(JR) – For several decades, researchers have warned that modern lifestyles may be killing off sperm. Specifically, researchers have noted concern about the endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many products — pesticides, sunblock, plastic water bottles, non-stick pans — that mimic sex hormones and confuse our…
The issue: Ideological divisions between Democrats and Republicans are more pronounced and views of the opposing party more negative than at any time in at least a quarter century, the Pew Research Center reported in June 2016. Approximately half of party members – 55 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Republicans – say they fear the other party. Those numbers are higher for party members who either donate or volunteer.
Some attribute the dark mood to the media’s coverage of American politics, which can give the impression that the nation is irreconcilably split. But how do such feelings affect political attitudes? Does the media’s coverage of partisan debates and disagreements deepen the discord?
Police use of force has been heavily scrutinized for more than a year after fatal police encounters with unarmed black men in New York City, Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other parts of the U.S. The increased attention has renewed calls for law-enforcement officers to wear video cameras while on duty. Supporters say the devices are needed to provide transparency, build public trust and provide evidence against false complaints. But as more law-enforcement agencies begin using them, questions emerge as to when they should be turned on and off and how much footage should be made available to the public.
In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was providing $20 million in grants to help local and tribal agencies purchase and learn to use body cameras. The grants are part of President Obama’s plan to spend $75 million over three years to buy 50,000 “bod cams” for police organizations. Despite the national push, local law enforcement remains divided over the use of such technology, with some agencies blatantly resisting. Some of the agencies that have tried using them, however, are reporting decreased use of force and fewer complaints from residents. In San Diego, for example, a 2015 report based on preliminary statistics showed that body cameras helped reduce “personal body” force by officers by 46.5%.
The case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man who died in police custody on April 19, 2015 — now ruled a homicide — has raised a number of questions about the treatment of racial minorities within the criminal justice system, as well as about patterns of arrest-related deaths more generally.
The Baltimore Sun‘s 2014 investigation of these issues in that city revealed that “over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations.” Other outlets, such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have pursued similar investigations in their region. Still, it remains unclear how much these stark events and figures are characteristic of larger patterns across American society.
Over the past year, stories about animal welfare have gone viral via social media. In particular, the issues of holding animals in captivity, big game hunting and wildlife poaching have drawn significant criticism. A gorilla named Harambe was shot and killed at a Cincinnati zoo in June 2016 after a 3-year-old boy fell into his enclosure, prompting public debate over whether gorillas should be kept in zoos at all. In the summer of 2015, a beloved lion named Cecil was killed after a party of game hunters lured him away from the animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe where he had been living. Cecil’s death caused such outrage that the American dentist who shot him received death threats.
In February 2014, Prince William made animal welfare a cornerstone of his philanthropic goals. The Prince thrust anti-poaching policy into an international spotlight when he helped launch United for Wildlife, an organization dedicated to stopping the illegal trafficking of wildlife. As part of his efforts, he has held meetings with world leaders, including President Obama, and gave a major speech at the World Bank about the importance of a global commitment to stop the illegal trade.