D.A.R.E. to be different
May 10, 2014

"I have this joint here" is probably not a phrase often uttered in subcommittee hearings.

John Mica (R-Fla.) rolls differently, though, and he brought a marijuana cigarette — "Don't get too excited…this is not a real one, it's a mock one." — to a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on Friday. The hearing was in response to a recently passed bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in Washington, D.C., Politico reports.

Mica used the prop while discussing how many grams of cannabis individuals would be able to possess without triggering criminal penalties under the new law. Either way, the image was surprising, to say the least:

As for who prepared the visual aid?

"I had staff do it," Mica said. "They have more experience." Sarah Eberspacher

feel the bern
3:07 p.m. ET
Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is undergoing an elective outpatient hernia repair Monday in Washington, D.C., his spokesman said. The Democratic presidential hopeful plans to get back to his Senate work Tuesday and to the campaign trail later in the week, The Washington Post reports.

Sanders' surgery was scheduled, Michael Briggs told the Post, and he had been on the campaign trail through Sunday night, when the 74-year-old took part in a Democratic event in New Hampshire alongside frontrunner Hillary Clinton and longshot Martin O'Malley. Julie Kliegman

This just in
3:02 p.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A University of Illinois at Chicago student was arrested on Monday for allegedly threatening online to shoot 16 white male students at the University of Chicago — one for every shot fired on black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke earlier this month.

When authorities searched the room of the suspect, who was living off campus, no gun was found, a source familiar with the investigation told The Chicago Sun-Times. The FBI has said charges for the threat are pending.

According to a statement by the University of Chicago on Sunday, the campus was on high alert due to the specifics in the threat, which targeted the campus quad at 10 a.m. However, while police monitored the quad Monday morning, there was no incident. University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer said that the school had canceled classes due to the "FBI's assessment of this threat and the recent tragic events at other campuses across the country." Jeva Lange

This just in
2:29 p.m. ET
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Four men were charged Monday in connection to the Nov. 23 gunfire near a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis that injured five, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a news conference. Demonstrators have been camped outside a police station protesting the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man.

"These four individuals violently impacted people's rights to demonstrate," Freeman said. "We will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."

Lawrence Scarsella was charged with five counts of second-degree assault and one count of second-degree riot, Freeman said. Joseph Martin Backman, Nathan Wayne Gustavsson, and Daniel Thomas Macey were all charged with one count of second-degree riot, The Washington Post reports.

The four men charged are due in court Tuesday, with Freeman's office asking for Scarsella's bail to be set at $500,000, and the others' at $250,000 each.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, Freeman said, and it's possible that federal authorities will add charges. Earlier Monday, the Minneapolis mayor, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and the Minneapolis Urban League all urged protesters to stop congregating near the police station. Julie Kliegman

on deadline
1:43 p.m. ET

As world leaders convene in Paris for the latest round of United Nations climate change talks, New York Times energy reporter Coral Davenport shared an inside look Monday at what the marathon negotiation sessions are like. She describes the experience as "the most physically grueling work you can do in a suit," and has learned to bring along a case of Clif bars, hand warmers (in case of long security lines outside), and a sleeping bag.

Here's what she said of the 2014 summit in Lima, Peru:

Negotiators worked on Friday night through about 3 a.m. and then announced a 4-hour break. Bleary and delirious delegates staggered out of their meetings, many too exhausted to avoid reporters, and those of us who had been lying in wait were able to elicit punchy and candid quotes from typically cautious and reticent delegates.

Is it possible that this method is not the best for forging sweeping — and complicated — legal deals designed to save the planet and reshape the global economy? [The New York Times]

Davenport noted that although French President François Hollande is setting tight deadlines in the hopes of avoiding any spillover from the talks, the government booked the convention center for a couple of extra days. After all, in 23 years of annual talks, they've never ended on time, according to Davenport.

"Much like college students and the United States Congress, United Nations negotiators are notorious for leaving everything to the last minute," she wrote.

Read more about Davenport's experiences here. Julie Kliegman

women's health
1:29 p.m. ET

Following a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday that left three dead and nine injured, current and former employees of the women's health organization took to social media to stress that acts of terrorism and intimidation aren't rare — in fact, they're almost routine.

Writer Bryn Greenwood of Kansas tweeted about her experience working for three years at a Planned Parenthood clinic that regularly weathered attacks:

The Twitter account @ClinicEscort likewise compiled a list of 100 attacks on women's health clinics, Planned Parenthoods, and reproductive health doctors in the past 40 years, including multiple arsons, bombings, shootings, and a kidnapping:

Some states have announced that they are upping police patrols of Planned Parenthood clinics out of concern for the security of employees and patients. You can read more about what it's like to be a Planned Parenthood volunteer here. Jeva Lange

12:45 p.m. ET

One university president recently sent a strong message to students who raise concerns over campus activities, including lectures and sermons, that make them feel uncomfortable: "This is not a day care," wrote Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, in a blog post spotted by Inside Higher Ed Monday. "This is a university!"

In the midst of debates over campus protests and trigger warnings, Piper wrote of a student who he said recently spoke to him about a university chapel sermon that made him feel bad for not showing love. Here's the president's response to him, and to other students who may feel similarly:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you're a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you're looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you're more interested in playing the "hater" card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don't want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn't one of them. [Oklahoma Wesleyan University]

As the New York Daily News points out, this isn't the first time Piper has written such a strongly worded defense of conservative values. Read Piper's full post here. Julie Kliegman

11:56 a.m. ET

In a report published Monday, members of a British parliament health committee asked Prime Minister David Cameron to drop his opposition to imposing a 20 percent tax on sugary drinks, BBC News reports. The cross-party committee wrote:

The scale and consequences of childhood obesity demand bold and urgent action. We believe that if the government fails to act, the problem will become far worse. We urge the Prime Minister to make a positive and lasting difference to children's health and life chances through his childhood obesity strategy. [House of Commons Health Committee]

Dr. Sarah Wollaston, the conservative legislator who chairs the committee, argued in a Guardian opinion piece Monday that taxing soft drinks would cut back on kids' consumption, which could in turn help lower obesity rates. Cameron isn't the only one who opposes the idea: Not shockingly, the British Soft Drink Association is pushing back, too.

"This was not an inquiry in the conventional meaning of the word," association director general Gavin Partington said in a statement Monday. "It was part of the PR campaign by the health lobby to persuade ministers to introduce a tax on soft drinks." Julie Kliegman

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