Obama Commutes Sentence Of Whistleblower Chelsea Manning

At  23 years of age, Manning was given the longest sentence for leaks of classified documents in U.S. history

Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has been critiqued as having a “war on whistle-blowers.” Today, as one of his final acts, he has commuted the sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning—who has already served six years of her 35-year sentence for leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks.

The leak resulted in over 700,000 documents and a video being released. It was the largest leak in U.S. history. At 23 years of age, Manning was also given the longest sentence for leaks of classified documents in U.S. history.

But that is now in the past. President Obama has accepted her attorney’s application to commute her sentence to time served. She will be released in May. For the slew of people who believed that her treatment and sentence were unfair, this is a victory.

Since her suicide attempt in July of 2016, a litany of groups stepped up to the pressure to have her sentence commuted. She also filed a transgender prisoner lawsuit, detailing her treatment in prison as “a cycle of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loss, and depression. I cannot focus. I cannot sleep.”

Retired Air Force Colonel Col. Morris D. Davis also advocated on Manning’s behalf. CBS reported that Col. Davis wrote a letter attached to her application, advocating for her release, saying her leaks years ago “could fairly be described as inconvenience and embarrassment.”

The president also commuted the sentences of 208 others and pardoned 64 people.

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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