TIME Health Care

Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic Will Stay Open After Court Ruling

Abortion-Mississippi
Abortion support signs outside of the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Miss. on November 21, 2013. Rogelio V. Solis—AP

A federal appeals panel blocked a law that would have closed the one abortion clinic in Mississippi

The sole abortion clinic in Mississippi will remain open after a federal appeals panel on Tuesday blocked a state law that would have required its doctors to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in a 2-to-1 vote that the law would have effectively ended abortion in the state, as the clinic’s doctors have been unable to receive admitting privileges from local hospitals. The panel said Mississippi would be illegally shifting its constitutional obligations to neighboring states, the New York Times reports.

“A state cannot lean on its sovereign neighbors to provide protection of its citizens’ federal constitutional rights,” Judge E. Grady Jolly wrote.

Mississippi lawmakers who supported the law said it only sought to address safety issues and “the regulation of abortion clinics,” said State Rep. Sam C. Mims. Opponents of the law said it was intended to end abortion in the state.

The U.S. Appeals Court ruling did not consider whether the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals was justified on safety grounds, and only ruled that Mississippi could not close its sole abortion clinic.

Federal courts in Alabama, Kansas and Wisconsin have blocked similar laws, reports the Times, while they have taken effect in Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

A Texas law that requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges and has caused one-third of the state’s abortion clinics to close was upheld in March, forcing women in some parts of the state to drive more than 100 miles to obtain an abortion.

Judge Emilio M. Garza of the appeal court said in a dissenting opinion that “no state is obligated to provide or guarantee the provision of abortion services within its borders.”

[NYT]

TIME Crime

Detroit 8-Year-Old Shot Dead in His Sleep

Jakari Pearson was killed in the early hours of Wednesday morning

An eight-year-old boy was fatally shot Wednesday whilst sleeping in his Detroit home, the Detroit News reports. Police are interviewing a man identified as a “person of interest.”

Jakari Pearson was killed in the early hours of the morning in his bed in Detroit’s near east side. The Detroit Police Department said shots were fired around 1.15am into the home.

Pearson was hit once in the upper body and taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His mother was also wounded, though her condition is unknown. Family at the site of the shooting said the gunman may have been a former partner of the boy’s mother.

“The person we are talking to has not been arrested or been identified as a suspect in the shooting,” a Detroit Police spokesperson said. “He’s nothing more than a person of interest in this case and is being interviewed.”

The spokesperson, Sgt. Michael Woody added: “We have a pretty good idea of who it is that we are looking for… We hope the community continues to talk to us and feeds us information so we can track this individual down and get him into custody very quickly.”

[The Detroit News]

 

TIME justice

Jesse Ventura Successfully Sues ‘American Sniper’ Author for $1.8 Million

Jesse Ventura
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura makes his way back into Warren E. Burger Federal Building during the first day of jury selection in a defamation lawsuit, on July 8, 2014 in St. Paul, Minn. Jim Mone—AP

The former wrestler and Minnesota governor claimed a scene in Chris Kyle's autobiography defamed him

Jesse Ventura, the wrestler, politician, and television host won $1.8 million Tuesday in a defamation lawsuit against the estate of Chris Kyle for including an inflammatory anecdote in his book “American Sniper,” prompting publisher HarperCollins to announce it will remove the passage from the book.

A federal jury ruled that Kyle, a former Navy SEAL who was shot dead at a Texas gun range last year, defamed Ventura for including a passage in his bestselling autobiography that described a man saying the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.” In interviews at the time of the book’s release, Kyle identified the man as Ventura.

Ventura filed a lawsuit against Kyle, testifying that Kyle fabricated the passage, which included a description of Kyle punching Ventura. The jury awarded Venture $1.3 million for unjust enrichment and $500,000 in damages for defamation, CBS reports.

“I’m relieved. I feel bad that it had to happen in the first place,” Ventura said in an interview with Russia Today on Tuesday. Ventura had long said he was not interested in the money, but rather an apology from Kyle. Kyle died in Feb. 2013, allegedly killed by a former Marine he was helping overcome PTSD.

“I was really backed into a corner,” Ventura said, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. “I was left with no choice but to continue the litigation to clear my name, because the story is fabricated. It never occurred, and it accuses me of committing treason. Treason against my own. I am part of the UDT (underwater demolition team) SEAL Community. These are my brothers. We’re a fraternity.”

Legal experts had said that Ventura’s case had to meet a high bar and prove both that Kyle intended “actual malice” toward Ventura, and that he knew that he wrote was untrue.

Ventura was a professional wrestler for much of his career and acted in the 1987 movie Predator, in which he became famous for uttering the line “I ain’t got time to bleed!” the New York Times reports. He served as governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003.

Ventura testified that while he was in the bar on the night Kyle described in his book, he never said the SEALs deserved “to lose a few.” He also denied that Kyle punched him. Ventura’s lawyer said the testimony from defense witnesses was so inconsistent that they couldn’t be trusted.

Publisher HarperCollins said Wednesday it will remove the passage from “American Sniper” that sparked the lawsuit, the Associated Press reports. The book sold 1.5 million copies.

TIME weather

This Is the Deadliest of the 4 Seasons

US-WEATHER-SNOWSTORM
A worker shovels snow from the walkways at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC March 17, 2014 the morning after yet another snow storm. Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images

Winter is actually deadlier than summer

Winter is a deadlier season than summer, according to a new report that shows twice as many people die of causes related to winter cold than of those related to summer heat.

Of the 2,000 U.S. residents who die each year from weather-related causes, about 63 percent died due to exposure to excessive natural cold and hypothermia, while about 31 percent died due to excessive heat, heat stroke, or sun stroke. The remaining 6 percent died of floods, storms or lightning, according to the survey by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Counties in the highest quartile of household income had the lowest rates of death due to weather-related causes, the report shows, and cold-related mortality increased in the West in less urban counties. Most heat-related deaths occurred in the South and West.

Moreover, the elderly are much more susceptible to weather-related death, with about 40 deaths per million due to cold among people 85 or older, compared with less than one death per million for children aged five to 14.

TIME Economy

U.S. Economy Bounces Back With 4% Growth

A welder works on a project at Prospect Steel, a unit of Lexicon Inc., in Little Rock, Ark., July 25.
A welder works on a project at Prospect Steel, a unit of Lexicon Inc., in Little Rock, Ark., July 25. Danny Johnston—AP

The figures beat market expectations and reversed the declines of a frosty first quarter

U.S. GDP surged by 4% in the second quarter of 2014, beating analysts’ forecasts and more than compensating for the previous quarter’s severe contraction, according to new figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Wednesday.

Analysts had forecast growth rates ranging between 2 to 3%, but the economy bounced back with stronger-than-expected rebounds in consumer spending, exports, and business inventories. The growth wiped out the declines of the first quarter, when the economy contracted by 2.1%, one of the sharpest declines in 5 years. Now, with the second quarter’s rebound, the economy has grown by 0.9% in the first half of the year.

The growth was led by a rebound in consumer spending, which took a hit in the previous quarter due to severe winter weather. This quarter consumer spending grew by 2.5%, compared with 1.2% in the previous quarter. Durable goods, in particular, surged by 14%.

Exports flipped from a decline of 9.2% in the first quarter to a 9.5% increase in the second quarter.

TIME Transportation

4 Ways the TSA Could Really Speed Up Airport Security Lines

TSA line
We've all been there Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

There's actually a science to these things

The Transportation Security Administration needs your help. The organization that scans your bags and invariably yanks your spouse out of line for the hairy-eyeball treatment when you are late for a flight desires to do something about wait times. I’m presuming that the TSA wants to make the lines shorter. Maybe I should double check.

This doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult goal in some respects. Here’s the way the TSA worked at the Delta terminal at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport on a busy afternoon the last time I was flew: There were two positions open to check IDs and three screening lines for bags and people. The line was nearly out the door. I’m no math expert, but I’m thinking that increasing the number of screening lanes by one increases throughput by 33%. Just a guess.

Increasing capacity—that is, adding ID checkpoints and scanning lanes—or at least manning all available lanes, seems like the most obvious way to shorten the lines. But that would involve spending more money, and Congress has proven again and again that it cares little for the flying public, which helps explain the current state of flying.

So instead, TSA is trying to crowdsource a solution. It is looking for someone or some group that can create the Next Generation Checkpoint Queue Design Model. Your model will have to incorporate the TSA’s (very successful) Pre Check program, along with plans to accommodate coach, business/first, crew and special needs passengers. Do that successfully and the TSA will reward you. The agency is handing out $15,000 in prize money for the best ideas, including a $5,000 top prize.

Glad to help:

Ban mobile phone calls in the queue. People who talk on the phone while simultaneously trying to get out their laptops and take off their shoes ought to be shot, but I’m willing to merely silence them to speed things up.

Start a Spirit Airlines line. Passengers on ultra-low cost carriers like Spirit and Allegiant are, let’s say, inexperienced at air travel; okay, hopeless. Even with their own line, they’ll still take forever.

Make every airline charge more for using the overhead bins than for checked baggage. Higher fees=fewer bags=shorter waits. Stop hating me. In an ideal world, all baggage would go underneath—for free—and show up 10 minutes after landing.

Fine the TSA for delays. Airlines get fined, so why not the TSA? If it takes me more than 20 minutes get through, the TSA is not doing its job right.

Have a giant, discount health and beauty store at every airport. No need to bring all that product in 3-oz. bottles. Just order in advance and buy’em at the airport, cheap.

There is indeed a science to lines, whether it’s applied to supermarkets, tollbooths, amusement parks, fast food joints, or in the bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien in my office building, where the front end system was designed by people who think dentistry isn’t painful enough. The science is known as queuing theory, and it was invented in 1909 by Danish physicist and mathematician A.K. Erlang to try figure out the optimal size of a central telephone switch to accommodate the most customers most of the time. One of queuing theory’s later advances is something called Little’s Law, expressed as L = λW , where L is the expected number of users in a queuing system, W is expected time in queuing system per user, and λ is the arrival rate. Seems easy, right?

Nope. The TSA’s problem is far more complex because it’s not a steady state system—it ebbs and flows based on the time of day and number of flights, among other factors. “The math gets really hairy, really fast,” says Dick Larson — “Dr. Q” — who teaches queuing theory at MIT. “No human knows how to derive the actual equations.”

Companies like Disney use simulations even before they create rides to try to predict the lines, says Larson, but the math attached to security lines is surely beyond the TSA. “I wish them luck,” he says.

Larson believes that half of the problem in queuing is psychological. People are stressed out about making their flights, about their cranky kids, about setting off an alarm and being groped by TSA agents. Larson’s suggestion for improving matters isn’t mathematical, it’s behavioral. “The key idea is stress reduction versus duration reduction,” he says. “If you can reduce the stress, the complaints would plummet.”

That could be done by guaranteeing that people who arrive at the security line within the airline’s minimum will make their flights, for instance. Diversion may help too. In post World War II New York, office workers in skyscrapers often faced long waits for elevators. The solution wasn’t more elevators, which was not possible. Instead, landlords mirrored the walls at the elevator banks; complaints dropped as worker bees had something to take their minds off the wait.

You can’t do that in airports, but maybe there’s a similar approach. Comedians? A brass band? Magicians? Or how about security-line mimes? Then passengers would have something to hate more than the TSA and the airlines.

TIME cities

UCLA Begins Clean-Up After Massive Water Main Break

Water gushes from a broken water main on Sunset Boulevard on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles
Water gushes from a broken water main on Sunset Boulevard on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles July 29, 2014 in this still image from aerial video from NBCLA.com. NBCLA.com/Reuters

The university's Pauley Pavilion was flooded after millions of gallons of water gushed from a broken water main

Updated July 30, 6:21 am ET

The University of California-Los Angeles began the task of cleaning up damaging flash floods Wednesday, after a broken water main spilled millions of gallons of water onto campus and nearby Sunset Boulevard.

The water main broke at around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, officials said, sending a 20-to-30-foot fountain of water gushing into the air. Water was shut off at around 7 p.m., but not before an estimated 8 to 10 million gallons spilled into the surrounding areas — including the historic Pauley Pavilion, where UCLA’s basketball teams play.

“Pauley Pavilion has taken quite a bit of water,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said on Tuesday night. “It’s painful. It’s a beautiful structure. We’re of course concerned. We’ve got to let it dry out and see where we are.”

The Los Angeles Fire Department sent inflatable boats to the area to assist in the rescue effort as the flood waters inundated campus athletic fields and underground parking lots, trapping at least three people in cars, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“This is the same thing you would have in any flash flood,” L.A. Fire Dept. Capt. Jaime Moore said.

Undeterred by the rising tide, students waded barefoot through the ankle-deep puddles. Some reportedly showed up with boogie boards, much to the displeasure of authorities. “That is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do,” Moore said. “For somebody to try and boogie board in this, it’s just going to be an asphalt bath.”

Classes at UCLA were due to proceed as usual on Wednesday, though Sunset Boulevard was expected to be closed to traffic until Wednesday afternoon.

[NBC News]

TIME georgia

Last Crew Member of Enola Gay Dies in Georgia

Obit Enola Gay Survivor
Theodore "Dutch" VanKirk, in Stone Mountain, Ga., Aug. 25, 2010. Bita Honarvar—AP

He was 93

(ATLANTA) — The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, hastening the end of World War II and forcing the world into the atomic age, has died in Georgia.

Theodore VanKirk, also known as “Dutch,” died Monday of natural causes at the retirement home where he lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, his son Tom VanKirk said. He was 93.

VanKirk flew nearly 60 bombing missions, but it was a single mission in the Pacific that secured him a place in history. He was 24 years old when he served as navigator on the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb deployed in wartime over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

He was teamed with pilot Paul Tibbets and bombardier Tom Ferebee in Tibbets’ fledgling 509th Composite Bomb Group for Special Mission No. 13.

The mission went perfectly, VanKirk told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview. He guided the bomber through the night sky, just 15 seconds behind schedule, he said. As the 9,000-pound bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” fell toward the sleeping city, he and his crewmates hoped to escape with their lives.

They didn’t know whether the bomb would actually work and, if it did, whether its shockwaves would rip their plane to shreds. They counted — one thousand one, one thousand two — reaching the 43 seconds they’d been told it would take for detonation and heard nothing.

“I think everybody in the plane concluded it was a dud. It seemed a lot longer than 43 seconds,” VanKirk recalled.

Then came a bright flash. Then a shockwave. Then another shockwave.

The blast and its aftereffects killed 140,000 in Hiroshima.

Three days after Hiroshima, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The blast and its aftermath claimed 80,000 lives. Six days after the Nagasaki bombing, Japan surrendered.

Whether the United States should have used the atomic bomb has been debated endlessly. VanKirk told the AP he thought it was necessary because it shortened the war and eliminated the need for an Allied land invasion that could have cost more lives on both sides.

“I honestly believe the use of the atomic bomb saved lives in the long run. There were a lot of lives saved. Most of the lives saved were Japanese,” VanKirk said.

But it also made him wary of war.

“The whole World War II experience shows that wars don’t settle anything. And atomic weapons don’t settle anything,” he said. “I personally think there shouldn’t be any atomic bombs in the world — I’d like to see them all abolished.

“But if anyone has one,” he added, “I want to have one more than my enemy.”

VanKirk stayed on with the military for a year after the war ended. Then he went to school, earned degrees in chemical engineering and signed on with DuPont, where he stayed until he retired in 1985. He later moved from California to the Atlanta area to be near his daughter.

Like many World War II veterans, VanKirk didn’t talk much about his service until much later in his life when he spoke to school groups, his son said.

“I didn’t even find out that he was on that mission until I was 10 years old and read some old news clippings in my grandmother’s attic,” Tom VanKirk told the AP in a phone interview Tuesday.

Instead, he and his three siblings treasured a wonderful father, who was a great mentor and remained active and “sharp as a tack” until the end of his life.

“I know he was recognized as a war hero, but we just knew him as a great father,” Tom VanKirk said.

VanKirk’s military career was chronicled in a 2012 book, “My True Course,” by Suzanne Dietz. VanKirk was energetic, very bright and had a terrific sense of humor, Dietz recalled Tuesday.

Interviewing VanKirk for the book, she said, “was like sitting with your father at the kitchen table listening to him tell stories.”

A funeral service was scheduled for VanKirk on Aug. 5 in his hometown of Northumberland, Pennsylvania. He will be buried in Northumberland next to his wife, who died in 1975. The burial will be private.

TIME Crime

Murdered Teen Texted Boyfriend ‘I’m Being Kidnapped’

April Millsap
April Millsap, in an undated photo provided by the Millsap family via Michigan State Police, July 27, 2014. Michigan State Police/AP

Middle schooler was found dead hours after she left her home to walk the family dog

A 14-year-old Michigan girl who was found murdered last week reportedly texted her boyfriend just before her death.

“Omg… I think I’m being kidnapped,” was the text April Millsap’s boyfriend received from her phone the night she was killed last Thursday, the Detroit Free Press reports. Millsap, who was due to start high school in the fall, was found dead by the side of the road, hours after she had left her home in Armada, Michigan, to walk the family dog. A couple found her body later that night, guarded by the collie, named “Penny.” An autopsy report confirmed that April was murdered, but authorities declined to say how, specifying only that she was not shot or stabbed.

Police have interviewed Millsap’s parents and boyfriend, but said they are “not considered suspects in her death.”

[Detroit Free Press]

TIME Education

These 5 States Have the Best Colleges

Did your state or school make the cut?

+ READ ARTICLE

Money ranked the nation’s top 50 colleges, and also took a look at which states have the most of those colleges. From California to New York, here are the top five, followed by the “Top 50″ colleges that are in each of the five states.

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