COMMANDER IN CHIEF by @steklir. 11k. on going. rated T.

Christmas, 2020: United States President Lexa Woods has recently been re-elected for her second term, has three Nobel Peace Prizes under her belt, and a 97% public approval rating. None of this, in any way, prepares her for the pretty girl her sister brings home to the White House for Christmas.

High schools around the country are increasingly turning to external, for-profit providers for “online credit recovery.” These courses, taken on a computer, offer students who have failed a course a second chance to earn credits they need for graduation, whether after school, in the summer or during the school year.

In some districts, it’s an important part of efforts to raise graduation rates, as we wrote about in our Graduation Rates project last year.

Today, the first large-scale, randomized controlled trial of student performance in these courses is out from the American Institutes of Research, and the news is not great. AIR followed 1,224 freshmen in the Chicago public schools, randomly assigned in the summers of 2011 and 2012 to retake second-semester algebra either face-to-face or on a computer.

Research Finds Poor Outcomes For Students Who Retake Courses Online

Illustration credit: LA Johnson/NPR


his smile is most naïve
cheerful and good-natured
and he’s as handome up close as at a distance

Young Black Gays in Atlanta Getting HIV at Breakneck Pace

A staggering 12% of young gay black men in Atlanta are contracting HIV each year, an incidence rate exceeding that of almost all other previously recorded figures in the world’s wealthier nations. At this rate, a sexually active black man who becomes sexually active at age 18 has a 60% chance of becoming HIV positive by the time he hits 30.

Fidel Castro, Leader of Cuban Revolution Dead at 90

Fidel Castro, former president and leader of the Cuban revolution, died Friday night at age 90, Cuban state television confirmed.

Born in 1926 to a prominent landowner in Holguín Province, Cuba, Castro went on to lead Cuba’s revolutionary independence movement, becoming president of the island nation in 1959 after defeating the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship.

Soon after taking power Castro adopted an explicitly Marxist-Leninist model of development and in so doing faced the wrath of the U.S. For the next 48 years, until resigning in 2008, Castro led the tiny island nation to historic levels of development, leading the world in literacy and public health rates.

The success of Castro’s revolution also meant facing down a more than 50 year U.S. blockade and surviving multiple CIA assassination attempts. Castro and Cuba’s success inspired a growing decolonization movement throughout the world, one which Castro actively supported by creating networks of mutual aid throughout Latin and Central America, as well as Africa.


Anyone who thought the legalization of marijuana would be a dangerous move is up against some serious numbers. Weed sales are continuing to incline, and crime rates are continuing to decline. Not counting medicinal weed sales, Colorado sold over $34 million in their recreational weed market in the month of August JUST for the purpose of recreation. $3.4 million of that (10%) goes straight into government coffers and towards building schools. At this pace, according to PolicyMic, Colorado will make at LEAST$30 million this year in pot taxes alone.

This is bringing in some serious tax money that is being used to strengthen the community, provide free education, and is cleaning up the streets in the process. How can anyone argue with this?

What’s promising is that these numbers are expected to keep going up to, and sales are expected to continue to incline(coinciding just fine, take note Washington). Many say that a figure closer to $60 million in weed tax revenue is a more likely assumption. Why is this not legal in every state yet? Here is a graph showing the continual increase in sales

I’m staying on the sinking ship of Chicago, and I’ll tell you why. My girlfriend. That’s right, people. I may spread 187 pounds very poorly around my six foot frame, but I have a girlfriend, and she loves Chicago so much she’d gladly sink into Lake Michigan with it. Chicago may not have Canada’s cheap prescription drugs, excellent public schools, low crime rate, or geologic stability, but it’s got my girl. And she’s as funny as Schadenfreude, as smart as Gretchen Helfrich, and so gorgeous that I can only describe her as “even sexier than Steve Edwards’ voice.”
—  John Green talking about Sarah for the first time on the radio.
// Babygirl - Theo Raeken //

Relationship: Theo Raeken x Reader.

Request: N/A.

Warnings: mkay I think we’ve established that I’m bad at writing both smut and the warnings lmao.

Dirty talk, ass grabbing, fingering, Dom!Theo, kinda public? Idk.

Rating: 18+ NSFW

Word count: 1,702

A growl escaped your lips as your stare burned into him from across the room. The pack had needed a place to talk about the most recent supernatural phenomenon threatening beacon hills, the Dread Doctors, so you simply offered your house for the pack to meet in. However you were unaware that due to a new member as of that afternoon, ‘the pack’ now included Theo Raeken.

He had been in your 4th grade class along with you lifelong friend Stiles and Scott, your alpha as of a few months ago. The second Theo arrived back in beacon hills; he had the rest of the pack around his little finger, believing every word he said; not you and Stiles.  You were smarter than that and knew in your heart something was wrong with this kid and Stiles agreed.

“I talked to my dad,” Stiles had said “He said that if he truly isn’t who he says he is, give him some time and he’ll slip up. We just need to wait.” So, wait you did.

One thing to go on the record about Theo Raeken was that he seemed to find a sense of content in pushing your buttons, and pushing them he did. Whether it was something he said or his actions, he found a way to irritate you and being fairly new to your transition regardless of how confident you were in being able to control the change at this point; there was only so much you could take.

Once the pack had arrived and you had been filled in with the new pack addition the topic of interest quickly changed to the Dread Doctors. For the duration of the time that you all sat there trying to think of what the pack could do Theo had seemed to spend the entirety of the time finding ways to drive you crazy. You all took a break once stiles came up with the idea of ordering pizza, and once it arrived you jumped at the opportunity to sit across the room, as far away from Theo as possible.

Starting to seem like he was never going to stop, you glared at Theo, resulting in a wink that caused you to growl, furthermore irritated by the loss of control.

“Something wrong, Princess?” Theo asked, sounding innocent enough with a smirk planted on his lips. You growled again, this time lower yet louder and much more menacing. Your now florescent yellow eyes burned into him as you felt fangs starting to grow and claws replacing your short, maintained nails. Dozens of eyes now on you as multiple misheard voices tried to ask you if you were ok or telling you to calm down but right now all you cared about was charging across the room and ripping Theo’s vocal chords out with your teeth. You hadn’t even heard Scott take Liam’s place next to you.

“Y/N, come help me in the kitchen. I-I need to, um; I’m going to go fill everyone’s glasses.” Scott spoke, thinking of anything he could to convince you to get out of this room and avoid any kind of confrontation.

“Do it yourself.” You snapped, not even glancing at him.

Scott sighed, kneeling down, balancing his weight on the tip of his toes resting a hand on your knee. “Y/N. Look at me.” He demanded. You broke your glare away from Theo.

“I do love a girl that can take commands, nice and… submissive” Theo chuckled; you could almost hear the smirk in his voice.

“It’s not worth it.” Scott said his voice now softer.

You simply nod and stand up, completely transitioning back to your normal self. Scott was right it wasn’t worth getting angry over. He wasn’t worth getting angry over, and there was no way you were going to give him the reaction he wanted.  “Drinks?” You ask around the room as Scott helps you collect up glass (and in Stiles case, since he had a habit of dropping and smashing them, he got a plastic) cups, until you landed at Theo. He held out his mug and instead you walked right past him, into the kitchen with Scott.

“You ok now, Y/N? Have you calmed down?” He asked, looking genuinely concerned.

“Yeah, it was stupid. I let him get to me.” You nod before telling him to go back to the pack and that you’d bring the drinks in yourself. Scott smiled sweetly at you and walked back to the living room. You walked to the refrigerator, pulling out the different bottled drinks and pouring them in, boiling the kettle making a coffee for yourself and Stiles.

“Another coffee would be nice, Baby girl” You recognised the voice, and it certainly wasn’t Scott.

“Theo, could you stop with the fucking nicknames.” You snarled.

