U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s former chief of staff hanged himself in the basement of his parents’ Maryland home on Jan. 23, weeks after federal investigators arrested him on child pornography charges. “I’ve hurt every single human being I’ve ever known and the details of my shame are preserved on the internet for all time,” Jesse Ryan Loskarn, 35, wrote in a suicide note. “There is no escape.” Loskarn said his own childhood sexual abuse led to his child porn obsession.
Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., resigned on Jan. 27, three months after he was caught trying to buy cocaine from a federal agent. Radel, 37, elected in 2012, was a rising star in the Republican party. Radel’s situation became public in November when he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in a D.C. court, after which he spent a month in rehab. He initially ignored calls to resign, but in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner conceded, “I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative.”
Another Marlboro Man has died from smoking. Eric Lawson, 72, who played the rugged Marlboro Man in commercials in the 1970s and ’80s, died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Jan. 10. Lawson’s wife said her late husband knew smoking “had a hold on him” but couldn’t stop the habit he had picked up at the age of 14. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least four Marlboro Men have died of smoking-related diseases. Lawson and others later went on to appear in anti-smoking campaigns.
An Italian appeals court on Jan. 30 declared Amanda Knox, 26, and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, guilty of the 2007 stabbing death of Knox’s former roommate, Meredith Kercher. Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 and acquitted on appeal in 2011, but the Italian Supreme Court last year threw out the not-guilty verdict. The new conviction will likely return to the Italian Supreme Court. Knox watched the trial from her home in Seattle, and extradition appears unlikely.
Another chief architect of Obamacare has decided to leave Congress. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., played a key role in drafting the huge bill as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2009-10. Waxman is one of the last “Watergate Babies”—Democrats swept into Congress in the wave election of 1974 after President Richard Nixon resigned. Two other Obamacare champions, U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., already announced they will not seek reelection.
Microsoft announced on Feb. 4 that Satya Nadella, 46, will replace long-time CEO Steve Ballmer. Nadella joined the company in 1992 and rose to lead one of Microsoft’s fastest-growing divisions, cloud services, which last year grew 107 percent in revenue over the previous year. He was born in Hyderabad, India, and he holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Chicago. As part of the announcement, Bill Gates revealed that he will be stepping down as Microsoft’s chairman.