TIME Economy

U.S. Economy Slowed Down at Close of 2014

But economists still forecast strongest growth in a decade this year

The U.S. economy slowed more sharply in the final three months of the year than initial estimates, reflecting weaker business stockpiling and a bigger trade deficit.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the economy as measured by the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the October-December quarter, weaker than the 2.6 percent first estimated last month. It marked a major slowdown from the third quarter, which had been the strongest growth in 11 years.

Economists, however, remain optimistic that the deceleration was temporary. Many forecast that growth will rise above 3 percent in 2015, which would give the country the strongest economic growth in a decade. They say the job market has healed enough to generate strong consumer spending going forward.

For all of 2014, the economy expanded 2.4 percent, up slightly from 2.2 percent growth in 2013.

Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, was a bright spot in the fourth quarter. It expanded at an annual rate of 4.2 percent, down slightly from the first estimate of 4.3 percent growth but still the best showing since the first quarter of 2006.

Friday’s report was the second of three estimates for fourth quarter GDP, the broadest measure of the economy’stotal output of goods and services.

The downward revision stemmed largely from slower stockpiling by businesses. Last month, the rise in inventories was estimated to have added 0.8 percentage points to fourth quarter growth. But that was lowered to a contribution of just 0.1 percentage point in the new estimate. The change, however, will likely translate into stronger growth in the current quarter because businesses will not have to work down an overhang of unsold goods.

Trade also weighed more heavily on growth than first thought, subtracting 1.2 percentage points as imports grew much more strongly than first thought. That could be a reflection of the rising value of the dollar, which makes imported products cheaper for U.S. consumers.

Many analysts believe 2015 will start slowly, in part reflecting the disruptions caused by a rough winter. However, it’s unlikely to be as bad as the first quarter of 2014, when heavy snow and cold contributed to a 2.1 percent plunge in growth in the first quarter of 2014.

That big drop was followed by sizzling growth rates of 4.6 percent in the second quarter and 5 percent in the third quarter.

Analysts are looking for less of a roller-coaster ride this year. JPMorgan economists say growth will come in around 2.5 percent in the current quarter and then hover between 2.5 percent to 3 percent for the rest of the year. They are forecasting growth of 3.1 percent for the entire year, a significant improvement from the 2.4 percent growth seen in 2014.

If the forecast proves accurate, it would be the best GDP performance since the economy grew by 3.3 percent in 2005, two years before the beginning of worst economic downturn the country has experienced since the 1930s.

Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisers, is even more optimistic. He’s forecasting economic growth of 3.5 percent this year.

Naroff and other economists believe the key to the economy shifting into a higher gear will be further improvements in the labor market, when stronger job gains leading to rising wage gains.

“I see 2015 as a really good year for consumer spending because of the wage gains,” Naroff said.

Even though the recession ended nearly six years ago, wage growth has been weak as businesses were able to pay less with so many unemployed looking for jobs.

Several large companies have already signaled a willingness to pay more to retain workers. Retailers like TJX and The Gap, as well as the health insurer Aetna.

News last week that Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, would also increase its minimum pay could be a sign that a tighter labor market are finally leading to increased wages, some analysts believe.

The unemployment has fallen to 5.7 percent.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, testifying to Congress this week, listed stronger wage growth as one of the elements the central bank is looking for before deciding to start raising interest rates. She said as long as wage gains remained weak and inflation low, the Fed was prepared to remain “patient” in moving to raise rates.

Many private economists believe the Fed’s first move to increase its key rate, which has been near a record low of zero for six years, will not come until June at the earliest.

TIME Civil Rights

Eric Holder to Seek Lower Bar on Civil Rights Prosecutions

US Attorney General Eric Holder arrives for a meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the Justice Department in Washington on Feb. 19, 2015.
Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images US Attorney General Eric Holder arrives for a meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the Justice Department in Washington on Feb. 19, 2015.

Outgoing Attorney General will soon call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases

Attorney General Eric Holder says that he will soon call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases, to allow federal prosecution where local authorities are unable or unwilling to get a conviction.

“There is a better way in which we could have federal involvement in these kinds of matters to allow the federal government to be a better backstop in examining these cases,” Holder said in an NBC News interview conducted on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges in the 2012 …

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME weather

Spring Still Nowhere In Sight as Mercury Plunges Again

Snow Winter Weather
Jim Young—Reuters A man braces himself against the wind as he walks along mounds of snow and ice on North Avenue beach at Lake Michigan in Chicago on Feb. 26, 2015.