“Struck a nerve, have I?” He chuckled, shooting you another wink. You turned back to the kettle with a sigh, only to feel his body press against your back. “Or are you just mad now that you realise how much you like it? How much you like me being around, as close as I am now. You think I don’t see the way you look at me, baby girl?”

“Don’t kid yourself, asshole.” You snapped, though you couldn’t really deny it. It didn’t take much to realise that he was good looking, and as much as his attitude annoyed you there was something about it that attracted you to him, though you would never admit it.

“It’s cute that you still think you can lie to me, Y/N” He laughs shaking his head, his hot breath on your neck sending a shiver through your body. He smiled as you move your head to the side trying to avoid any means of eye contact with him, his lips moving to just below your ear, his voice a whisper. “But you should know something about me baby girl.” His hand sliding up your bare thigh and under the skirt you now regret wearing, feeling yourself getting wetter. “I don’t appreciate being lied to.”

His lips attached at a sweet spot underneath your ear and you struggle to stifle a moan.

“T-Theo…” You whisper. “We can’t-” You cut your own voice off with another moan, this a little louder than the last, as Theo sucked harshly on your neck. His hands gripped onto your hips as he spun you around to face him and lifted you so you sat on the counter, Theo stood in-between your separated legs.

“Baby girl, if you want me to stop just say the word. If not, you’re going to have to quieten down.” He was right, you had completely forgotten about the rest of the pack who were in the next room. “You’ve been teasing me all day in… this.” He referenced your skirt; you bit your lip and looked down. Never had you been this turned on.

“Don’t like a little noise Raeken?” You ask teasing him a little.

He chuckled, shaking his head at her. “Oh, baby girl, you really don’t understand. I could make you scream.” His words made you blush slightly, maybe because you weren’t used to dirty talk or maybe because you knew it was true.

His lips roughly attached to your neck, moving up toward your jaw, as his hand reaching inside your underwear. “You’re so wet princess.” He muttered before his finger traced figure eights over your clit. You buried your head in Theo’s neck, breathing heavily in an attempt to stop any audible moans. “No,” Theo protested, his hand moving from your underwear. You pulled your head back confused. “I want you to look at me ok?”

He bowed his head again, and instead of on your neck his lips unexpectedly met yours. His hand slipped back under your pleated skirt and into your underwear and instead going back to your clit, it slipped to your entrance and pushed two fingers inside of you his other hand on your jaw as you kissed. You opened your mouth, both shocked and aroused, which was enough for him to slip his tongue in your mouth, gaining dominance straight away. His lips were softer than expected. One of your hands gripped to the work top the other in Theo’s hair, tugging on it. He moaned slightly, his lips curling to a smile as his fingers worked at your core, pumping in and out quickly when all of a sudden his fingers curled inside of you. His fingers continued to work on your core as you feel yourself getting close.

“T-Theo, I’m going to- I’m gonna-”

“Come for me, baby girl” His breath tickling your ear, biting down on your neck again. It only took a few seconds for you to release, your climax hitting and releasing on Theo’s hand, breathing uneven and a satisfied smile on your face.

“Happy, baby girl?” A smile on his face as he watched you gain your breath back, licking his fingers clean.

You nod, “Very.” You confirmed between breaths.

His lips met yours again, this time much more… passionate. His hands moved to your back, pulling you off of the counter top. You wrapped your own around his neck, your body curving, pressing against him. Theo’s hands shift and rest at your ass, a smile at his lips. After a few minutes he pulled away, pecking you on the lips once more and winking at you, grabbing your ass before he moved to the counter where the drinks sat.

He grabbed one of the glasses you had forgotten about and handed it to you, taking one in each hand himself, puzzling you. As if on cue Lydia popped her head around the door.

“What’s taking you guys so long? I’m thirsty.” She pouted.

“Y/N here takes the piss. What kind of girl can’t make a decent coffee?” He glanced round at you, shooting you a wink that Lydia couldn’t see.

“Shut up asshole.” You rolled your eyes, ignoring the smile pulling at your lips.

“Compared with other advanced countries, the United States has developed a distinctive approach to meeting social needs. It relies less on direct government provision and compulsory taxation and more on voluntary provision. In 2007 government social spending was 16.2% of GDP in the US, compared with 19.2% in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The corresponding ratios in Continental Europe’s largest economies, France and Germany, were 28.4% and 25.2% respectively. As has been frequently documented, the consequences of the comparatively weak American social safety net are higher poverty rates and greater income inequality, after taxes and transfers.”

- Charitable Giving and Tax Policy, edited by Gabrielle Fack and Camille Landais.

Image credit: money dollar cash by ThePictureBox. Public domain via Pixabay.

Six reasons teen births are plummeting

By Sarah Kliff

The United States’ teen birth rate hit a new low in 2013, preliminary federal data published Thursday shows.

The Center for Disease Control’s new report finds there were 26.6 births for every 1,000 women between 15 and 19 last year. That’s a 10 percent decline from 2012 — and also lower than any year on record.

The drop in the teen birth rate has coincided with a decline in the teen abortion rate, which separate research shows is also at an all-time low. Taken together, those two numbers show that fewer American teenagers are getting pregnant  right now than at any time the federal government has kept track.

The big question for public health researchers is why. What are teenagers, and the people who influence them, doing right to drive down the teen birth rate? There’s no one answer. Instead, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy thinks there are least a half-dozen different things happening — all at once — that are working together to lead to a lower number of teen births.

(Read full article)

(From Vox)


To Encourage Holiday Sex That Results In Babies, A Danish Campaign Offers “Ovulation Discount”

Spies Travel offers an “ovulation discount” on city vacations and a three-year supply of baby stuff for Danes who get knocked up.

Copenhagen is routinely named one of the best, most liveable cities in the world (except if you’re a giraffe). But despite also being pegged as some of the world’s happiest people, the country’s birth rate sits at a 27-year low.

Travel agency brand Spies Travel and agency Robert/Boisin & Like-Minded recently decided to try and kickstart the production of a new generation of Danes with a new patriotic/sexy time campaign called “Do It For Denmark.” Studies showed that Danes have 46% more sex on vacation and that 10% of all Danish babies are conceived abroad. The campaign is offering an ovulation discount to anyone who wants to go on a romantic city break and get pregnant. Not only that, if you can prove you conceived during the trip, you could win a three-year supply of baby supplies and a family-friendly holiday.

Agency creative director and partner Heinrich Vejlgaard says that Spies Travel is a very familiar brand that is best known for package holidays. The brief was to connect Spies Travel to city holidays too, since awareness is low on these types of offers.

“We did some research and realized that it’s mainly couples that go on these city trips and looking at our own experience in foreign cities it always been sort of romantic trips with lots of extra bed action,” says Vejlgaard. “At the same time we stumbled over low birth rate fact and an idea sparked that if just more people would go travel we wouldn’t have this crisis in the first place. In order to give people an extra encouragement to travel we needed an extra incentive, that’s how the competition and the Ovulation Discount emerged. ”

External image

Last year the agency’s campaign for Spies tackled winter depression by sending solar mannequins on holiday to see how much energy they got. “That created quite a bit of PR here in Denmark, so it felt like a natural follow up to try to solve the declining birth rate too,” says Vejlgaard.

No one has sent in any pregnancy proof just yet, but Vejlgaard is confident they’ll see some entries within the next nine months. “Now we cross our fingers for a little baby boom,” he says.

(From FastCompany,
FBI: US Homicide Rate at 51-Year Low
The US homicide rate in 2014, the most recent year available, was 4.5 per 100,000.

The US homicide rate in 2014, the most recent year available, was 4.5 per 100,000. The 2014 total follows a long downward trend and is the lowest homicide rate recorded since 1963 when the rate was 4.6 per 100,000. To find a lower homicide rate, we must travel back to 1957 when the total homicide rate hit 4.0 per 100,000.

