People have deservedly reacted with disgusted shock to the NFL’s tone-deaf handling of the Ray Rice ordeal. But the truth is that the league has always let its players off relatively easy when it comes to violence against women.

Since commissioner Roger Goodell’s tenure started on Sept. 1, 2006, there have been 110 NFL players arrested for either domestic violence (45) or battery/assault (65), the latter of which also comprises a concerning amount of female victims. Many offenders weren’t reprimanded by the NFL, and if they were, received lesser punishment than even the two-game suspension initially handed to Rice for knocking out Janay Palmer.

Here are 11 of those players, many of whom are active or played long after their arrests.

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Source: Billboards Clutter Roadside, Bill Gillette, public domain. A billboard in Denver advertising Old Gold cigarettes in May 1972

Your proverbial corner drugstore is taking a stand.

Calling the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products incompatible with its mission as a provider of healthcare services, CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS) announced on September 3 that it would be rebranding as CVS Health in connection with the complete removal of tobacco products from its 7,674 stores [1] nationwide.

Quoting CVS President and Chief Executive Larry Merlo, The Wall Street Journal reported that CVS may lose some $2 billion in annual sales as a result. While CVS generated $126.8 billion in revenue in 2013, the decision is still a financially significant one for the company.

CVS Health is betting that it can derive some amount of value in excess of the $2 billion it stands to forego. But it remains to be seen how much of an impact CVS’ decision will have.

One thing remains abundantly clear: as of the CDC’s most recent Tobacco Control State Highlights report (2012), the national average adult cigarette smoking rate hovered at a stubborn 21%. [2]

Here at FindTheBest, we were curious: using data from the 2012 CDC report and CVS itself, was there any overlap between a state’s adult cigarette smoking rate and the number of CVS stores in a given state? Put another way, was CVS in a position to be a major enabler of smoking in America based on the location of its stores and the states with the highest rates of smoking?

Up until now, you may have seen the array of tobacco products conveniently arranged behind the counter at your local CVS store (the irony of placing tobacco products near relatively benign impulse buys like candy and gum is something for another story).

CVS is a national chain with a presence in the vast majority of U.S. states: 44 states and the District of Columbia, to be exact. Smoking rates, like population figures, differ largely by state. And so too does the actual distribution of CVS locations across the nation.

There is an overall downward trend to the graph, suggesting the presence of more CVS stores doesn’t necessarily correlate with a higher smoking rate.

Consider that California, which had a 14% adult cigarette smoking rate in 2012 and contains a little over one-tenth of the entire U.S. population, has a huge number of CVS stores, some 862 locations. That’s 11% of all CVS stores in the nation and about what you’d expect for such a populated state. Contrast that with relatively smoke-heavy Oklahoma, whose 26% adult cigarette smoking rate was above average in 2012 and who is home to 60 CVS stores, just .008% of all CVS locations. With about 3.8 million people to its name (one-tenth the number of people California has), that’s understandable. But what about Wyoming? It’s not very populated, and it has zero CVS locations, but it also recorded a 23% adult cigarette smoking rate in 2012. This differential suggests there are reasons beyond smoking prevalence that dictate where CVS locates its stores.

Moreover, of the five states with the most CVS stores after California, four had smoking rates in 2012 that were below the national average. These included Florida, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts (Pennsylvania had a marginally higher rate, with 22% of adults being cigarette smokers as of the 2012 report). Together with California, these four states contain 40% of all CVS locations in the U.S. but had a combined average smoking rate in 2012 of 17.6%, comfortably below the national average of 21%.

The seven states that had some of the highest rates of adult cigarette smoking as of 2012 (where more than one in five adults smoked cigarettes) are also the ones with relatively fewer CVS locations (in the upper left-hand corner of the scatter plot above 25%). In order, the list includes Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

Of these states, five contain a total of CVS locations that either falls below, at, or very near 60 stores, which is the median number of all CVS branches (the national average is more like 150 thanks largely to a high number of stores in California, Florida, and Texas). Kentucky, which as of 2012 tied with West Virginia for having the highest adult cigarette smoking rate of 29%, has 66 CVS stores. And in Arkansas, where the adult smoking rate of 27% was the third highest in the country in 2012, there are only two CVS locations.

