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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    Comedian Zach Galifianakis and musicians St. Vincent and John Legend record a song to benefit Planned Parenthood. Credit: Brandon Stosuy/Twitter

    Comedian Zach Galifianakis and musicians St. Vincent and John Legend record a song to benefit Planned Parenthood. Credit: Screengrab from “7 inches for Planned Parenthood” on YouTube.

    The A-side of an upcoming 7-inch record plays a Bon Iver song. Flip the record over, and it’s a self-recording of Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider in the Deep South, talking about how he faces daily jeers from protesters. That recording fades into a brand new, soulful song from soft-spoken songwriter Sharon Van Etten. Grab a second album, and listen to comedian Zach Galifianakis, and a song featuring musicians John Legend and St. Vincent.

    These are the sounds of a new project called “7-inches for Planned Parenthood,” a curated series of recordings from a range of musicians, comedians, poets and writers that will be released in a box set, and also digitally streamed, this spring.

    The Kickstarter project The Creative Independent, which is putting together the recordings, said on its Facebook page that “lawmakers with extreme views are working hard to shut down Planned Parenthood” and that “7-inches for Planned Parenthood is a response to this threat.” All proceeds from the project are expected to go to Planned Parenthood, and prominent artists, including Tom Petty and Lady Gaga, are also signing a guitar for auction to benefit the reproductive health group.

    A rendering of the "7 inches for Planned Parenthood" box set. Courtesy of Brandon Stosuy.

    A rendering of the “7 inches for Planned Parenthood” box set. Courtesy of Brandon Stosuy.

    The seed of the idea began after November’s presidential election, when TCI’s Editor-in-Chief Brandon Stosuy and Matt Berninger, lead singer of the band the National, decided they wanted to work together to make music to fight back against likely threats to Planned Parenthood’s funding from the new administration.

    “We wanted to make something that felt useful and actually was useful, not just another thing adding noise,” Stosuy said in a phone interview, adding that they were inspired by the 1980’s “punk in protest” music, like the music of label Dischord Records, whose bands would release 7-inch records.

    Not everyone thinks musicians should get involved in the fights that play out on Capitol Hill.

    “People say ‘what’s the point?’ or ‘artists should stay out of politics.’ That makes as much sense as saying artists should stay out of emotion or artists should stay out of ideas,” Berninger told NewsHour in January, while in Washington D.C. for a Planned Parenthood benefit concert during the week of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. “It doesn’t make any sense to me that you should separate the two.”

    In the months since November’s election, many other artists, record labels and streaming platforms have worked to raise money for progressive organizations, including the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Trevor Project.

    On Inauguration week, for example, the record label Secretly Group launched Our 100 First Days, releasing a new song every day for the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, with the money from the compilation donated to organizations that represent people and causes that felt threatened by the administration’s policies.

    In addition to Sharon Van Etten, John Legend, and St. Vincent, “7-inches for Planned Parenthood” includes the music of artists including the Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige and Sleater-Kinney. Comedian Pete Holmes joins Galifianakis. Stosuy said he is arranging the order of the recordings “to make them feel like collages” or a curated mixtape, “not just … a bunch of songs.”

    Though the records are a nod to protest music, not all the songs or artists are pushing an agenda. In an interview with NewsHour, Van Etten said her music is not political, but working on the project is her way to be a part of the resistance. Roberto Lange, who performs as the electro-pop artist Helado Negro, said performing and playing music “is the best way to voice my opinion.”

    “I am not the most eloquent speaker,” Lange said. “Music and performance is a form of resistance for me, a form of compassion for people who need this support.”

    According to a Quinnipiac University poll in January, Americans oppose cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood 62-31 percent. But there have been several proposals to cut funding. The House Republican’s failed health care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act included a provision to defund Planned Parenthood. In late March, Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to allow states to withhold federal funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations. There are more fights ahead, as Republicans possibly look to tie provisions to end federal funds to Planned Parenthood to a future budget, or even a tax reform bill.

    READ MORE: Trump allowing states to block some Planned Parenthood money

    Both Lange and Van Etten said that they hope the music brings more awareness to Planned Parenthood and the services it provides beyond abortions. Van Etten said when she left home to pursue a music career, she was lucky to receive healthcare from Planned Parenthood, from “compassionate people.”

    Participating in the project, Lange said, gives him a chance to stand up for what he believes. He explained that growing up in a Latin American family, some topics were taboo and “girls dont have the chance to find someone to talk to. [Planned Parenthood] is the first place women have been able to go to.”

    “Music and performance- that’s a form of resistance for me,” he said.

    The post Why musicians are selling old-school records to benefit Planned Parenthood appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Tuesday bluntly challenged members of Congress critical of the Trump administration’s aggressive approach to immigration enforcement to either change the laws or “shut up.”

    In a wide-ranging speech, Kelly also promised a border crackdown on marijuana, which is illegal under federal law but legal under state law in eight states and the District of Columbia.

    The blunt-talking, retired Marine general defended the work of Homeland Security employees from immigration agents to airport security officers, saying they are unjustifiably maligned by critics as they enforce laws intended to keep America safe. He described Homeland Security staff as “political pawns” in his speech at George Washington University.

    “They have been asked to do more with less, and less, and less,” Kelly said. “They are often ridiculed and insulted by public officials, and frequently convicted in the court of public opinion on unfounded allegations testified to by street lawyers and spokespersons.”

    MORE: With new policy, Trump administration puts undocumented immigrants on notice

    Kelly said the public and public officials should err on the side of assuming that the agency’s employees are acting within the law. And for members of Congress who don’t like the laws, Kelly said they “should have the courage and skill to change the laws. Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

    Critics have argued that the agency is too heavy-handed in enforcement operations, including arresting immigrants in the U.S. illegally whose only offense is being in the country without permission.

    More than 21,000 immigrants in the U.S. illegally have been arrested since President Donald Trump took office in January, compared to about 16,000 people during the same time last year. About a quarter of those arrests were immigrants who had no criminal history, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    While the number of deportations has actually decreased slightly since Trump took office, the crackdown has left immigrant communities and advocates worried that just about any immigrant in the country illegally could be swept up. During the Obama administration, ICE agents were told to focus strictly on immigrants convicted of serious crimes or those who otherwise posed a threat to public safety.

    READ MORE: Six out of 10 Americans oppose funding for border wall, poll says

    Kelly said stepped-up enforcement has had a dramatic effect. He said dangerous criminals are being arrested or are hiding, fearing that ICE is looking for them.

    A sharp drop in arrests at the Mexican border suggests that fewer people have been trying to cross illegally since Trump took office.

    In March, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested about 12,100 people trying to cross the border illegally. It was the fewest number of arrests in a month in at least 17 years. Border Patrol Chief Ron Vitiello said in a speech in San Antonio, Texas, last week that it was likely the fewest arrests in about 45 years.

    In his remarks about drugs Tuesday, Kelly said arrests on marijuana charges will be used to bolster the case for deportation against immigrants in the country illegally, he said.

    Kelly appeared to backtrack somewhat from comments in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press that aired Sunday. Kelly said in that interview that the solution to drug problems in the United States was not “not arresting a lot of users. The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of good will.”

    The post Homeland Security Secretary Kelly says critical lawmakers should change laws or ‘shut up’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    NewsHour shares web small logoIn our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.

     

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, in our NewsHour Shares moment of the day: that sure sign of spring, tulips.

    And no one knows them better than the Dutch. This year, the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington displayed some 10,000 at the ambassador’s residence.

    We took a tour with Caroline Feitel from the embassy.

    CAROLINE FEITEL, Royal Netherlands Embassy: Our ambassador decided that, this year, he would like to do a spring event where we show off one of our biggest export products.

    So, we decided to do a tulip event to celebrate spring. We have over 10,000 tulips here, and I would say about 100 different varieties. The Netherlands, we’re the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world.

    We export about two billion cut tulips every year. And we export to the United States over a billion bulbs, which half are tulip bulbs. Of course, we’re also very much known for Keukenhof, which has hundreds of millions of tulips during spring.

    And it’s endless. It’s like a carpet of tulips that you see, and it is very impressive. And a lot of Dutch people, but also a lot of tourists come to the Netherlands and want to see that. So, it’s a unique moment in the Netherlands every year in about mid-April.

    In the 16th century, there was a lot of tulip bulb speculation, and one bulb could be the value of a house in Amsterdam. So, it’s seen as the first bubble speculation, you know, commercial bubble in the world.

    Every tulip you see comes from one bulb that was created by the grower, and then had to be multiplied. So the one bulb became four, and the four becomes 12. And so that’s why, when you have a new variety of tulip, it takes quite a while before you have the huge quantity to be able to sell it commercially.

    They come in a huge variety of colors. You have parrot ones that have the multiple colors. You have doubles. You know, it’s almost like three tulips in one. Black doesn’t exist. And then blue doesn’t exist either.

    The closest you can get is a deep purple. So, we played a little trick. So, we have a blue tulip here today that was colored. It’s originally a white tulip. And the way it’s colored, it’s put in blue water, and then it becomes a beautiful blue.

    Tulips, they are definitely the springtime flower that you see around. And I think it brings people happiness.

    The post Celebrating spring with 10,000 tulips appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: a classroom innovation called career and technical education, a hands-on learning method for high school students. It is seen as a practical approach for both those headed to college and for those who are not.

    And in the Navajo Nation in Arizona, it’s making a difference.

    PBS special correspondent Lisa Stark of our partner Education Week brings us this story as part of our weekly segment Making the Grade.

    LISA STARK: This is a one-of-a-kind classroom, with a one-of-a-kind educator, Clyde McBride.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE, Kayenta Unified School District: My philosophy is a kid don’t learn unless they get a little dirty.

    LISA STARK: So, in Clyde McBride’s classes in Navajo Nation in Northeastern Arizona, students jump right in.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE: You never hold with your hands. You hold with your forearm.

    STUDENT: The McBrides tell us, you know, go in there. You’re not going to learn anything if you just kind of stand back and just watch anything.

    LISA STARK: This is hands-on instruction in veterinary science, part classroom, part veterinary clinic. Students work and observe in two operating rooms, one for small animals, the other for large.

    They conduct exams and vaccinations in a state-of-the-art $2.4 million facility, part of Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona, and its career and technical education program; 180 students, more than a quarter of the high school, have signed up for this program, where abstract concepts meet the real world.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE: Before they go to surgery, ketamine puts them to sleep. It is an anesthesia. And it’s calculated by the millimeter per pound.

    In a math class, you get the problem wrong, you miss that question. In my program, if you get that math problem wrong, that animal can die.

    LISA STARK: McBride grew up around animals on a ranch in Arizona. He lost his father at age 16 and figured he’d forgo college to stay home and take care of the cattle. His mother had other ideas.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE: I will never forget going home one day and she says: “We’re going to sign papers. I just sold the ranch. You have got to go to college.”

    LISA STARK: He became a teacher and, longing for a rural district, jumped at the job in Kayenta.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE: When I came up here, some of my peer teachers were like, why go to the reservation? That’s going to be the worst place that you ever go to.

    Our school is 98 percent on the free and reduced lunch program. A lot of our communities are very, very poor.

    LISA STARK: But that hasn’t slowed McBride, or stopped him from dreaming big.

    ELISSA MCBRIDE, Ag Teacher, Monument Valley High: When Mr. McBride and I first started dating, we would go out to eat dinner and he would draw on napkins his vision of the agro-science center. And I would tell him all the time, you’re crazy. People don’t invest money like this in education, especially in Native American children.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE: I wouldn’t accept no as an answer.

    LISA STARK: It took decades to turn his dream into a reality. A new superintendent found the funding, and students helped with the design.

    The Ag Center opened its doors opened in 2011. This program prepares students for careers and college and much more.

    DR. SUZANNE SMITH, Native American Veterinary Services: It’s to get the community and the kids and the students and their parents involved in a better lifestyle and better health for themselves, for their animals, and making better career choices and making better life choices.

    LISA STARK: And it’s working. Students in the veterinary science program do better than the state average on math and English tests; 100 percent of them graduate high school, and three-quarters of them go on to college or training programs. The rest go on to a job, numbers that would be impressive anywhere, but especially for Native American students, who post the lowest graduation rates of any racial or ethnic group.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE: We ignite the fire. We give them that passion. We give them that leadership. And then whatever route they want to choose, then we support that route.

    PRESHES PARRISH-BEGAY, Senior, Monument Valley High: They made sure I didn’t fall off track. They made sure I didn’t — I didn’t do anything to ruin my chances of going somewhere.

    SHELIA YENCHICK, Graduate, Monument Valley High: I didn’t really have that much motivation from my parents, but here, the kids, they really have a lot of that from the teachers and the community. They really help them a lot, and then they reach their goals.

    LISA STARK: The program has enriched the students and their community. With the nearest vet hours away, this is the go-to clinic for the animals and livestock families here depend on. Animals are considered a sacred part of the Navajo culture.

    MYRON HUDSON, Senior, Monument Valley High: In my culture, it’s like, if you take care of the animals, they take care of you.

    LISA STARK: McBride’s goal is to launch his students on to college or good jobs. Many hope to come back to serve their community.

    CLYDE MCBRIDE: The Navajo belief, and really the way I was raised, is you want to leave this world better than you found it. And I can tell you that that’s what I took into this program. And when I leave Kayenta some day, it’s going to be better off than when I came.

    LISA STARK: I’m Lisa Stark of Education Week for the PBS NewsHour.

    The post How a hands-on high school veterinary program is enriching Navajo students appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Fallout from Sunday’s referendum vote in Turkey continued today, with critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling for the results to be annulled.

    That is just one of a series of important issues being dealt with by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    I spoke just a short while ago with its ranking member, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland.

    I began by asking him if he was concerned by President Trump’s call last night to President Erdogan to congratulate him on his apparent victory.

    SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-Md.: Well, Turkey is a very vibrant democracy, and it’s, of course, one of our NATO allies.

    They had a referendum. The referendum, according to local officials, did pass. We are certainly concerned about some of the powers that are being consolidated by Mr. Erdogan, and about the checks and balances in their own system.

    There’s also been questions raised as to the legitimacy of some of the votes that were cast. So, there are still issues that I think need to be addressed by Turkey.

    As far as President Trump calling President Erdogan, that’s a personal decision he made. I think it’s important to recognize this is an important ally.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And so you are watching the way ballots were cast? I ask because European observers are saying that some 2.5 million ballots may have been cast fraudulently.

    SEN. BEN CARDIN: Yes, I’m very concerned about that.

    There’s been some legitimate concerns raised about some of the techniques that were used and the way the election was conducted. So we are concerned. It was a close election. It was not a — it was a pretty close call between the two. The amount of resources that were made available were certainly not equal on both sides.

    There are some questions on some of the processes that — procedures that were used. So, yes, we are concerned. And we hope that the Erdogan government will have a complete independent investigation on how the elections itself were conducted.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me turn you to North Korea.

    As you know, tensions have been raised significantly just in the last few days. The rhetoric, both from the United States, from the Trump administration, and from the North Koreans, has gotten hotter. This administration is saying what they call the era of strategic patience is over.

    Last night on this program, I interviewed the former Defense Secretary William Perry, who said he’s alarmed by the state of relations between our two countries.

    Where do you stand? How concerned are you?

    SEN. BEN CARDIN: Well, I’m very, very concerned.

    Clearly, the young leader of North Korea is a very dangerous person. We’re not sure how he makes decisions. We have seen what he does to people who oppose him, including members of his own family. He’s not a stable leader.

    Now is the time for the United States to exercise some very mature international leadership to try to calm things down on the Korean Peninsula, and to change the calculation for North Korea, so that it’s — they recognize it’s in their interests to negotiate the end of the nuclear weapon program.

    That requires China to be much more aggressive in isolating North Korea with the sanctions that have been imposed, so that we can really make it clear to North Korea that their only path forward is to negotiate with the international community. That requires strong, mature U.S. leadership. We need a game plan that can accomplish those types of objectives on the Korean Peninsula.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you seeing that game plan from this administration?

    SEN. BEN CARDIN: No, I’m not — I’m not clear what the administration’s policy is. They haven’t really shared that with Congress. I’m not sure they have a comprehensive policy for the Korean Peninsula.

    We want to make sure that North Korea doesn’t possess the ability to use nuclear weapons, particularly to be able to deliver those nuclear weapons through the missiles that they are testing, and that we want to make sure also that North Korea is more in harmony with the international community in the way they treat its own people.

    So, and, obviously, we’re concerned about the security of South Korea. So, there’s a lot of interest that the United States has on the Korean Peninsula. And we haven’t seen an articulated, coordinated policy from this administration.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We’re moving around the world. There’s so much to ask you about, Senator, but I also want to speak to you about Russia.

    Besides Russian meddling in U.S. elections, there’s now growing concern about Russian involvement in upcoming elections in France and in Germany.

    You are the sponsor, along with others, a bipartisan bill in the Senate to impose sanctions on Russia for cyber-activity. That was — that legislation was introduced months ago. The Russians are still doing this. Do they — what’s your sense of how seriously they take any sort of retaliation or action by the U.S.?

    SEN. BEN CARDIN: Well, we do know that the sanctions that were led by the United States, and which Europe has joined us, has had a major impact on the Russian economy.

    So, we believe sanctions can be very effective in changing the equation for Russia and what they’re doing, not just in meddling in our elections or meddling in European elections, but what they’re doing in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea — there’s still engagement on the eastern part of Ukraine — and the manner in which they are supporting the Assad regime in Syria committing war crimes.

    All those behaviors by Russia, we believe, need to change, and we believe sanctions can be a major part of that. So, yes, we want to enhance those sanctions to make them stronger. We have a strong bipartisan group, 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans, that have joined in this legislation.

    We do know that Russia meddled in our election. We know that. We know that they meddled in the Montenegro election. We know that and caused violence. We know that they’re very active today in France and in Germany trying to impact that election, not only impact the integrity of the election, but also the results, to get a more pro-Russian leader — leaders in Europe.

    That is totally unacceptable, and we need to be united with our European allies to prevent that from happening.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And is the Trump administration supporting that legislation?

    SEN. BEN CARDIN: Well, I really have not had much communication with the Trump administration in regards to Russian policy.

    There are major players yet to be named that — from the administration that will require Senate confirmation. So we’re still awaiting their full team to be in place. In my conversations with Mr. Tillerson, I have made it very clear. I think he’s made it clear in recent weeks.

    So, we’re trying to give the administration more tools it can use for an effective policy against Russia’s aggressive actions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thank you very much.

    SEN. BEN CARDIN: Thank you, Judy.

    The post Sen. Cardin on needing ‘mature’ leadership on North Korea, Turkish referendum concerns appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, from the prime minister’s surprise news of today, to a surprise Theresa May brought to the White House in January, and the debate it’s sparked across Great Britain.

    From London, special correspondent Ryan Chilcote has this look.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: It was supposed to be a diplomatic coup, the British prime minister beating the world’s leaders to the Oval Office.

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I am honored to have Prime Minister Theresa May here for our first official visit.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: May didn’t just return the favor. She upped the ante, extending an honor only two U.S. presidents have received since 1952.

    THERESA MAY, Prime Minister, United Kingdom: I have today been able to convey Her Majesty the Queen’s hope that President Trump and the first lady would pay a state visit to the United Kingdom later this year, and I’m delighted the president has accepted that invitation.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: Then, things got awkward. Three days later, 20,000 protesters gathered outside the prime minister’s office to denounce the travel ban President Trump imposed just hours after May left, then, another day of demonstrations, then another — 1.8 million Brits signed a petition demanding the prime minister cancel the state visit.

    If 10 of the last 12 American presidents who’d come weren’t given the honor, why should President Trump?

    Parliament gathered for a debate.

    PAULA SHERRIFF, Member of Parliament: Does he agree that to use the expression grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) describes a sexual assault, and therefore suggests that he shouldn’t be afforded a visit to our queen?

    RYAN CHILCOTE: At 82, Paul Flynn is the senior member of the House of Commons.

    The debate in this country isn’t about whether Donald Trump comes here. It’s been about whether he is treated to a state visit. What’s the big deal?

    PAUL FLYNN, Member of Parliament: The big deal is that only two American presidents since 1952 have been given this special honor of a state visit. And we’re giving this unique privilege to Donald Trump after being in office for seven days.

    It was an act of desperation by a prime minister that’s in deep trouble. We’re losing our markets in Europe because of Brexit, and she’s desperate to ingratiate herself with America in order to try to win new markets. We don’t want to give him privileged treatment. We want to show him our contempt and disdain.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: President Trump’s visit to the U.K. has become politically fraught. Every aspect of the trip, from the timing to the itinerary, is in flux.

    MAN: Barack Obama.

    (APPLAUSE)

    RYAN CHILCOTE: Six years ago, President Trump’s predecessor was granted the highest of honors the opportunity to address Parliament during his state visit.

    That was ruled out this time around before it could even be debated.

    John Bercow is the speaker of the House of Commons.

    JOHN BERCOW, Speaker, House of Commons: Before the imposition of the migrant ban, I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: The state banquet is a staple of state visits, so that’s in. Protests are also a regular feature. A foray into the countryside kept London’s protesters away from President Bush in 2003 during his state visit.

    This time, the planners are looking at going even further, to the north. Scotland’s an option. Rural and remote, it’s not a likely place for tens of thousands of protesters to gather, and yet, even here, not everyone’s a fan.

    President Trump owns two golf courses in Scotland, including this one built on a pristine patch of 4,000-year-old sand dunes.

    David Milne’s house overlooks the course and the sea, or at least it did, until he refused to sell his property to President Trump.

    So, you used have a completely unimpeded view here.

    DAVID MILNE, Scotland: Yes, we had 40 miles of uninterrupted coastline.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: And now you have got the fence.

    DAVID MILNE: Yes, and Trump provided the trees, which, as you can see, are dying slowly.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: Milne has flown two flags ever since Trump visited Scotland last year. The one on top is Scotland’s.