Homicide rates were considerably higher in the United States during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, but over the past 25 years, have fallen nearly continuously:

Ask the average American if crime is falling in the United States, however, and you’re unlikely to hear about how homicide is at a 50-year low.

Public Unaware that Homicide Rates Have Fallen

As Pew has reported in recent years, in fact, the American public is “unaware” that the homicide rate in the United States has fallen by 49 percent over the past twenty years. And while Pew doesn’t report on it, it’s also a safe bet that the public is also unaware that homicide rates have collapsed as total gun ownership in the United States has increased significantly.

Over a recent 20 year period, the number of new guns in the US that were either manufactured in the US or imported into the US increased 141 percent from 6.6 million new guns in 1994 to 16 million in 2013. That means a gross total of 132 million new guns were added into the US population over that time period.

So, do more guns equal more crime? The data would seem to indicate the answer is “obviously not.” (For more on this, see here.)

Naturally, these facts are steadfastly ignored by people who can’t do basic arithmetic, like the constitutional law Professor David S. Cohen who wrote Monday at Rolling Stone that the second Amendment must be repealed because it is “a threat to liberty” and a “suicide pact.”

Cohen’s argument rests largely on the idea that gun violence it out of control and that guns are different now than they were in the 18th century. One cannot argue with the former part. But are guns significantly different today from what they were twenty years ago? Clearly, the answer to that is no, and given that homicide rates have plummeted since then, Cohen needs to explain why repealing the second Amendment is advisable when increases in gun ownership have coincided with declines in homicides.

Moreover, we must ask ourselves if the US was engaged in a “suicide pact” in the 1940s and 1950s when homicide rates where at historic lows, when the Second Amendment existed, and when gun control measures were very weak by modern standards.

But what about the murders at the Pulse club last weekend? Won’t that cause homicide rates to go back up? Anyone familiar with math, of course, will know that in a country of 300 million people a mass shooting like this will have virtually no effect on overall homicide rates at all. But even if we pull out Florida specifically, homicide rates will remain well below what they were in the 1980s even if we include last weekend’s murders. For example, in 2014, there were 1,149 homicides in Florida. That’s out of a population of 20.2 million people, for a homicide rate of about 5.6 per 100,000. In 1984 — a fairly average year for homicide in Florida in those days — there were 1,264 homicides in a population of 11 million. That comes out to a homicide rate of 11.4 per 100,000. (The nation at the time had a homicide rate of about 7.9 per 100,000)

Now, I’m not saying that homicides are no big deal if the trend is downward. Nor am I saying there’s anything wrong with wanting to drive the homicide rate even lower. However, panicky claims that the US has entered into a suicide pact or that the nation is on the precipice of violent implosion are simply not grounded in reality.

Making State-to-State Comparisons

We have demonstrated that trends over time do not lend much help to the idea that the availability of guns have increased homicide rates. Nor is there any clear help for the gun control argument if we look at homicide rates on a state-by-state basis. Indeed, some states with the least restrictive gun laws, such as New Hampshire, Vermont, and Idaho, have some of the lowest homicide rates found anywhere in the world. And, even slightly more restrictive states like Minnesota and Colorado have very low homicide rates. (For more on this, see my article “With Few Gun Laws, New Hampshire Is Safer than Canada.”)

Gun control advocates like to point to Canada as a model for more restrictive gun laws, but what we find is that as states become more like Canada in terms of demographics and climate, they have more similar homicide rates. So, many states that border Canada have gun laws far more permissive than anything found in Canada — but have similar homicide rates.

