TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 20

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Early intervention for young people could halt schizophrenia before it starts.

By Amy Standen at National Public Radio

2. Next generation air traffic control management can reduce delays and frustration at the airport.

By Aaron Dubrow at the National Science Foundation

3. Alabama prisons are at 190% capacity. Sentencing reforms are slowing prison population growth, but much work remains.

By Kala Kachmar in the Montgomery Advertiser

4. In the five weeks remaining under the deadline, the U.S. and Iran can reach a historic accord on nuclear arms.

By Joe Cirincione in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

5. For the peaceful coexistence of bicycles and everyone else in a city, we can learn a lot from Copenhagen.

By Mikael Colville-Andersen in the Guardian

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Crime

3 Dead After Gunman Opens Fire at Alabama UPS Warehouse

Birmingham Police Department photo of shooting suspect Kerry Joe Tesney
Joe Tesney, 45, of Trussville, Ala., is shown in this Birmingham Police Department photo released on Sept. 23, 2014 Handout—Reuters

The shooter had recently been fired from his job as a UPS driver

A sacked UPS employee shot and killed two people at warehouse near Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, according to local authorities.

The Birmingham News identified the gunman as 45-year-old Joe Tesney, who shot himself after opening fire inside a UPS customer-service and warehouse facility.

According to the Birmingham News, Tesney’s employment was terminated on Monday and he was not supposed to be at the facility, although he was found dead in a UPS uniform.

The married father of two had appealed a decision by the company to fire him last month, but lost the appeal on Monday. The cause for his termination is not yet clear.

Birmingham police lieutenant Sean Edwards told local news outlet WBRC that the two victims seemed to be known to Tesney, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as a UPS driver.

“It appears that the shooter knew exactly who he wanted to target at the time,” Edwards said.

TIME Crime

Father of 5 Dead Children Faces Murder Charges

Timothy Ray Jones, Jr. is pictured at the Lexington County Detention Center in Lexington, South Carolina in this handout photo
Timothy Ray Jones, Jr. is pictured at the Lexington County Detention Center in Lexington, South Carolina in this September 11, 2014 handout photo. Handout —Reuters

Authorities allege Timothy Ray Jones killed his children "willfully and maliciously"

A South Carolina man has been extradited to his home state, and booked in connection with the deaths of his five children, after being arrested in Mississippi on Sept. 6.

Timothy Ray Jones, 32, was transported back to South Carolina on Thursday and booked into a jail in Lexington County, the Los Angeles Times reported. Jones was stopped at a checkpoint in Raleigh, Miss., six days ago on suspicion of drunk driving. The strong smell of chemicals from his car led police to investigate further, which led to the discovery of his children’s clothes along with blood.

On Tuesday, Jones led law-enforcement officers to a spot just off the Alabama highway where they found the bodies of his five children, aged 1 to 8, in plastic bags. Authorities told the Times they believe he drove almost 700 miles through four states before finally dumping the bodies in Alabama.

According to warrants, Jones will face five murder charges for allegedly “willfully and maliciously” killing his children in his Lexington home. He had primary custody of the children from his ex-wife, who reported them missing on Sept. 3.

Jones is expected to appear in court on Friday.

TIME celebrities

Tom Hiddleston Performed at a Michigan Music Festival as Hank Williams

'Move over little dog cause a big dog's movin in'

Well, Michigan—looks like you just got Loki’d.

British actor Tom Hiddleston, perhaps most widely known for playing Thor’s charmingly sinister brother Loki in the Marvel films, took to the stage this weekend at the Wheatland Music Festival, which showcases what’s hot on the traditional music scene in bluegrass, folk and Americana.

The 33-year-old Royal Academy of Dramatic Art alum treated spectators (including one quick-thinking audience member who captured the somewhat blurry footage below) to a full-twang rendition of country legend Hank Williams’ uptempo “Move It on Over,” MTV reported.

Hiddleston will play Hank-the-First in the upcoming biopic I Saw the Light, Deadline reported in June.

Hank Williams was almost as legendary for his hard-living as he was for his influential songwriting. The small-town Alabama native made it big in the 1950s honky tonk with classics like “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” but died at age 29 from alcohol-induced heart failure (an accumulation of too much booze and pills) in the back of a Cadillac.

Production for the biopic begins in October in Louisiana, Deadline reported, and will need to impress legions of die-hard Hank fans, so it may be wise that Hiddleston is getting into crooning shape a month early.