That’s admittedly a bit simplistic. We wouldn’t expect to see an equal distribution of stores across the nation because there are a number of place-specific factors that go into choosing store locations. It could be that Arkansas, with its two CVS locations and almost three million people, doesn’t have the demand density to justify having more locations.

Rates can be misleading because they’re also relative. While California had the second-lowest adult cigarette smoking rate in 2012, for example, it had more adult smokers than, say, Arkansas. That’s because California has some 35 million more people than Arkansas. But we use rates to indicate prevalence within a certain geographic area.

Although it’s entirely plausible CVS can have a measurable impact on smoking rates over time, the effects this move may have are likely to vary by state. People are going to smoke if they want to—smokers in Arkansas seem to be finding their cigarettes largely without CVS. Even smokers in California won’t have to work very hard. To have a significant impact on smoking rates across the country, it’s going to take a continued, concerted effort from private and public players alike.

But an effort to kill smoking wasn’t really the point of this rebranding, and CVS certainly hasn’t made that explicit claim. For its part, CVS has made a leading, long-run business decision as a national brand. Setting aside that there are still plenty of products CVS sells that might conflict with its rebranding, it has doubled down on being a health care provider—in its own words, a “pharmacy innovation company”—and its image as your local corner drugstore is likely to be bolstered as a result.

As Jonathan Salem Baskin alludes to over at Forbes, CVS may end up being evaluated not on the marketing bang for this one announcement, but rather for its long-term focus on becoming an overall health brand. It has opted out of the sale of tobacco products. Now what?

With the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the rise (see also CVS Health’s CSR information), CVS’ bet that this is the right decision to make may pay off if it can generate revenue—whether through overall goodwill or expanded efforts to provide the resources that help people quit smoking—that both covers its projected $2 billion loss and goes beyond it. In any event, CVS shareholders expect the creation of value. And that’s where things, as they say, get interesting.


 

[1] Author calculated total figure. CVS website accessed on September 10, 2014.
[2] Rates provided by CDC in its most recent Tobacco Control State Highlights report (2012) on a state-by-state basis; author calculated average from these rates.

Attention Americans: Put down your pints of Ben & Jerry’s and your glasses of red wine. It turns out that you’re not the only single ones out there. In fact, single Americans now make up half of the adult population, according to recent government statistics.

In August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly job-market report revealed that “124.6 million Americans were single and 50.2 percent of those who were 16 year or older [...] and it has been trending upward since.”

So now you might be thinking, “if there are all of these singles out there, where can I find them?” That’s where FindTheBest decided to help. We consulted our places topic and made a map based on data from the American Community Survey to show the distribution of people around the country who have one of five martial statuses: never married, married, divorced, separated or widowed. Note that “married includes common law marriages and live-in couples, never married includes those whose first marriage was annulled and that these statistics only consider those 15 and older.”

Here are the four states from each category that are at either sides of the spectrum:

Click here to start the countdown

Everyone knows that America doesn’t run on patriotism and hard work—it runs on caffeine. Cups and travel mugs and shots of caffeine. It seems like wherever you go, one thing is for certain: you’ll undoubtedly will be able to get your fix and be on your way. In fact, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey, 83 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee, averaging three cups a day per person.

But, of course, some neighborhoods are more wired than others. Out of many buzzing contenders, we consulted our places topic and found the 15 neighborhoods (with a population exceeding 10K) with the most coffee shops per 10K people. The competition was intense, but only one neighborhood was crowned the place that keeps the American dream alive (and awake).

Click here to start the countdown

Despite having three quarterbacks picked ahead of him in the NFL Draft this year, Derek Carr began Week One as the only rookie to claim a starting job, as well as the first rookie quarterback in Raiders history to start the opener since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

As a franchise that’s been spinning on the QB carousel since Rich Gannon retired a decade ago, the Raiders are desperate for Carr to at least show some positive signs this season that indicate he could be their offensive leader for the foreseeable future.

There were certainly some of those in the Raiders’ 19-14 loss to the Jets on Sunday. There were also more than a few indications that Carr is ill-equipped to light the league on fire – though some of those reasons are hardly his fault. Here’s a roundup of what we learned about Carr and the Raiders, and what that all means going forward.

