There were 7.8 million children living with at least one grandparent in 2009, up from 4.7 million in 1991. Such family arrangements were most common among black and Hispanic children but have risen most substantially among white children.
In 2009, 17 percent of black children and 14 percent of Hispanic children lived with a grandparent – just slightly higher than in 1991. Among white children, however, the percentage living with a grandparent increased from 5 percent to 9 percent. The number of children living with at least one grandparent in 2009 represented 10.5 percent of all kids in the U.S.
“There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.”—From Jose Antonio Vargas’ piece “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant" in the New York Times. In the piece Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, reveals that he is an undocumented immigrant.
“In our drunken, over-funded stupor, we asked for and got funding for equipment that we didn’t have teams to operate. There was so much stuff that we had to buy other equipment, like trailers and trucks, to haul all of it to potential emergencies. It truly was the best of times and the worst of times. Our co-conspirators were the vendors and consultants that fed off our addiction and our coveting more and more. In the end, we woke up with white powder all over our faces, and we could not remember what grant was funding what project and what had to be delivered when in order to meet the grant guidelines that had tightened up overtime.”—A former Seattle-area emergency manager writing this week on the billions in federal homeland security grants that Washington began rapidly awarding to state and local governments after the Sept. 11 hijackings. Eric Holdeman’s online remarks appeared just as a major national conference on the grants began in San Francisco. We’ve written extensively about counterterrorism and preparedness grants at the Center for Investigative Reporting. (via ageofperil)
“We wanted this child to have everything. That’s why we worked this hard. That’s why we poisoned ourselves at this factory. Now it turns out the child is poisoned too. I have no words to describe how I feel.”—Han Zongyuan of Mengxi Village in China describes his feelings after being told that his 3-year old daughter had “absorbed enough lead to irreversibly diminish her intellectual capacity and harm her nervous system.” His daughter and over 300 other adults and children were poisoned by lead emissions from Zhejiang Haijiu Battery Factory, a maker of lead-acid batteries for motorcycles and electric bikes. Via New York Times
It’s the busiest airport in the world. Well, if you’re judging by the ratio of federal security screeners to actual airline travelers. Just one Alaska Airlines flight departs each day from the small Gustavus Airport in Alaska, and that flight, like every other into and out of the United States, must be kept safe from terrorism.
The Transportation Security Administration awarded a $40,000 contract this month for the task of carrying four airport screeners daily to the far-flung Alaska town of Gustavus, population 346. For 77 summer days in a row, the company Wings of Alaska based in Portland, Ore., will fly TSA officers to Gustavus from nearby Juneau, a 25-minute trip.
Even the most unlikely targets of Al Qaeda have the TSA’s ubiquitous blue uniforms present. So that plan to get away from it all won’t mean escaping every headache of modern civilization. At least the lines will be shorter.
Americans living longer but still falling behind other nations
Americans are living longer than ever before, but compared with the healthiest nations in the world, their life expectancy is shorter and falling behind.
The average American man in 2007 could expect to live 75.6 years, and a woman 80.8 years, according to research released today by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. But between 2000 and 2007, more than 80 percent of counties in the United States fell in standing against the “international frontier,” the average of the 10 nations with the best life expectancy in the world.
The United States ranked 37th in the world for life expectancy in 2007. Throughout the country, women fared worse than men, and blacks could expect to live the shortest lives. The study, published in the journal Population Health Metrics, attributes the gap between the U.S. and other nations to preventable risk factors – namely tobacco use, obesity and high blood pressure. More …
American students are less proficient in their nation’s history than in any other subject, according to results of a nationwide test released on Tuesday, with most fourth graders unable to say why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure and few high school seniors able to identify China as the North Korean ally that fought American troops during the Korean War.
Over all, 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrated proficiency on the exam, the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Federal officials said they were encouraged by a slight increase in eighth-grade scores since the last administration of the history test, in 2006. But even those gains offered little to celebrate, because, for example, fewer than a third of eighth graders could answer even a “seemingly easy question” asking them to identify an important advantage American forces had over the British during the Revolution, the government’s statement on the results said.
Not exactly, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Two news organizations have launched copycat Wikileaks sites where anonymous persons who want to blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse can do so by uploading documents that describe scandalous conduct without the source of that information being revealed. The sites are maintained by Al-Jazeera (“Transparency Unit”) and the Wall Street Journal (“SafeHouse”).
Internet freedom advocates at EFF are saying, however, that a close read of SafeHouse’s user terms of service raise questions about whether anonymous whistleblowers can really be sure about their anonymity:
SafeHouse’s terms of service reserve the right ‘to disclose any information about you to law enforcement authorities’ without notice, then goes even further, reserving the right to disclose information to any ‘requesting third party,’ not onyl to comply with the law but also to ‘protect the property or rights of Dow Jones or any affiliated companies’ or to ‘safeguard the interests of others.’
As for Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit, they’ll turn over the personally identifiable information of an Internet user seeking to blow the whistle on misconduct if a law enforcement agency asks for it, “or we believe it is necessary.”
That could seemingly discourage people from coming forward, to say the least. The news comes after online watchdogs
“Journalism is for the young. Young people who go into journalism as a calling are entering, I think, the most worthwhile profession that is possible, and the reason I say that is that there is no profession or industry or calling that tries very hard to tell the truth and to sell the truth and to make the truth make money. The truth is hard, first of all, to get. And harder still to communicate. And more hard to make money on!”—Gay Talese (via thedeadline)
“We are going to bring new people in no matter who wins the next election, and I hope you will have some lexicon for them of the acronyms that you have. Because I counted 24 in your two testimonies: DHS, SSA, NIPP, HSPD, CIKR, SSP, PSA, NSSE, SEAR, BZPP, SAV, CV, PI, PM, HSIN-CFS, whatever that is. … CBR, ViSAT, R-SAT, HITRAC, BMAP, SEWG, RMA, IGP, SBU/FOUO. We sometimes talk about our kids texting, and we can’t understand what they are saying. I don’t think they have anything on you two.”—Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California speaking to two senior homeland security officials at a 2008 hearing on the protection of mass gatherings. (via ageofperil)
I was an ordinary person and a student who was detained for no reason.
That day I wasn’t part of any protest. I was returning home from the university. They harassed me, abused me, tortured me.
”—"Leila", whose name has been changed to protect her identify, is an Iranian woman who says she was beaten, raped, and tortured after being detained by police in 2009. Tune in to tonight’s PBS NewsHour for her full story and visit our website for a full transcript of her interview.
A New Jersey man was sentenced to 30 months in prison June 7 for his role in a conspiracy to steal cash from travelers as they passed through security gates at the Newark Liberty International Airport.
The former Transportation Security Administration supervisor pleaded guilty to accepting…
“From the very first meeting that led to the creation of the Chauncey Bailey Project, there were two goals … One was to continue Chauncey’s work and to make sure that when a journalist is murdered because of their work justice is served. There is no doubt that the work of the project helped keep law enforcement focused on this case, and revealed facts and evidence that may have never been disclosed. Today’s verdict is a reminder that journalists do make a difference and that their work is crucial to our democracy.”—Robert Rosenthal, executive editor of the Chauncey Bailey Project and head of the Center for Investigative Reporting, responding to the news that former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV had been convicted of three counts of murder for ordering journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men killed in summer 2007.
The Sacramento Bee reports: “The amount of trash hauled to landfills has dropped to its lowest level since the state began keeping track in 1989, according to preliminary figures compiled by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. California now has enough landfill space to last nearly 50 years.”
Even a slight gust of wind from Mother Nature later this year during hurricane season could shove us past the total amount paid out in 2010 by private insurers for storm damage.
So much destruction has befallen the United States with June hardly upon us that it seems inconceivable the National Flood Insurance Program could absorb much more. It’s already billions of dollars in debt, with much of the burden leftover from Hurricane Katrina.
That’s what many fail to understand about catastrophic events. When news cameras have disappeared — as they have already begun to in Joplin — the true cost of natural disasters is only just coming into focus.
Industry experts call a catastrophe any event that reaches $25 million or more in insured losses. So you could say with certainty that we’ve had a few catastrophes this year.
The New York Timescame up with a range of dollar figures after interviewing folks in the insurance world, and the total for every horrible incident so far in 2011 conservatively hits $10 billion in insured losses. Joplin, Mo., combined with storms that pummeled Alabama in April, could cost anywhere from $4.5 billion to $8 billion, according to one estimate from an insurance institute.
A separate consulting firm also puts the total for both as high as $8 billion, while another risk-modeling outfit says the complete insured losses for just one week in April could reach $5.5 billion.
That only addresses the monetary cost. Americans who have merely flown over Missouri and not visited the newsroom of the Joplin Globe, or indulged in adult beverages at Joplin’s spacious pool halls and dive bars, or wandered its open-aired flea markets on a sunny Saturday, can scarcely imagine the true human toll.
The number of dead is now close to 150, but each of those numerals had memorable chili recipes, debated Charlie Sheen’s chances for sobriety, voted in elections, endured restlessness during tax season, and failed to elaborately say goodbye to a best friend.
By the beginning of June, America was one death away from beating the previous record of fatalities caused by tornadoes: 519, set in 1953, not long after serious record-keeping began.
Over the strenuous objections of business-aviation companies and their wealthy patrons, federal regulators have decided that America’s rich and famous cannot hide from public scrutiny details of their whereabouts on private aircraft.
The who, what, where and when of business jets ferrying corporate chieftains and other public figures will become available in data systems that already detail the flight patterns of commercial airliners. Many major airlines allow lower-budget travelers who move about the country in accommodations that resemble a sardine can to at least view in-flight monitors displaying the plane’s progress.
Similar data like longitude, latitude, tail number and destination for private jets would be accessible by August of this year through NASSI, short for National Airspace System Status Information, according to Government Security News and a notice that appeared in the Federal Register late last week.
FlightAware and PlaneFinder, two of several online resources, make it possible for anyone to view specifics for millions of past and current flights, including photos of the aircraft, flight time remaining, altitude, speed, routes and more. The services rely on live feeds of public flight data.
Cell-phone alerts are even now available for when an aircraft of interest plans to become airborne or reach its destination. Enthusiasts known as “planespotters” and watchdogs have used public flight data to monitor the movement of planes held by front companies but directed by the CIA to transport terrorism detainees to so-called “black sites.” It’s also been relied upon to track rogue weapons dealers who violate U.N. arms embargoes by sneaking supplies into the hands of warlords.
Sarah Palin’s long-awaited and much-debated trove of emails from her time as Alaska governor will be released in Juneau at 9 a.m. local time on Friday. It will be your classic document dump—sort of. Boxes full of the 24,199 pages of emails will be available at the door of the governor’s office for 3¢ a page (along with handtrucks for reporters to wheel them to their cars), reports MSNBC’s investigative unit. Although the state once quoted figures as high as $15 million for providing the documents, the full release will cost interested news organizations only $725.97, plus shipping for those who decide not to travel to Juneau for first dibs.
The release is an incomplete victory for transparency seekers. The emails come from Palin’s private Yahoo account, on which she, “First Dude” Todd Palin and up to 50 of her staff conducted state business outside the jurisdiction of public records requests.