    And what possessed you to put up a Mexican flag?

    DAVID MILNE: Donald Trump had recently made the announcement that he was going to build a border wall and send the bill to Mexico. Well, he did basically the same thing here with a small fence, and he sent me the bill.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: Michael Forbes wouldn’t sell either.

    MICHAEL FORBES, Quarryman: The first thing he said is was, what’s this land worth? Twenty-five dollars an acre. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I said in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dreams.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MICHAEL FORBES: Yes, there will be protesters, all right.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: If there’s one place in all of the United Kingdom that can provide security and privacy during President Trump’s visit, it’s here at the queen’s holiday home in Scotland.

    President Trump has reportedly asked to play golf on the queen’s private course at her Scottish castle, Balmoral. That would be a real honor. The last president Queen Elizabeth II met at her private home was Dwight Eisenhower in 1959.

    NARRATOR: He went to Balmoral to stay with the royal family, remember?

    RYAN CHILCOTE: According to one poll, close to half of the British public supports the idea of a state visit. There is also support for the president, himself, though in all of the parliamentary debate, this was the closest anyone got to it.

    NIGEL EVANS, Member of Parliament: I would like to respect the fact that he stood on a platform which is he is now delivering. He’s going to go down in history as being roundly condemned for being the only politician to deliver on his promises.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: Most who back the visit, though, do so despite the president’s policies.

    That’s a selfie that Hillary took up in Derry, New Hampshire, in January last year.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: Sir Simon Burns traveled to the U.S. to campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton. He is a conservative member of Parliament who supports the state visit.

    SIR SIMON BURNS, Member of Parliament: We stand by America. America stands by us. It’s in our national interest. And regardless of who’s president, we have got to get on with the United States.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: Fellow member of Parliament Bob Neill says the visit should be looked at in perspective.

    BOB NEILL, Member of Parliament: We have had out-and-out dictators like Nicolae Ceausescu and Robert Mugabe come over in the past. And, whatever my personal distaste for Mr. Trump’s style and policies in some areas, he’s a democratically elected politician.

    RYAN CHILCOTE: President Trump and Prime Minister May have agreed to postpone the visit until October to give British protesters a chance to cool off.

    Reporting for the PBS NewsHour, I’m Ryan Chilcote in London.

    The post A special state visit for Trump sparks outcry in the U.K. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: As we reported earlier, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced today she would ask for elections to be held this June, instead of in 2020.

    Jeffrey Brown has that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The prime minister’s request for snap elections was made with an eye towards shoring up her negotiating position, as the United Kingdom heads into tough talks over the terms of its exit from the European Union. After repeatedly saying she would not call for early elections, it was a move that took many by surprise.

    From London, we’re joined by Stephanie Baker, a senior writer at Bloomberg.

    Stephanie, first with that surprise, how big was it, or even shock for many there, and how was it taken?

    STEPHANIE BAKER, Bloomberg: It was a big shock, and it was — a lot of people were surprised it hadn’t leaked out beforehand.

    As you noted in your report, she, Theresa May, the prime minister, has ruled out an early election repeatedly over the past few months. And people took her at her word. So even members of her own party were taken aback by the decision.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, how fractured is the political debate there? Was there a sense that she did this because she realized she needed a strong mandate in order to shore up her support over Brexit?

    STEPHANIE BAKER: Yes.

    Her Conservative Party has a slim 17-seat majority in Parliament, and you know, I think she is taking a calculated bet here. She’s taken a look at the polls, which give her Conservative Party a 20-point lead, and she thinks she could increase her majority in Parliament by picking up disaffected voters from the opposition Labor Party, particularly those who supported Brexit in the north, to increase her majority, so that when she goes to Brussels to negotiate the U.K.’s exit from the E.U., she can come back with a deal, and not be attacked for any kind of compromises or, you know, negotiating conclusions by the hard anti-European wing of her own party.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And how big a personal risk is she taking? I saw that opposition figures were already painting her as a kind of opportunist trying to take advantage of things here.

    STEPHANIE BAKER: Well, yes, I mean, I think she runs a personal risk of undermining her own credibility, since she did say so many times that she wouldn’t hold an early election, that the country didn’t need another election, that it would undermine stability.

    She does look like another politician who has gone back on her word, and I think that will play out during the campaign over the next seven weeks.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, one of the big questions, of course, is to what extent this reopens the whole question of Brexit. How much will it be the subject of debate in this election?

    STEPHANIE BAKER: I think that’s what a lot of people are talking about now.

    Traditionally, the U.K. has been dominated by the two main political parties, the Conservatives and the left-leaning Labor Party. The Labor Party is in a current state of disarray. It’s led by a weak leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is regarded as very un-prime ministerial.

    There is a third party called the Liberal Democrats who were part of a governing coalition between 2010 and 2015. They have positioned themselves as the party of the remain vote, that is, the 48 percent of British voters who backed staying in the E.U., and they are trying to turn this election into a kind of quasi-rerun of the referendum.

    Whether or not they will be able to do that, how many seats they will be able to pick by running that strategy is unclear. But, certainly, in areas like London and the South of England, which voted overwhelmingly for remain, they’re likely to pick up quite a number of seats. So it’s hard to see how the balance will change.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And just briefly, in 30 seconds or so, Stephanie, Americans, of course, are used to endless, years-long elections. This is June 8, so it’s very quick.

    STEPHANIE BAKER: It is. It’s seven weeks of campaigning. Parties are going to have to be writing their election manifestos, getting fund-raising in place.

    It will be incredibly quick. It is not unexpected. There were many people amongst all of the different parties who thought that she would call it. The timing, of course, caught many people by surprise.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Stephanie Baker of Bloomberg in London, thank you very much.

    The post Is U.K.’s May taking a risk by calling for snap elections? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump today renewed his call for U.S. agencies to — quote — “buy American and hire American” following a tour of a tool-making plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin today.

    Our William Brangham has the story.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: During his Wisconsin visit, the president signed an executive order to encourage federal agencies to use more American workers and products. It also targeted what are known as H-1B guest worker visas, which the president said hurt those same workers.

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery, and that’s wrong. Instead, they should be given to the most skilled and highest paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans. No one can compete with American workers when they are given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The H-1B visa system is meant to help U.S. employers find foreign labor to fill highly technical jobs they can’t fill with U.S. workers. But critics, including the president, say the system is being abused.

    We turn to two people who have followed this issue closely.

    Daniel Costa is director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank here in Washington, D.C. And Vivek Wadhwa is a distinguished fellow and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. He teaches and writes on technology and entrepreneurship.

    Welcome to you both.

    Daniel Costa, I would like to start with you.

    You heard the brief introduction that I made about these visas. Explain, what is the intention of the H-1B visa?

    DANIEL COSTA, Economic Policy Institute: Well, the program is usually sold by the companies that use it as a program to bring in the best and the brightest workers from abroad and also to be used when no qualified U.S. workers can be found.

    And the reality is, though, that that’s not what the law requires. Employers are not required to search for and offer jobs to U.S. workers, and they can also pay much lower wages, based on the way the wage rules are set up in the program.

    And so that’s sort of the main — the two main things that are wrong with the program, and so the program doesn’t have a lot of credibility, and some fixes are definitely required.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Vivek Wadhwa, the president argues that there is a ready supply of American tech workers to fill these jobs and that the visa program is being abused. What is your reaction to that?

    VIVEK WADHWA, Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley: There are people with some skills, but the type of skills that Silicon Valley is looking for are always in short supply because technology is changing so fast.

    And immigration is the lifeblood of Silicon Valley. You know, yes, there is some is abuse, but it is badly needed by Silicon Valley for what it does, which is to build these amazing, new, innovative products.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Daniel Costa, what do you respond to that? Does this complement U.S. workers or does it replace the workers?

    DANIEL COSTA: I think that there’s no question that America needs the best and the brightest skilled immigrants from abroad. I don’t think anybody is debating that.

    I think what is at issue here is the terms and conditions under which those migrants come to work in the United States. They’re coming in a visa that ties them to their employers, so they’re quasi-indentured. And they’re able to be paid much lower wages.

    And so what you have is, the program is set up in a way that has four wage levels, and the two lowest wage levels are below the local average wage for the job, and 80 percent of the H-1B jobs that are coming in are coming in at a wage that is lower than the local average wage.

    And so what that means is that either these are the best and brightest workers who are coming in, and they’re being vastly underpaid, or they’re just entry-level workers who are coming in. those lower level wages are listed as the entry-level wage.

    So, that’s the reality. I think that prioritizing higher-wage visas or higher-skilled workers coming in under those visas, it won’t lower the number that are coming in, and certainly some companies really need these workers. But we should shift to a higher-wage, higher-skill work force that comes in on the visas.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Vivek, what’s your reaction to that? If you’re bringing workers in from other lands, and they are being paid less than American workers, there is a fundamental fairness issue, that many American workers, including the president, would say, that’s not right, we shouldn’t be doing that.

    VIVEK WADHWA: Yes. And I agree with that, by the way. I agree with what Daniel says.

    And the problem is that this visa ties the worker to the employer, which is where the indentured servitude comes from. So, when you’re waiting for a green card, for which for Indians could take 10, 15 years, you’re basically locked into that employer, and the employer does pay substandard wages because the employer can get away with it.

    They have people who are locked in. A very simple solution. Let’s — a very simple solution. Let’s decouple the employer from the visa. In other words, let the visa go to the employee, so that the employee can shift jobs and go to the highest-paid employer.

    Why do we have to have them linked up the way they are? If we did that, suddenly, the market forces would prevail, and it would fix the problem in one fell swoop, except we don’t talk about it.

    A lot of the attacks on the visa are to stop immigration altogether and to cut off the lifeline to Silicon Valley. We need to have intelligent conversations and fix the real problem there is, which is tethering the employee to the employer.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Would that be a solution? If the worker came in, and the visa belonged to them, and then, if they didn’t like the pay they were getting at company A, couldn’t they then just go and work for company B?

    DANIEL COSTA: That just wouldn’t be enough to fix the way the program is set up.

    There is a very easy, simple solution that’s out there. It’s been proposed in bipartisan legislation by Senators Durbin and Grassley, and all it would simply do is require that employers recruit and hire U.S. workers before hiring an H-1B worker, and it would require that employers pay at least the local average wage, so eliminate the two lowest wage levels.

    And then it would also create a prioritization scheme for the lottery that allocates the visas. However, the tech industry and the corporate lobbies have been strongly against these basically simple, commonsense solutions. Just being able to switch to another employer is not going to fix a lot of the problems.

    It’s something, and I think that we should move away from these non-immigrant temporary visa statuses, because they’re terrible for workers, because they are tied to employers. It’s the same issue with low-skilled visas.

    But workers need to be coming in. We need to be making sure that there is an actual labor shortage, an actual need before the worker comes in. And then, once they come in, we should be putting them on a quick and easy path to permanent residency and a green card and citizenship.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Vivek, what do you think of that? There’s a lot of proposals there, but the idea that…

    VIVEK WADHWA: Too complex.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: … if a job for a computer engineer of a certain category is $150,000 a year, that’s what the immigrant laborer should be paid as well?

    VIVEK WADHWA: I agree with that.

    But if the employee is allowed to change jobs — keep it simple. If the employee can change jobs like every other American can right now, the employer would have to pay market wages. The employer will select the best person.

    Why do we have to become nationalistic and saying you have to have white skin or you have to be born in America to get a job with an American company? The majority of the income that — a lot of American companies will say this from abroad. They market their goods globally.

    If we’re now going to shut off the rest of the world, the rest of the world will shut us off and it will impact our economy. The simplest thing over here is to untether the visa from the employer and let the free market prevail.

    This is what makes America great, is the free market. Let’s go back to that. Let’s not have more regulation or more loopholes that can be subverted, which is what we were talking about. Simple. Untether the two things, let the free market rule. That’s what I’m saying.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Daniel Costa, Vivek Wadhwa, thank you both very much for being here.

    DANIEL COSTA: Thank you.

    The post How could the H-1B visa program for foreign workers be improved? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s Tax Day, I’m sure you know, and President Trump is facing renewed questions over public disclosure issues that dogged him on the campaign trial.

    Our John Yang begins our coverage.

    JOHN YANG: For President Trump, questions about transparency start with his taxes, and why he’s breaking with tradition and not releasing his returns.

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer:

    SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary: We’re under the same audit that has existed, and so nothing has changed.

    JOHN YANG: In fact, presidents and vice presidents are automatically audited by the IRS, which hasn’t stopped other chief executives from making them public.

    This weekend, thousands of people marched in cities around the country to demand that Mr. Trump release his taxes. He dismissed them with a tweet: “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies. The election is over.”

    Mr. Trump is the first president in more than 40 years not to make his tax returns public. The president says only reporters care about the issue. But in a recent Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll, 53 percent of those surveyed said the president should release them.

    Then there’s the question of who visits the White House, which Mr. Trump calls the people’s house. The administration says it’s ending the Obama policy of making visitor logs available, with exceptions for national security and privacy reasons.

    Press Secretary Spicer:

    SEAN SPICER: Frankly, the faux attempt that the Obama administration put out, where they would scrub who they didn’t want put out, didn’t serve anyone well.

    JOHN YANG: The administration is also under scrutiny for hiring former lobbyists to craft policies for the industries they came from. The New York Times and ProPublica found some had been given secret waivers exempting them from ethics rules.

    Ethics questions also extend to first daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump and her business interests. The Associated Press reported that she received provisional Chinese approval for three trademarks on the day she dined with president Xi Jinping at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

    Her fashion line, which is seeing record sales, is held in a family-run trust, and she has pledged to recuse herself from issues that present conflicts.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on some of the questions all of this raises about government transparency and conflicts of interest, we are joined by Richard Painter. He’s a University of Minnesota law professor who served as President George W. Bush’s top ethics attorney. And Noah Bookbinder, he’s executive director of the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

    We welcome both of you to the program.

    NOAH BOOKBINDER, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.

    Noah Bookbinder, I’m going to start with you. There’s so much to cover here. Let’s just pick out a few of these questions.

    Taxes. The White House continues to insist that President Trump’s taxes are being audited, and there’s just no way he can release them, he doesn’t have that ability to release them. What’s the answer?

    NOAH BOOKBINDER: That’s just not correct.

    As the report just indicated, every president’s taxes are routinely audited, and yet all of the previous presidents have seen fit to release their tax returns. Richard Nixon released his tax returns when he was under audit. And, surely, a level of transparency that was sufficient for Richard Nixon ought to work for this president.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Richard Painter, why isn’t that a legitimate reason? In addition, the White House says the public doesn’t really care about President Trump’s taxes.

    RICHARD PAINTER, University of Minnesota: Well, the public does care, and the fact that the tax returns are under audit is not an excuse for not releasing the tax returns.

    And, furthermore, the president is going to propose tax reform legislation, which may very well just mean more handouts for the super rich, billionaire tax cuts. We ought to at least know what particular tax provisions are benefiting him financially, which loopholes he’s using, before he starts tinkering around with the tax code to create yet more.

    So, this is going to be critically important that he release the tax returns, or we’re not going to have any tax reform legislation get through Congress. I can’t imagine that Congress would sign off on a bill proposed by the president if he’s not going to disclose how the bill is going to affect him financially. And the only way to do that is release those tax returns.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly to Noah Bookbinder, this has been Donald Trump’s argument throughout the campaign from the very beginning, the first time anyone asked him about releasing his taxes. He said, it’s none of your business. It’s my private business. And, besides, they’re being audited.

    Does he have a point that he is in a special place in this argument, unlike anyone else?

    NOAH BOOKBINDER: He really doesn’t. It is — his taxes will reveal information that is going to tell us how he’s affected, as Richard said, by tax reform, but also by all kinds of other policy issues, from foreign policy — his tax returns will reveal his foreign interests — to regulatory policy.

    And so it’s crucial for the American people to know what his interests are, to know what affects him and where conflicts might be. It’s even more true for him than for other presidents, because he maintains these vast business interests worldwide.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to turn both of you to another question that’s been in the news, and that is releasing, making public the list of people who visit the White House, the so-called visitor logs.

    Richard Painter, this White House, they’re saying, we’re not going to do it, and, by history, by tradition, most presidents haven’t done it. Yes, President Obama did, but President Trump doesn’t feel compelled to do so.

    What difference does it make?

    RICHARD PAINTER: It makes a lot of difference.

    The most ordinary Americans never have an opportunity to visit with anyone inside the White House. They can only look at the White House from outside the gate. Very few people get in there, lobbyists, billionaires, friends of the president, friends of his staff, politically connected people.

    We have the right to know who those people are. They’re going in there. They’re lobbying the White House staff, trying to get legislation through, trying to get regulatory loopholes, tax loopholes and the rest of it. And the rest of us who don’t have any opportunity to go in the White House have the right to at least know who is going in and out of there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Noah Bookbinder, your organization actually sued the administration of George W. Bush to try to get them to release these visitor logs.

    You weren’t successful with him, but then, again, as we mentioned, President Obama did release his. Where does that stand? Is this the kind of lawsuit that could apply again?

    NOAH BOOKBINDER: Sure.

    Well, our organization sued originally under George W. Bush. That lawsuit carried through into President Obama’s administration, and it was in discussions that came out of that lawsuit that led to the Obama administration’s policy of releasing the visitor logs.

    They did it with exceptions for national security policy and for privacy, so there were no problems with doing so. Countless news stories came out of who was in there, who was getting access, who was influencing policy from the millions of names that were released.

    We have filed a similar suit now with this administration, because they’re not following the example of the Obama administration and releasing those names.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And so we will see how long that takes to work its way through.

    I now want to turn both of you, though, to something else that has cropped up again today, and that is the family conflicts of interest. We know, Richard Painter, that both the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, all have had very successful business interests.

    They have separated themselves by a measure now that they’re working in the White House, but they have not completely separated themselves. How do you see the decision they have made to create trusts or other legal mechanisms without completely selling off and separating themselves from their business interests?

    RICHARD PAINTER: Well, the trusts don’t do anything to change ownership of the businesses. They still have ownership of these businesses, which include clothing import businesses, bring in clothes from China, and, of course, Jared Kushner’s real estate businesses.

    So what this means is both of them are going to have to recuse from trade negotiations with China that affect the clothing import business that Ivanka has, and both of them are going to have to recuse from tax reform measures, because there are lots of loopholes for the real estate business in any tax reform bill, certainly a lot of real estate-related issues on the table in tax reform, and, furthermore, banking reform.

    They have got to stay out of that. That affects real estate. So, they have got to stay out of those things, and we will be OK.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I was in — Noah Bookbinder, I was in touch today with Ivanka Trump’s attorney, Jamie Gorelick, here in Washington, asked her about this story today about Ivanka Trump winning trademarks in China just on the same day that she was meeting with the Chinese — with her father, with the Chinese premier.

    Jamie Gorelick wrote back and basically said that Ivanka Trump removed herself from her business before the start of her father’s administration. She said she has no role in deciding now what trademarks it seeks. She’s going to follow all applicable ethics rules.

    Why isn’t that good enough?

    NOAH BOOKBINDER: Well, the — she is still the owner of that business, and because she is the owner, she benefits from trademarks that are granted to the business.

    And so, if they apply for trademarks, she sees that they get them. She knows the Chinese government is doing things that are beneficial to her, and that’s going to make her more disposed to policies that benefit China.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to have to leave it there, as we said, so many questions in this. And I know we’re going to be coming back to it.

    Noah Bookbinder, Richard Painter, we thank you both.

    NOAH BOOKBINDER: Thank you so much.

    RICHARD PAINTER: Thank you, Judy.

    The post Why transparency — on Trump’s taxes, visitors and family business — matters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Voting is in the news across Europe today, starting with a surprise announcement from London. British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an early election, in June, instead of waiting until 2020. Speaking outside her official residence, May said she is asking to move up the vote to strengthen her hand in negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union.

    THERESA MAY, British Prime Minister: Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit, and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country. So we need a general election, and we need one now, because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We will take a closer look at the implications of May’s move later in the program.

    Police in France say they have broken up an imminent attack aimed at that country’s presidential election. They arrested two suspects today in the port city of Marseille, and recovered guns and explosives. Prosecutors accuse the pair of being Islamic extremists. The first round of voting in France’s presidential race begins on Sunday.

    In Turkey, the main opposition party is formally asking to annul Sunday’s referendum that expanded the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Hundreds of people waited outside the electoral board’s headquarters today to file petitions against the vote. They say accepting ballots without an official stamp was illegal.

    Separately, the White House defended President Trump’s congratulatory call to Erdogan, arguing that he is an ally in the fight against terrorism.

    Vice President Mike Pence moved on from South Korea to Japan today, and again pressed the U.S. case against North Korea. In Tokyo, Mr. Pence said the U.S. will not relent until the Korean Peninsula is free of nuclear weapons. And he told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that American support is unwavering.

    VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live, with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan. And, as the president himself would if he was here, let me be clear to you, Mr. Prime Minister and to all of people in Japan, we are with you 100 percent.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Last week, the White House announced that a U.S. aircraft carrier was steaming toward Korean waters as a deterrent. Now it turns out that was premature. The New York Times reports that the carrier group was headed the opposite way at the time, before changing course. The Pentagon blames a series of miscommunications.

    The U.S. military says it intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace off Alaska on Monday. Two U.S. fighter planes shadowed them for 12 minutes. According to FOX News, the Russians came within 100 miles of Alaska’s Kodiak Island. It is the first such incident in nearly two years.

    The manhunt is over for the suspect accused of killing an elderly man in Cleveland and posting video of the crime on Facebook. State police in Pennsylvania found Steve Stephens today in the city of Erie. He shot and killed himself after a chase, closing the case for authorities back in Cleveland.