We also fail to find support for gun-control claims along the southern border as well. Mexico has far more restrictive gun laws than the United States, and even when we take “informal” (i.e., illegal) gun ownership into account, there are still fewer private guns in Mexico than in the United States. And yet cities and counties that border Mexico tend to have much, much lower homicide rates. The city of El Paso Texas, for example, which is of course within the jurisdiction of Texas’s lax gun laws, has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, at a mere 0.6 per 100,000 (as of 2012). El Paso has long been considered to be one of the safest cities in North America (and one of the most Hispanic cities, as well). Notably, El Paso is within easy walking distance of Chihuahua State in Mexico where homicide rates are among the worst in the world, and where gun laws are extremely restrictive. (For more on this see my article “Borderland Homicides Show Mexico’s Gun Control Has Failed”.)

Source: Center for Global Development.

Many advocates for gun control employ their usual soft bigotry of low expectations and claim that Mexicans could never be expected to behave like people in “advanced” countries, thus no comparisons are allowed. Naturally, no standard for why one North American country cannot be compared to another is ever provided. But if we do allow ourselves to believe that Mexican are, in fact, full-fledged human beings, we will make a comparison and wonder why gun-tolerant Texas is so much more peaceful than gun-restrictive Mexico. (For more on this, see my article “The Mistake of Only Comparing US Murder Rates to ‘Developed’ Countries”.)

Mass Shootings as a “Special” Kind of Murder

The most recent strategy employed nowadays to whip up sentiment against gun ownership is by redefining mass shootings as some kind of “special” type of murder. “Yes, homicide rates have been going down,” they admit, “but mass shootings are now an epidemic!”

If there are 49 percent fewer homicides nowadays compared to twenty years ago, it is a bit disingenuous to imply that homicides are actually going up because the rare events [known] as mass shootings are claimed to be more common. Victims of mass shootings are not more dead than other homicide victims. If the goal is to decrease homicide, we must first ask ourselves why the conditions that coincided with falling homicide rates (i.e., increasing gun ownership) should be abolished all the name of reducing one specific kind of homicide.

Moreover, it is untrue that the US is unique in the occurrence of mass shootings. The claim is so far from accurate that even Politifact rates the claim as “mostly false.” One can only even begin to make the claim if one conveniently excludes mass shootings in Europe (such as the Paris attacks) as “terrorism” while defining similar acts in the US (i.e., the San Bernardino and Orlando killings) as generic “mass shootings.” Similarly, it’s also disingenuous to ignore other forms of mass homicide that occur when the murderers use means other than guns. The 2002 Bali bombings at a night club, for example, killed more than 200 people. But never mind that, we’re told. Just focus on mass shootings. Also, ignore killings like the 1995 Ohlahoma City bombing and the Boston Marathon bombings. Although some components of fertilizer bombs are monitored, it’s still perfectly legal to buy the means to carry out those killings.

In order to accept mass shootings as the only important metric on homicide nowadays, we must ignore countless facts about the context and trends in homicide. But, there’s no reason why we should do this. Indeed, a small number of mass homicides should be easier to deal with than a larger number of non-mass homicides. As I discuss here and here, mass homicides tend to occur at very specific locations where large numbers of people congregate, and the obvious answer would be to address security at those specific places.

Many gun control advocates think they’re being clever when they point out that policymakers “banned” box cutters and liquids. “So let’s ban semi-automatic rifles!” Take this meme being passed around by left-wing Facebook groups:

The problem with this claim should be immediately obvious. Box cutters and liquids were banned from commercial airplanes. Nearly 100% of adult Americans still own bottles of liquids and knife-like objects such as box cutters. Few people would argue that there’s anything wrong with banning unauthorized personnel with carrying semi-automatic rifles in preschools and dance clubs. It’s something that can be achieved with private security, and we would be well-advised to beef it up in places that are likely to be targets of mass shootings. 

Seeking Artists, Inkers, Flatters

EDIT: I’m not actively seeking collaborators anymore, just so you know! If I haven’t replied to your email, it isn’t because I haven’t seen it and appreciated it –– I’m just focusing on current projects. Thanks so, so much to everyone who’s gotten in touch!

I am currently seeking collaborators for some upcoming projects! At least two are definite with the potential of more to follow, so I’m hoping not just to find immediate help, but start a file for future reference.

