Boston bombing suspect could be informed of charges today
Dzokhar Tsarnaev could be informed of charges as early as Sunday, a Department of Justice official tells CNN.
April 21st, 2013
10:57 AM ET

Boston bombing suspect could be informed of charges today

Federal officials hope to inform Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of charges as early as today, a Department of Justice official tells CNN's Pamela Brown.

The 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing remains in serious but stable condition in a Boston hospital, where he's under heavy guard.

While a presentment of charges could take place Sunday, an official arraignment would take place later. Normally, a person who faces federal charges must be arraigned within 48 hours.

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Filed under: Boston • Crime • Massachusetts • Terrorism
March 21st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Did Trayvon Martin's shooter use a racial slur?

As outrage over the killing of a Florida teenager continues to spread online, social media and news outlets are debating whether the shooter uttered a racial epithet in one of his 911 calls. And if so, what he might have said.

Zimmerman, whom authorities described as white and family members say is Hispanic, said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense, according to police. Martin, who was black, was walking to his father’s fiancee’s house in Sanford, Florida, after a trip to a convenience store and was not armed.

Many people at CNN have listened repeatedly to the call but have been unable to reach any consensus on what was said. An audio engineer enhanced the sound on the 911 call but said it was difficult to improve the quality or to replicate the background noise. CNN continues to analyze the tape and consult outside experts.

Sanford police haven’t confirmed what was said on the recording but deny a news report they overlooked a racist remark during the investigation.

“I said we didn’t hear it; however, I am not sure what was said,” Sanford Police Sgt. David Morgenstern told CNN. “So I never said we missed a racist remark.

“I’m not sure what was said. I heard something, but again, not clear as to what was said. I did not hear it until it was pointed out to me.”

In the video above, listen to a nonenhanced recording of relevant audio of Zimmerman’s call at 1:48, after he says, "He's running."

Tell us in the comments: Do you hear a racial slur?

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Filed under: Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin • U.S.
February 24th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

The latest legislative tool: Satire

For the very serious business of making serious laws for states with legitimately serious problems, there’s an unexpected streak of comedic wackiness running through governmental chambers.

Consider a sample of legislative work since the start of 2012:

Alaska Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Alaska, proposed the federal government take over New York’s Central Park and make it a development-free wilderness area as a way to blast back at those he says are in the way of drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Wyoming legislators followed up with a bill in support of Alaska's measure.

In Mississippi, Democratic lawmaker Stephen Holland introduced a bill to change the name of the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of America. It's a swipe at Republicans who he says want to push everything having to do with Mexico out of the state.

To get more - ahem - personal, Democratic Oklahoma Sen. Constance Johnson wrote a provision for an anti-abortion bill that said men can ejaculate only into women’s vaginas, lest lives be wasted. Virginia Democrat Janet Howell amended an anti-abortion bill to require rectal exams for men before they could get erectile dysfunction medications.

This week Rep. Yasmin Neal, D-Georgia, tired of an anti-abortion debate she says ignored women’s points of view, introduced a bill that would block men from having vasectomies unless the procedure would prevent death or serious injury.

Nevermind filibusters, lobbyists and legislative majorities; when lawmakers really want the world to know their opinions, they crack a joke, keep a straight face and wait for the tweets to start.

“Irony has a lot of currency these days,” said Jeffrey P. Jones, author of "Entertaining Politics: New Political Television and Civic Culture" and director of Old Dominion University's Institute of Humanities. “It’s kind of a new public language.”

FULL POST

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Filed under: Georgia • Health • Politics
Georgia Democrats propose limitations on vasectomies for men
State Rep. Yasmin Neal's bill comes in response to an abortion-restrictions bill that Georgia legislators are considering.
February 21st, 2012
06:23 PM ET

Georgia Democrats propose limitations on vasectomies for men

As members of Georgia’s House of Representatives debate whether to prohibit abortions for women more than 20 weeks pregnant, House Democrats  introduced their own reproductive rights plan: No more vasectomies that leave "thousands of children ... deprived of birth."

Rep. Yasmin Neal, a Democrat from the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro, planned on Wednesday to introduce HB 1116, which would prevent men from vasectomies unless needed to avert serious injury or death.

The bill reads: "It is patently unfair that men avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly. ... It is the purpose of the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men in this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men."

“If we legislate women’s bodies, it’s only fair that we legislate men’s,” said Neal, who said she wanted to write bill that would generate emotion and conversation the way anti-abortion bills do. “There are too many problems in the state. Why are you under the skirts of women? I’m sure there are other places to be."

Personally, Neal said, she has no qualms with vasectomies.

“But even if it were proposed as a serious issue,” she said, “it’s still not my place as a woman to tell a man what to do with his body."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Abortion • Georgia • Health • Politics
Want an easier commute? Try Great Falls, Montana
The New York metro area has the longest U.S. commute at 34.6 minutes on average.
September 22nd, 2011
03:00 AM ET

Want an easier commute? Try Great Falls, Montana

Here’s an honor to add to the welcome sign in town: Great Falls, Montana, home to the United States’ shortest commute.

At just 14.2 minutes, the average commute in Montana’s third-largest city is beating New York’s by 20 minutes. According to a Census Bureau report released Thursday, workers in the New York metro area require an average 34.6 minutes to get to their jobs.

Commuting in the United States: 2009,” ranks the commutes, and says a lucky 13% of commuters get to work in less than 10 minutes. About 2% need 90 minutes or longer for their daily trips.

The average U.S. commute: About 25 minutes.

It’s not bad – about the same as in 2000, actually – but it’s no Great Falls. FULL POST

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Filed under: Census
April 14th, 2011
01:40 PM ET

New York, San Diego no longer have white majorities

New census data confirm that some major metropolitan areas flipped from majority white to majority populations of minorities during the past decade.

White people are now in the minority in 46 of the nation's 366 metro areas, including New York, Washington, San Diego, Las Vegas and Memphis, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

That number is up from 32 in 2000, 10 in 1990 and nine in 1980, Frey said.

The changes are a result of relatively slow growth among the white population, white people moving outside metropolitan areas, and huge increases in minority populations, especially Hispanic and Asian, he said.

Recent analysis also showed white children are in the minority in 10 states.

"[The 2010 Census figures] show we’re becoming a more diverse nation, especially in our metropolitan areas, and it's filtering out from there," Frey said.

The Census Bureau previously released the data for cities, counties and states, but data calculated for metropolitan areas and regions might give people a more accurate understanding of where they live, Frey said.

For example, while the population of the city of Atlanta grew by about 3,500, the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area, as the Census Bureau calls it, grew by more than 1 million. The Houston and Dallas areas also had growth of more than 1 million, while the Phoenix and Riverside, California, areas both added more than 900,000.

See the fastest-growing metro areas.

"As we become much more of a suburban nation, the kind of glue that puts the community together is the idea of the metropolitan community," he said.

Looking at metro areas also can offer a deeper view of how people live in different areas. Frey has used statistics about metropolitan areas to calculate the most segregated areas in the country. In terms of white and black, the most segregated areas were around Milwaukee, New York, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.

Read more of CNN's Defining America coverage

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Filed under: Census
Small Missouri town becomes new center of U.S. population
March 24th, 2011
03:58 PM ET

Small Missouri town becomes new center of U.S. population

Plato, Missouri, population 109, is the new geographic center of the population of the United States.

Special coverage: Census in America

U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves congratulated the southeast Missouri town during a news conference Thursday.

"2010 is a special decade in our nation’s history," Groves said. "The center of the population has moved in a southerly direction in the most extreme way we've ever seen."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Census • Missouri