TIME The Brief

Cantor’s Exit Demands a New Wall Street Warrior

Welcome to #theBrief, the four stories to know about right now—from the editors of TIME

Here are the stories TIME is watching this Thursday, June 12.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group inches closer to Baghdad, taking Iraqi cities along the way. Despite requests from the Iraqi government for U.S. airstrikes, Washington seems reluctant to get involved.

After Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat in the Virginia primary, Wall Street must find another political ally.

The World Cup begins today in Rio with Brazil’s squad taking on Croatia while social unrest bubbles around the country.

And finally, the only thing better than futbol is SPACE futbol. In honor of the World Cup, astronauts aboard the ISS kicked a soccer ball around in Zero-G.

The Brief is published daily on weekdays.

TIME Crime

Where Are They Now? The OJ Trial’s Key Figures, 20 Years On

Twenty years after the most publicized trial of the century—what are the key figures doing now?

Twenty years ago Thursday, the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were discovered at her Los Angeles home. Former NFL star OJ Simpson was charged with his ex-wife’s murder, and the resulting televised trial gripped the nation. Simpson was controversially acquitted of all murder charges in Oct. 1995 — a verdict that still reverberates, some two decades later. Here’s a look at where the main players in the OJ trial are today:

OJ Simpson
Involvement in the case: The man accused of the killings.
Where are they now: Simpson, 66, was convicted in 2008 of armed robbery and kidnapping over the theft of memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room. He was sentenced to 33 years in jail, and his request for a new trial was vetoed in 2013. He remains in state prison.

Robert Kardashian
Involvement in the case: The father of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe, Robert Kardashian was a lawyer and friend of OJ Simpson. Simpson sent him a message protesting his innocence shortly before he attempted to flee the LAPD in a white Ford Bronco, which Kardashian made public. He was also on Simpson’s legal team.
Where are they now: Robert Kardashian died in 2003 of esophageal cancer at 59.

Judge Lance Ito
Involvement in the case: The judge who presided over the trial, and was criticized for allowing television cameras inside the courtroom.
Where are they now: Ito remains on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench and has presided over at least 500 cases since the Simpson trial, Associated Press reports.

Marcia Clark
Involvement in the case: The chief prosecutor.
Where are they now: Clark stopped practicing law after the Simpson trial, but her 1998 memoir Without a Doubt—in which she criticized the justice system that allowed Simpson to walk free—reportedly netted her $4 million.

Johnnie Cochran Jr.
Involvement in the case: Simpson’s colorful lead attorney, whose courtroom quip about a bloodstained leather glove found in Simpson’s home — “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”— became a heavily-quoted catchphrase.
Where are they now: Cochran died of brain cancer in 2005 aged 67, but not before defending a host of other celebrities including Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Sean “P Diddy” Combs.

Mark Fuhrman
Involvement in the case: The LAPD detective who found a glove with traces of Brown’s DNA in Simpson’s home, and whose use of racial slurs on a tape recorded some ten years prior to the case allowed Simpson’s team to portray him as an unreliable witness.
Where are they now: Fuhrman is currently a forensic and crime scene expert for the Fox News Channel and is the radio host of “The Mark Fuhrman Show” in Spokane, Wash.

Kato Kaelin
Involvement in the case: The actor lived in a bungalow on Simpson’s property at the time of the murders, and was a key witness in the trial. At the time, he said Simpson had no obvious cuts or injuries on the night of the murders.
Were are they now: Kaelin used his new-found fame from the trial to score some appearances on reality TV shows over the years—including Celebrity Boot Camp—and is now creating a loungewear line called “Kato Potato” meant for couch potatoes.

Barry Scheck
Involvement in the case: Scheck, a member of Simpson’s defense team, cited DNA evidence to contradict the prosecution’s forensic evidence case.
Where are they now: Along with Peter Neufeld, who also worked on the Simpson case, he founded the Innocence Project, which uses DNA evidence to exonerate wrongly convicted individuals.

