When a lawmaker retires, he hopes that voters and reporters will take a look back at all his legislative achievements. But poor David Wu--his signature accomplishment might be getting re-elected despite increasingly weird and unsavory behavior. Wu said he'd resign from Congress Tuesday after House Democrats urged an investigation into allegations that he engaged in "unwanted sexual behavior" with the teen daughter of a friend.
But that incident, reported Friday, was just the first in a string of questionable episodes which caused his staff to resign after confronting him in what sounds a lot like an intervention, staged with his psychiatrist just before the 2010 midterm elections.
What happened to David Wu? After growing up as an overachiever--he attended Stanford, Harvard, and Yale--and becoming the first Chinese-American elected to Congress, he's leaving office as the butt of infinite Internet jokes. But looking back at past behavior, a pattern emerges.
Summer 1976: Wu's ex-girlfriend at Stanford accuses him of trying to force her to have sex. Initially, Wu claimed it was consensual, telling police, "I was with my girlfriend, and we just got a little carried away," according to the officer's memory. The woman declined to press charges.
August 1998: After months of friction with Wu, his campaign manager quits upon hearing rumor of the assault, later calling it "a very small, but final, straw that broke the camel's back."
October 2004: The Oregonian brings the Stanford incident to light. Wu issues a statement reversing his original position, calling the incident "inexcusable behavior on my part," and explaining, "As a 21-year-old, I hurt someone I cared very much about. I take full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry... This single event forever changed my life and the person that I have become."
Update: A reader alerts that on February 19, 2010, Wu totaled a rental car after smashing into a parked Ford Focus near Portland, the Willamette Week reported. According to public records, the Focus' owner told the 911 operator, "I'm assuming that there's some kind of disability, if he was driving on the wrong side of the street... He says he fell asleep. I don't believe him."
October 27, 2010: Wu gives a loud, angry speech, causing a member of the Washington County Democratic Party member to complain formally.
October 29, 2010: A traveler files a complaint with the Transportation Security Administration after Wu manages to convince a TSA employee let him into a restricted area of the Portland airport to try to convince de-planing passengers to vote for him. The outburst was followed two days later by an episode at Portland International Airport, where Wu used his influence as a member of Congress to enter a restricted area and campaign for votes from off-loading passengers.
Wee hours of October 30, 2010: Female staffers receive several strange emails written from Wu's private address but signed by his teenage children. One urged, "Cut him some slack, man. What he does when he's wasted is send emails, not harass people he works with." Another said, "My Dad says you're the best because not even my Mom put up with him for [REDACTED: #] years and you have. We think you're cool." Another was the infamous photo of Wu dressed in a Tiger suit. His aides believe all the messages were sent by Wu himself from his BlackBerry.
(Photo via Willamette Week/Associated Press.)
October 30, 2010: Wu's staff confronts him about his erratic behavior over the four previous days, bringing his psychiatrist into the meeting. His pollster had emailed staffers earlier that day, saying, "This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW... No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else." But Wu wouldn't listen to his aides' appeals, and told them he was leaving to go see a movie.
February 23, 2011: Wu apologizes on Good Morning America for sending the tiger photo. "I think a take home lesson from this is that while [the photos] were very, very unprofessional you shouldn't ever send photographs of yourself in a Halloween costume, something you intend to wear to a private party a couple nights later," Wu admitted. "It's just not professional even when you're joshing around with your kids a couple nights before Halloween. I did send those photographs, it was unprofessional and inappropriate."
Hours later on February 23, 2011: Wu admits to the Oregonian that he took oxycontin from a campaign donor for neck pain. "The donor offered me an alternative painkiller, and I took two tablets. This was the only time that this has ever happened... I recognize that my action showed poor judgment at the time, and I sincerely regret having put my staff in a difficult position."
July 22, 2011: The Oregonian reports a woman, 18, left distraught voicemails at Wu's congressional office "accusing him of an unwanted sexual encounter." She was the daughter of Wu's high school friend, and initially, Wu told aides the incident was consensual and the newspaper only that: "This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention, or stress to a young woman and her family."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
Is there room in the movement for people who morally object to abortion?