    CALVIN WILLIAMS, Cleveland, Ohio, Police Chief: We are grateful that this has ended. We would have preferred that it had not ended this way, because there are a lot of questions, I’m sure, not only for the family, but the city in general, would have had for Steve as to why this transpired.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged today that the social media giant will do all it can to prevent postings of violent crimes in the future.

    State officials in Arkansas are vowing to carry out a double execution later this week, that after the U.S. Supreme Court halted the state’s plan to resume capital punishment for the first time in nearly 12 years. The high court issued its ruling late Monday, just minutes before a condemned man was scheduled to die.

    Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly is taking on critics in Congress over immigration enforcement. In Washington today, Kelly said that too many public officials ridicule immigration agents and airport security officers, and accept unfounded allegations about them as truth.

    JOHN KELLY, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary: If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce, then they should have the courage and the skill to change the laws. Otherwise, they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: More than 21,000 undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have been arrested since President Trump took office. That is up from 16,000 at this point a year ago.

    Republicans faced another tough race today in what had been a solidly red U.S. congressional district. The election was in suburban Atlanta, where 18 candidates from both parties competed. The seat was vacated by Tom Price, who is now the secretary of health and human services. President Trump sharply criticized the leading Democrat in the race, Jon Ossoff, who said he thinks the president is — quote — “misinformed.”

    There is word this evening that President George H.W. Bush is hospitalized again in Houston. A spokesman said Mr. Bush is doing fine and already on the path to going home. He gave no other details. Mr. Bush is 92. He was hospitalized for pneumonia back in January.

    And on Wall Street, stocks lost more ground after Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson posted disappointing earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 113 points to close at 20523. The Nasdaq fell seven, and the S&P 500 slid nearly seven.

    The post News Wrap: ‘Imminent attack’ on French election thwarted appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Tuesday that the United States needed to exercise “very mature international leadership” to de-escalate tensions with North Korea.

    “Now is the time for the U.S. to exercise some very mature international leadership to try to calm things down on the Korean peninsula,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the panel’s ranking Democrat, told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff in an interview.

    Tensions have flared in the weeks leading up to North Korea’s failed missile test last Sunday. Earlier this month, the White House said it sent an aircraft carrier towards North Korea, though news reports Tuesday showed the carrier group was actually headed to Australia at the time.

    Speaking from the Korean peninsula’s demilitarized zone Monday during a trip to the region, Vice President Mike Pence said that “the era of strategic patience is over” between the U.S. and North Korea.

    Cardin said it was in North Korea’s “interest to negotiate the end of their nuclear weapon program,” adding that China should take a “much more aggressive” approach in the negotiating process.

    Cardin also touched on Sunday’s referendum in Turkey. Voters narrowly approved constitutional changes that eliminated the position of prime minister and gave President Erdogan broad new powers.

    Cardin voiced concern that power in Turkey was “being consolidated by Mr. Erdogan,” though he noted that the country was a NATO ally and called it a “vibrant democracy.”

    President Donald Trump congratulated Erdogan on the referendum in a phone call Monday, drawing criticism from groups that have called the vote’s legitimacy into question. Mr. Trump’s call came after the State Department expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the vote.

    Cardin said the call was a “personal decision” by Trump.

    In the NewsHour interview, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also said Russia has been “very active” in meddling with upcoming elections in France and Germany.

    Multiple congressional committees are investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible ties to Trump’s campaign and associates.

    Watch Sen. Ben Cardin’s full interview with Judy Woodruff on the April 18 episode of PBS NewsHour.

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    Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was deported from the U.S., though he had protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He is appealing the decision in U.S. District Court, his attorneys said Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Juan Gastelum/National Immigration Law Center.

    Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was deported from the U.S., though he had protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He is appealing the decision in U.S. District Court, his attorneys said Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Juan Gastelum/National Immigration Law Center.

    A 23-year-old immigrant who says he was cleared to work and live in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been deported, according to his lawyers.

    It’s believed to be the first such case under President Donald Trump to deal with the Obama-era protections that cover more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

    But the Department of Homeland Security says his protection ended two years ago.

    Mr. Trump had promised to protect these individuals from deportation, even as he pledged, on the campaign trail and in the Oval Office, to crack down on immigration.

    An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S.

    What Montes says

    As first reported by USA Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection approached Juan Manuel Montes on Feb. 17 in Calexico, California, and asked for identification. Montes said he didn’t have ID because he had left his wallet in friend’s car.

    According to Montes’ team of lawyers, led by the National Immigration Law Center, Border Patrol then transported Montes to a local station. Within hours, he was deported to Mexico, without a chance to see an immigration judge, counsel or review documents he had signed, his lawyers said in a statement.

    Montes had previously been approved twice for deportation protection under the DACA program, created in 2012 under then-President Barack Obama to allow immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to temporarily live and work in the country. His authorization was not set to expire until 2018, his lawyers said. The Department of Homeland Security says its records indicate Montes’ authorization expired in 2015.

    “I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say, but my home is there,” Montes, who has lived in the U.S. since he was 9 years old, said in the statement. “I miss my job. I miss school. And I want to continue to work toward better opportunities. But most of all, I miss my family, and I have hope that I will be able to go back so I can be with them again.”

    On Tuesday, a group of lawyers filed a complaint in a U.S. District Court in California, seeking more information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection about their encounter with Montes.

    “We look forward to presenting our case to the court, because our client has the right to know why and how he was physically removed from the United States when he had permission to live and work here,” Mónica Ramírez Almadani, an attorney with Covington & Burling LLP in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

    What the government says

    When asked about Montes’ deportation, the White House referred the NewsHour to CBP.

    The Department of Homeland Security told NewsHour that Montes’ DACA status expired in August 2015, according to their records. Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement to NewsHour that he was also notified when his status was not renewed.

    Christensen also said Border Patrol arrested Montes after he attempted to cross into the U.S. by climbing a fence in Calexico, California — not, as his lawyers said, as he was walking to a taxi station.

    “He was arrested by BP just minutes after he made his illegal entry and admitted under oath during the arrest interview that he had entered illegally,” she said in the statement.

    Christensen said Montes had a previous a conviction for theft, “for which he received probation.”

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services didn’t immediately respond to NewsHour requests for comment.

    Where Trump stands on DACA

    A day before Montes was reportedly detained by Border Patrol, Trump told reporters that he and his administration would address the issue with “great heart,” when asked by the NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins whether he planned to cut the DACA program.

    “But the DACA situation is a very, very — it’s a very difficult thing for me, because, you know, I love these kids,” he told reporters on Feb. 16.

    PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins asked President Donald Trump about his upcoming executive order on immigration, as well as his plans for the DACA program during a news conference at the White House in mid-February.

    Trump hasn’t indicated since then that he’d roll back protections on so-called DREAMers, or DACA enrollees, under the program.

    Advocacy organization United We Dream told USA Today that immigration enforcers have targeted DREAMers in their stepped-up deportation efforts. The organizations said at least 10 DREAMers are in federal custody.

    Trump, however, has said his focus is on those here illegally who commit serious crimes. The White House directed all questions to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

    PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

    The post The government says his DACA status expired, but this immigrant says he was deported despite protections appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Students in black graduation regalia walking on steps.

    In March, a Belgian study reported that doctoral students experience mental illness at 2.5 times the rate of other people with college degrees or those currently enrolled at university. Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

    When Megan started her graduate program in biology in 2013, she was ambitious — hungry, she calls it.

    “When you’re a grad student, you set yourself up to build yourself up, because you want it so bad. You go into it hungry,” she said.

    But over the course of her training, she started to experience anxiety attacks, migraines and insomnia. To relieve stress brought on in part by a long commute, Megan, who asked that her last name be omitted because of concerns about privacy and possible negative effects on her career, moved closer to her campus in Georgia — but that also meant living an hour and a half away from her husband. She started seeing her physician and therapists, who prescribed medication. Though she was on her husband’s health insurance, the copay and other medical expenses cost her an estimated total of $3,000. Her annual stipend was $17,500.

    Megan’s experience is common among those pursuing degrees beyond undergrad. In March, a Belgian study found doctoral students experience mental illness at 2.5 times the rate of other people with college degrees or those currently enrolled at university. Of the 3,659 students surveyed in Flanders, Belgium, half had experienced psychological distress; a third were at risk for developing a psychiatric disorder. A similar, earlier study by the American Psychological Association found up to a third of all graduate students were dealing with mental illness, too.

    A Belgian study found that doctoral students experience mental illness at 2.5 times the rate of other people with college degrees or those currently enrolled at university.

    Many graduate and doctoral students vie to become postdoctoral researchers — “postdocs” — on their quest to attain professorships. But the postdoc and student population has greatly outpaced the growth of tenure-track positions in recent years. According to a 2015 study by the National Institute of Health, postdoctoral researchers made between $42,840 and $56,376 annual median salaries, depending on the year. A 2010 report found 360,000 of the 22 million Americans with graduate degrees were on food stamps.

    As a result, early career academics can linger in a stressful limbo. Many doctoral students expect to become tenured professors, and view themselves as failures if they don’t obtain the coveted positions, said Ghent University sociologist Katia Levecque, who led the Belgian study published in Research Policy.

    With low pay and high expectations, it’s little wonder these students are susceptible to depression, substance abuse and anxiety, as Levecque’s study suggested. But some believe these students could see relief through academic unions.

    "Many graduate students expect to become tenured professors, and view themselves as failures if they don’t obtain the coveted positions." Photo by Hero Images/via Getty Images

    “Many doctoral students expect to become tenured professors, and view themselves as failures if they don’t obtain the coveted positions.” Photo by Hero Images/via Getty Images

    UAW Local 2865, for instance, which represents all University of California teaching campuses, has achieved a host of guarantees for 16,000 student workers since it became fully recognized in 1999. Those benefits include child care reimbursement, a 17 percent wage increase over four years and protections against arbitrary firing, discrimination and harassment. Dues-paying members of the union get to vote on initiatives, but the protections extend to all eligible student workers at the system’s unionized institutions.

    “As a union for post-doc researchers, we are able to negotiate for mental health packages, and there is a way to work with university administration to optimize health care benefits,” said Anke Schennink, veterinary geneticist and president of postdoctoral union UAW Local 5810 at the University of California Davis.

    But not everyone thinks these unions work. Graduate students at Cornell University founded Atwhatcost.org, wherein they detail their issues with high union dues and potential conflicts with professors, along with a desire to focus on research, not advocacy.

    How can universities improve the mental health of young academics?

    Both Schennink and Levecque argue several reforms are needed to improve the mental health of young academics. One is identifying and acknowledging the problem exists in order to de-stigmatize the idea of seeking help. Another is reducing stressors that contribute to breakdowns in the first place. Megan said that higher pay and work-hour caps would have helped her. Instead of working through the night, she would have liked to go home to her family.

    “Me and my group of friends are all like ‘yeah, we all have panic attacks. And we all have depression.’ Like ‘what meds are you on? Oh, that’s got fun side effects,’” Megan said. “We just talk about it casually and then we laugh. Like, man, we’re messed up. We’re all just nodding and crying inside.”

