Posts Tagged ‘wash post’

Obama’s apparent low-key approach to Kashmir disappoints some in disputed region (Wash Post)

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

gr2009122903635

[Editor's note: The map uses Natural Earth vector and raster imagery to parse the mixed administration and claims in the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Emily Wax. Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SRINAGAR, INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR — Every day, Irfan Ansari sorts through dozens of résumés from young Kashmiris seeking jobs at his call center, seen by many here as a haven from the turmoil caused by militant Islamist forces seeking to uproot the government of Indian-administered Kashmir.

“Many young Kashmiris today just want a good life,” said Ansari, who has 300 employees. “I have more than 10,000 résumés on my desk. I wish I could hire them all.”

A new generation of Kashmiris is weary of five decades of tensions over the future of this Himalayan region, which has been a flash point for India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers that claim Kashmir as their own.

But Kashmiris have been caught in the diplomatic dilemma facing the Obama administration as it tries to persuade Pakistan to take on a stronger role fighting Islamist extremists and simultaneously seeks to improve relations with India, Pakistan’s arch foe.

Many Kashmiris celebrated when President Obama took office nearly a year ago, because he seemed to favor a more robust approach to bring stability to Kashmir, where human rights groups estimate that as many as 100,000 people have died in violence and dozens of Pakistan-backed militant groups have sprung up. At one point, the Obama administration contemplated appointing former president Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the region.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Downturn keeping Americans’ wanderlust in check (Wash Post)

Monday, December 28th, 2009

[Editor's note: Perhaps having a better sense of local place + broadband internet access isn't so bad?]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Carol Morello. Thursday, December 10, 2009

Study: Fewer moving than at any time since World War II

The wanderlust that helped define the American character has been reined in by the recession and the collapse in housing prices, according to a new study showing fewer Americans changing residences than at any time since World War II.

About 12 percent of Americans moved in each of the past two years, down from 13 to 14 percent a year during the first part of this decade. Historical trends show a more precipitous drop. In any given year throughout the 1990s, 16 to 17 percent of Americans changed homes. Throughout the 1950s and in the early 1960s, it was one in five.

William Frey, the Brookings Institution demographer who wrote the study, said the economic slowdown has accelerated a long-term trend of people growing more rooted as homeownership has increased and the average age of Americans has risen. Add the bursting of the housing bubble, the credit crisis and the resulting recession, and many people are cemented in place.

“This triple whammy of forces made it riskier for would-be homebuyers to find financing, would-be sellers to receive good value for their home and potential long-distance movers to find employment in areas where jobs were previously plentiful,” said Frey, who analyzed statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the IRS for the study released Wednesday.

The report paints a picture of an America slowing down. The numbers for metropolises such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, which had been losing tens of thousands of residents in search of more affordable housing, are stabilizing. The flow out also subsided in the Washington area, whose population growth has been fueled by the arrival of tens of thousands of immigrants.

The effect of foreclosures was suggested in the study. In the year beginning in March, the percentage of people who moved to another house in the same county inched up more than half a percentage point from 2007 to 2008. But the percentage of people who moved to another state — a statistic more likely to reflect a new job — stayed the same, a record low level of 1.6 percent.

The phenomenon affected people across every demographic except immigrants.

The young and the footloose in their 20s are usually responsible for an outsized share of those who move, and they showed the steepest decline as jobs grew scarce, prompting many to return to their parents’ homes.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

India to create new southern state of Telengana (Wash Post)

Friday, December 18th, 2009

gr2009121103403[Editor's note: Time to updated Natural Earth vector already! Last week India added a new state to the national map (see map at right), not without counter protest. India is largely administered by language-focused states. The last time states were added was in 2000. The BBC has some good coverage (second).]

Republished from The Washington Post via the AP.

By RAVI NESSMAN. December 16, 2009.

Demand for new states could change India’s map

NEW DELHI — From scores fasting in demand of a new state in India’s hilly northeast to a powerful chief minister suggesting her region be split up, the map of the nation is facing an overhaul.

Ethnic minorities and activists in economically deprived regions are seeking states of their own, following the government’s surprise decision last week to give in to a hunger strike and create a new state in southern India.

Now, India is confronting serious calls for a grand reorganization of this sprawling, diverse nation of 1.2 billion.

“We are looking at what could be a major crossroads in the political evolution of the Indian system,” said Mahesh Rangarajan, a prominent political analyst at Delhi University. “Are 28 states enough for a billion people when 300 million Americans have 50 states?”

