Brett Brownell

Brett Brownell

Multimedia Producer

Brett Brownell is the Multimedia Producer at Mother Jones and has visited all 50 states. He also helped launch MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes as a video and web producer, served as new media director for the employee rights organization Workplace Fairness, and founded the annual global photography event Worldwide Moment in 2007. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-T.V. and grew up in Arlington, Texas.

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Watch: Rep. Jim McGovern Calls GOP Food Stamp Bill "Heartless"

| Thu Sep. 19, 2013 11:34 PM EDT

Earlier today the House of Representatives approved a bill 217-210 that would cut funding for food stamps by nearly $40 billion over ten years. No Democrats voted for it and only 15 Republicans voted against it. If the measure were to become law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, nearly 4 million Americans would lose their benefits in 2014. Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern voiced concern prior to the vote, calling out Republicans not only for the "heartless" bill itself, but the lack of hearings prior to the vote. Watch:

Income Inequality Takes Manhattan—in 3-D!

| Wed Aug. 28, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

It's no surprise that income inequality in America is on the rise. Eighty percent of Americans have seen their incomes stagnate or fall since 1979. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent of earners is taking in more than ever before. We've made numerous charts to illustrate these disparities. But what if you could actually see the split between the superwealthy and everyone else?

Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm's images of income in New York do just that. Using 2012 data from the mapping site ArcGIS, Lamm superimposed 3-D bars over photos of the cityscape to show the median net worth of census block groups. For example, "if one section had a net worth of $500,000, the height of the 3-D bar shape for that section was 5 cm. If one section had a net worth of $112,000, the height for that section was 1.12 cm." The resulting images clearly illustrate New York's status as one of the cities with the highest levels of income inequality.

Below, you can interact with the cityscape and the 3-D images for various neighborhoods.

Central Park. The Upper West Side is on the left.


The Financial District and the southern tip of Manhattan. (Note: Statue of Liberty has been added.)




Looking south over Manhattan from Englewood, New Jersey. Washington Heights is on the left. Central Park and Midtown are in the distance.


Midtown near the Trump Tower.


Above Brooklyn. The Financial District is on the left. Midtown is on the right.


Looking south toward the Upper West Side.


Above Central Park. The Upper East Side is on the left.


Above Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Private Manning's Next Battle: Gender Transition in Prison

| Thu Aug. 22, 2013 6:40 PM EDT
A photo of then "Bradley" Manning dressed as a woman. Date unknown.

Shortly after being sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning announced a decision to live as a woman and switch to the name Chelsea. Manning released a letter to the Today show Thursday morning that said, "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." Manning requested being referred to with the feminine pronoun, except with official mail sent to her at Fort Leavenworth, the Kansas prison where she will serve her sentence.

Manning now faces some unknowns with gender transition, including what will likely be a difficult battle to receive hormone therapy, which she indicated in her statement she wants to begin as soon as possible. Officials from Fort Leavenworth confirmed they do not provide transgender inmates with treatment beyond psychiatric care.

Manning's attorney, David Coombs, told Today he hopes Forth Leavenworth will decide to provide Manning with the hormone treatment; if not, Coombs said he will "do everything in [his] power to force them to do so." Coombs did not provide details to Today about his plans for legal action, but during a press conference yesterday following Manning's sentencing, he said he is "going to become the smartest person on ensuring that a soldier who is in confinement, who has gender dysphoria, gets appropriate medical treatment."

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