Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted by military police as he leaves the first day of closing arguments in his military trial July 25, 2013, in Fort Meade, Md. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Note: Some of the following information is based on Associated Press coverage
Bradley Manning was acquitted, but he’s still guilty. What gives?
Army Pfc. Manningan intelligence analyst working in Iraq, beat the most serious charge against him: on Tuesday, a military judge acquitted him of aiding the enemy. This was the gravest of the 22 counts he faced, and the one that would have carried a possible life sentence without parole.
Government prosecutors attempted, and ultimately failed, to convince the judge that Manning clearly knew the information he leaked would likely reach operatives in Al-Qaeda.
But (and it’s a big but), the judge ruled that Manning had reason to believe the leaks would harm the U.S., even if that was not his intention, and convicted him of 19 of 22 charges. Manning now faces up to about 126 years in prison (although it’s likely to be much less). Sentencing takes place today (Wednesday). Continue reading →
Rampant overfishing in the world’s oceans has led to a dramatic decline in big “predatory” fish populations — the one’s we eat, like tuna and cod – while creating an overabundance of small fish.
That’s according to data from a 2011 regression analysis by scientists at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre, who used more than 200 marine ecosystem models to show evidence that big fish populations dropped by more than two-thirds over the last century. More than half that decline occurred within the last 40 years.
“Overfishing has absolutely had a ‘when cats are away, the mice will play’ effect on our oceans,” said Dr Villy Christensen, who led the study. “By removing the large, predatory species from the ocean, small forage fish have been left to thrive.”
The Nature of Overfishing, a “web aquarium” created by graphic designer Sam Slover, cleverly visualizes this data. Slide the handle at the bottom of the graphic to see what a century of overfishing looks like beneath the surface.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently launched a nifty free interactive search tool that allows users to obtain basic demographic and economic statistics for every single congressional district in the United States. The expansive web-app uses the most recent data from the Census’ American Community Survey, an annual study that provides detailed statical portraits of communities across the country. Users can explore their own congressional districts for key data on demographics, jobs, housing characteristics, economic status, and education level. The one catch is that you have to know what congressional district you live in. But don’t fret! You can search for that right here, in yet another handy government web app.
Includes interactive map of life expectancy rates throughout the U.S.
Location, location, location.
It can be a matter of life and death, according to a recent report published by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics. Presenting a snapshot of America’s overall wellness, researchers crunched health data from every county in the country (see interactive map below), and found that although Americans are exercising more and living longer, we still lag behind the world’s other high-income nations in longevity (the U.S ranks 51st in world), and that’s largely due to poor diet and over eating. Even with the increase in physical activity, obesity rates continue to rise in almost every county, and heart disease has remained the leading cause of death. Average life expectancy for American men is now 76, up from 67 four decades ago. And for women, it’s now 81, up from 76. These rates though vary dramatically from county to county, with socioeconomic status serving as one of the key determinants.
At 81 years, men in Fairfax, VA have the highest life expectancy in the country. But drive just 350 miles to McDowell County, WV and it drops to a just 64 years for men, on par with the African nation of Gambia (for men and women combined). Meanwhile, women in Marin County live to 85, on average, the country’s highest life expectancy (compared with the lowest, at 72, in Perry County, KY). In fact, as Kelly O’Mara and Olivia Hubert-Allen note in KQED’s News Fix, the Bay Area made out quite well in the report, with San Francisco ranking first in having the fewest obese men in the country.
Mouse over IHM’s incredibly detailed map to see how life expectancy rates and various health conditions in counties throughout the country have changed over the last three decades. Note that what you’ll see first is the health map from 1985. To see 2010 rates, use the time slider at the bottom of the graphic.
A Florida jury’s verdict earlier this month that acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, instantly fueled angry protests across the nation. From Atlanta to Oakland, demonstrators took to the streets, condemning the verdict as racially biased.
Despite the high visibility and widespread occurrence of these protests, however, the American public remains sharply divided in its reaction to the case, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted about a week after the verdict. The poll of 1,480 adults nationwide found that roughly as many respondents were satisfied with the verdict (39 percent) as were dissatisfied (42 percent). More than 50 percent of respondents said that the issue of race was receiving far more attention than it deserved, while only 36 percent said the case raised important questions of race that need to be discussed. Not surprisingly, the survey also found that public reaction was sharply divided along racial and partisan lines: a large majority of African-American respondents (86 percent) said they were dissatisfied with the verdict as compared to 30 percent of whites respondents. Meanwhile, only 22 percent of Democratic respondents said they were satisfied, as opposed to 61 percent of Republicans, and a whopping 80 percent of Tea Party Republicans.
