Where in the World is the Secretary of State?

On Friday Hillary Clinton steps down as Secretary of State to (likely) be replaced by John Kerry whose confirmation votes will (likely) be later this week. One of the big roles for the Secretary of State is to travel abroad and represent the United States. If secretaries go where the US needs to be represented, that would imply that some states are more important for foreign visits. So has there been a shift in priorities in recent years?

In this interactive piece the Washington Post looks at where James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, and Hillary Clinton visited during their tenure at Foggy Bottom. The screen shots below only show the maps—there are very useful tables for finding data on trips to specific countries—for Baker and Clinton and comparing the two. The shift from the European/Cold War mentality is quite pronounced.

James Baker's trips abroad
James Baker's trips abroad
Hillary Clinton's trips abroad
Hillary Clinton's trips abroad

Credit for the piece goes to Emily Chow and Glenn Kessler.

Healthy Living

Yesterday the Washington Post published an article and an accompanying interactive infographic on life expectancy. But not just how long one can expect to live, but also how long one can expect to live in good health. What makes the piece particularly nice and effective are the annotations that explain some of the data points, in particular the outlier of Haitian males.

Life expectancies
Life expectancies

Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz, Emily Chow, and Todd Lindeman.

More Evidence on Why You (I) Need a Good Night’s Sleep

The Washington Post looks at sleep and how lack thereof may lead to various health problems, including Alzheimers, diabetes, and others. Maybe this means I have a reason to sleep in the mornings now…probably not.

Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz and Alberto Cuadra.

Drone Wars

This is a small interactive piece by the Washington Post that looks at the drone wars being waged by the United States specifically in Pakistan and then Yemen/Somalia. Clicking on a specific date in the timeline brings that date into focus with articles about the attacks in question.

Drone Wars
Drone Wars

What would have perhaps been interesting is a comparison of the number and location of drone strikes between the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Regardless, it illuminates a dark front of our ongoing wars.

Credit for the piece goes to Julie Tate, Emily Chow, Jason Bartz, Jeremy Bowers, Anup Kaphle and Olga Khazan.

How a Dead Panda Should Have Grown

Earlier this month a panda was born in Washington. The Post did a small infographic looking at how a panda cub grows over the course of its first year. I decided I would probably wait until sometime later this week to publish it.

Except it died yesterday. So before the moment is gone, here’s a graphic from the Washington Post looking at how the cub should have grown up.

How it should have grown
How it should have grown

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark.

Made in the USA. Exported to Mexico.

We trade a lot with China. Everyone knows that. But people might not realise that both Canada and Mexico are also among our largest trading partners. (I suppose it helps that they are both right next door.) Mexico is the second-largest importer of US goods after Canada. (China is third.) The Washington Post looked at which states are exporting the most to Mexico and what their largest exports happen to be.

Exporting to Mexico
Exporting to Mexico

Credit for the piece goes to Wilson Andrews, Emily Chow, and Bill Webster.

Revising the Jobs Reports

Last Friday was the jobs report for the month of August. And it was not as high as economists had expected. The problem is that the initial report is often inaccurate despite the fact we make such a big deal about the report. So the Washington Post looked at the revisions that take place in the months afterwards. Yeah, the initial reports are not so accurate.

Revising the Jobs Reports Numbers
Revising the Jobs Reports Numbers

The first two sets of charts (not shown above) look at the initial versus the revised numbers. The third (the cropping above) looks at the difference between those figures. The result is that the first few years of President Obama’s presidency created more jobs than expected but that the last two months have seen worse-than-expected job creation. I would be curious to see how this correlates to the end of the stimulus plan, but I imagine it would be difficult to link that to the jobs reports.

Credit for the piece goes to Todd Lindeman.

How Has the Republican Party Changed

Yesterday I shared an infographic looking at the demograhics behind the evolution of the Democratic Party—and by comparison the Republican Party. Today is the Washington Post’s infographic on the evolution of the Republican Party’s policy platform. Since the 1960s the party has shifted from a socially liberal agenda coupled with fiscal conservatism to an extremely conservative social agenda and an even more fiscally conservative platform. (For example, one wonders if the Tea Party remembers how the great conservative in Ronald Reagan raised taxes because it was how to generate increased revenue?)

An evolving GOP platform
An evolving GOP platform

Credit for the piece goes to Marc Fisher, Laura Stanton, and Karen Yourish.

How Has the Democratic Party Changed

This past weekend the Washington Post published an infographic looking at how the Democratic Party has demographically changed over time and compared those changes to those in the Republican Party. The piece is large, but shows some interesting trends particularly with the racial diversification of the political parties—or lack thereof. It is an important trend when considering the white population is growing at much slower pace than minority groups.

Democratic Party trends
Democratic Party trends

Patrolling the US–Mexican Border

If you haven’t heard, we share a border with Mexico. And we patrol it. And the Washington Post published a graphic looking at the patrolling of the US–Mexican border.

Border patrol staffing
Border patrol staffing

Credit for the piece goes to Anup Kaphle and Bill Webster.