F. Lee Bailey
Involvement in the case: Bailey was a part-time member of the defense team who cross-examined Mark Fuhrman.
Where are they now: Years later, Bailey was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for mishandling a client’s case, according to the Associated Press. The 80-year-old continues to seek readmission to the bar and in 2011 he wrote a 46-page document claiming he has evidence of Simpson’s innocence.

White Ford Bronco
Involvement in the case: The vehicle driven by Al Cowlings, Simpson’s childhood friend and teammate, in the slow-speed police chase on the day .
Where is it now: After the trial, a collector named Michael Pulwer purchased the Bronco for $75,000—more than twice its original value, according to ESPN. The vehicle can now be rented out for events and parties.

OJ’s children: Jason, Arnelle, Sydney and Justin
Involvement in the case: Arnelle and Jason are Simpson’s surviving children with his first wife, Marguerite Whitley. Nicole Brown Simpson’s two children with Simpson, Sydney and Justin, were 8 and 5 respectively at the time of their mother’s murder.
Where are they now: Various gossip sites have reported minor scandals about Arnelle Simpson and Sydney Simpson, and in 2012, Jason Simpson was the subject of a book arguing he committed the murders his father was acquitted of. Justin Simpson, now 25, lives in the Miami area, according to Sports Illustrated, but has largely stayed out of the public eye.

TIME Crime

Edible Arrangements Van Thief Charged with DUI

DENVER, CO. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2004-Colorado produced foods that would make nice holiday gifts. EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS (DENVER POST PHOTO BY CYRUS MCCRIMMON CELL PHONE 303 358 9990 HOME PHONE 303 370 1054)
Colorado produced foods that would make nice holiday gifts. Cyrus McCrimmon—Denver Post/Getty Images

"Who steals a fruit truck?" said the store's owner. "I mean it’s a fruit truck"

A man accused of stealing an Edible Arrangements van Wednesday night is now behind bars after leading Alabama police in a two-county car chase.

The Edible Arrangements driver left the vehicle running when he quickly ran into the store in Huntsville, Ala. When he looked back to check on the van, it was gone.

“Who steals a fruit truck? I mean it’s a fruit truck,” Michelda Johnson, owner of the Huntsville Edible Arrangements, told WHNT News 19.

Police pursued the suspect, David Wessley Carter, until he ran over a spike strip and pulled over. Wessley, allegedly drunk at the time, is now in custody for multiple traffic violations and a DUI.

[WHNT News 19]

TIME faith

Meet Riverside Church’s First Female Pastor

Dave Cross

Rev. Amy Butler talks about feminism, her salary, being a single mom, and what it means to lead one of the country's most storied congregations.

Update added on June 12, 2014 at 4:15 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, who has been the pastor at Washington, D.C.’s Calvary Baptist Church for the past eleven years, was chosen Monday to be the first female senior minister at The Riverside Church in New York City. The Riverside Church has been a pillar of faith and activism in New York since its first service in 1930, with its famously diverse congregation participating in political issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to immigration. TIME sat down with Rev. Butler to talk about her upcoming transition.

Your emphasis at Calvary has been on unity and coming together, but Riverside’s congregation is more than twice the size of Calvary’s, and it’s interdenominational. Are there challenges that you think will come with that and do you have a plan for how you’re going to approach the new congregation?

There are many challenges ahead, and this is a diverse community. If you think about doing and being a diverse community together, this is the perfect place to try to do it because all of the pieces are there. And this is a community that has valued diversity for all of its history and, as we all do, struggled with what that means in day-to-day life. I’m really looking forward to trying to figure out how we can make that diversity into an asset and something that is really a compelling and attractive expression of our community. Diversity doesn’t always have to be hard and terrible. It’s a challenge, always it’s a challenge, but it’s a great opportunity for modeling what the church can be in the world.

