In a rare move of public political action (public anything really, other than Hanes commercials), basketball legend Michael Jordan published a statement on ESPN's Undefeated website addressing both police brutality and targeted murders of police officers.

M.J. also made large donations to two different organizations that support both causes.

Jordan opens his statement talking about his own upbringing as it relates to violence.

As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

The statement is empathetic to both causes, and Jordan goes on to announce his contributions to two organizations.

To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.

Prior to this, Jordan's last bit of public engagement with politics was participating in a fundraiser for President Obama. Discuss

Well, the fall might be even longer than we expected.

This morning, The New York Times reported the results of a new poll that shows the 2016 president election significantly closer than many expected: GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump actually appears to be tied with his democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton.

The Times report suggests that Clinton’s on-going email scandal was the catalyst for her slide in the polls. The poll reveals that 67 percent of voters think Clinton is “not honest and trustworthy.” According to the Times, that’s a 5 percent increase from a CBS News poll from last month (before the FBI released findings from the Clinton investigation). Whatever factors are playing into Clinton's lessening support, this much is clear: Her polling lead over Trump is gone. As of this morning, the two candidates are tied, with each projected to receive about 40 percent of the vote in a general election.

Of course, one poll isn’t a prophecy. And we’ve got a long time (politically speaking) before anyone casts a vote. But if this new data is an indication, we’re in for a much closer presidential race than some experts thought. Discuss

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced this morning that 560 more troops will be sent to Iraq to help retake Mosul from ISIS.

The additional troops will bring the number in Iraq to 4,647, though the Washington Post notes that the number may be closer to 6,000, when it takes the troops deployed on temporary assignments into account.

The majority of the new troops, according to reports, will be helping build up the newly recaptured Qayara air base, which is about 40 miles from Mosul, and will include engineers and troops to work on logistics.

"These additional U.S. forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight," Carter said in his announcement.

ISIS captured Mosul in the summer of 2014 and has been used as their headquarters since then. Discuss

The Evangelicals

The word ‘evangelical’ gets thrown around A LOT, especially in this election year. So who are these people, exactly? Read More

Democrats in the House of Representatives are holding a sit-in to force a vote on increased gun control. Currently, they're in their fifth hour of the sit-in. Led by Congressman John Lewis—who is no stranger to organizing and civil disobedience from the Civil Rights Movement—about 40 Democrats gathered on the floor calling for a vote—one that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan would have to call.

In the moments leading up to the sit-in, Lewis spoke passionately about gun control.

There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more.
Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary, sometimes you have to make a way out of no way.
We have lost hundreds and thousands of innocent people to gun violence. Tiny little children. Babies. Students. And teachers. Mother and fathers. Sisters and brothers. Daughters and sons. Friends and neighbors. And what has this body done? Mr. Speaker, not one thing.

Democrats chanted "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired!" and "No bill, no break!"

The disturbance caused Representative Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, to send the session into recess. Ryan could decide to have the floor cleared or sanction the group participating in the sit-in, or he could continue to wait it out.

The demonstration isn't being televised by C-Span because the House is in recess, but the Periscope feed of California Representative Scott Peters is being streamed on C-Span's website.

This comes, of course, just one week after Senator Chris Murphy led a 15-hour filibuster for a vote on gun control. Discuss