–Bernie Sanders told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that he’s ready to do battle with President Obama as Republicans threaten to engineer a government default in February’s debt ceiling negotiations. Sanders said that the White House is all too eager to offer welfare state downsizing in talks with the GOP. “We’ve got to make the president and Republicans and any Democrats that want to cut Social Security an offer they can`t refuse, and that is tens of millions of people have got to make it very clear to Congress — Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit,” the only socialist in Congress said.
-In his upcoming memoir, Stanley McChrystal accepts some responsibility for disparaging the Obama administration in front of Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings. “Regardless of how I judged the story for fairness or accuracy, responsibility was mine,” McChrystal said, according to the AP. “By nature I tended to trust people and was typically open and transparent. … But such transparency would go astray when others saw us out of context or when I gave trust to those few who were unworthy of it.” The Pentagon has questioned the veracity of the article, but Rolling Stones has stood by Hastings, saying the piece is “accurate in every detail.”
-According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (hat tip: POLITICO’s Charles Mahtesian), there will be ten legislators in the 113th Congress who said they “didn’t belong to any particular faith, didn’t know or refused to disclose their religion.” While this is a marked rise in the number of likely irreligious Congresspeople since the 96th Congress was polled – not a single Congressperson or Senator claimed to eschew religious affiliation then – Capitol Hill still has a long way to go before the God (or lack thereof) Gap is closed. According to Pew’s study, “About one-in-five U.S. adults describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular’ – a group sometimes collectively called the ‘nones.’ But only one member of the new Congress, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), is religiously unaffiliated, according to information gathered by CQ Roll Call.”
-While protests against sexual assault in India have garnered significant media attention, a less noticed demonstration took place in Ohio today to shed light on rape culture in the United States. The protesters gathered in Steubenville, a small town that played host to a horrific gang rape involving high schoolers. Roughly 1,000 people turned out to share painful stories of sexual violence and to denounce law enforcement for allegedly protecting members of the high school’s football team suspected of raping the 16 year old victim. Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, who has turned down the opportunity to wrest the investigation from the town’s police department, said that the two boys already charged in connection with the rape would be the only ones to be indicted.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Steubenville is in West Virginia.