Below are results to two of the survey’s main questions (graphically represented in different ways). Select an individual group and mouse over the charts to see percentages.
California’s statewide minimum wage is $8/hour. But in order to pay for basic living expenses, a single California resident with no children actually needs to make more like $11.20/hour. This is an estimate of what’s called a living wage.
Below are estimates of how much each adult in various-sized households needs to make in order to pay for basic monthly living expenses (with amounts based on statewide averages). These figures, and living wage calculations in general, are averages. The actual cost of things in California, of course, varies significantly, by region. Whereas rent in, say Stockton, might be lower than the average shown here, San Francisco’s average rent is, well, fuggedaboutit!
All estimates below are taken from a Living Wage Calculator created by Amy K. Glasmeier, a professor of urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using the most updated government data, the calculator estimates average living wage expenses for every state and every county in the country (methodology explained beneath the chart).
Methodology (as explained by MIT’s Glasmeier):
“The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location … The tool is designed to provide a minimum estimate of the cost of living for low wage families. The estimates do not reflect a middle class standard of living. The realism of the estimates depend on the type of community under study. Metropolitan counties are typically locations of high cost. In such cases, the calculator is likely to underestimate costs such as housing and child care. Consider the results a minimum cost threshold that serves as a benchmark, but only that. Users can substitute local data when available to generate more nuanced estimates. Adjustments to account for local conditions will provide greater realism and potentially increase the accuracy of the tool. As developed, the tool is meant to provide one perspective on the cost of living in America.”
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court let California proceed with same-sex marriages, making it the eleventh state where gay couples can legally wed. The court’s ruling, however, does not impact marriage laws in the remaining 39 states that haven’t extended marriage rights. While public support for same-sex marriage has grown steadily, the U.S still has a long way to go before it joins the ranks of the 16 other countries — spanning five continents — that have enacted national same-sex marriage laws. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalize the practice. More recent additions include, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand and France, which all changed amended their laws this year (in Uruguay and New Zealand the law doesn’t go into effect until August).
England is the latest country to join the fold. On July 15 British lawmakers passed legislation — which the Queen Elizabeth officially approved — that will enable same-sex marriages to commence in England and Wales.
The map above shows the 16 countries with national same-sex marriage laws. Not included are the U.S. and Mexico, where same-sex marriage is legal in only certain jurisdictions.
How did the Prop. 8 case go all the way from California to the U.S. Supreme Court? Scroll through this interactive to trace the path. Use the arrows to advance, and zoom in to blow-up text size and images. It can also be viewed in full screen mode (click on bottom left button).
Update July 24: The Supreme Court sent a challenge to the University of Texas’ affirmative action admissions process back to a lower court.
The compromise ruling throws out the decision by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the Texas admission plan.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said the appeals court did not test the Texas plan under the most exacting level of judicial review. He said such a test is required by the court’s 2003 decision upholding affirmative action in higher education.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the lone dissenter.
Next week the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision on the constitutionality of race-based admissions policies at public universities. It will be the latest ruling in a long history of challenges to various affirmative action efforts. Specifically, the court will determine whether the goal of greater racial diversity on campus justifies preferential treatment for minority applicants.
Abigail Fisher, a white honors student who was rejected from the University of Texas in 2008, didn’t think so. She sued the school, claiming that its race-conscious admissions policy unfairly favored black and Hispanic applicants over whites and Asians. She said:
“There were people in my class with lower grades who weren’t in all the activities I was in who were being accepted into UT, and the only difference between us was the color of our skin… For an institution of higher learning to act this way makes no sense to me.”
The case came before the Supreme Court last October. The court’s upcoming ruling could have broad implications for universities and employers around the country.
Scroll through the timeline below for a history of game-changing events in the evolution of affirmative action.
Edward Snowden, who leaked information to reporters earlier this month about the U.S. National Security Administration’s classified surveillance program, follows in the footsteps of a long line of government informants who have shared top secrets with the press and helped shake up the establishment. To some they’re considered heroes, to others traitors. To journalists, and the media at large, these stories are pretty much the holy grail.