Done. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is retiring after 40 years in office. That’s right. Voters sent him to Washington 20 times. Pundits describe Waxman, 74, as one of the country’s most influential liberal lawmakers. He was instrumental in writing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and helped champion it through Congress. Conservatives will be glad to see him go, but his departure isn’t likely to help them much. Although Democrats are expected to lose seats in this year’s election, Waxman’s probably won’t be one of them. His district includes Beverly Hills and Malibu, liberal bastions and some of the best places for Democratic fundraising. Waxman is California’s second long-serving congressman to announce his retirement this year. Rep. George Miller, also a Democrat, announced he would step down earlier this month. Losing two senior-ranking House members will weaken California’s influence in Washington. And conservatives across the nation said, “Amen!”
Busted. Police in New York and New Jersey are cracking down on prostitution ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J. Last night, they raided a Manhattan apartment building that houses students from The King’s College. Reports indicate no evidence the students were involved, but officers arrested four prostitutes and a pimp. Another raid at a Marriott hotel in downtown Brooklyn netted three high-end escorts and their ringleader. Officials have not yet determined whether the women were working voluntarily or as victims of sex trafficking, which tends to increase around high-profile sporting events like the Super Bowl. Watch for more news next week about sex trafficking in New York and New Jersey from WORLD’s Emily Belz.
Free at last? The Obama administration is asking the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin advising low-level, nonviolent inmates to apply for sentence commutation. Officials will ask defense attorneys to do the same. The push for commutations is part of an effort to overhaul the criminal justice system and keep nonviolent drug offenders out of prison. In December, President Barack Obama gave clemency to eight inmates serving long sentences for crack cocaine convictions meted out before Congress adopted the Fair Sentencing Act, a law designed to reduce disparities in convictions for crack and powder cocaine. White House officials said the president would like to set more of those prisoners free.
Survey says … A new poll confirms what political pundits have been saying for months: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. The Washington Post/ABC poll shows Clinton with a 6-to-1 advantage over potential Democratic challengers. Seventy-three percent of potential voters went for Clinton in the survey. Vice President Joe Biden got just 12 percent of the hypothetical vote. None of the six Republicans included in the survey had a majority of support. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mitt Romney’s former running mate, was the front-runner, with 20 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush got 18 percent support. The most talked about congressmen likely to join the race all drew fairly equal support: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had 12 percent; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida had 11 percent; and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky brought up the rear with 10 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, once a GOP darling, drew just 13 percent of prospective voters.
Desensitized. A new study out of Britain offers hope to parents whose children suffer from peanut allergies. By feeding children small amounts of peanut flour, researchers were able to desensitize children to the nuts. After six months of treatment, more than half the patients in the study were able to eat the equivalent of 10 peanuts at a time without having a reaction. More than 80 percent could eat five peanuts. Nut allergies are the leading cause of fatal allergic reactions and affect 1.4 percent of U.S. children.