China, which India is expected to surpass in 2025 as the world’s most populous country, uses centralized, authoritarian rule to maintain order and unity. India’s democracy has relied on constant negotiation and compromise to empower its different ethnic groups and bind the diverse country, from the rural hill people who live on the Tibetan border to the business tycoons of Mumbai.

The Indian system gives broad power to the states. It was largely created after a Gandhi disciple died from a 58-day hunger strike in 1952, while pressing for the creation of Andhra Pradesh, a new state in the south.

Following the ensuing street protests, the government agreed to reorganize the country based on language groups. India has occasionally tweaked its internal boundaries since then, most recently with the creation of three new states in 2000 that brought the total to 28.

Some states remain so large they have become difficult to govern, leaving politically marginalized regions out of the country’s economic boom.

“You’ve got to try something new,” Rangarajan said. “Something’s not working about it.”

Parties across the spectrum – including the ruling Congress Party – have backed appeals for new states to garner regional support during elections. But as the campaigns fade, so does the pressure for statehood.

In an attempt to re-ignite the passions, politician K. Chandrasekhar Rao embarked on another hunger strike in Andhra Pradesh last month, demanding his neglected region of Telangana be given statehood.

As his health faded and protests grew, the government suddenly gave in – and was immediately swamped by calls for at least 16 other new states.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Introducing In Obama’s Words (Kelso via Wash Post)

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

[Editor's note: The third in The Washington Post's Obama accountability series, we now explore his key speeches with transcripts and videos tied in with their POTUS Tracker events. See trends in sum or by issue with our tag clouds and over time with charts. Credit goes to Wilson Andrews, Jackie Kazil, Nathaniel Kelso, Sarah Lovenheim, Ryan O'Neil, Paul Volpe, and Karen Yourish.]

Interact with the original at The Washington Post . . . Screenshot below.

obama_speeches_top

omaba_speeches_bottom

Tag Cloud: In their own words (Wash Post)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

[Editor's note: I created these three tag clouds to represent the responses to a national poll conducted for The Washington Post. Respondents chose 1 word to represent the Republican party. The words are all on the same type size scale in each of the 3 clouds. The position of the same words also needed to be consistent between clouds (ie: Palin in the upper left). Obviously the Republicans are on message about being conservative. Created with a custom script in Illustrator. Arranged by hand.]

Republished from The Washington Post. Nov. 30, 2009.

Those taking the poll were asked what word or phrase they would use to describe the Republican Party. The chart below shows all responses cited by two or more people, sized by number of responses.

View larger original at The Washington Post.

gr2009113001885

Unemployment rate by county (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, December 7th, 2009

[Editor's note: Kudos to Kat Downs for wiring up this interactive, zoomable map of the United States showing unemployment rate by county. There's a slider to see data back in time. I did the base map using my map generalization skills honed on Natural Earth. Using data that is appropriately generalized for the display scale cuts down on file size and reduces lag before data display.]

Republished from The Washington Post. Dec. 3, 2009

unemploymentmap
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics; GRAPHIC: Kat Downs, Mary Kate Cannistra and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso – The Washington Post, December 3, 2009

How Treasury spent its bailout funds (Wash Post)

Monday, December 7th, 2009

tarp_112809

[Editor's note: Todd's flow map of TARP spending. It's a charting beautify. I'm catching up on a couple week's of posts while Natural Earth was in its final stretch.]

Republished from The Washington Post. Saturday 28 Nov., 2009.

The Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, was designed to stabilize the financial system as well as aid homeowners and small businesses in the wake of the credit crisis. The Treasury Department has until the end of the year to renew the controversial program. Of the $700 billion that was authorized, $560.7 billion was planned for various programs. About $71 billion has been returned from financial firms and about another $10 billion has been paid in interest and dividends.

SOURCES: Treasury Department, reporting by The Washington Post

DAVID CHO, TODD LINDEMAN AND APRIL UMMINGER/THE WASHINGTON POST

‘Augmented reality’ fuses the Web and the world around you (Wash Post)

Friday, November 27th, 2009
yelpwikitude

[Editor's note: Yelp and Wikitude apps are bringing annotated camera view to newer smartphone that have both GPS and compass built in.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Rob Pegoraro. Sunday, November 22, 2009

The cameras on some new phones don’t show the world as you’ve known it.

Instead of just viewing the usual landscape of people, places and things on their screens, you see circles, rectangles and icons floating on top of the scenery. Tap one to display a snippet of Internet data about whatever lies behind that tag. As you look around, the view on the phone’s display shifts accordingly, presenting new shortcuts to whatever the Web knows about your surroundings.

