s be reasonable.”

Johnson, a native of the area, promised a more peaceful demeanor from the officers now under his command. “We are going to have a different approach and have the approach that we’re in this together,” he said.

TIME Drugs

These Are the First Edible Pot Products Sold in Washington

Rethinking Pot Edibles Safety
Brennan Linsley—ASSOCIATED PRESS In this June 19, 2014 photo, freshly baked cannabis-infused cookies cool on a rack inside Sweet Grass Kitchen, a well-established gourmet marijuana edibles bakery which sells its confections to retail outlets, in Denver.

Stringent rules delayed sales of edibles for a month after the first legal marijuana sales took place in Washington state

When the first sales of legal recreational marijuana took place in Washington state this July, there were no edible products in sight. Due to a stringent oversight process put in place by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, no kitchens had been approved for churning out legal pot brownies or THC-infused oils or other green goodies.

That changed at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night when Al Olson, the marijuana editor of CNBC.com, purchased the first approved edibles, spending about $200 on products like Green Chief “Crazy Carnival Nuts,” “420 Party Mix,” and “Twisted Trail Mix,” as well as one vaporizer pen and “vape” pen battery. The historic sale took place in Bellingham, Wash., at a store called Top Shelf Cannabis, which was also the first to market with marijuana leaf sales.

The Board, put in charge of implementing the legal marijuana market, had the benefit of watching Colorado start up its marijuana market first. The state experienced issues with children accidentally ingesting marijuana edibles and then proposed more stringent rules about label packaging at the end of July. If approved, rules like putting certain edibles in child-resistant packaging will go into effect Nov. 1.

In June, the Washington Board adopted emergency rules requiring its approval for every edible product, including its packaging and labeling, before being put on store shelves. Products containing more than one serving had to be marked to show serving sizes, a rule Colorado is also considering to help combat accidental overconsumption by inexperienced THC consumers.

“Knowing the rest of the country is scrutinizing every move Washington makes in the space, there was no way this process could have been done quicker,” said industry expert Ata Gonzalez, who makes products like cannabis-infused chocolate at GFarmaLabs in California.”It’s great way the industry, and state laws allowing marijuana use, can display a certain level of responsibility in such a volatile environment.”

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