Ms. Manning? Bradley Manning, the former U.S. Army intelligence officer sentenced to 35 years for stealing classified documents announced through his lawyers today that he wants to start living as a woman named Chelsea. During his court martial, Manning’s defense team claimed he suffered from narcissism, gender identity, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, which contributed to his actions. “Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,” Manning said in a statement read on NBC’s Today show. “I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.” An Army spokesman said the military does not provide hormone therapy or sex-change surgery, but Attorney David Coombs said he would do everything in his power to force the government to do so. Manning also expects President Barack Obama to give him a full pardon. But maybe that’s just the narcissism talking.
New Mexico, new marriage. A county clerk in Las Cruces, N.M., announced earlier this week he would start issuing same-sex marriage licenses after concluding the state’s marriage laws are gender neutral. Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said his office provided 35 licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday. Jeff Williams, a public information officer in the county’s government and a reverend with Universal Life Church, spent all day conducting ceremonies, sporting a rainbow-colored tie. Although New Mexico Attorney General Gary King issued a position paper in June that said the state’s laws don’t allow for same-sex marriage, he said he does not plan to challenge Dona Ana County’s new policy. Ellins claims denying homosexual couples the right to marry violates the state and federal constitutions and the New Mexico Human Rights Act.
Secret but legal? The National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance scandal just keeps getting worse. Documents released (and declassified) by U.S. intelligence officials yesterday reveal that the agency unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of emails and other electronic communications between Americans several years ago. According to the documents, the secret court established to oversee surveillance programs put a stop to the collections once it found out about the illegal activity. The government likely released the information to help bolster its position that while the surveillance programs and the court function in secret, they still operate within the bounds of the law. Of course, the court only knew about this violation because the NSA admitted the activity. Otherwise, the judges never would have known they needed to put a stop to anything.
Back in business. A business group at a Catholic college in Pennsylvania honored a 10-year-old boy yesterday for his entrepreneurial spirit. Anthony Sanders, of Johnstown, Pa., reopened his lemonade stand one day after a 12-year-old robbed it at BB gunpoint. Sanders, who is trying to raise $400 to buy a PlayStation 4 video game system, told local news outlets he wasn’t intimidated by the crime. Police have charged the robber, who made off with $30 after struggling with Sanders over his money box, in juvenile court. The Enactus chapter at the St. Francis University School of Business gave Sanders gift certificates, a plaque, and a book on entrepreneurism. He might have preferred the gaming system he’s been saving for, but that wouldn’t be very entrepreneurial.