Not only is the Riverside Church diverse, but also it is politically active. What do you see as the intersection of religion and politics, and what do you hope to do with that at Riverside?

The role of the church in society is changing very radically. Fifty years ago the church had a loud and compelling voice at many of these conversations. Increasingly, the church is becoming marginalized. And I think that at this point in history it’s a great opportunity for us as people who claim the message of Jesus, the gospel of loving God and loving each other, as this radical and prophetic place where we can be the church together. So I think the opportunities are boundless and endless, and I think increasingly we’re going to be feeling opportunities to be prophetic and speak truth to power in ways that we may not have had when we were part of the group sitting around the table.

You wrote in an Associated Baptist Press column in April that, “The church is not as vibrant in our society as it once was. In fact, the question of whether church as we know it is viable for the long term is a question begging to be asked.” So I’m going to ask it – do you think the current institutional model is viable? What are you going to do at Riverside to make it relevant and sustainable?

I think the church of the past is not the church of the future, and I think we don’t know what the church of the future is yet. I think the church is not going away because people are looking for community and people are looking for a place to ask the big questions. And if the church can provide a place in which both of those things are present, it’s going to be a place where people are going to want to come and be part of it. So I don’t know what the future of the church looks like, but it’s going to look different. I think at the Riverside Church we could be a place where some of those future expressions of church start to emerge, and that’s one of the things I find so exciting about this opportunity.

You’ve been open about your own struggles with faith. How do you navigate the relationship between your own personal questioning and your role as a leader of the church?

I think traditionally people have expected clergy to be the ones that have all of the answers. Here’s the truth: nobody has all of the answers. We’re all on this journey of figuring out what it means to be human in this world and to understand God’s role in our lives and in the world at large, and I think questioning together is a much more powerful experience. That’s the kind of leadership approach that I take.

I have to ask after the controversy over your predecessor Rev. Brad Braxton’s resignation [related to his more than $450,000 compensation]. What is your salary going to be?

I’ve always heard that it’s not polite to talk about what you make, but I’ll be earning a salary of $250,000. It’s quite a generous salary and it presents an opportunity for me to think about how to be a good steward of the tremendous resources that I am becoming a recipient of. And it’s also a good model for the church as a whole. The Riverside Church has many, many resources, so how do we, as a faith community, think about how to best be stewards of that tremendous gift?

What do you see as the biggest fiscal challenges ahead for Riverside?

I think the future of the church probably does not include building big cathedrals like this in major cities. But places like the Riverside Church are a gift, and can be a gathering place for people who are seeking God in the middle of a very busy and powerful city. So I think our place is important, and I think one of our challenges is going to be moving into the future thinking about how we preserve that and how we make it accessible to as many people as would like to be part of it.

You’re a single mother, you were the first female senior minister of Calvary, and now you are going to be the first female senior minister at Riverside. Where do you see yourself fitting in the modern feminist landscape?

I really recognize the significance of my call. I really want to commend the Riverside Church for taking the step of hiring a woman. That said, there are many, many gifted women around this country who are leading churches and who are doing all kinds of amazing professional roles and being mothers at the same time. And so hopefully this can be a recognition of that fact. It’s not something new; it’s happening everywhere and has for some time. Because this is such a public decision, I hope that it can be affirming of the many different roles that women play.

Do you have anything else that you want to add about the upcoming transition?

Having been the pastor here at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., for 11 years has been such a great time of preparation and growth for me, and I’m leaving behind this amazing, amazing community here. And that is giving me a lot of the courage to move into this new, big role.

[Update: After the story was published, Butler asked to add additional context to her description of her salary. The following question was asked and answered by email.

Your salary sounds different from your predecessor’s. How did that figure into your decision?