Of course, nothing may ever match the real deal, but it certainly does answer the query, “Hey good-lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?”

MONEY Sports

How College Football Sacked the NBA and MLB

Houston football fans singing the National Anthem
Dave Einsel—AP

With the college football season upon us, it's time to take stock of just how valuable this "amateur" sport has become.

Want to know how rabid fans have become for college football?

Well, the season kicks off in earnest tonight when the South Carolina Gamecocks (ranked 9th in the country) take on the Texas A&M Aggies (ranked 21st).

The game will be played in Columbia, South Carolina, in front of 80,000 screaming fans — an amazing feat given that Columbia has a population of just 133,000. The Aggies, for their part, play in Kyle Field, which in 2015 will be able to hold almost every single College Station, Texas, resident.

Last year, the Gamecocks opened with a game against the University of North Carolina, and 3.7 million people across the country tuned in. That may not sound that impressive, but consider that Columbia is just the 77th largest television market in the U.S., behind cities like Omaha and Toledo.

There’s no doubt about it. Americans love football.

More people watched the NFL Sunday Night pregame show last year than watched the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. In fact, professional football games comprised all but four of the 50 most-watched sporting events of 2013. The National Football League is the most popular spectator sport in America.

What’s No. 2? Not the NBA, not Major League Baseball—but college football. And with college football introducing a new-fangled playoff system this year, expect America’s infatuation to only grow.

Here are a few measures of its influence.

Ratings

The 2013 NBA finals featured perhaps the most popular athlete in the world, Lebron James, as his super team battled against the San Antonio Spurs for seven unforgettable games. An average of almost 18 million viewers saw James secure his second NBA title. A few months later, 15 million baseball fans saw the Red Sox win their third championship since 2004.

How many viewers watched Florida State beat Auburn in the 2014 BCS title game? Twenty-six million, per Nielsen ratings.

This isn’t a one-off event. On average, 2.6 million people watched NCAA regular season football games last year, according to Nielsen. Take Saturday, October 5, 2013. Both the University of Georgia and Tennessee were enduring less than stellar seasons. Nevertheless, 5.6 million people tuned in to see the two Southeastern Conference schools play each another on CBS.

Viewer demand is only likely to increase. Starting this year, college football will institute a four-team playoff to decide the national champion, and rejiggered rules allow the biggest football programs more control over their finances. According to USA Today, these developments will lead to the biggest schools earning 71.5% of the $470 million annual television revenue for the playoff.

Baseball and basketball simply don’t attract as many eyeballs. About 700,000 people watched an MLB regular season game on television in 2013, and 1.4 million watched a non-playoff NBA game in the 2012-13 season. (All are based on nationally televised games.)

The total attendance for 835 NCAA Division I football games was a little more than 38 million, with a per-game attendance of 46,000. The NBA, which has almost 400 more total games in its season, drew 21 million people, while the MLB attracted 30,500 per game. (Major League Baseball has almost three times as many games and brought in a total of 74 million fans.)

Reach

Part of college football’s popularity might be its reach. While the NBA and MLB have 30 teams collected mostly around large metropolitan areas, college football programs exist where there are colleges – which is everywhere. Consider that New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco have 15 professional baseball and basketball teams. That’s a quarter of all the teams in only four cities.

Now look at NCAA football. The top five teams play in Tallahassee, Tuscaloosa, Eugene, Norman, and Columbus. While it’s true that a number of the West Coast schools play in big cities (UCLA, Stanford, and the University of Washington), most of the big-time schools are the only game in town. If you live in Boise, Idaho, do you really care about anything else the way you care about Boise State Broncos football?

Riches

There is something a bit unsettling about college football’s popularity, and corresponding affluence. A college football coach is the highest paid public employee in 27 states – including South Carolina and Texas. Alabama’s Nick Saban made more than $5.5 million last year, despite the fact that his and every other team’s players weren’t paid anything. (Many were given athletic scholarships, but those can be taken away if a “student-athlete” becomes injured. Just for some perspective: the University of Texas’s football program earned $82 million in profit last year.)

Plus, football is a dangerous game, and it’s an open question whether an institution of higher learning should even be in the business of promoting a sport that causes severe head trauma. (Google: Owen Thomas.)

College football, though, is inexorably linked to American history. The first intercollegiate game took place four years after the end of the Civil War, and the college game itself was saved by then President Teddy Roosevelt.

Otherwise normal, hard-working Americans revert to 20-year-old fanatics every fall Saturday afternoon and cheer on their alma maters. Tonight’s game in Columbia is just another page in the never-ending story of America’s love with her second-favorite sport.

TIME abortion

Alabama Judge Rules Abortion Clinic Law Unconstitutional

Just a few days after a court in Mississippi struck down a similar law

An Alabama judge ruled Monday that a law requiring doctors who perform abortions in the state’s five clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals is unconstitutional, as it imposes an “impermissible undue burden” that amounts to total prohibition of abortions.

“The evidence compellingly demonstrates that the requirement would have the striking result of closing three of Alabama’s five abortion clinics,” U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson wrote in his decision. “Indeed, the court is convinced that, if this requirement would not, in the face of all the evidence in the record, constitute an impermissible undue burden, then almost no regulation, short of those imposing an outright prohibition on abortion, would.”

Supporters of the law, called the “Women’s Health and Safety Act” in Alabama, say abortion doctors need to have admitting privileges at local hospitals in case a patient has medical complications after an abortion. “By striking down the Alabama law that required abortionists to have admitting privileges to nearby hospitals, U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson is propping up incompetent, dangerous abortionists at the expense of the health and safety of the women in Alabama,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement. “It is a basic necessity to ensure the safety of women who are seeking abortions and to make sure their doctors are following standard medical procedures. To do anything otherwise would be to the detriment of women in the state.”

But the judge agreed with the plaintiffs, who were represented by lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, that these laws have no basis in medicine—they’re opposed by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—and make obtaining an abortion unnecessarily difficult. “This ruling will ensure that women in Alabama have access to safe, legal abortion,” Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said in a statement. “And Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for our patients, because a woman’s ability to make personal medical decisions should not depend on where she lives.”

The 5th Circuit of Appeals struck down a similar law in Mississippi last week. “Pre-viability, a woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion,” Judge E. Grady Jolly wrote in his ruling, adding that the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges “effectively extinguishes that right within Mississippi’s borders.” That court could only declare the law unconstitutional as it applies to Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, and could not strike down the entire law, because it had been upheld by a 5th Circuit court in Texas.

 

MONEY Shopping

WATCH: Shop This Weekend and Escape the Sales Tax

Several states are suspending sales taxes to encourage shoppers to hit the stores.

TIME Crime

Edible Arrangements Van Thief Charged with DUI

DENVER, CO. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2004-Colorado produced foods that would make nice holiday gifts. EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS (DENVER POST PHOTO BY CYRUS MCCRIMMON CELL PHONE 303 358 9990 HOME PHONE 303 370 1054)
Colorado produced foods that would make nice holiday gifts. Cyrus McCrimmon—Denver Post/Getty Images

"Who steals a fruit truck?" said the store's owner. "I mean it’s a fruit truck"

A man accused of stealing an Edible Arrangements van Wednesday night is now behind bars after leading Alabama police in a two-county car chase.

The Edible Arrangements driver left the vehicle running when he quickly ran into the store in Huntsville, Ala. When he looked back to check on the van, it was gone.

“Who steals a fruit truck? I mean it’s a fruit truck,” Michelda Johnson, owner of the Huntsville Edible Arrangements, told WHNT News 19.

Police pursued the suspect, David Wessley Carter, until he ran over a spike strip and pulled over. Wessley, allegedly drunk at the time, is now in custody for multiple traffic violations and a DUI.

[WHNT News 19]

TIME Food & Drink

Photos: Southern Eats To Get You Ready for Memorial Day

With Memorial Day upon us, the season of burgers, dogs and BBQ kicks off. Photographer Andrew Hetherington shares pictures from his "5,000+ calories a day" Southern Eats Road Trip

TIME LGBT

Same-Sex Couple Sues Alabama to Have Marriage Recognized

The two plaintiffs claim the state's ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the U.S. Constitution

A same-sex couple in Alabama has filed a federal lawsuit seeking state recognition of their six-year marriage.

Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand married in 2008 in California, but have lived in Mobile, Ala. for over a decade, the Associated Press reports. They are also seeking for Searcy to have legal parental rights for their 8-year-old son, Khaya, who was born biologically to McKeand in 2005 but is being raised by both women.

Searcy has previously sought to adopt Khaya, but was denied because the state doesn’t recognize their marriage.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange are named as defendants in the suit. The state is one of 30 to have amended its constitution to recognize marriage as only between a man and a woman. Searcy and McKeand’s lawsuit claims the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

This suit is one of many that challenge state laws against same-sex marriage.

[AP]

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