    Senior officials in academia often take these issues for granted. In March, an anonymous university employee wrote a column for the Guardian called “There is a culture of acceptance around mental illness in academia.” Graduate students lament about the problem in online forums. Blogs posts about graduate and doctoral school include a number of jokes about falling asleep in coffee and regretting life decisions.

    Levecque said most doctoral students in Belgium are employed by the university and represented by unions. They receive competitive wages and labor law protections. Still, Levecque cited common complaints by Belgian doctoral students of work overload, unrealistic demands, lack of job security and lack of a work-life balance as issues that threaten mental wellness.

    While Schennink acknowledges these problems, she also note the importance of professors giving consideration and respect to their students. “People do better when they feel respected and when they feel that they are being valued for their contribution,” Schennink said. The American Psychological Association published a survey in 2012 confirming workers perform better when they feel valued.

    The unemployment rate among postdoctoral scientists and engineers on the whole is 2.1 percent. Photo by nimis69/via Getty images

    The unemployment rate among postdoctoral scientists and engineers on the whole is 2.1 percent. Photo by nimis69/via Getty images

    Levecque sees another cultural contributor to stress: Many doctoral students expect to become tenured professors, and view themselves as failures if they don’t obtain the coveted positions.

    Fifty-six percent of people who begin a doctoral program hope to become a tenured professor, according to a survey of 3,208 postdocs conducted in 2012, but only 20 percent land those positions. However, the unemployment rate among postdoctoral scientists and engineers on the whole is 2.1 percent, according to a 2012 National Science Foundation survey.

    Megan says that she’s so burnt out, she definitely won’t be pursuing a professorship, or even a career in her current field. She’s considering a job in procedural work, where she can make more money with less grandiose expectations.

    “I don’t mind working hard. I work really hard,” Megan said. “And I’m a believer in the American Dream, if you work hard enough good things will happen for you and you can eventually get where you want to be. But this whole experience just made me feel like a non-person.”

    Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Megan began a graduate program in 2013.

    The post Graduate students are underpaid and overstressed. Can academic unions change that? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Boss says, Put that stuff over there. Photo by Ed Hidden/E+ via Getty Images. Model released.

    After being bullied by his manager, a reader quits his job. Now, he asks, will he be hurt by a bad reference? Photo by Ed Hidden/E+ via Getty Images.

    Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

    In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


    I don’t normally publish such long “questions” from readers, but the instructive quality of this reader’s story depends on the gruesome details.

    Question: After four years with my company, I made a choice to abruptly quit (even before I have officially secured a new job). I know that’s idiotic and irrational, but ever since new management took over last year, I’m mentally drained. They are a twisted bunch of jerks, to be quite frank. One incident in particular was the final straw for me!

    Last month, one of my new managers flat-out bullied me. I’ve never had an issue with a boss or co-worker ever, so it was devastating to be a target for no apparent reason.

    As I was walking back to my department, one of my managers ignored my friendly hello and hastily asked me why I had gotten disorganized so suddenly with my workload. She said it in a confrontational way. I thought I was being overly sensitive, so I politely smiled and told her what my plan was to fix the problem, and I walked off to my destination.

    Suddenly, she yelled at me over the PA system to go to her office pronto. I sucked up my pride and did as I was told. She was seated like a high school principal about to expel a mouthy, troubled teen. She looked angry, but I passively tried to discuss the issue she seemed to have with me.

    She barely let me say one word. Instead, she yelled at me that I had answered her in a rude, sarcastic manner. I told her: “I am having a pretty bad day. Maybe I came across as rude, but I didn’t mean to be.”

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: How can we get rid of our boss?

    She paged another manager to join her in scolding me. She exaggerated everything to the other manager and got her upset at me too. Obviously, my adrenaline was starting to flow now. I was in that fight-or-flight mode. It’s extremely rare for me to get upset in public or at work. I was about to have a panic attack from the stress.

    I quietly told her that I needed to walk away and use the restroom. I was fighting tears at this point, so I excused myself. She then yelled over the PA system again for me to go back to the office. So I did. Mistake! She was straight-up cutting me down this time. I felt threatened. I snapped and said shakily, “Let me get back to my f***ing job and stop micromanaging me.”

    She and the other manager then cornered me and yelled at me that I needed to go home immediately. I thought I was being fired, so I cried as I walked past my co-workers. I’m not normally a wuss, I just felt animosity towards the situation.

    The next day I called to see if I had gotten fired. The HR lady said, “No, of course not.” After I explained to her what happened, she barely seemed to care at all. After four years of being a good employee, I felt appalled by her “whatever” attitude. I then wrote out my resignation notice and dropped it off on her desk.

    I finished out my last day yesterday. I have an interview for a potential new job tomorrow. I’m optimistic that I’ll land it with no problem. I’ll never tolerate that level of drama at any job, ever.

    Having read “How your old boss can cost you a new job,“ I am afraid my old employer will not give me a good word for my potential new job. I’m hoping my possible new employer won’t find it necessary to call my old job.

    I could have fought harder to maybe get my wrongdoers in trouble, but with the complexity of their office politics, it wasn’t worth trying. Sometimes you really do have to simply … quit. We are creatures of habit, so it takes guts to break routine and start fresh! But I feel a person’s mental well-being is more important than almost anything else.

    I’d still like your opinion: Did I do the right thing? What can I do about getting a bad reference?

    Nick Corcodilos: Never apologize for abuse.

    I very rarely tread in the waters of clinical psychology, but you may have very well encountered a psychopath — or at the very least a boss with psychopathic tendencies. Don’t let the term intimidate you. Understand what it means so you can recognize it sooner next time. A psychopath is marked by:

    …a mental disorder in which an individual manifests amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.

    Sound like your boss? Read on.

    …he lacks conscience and empathy, making him manipulative, volatile.

    Abuse is never acceptable

    I had a boss that displayed such behavior myself during a long year in my life. This company president abused and terrorized employees in company meetings, ridiculed them and encouraged others to attack them verbally, too. He held himself up as a godlike figure whose opinions were law.

    I didn’t realize what was going on until I heard a company customer — during a phone call — dress my company president down and abuse him the same way he abused us. Even though this was on the phone, the president physically cowered, “Yes, Sir”-ed and did exactly as he was told. A classic case of a person accustomed to abusing others being abused. I quit soon after to save my own soul.

    In cases like this, as the verbal violence increases, your mind tries hard to rationalize it: “Maybe I should learn to accept such behavior. After all, we have such big-name customers. Our boss must be doing something right. Look at how much money he makes. Maybe this is what it takes to be successful.” And so on.

    But it’s not alright, ever.

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: How to deal with a stingy boss

    It doesn’t matter that you don’t have another job to go to — your health and well-being must come first. I think your choice was correct and prudent. You preserved your self-respect and integrity. You were right to quit. Here’s the thing: You will quickly recover. Your former employer will not. Rest easy knowing that.

    Although I understand why a person might “go off” like you finally did, cursing in front of your boss is never acceptable. She succeeded in momentarily pulling you down to her level. In the future, avoid getting baited like that. Otherwise, I think you handled yourself with aplomb in a very difficult situation.

    Use a preemptive reference

    I think that any reference from that company will be worthless or toxic to you. The business community probably already knows the company and its management for what they are. All you need say to any prospective employer is: “I’d prefer not to provide references from my last job. I don’t disparage anyone I ever worked for. I always look forward. I want to work with a good company that encourages me to use my skills to produce profit in a healthy environment. My last employer was not a healthy environment.”

    Then provide excellent references from everywhere but your last employer.

    There’s a way to use your best references, so they’ll really pay off, no matter how negative one reference might be. Here’s a tip from “Fearless Job Hunting, Book 3: Get in The Door (way ahead of your competition),” that can work wonders in a case like this.

    Your most powerful reference is the one who calls an employer before the employer calls him. A preemptive reference speaks up for you, not about you. Actually, this is not a reference at all, but a recommendation or a referral… A preemptive reference thinks enough of you to pick up the phone to call the manager you want to work for, and recommends you. This is a big step beyond a reference; it’s a true professional courtesy.

    Choose your next job carefully. As you learned while facing the sick wrath of your boss, “It’s the people, Stupid.” (No offense intended. We all need to think about that.)

    When I resigned from my employer, I did it on my terms like you did. I compliment you for not resigning on the spot in anger. It’s critical to take time to think and to act with forethought and grace. (See “Parting Company: How to leave your job.”)

    I wish you the best. Leave that sick company you survived behind you. You’re healthy. Go work with healthy people and let the past go.

    READ MORE: Ask The Headhunter: Dealing with an undeserved nasty reference

    Dear Readers: Have you ever had a boss with psychopathic tendencies? What were the signs? What did it take for you to escape? How would you advise the reader in this week’s Q&A?


    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

    Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

    The post Ask the Headhunter: I said goodbye to my boss bully appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Registered nurse Stephen Van Dyke treats a patient while on a home health care visit on March 23, 2012 in Arvada, Colorado. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on whether the 2010 health law can require most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014. Van Dyke works for the Dominican Sisters Home Health Agency, a non-profit that performs some 25,000 home visits each year in the Denver area. It provides free home nursing care to patients with chronic diseases, helps them to better manage their disabling illnesses and provides custodial services with the aim of keeping patients in their homes and out of more expensive nursing home care. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    Journalist Philip Moeller is here to provide the answers you need on aging and retirement. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

    Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller is here to provide the answers you need on aging and retirement. His weekly column, “Ask Phil,” aims to help older Americans and their families by answering their health care and financial questions. Phil is the author of the new book, “Get What’s Yours for Medicare,” and co-author of “Get What’s Yours: The Revised Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security.” Send your questions to Phil.


    Cindy – Florida: My mom is in the final stages of ovarian cancer and is in hospice. The nurse comes out once a week and that is all they provide at this time. We are looking to get home health care during the day so that someone can stay with her and also provide very light help with meals. Does Medicare pay for this care if we hire a home health care provider?

    Phil Moeller: I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover so-called custodial care. If your mom’s doctor thought at-home care was medically necessary, Medicare would cover someone providing interim care for a short period. But this would need to be medical in nature.

    READ MORE: Does my mother qualify for home health care?

    READ MORE: How to hire in-home help when your aging parents don’t want to move


    Mary Ann: I’m 44 years old and have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance since 2008. I became a widow in 2012. Since my husband passed away, my son (born in July 2007) who has autism and my other son (born in July 1999) have both been receiving survivor benefits. They have both been receiving $1,500 each, and I am currently receiving $1,494 per month for my disability benefit. My 17-year-old son will be turning 18 this coming July, and the loss of his $1,500 benefit would really hurt us financially.

    Will I be able to receive any survivor benefit this summer, even if I am currently receiving disability benefits? Might my youngest son’s benefit possibly be recalculated to where he gets to maximize my late husband’s Social Security allowable benefits?

    Phil Moeller: I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is to deal with you and your son’s disabilities, Now, you also have to worry about losing an important benefit. I’m so sorry.

    If I understand your question correctly, you are facing the loss of substantial income when your older son turns 18 and is no longer eligible for a child’s survivor benefit. If he will still be in high school when he turns 18, it’s possible in some cases for this benefit to continue until he’s 19, so I’d check on that.

    Unfortunately, you will not be entitled to a survivor’s benefit until you turn 50, which is 10 years earlier than the earliest age at which non-disabled survivors can file. When you do file for a survivor benefit, your additional payment would equal the amount by which your survivor benefit exceeds your disability payment.

    READ MORE: Can I work and still collect my late husband’s Social Security benefits?

    If both of your sons were collecting a benefit based on your late husband’s earnings records, their total benefits might have been reduced under Social Security rules involving what’s called the family maximum benefit, which is explained here. When your older son’s benefits end, any family maximum benefit limits should disappear, and perhaps your younger son’s benefits will increase. Also, his benefits will last as long as he is disabled and will not end when he turns 18.

    I suggest you either call Social Security or set up a face-to-face meeting with a representative at your local Social Security office. Carefully review your filing options, and see what makes sense.


    Patty – Connecticut: I read your updated Social Security book (thank you!), and I totally understand that I can restrict the scope of my Social Security application and collect half my ex-spouse’s benefit while allowing my own benefits to grow until I’m 70. I was born in 1951, was married more than 10 years and divorced for more than two years. When I went to the Social Security office, they said I didn’t need to file any “restricted application.” In fact, they never heard of it! I felt like I was about to become another horror story for your book! So, I haven’t filed yet. Help!

    Phil Moeller: I am sorry, but not surprised that you encountered problems with Social Security. Don’t give up! You are within your rights here, and I urge you to try again.

    Social Security’s official rules are contained in its Program Operations Manual System (POMS). So, if an agency representative tells you they don’t know about restricted applications, please direct them to the POMS page about restricted applications. In particular, look at Section D, which includes this description:

    D. Policy for restricting the scope of the application

    When a claimant is eligible for more than one benefit at the time of filing, he or she may, for any reason, choose to limit or restrict the scope of the application to exclude a class of benefits unless there is an exception. The reason may be to receive higher current benefits or to maximize the amount of benefits over a period-of-time, including the effect of delayed retirement credits (DRC).

    If that doesn’t satisfy them, here’s the agency’s explanation of how restricted applications are permitted for people your age:

    If you turn 62 before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply if you file at full retirement age or later. This means that you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other. In your case, you may also restrict your application to apply only for spouse’s benefits and delay filing for your own retirement in order to earn delayed retirement credits. However, if you turn age 62 on or after January 2, 2016, you are required or “deemed” to file for both your own retirement and for any benefits you are due as a spouse, no matter what age you are.

    Good luck!


    Chloe – Maryland: I lost my job and my company health insurance when I was 64. I went on Obamacare until I was 65 and then went on Medicare with a supplemental Medigap plan and a Part D drug plan.

    I am now 66 and have just been hired by an organization that offers health insurance. They say that if I want to stay on Medicare, I must waive participation in their plan and pay for Medicare myself. They will not offer any funds to cover what they would have been covering for me under the company scheme.

    I have been told that if I give up Medicare, I might not be able to get the supplemental insurance back when I finally do retire (which I have no plans to do any time soon).

    Any advice?

    Phil Moeller: First off, it would be illegal for your employer to provide you any financial support for staying on Medicare and waiving your new employer plan. Otherwise, employers could basically bribe people to drop their employer coverage in favor of Medicare, likely saving the employers a bundle and shifting those costs to Medicare and, by extension, taxpayers. So, while your employer’s position may seem unfair to you, there is a good reason for it.

    READ MORE: Column: Why we need to save Medicare counseling from the federal chopping block

    As for your Medigap plan, what you’ve been told is not true. Because you are returning to work, you may drop your Medigap plan and later get a new plan without losing the guaranteed issue rights you had when you first became eligible for Medicare. Those rights require insurers to sell you most types of Medigap plans without charging you more for any preexisting condition.

    “When losing employer coverage, not all plans will be available in all states on a guaranteed issue basis,” says a spokeswoman for UnitedHealthcare, a large Medigap insurer. “Specifically, insurers are not required to make Plans D and G available on a guaranteed issue basis when a beneficiary loses employer coverage.” Also, the guaranteed issue period in this case extends 63 days after losing employer coverage.


    David – Texas: If I do a Social Security “file and suspend,” am I forced to enroll in Medicare? Or can I still keep my employer health insurance?

    Phil Moeller: It’s no longer possible to file and suspend. This rule was outlawed last year.

    However, filing for Social Security does not require you to get Part B of Medicare or other private Medicare insurance policies. So, you can keep your employer insurance so long as you’re actively working.

    Getting Social Security benefits does require you to have Part A of Medicare, which covers hospital expenses and which charges no premiums to those who have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

    Part A can come in handy as secondary insurance to help pay for covered expenses that are not fully paid by your employer’s insurance plan. However, having Part A invalidates a person’s right to have a tax-advantaged health savings account, or HSA. If you have an HSA, you’d either have to not file for Social Security or look for another health plan where you work.

    The post Does Medicare pay for a home health care provider? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Posters are hanging all throughout downtown Bellingham, Washington, but rather than portray NBA stars or pop music icons, these parchments are covered with science. Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    This graphic designer is promoting her local March for Science by doing what she does best: art. Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    The posters hanging across downtown Bellingham, Washington, aren’t promoting the next Hollywood blockbuster or a pop star’s big album release; these banners are plugging science.

    Mandy Kramer — also known as “Miss Mandible” — is a graphic designer in Bellingham, and as a science enthusiast, she was excited to donate her talents to her local March for Science by making a series of science-themed posters.

    The March for Science is a national movement started as a response to the perceived restrictions to scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. Marches in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and abroad will take place on April 22.

    Mandy Kramer

    Mandy Kramer

    Kramer described the city of Bellingham as enthusiastic about science. But when you venture further out of the city, her sense is that science becomes less of a priority for the more conservative residents of her state.

    But “everyone here, even if they’re on the conservative side, does appreciate the environment,” Kramer said. “It is a really beautiful area surrounded by mountains, trees and water.”

    Scientists due to speak at Bellingham’s March for Science — retired astronaut Wendy Lawrence and physicist Melissa Rice, who worked on the Mars Rover — inspired two of Kramer’s posters. Kramer’s father, a marine biologist, infused a love for the ocean into Mandy as a child, which is why she included one underwater poster.

    Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    Kramer supports the march even though people have voiced concerns over politicizing science. “I would say when we bring politics into science, unfortunately, the result isn’t always the best,” Kramer said. But she recognizes that science and politics are intertwined anyway, given how the two affected her father’s work.

    “He worked for a contractor of NOAA and one of the problems was, there was a lot of talking, like, ‘Well, we can’t really do this because of this rule or that rule,’” Kramer said. “Just a single, very small policy might end up taking years and years to even pass. And by the time it passed, the damage has already been done.”

    Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    If he had been trying to get protections for a species, for example, in theory the bureaucratic process could have taken so long that the species might have gone extinct.

    So Kramer, who says that she doesn’t have quite enough patience to be a scientist herself, is glad that she has an opportunity to donate her talents to the march.

    Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    Illustration by Mandy Kramer

    “I’m hoping this event will at least create extra support, awareness. Maybe educating the public on how they can do their part to ensure that some of the policies that have been put into place are overturned,” Kramer said. “Just letting the people’s word be heard that we do want science, we do want research to continue and we do want policies to be put in place that are for the benefit of mankind.”

    The post Meet an artist who’s waving her banner in support of the March for Science appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    ca. 1900 --- Woman Reclining at Desk Next to Typewriter --- Image by © CORBIS

    Woman reclining at a desk next to a typewriter, circa 1900. Photo by William H. Rau/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images.

    When author Paula Fox died in March, we wondered why we hadn’t heard more about her. Fox wrote dark, brilliant novels for adults, and Newbery Medal and National Book Award-winning books for children, but her work was largely forgotten for many years — in part because it had gone out of print. Eventually, Fox’s books experienced a resurgence, thanks in part to other novelists’ praise of her work.

    It made us wonder: What other terrific female writers were we failing to notice? Writers whose work was dazzling or influential, but had been mostly forgotten or overlooked, either because of their gender, the language in which they wrote, or other reasons we had not imagined.

    To find an answer, we reached out to several of the top female authors and editors working today. Here are the writers they told us we are missing out on:

    Agota Kristof in Neuchatel, Switzerland in 1993. (Photo by Philippe PACHE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    Agota Kristof. Photo by Philippe PACHE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

    Agota Kristof
    “American readers unfortunately have an allergy to reading work in translation, so a good many excellent writers get overlooked or forgotten or never recognized here simply for not writing in English. Agota Kristof, who was born in Hungary and wrote in French, was one. I just read her first novel, ‘The Notebook,’ a brutal and terrifying and gorgeous story that re-introduced me to narrative possibilities that I’d somehow forgotten. Only three of her nine novels have been translated.”
    — Catherine Lacey, author of the novel “Nobody Is Ever Missing,” which won the 2016 Whiting Award.

    Octavia Butler. Credit: Nikolas Coukouma/Creative Commons

    Octavia Butler. Credit: Nikolas Coukouma/Creative Commons

    Octavia Butler
    “It’s hard not to read ‘Parable of the Sower‘ today and get a chill. Like Orwell’s ‘1984,’ ‘Parable’ feels like it could have been titled ‘2017’ even though it was published in 1993. I think Butler didn’t get the widespread attention she deserved because she was considered a genre writer or a science fiction author, but she was actually a social scientist. Her books deal with American history from the point of view of women of color — and, as is the case in ‘Parable,’ young women. She has tackled everything in her literature from men giving birth to this moment in time we’re living in. Her work is eloquent and thoughtful and I have no idea why people aren’t running for her books to understand this moment in time.”
    — Jacqueline Woodson, author of books for children and adolescents, including “Miracle Boys” and the Newbery Honor-winning “Brown Girl Dreaming”

    The English writer Stella Benson (1892-1933). (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Imag

    Stella Benson. Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

    Stella Benson 
    “Benson was an English suffragette, poet, novelist, and travel writer. I discovered her in a Rebecca West letter, who was baffled that when a new novel by Benson came out, it didn’t get the attention it deserved. When I asked around nobody seemed to have heard of her name.

    The day after the election, I was reading Benson’s work, and sent this passage to a friend: ‘Poor man measures all things by the size of his own foot. He looks complacently at the print of his boot in the mud, and notices that the ant which he crushed was not nearly as big as his foot, therefore the ant does not matter to him. He also notices that those same feet of his would not be able to walk to the moon within a reasonable time, therefore the moon does not matter for him.’ Fortunately, the moon and the ant both matter to Benson. It was not a wonder that when Benson died (at age 41), Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary: ‘A curious feeling: when a writer like Stella Benson dies, that one’s response is diminished; Here and Now won’t be lit up by her: it’s life lessened.’
    — From Yiyun Li, author of short stories and the new memoir, “Dear Friend, From My Life I Write To You in Your Life,” and also the editor of the New York-based literary magazine “A Public Space.”

    Louise Meriwether. Via Blackpast.org/Public Domain

    Louise Meriwether. Via Blackpast.org/Public Domain

    Louise Meriweather
    “I often say Meriweather’s ‘Daddy Was A Number Runner‘ is the African American ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’ — set in Harlem during the depression, the character, Francie, takes us right into the world of Harlem during that period of time. It’s a stunning work of fiction that I return to often.”
    — From Jacqueline Woodson

    Marianne Moore. Credit: George Platt Lynes

    Marianne Moore. Credit: George Platt Lynes

    Marianne Moore
    “John Ashbery famously called Elizabeth Bishop a ‘poet’s poet’s poet.” That makes Marianne Moore (1887-1972), Bishop’s mentor and lifelong friend, the poet’s poet’s poet’s poet … In her day and in ours, poets who agree on little else agree on her. Moore was an original. She invented stanzas patterned on syllable counts rather than traditional meters and forms; she wrote about steam rollers and pangolins and Yul Brynner and faith; she stitched together poems out of quotations from newspapers and field guides and advertisements and circus programs and conversations. She frequently altered her poems, revising, cutting, and rearranging them, sometimes over the course of decades.

    It is for all these qualities, of technical precision, wide ranging curiosity, and thoroughly modern iconoclasm, that poets love her. But such fierce individualism also makes it taxing to keep up with her. Had she been a man (who knows?) general readers might more easily call the challenges she presents the hallmarks of genius and be readier to, as Gertrude Stein recommended we do in her own case, ‘learn to read the way she writes.’ Her poet peers have always done so, and modern poetry is richer for it. As Jorie Graham notes, Moore still ‘feel[s] like our future.’ We who care about poetry should go back to her work to find our way forward.”
    — From Heather Cass White, a professor of English at the University of Alabama who’s spent the last decade editing the poetry of Marianne Moore.

    Credit: HMH Books for Young Readers

    Joyce Hansen’s book “The Gift-Giver.” Credit: HMH Books for Young Readers

    Joyce Hansen
    “In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Joyce Hansen’s books for young people centered on the everyday lives of children of color and were some of the first books I read to do so. She tackled issues of race, class and even learning differences through the gaze of middle graders. Later on, her historical fiction paved the way for many of us writing in this genre now. She is revered in the community of young people’s literature but still, her books are often hard to find or long out of print.”
    — Jacqueline Woodson

    Credit: Csigó László

    Magda Szabo. Credit: Csigó László/Creative Commons

    Magda Szabo
    “Szabo was also born in Hungary and has gotten more attention here in recent years but I suggest it’s not enough. I read ‘The Door‘ and ‘Iza’s Ballad‘ last year and both were stunners.”
    — Catherine Lacey

    The post 7 overlooked women writers you should be reading now appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Bill O’Reilly, popular host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” will no longer be a part of Fox News’ stable of presenters, a decision reached Wednesday after weeks of backlash over allegations of sexual harassment during his time at the network.

    “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox, parent company of the broadcaster, said in a statement Wednesday.

    The New York Times first reported the settlements in early April, investigating complaints from five women who said they received payouts to keep mum “about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances, and [inappropriate] phone calls,” the Times learned from documents and interviews. O’Reilly, who joined the network in 1996, has denied the accusations. The Times reported he had settled $13 million in sexual harassment cases over the years.

    Since mid-April, O’Reilly, 67, has been on vacation and was seen on Wednesday meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican.

    In a statement posted to Twitter by CNN’s Dylan Byers, O’Reilly said “it is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”

    Fox News has faced significant pressure to address the allegations, as several sponsors withdrew their ads from the program, the network’s long-reigning No. 1 program in cable news. The shakeup comes less than a year after Roger Ailes, the network’s former chairman, resigned after a number of women — including former anchor Gretchen Carlson and reporter Megyn Kelly — stepped forward with allegations of sexual harassment. Ailes was paid $40 million as part of his exit last summer, the Times reported. 21st Century Fox later reached settlements with many of Ailes’ accusers, including Carlson, who received $20 million.

    An African-American woman came forward Tuesday with fresh allegations against O’Reilly via The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the host called her “hot chocolate,” among other instances of misconduct.

    The woman’s attorney, Lisa Bloom, reacted to the news of O’Reilly’s ouster on Twitter:

    In a memo to employees, Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch said the decision came after an “extensive review.”

    “By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news,” they wrote.

    “Lastly, and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect,” the memo said.

    PBS NewsHour’s Erica R. Hendry contributed to this report.

    The post Bill O’Reilly dropped by Fox News amid harassment allegations appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Georgia's Sixth District Congressional candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to his supports at his Election Night party in Sandy Springs, Georgia, U.S., April 18, 2017.    REUTERS/Marvin Gentry - RTS12VHH

    Georgia’s Sixth District Congressional candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to his supports at his Election Night party in Sandy Springs, Georgia on April 18, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Marvin Gentry

    Jon Ossoff’s failure to put the Georgia special election away Tuesday could set him up for defeat in the June runoff, where he’ll face a seasoned Republican opponent riding a wave of momentum in a district Democrats haven’t held since the late 1970s.

    Republicans in Georgia and Washington, D.C., sounded increasingly confident Wednesday that the party would hold onto the seat after Ossoff — a 30-year-old Democrat and first-time candidate — finished first Tuesday but failed to win the 50 percent needed to avoid a June 20 runoff.

    “Republicans will definitely hold the seat,” GOP strategist Seth Weathers, who ran President Donald Trump’s campaign in Georgia last year, said Wednesday.

    Ossoff got 48.1 percent of the vote in an 18-person field — a better-than-expected finish, given he polled around 42 percent leading up to Tuesday’s vote.

    Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, came in second with 19.8 percent, earning a spot in the two-way runoff against Ossoff in June.

    Now, it’s Handel’s race to lose, Weathers and other Georgia political watchers said.

    “She’s going to get a ton of outside resources,” Weathers said. “All she has to do to win is continue running her race and not screw it up.”

    In speech to supporters after the race was called early Wednesday, Ossoff said he remained confident despite failing to win the race outright.

    “We defied the odds, shattered expectations, and now are ready to fight on and win in June,” he said.

    Both parties spun the results Wednesday, with Republicans saying the district would remain red, as it has for decades,and Democrats claiming Ossoff’s results prove the left could mobilize voters by opposing President Donald Trump and the GOP agenda.

    Campaign signs for candidates for Georgia's 6th Congressional District special election, which will fill the seat vacated when Republican Tom Price was appointed as secretary of Health and Human Services, line Holcomb Bridge Road in Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S. April 17, 2017. Picture taken April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin D. Liles - RTS12SM2

    Campaign signs for candidates for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District special election line Holcomb Bridge Road in Alpharetta, Georgia on April 17, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Kevin D. Liles

    Democrats could keep the momentum going into the runoff. But it might not be easy, especially because the election will take place in the summer, when turnout will be lower for both candidates, said Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University. Lower turnout could harm Ossoff in a two-way race.

    “Ossoff’s challenge is to tap into latent Democratic voters,” Gillespie said. “He’s got to recognize that Handel is at the advantage, [and] recognize that there are limits to the number of Democratic voters” in the district.

    Republicans — including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — have held the seat since 1979. Tom Price represented the district, which covers several suburbs north of Atlanta, until January, when he stepped down to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Ossoff announced his candidacy as soon as the seat opened up, and the election quickly turned into a referendum on Trump, featuring 11 Republicans, five Democrats and two independents.

    Ossoff shot to the head of the field thanks to widespread energy on the left and a surprisingly strong fundraising effort. He raised a $8.3 million, of which 95 percent came from donors outside of the district. The actor Samuel Jackson recorded an ad for Ossoff, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) hosted a fundraising event for him in Washington, D.C.

    On the other side, the Republican candidates had difficulty differentiating themselves, and several struggled in deciding how to run with Trump in the White House.

    In the end, some of the GOP candidates who fully embraced Trump, like former Johns Creek Councilman Bob Gray, actually polled lower than predicted. Handel vocally supported Trump but was quick to draw distinctions between the president and her own brand of conservatism. Instead, Handel often invoked past Republicans who held the seat.

    Both parties spun the results Wednesday, with Republicans saying the district would remain red, as it has for decades, and Democrats claiming Ossoff’s results prove the left could mobilize voters by opposing President Donald Trump and the GOP agenda.

    The district “has a long legacy of Republican leadership,” Handel said Wednesday on CNN, citing her “good friend” Price, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Gingrich.

    Handel told CNN that Trump called to congratulate her on her second-place finish, and said she hoped he would travel to the district to campaign with her in the runoff. Trump stayed away during the special election; he won the district by just 1.5 points in 2016, a far cry from Republican Mitt Romney’s 23-point margin of victory over then-President Barack Obama four years earlier.

    Trump did not appear to give the race much attention until 48 hours before the polls closed, when he fired off a series of Tweets attacking Ossoff and urging Republicans in the district to vote. He also recorded a robocall that went out Tuesday.

    Georgia’s race came on the heels of a special election in Kansas where a Democrat also fell short in a district long held by Republicans. Democrats are now eyeing a special election in Montana next month, and another special election in South Carolina in June.

    The races are giving party leaders and voters an early lesson in what it takes to be a successful Democratic candidate in Trump country. The party needs to flip 24 seats to regain a majority in the House, and moderate suburban districts like the Georgia seat are must-wins for the party.

    As for Trump: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a news briefing Wednesday that he was ‘optimistic’ about the future of the party.

    The post How the odds could shift as Georgia prepares for June runoff appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, another television milestone.

    FOX Television’s animated comedy series “The Simpsons” turns 30 today and is one of the longest-running programs on television history.

    William Brangham tells that story.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thirty years ago today, viewers met what would become an iconic American family, the Simpsons.

    On April 19, 1987, this strange-talking, yellow-skinned family of five made their TV debut, appearing initially on the sketch comedy series “The Tracey Ullman Show.”

    But, soon, 20th Century Fox spun them off into their own 30-minute program. More than 600 episodes, and 32 Emmy Awards later, the Simpsons is now the longest-running scripted prime-time show in U.S. history.

    In its early years, “The Simpsons” was criticized by cultural conservatives, who felt the show’s subversive streak set a bad example for the nation.

    DAN CASTELLANETA, Actor: Just remember to have fun out there today. And if you lose, I will kill you.

    (LAUGHTER)

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The show even earned a presidential rebuke in 1992.

    READ MORE: Quiz: How well do you know ‘The Simpsons’ characters?

    GEORGE H.W. BUSH, Former President of the United States: To make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.

    NANCY CARTWRIGHT, Actress: Hey, we’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end to the depression too.

    ACTOR: Not now. I’m on Twitter.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But, in time, the show’s wit and biting satire made it a critical and commercial success. It’s earned Fox billions of dollars.

    The 616th episode of “The Simpsons” airs next Sunday night, and, according to its creators, there are no plans for stopping anytime soon.

    From Springfield, I’m William Brangham for the PBS NewsHour.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We certainly hope not.

    The post The Simpsons, Fox’s quirky animated family, turns 30 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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