The Riverside Church made it clear that they wanted to ensure equity in what they offered me. As their first female pastor, I felt that was an important message to send. And I felt that exact numbers—especially for such a humbling offer–were less important than the witness of equity. So the overall compensation won’t be the same, but we agreed to keep the same salary of $250,000 and for the church to provide for my housing, health insurance, and contribute to my retirement. I’ve found it is easy to think in terms of what we are owed or what we own, but it’s important to ask instead how we can use the resources we have, and how we might be used by God through them. Riverside has blessed me and given me quite a responsibility with their offer.]

TIME George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush Turns 90

The 41st president of the United States celebrates his ninth decade of life on Wednesday. George Herbert Walker Bush served as commander-in-chief from 1989-1993, a one-term president sandwiched between two-termers — Ronald Reagan, under whom he served as vice president during most of the 1980s, and Bill Clinton, who beat the New England native handily in 1992 but later became, by many accounts, a fast friend.

“Bush Senior,” whose son, George W. Bush or “Dubya,” became the 43rd president just eight years after that hard-fought 1992 election, was born in Massachusetts in 1924, but later moved to Texas to make a fortune in oil. Entering young adulthood during the thick of World War II, he flew 58 combat missions for the United States Navy. He has been married to his wife, Barbara, since 1945, was famously lampooned on Saturday Night Live by comedian Dana Carvey.

TIME Military

As Iraq Falls Apart, U.S. F-16 Deliveries Still Set to Begin

Iraq F-16 Inauguration Celebration Roll Out
Lukman Faily, Iraq's ambassador to the U.S., accepts his nation's first F-16 fighter at the Lockheed factory in Fort Worth June 5. Lockheed Martin photo

U.S. investment in blood and treasure is in danger of being squandered

Last month, as threats from Sunni insurgents in the western part of Iraq began looking increasingly serious, the Iraqi government asked Washington to consider carrying out airstrikes against the fighters’ camps.

Washington has declined, according to a New York Times report Thursday.

Last Thursday, however, Iraq’s ambassador to the U.S. was on hand in Fort Worth, Texas, to take delivery of its first U.S.-built F-16 fighter. And Washington, Baghdad and Fort Worth couldn’t have been more delighted.

The sale of 36 F-16s to Iraq for $3 billion is “a clear sign to the world and the region that a stable and strong Iraq, in a partnership of choice with the United States, is what we are after,” Ambassador Lukman Faily told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Iraq joins 27 other nations around the world who depend on the F-16 Fighting Falcon to maintain peace and security,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “We are proud to play a role in the defense of a new democracy and look forward to strengthening our partnership with Iraq.”

Iraq’s national security adviser, Falih Al-Fayyadh, said the F-16 will be “a weapon in the hands of all the people” to defend the country.

Unfortunately, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Iraqi government isn’t in the hands of “all the people.” It’s in pro-Iranian Shi’ite hands, which is helping to fuel the fundamentalist Sunni insurgency. The first pair of F-16s isn’t slated to arrive in Iraq until September, with another two slated to arrive monthly through 2015 — assuming the Iraqi government lasts that long.

It’s nothing short of tragic to see Iraq falling apart as the ancient battle between Sunnis and Shi’ites continues after the U.S. spent more than $1 trillion—and 4,486 lives—to overthrow Saddam Hussein in hopes of replacing him with someone better. Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit—cities where U.S. troops spent eight years dying to give Iraq another chance—are now in the hands of an al-Qaeda offshoot battling the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

On Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Obama Administration has delivered “300 Hellfire missiles, millions of rounds of small arms fire, thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, helicopter-fired rockets, machine guns, grenades, flares, sniper rifles, M-16s and M-4 rifles to the Iraqi security forces.”

The Bush Administration erred in thinking it could graft democracy onto a nation split by a centuries-old religious conflict. The Obama Administration is erring by believing Baghdad’s current rulers can shoot their way out of their current crisis.

TIME Military

The Sacrificial Lambs

What the Bergdahl affair tells us about the hidden costs of a decade of war

Imagine that you are Robert Bergdahl. It’s not hard if you’re a parent. For the past five years, you’ve been terrified and obsessed. Your son Bowe has been captured by the Taliban, and you will do anything–anything–to get him released. You are a former surfer, a former truck driver, a Republican. Bowe has always been a delight and a worry, smart, fragile, ephemeral. Before he joined the Army, he lived in a Buddhist monastery. Before he left for Afghanistan, he made a deep-dive study of the local culture, history and language.

So you decide to do a Bowe-like thing. You try to show respect toward his captors. You learn their language and history. You grow your beard out in scraggly Salafist fashion. You learn that one of his captors has lost a son–shades of Homeland!–to an American missile strike. You may have been touched by Stockholm syndrome: you now know this war has been a horror on all sides. You give a speech at an Idaho Republican Party fundraiser and ask for compassion for Bowe’s captors. There have been at least three years of negotiations between the U.S. government and the Taliban, a prisoner swap for Bowe’s release that might lead to peace talks. But nothing has happened.

And then he’s released. Suddenly, you’re standing before cameras in the Rose Garden with your wife Jani and the President. In gratitude, you say the words in Arabic that precede any public speech or film or performance: “In the name of Allah, the most merciful and compassionate.” Your hometown of Hailey, Idaho, is readying a parade to honor Bowe. But all hell breaks loose. First, it’s all about Bowe. He’s a deserter. He may be a traitor. He left his body armor on his cot and walked out of his combat outpost; he left a note saying he was done fighting. (Later, it turns out he left no note.) Some members of his platoon, understandably infuriated, are on television–an organized Republican public relations assault–saying all sorts of terrible things about him. (Later, the New York Times reports that the platoon was troubled, “raggedy” even before Bergdahl left it.) There are reports that your son became a semi-spokesman for the Taliban, that he was allowed to carry a gun. (Later, there are reports that he tried to escape twice and was placed in a cage, in darkness, shackled, for weeks at a time.)

Next, they come after you. Sean Hannity says you uttered a “war cry of Allah” in the Rose Garden. Hannity has two Islamic “experts” on his radio show who don’t refute the claim. One of them asserts that you “radicalized” your son just as the mother of the Boston Marathon bombers “did.” But Hannity knows a main chance when he sees it. Back to the war cry: “And you think the father interpreted it that way and purposely said that in the Rose Garden, and it was sending a message and the President–you could see the President smiling there as he says it.”

So, somehow, after five years of mind-bending parental torture, you have become a pawn in a right-wing meta-story: the President is a secret Muslim sympathizer. Oh, and you may be a Muslim terrorist sympathizer too. You’re getting death threats. Your town cancels the parade. Finally, in your defense, a former pastor of yours tells the Christian Post that you and Jani have been “really hurt,” that you are practicing Christians. “I’ve prayed with both of them regularly,” he says. “They both have been through a torture mill that I cannot begin to comprehend–five years of a living death. It has affected their health, both physically and mentally.”

And the worst is yet to come: now there are reports that Bowe doesn’t want to talk to you, that the Army psychiatrists don’t think he’s ready for a family reunion. You’ve alluded to troubles he would have coming back, so this might not be a total surprise. But you are now experiencing the media equivalent of that steel cage in which Bowe was confined.

It is possible, of course, that Robert Bergdahl became a Taliban sympathizer during the years his son was held in captivity; it’s possible Bowe was complicit as well–we’ve seen this story before. If so, he’ll be court-martialed. But we don’t know the facts yet. And we have leaped, with reflexive bloodlust, to crucify an American family that has already suffered too much–a scapegoat sacrifice to a decade of blood, during which we leaped into Iraq, which seems to be slipping back into civil war, and distended the war in Afghanistan, all based on things we surmised but didn’t really know.

TO READ JOE’S BLOG POSTS, GO TO time.com/politics

TIME Colorado

Tumbleweeds Have Caused a State of Emergency in Eastern Colorado

Tumbleweed surrounds a car in Fountain
Tumbleweed surrounds a car in Fountain, Colorado March 20, 2014. Rick Wilking — Reuters

A recent drought has reduced cattle herds, which usually eat the plants, allowing the weeds to get out of control

Tumbleweeds, once just an innocent symbol of the desolate American West, prompted two Colorado counties to declare a state of emergency this week.

“They are nothing but a hazard,” Gary Gibson, a county commissioner in rural Crowley County, Colorado, told USA Today. “They aren’t just a nuisance. They cause damage.”

According to Gibson, the weeds are a fire hazard: they can become trapped under vehicles and then combust when heated. Last fall, 45 miles of road were closed because they were choked by tumbleweeds.

The rapidly growing plant has been a particular issue in eastern Colorado due to a recent drought. Young cows typically eat the tumbleweeds, but a low water supply has caused herds to shrink, allowing the weeds to flourish. Plants are capable of scattering thousands of seeds as they roll across the landscape.

Both Crowley and Pueblo Counties are asking the Colorado government for assistance on the matter, since it has supposedly developed beyond local control.

TIME Education

A 10-Year-Old Genius Just Graduated From High School

Most American high school graduates know how to drive and can legally vote. But not Tanishq Abraham

Ten-year-old Tanishq Abraham, who at the age of 4 was one of the youngest Americans accepted into the high-IQ society Mensa, has graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA.

Abraham told local news station KXTV that while the work wasn’t hard, it wasn’t easy either. “The way my brain works is that when you give me something, information about that topic comes into my mind,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but that’s how it is for me.”

The home-schooled Sacramento native said he aspires to be a doctor or a scientist — but also hopes to one day become President. He’s also already known as a local celebrity, having given a TedX talk at 9 years old.

Abraham has been taking college classes since the age of 7 and is currently finishing his associate’s degree from American River College. From there he’ll attend the University of California at Davis, a decision made by his mother to keep him close to home, reports Reuters.

The Golden State has had a streak of child geniuses. The Harding family in San Jose has had seven (so far) of their 10 children go to college by the age of 12.


How The United States Is Growing More Partisan In 10 Charts

Getty Images

Americans on either side of the political spectrum aren't just growing further apart politically, but culturally

A new survey from the Pew Research Center provides hard data to a phenomenon readily apparent across the county and on cable news: the United States has become more politically partisan than at any time in its modern history.

In a nationwide survey of 10,013 adults, the nonpartisan research outfit found troubling data about the state of the American political system, finding that Americans on either side of the political spectrum aren’t just growing further apart politically, but culturally as well. Increasingly, the poll’s results show, liberals have become more ideologically consistent with other liberals, and conservatives with other conservatives. Both sides are more disapproving of those they disagree with. Those at the extremes are the most vocal, as the dwindling center has grown frustrated by both wings. These are trends that underlie the historic unproductiveness of congressional lawmakers.

Democrats have shifted consistently and slowly leftward over the past 20 years, while Republicans have moved relatively quickly rightward over the past decade. More troubling may be the increasing insularity among both ideological wings, as they retreat to different geographic and social spheres.

Here are 10 charts illustrating the emerging divide:

Americans are becoming either more liberal or more conservative as the center shrinks:



More Democrats and Republicans view the opposing party as a “threat to the nation’s well-being”


And each party has grown increasingly contemptuous of the other:


Over time, Democrats and Republicans have become more polarized in their views of the nation’s presidents


Those most active in politics are the most ideological


Many partisans prefer to live among and surround themselves with those who share their political views


Some Americans would be unhappy if a family member married someone of the opposite political party


And many want friends who share their political views


Political ideology even correlates with the types of communities in which Americans want to live


At either end of the spectrum, compromise means the other side embracing everything you believe in


This Pew report is the first in a series exploring the growing political polarization of the United States. The survey was conducted through a combination of online and telephone interviews from January 23-March 16, 2014 and has a sampling error of ± 1.1 percentage points.

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