Only in America
July 20, 2012

The former mistress of a Nassau County, N.Y., police officer is suing the county, claiming his supervisors should have stopped him from sleeping with her. Tara Obenauer, 42, a Wall Street executive, says the department was "negligent" for not knowing Officer Mike Tedesco often visited her home while on duty, and that the affair caused her "severe and substantial emotional damage." A lawyer for the county said the claim "defies imagination." The Week Staff

The police state
11:04 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Though Attorney General Eric Holder has frequently criticized police brutality — and his Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released a damning report on police misconduct in Ferguson, Mo. — an investigation by the New York Times finds that during Holder's tenure, the DOJ "has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way to arguments" at the Supreme Court.

On a broader level, the Holder DOJ has generally made it easier for police to use force at their own discretion and more difficult for citizens to successfully lodge a complaint. This is nothing new, though high profile civil rights inquiries like the Ferguson report have highlighted the contradictions in DOJ approaches to police behavior.

Law professor William R. Yeomans of American University argues that Holder would face immense institutional opposition from federal law enforcement should he attempt to change the DOJ's basic pro-police stance: "The institutional interests in support of law enforcement are very powerful and very real," he said. Bonnie Kristian

This just in
10:27 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday announced an agreement to move ahead on a stalled human trafficking bill, a development that should finally result in a long-delayed confirmation vote on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.

"As soon as we finish the trafficking bill," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, "we'll move to the president's nominee for attorney general in the next day or so."

Democrats repeatedly filibustered the trafficking bill due to language restricting abortions — language they claimed Republicans sneaked into the bill at the last minute. Republicans responded by refusing to hold a confirmation vote for Lynch — whose nomination has been pending since November — until the Senate finished work on the trafficking bill. Jon Terbush

10:15 a.m. ET
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

A startup company wants to change the way we approach breast cancer screenings.

Color Genomics has developed a way of testing whether women are genetically at risk for breast cancer, and it's a lot less expensive than traditional breast cancer screenings. The saliva test is only $249, which is about a tenth of the cost of other genetic breast cancer screenings, The New York Times reports. The saliva test looks at BRCA1 and BRCA2, the primary genes where mutations can occur and increase the risk of breast cancer, as well as 17 other cancer-risk genes.

Traditionally, women who have family histories of breast cancer undergo genetic testing to assess their risks of the disease. But the accessibility and ease of Color Genomics' test could allow many women to be tested who may not have been able to in the past.

Some experts have expressed concern that the test could create confusion among women whose test results weren't clear, such as a test signaling a mutation, but not whether it was dangerous or benign. And Color Genomics wants the test to be sold through its website, a policy another startup took with testing in 2013, only to be shut down by the FDA, the Times notes. Meghan DeMaria

Numbers don't lie
9:50 a.m. ET

Support for ObamaCare is creeping up, and it could tick even higher if Americans were better informed about the specifics of the law, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday.

In the survey, only eight percent of adults correctly responded that ObamaCare is costing less than expected. Meanwhile, 50 percent of adults — and a whopping 70 percent of Republicans — said it was costing more than planned, while 18 percent said the cost remained unchanged, and 23 percent were unsure.

In March, a Congressional Budget Office report concluded ObamaCare would cost 11 percent less than expected.

Despite that confusion, though, for the first time since November 2012 a plurality of Americans hold a favorable opinion of the law. While support for ObamaCare bottomed out at 33 percent in late 2013 following the law's blundering debut, it rose to 43 percent in the latest survey. —Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
9:17 a.m. ET
Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Koch brothers may not be settling on a Republican presidential candidate just yet. One day after The New York Times reported that the Kochs were getting behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a "top Koch aide" tells Politico the billionaire brothers are going to give Jeb Bush a "chance to audition for the brothers' support."

The reason for the reconsideration, according to Mike Allen: "Bush is getting a second look because so many Koch supporters think he looks like a winner."

It's possible the Kochs really are undecided. It's also possible they're doing some damage control to contain the fallout from the Times story.

Either way, David Koch, fresh off proclaiming Walker should be the nominee, walked back the remark in a statement to Politico. While Walker would make a "terrific" president, he said, "I am not endorsing or supporting any candidate for president at this point." Jon Terbush

9:03 a.m. ET

Archaeologists have discovered an incredibly rare, advanced weapon, and they found it by accident.

A Russian archaeological team was studying a sabre that was discovered seven years ago in Yaroslavl. They were only conducting a routine examination, but closer inspection revealed that the sabre was actually the oldest crucible steel weapon found in eastern Europe.

Asya Engovatova, who led the research, said in a statement that the discovery was "highly unexpected," since the sabre had already been on display at a local museum for seven years. In 2007, Engovatova's team found the weapon at a mass grave site for civilians killed in a massacre in 1238. The site also yielded skeletons and household items, including dishes and jewelry.

Analysis of the sabre revealed that it was a sword made from crucible steel, a rare and expensive material. The archaeologists believe the sabre could have belonged to a wealthy warrior from the army of Batu Khan, who led the 1238 invasion. They also believe the sabre was burned during a ritual before it was buried. There's still much for historians to explore about the weapon, but for now, the sabre has returned to its display at the Yaroslavl Museum. Meghan DeMaria

8:25 a.m. ET

On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Kansas City/St. Joseph diocese. Finn pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges that he failed to report suspected child abuse to authorities — he waited six months to tell police that Rev. Shawn Ratigan had hundreds of explicit photos on his computer of young girls from around churches where he worked — and was sentenced to two years of probation. Ratigan was given 50 years for child pornography.

Finn, 62, offered his resignation under a section of canon law that allows early departure of duties due to illness or other "grave" reason that renders them unfit for duty. Last month, Pope Francis demoted Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Scotland and stripped him of all priestly "duties and privileges" after O'Brien admitted to sexual misconduct in 2013, but Finn is the first U.S. bishop removed for failing to report a suspected child abuser. Archbishop Joseph Naumman will temporarily lead the Kansas City diocese. Peter Weber

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