This concerns some short stories I’ve written, ranging from 5-15 pages in length each. Pay is dependent on the publication’s rates, which are generally in the indie anthology realm. Those rates are admittedly not great, but I do my best to make it worth my collaborators’ time by favoring them when splitting the upfront rate and sharing rights, royalties, comps, etc. It’s all negotiable, I have huge respect for artists and would never expect anything that isn’t worth your time. And, of course, you will always be credited with enthusiasm!

 Artists: I am interested in hearing from artists who produce finished pages.

 Inkers: I’d also like to hear from inkers who would be willing to ink pages I have pencilled. I will pay for a sample page to see how our styles jive if I’m interested in working with you.

Flatters: I’ve been working with someone really great lately, but if you’re a flatter, I’m interested in keeping you on my list in case a spot opens up!

Please email me a link to your portfolio (or a couple reasonably sized attachments, no zips) at If your website doesn’t have one, also give me a quick summary of who you are, where you’re from, and what sort of work you’ve done. Thanks!

Edit: Shameless plugging of Twitter testimonies from past/current collaborators!

Carey Pietsch: “Sarah has been wonderful to collaborate with!! hit her uppppp”

Jackie Roche: “Sarah is excellent to work with, seeking collaborators:”

Adult cigarette smoking rate overall hits all-time low

Despite progress, smoking rates stay high for certain groups

The cigarette smoking rate among adults in the U.S. dropped from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 17.8 percent in 2013, according to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

That is the lowest prevalence of adult smoking since the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) began keeping such records in 1965. The report also shows the number of cigarette smokers dropped from 45.1 million in 2005 to 42.1 million in 2013, despite the increasing population in the U.S. 

“There is encouraging news in this study, but we still have much more work to do to help people quit,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “We can bring down cigarette smoking rates much further, much faster, if strategies proven to work are put in place like funding tobacco control programs at the CDC-recommended levels, increasing prices of tobacco products, implementing and enforcing comprehensive smoke-free laws, and sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns.”

While smoking rates have dropped, there is a significant need to help those who continue to smoke. Cigarette smoking remains especially high among certain groups, most notably those below the poverty level, those who have less education, Americans of multiple race, American Indians/Alaska Natives, males, those who live in the South or Midwest, those who have a disability or limitation, and those who are lesbian/gay/bisexual. Data specific to sexual orientation were collected for the first time by the NHIS in 2013.

(More from CDC)

Bernie Sanders voting record on the Environment

Click here for 18 full quotes on Environment OR background on Environment

  • Cut subsidies of wealthy farmers; increase grazing fees. (Jun 1997)
  • Voted YES on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems. (May 2013)
  • Voted YES on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Aug 2009)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land. (Dec 2007)
  • Voted YES on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. (May 2006)
  • Voted NO on deauthorizing “critical habitat” for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
  • Voted NO on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
  • Prohibits commercial logging on Federal public lands. (Apr 2001)
  • Rated 90% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Promote conservation of rare felids & canids. (Mar 2007)
  • Make tax deduction permanent for conservation easements. (Mar 2009)
  • Regulate all dog breeders down to kennels of 50 dogs. (Feb 2011)
  • Prohibit invasive research on great apes. (Apr 2011)
  • Prohibits breeding or possessing Big Cat species. (Sep 2012)
  • Rated 100% by HSLF, indicating a pro-animal welfare voting record. (Jan 2012)
  • Require labeling genetically engineered food. (Apr 2013)
  • Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting. (Jan 2007)

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No more vaccination waivers - California lawmakers

The bill, announced Wednesday, would require all children to receive vaccinations prior to attending public school in the state. The proposal allows for exemption only for cases in which a medical condition would prohibit a vaccination. Schools, meanwhile, would have to make their vaccination rates public.

So far this year, at least 102 people in 14 different US states have contracted measles and are considered extremely contagious, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the cases this year are linked to several dozen non-vaccinated people exposed to measles at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.