1. Carr has solid pass accuracy for a rookie…

Carr completed eight of his first nine passes, and that incompletion was a drop. In fact, his first touchdown pass came before his first incompletion, when he found Rod Streater on a shallow cross to net a 12-yard touchdown pass on his second drive.

He was also 2-for-2 on third downs through two possessions and went into halftime with a 75.0 completion percentage (9-for-12) with 59 yards, a touchdown and no sacks.

At Fresno State, Carr completed 66.6 percent of his passes over three seasons as a starter – but those numbers don’t always translate to the NFL. Nevertheless, he ended Sunday with a 62.5 completion percentage (20-for-32), which is about all you can ask from a rookie in his first NFL game.

2. …Except when he’s under pressure

This was the biggest knock on Carr as a draft prospect, as he completed a measly 29 percent of his passes at Fresno State when he was blitzed.

Rex Ryan exploited that in the second half, pushing for more blitzes that immediately brought Oakland’s offense to a screeching halt. Carr was victimized for his first sack and completed three of six passes for just 16 yards in the third quarter, as the Raiders actually netted negative yardage in the period.

 

Carr did eventually recover near the end of the game to lead the Raiders on a scoring drive, but that very well could have been the result of New York backing off and playing conservative in garbage time.

If Carr truly never conquered the Jets’ best pass rush efforts, Raiders fans might want to shield their eyes when J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans come to town on Sunday.

3. The Raiders aren’t going to let Carr follow in his brother’s footsteps

Derek’s brother, David, was drafted No. 1 overall by the Texans in 2002, their first year in the league. He started immediately, like his younger brother, and was promptly sacked an NFL-record 76 times in his debut campaign. After he eventually flamed out, many – including Texans owner Bob McNair – blamed his underwhelming career on the astronomical amount of hits he took from the moment he stepped on the field.

Carr even missed part of the 2003 season after sustaining a shoulder injury while being sacked, and was brought down 3.3 times per game during his tenure with the Texans, about 50 percent more than the average QB in a given season.

The Raiders seemed determined to make sure their second-round pick won’t succumb to the same fate – which isn’t a bad idea, of course. But Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson took this to an extreme, rarely calling any play that required keeping Carr in the pocket for more than a couple seconds. Even though the Jets started seldom-used Darrin Walls and converted safety Antonio Allen at cornerback with former first-rounder Dee Milliner injured, the Raiders rarely challenged them.

Of Carr’s 32 official pass attempts, just four were classified as “deep” by NFL.com, with a fifth earning a defensive pass interference flag. The jury is still out on whether that’s a good strategy – Carr’s two deep throws to James Jones resulted in a 30-yard touchdown and the pass interference, while all three long balls to Denarius Moore yielded incompletions.

4. Oakland might be overprotecting Carr at the expense of offensive production

From a protection standpoint, the conservative gameplan worked – Carr was only sacked twice and didn’t throw an interception. Raiders fans would likely hope, though, that Carr’s 20 completions had produced more than seven first downs.

Oakland also recorded just 158 total yards of offense – the franchise’s lowest offensive output since 2009, JaMarcus Russell’s last season. If the Raiders’ offense continues to be less productive than it was under the biggest draft bust in franchise history, something obviously has to change.

If the Raiders are going to contend this season or at least help their new signal-caller gain meaningful game experience, they’ll have to take the training wheels off Carr at some point. One of his noted strengths coming out of the draft was his ability to throw the deep fade route – and he showed off that skill on Oakland’s final drive with his bomb to Jones, who led the NFL with 14 touchdown passes for Green Bay just two seasons ago.

Carr ranked first in the FBS last season with 74 completions of 20 yards or more, but Jones’ touchdown was the only such reception on Sunday. Oakland will need to dial up those long balls more often, because their receivers simply aren’t the sort of the speedy playmakers that stack up yards after the catch (YAC). Despite a focus on shallow passes designed to spring long gains after the catch, the Raiders only gained 80 YAC, according to ESPN Stats & Information, the fourth-lowest total across the league in Week One.

5. Carr probably won’t have an elite running game as a crutch

Of course, it would be a tremendous help to Carr if Oakland could uncover any semblance of a running game, which was not the case on Sunday. New starting tailback Maurice Jones-Drew had 11 yards on nine carries, and Darren McFadden wasn’t much better with 15 yards on four attempts.

The Raiders had hoped Jones-Drew could benefit from a change of scenery after leaving Jacksonville, which is pretty wishful thinking considering the 29-year-old hasn’t topped 1,000 yards or 10 TDs since 2009. Rookie quarterbacks simply need more support — and if Oakland’s running back tandem can’t shoulder their fair share on offense, it could be another long season in The Black Hole.

GOT

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Millions of people go crazy for Game of Thrones, but some die hard fans take their love for the show one gigantic leap further than others.

How?

By naming their babies after the fictional characters of course.

To see which Game of Thrones characters have had a very noticeable influence on baby names since the show’s launch in 2011, click the button above.

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It’s official: we’ve spent 25 years talking about global warming prevention, and now it’s too late to stop it. According to the Department of Energy, change is unstoppable, so we need to start preparing how we’re going to adapt. If you’re in the market for a new car, it might be in your best interest to check out some relatively affordable hybrids.

We at FindTheBest compiled a list of the 17 most fuel efficient 2014 hybrid cars under $30,000 and ranked them by miles per gallon. Rest assured that doing your part in adjusting to the impending climate doom is reason enough to gloat about your new car.

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For every question Apple answered on Tuesday, they quietly left another one unanswered—questions they hope we won’t ask. Let’s not let them off the polished aluminum hook so easily. Here are the nine most pressing unanswered questions following Apple’s September 2014 event, ordered roughly from “not a big deal” to “could be a huge problem.”

Will people buy the Apple Watch if it requires an iPhone?

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Due to the increase in mass shootings in recent years, gun regulation has become an increasingly urgent and polarizing debate. In fact, some state government officials have been attempting to limit people’s access to guns even further, while others have attempted to weaken federal control over firearms “through so-called ‘nullification’ laws” according to NBC News. These laws would “keep any future federal gun measure from being enforced in the state.”

Many people assume that this controversy is just limited to southern states, where carrying a gun in public seems to be more commonplace than in other parts of the country (Candice Bergen’s character in Miss Congeniality sums it up perfectly). And yes, Texas does lead the country in firearm permits overall (based on its entire population). But when FindTheBest looked at the breakdown of federal firearm licenses per 100,000 people on our firearm dealers topic, we found that it’s not the southern states that are manufacturing and selling the most guns, but somewhere completely overlooked. Based on data provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, here are the 15 states with the highest number of firearm licenses (per 100,000 people).

The government awards trillions of taxpayer dollars every year in contracts, grants, and loans, and it’s nearly impossible to keep track of where that money is going. Thousands of new businesses are created in the US each year, and it’s hard for those young companies to know where to start if they’re interested in applying for government contracts, grants, and loans. Even the experts who spend their time constantly analyzing government spending reports have a hard time tracking the complete cycle of government spending.

For the past year, we’ve been focused on improving the research process one goes through when interested in learning about government spending. First, we launched Government Contracts, a database of the 9 million federal government contracts awarded since 2000. Next, we focused on building a Government Contractors topic that created profiles for the more than 600,000 companies that have provided products or services to the government since 2000.
Today, we’re announcing our next major topic that will help people truly understand the full cycle of government spending with the launch of our Agency Spending topic, which includes profiles for the more than 300 government departments and agencies that have awarded contracts, grants, or loans since 2000.

On each profile in the Agency Spending topic, users can see the breakdown of contracts, grants, and loans awarded by each department or agency. Users can research a department or agency’s top award recipients, information about the products and services they procure, where their awards are being performed, recent awards, and more.

Our Agency Spending topic was built using data from the federal government website USASpending.gov, launched in December 2007 as a result of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006, which required the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a website with free and searchable information on every federal award. The data is provided by federal agencies through the Federal Procurement Data System, Federal Assistance Award Data System, SmartPay, and the Census Bureau.

To get more information about the various elements of the Agency Spending topic, please visit our Research Guide. We’ll continue to focus on improving the research process for those interested in understanding how the government spends money and plan to focus on grants, grant recipients, loans, and loan recipients using a similar process and methodology. If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, we’d love to hear from you at inquiries@findthebest.com!