It may be almost March, but the brutally cold winter appears unwilling to release much of the nation from its icy grip.

Yet another Arctic blast was already descending on two-thirds of the country early Friday, with meteorologists predicting everywhere east of the Rockies except for Florida would be 10 to 30 degrees below average.

Subzero temperatures were expected from interior New England to the Upper Midwest and forecasters said dozens more daily records were likely to tumble.

“We’re almost into March now so it’s pretty late to see this kind of cold,” The Weather Channel’s Michael Palmer said…

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME politics

How a Little-Known Supreme Court Case Got Women the Right to Vote

Vote
MPI / Getty Images A poster, published by the League of Women Voters, urging women to use the vote which the 19th amendment gave them, from circa 1920

Happy birthday, Leser v. Garnett

Pop quiz: when did women in the United States get the right to vote?

If you answered June 4, 1919, or Aug. 18, 1920 — the dates on which the 19th Amendment was passed and ratified — then you’re almost right. Yes, the Amendment guaranteed that the right to vote could not be denied on account of sex. But the right wasn’t fully secured until this day, Feb. 27, in 1922. That’s when the Supreme Court decided Leser v. Garnett.

Here’s what the case was about: Two Maryland women registered to vote a few months after the 19th Amendment passed. Oscar Leser, a judge, sued to have their names removed from the voting rolls, on the grounds that the Maryland constitution said only men could vote, and that Maryland had not ratified the new amendment to the federal constitution — and in fact, Leser argued, the new amendment wasn’t even part of the constitution at all. For one thing, he said, something that adds so many people to the electorate would have to be approved by the state; plus, some of the state legislatures that had ratified the amendment didn’t have the right to do so or had done so incorrectly.

The Supreme Court found that both arguments flopped: when suffrage had been granted to all male citizens regardless of race the Amendment had held up, despite the change to the electorate, and the ratification powers Leser questioned had in fact been granted by the Constitution. (And in a few states where things were iffy, it didn’t matter because enough other states had ratified.)

So, while the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, Leser made sure that the right could actually be used, even where the state constitution said otherwise. It’s not one of the more famous Supreme Court decisions in American history, but without it the electorate would be, well, lesser.

TIME energy

Recent ‘Bomb Trains’ Expose Regulatory Failures

oil-tanker-train
Getty Images

New rules, which are expected to be finalized in May, would require the phase-out of older cars, in favor of newer reinforced designs

The latest oil train derailments could force the federal government to tighten the regulatory screws further than they had planned.

The train disasters in Ontario and West Virginia were the latest in a long line of explosions from oil trains, or “bomb trains” as they have been called derisively by their critics. The problem, regulators thought, were the thin-walled flimsy DOT-111 railcars, which had not originally been designed to safely carry volatile crude oil.

U.S. federal transportation regulators began writing new rules that would require the phase-out of these older cars, in favor of newer reinforced designs.

The tricky problem facing regulators is one inconvenient detail – the newer railcars that have been trumpeted as much safer were the ones that derailed and exploded on February 16 in West Virginia. The so-called CPC-1232 cars are an upgrade over the DOT-111, with thicker hulls to prevent puncturing and pressure valves to vent gas in the event of the railcars overheating.

Read more: Train Carrying Volatile Bakken Crude Derails In Canada

Nevertheless, even though the CPC-1232 cars have demonstrated that they are inadequately safe, much of the crude hitting the nation’s railways are not even traveling to that standard. Railcar manufacturers do not have the capability to ramp up production of the CPC-1232s fast enough, with a backlog of at least 50,000 cars. Meanwhile, there are still around 171,000 DOT-111s still in operation.

And in another loophole exposed by E&E News, railroad companies can even continue to use damaged railcars which leak oil, with the approval from the federal government.

Another problem is the extra volatility that Bakken crude has demonstrated. Due to the associated volatile gas that comes with oil drilled in the Bakken, the oil carried by train coming from North Dakota is more dangerous than conventional crude. The state of North Dakota has required that producers process the oil to remove the gases, and that rule takes effect on April 1. While it is so far unclear if the crude that exploded in the West Virginia incident had undergone this type of processing, it would not have been required.

“At this point, we have to let this order go into effect and let the operators get the equipment installed,” the Director of North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said in response to questions raised in the wake of the West Virginia derailment about North Dakota needing to address safety more aggressively.

Safety on the rails is critical because of the surging volumes of oil moving on the nation’s railways. An estimated 400,000 barrels of oil were transported by railcar in 2013, a dramatic jump from just 11,000 barrels in 2009, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

The federal government has been criticized for taking way too long to issue new safety standards. The Department of Transportation proposed new rules in August, but has now twice pushed off finalizing those rules, missing the original deadline at the end of 2014.

The proposal has not committed to one rail car design, instead it reviewed several with different safety features and levels of wall thickness. They also may only require a gradual phase-out over the next two to three years of the DOT-111 railcars. Some politicians, including Senators from North Dakota, have resisted a swifter phase-out, fearing damage to the state’s oil production. The oil shipping industry has heavily lobbied the U.S. Congress for favorable treatment.

Read more: State Of Emergency In West Virginia Following Oil Train Explosion

But the latest disaster in West Virginia is once again raising pressure for stronger action. “Yet again, we have seen a rupture-prone rail car carrying volatile crude oil wreak havoc on a community, and it further demonstrates that the federal Department of Transportation and Office of Management and Budget must release tough, comprehensive rail car standards to help avoid a future tragedy,” U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

Canada is also stepping up its efforts. The government is considering a tax on oil-by-rail shipments, with the proceeds put into a compensation fund to cover damages from future derailments.

All eyes turn to the White House where the Department of Transportation recently sent a “comprehensive” set of rules. A final version is expected in May. Pressure will be on the Obama administration to ensure a weak rule doesn’t emerge as the West Virginia disaster is just the latest reminder that rail safety regulations are inadequate.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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TIME portfolio

Inside Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield

British Photographer Edmund Clark reflects on the Afghan War with a new exhibition, The Mountains of Majeed

Last December, the United States and its allies ended their official combat operations in Afghanistan, closed the infamous detention facility at Bagram Airfield, and left behind only a small force to conduct security training.

In order to photograph the life and experiences of Americans in Afghanistan at the end of this decade-long war, British photographer Edmund Clark embedded with American troops for nine days in October 2013 at Bagram Airfield, once the largest American military base in the country, where at its peak housed 40,000 military personnel and civilian contractors, many of whom, Clark says, never left the base during their service.

“Their vision of Afghanistan is what they see over the perimeters, or represented inside the walls of enclaves like Bagram Airfield,” writes Clark of his recently published book, The Mountains of Majeed, which has now transformed into an exhibition at the Flowers Gallery opening in London today.

Clark’s interest in Bagram grew out of years spent examining the relationship between representation and politics. In his previous project, Guantanamo: If the Light Goes out, he photographed the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, its detention camp and the homes of released detainees. He then laid them out unordered to create the sense of disorientation familiar to the detainees.

For Clark, the similarities between Guantanamo Bay and Bagram are striking: Bagram is the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, while Guantanamo Bay is the oldest U.S. naval base overseas. Both are notorious for their treatment of detainees; in fact, many who ended up in Guantanamo had first passed through Bagram, Clark tells TIME.

For the Americans fighting the war against terror abroad, however, these two bases are their home away from home. In Guantanamo, Clark photographed the navy’s small but full-fledged community, a similar approach he envisioned before his flight into Afghanistan. Yet once at the airfield, he was surprised by an overwhelming view of the Hindu Kush, a mountain never shy of military presence that’s deeply intertwined with the country’s wobbly history.

Clark’s visit happened to overlap with the Muslim religious holiday Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) during which the insurgency tends to flare up. For some nights, he had to stay in a bunker, trying to fall asleep amid the sound of incoming rockets from militants hidden in the dark mountains outside the heavily secured enclave.

From inside his fortification, however, these mountains were portrayed in a much different, even tranquil, light: they were picturesque, romanticized by a series of large-scale paintings screwed to the wall of the base’s dining hall. Their painter is known only by the name of Majeed.

Edmund Clark

To illustrate this conflict of experiences with the Hindu Kush: at once a harsh and violent landscape, and yet a profoundly breathtaking vista, Clark incorporated Majeed’s paintings as well as drew from poetry by the Taliban, and blended them with his architectural images of the American base.

“I have been looking for the different kind of references to the significance of mountains in Afghanistan after I came back,” Clark says. “[The Taliban poets] are the people [on the] outside looking in, and my photographs are about people inside looking out.”

The project, Clark hopes, will poke at “the idea of the [division] between the two sides involved in the war” and cast a reflection on Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name of the military occupation, emphasizing the critical question of what will happen next in Afghanistan.

Edmund Clark is a London based photographer whose work has been exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide. The Mountains of Majeed is on view at the Flowers Gallery in London until April 4, 2015. The book is available at Here Press.

Ye Ming is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

TIME Rememberance

Former Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh Dies at 97

FILE - The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in this Sept. 24, 2007 file photo
Joe Raymond—AP Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 24, 2007

A champion of human rights, Hesburgh transformed Notre Dame into a premier academic institution

(South Bend, Ind.) — The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who transformed the University of Notre Dame into a school known almost as much for academics as football and who championed human rights around the globe, has died. He was 97.

University spokesman Paul Browne told The Associated Press that Hesburgh died on the South Bend, Indiana, campus around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, he said.

“We mourn today a great man and faithful priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame and touched the lives of many,” said the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s current president. “With his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.”

Hesburgh spent 35 years at the Notre Dame helm, earning a reputation as one of the nation’s top Catholic educators. But the man known simply as Father Ted to the thousands who attended the school while he was president from 1952 to 1987 was perhaps even more recognized for his work around the world on issues such as civil rights, immigration, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and Third World development.

That work often took him far from campus — including Washington, Moscow and El Salvador — as he advised popes and presidents, at times challenging their policies. His aim was constant: Better people’s lives.

“I go back to an old Latin motto, opus justitiae pax: Peace is the work of justice,” Hesburgh said in a 2001 interview. “We’ve known 20 percent of the people in the world have 80 percent of the goodies, which means the other 80 percent have to scrape by on 20 percent.”

Hesburgh, who grew up in Syracuse, New York, was a charming and personable man who found as much ease meeting with heads of state as he did with students. His goal after coming out of seminary was to be a Navy chaplain during World War II, but he instead was sent to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., to pursue a doctorate, which he received in 1945. He joined the Notre Dame faculty that same year.

His star rose quickly. Hesburgh was named head of the Department of Theology in 1948 and became the university’s executive vice president a year later. He took over as president in 1952 at age 35.

His passion for civil rights earned him a spot as a founding member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1957 and found him joining hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1964 civil rights rally in Chicago, singing “We Shall Overcome.”

Hesburgh was a man who wasn’t afraid to challenge authority. As Notre Dame’s executive vice president in 1949, he took on powerful football coach Frank Leahy while reorganizing the athletic department. When the Vatican demanded conformity to church dogma, Hesburgh insisted that Notre Dame remain an intellectual center for theological debate. He also famously challenged the civil rights record of President Richard Nixon, who fired him from the Civil Rights Commission in 1972.

“I said, ‘I ended this job the way that I began 15 years ago — fired with enthusiasm,'” Hesburgh said in 2007.

Hesburgh’s relationship with other presidents was smoother. He received the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and later served on President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board, charged with deciding the fate of various Vietnam offenders. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton hailed Hesburgh as “a servant and a child of God, a genuine American patriot and a citizen of the world” as he bestowed upon him the government’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Hesburgh wrote several books, including one, “God, Country, Notre Dame,” that became a best-seller. Throughout his writings, he shared his vision of the contemporary Catholic university.

“The Catholic university should be a place,” he wrote, “where all the great questions are asked, where an exciting conversation is continually in progress, where the mind constantly grows as the values and powers of intelligence and wisdom are cherished and exercised in full freedom.”

In keeping with that philosophy, Notre Dame underwent profound changes under Hesburgh. Control of the school shifted in 1967 from the Congregation of the Holy Cross priests who founded the school to a lay board. The school ended a 40-year absence in football post-season bowl games and used the proceeds from the 1970 Cotton Bowl to fund minority scholarships. In 1972, Notre Dame admitted its first undergraduate women. Hesburgh called it one of his proudest accomplishments.

Hesburgh’s ambitions helped mold the university. The school was rather undistinguished academically when he became president. It had 4,979 students, 389 faculty and an annual operating budget of $9.7 million. When he retired in 1987, Notre Dame had 9,600 students, 950 faculty and an operating budget of $176.6 million. The school’s endowment grew from $9 million to $350 million during his presidency. When he retired, the school was rated among the nation’s most prestigious.

“I’m sure I get credit for a lot of things that I’m part of but not necessarily the whole of,” he said. “We began a great university and those who followed continued the motion forward.”

Hesburgh’s work earned him the cover of Time magazine in a 1962 article that described him as the most influential figure in the reshaping of Catholic education. He was granted 150 honorary degrees during his lifetime.

Despite the accolades, Hesburgh drew his share of criticism. Some said he spent too much time away from campus pursuing other issues. Others objected to the “15-minute rule” he implemented after students protesting the Vietnam War clashed with police on campus. Under the policy, students who disrupted the university’s normal operations would be given 15 minutes of meditation to cease and desist or would be expelled from school.

As a young priest, Hesburgh’s students included Jose Napoleon Duarte, whose 1984 election as El Salvador’s president set that country on a path to democracy after years of civil war. Hesburgh’s decision to have Duarte give Notre Dame’s 1985 commencement address was met by protests blaming Duarte and the Reagan administration for continued political killings and poverty in the Central American nation. Hesburgh wrote that the presentation of an honorary degree to Duarte didn’t mean the university has to agree with all he was doing.

Hesburgh also supported the university’s decision in 2009 to invite President Barack Obama to speak at commencement. At least 70 bishops opposed Obama’s appearance and Notre Dame’s decision to award him an honorary degree because of the president’s support of abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research. Hesburgh said universities are supposed to be places where people of differing opinions can talk.

Through it all, he stayed true to what he called his basic principle: “You don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”

Hesburgh remained active at Notre Dame in his retirement, lecturing occasionally, presiding over residence hall Masses and helping develop the school’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Most of all, though, he was a priest. He said Mass daily throughout his life.

“I’ve said Mass in airplanes at 50,000 feet. I’ve said Mass in the South Pole. I’ve said Mass in jungles all over the world. I’ve said Mass in African huts. I’ve said Mass in cathedrals. Wherever I am, I’ve been able to do it for over 60 years every day and only miss a couple of times in all those years,” Hesburgh said.

Jenkins, the current president, said Hesburgh’s greatest influence may have been on the generations of Notre Dame students he taught, counseled and befriended.

“Although saddened by his loss, I cherish the memory of a mentor, friend and brother in Holy Cross and am consoled that he is now at peace with the God he served so well,” Jenkins said.

The university said that a customary Holy Cross funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus at a time to be announced. The university also said a tribute to Hesburgh will be held at the Joyce Center.

TIME Indiana

Indiana May Allow ‘Baby Boxes’ for Surrendering Newborns

A prototype of a baby box, is shown outside the fire station in Woodburn, Ind., Feb. 26, 2015
Michael Conroy—AP A prototype of a baby box, is shown outside the fire station in Woodburn, Ind., Feb. 26, 2015

A baby box could show up soon to give mothers a way to surrender their children safely

(INDIANAPOLIS) — On the outside, the metal box looks like an oversized bread container. But what’s inside could save an abandoned newborn’s life.

The box is actually a newborn incubator, or baby box, and it could be showing up soon at Indiana hospitals, fire stations, churches and selected nonprofits under legislation that would give mothers in crisis a way to surrender their children safely and anonymously.

Indiana could be the first state to allow use of the baby boxes on a broad scale to prevent dangerous abandonments of infants if the bill, which unanimously passed the House this week, clears the state Senate. Republican state Rep. Casey Cox and child-safety advocates say they’re unaware of any other states that have considered the issue at the level Indiana has.

Cox says his bill is a natural progression of the “safe haven” laws that exist in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Those give parents a legal way to surrender newborns at hospitals, police stations and other facilities without fear of prosecution so long as the child hasn’t been harmed.

Many children, however, never make it that far. Dawn Geras, president of the Save the Abandoned Babies Foundation in Chicago, said safe haven laws have resulted in more than 2,800 safe surrenders since 1999. But more than 1,400 other children have been found illegally abandoned, nearly two-thirds of whom died.

Cox said his proposal draws on a centuries-old concept to help “those children that are left in the woods, those children that are abandoned in dangerous places.”

Baby boxes, known in some countries as baby hatches or angel cradles, originated in medieval times, when convents were equipped with revolving doors known as “foundling wheels.” Unwanted infants were placed in compartments in the doors, which were then rotated to get the infant inside.

Hundreds of children have been surrendered in modern-day versions in place in Europe and Asia. The devices are even the subject of a new documentary titled “The Drop Box,” which chronicles the efforts of a pastor in Seoul, South Korea, to address child abandonment.

Supporters contend the boxes can save lives by offering women who can’t face relinquishing a child in person a safe and anonymous alternative to abandonment or infanticide.

But critics say the boxes make it easier to abandon a child without exploring other options and contend they do nothing to address poverty and other societal issues that contribute to unwanted babies. Some baby hatches in China have been so overwhelmed by abandonments in recent years that local officials have restricted their use or closed them.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for a ban on the boxes in Europe and has urged countries to provide family planning and other support to address the root causes of abandonments, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell.

Whether the U.S. is ready for the boxes is a matter of debate. Geras said many parents who surrender their children at safe haven sites need medical care that they won’t get if they leave the baby in a box. Handing the child to a trained professional also provides an opportunity to determine whether the mother simply needs financial support or other help to develop a parenting plan.

“If you use a baby box, you have stripped away that option,” Geras said. “There’s a lot of things that need to be done to improve safe haven laws throughout the country, but that’s not one of them.”

A better approach, she said, is for states to spend more money to promote their existing laws.

Monica Kelsey, a Woodburn, Indiana, firefighter and medic who is president of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., said the boxes aren’t meant to circumvent the laws that already exist. Instead, they’re part of a broader approach that includes increasing awareness about the laws and other options available to new mothers in crisis.

“If these boxes are the answer, great,” she said. “We’re trying to come at it from all angles.”

Kelsey, who was abandoned in a hospital shortly after her birth because her mother’s pregnancy was the result of rape, suggested the boxes to Cox and has formed a nonprofit that is working with a Fort Wayne, Indiana, company to develop a prototype. It would be about 2 feet long and be equipped with heating or cooling pads and sensors that would set off alarms when the box is opened and again when a weight is detected inside.

The boxes also would include a silent alarm that mothers could activate themselves by pushing a button.

“We’re giving her the power to do what’s right,” Kelsey said. “We’re hoping that these girls know that once they push that button, their baby will be saved.”

She stressed that the boxes should be viewed as a “last resort” and would include a toll-free number staffed 24 hours a day by a counselor who would first ask the caller to surrender the baby to a person.

The state health department would regulate the boxes. Cox’s bill, which covers children up to 31 days old, also would create a public registry listing box locations.

Kelsey said the bill expands safe haven locations to include churches and established nonprofits that deal with child-welfare issues to ensure that everyone has access.

“We want these locations to be able to accept a child if somebody … thinks this is the only thing they can do,” she said.

TIME Virginia

Virginia to Compensate Victims of Forced Sterilizations

Lewis Reynolds, 85, was involuntarily sterilized at age 13.
Bill Sizemore—AP Lewis Reynolds, 85, was involuntarily sterilized at age 13

Virginia is the second state to approve compensation for victims of the eugenics program

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Lewis Reynolds didn’t understand what had been done to him when he was 13.

Years later, after getting married, the Lynchburg man discovered he couldn’t father children. The reason: He had been sterilized by the state.

Reynolds was among more than 7,000 Virginians involuntarily sterilized between 1924 and 1979 under the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act.

Advocates for the surviving victims won a three-year fight Thursday when the Virginia General Assembly budgeted $400,000 to compensate them at the rate of $25,000 each.

It’s welcome news, Reynolds said.

“I think they done me wrong,” he said. “I couldn’t have a family like everybody else does. They took my rights away.”

Eugenics is the now-discredited movement that sought to improve the genetic composition of humankind by preventing those considered “defective” from reproducing. Virginia’s Sterilization Act became a model for similar legislation passed around the country and the world, including Nazi Germany. Nationwide, 65,000 Americans were sterilized in 33 states, including more than 20,000 in California alone, said Mark Bold, executive director of the Christian Law Institute, which has been advocating the cause of the Virginia victims since 2013.

Virginia is the second state to approve compensation for victims of the eugenics program. North Carolina approved payments of $50,000 for each victim in 2013.

But the money from the state comes too late for most of those who were sterilized in Virginia, Bold said. There are only 11 known surviving victims, he said. Two have died in the past year, he said. Those who are left greeted the news with tears and hugs, Bold said.

The Virginia sterilizations were performed at six state institutions, including what is now known as Central Virginia Training Center in Lynchburg. When Reynolds was sterilized there, it was called the Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feeble Minded.

Reynolds was presumed to have epilepsy. As it turned out, he was exhibiting temporary symptoms from having been hit in the head with a rock.

Reynolds’ first wife left him after the couple learned they couldn’t have children. He married again, and this time the union lasted. His second wife, Delores, died seven years ago after 47 years of marriage.

There were times, he has said, when he and Delores would cry about their inability to have a family.

Nevertheless, he made the best of the life he had been handed.

He joined the Marine Corps and served in two wars. He was a military policeman and a firearms instructor, at one time teaching FBI agents how to shoot. He manned a 50-caliber machine gun in Korea. He retired from the corps after 30 years and found work as an electrician. At 87, he still takes occasional jobs wiring houses.

The Virginia eugenics law was upheld in the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, in which Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., writing for the majority, famously declared: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Revulsion over the state’s actions brought together lawmakers from across the political spectrum, united in the belief that it was time to write the final page in a shameful chapter of the state’s history.

The compensation measure was sponsored by Del. Ben Cline, a conservative Republican from Rockbridge County, and Del. Patrick Hope, a liberal Democrat from Arlington County.

“There was a growing consensus that we needed to act while we still had the opportunity to look these people in the eye and acknowledge the wrong that was committed against them so many years ago,” Cline said.

The original legislation called for payments of $50,000 each. Even that amount was inadequate to address the wrong that was done, in Bold’s view.

“But it’s symbolic,” he said. “Now the healing and forgiveness can begin.”

TIME Crime

Ex-Louisville Guard Chris Jones Pleads Not Guilty to Rape, Sodomy Charges

Duke v Louisville
Joe Robbins—Getty Images Chris Jones of the Louisville Cardinals looks on against the Duke Blue Devils during the game at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 2015

Former Louisville guard Chris Jones pleaded not guilty to charges of raping one woman and sodomizing another, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

A judge released Jones to home incarceration and set his cash bond at $25,000 after Jones appeared in court on Thursday. Two others, Tyvon Walker and Jalen Tilford, were arrested and charged in the incident, according to the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office.

Walker was charged with one count of rape and held on $75,000 bond. Tilford is charged with one count of rape and one count of sodomy. His bail is set at $100,000.

You can view a copies of Jones’ arrest warrants here. (WARNING: Contains graphic content.)

According to the warrant, Jones is accused of forcing one alleged victim to engage in vaginal and anal intercourse. The woman was able to identify Jones because she recognized him as a University of Louisville basketball player. She also said that Jones told her his name.

A second warrant states that Jones, and two other individuals, allegedly forced the second victim to have oral and vaginal intercourse. She also identified Jones from the basketball team.

The alleged incidents both occurred on Sunday, according to the warrant.

In a separate incident on Feb. 17, Jones had reportedly threatened a female student in a text message, according to a Louisville police report, saying he would “smack” her after she “messed up” his room. The woman did not want Jones to be prosecuted.

Jones was suspended from the Louisville program on Feb. 17. He returned to the team two days later and played 36 minutes and scored 17 points in the Cardinals’ 55-53 victory over Miami.

Jones was dismissed from Louisville’s basketball program on Sunday. No reason was given for Jones’ dismissal at the time, but Louisville said in a statement released Thursday that Jones had been dismissed when it learned that he had “violated a curfew and there were other accusations, without knowing specifics.”

Louisville said they can’t comment because of the ongoing investigation and will cooperate with authorities in the matter.

“While Chris is no longer a member our team, we understand that the charges are very serious,” the statement said. “We certainly expect our student-athletes to uphold certain standards, including their treatment of others.”

Jones, a senior, was the team’s third-leading scorer (13.6 points per game) and leader in assists (94) this season.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

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