Pro-life women are headed to D.C. Yes, they’ll turn out for the annual March for Life, which is coming up on January 27. But one week earlier, as many as a few hundred pro-lifers are planning to attend the Women’s March on Washington, which has been billed as feminist counterprogramming to the inauguration.
With organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America co-sponsoring the event, pro-life marchers have found themselves in a somewhat awkward position. What’s their place at an event that claims to speak for all women, but has aligned itself with pro-choice groups? With roughly a week to go before the march, organizers also released a set of “unity principles,” and one of them is “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.”
Why some Americans are withdrawing from mainstream society into “intentional communities”—and what the rest of the country can learn from them
VIRGINIA— For the last eight years, Nicolas and Rachel Sarah have been slowly weaning themselves off fossil fuels. They don’t own a refrigerator or a car; their year-old baby and four-year-old toddler play by candlelight rather than electricity at night. They identify as Christian anarchists, and have given an official name to their search for an alternative to consumption-heavy American life: the Downstream Project, with the motto to “do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
As it turns out, exiting the system is a challenging, time-consuming, and surprisingly technical process. Here in the Shenandoahs and central Virginia, a handful of tiny communities are experimenting with what it means to reject the norms of contemporary life and exist in a radically different way. They seem to share Americans’ pervasive sense of political alienation, which arguably reached an apotheosis with the election of Donald Trump: a sense of division from their peers, a distrust of government. The challenges of modern politics—dealing with issues like climate change, poverty, mass migration, and war on a global scale—are so vast and abstract that it’s difficult not to find them overwhelming. But instead of continuing in passive despair, as many Americans seem to do, the people in these communities decided to overhaul their lives.
Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity—a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency.
In 2006, Donald Trump made plans to purchase the Menie Estate, near Aberdeen, Scotland, aiming to convert the dunes and grassland into a luxury golf resort. He and the estate’s owner, Tom Griffin, sat down to discuss the transaction at the Cock & Bull restaurant. Griffin recalls that Trump was a hard-nosed negotiator, reluctant to give in on even the tiniest details. But, as Michael D’Antonio writes in his recent biography of Trump, Never Enough, Griffin’s most vivid recollection of the evening pertains to the theatrics. It was as if the golden-haired guest sitting across the table were an actor playing a part on the London stage.
“It was Donald Trump playing Donald Trump,” Griffin observed. There was something unreal about it.
When it comes to basic policy questions such as the minimum wage, introductory economics can be more misleading than it is helpful.
In a rich, post-industrial society, where most people walk around with supercomputers in their pockets and a person can have virtually anything delivered to his or her doorstep overnight, it seems wrong that people who work should have to live in poverty. Yet in America, there are more than ten million members of the working poor: people in the workforce whose household income is below the poverty line. Looking around, it isn’t hard to understand why. The two most common occupations in the United States are retail salesperson and cashier. Eight million people have one of those two jobs, which typically pay about $9–$10 per hour. It’s hard to make ends meet on such meager wages. A few years ago, McDonald’s was embarrassed by the revelation that its internal help line was recommending that even a full-time restaurant employee apply for various forms of public assistance.
A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next
In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st, and the president had spent many of the previous weeks, as he would spend the two subsequent weeks, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Things were looking up. Polls in the crucial states of Virginia and Pennsylvania showed Clinton with solid advantages. The formidable GOP strongholds of Georgia and Texas were said to be under threat. The moment seemed to buoy Obama. He had been light on his feet in these last few weeks, cracking jokes at the expense of Republican opponents and laughing off hecklers. At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakers—the Gap Band’s “Outstanding”—was older than she was.
King's famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail," published in The Atlantic as "The Negro Is Your Brother," was written in response to a public statement of concern and caution issued by eight white religious leaders of the South. It stands as one of the classic documents of the civil-rights movement.
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all of the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of "outsiders coming in"
In January 1999, Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov was summoned to the Kremlin by then-President Boris Yeltsin’s chief of staff, who showed him a videotape of “a man who looked like” Skuratov frolicking in bed with two prostitutes. Then he asked Skuratov to resign, even though the prosecutor was in the middle of investigating Yeltsin’s administration for taking bribes from a Swiss firm trying to secure lucrative contracts for Kremlin renovations. It was a grainy tape and Skuratov would later say it was fake, but he submitted his resignation nonetheless.
What happened next was one of the most decisive battles in determining who would replace Yeltsin when his second presidential term expired in 2000. Skuratov’s resignation had to be confirmed by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament—back when it had not yet become a Kremlin rubber stamp. The Federation Council balked and asked Skuratov to testify, but the day before he appeared on the floor, RTR TV ran the tape on its evening news, calling the segment “Three in a Bed.” When the Federation Council continued to resist the Kremlin, and Skuratov tried to go back to work as if nothing happened, the tape was played on TV again, this time on the program of the notorious media hit man Sergei Dorenko. Allowing children to see the tape, Dorenko said, would make it harder for parents to raise them patriotically; this was, after all, the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation, “not Mick Jagger, who can run around the beach with a naked behind.”
Billy Barr moved to the Rocky Mountains four decades ago, got bored one winter, and decided to keep a notebook that has become the stuff of legend.
It was a year into his life alone in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains when Billy Barr began his recordings. It started as a curiosity, a task to busy his mind during the winter. By no means, Barr told me, having skied down from his cabin to use the nearest phone, did he set out to make a vital database for climate change scientists. “Hell no!” he said. “I didn’t know anything about climate change at the time.”
In 1973 Barr had dropped out of college and made his home an abandoned mining shack at the base of Gothic Mountain, a 12,600-foot stone buttress. The cold winds blew through the shack’s wood slat walls as if they didn’t exist; he shared the bare dirt floor with a skunk and pine marten, his only regular company for much of the year. Barr had moved from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains precisely because of the solitude, but he couldn’t escape boredom. Especially that first winter. So he measured snow levels, animal tracks, and in spring the first jubilant calls of birds returning. He filled a notebook with these observations; then another notebook. This has continued now for 44 years.
The 19-year old company has been purchased for $88 million, which may be the brand’s last great marketing feat.
It’s finally over for American Apparel, the trendy turned-scandal plagued clothing brand whose first store opened in 1997. On Thursday, a bankruptcy court in Delaware approved an $88 million sale of the brand’s intellectual property and manufacturing equipment to Gildan, a Canadian apparel company that focuses on wholesale. Gildan will pay an additional $15 million to acquire American Apparel’s purchase orders and inventory, effectively giving the buyer all the tools it needs to launch a new clothing line from the ruins of the now defunct brand.
Millennials—especially those who identify with the term hipsters—likely remember a time in the early naughts when American Apparel’s snug, expensive t-shirts were emblematic of made-in-America cool. The company’s marketing blended the feel-good altruistic mission of making things in America while its advertising featured over-the-top sex appeal of one of America’s favorite traits: youth.
A massive eradication effort wiped out screwworms in the U.S. 35 years ago—but then they reappeared.
The stray dog came with bad news. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a dog near Homestead, Florida—a city 15 miles north of the Florida Keys—was found with wounds infested with screwworms, the much dreaded flesh-eating pest.
If you’re not familiar with screwworm, it’s because the U.S. poured millions of dollars into eradicating them back in 1982. But last fall, it reemerged in the Florida Keys, catching almost everyone by surprise. Wildlife biologists eventually found several deer on the archipelago with the parasite. Screwworms lay eggs in open wounds, burrowing into the flesh of pets and occasionally even humans. Livestock, historically, was the big economic concern. Florida still sends hundreds thousands of young calves to herds around the country each year, so a screwworm infestation could do some real damage.