The concept goes by the name augmented reality, and it’s been quietly bringing one of the Internet’s hokiest promises to a mainstream audience.

Remember all the hype about virtual reality, in which we’d don headsets to immerse ourselves in some version of the Star Trek holodeck? Augmented reality turns this from a science-fiction idea into something you can experience just by holding a smartphone in front of you at eye level — no goofy goggles or helmets needed.

For that to happen, though, mobile phones had to acquire a few prerequisite capabilities: a fast Internet connection, a high-resolution screen, Global Positioning System reception and a compass. In other words, first the phone had to be able to look up things on the Internet, then it had to be able to show them to you, then it had to find itself on a map, then it had to orient itself in 3-D space.

As a result, “AR” programs didn’t begin to appear on consumer hardware until last year, and many otherwise brainy smartphones still cannot run them — for example, the original iPhone and iPhone 3G and Palm’s Pre and Pixi devices lack compasses.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor (Wash Post)

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

terracotta

[Editor's note: The famous Xian warriors are stationed at National Geographic's Explorer's Hall in Washington, DC, thru March 31, 2010, open daily with late Wednesdays. Entrance fee applies, museum has details.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

An army for the afterlife
By Michael O’Sullivan. Friday, November 20, 2009

Buried for more than 2,000 years until their accidental discovery by Chinese farmers in 1974, the world-famous terra cotta warriors — a life-size militia of about 7,000 clay figures created to protect China’s first emperor in the afterlife — have arrived in Washington. Well, 15 of the 1,000 or so that have been unearthed, along with more than 100 related artifacts from the grave site of Qin Shihuangdi (259-210 B.C.) in Shaanxi province.

On view through March 31 at the National Geographic Museum, the last stop on a four-city U.S. tour, “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor” is the first time this many of the figures have traveled to the States. What’s more, according to museum director Susan Norton, museum-goers here will be able to get within a few feet of the warriors, far closer than even at the original archeological site, where visitors look down on the burial pits from a distance.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Political prerogative in the embassies (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

gr2009102300322

[Editor's note: I created this bivariate Dorling cartogram for Al's column on Friday. The bubbles are grouped by geographic region show number of total ambassadors and the subset (in red) who have been political appointees the last 49 years. The subset is aligned bottom middle instead of sharing the same center point as the total bubble. If you haven't seen our Head Count interactive database tracking all Obama's federal appointments, check it out!]

Republished from The Washington Post. Reported by Al Kamen.

Just after the election in November, we wrote that an Obama administration was likely to eschew “the traditional sale of most ambassadorships, so aptly carried on during the Bush administration.” The chatter was that the new team would pick political types, but with some foreign policy cred — as the Clinton administration tended to do — and maybe reduce the percentage of politicals in favor of more career Foreign Service officers.

Yeah, well, we must have been eschewing something. The fat-cat contributors naturally got the plum postings, as usual.

But judging from data compiled by the American Foreign Service Association, the career employees union, it appears that Obama is on track to reduce, at least marginally, the percentage of jobs going to contributors and cronies. While there are still a lot of vacancies, AFSA officials project that Obama is likely to end the year appointing fewer political folks than either Bush or Clinton to the 181 ambassadorial postings — but still too many, as far as the career diplomats are concerned.

About 30.1 percent of Bush’s ambassadors during his eight years were political folks, AFSA found. Clinton’s average, 33 percent politicals, was higher, but Clinton’s folks were a mix of non-career people who actually knew a lot about the countries or regions to which they were named and pure cash types — our favorite was hotelier Larry Lawrence for Switzerland, the guy whose body was exhumed from Arlingon National Ceremony when it turned out he lied about being in the Merchant Marine.

If Obama’s first-year total ends up slightly lower than Bush’s, then Obama’s eventual four-year — or eight-year — percentages will probably be clearly lower than his immediate predecessors’, we’re told, because the first round of appointments tends to skew more to paying off politicals than do the later rounds.

Of course, the politically connected still get the finer spots in the Caribbean and Western Europe. As the accompanying chart shows, the career diplomats head to somewhat less delightful (even nasty) postings in Central Asia (100 percent career since 1960), the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Since 1960, no Foreign Service officer has ever run the embassy in Dublin and only one, Ray Seitz, has gone to the Court of St. James’s in London. On the other hand, no political appointee has ever gone to Chad and only one has gone to Bulgaria.

See AFSA’s full data at http://www.afsa.org/ambassadors.cfm.

SOURCE: American Foreign Service Association, data 1960 through today. | Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Karen Yourish/The Washington Post – October 23, 2009

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .