Thomas S. Monson, president of Mormon church, has died

Advertisement Share Shares Copy Link Copy {copyShortcut} to copy Link copied! Updated: 3:40 AM EST Jan 3, 2018 Associated Press (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) SOURCE: (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) Thomas S. Monson, president of Mormon church, has died Share Shares Copy Link Copy {copyShortcut} to copy Link copied! Updated: 3:40 AM EST Jan 3, 2018 Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY — Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president of the Mormon church, has died after nine years in office. He was 90.Church spokesman Eric Hawkins says Monson died Tuesday night at his home in Salt Lake City. Advertisement Monson spent more than five decades serving in top church leadership councils — making him a well-known face and personality to multiple generations of Mormons.Monson’s presidency was marked by his noticeably low profile during a time of intense publicity for the church, including the 2008 and 2012 campaigns of Mormon Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, and the faith’s involvement in the passage of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in California.The next church president was not immediately named, but is expected to be Russell M. Nelson. He is the next longest-tenured member of the church’s governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah tweeted that he was mourning Monson's passing, writing: "President Monson was among the greatest men I have ever known. Service was his motto and humility his hallmark. Countless were the lives he touched as a prophet, father, and friend. Today, I join millions across the globe in mourning his passing." President Monson was among the greatest men I have ever known. Service was his motto and humility his hallmark. Countless were the lives he touched as a prophet, father, and friend. Today, I join millions across the globe in mourning his passing. Continue Reading

Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’ [Updated on March 19]

Bernie Sanders says he is “prepared to run for president of the United States.” That’s not a formal announcement. A lot can change between now and 2016, and the populist senator from Vermont bristles at the whole notion of a permanent campaign. But Sanders has begun talking with savvy progressive political strategists, traveling to unexpected locations such as Alabama and entertaining the process questions that this most issue-focused member of the Senate has traditionally avoided. In some senses, Sanders is the unlikeliest of prospects: an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate but has never joined the party, a democratic socialist in a country where many politicians fear the label “liberal,” an outspoken critic of the economic, environmental and social status quo who rips “the ruling class” and calls out the Koch brothers by name. Yet, he has served as the mayor of his state’s largest city, beaten a Republican incumbent for the US House, won and held a historically Republican Senate seat and served longer as an independent member of Congress than anyone else. And he says his political instincts tell him America is ready for a “political revolution.” In his first extended conversation about presidential politics, Sanders discussed with The Nation the economic and environmental concerns that have led him to consider a 2016 run; the difficult question of whether to run as a Democrat or an independent; his frustration with the narrow messaging of prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton; and his sense that political and media elites are missing the signs that America is headed toward a critical juncture where electoral expectations could be exploded. John Nichols: Are you going to run for president in 2016? Bernie Sanders: I don’t wake up every morning, as some people here in Washington do and say, “You know, I really have to be president of the United States. I was Continue Reading

Will sexual misconduct and corruption cases open the ‘black box’ of Senate ethics?

WASHINGTON— The Senate Ethics Committee that has issued no public punishment against a senator in a decade is suddenly taking on three highly charged ethics cases that could set new precedents for congressional behavior.The panel could also be a tool to simply bury the cases until the public storm passes.Two marquee cases against sitting members of Congress landed in the lap of the committee this week — one involving sexual misconduct allegations against Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken and a second turning on corruption charges aimed at New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.A third case could be coming soon, depending on the outcome of the Dec. 12 Alabama special election, where GOP candidate Roy Moore’s campaign has been rocked by allegations that he pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls nearly 40 years ago.The committee, which is made up of up of three Republican senators and three Democrats, regularly disposes of ethics complaints quietly and summarily and long after the case has left the front pages. But it will be under intense scrutiny as it takes up the glaring issue of sexual harassment. “I think we’re sailing into new waters here,” said Stanley Brand, a lawyer who has advised the committee and represented lawmakers under investigation in previous cases. “The public pressure is going to be great.”And the political consequences could be far-reaching. Here’s a look at the allegations and key questions the ethics committee will have to confront. FrankenOn Thursday, a news anchor for a Los Angeles radio station, Leeann Tweeden, accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006, when they were on an overseas USO Tour to entertain American troops. She released a jarring photo of Franken, a former Saturday Night Live star, appearing to grab her breasts while she was sleeping on the cargo flight home. Franken apologized to Tweeden, and said he would Continue Reading

Most Wisconsin Republicans say Roy Moore should get out of Senate race if claims are true

MADISON - Most Wisconsin Republicans are following the lead of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and saying Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama should step aside if a report is true that he pursued teenage girls as an adult.There is at least one exception, with a Republican running against U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan posting a message on Twitter backing Moore.The two candidates seeking the GOP nomination to run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin took the approach Moore should step aside if the reports are true, though one of them also emphasized Moore should have a chance to defend himself.“If the allegations are true, then Roy Moore should step aside,” said a statement from businessman Kevin Nicholson. “Everyone should have the opportunity to respond to allegations, and the people of Alabama deserve to know the truth.”A spokesman for Nicholson’s primary opponent, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) issued a statement Thursday that said: “Senator Vukmir was troubled to hear the reports about Roy Moore today. She believes that, if the allegations are true, he needs to step aside so the people of Alabama can elect a conservative senator of integrity.”Baldwin said flatly that Moore should get out of the race"I believe the women who bravely spoke out and it's clear that Roy Moore is unfit to serve," Baldwin said in a statement.The Washington Post quoted four women on Thursday who said Moore had pursued them in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. In one case, one woman said when she was 14, Moore at age 32 touched her over her bra and underwear and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.Moore denies the claims and has declined calls from a chorus of Republicans to step aside in next month’s special election.Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in a statement Thursday said, "If true, these allegations describe intolerable behavior Continue Reading

Spotify offers Barack Obama job as ‘President of Playlists’

Approximately 11.3 million new jobs were created under his watch, and now one has been created specifically for him. Music streaming monolith Spotify has created the perfect position for any music loving POTUS soon to have some extra time on his hands, calling for a "President of Playlists" at its New York City offices. Posted this week, the Sweden-born service's listing calls for all applicants who have had Kendrick Lamar show up at their birthday parties, possess a minimum of eight years of experience running a "highly-regarded nation" and display a "friendly and warm attitude." Those requirements knocking out Vladimir Putin from the get-go, the company has made it abundantly clear they're interested solely in the former Illinois senator, with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek drawing Obama's attention to the opening on Twitter. The outgoing President has curated several playlists for the company in the past, with his recent 2016 summer playlist featuring artists as varied as Nina Simone and Charles Mingus to the Beach Boys and Edward Sharpe. According to Billboard, Obama had joked with former Swedish Ambassador Mark Brzezinski that when it comes to post-Oval Office opportunities, "I'm still waiting for my job at Spotify," adding, "I know y'all loved my playlist." Continue Reading

John F. Kennedy is sworn in as the 35th President of the United States in 1961

(Originally published by the Daily News on January 21, 1961. This story was written by Ted Lewis and Jerry Greene.) WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (News Bureau). - John F. Kennedy took the oath as the 35th President of the United States today with a solemn dedication of his “new generation” government to an all-out global campaign to achieve a “beachhead of cooperation” with Communist Russia and prevent a war. In a surprisingly conciliatory Inaugural address, the youngest President ever elected declared that this nation will never “fear to negotiate,” but he warned at the same time that it recognizes the urgency for an arms buildup to meet the Red peril. The first Catholic ever chosen to lead this country spoke out to the world from the windswept, snow-glistening East Plaza of the Capitol. He spoke eloquently, solemnly, resolutely. His measured words rang out against the 20-degree cold and 27 mile-an-hour wind. Some 50,000 government officials, diplomats, notables and ordinary citizens applauded 12 times during the 14-minute address. And they shouted “Yes, yes,” when he asked if they would enlist in “a grand a global alliance” against tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself. The same throng stood in solemn and respectful silence a few minutes earlier when Kennedy placed his left hand on his family Bible, raised his right hand and in resolute tones pronounced the oath of office before Chief Justice Earl Warren. Standing beside him, obviously relieved but no doubt nostalgic, was “old soldier” Dwight D. Eisenhower, bowing out at the age of 70 - the oldest man ever to serve in the White House. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson had already been sworn in by his friend and fellow Texan, Speaker Sam Rayburn. But there had been delays in the long ceremonies and it was 12:51 P.M. by the time Kennedy took the oath. Kennedy, his bronzed cheeks pink from the cold, Continue Reading

Stephen Colbert reviews this week’s rare displays of Senate spine

Stephen Colbert devoted much of his Friday monologue to cataloging the flashes of Senate spine we've seen over the last week.Several, including Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republicans Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, have demonstrated they have the back of their former Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions, who has been getting an "executive swirlie" from his president, who hopes he'll resign so he can appoint a replacement willing to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. (That includes potentially keeping the Senate formally in session through August to thwart any end-run attempts by Trump to do it via recess appointment.) The most colorful quote came from Graham, who vowed there would be no confirmation hearing for a new attorney general in 2017 and "if Jeff Sessions is fired, there will be holy hell to pay."Now, granted, no one can hold a candle to Jon Stewart's Lindsay Graham impression, but the South Carolina-bred Colbert is the next best thing."Holy hell!" he drawled. "I do declare, and if you persist, I will whip you with my fiddlesticks!"And then there's Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, who drew Trump's ire by voting no on the skinny repeal of Obamacare Thursday night. See, there's not a lot Trump can do to her personally since she's not up for re-election until 2022. So, instead, he went after her whole state. He sicced Interior Secretary "and guy who wants to get you in a used pickup truck today" Ryan Zinke on her to deliver the message that by voting no, she had jeopardized her state's future with the administration. First, Colbert noted how Trump should consider how much he actually has in common with the 49th state and adjust his approach. After all, "he got his start on reality shows, just like every citizen of Alaska did." He then bottom-lined the situation for his audience: "This administration is like organized crime except for the organized part. Continue Reading

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, head of Senate Homeland Security Committee, won’t seek reelection

Connecticut U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, has decided not to seek reelection next year, Democratic officials said. Lieberman, 68, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, scheduled a news conference in Stamford, Conn., on Wednesday to make it official. He's a former leader of the Democratic Party's centrist wing and was Al Gore's 2000 veep pick. He was forced out of the party in 2006 over his support for the Iraq war when Ned Lamont, an anti-war Democrat, beat him in a Senate primary. Lieberman pivoted and ran as an independent, beating Lamont in the general election. He drew the ire of many rank-and-file Democrats in 2008 by endorsing Republican John McCain's presidential run over President Obama. Some Senate Democrats said he should lose his chairmanship as a result, though the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid supported Lieberman's continued leadership of the Homeland Security committee. Lieberman last year helped Democrats push through the Senate the sweeping health-care reform that was Obama's top domestic priority. He voted last month with Republicans to extend President George W. Bush's tax cuts.   Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Gotta go, Dems tell Malcolm Smith: Step down to regain control of Senate

ALBANY - A group of Democratic lawmakers told ousted Majority Leader Malcolm Smith on Friday he must relinquish his leadership role for the party to regain control of the Senate. The senators gave Smith the bad news that his resignation as leader is the only way to get one of the two renegades, Sen. Hiram Monserrate, back into the fold. "If Monserrate comes back in, Malcolm will be out," one senator said. A labor source who has been involved in the negotiations was even more confident: "He'll be gone. [We're] working through parameters, timing, etc." Sources said Smith did not commit to anything and said he would let the conference know Monday what he would do. The ultimatum came just before Smith spoke to most of his fellow Democrats in his lower Manhattan office - and hours after an upstate judge gave the warring factions the weekend to work out who controls the Senate. Monserrate (D-Queens) partnered with Republicans and fellow Democrat Pedro Espada Jr. on Monday to oust Smith as majority leader and Senate president - starting what turned into a week-long circus of threats, accusations and legal maneuvers. Last night, Democratic senators insisted Smith remains the leader "for now." Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), who is considered a likely successor to Smith, and other Democrats are expected to meet with Monserrate this weekend to try to flip him back to the Democrats, a Senate aide said. Monserrate told NY1 last night he would not rejoin the Democratic conference if Smith was in charge. He also called Sampson a "fantastic individual." "I took my vote Monday. I think we probably might be taking another vote very soon," Monserrate said. Smith didn't answer directly when asked if he was still the Democratic leader. Earlier in the day, asked about his status, a wornout-looking Smith said: "Right now, there's only one president of the Senate and that's myself." Smith and many of his members said their meeting focused Continue Reading

Tests to pinpoint cause of Senator Ted Kennedy’s seizure scare

The causes of seizures vary widely, so doctors will need days and a battery of tests to determine the root of Edward Kennedy's health scare.Seizures are triggered by an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain and usually last no more than a few minutes. But the senator's age, 76, is reason for extra concern. "In an adult patient like Ted Kennedy, I wouldn't say, 'He had a seizure; now he will be okay,'" said Dr. Richard Hodosh, president of the American Heart Association's New York City division. "In someone of his age, it has to be investigated." Common causes of seizures include a change of medicine or an infection that sparks a chemical disturbance in the body, a previous traumatic head injury or a withdrawal from toxic substances like alcohol or drugs. Strokes or tumors also can spark seizures, so doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital likely will give the senator an MRI and CAT scan. Patients having seizures can appear confused, have trouble speaking or suffer hallucinations. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading