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

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    An international passenger arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia after the Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration's emergency request to put its travel ban into effect later in the week pending further judicial review. Photo by James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

    A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s limited view of who is allowed into the United States under the president’s travel ban, saying grandparents, cousins and similarly close relations of people in the U.S. should not be prevented from coming to the country. Photo by James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

    SEATTLE — A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s limited view of who is allowed into the United States under the president’s travel ban, saying grandparents, cousins and similarly close relations of people in the U.S. should not be prevented from coming to the country.

    The unanimous ruling from three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said refugees accepted by a resettlement agency should not be banned. The decision upheld a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who found the administration’s view too strict.

    READ MORE: Feds appeal judge’s travel ban ruling to Supreme Court

    “Stated simply, the government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not,” the ruling said.

    The U.S. Supreme Court said in June that President Donald Trump’s 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced pending arguments scheduled for October. But the justices said it should not apply to visitors who have a “bona fide relationship” with people or organizations in the U.S., such as close family ties or a job offer.

    The government interpreted such family relations to include immediate family members and in-laws, but not grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. The judge in Hawaii overruled that interpretation, expanding the definition of who can enter the country to the other categories of relatives.

    The Hawaii judge also overruled the government’s assertion that refugees from those countries should be banned even if a resettlement agency in the U.S. had agreed to take them in.

    Lawyers for the government and the state of Hawaii, which challenged the travel ban, argued the case in Seattle last week.

    Deputy assistant attorney general Hashim Mooppan ran into tough questions as soon as he began arguing the government’s case, with Judge Ronald Gould asking him from “what universe” the administration took its position that grandparents don’t constitute a close family relationship.

    Judge Richard Paez similarly questioned why an in-law would be allowed in, but not a grandparent.

    “Could you explain to me what’s significantly different between a grandparent and a mother-in-law, father-in-law?” Paez asked. “What is so different about those two categories? One is in and one is out.”

    Mooppan conceded that people can have a profound connection to their grandparents and other extended relatives, but from a legal perspective, the administration had to draw the line somewhere to have a workable ban based largely on definitions used in other aspects of immigration law, he said.

    READ MORE: The Supreme Court just had a quiet term. These high-profile cases are about to change that.

    The post Trump’s travel ban shouldn’t include grandparents or extended family, 9th circuit court says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Illustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard in Warsaw

    Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, announced Thursday that hackers had gained access to personal data from approximately 143 million of its customers. Computer illustration by Kacper Pempel/Files/Reuters

    Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, announced Thursday that hackers had gained access to personal data from approximately 143 million of its customers.

    Here’s what we know.

    What happened?

    Sometime between mid-May and July, hackers breached an Equifax web application, gaining access to the names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers of some 143 million customers, the company said in a blog post Thursday.

    Equifax discovered the breach July 29. The company says it has “no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.”

    Who’s affected?
    Equifax is one of the three major credit tracking companies in the country.

    The number of customers affected in this breach amounts to nearly half of the entire U.S. population, which was 324 million in a U.S. census count in January, CNBC points out.

    Along with the sensitive personal data, hackers also gained access to credit card numbers of 209,000 U.S. customers and documents related to credit report disputes from another 182,000 American consumers.

    TechCrunch says citizens of Canada and the UK were also affected by the breach.

    How bad is this?

    As TechCrunch put it: “pretty bad.”

    Reporter Ron Miller writes:

    This is not the worst breach of all time by a long shot in terms of pure numbers. That distinction goes to Yahoo, now part of Oath (which was acquired by our parent company, Verizon). They had a leak involving more than a billion users.

    But this leak is particularly worrisome because Equifax is a credit reporting service and tracks a history of your consumer life, credit cards, credit scores and more — and it gives the black market a potential gold mine of information about people’s financial lives.

    “In addition to the number [of victims] being really large, the type of information that has been exposed is really sensitive,” said Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, told the Washington Post. “All in all, this has the potential to be a very harmful breach to those who are affected by it.”

    What’s next?

    Equifax’s stock fell 9 percent after the news broke, USA Today noted.

    The company has set up a website — www.equifaxsecurity2017.com — for consumers to see whether, and how much of, their data was breached. It’s offering free credit monitoring to all those affected by the hack.

    Meanwhile, law enforcement and an independent cybersecurity firm are investigating the scope of the hack and how it occurred. They’re expecting to release their findings in the coming weeks.

    The post Hackers accessed personal data from 143 million Equifax customers. Here’s what we know. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    People gather on a street after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico, September 8, 2017. Photo by Edgard Garrido/REUTERS

    People gather on a street after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico, September 8, 2017. Photo by Edgard Garrido/REUTERS

    A deadly earthquake struck off the southwestern coast of Mexico before midnight Thursday, killing at least 32 people, including several children.

    It was the strongest earthquake the country has felt in a century, President Enrique Pena Nieto said.

    What happened? The U.S. Geological Survey said a magnitude 8.1 quake hit just off the state of Chiapas, about 50 miles from its Pacific coast. But Mexican seismologists rated the earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2.

    The shaking ground toppled houses and buildings in Chipas, killing three in San Cristobal de las Casas, according to the Associated Press. Ten people died in Oaxaca state, the Associated Press said. The two children died in Tabasco state, north of Chiapas, one due to a collapsing wall, the other because of a power outage at a hospital, Governor Arturo Nunez said.

    Map locating earthquake off the coast of Mexico. Chart by Reuters

    Map locating earthquake off the coast of Mexico. Chart by Reuters

    The immense tremors also caused severe destruction in Oaxaca, where the facade of one hotel split in half.

    A number of buildings in Juchitan, Oaxaca were demolished by the earthquake, according to local reports, including the ones in this video.

    The powerful earthquake also shook buildings 460 miles from its epicenter, with tremors felt as car away as the capital Mexico City. There are reports of damage in nearby Guatemala too.

    Ripple effect With its close proximity to the coast and 21-mile depth, the earthquake sparked a series of relatively small tsunamis that hit the Chiapas coast line. The biggest was approximately 3 feet tall, but the National Tsunami Warning Center said larger tsunamis — up to 10 feet — are still possible along the Mexican coast.

    The tsunami threat is minimal — less than a foot — for Hawaii, and the earthquake may create 3-foot swells for American Samoa.

    Officials in Chiapas told the AP they were starting precautionary evacuations because of the risk.

    What happens next? The cleanup begins for Chiapas and Oaxaca, which were hit hardest by the quake. The death toll seems likely to rise as emergency officials work through the rubble in these remote areas. Energy companies will look to restore power to the 1 million people who lost electricity.

    Meanwhile, Hurricane Katia is barreling toward the same region from the east.

    The post Southern Mexico shaken by deadly 8.1 earthquake, its strongest in a century appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    As Hurricane Irma, now a Category 4 storm, moves west toward Cuba, Florida Gov Rick Scott is expected to deliver an update from West Palm Beach.

    Watch Gov. Scott’s remarks in the player above

    Evacuations have been underway across South Florida as the hurricane plowed through northeast Caribbean islands, including Barbuda, Saint Martin and Puerto Rico, leaving a massive destruction in its wake.

    “It is wider than our entire state and could cause major and life-threatening impacts on both coasts, coast to coast,” Scott said during an earlier press briefing. “Regardless of which coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate.”

    PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

    The post WATCH LIVE: Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives update on Hurricane Irma appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 7, 2017.   REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC1EA90017A0

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks during a press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The House has voted overwhelmingly to send a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

    The House has voted overwhelmingly to send a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump. Lawmakers overcame objections from conservatives who didn’t want the emergency aid linked to a temporary increase in America’s borrowing authority.

    The measure keeps the government funded into December.

    The vote was 316-90. The measure would refill depleted emergency accounts, as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma and Texas picks up the pieces after the devastation of Harvey.

    It’s only the first installment of a federal aid package that could rival or exceed the $100 billion-plus provided after Hurricane Katrina. Future installments are likely to be more difficult to pass.

    The vote postpones budget decisions into December and forces another politically difficult debt limit vote next year.

    The post House sends bill with $15.3 billion in Harvey aid and debt ceiling hike to Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Waves crash against the shore as Hurricane Irma moves off from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic on September 7, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

    Waves crash against the shore as Hurricane Irma moves off from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic on September 7, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

    Hurricane Irma, which has killed 11 people and displaced thousands more on its path through the Caribbean, is on track to reach Miami early Sunday as a Category 4 storm with 150 mile per hour winds. In a news briefing Friday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called it “a catastrophic storm” like “our state has never seen.”

    Irma is “wider than the entire state,” and is expected to cause unprecedented devastation along both coasts. It will be far more powerful than 1992’s Hurricane Andrew — which killed at least 44 people and caused $25.3 billion in damage — on its current path, Scott said. Areas “may be uninhabitable for weeks or months,” with widespread flooding and loss of power.

    Certain areas of Southeastern Florida could be hit with up to 15 inches of rain and storm surges of 3 to 10 feet, The National Hurricane Center said, particularly in the Florida Keys and from the Jupiter Inlet to Bonita Beach. Mid-morning Friday, the center said 6 to 12 feet of storm surge flooding was also expected along the southwest coast. The storm will also bring several days of heavy rain to Georgia and the Carolinas.

    A path of destruction

    TOPSHOT – A car turned onto its side in Marigot, near the Bay of Nettle, on Saint Martin, after the passage of Hurricane Irma.PHoto by LIONEL CHAMOISEAU/AFP/Getty Images

    Irma was a still a Category 5 storm when it tore into several islands in the Caribbean on Thursday with 185 mile per hour winds, ripping roofs off of buildings, flattening homes and filling streets with trees and debris.

    Half the island of Puerto Rico lost power, and Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the islands were facing an “unprecedented level of destruction,” estimating about 90 percent of the structures on Barbuda had been destroyed. Reporters said it was likely the entire island would have to be rebuilt. It could take years for the region to return to what it was.

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    Just behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm, which will likely avoid Florida but could hit some of the Caribbean Islands damaged by Irma. Hurricane Katia, in the Gulf Coast, was expected to hit Mexico on Saturday.

    It’s the first time since 2008 that the Atlantic has developed three major hurricanes before Sept. 7, NewsHour’s Nsikan Akpan reported Thursday.

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    Here’s what Irma looks like from space.

    The National Weather Center compared Irma’s path to the one taken by Hurricane King in October 1950.

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    How local officials are responding

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives an update Friday.

    Miami-Dade County began its largest-ever evacuation on Thursday, trying to evacuate 650,000 people from the storm’s path.

    “We are planning for the worst. We’re hoping for the best,” Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine told NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff on Thursday.

    Mandatory evacuation orders were also underway in the Florida Keys, parts of Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa and several other counties along the coasts.

    “Do not try to ride out this storm,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at a Thursday briefing. “We can’t save you once the storm hits.”

    On Thursday, Scott mobilized 4,000 members of the Florida Army and Air National Guard to support evacuations and storm planning. All remaining members of the guard were ordered to report to duty Friday. Florida is also coordinating with troops from several other states.

    Scott ordered the closure of all Florida public schools, as well as state colleges and universities, through Monday.

    State officials also ordered the largest evacuation of prisons in state history, the Miami Herald reported, relocating than 7,000 inmates from the southern part of the state.

    Several airports — including Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando — halted flights, while Miami National Airport said it would shut down once winds reached 55 miles per hour.

    Major highways were gridlocked for hours on Thursday as residents tried to evacuate. Scott said the state was working with Google to show road closures in real time on Google Map. By Friday morning, gas shortages were growing across the state; 60 percent of stations in Gainesville and nearly half of stations in West Palm Beach were out of fuel, according to Gas Buddy. Scott said the state was escorting fuel tankers into the state to replenish supplies.

    Federal government response

    FEMA Administrator Brock Long said in a news briefing Friday that the agency was preparing up to 100,000 shelter spots for evacuees.

    “I don’t know anyone in Florida who has experienced a storm like this,” Long said.

    Sixteen thousand people are still in shelters in Texas, weeks after Hurricane Harvey killed at least 70 people in Texas, USA Today reported.

    The post What you need to know about Hurricane Irma appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    People march across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the planned dissolution of DACA in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Yang - RC149411CCC0

    People march across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the planned dissolution of DACA in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Yang – RC149411CCC0

    As a teenager living in Phoenix, Arizona, Jerssay Arredondo felt he had to choose between being undocumented and queer.

    Arredondo, who came with his parents to the United States from Mexico when he was 4 years old, said that he felt like coming out would put him at further risk for discrimination when he was already facing the challenge of being undocumented in the U.S.

    He remembers thinking: “If I could get my status, if I can get a job … I can come out and live happily as a queer person.”

    Receiving work authorization and relief from deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012 allowed him to do that, he said. Arredondo is one of many LGBTQ “dreamers” who now find themselves facing a particular set of challenges as President Donald Trump’s administration plans to roll back the DACA program.

    READ MORE: Trump’s decision to end DACA, explained

    As of Sept. 5, the U.S. will not accept new applications under DACA. Current DACA recipients whose status will expire before March 5, 2018, can apply to renew their status by Oct. 5. For thousands of people, that means their DACA status will end in the next few years, unless Congress revives a similar program through legislation.

    LGBTQ “dreamers” say the program allowed them to gain a foothold in a country where they already face high rates of economic insecurity and inconsistent protection under the law. Now that it’s rolled back, experts say LGBTQ “dreamers” are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, mistreatment and hate crimes, in the U.S. as well as their countries of origin.

    Here’s a look at some of their challenges.

    A twofold struggle for employment

    About 267,000 undocumented adults identify as LGBTQ, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law. The Williams Institute estimated that 75,000 of the 1.7 million people eligible for DACA in the U.S. this year identified as LGBTQ. Of those, 36,000 received DACA status, and about 24,000 people renewed that status, the majority of them in California or Texas, according to the estimate.

    LGBTQ people already face an elevated risk of poverty and unemployment. Though 20 states in the U.S. along with the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, most states do not. Some cities have passed their own employment protections, even in states that lack LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws.

    “I don’t know, if I get deported and go back to Mexico, how I would live my life as a gay person.” — DACA recipient Cuahuctemoc Salinas

    Without DACA work authorization, undocumented LGBTQ people are more at risk of taking low-paying or risky jobs, said Kerith Conron, the lead author of the Williams Institute’s study on LGBTQ DACA recipients.

    “People are going to be at risk of having to seek out employment opportunities that are dangerous, perhaps in the underground economy,” Conron said.

    A 2014 report co-authored by the Center for American Progress pointed to economic insecurity among LGBTQ people, saying 20.7 percent of LGBTQ people make less than $12,000 per year, as opposed to 17 percent of non-LGBTQ people. And LGBTQ people of color are more often unemployed than non-LGBTQ adults and can also face discrimination during the hiring process for their race, sexuality or gender, according to a 2015 report co-authored by the Center for American Progress and Movement Advancement Project.

    DACA protest outside the San Francisco Federal Building in San Francisco

    A demonstrator carries a rainbow flag during a rally against the rescindment of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program outside the San Francisco Federal Building in San Francisco, California, U.S., September 5, 2017. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    As a child growing up in Los Angeles, Cuahuctemoc Salinas, who came to the U.S. from Acapulco, Mexico, when he was 2 years old, didn’t know he was undocumented. He discovered it when he applied for college and asked his mother for his Social Security number. She told him that he didn’t have one.

    “I felt like my entire body was numb,” Salinas said. “I was like, wait, this entire time, I did everything ‘American.’ I was president of so many clubs, I had a 4.2 GPA, I did everything that I could to excel in academics. And to find out that you don’t have a Social Security number while you’re applying for colleges — it was very depressing for me.”

    And as a gay person, being undocumented compounded his sense of not belonging.

    A high school guidance counselor helped him through the process of applying for college, and Salinas enrolled in the University of California-Berkeley. In 2012, he received DACA status. The following summer, he took six jobs on campus. For him, DACA was an opportunity to work — one that affected his life more than he anticipated. “I didn’t know what an impact DACA would have for me … I remember saying to myself, ‘I have this privilege, I might as well utilize it,’” he said. Today, he works as a community organizer and advocate in Los Angeles, helping homeless people gain access to housing.

    Higher risk of abuse in detention

    The announcement also brings the concern among LGBTQ “dreamers” that they could be incarcerated in detention centers, where they are at particular risk for abuse.

    In general, LGBTQ people are much more likely to be assaulted in prisons than non-LGBTQ people. A 2011-12 National Inmate Survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 12.2 percent of non-heterosexual inmates reported being “sexually victimized” by another inmate in prison and 5.4 percent reported being sexually victimized by staff; among heterosexual inmates, 1.2 percent had been assaulted by another inmate and 2.1 by staff.

    The average stay in immigration detention facilities, as reported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is about 30 days. But LGBTQ people are more likely to file requests for asylum, which may extend their stay in immigration detention facilities, says Keren Zwick, managing attorney for the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative at the National Immigrant Justice Center.

    “By nature of their sexual orientation or gender identity, [LGBTQ people] have more viable claims than some, and so they end up spending time in custody longer,” she said.

    The risks of mistreatment in detention are particularly high for transgender people. Some detention centers house transgender women in men’s facilities, or vice versa. Access to some types of medical care, including hormone replacement therapy, is slim. And transgender people are often placed in solitary confinement as a means of “protection” from abuse, bringing psychological trauma, according to firsthand accounts collected by Human Rights Watch.

    In Santa Ana, California, city officials in 2012 began allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house transgender detainees at a city jail. But activists and local residents launched a campaign against the unit, claiming mistreatment and abusive conditions, and in May 2016, the city decided to end its contract with ICE.

    The Prairieland immigration detention center in Alvarado, Texas, also opened a unit for transgender detainees in February, but human rights groups still say they’re not sure it will improve treatment.

    For some, deportation ‘a death sentence’

    Others say they fear persecution for their gender identity or sexuality in their countries of origin. Some LGBTQ people seek asylum in the U.S. specifically because of abuse in their home countries, said Catalina Velasquez, a DACA recipient and transgender woman from Colombia who worked on the LGBT policy team for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

    “Right now I’m petrified. I’m beyond scared,” Velasquez said. “Colombia is not a welcoming place for a trans person.”

    In 72 countries, same-sex sexual relations are criminalized; in 45 of those countries, the laws against same-sex sexual relations apply to both men and women. For some LGBTQ people, deportation means “a death sentence,” Velasquez said.

    For now, Salinas says he is living “day by day.”

    “At the end of the day, our communities have been surviving for years, with or without these programs. If these programs go away, we will continue to find ways to do so.” — Jonathan Jayes-Green

    “I don’t know, if I get deported and go back to Mexico, how I would live my life as a gay person,” Salinas said. “I think it’s gonna be difficult.”

    But LGBTQ and immigration activists also emphasized the resilience of their communities. In the five years since DACA was implemented, there’s been growing cooperation and collaboration between LGBTQ and immigration activists, says Isa Noyola, director of programs at the Transgender Law Center. “As a movement, we have no choice but to really support each other,” she said.

    Jonathan Jayes-Green, a DACA recipient who founded the organization Undocublack to provide a space for undocumented black people to connect, said that the end of DACA would not mean defeat for undocumented LGBTQ communities.

    “At the end of the day, our communities have been surviving for years, with or without these programs. If these programs go away, we will continue to find ways to do so,” he said.

    A few hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement this week, Salinas told the NewsHour via text message that he was determined to thrive. “He put a fire in me to win this battle,” he said.

    The post LGBTQ ‘dreamers’ are particularly vulnerable as DACA winds down. Here’s why. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner answers a question in his office at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire December 17, 2014. As New Hampshire braces for another wave of White House hopefuls next year seeking votes in the first-in-the-nation nominating primary, much of the credit for the state's hold on that position goes to one man: Secretary of State William Gardner. Picture taken December 17, 2014. To match Feature USA-POLITICS/NEWHAMPSHIRE REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - GM1EACJ174M01

    New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner says he won’t step down from President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud despite calls from the state’s U.S. senators to do so. File photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder.

    CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s secretary of state says he won’t step down from President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud despite calls from the state’s U.S. senators to do so.

    READ MORE: What could Trump’s election commission do with voter data?

    Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan say fellow Democrat Bill Gardner should step down because the panel’s vice chairman is misleading the public by using irrelevant data to rehash false claims.

    Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Thursday said data about how many people failed to get New Hampshire driver’s licenses after using out-of-state licenses for voter registration is proof of fraud that likely led to Hassan’s victory over Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte in November.

    Gardner told The Associated Press on Friday that he doesn’t condone Kobach’s claims but will remain on the commission because it’s important to figure out why Americans are losing trust in the election process.

    READ MORE: A Trump commission requested voter data. Here’s what every state is saying.

    The post Senators want New Hampshire secretary of state to leave Trump voter panel appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he walks on South Lawn of the White House in Washington

    President Donald Trump is heading to Camp David. File photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is heading to Camp David — with some extra guests.

    The White House said Friday that the president and first lady Melania Trump have invited all the members of the Cabinet, along with their spouses to the government-owned retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.

    READ MORE: House sends bill with $15.3 billion in Harvey aid and debt ceiling hike to Trump

    Trump will hold his fourth Cabinet meeting and will receive briefings on Hurricane Irma and the response to Harvey.

    Trump first visited Camp David, which he once described as “very rustic,” in June. He recently tracked Harvey from there.

    Presidents have been going to the refuge about 70 miles from the White House for seven decades. Camp David covers more than 125 acres, with a cabin for the president and about a dozen cabins for guests.

    The post Trump to host Cabinet meeting at Camp David appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    After waiting for hours in long lines, people collect sandbags at Kissimmee, in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Photo by Gregg Newton and Reuters

    Across the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma has flattened buildings, flooded coastlines and torn off roofs, devastating nearly all of the structures on the tiny islands of Barbuda and St. Martin. It has left scores of people homeless and caused at least 21 confirmed deaths. As these islands brace for the approaching Hurricane Jose, now a Category 4 storm with 150-mph winds, Irma remains a dangerous threat to Southern Florida and the southeast Atlantic coast, where mass evacuations are taking place.

    As the hurricane moves over open water toward the U.S., and Florida Gov. Rick Scott urges those in evacuation zones to “get out now.” Most relief efforts need cash donations, here’s how you can help:

    How to take action

  • The American Red Cross is training volunteers to deploy to Florida for on-the-ground support of the communities in Irma’s wake.
  • Many people will find themselves suddenly homeless. To help, sign up on Habitat for Humanity’s Hurricane Recovery Volunteer Registry or make a donation help to rebuild homes after Irma passes.
  • Airbnb is looking for property owners to offer free accommodations to families displaced by Hurricane Irma.
  • National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster is preparing for the aftermath of Irma by organizing volunteers now. Register online.
  • If you live in Florida and want to help, Volunteer Florida is looking for people to work at shelters. You can register online, or search their list of other ways to help locally.
  • NOVAD is an association of organizations that help mitigate the impact of disasters. Register here to volunteer with NOVAD in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
  • A person stands next to a damaged house as Hurricane Irma moves off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, in Nagua. Photo by Ricardo Rojas and Reuters

    Where to donate blood

  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, where blood supplies were dangerously low, officials anticipate a similar crisis in Florida. Find an American Red Cross blood bank near you to donate blood, or visit LifeSouth if you live in Florida.
  • Where to donate cash

  • Catholic Charities USA, Salvation Army, and American Red Cross are a few of the charities providing on-the-ground assistance to Hurricane Irma communities.
  • UNICEF is shipping emergency supplies such as water, food, and medicine from their warehouse in Copenhagen.
  • Thousands of pets are expected to be displaced by Hurricane Irma. You can support lifesaving efforts for displaced animals by donating to the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Fund.
  • Convoy of Hope is sending food and emergency supplies and help to the victims of Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Haiti, and Cuba.
  • GoFundMe has consolidated all Hurricane Irma related campaigns here.
  • Charity Navigator has compiled a list of highly rated organizations who are responding to Irma.
  • Florida’s hunger relief organization, Feeding Florida, works with foodbanks across the state to feed those in need.
  • OXFAM is working with partners in the Caribbean to provide safe drinking water and sanitation to those affected by Irma.
  • Americacares has already sent emergency response teams to the Caribbean islands and is preparing to assist Florida.
  • Save the Children sets up Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) in shelters. Children can play, read, and be cared for while their parents deal with the stress of natural disasters. They are readying teams to send to Florida and the islands impacted by Irma.
  • The post How to help Hurricane Irma victims appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    This map displays live data generated by the National Hurricane Center, which is currently tracking the paths of the three named storms swirling in the Western Hemisphere: Irma, Katia and Jose. The map is interactive, and will update as the forecast changes.

    Follow our complete coverage of Hurricane Irma here, along with our updates on Facebook and Twitter.


    The post Live map: Track Hurricanes Irma, Katia and Jose as they head for land appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo illustration by Getty Images

    Editor’s note: The PBS NewsHour has been in the business of airing voices worth listening to for more than 40 years: presidents and poets, pundits and press agents, commoners and kings. Recently, we came across a quiet voice that spoke to us and that, we think, might speak to you. Enough said. Here is former hospice chaplain and current blogger Susie Kaufman.

    We are fixated on fixing. When I was a hospice chaplain, I always thought I had the best job in the office. The hospice staff diverged from the medical model, devoting its best practices to keeping the patients comfortable at a point along the living-dying continuum when all the treatment options had been exhausted and none of them was working any longer. Still, there were a great many questions to ask, problems to solve. The nurse had to figure out which medication would alleviate George’s intractable nerve pain and which would help him sleep when he was overwhelmed by anxiety. The social worker had to assess Margaret’s caregiving team to determine if her husband and daughter were up to the challenges. I had no such agenda. I was not required to bring my laptop with me when I visited patients and their families. I was just there, doing the hard job of not fixing.

    I was a chaplain from a Jewish background with no traditional credentials, no ordination. I approached people empty handed, without a communion wafer to offer, a string of rosary beads to worry. I was, to say the least, an anomaly in Holyoke, Massachusetts, a floundering mill town where there were Catholic parishes that catered to the Irish, others that drew the Polish families and still others where mass was said in French. There were additionally the usual mainstream Protestant churches and a great many storefront Pentecostal iglesias. My liturgy rose like smoke out of the fire of the stories that people told about their lives. At first, many of them would deny the importance of their experience. They would say “I don’t know. I grew up in Chicopee. Went to work the night shift. Got married, wife and I had a couple of kids. That’s about it.”

    But with a little prompting, Red, a World War II vet at the Soldiers’ Home, reverently described the stillness and patience he learned, waiting for a deer at the edge of the dark forest, his preferred cathedral. Daniel told me how fortunate he felt growing up on a farm where there was plenty to eat, how during the Depression he saved his apple cores to give to hungry boys at school. Mrs. Murphy spoke rapturously about Elvis, his portrait prominently displayed alongside the Blessed Virgin on the walls of her apartment. Some of the stories were tragic, parents outliving children. Some patients were so estranged from their families that no one ever came to visit them. Nurses with years of experience imparted two crucial lessons. They taught me, the novice, the greenhorn, that sometimes men who seemed charming and gregarious in old age had abused their wives and children, and they taught me that I couldn’t fix all the brokenness that came hobbling out of the past. I began the long study of being with people, which is a far, anguished cry from doing for people. Whatever the arc of the story, I told the hospice patients that their wanderings were sacred like Moses at the Burning Bush, like Jesus fasting in the Judaean desert. I told them the biblical figures shared their fear, their yearning and sometimes they believed me.

    I am retired from hospice now and no longer have the same story-listening privileges. Still, the narrative of life is all around me and my witnessing remains essentially the same. In the supermarket, assaulted by fluorescent lights, lurid Enquirer headlines and candy in improbable colors, I find myself porous to the young women and old men on the check-out line. This one is expecting her third child in four years. That one just buried his wife. It’s only the convention of separateness that restrains my instinct to try to make it all better. Still, when someone I love is in trouble — and when is that not the case? — I continue to feel the need to fix the hole where the rain comes in. I forget, I remember, and I forget again that deep listening is often the palliative that people are wanting and not getting; that being willing to look someone else’s pain in the eye without blinking it away is, for the most part, the best I can do. In that optic embrace, in the loving appreciation we share, the two of us, the speaker and the listener, become our most fully human.

    The post seventysomething: When it’s time to stop fixing life’s holes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. President Donald Trump waves with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) after attending a Friends of Ireland reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX31CTS

    The relationship between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan has gone cool again, with the Republican president making clear he has no qualms about bucking the GOP leader to cut deals with his Democratic foes. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

    WASHINGTON — It started out cold as ice, and then turned warm and friendly. Now the tortured relationship between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan has gone cool again, with the Republican president making clear he has no qualms about bucking the GOP leader to cut deals with his Democratic foes.

    The two men dined at the White House Thursday night and discussed legislative challenges ahead for the fall, a get-together that was scheduled over Congress’ August recess, long before the head-spinning events of this week. In a moment that stunned Washington, Trump cut a debt and disaster aid deal Wednesday with Congress’ Democratic leaders as Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell watched on helplessly, after lobbying unsuccessfully for much different terms.

    The moment distilled the inherent tensions between Trump, 71, a former Democrat and ideologically flexible deal-maker, and Ryan, 47, a loyal Republican whose discomfort with Trump led him to withhold his endorsement for weeks last year.

    After Trump was elected the two papered over their differences and even developed a rapport, talking frequently during health care negotiations earlier this year, as each understood they needed the other to advance individual and shared goals. But their phone calls have tapered off of late and Trump has expressed his frustration with GOP leaders on multiple fronts, culminating in the president’s decision to ditch them and join hands with the Democrats instead.

    Trump exulted in his newly bipartisan approach Thursday, declaring it “a great thing for our country,” while Ryan mostly grinned and bore it.

    Trump exulted in his newly bipartisan approach Thursday, declaring it “a great thing for our country,” while Ryan mostly grinned and bore it.

    At the Capitol on Wednesday, Ryan had deemed a three-month debt ceiling increase as “unworkable” and “ridiculous.” Yet an hour later, Trump overruled his strong objections to side with the Democrats.

    The president’s rebuff on the debt came just days after Trump ignored Ryan’s pleas not to end the program to aid immigrants brought to the country as children and living here illegally. Instead, Trump ended the program and tossed the issue to Congress to resolve in six months.

    The debt deal headed for House passage Friday along with $15 billion in disaster aid and a three-month government funding extension.

    Indeed for Ryan, GOP reactions to the deal exposed some lurking threats to his perch atop a conference where unrest brews nearly ceaselessly among conservatives, and there have been recent rumblings of a possible coup.

    READ MORE: These lawmakers will drive Congress’ biggest battles this month

    Trump remains highly popular in the conservative districts occupied by many House Republicans, much more so than Ryan himself, who is scorned by many in the GOP base as an establishment sell-out. In a whipsawed moment, some House Republicans defended Trump’s handling of a deal they don’t like, while simultaneously criticizing Ryan, who had been overruled by the president. It also underscored the political pressure on Ryan to try to remain in the president’s good graces even when Trump is flirting with Democrats.

    Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said the message in his conservative district is that “congressional Republicans need to get behind the president.”

    That sentiment “makes him weaker,” King said of Ryan.

    Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona described Ryan as “very unpopular” in his district, while regard for Trump is “pretty high.”

    As far as his constituents are concerned, Gosar said, they’d be happy if Ryan got the boot and Trump stayed. “That’s kind of the mantra in my district,” he said.

    For his part, Trump has soured on the Republican congressional leadership in recent months, fuming to associates that they led him astray on their health care strategy, among other complaints.

    The president has told those close to him that he regrets choosing to tackle the repeal and replace of Barack Obama’s health care law as his first legislative push. He has singled out Ryan for blame, saying the speaker assured him it would pass and instead handed him an early, humiliating failure, before ultimate House passage of a revived bill, according to three White House and outside advisers familiar with the conversations but not authorized to speak about them publicly.

    GOP health care efforts collapsed in the Senate in July.

    Trump has spoken to Ryan less frequently in recent weeks, particularly after the departure of his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, who has deep Wisconsin ties to the speaker.

    Trump has spoken to Ryan less frequently in recent weeks, particularly after the departure of his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, who has deep Wisconsin ties to the speaker. Priebus would sometimes broker the calls and stress to each man their importance, according to two people familiar with the conversations. Those calls have occurred less often since John Kelly took over as chief of staff.

    Though Trump has expressed particular anger at McConnell for the failed Senate health care vote and for not protecting him from the Russia investigation, he grudgingly has told associates that he is aware of the Senate leader’s grip on power. He has spoken less glowingly about Ryan’s own ability to lead due to the shorter House terms and the growing insurgency within the conservative Freedom Caucus.

    Ryan’s position is seen as secure for now, if only because it is widely accepted that no other House Republican could garner the support needed to replace him. But even allies believe his tenure in the job could be finite, and might depend in part on the whims of a president with whom he has no real deep ties.

    “I think any speaker is going to have a very difficult time in this environment,” said Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y. “The nature of that job, I think, over time, they don’t last.”

    The post For Trump and Ryan, a trying moment as Republicans struggle with their agenda appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Illustration of the acoustic pattern of mouth clicks for human echolocation created by a computer model. Credit: Thaler et al. PLOS Computational Biology, 2017.

    Illustration of the acoustic pattern of mouth clicks for human echolocation created by a computer model. Credit: Thaler et al. PLOS Computational Biology, 2017.

    Human echolocators “see” their worlds through sound, and thanks to a new computer model, you can too.

    Using math and painstaking experiments, a group from the UK modeled how the sounds from the nuanced mouth clicks of human echolocators travel around a room. Their findings, reported in PLOS Computational Biology, could yield devices that make “smart” radar maps that reveal the physical features of objects in the environment, like their texture or hardness, based off sounds.

    “One motivation was basic curiosity,” said Lore Thaler, a neuroscientist at Durham University. “We know very little about the mouth clicks people make when they echolocate. So we just wanted to know what they are like.”

    Human echolocators, like bats, make clicking noises to create sound wave reflections and map their surroundings. You might think this talent requires a superhuman ear, but Thaler said most people, unbeknownst to them, dabble in echolocation all the time. Ambient sounds hint at the type of room you are in: a hard, cavernous gym with bleachers reverberates differently than a cozy bedroom with soft furnishings.

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    To decipher how these mouth clicks paint a room, the team recruited three blind, expert echolocators, who can deftly navigate in unfamiliar places, like while hiking or riding bikes. With recording equipment at hand, these volunteers stood in the exact same spot in a soundproof room and clicked repeatedly. Over multiple sessions, the researchers moved the microphones around the room, recording the clicks from all angles.

    Two years later, Thaler and her team had gathered enough recordings to make a 3D-model that visualizes how the sound moves through the surrounding space.

    The mouth clicks did not behave like regular speech. The staccato sounds moved mostly in one direction, rather than spreading in all directions like rippling waves. This focused pattern appears to strengthen the echolocators ability to locate where things are.

    “Now we can create a virtual environment, like a visual computer game, but with acoustics,” Thaler said. These computer models could reduce the need for recruiting volunteers in future work, which is typically the toughest part of research on human echolocation, she said.

    Some scientists are eager to get their hands on this model, such as Daniel Rowan, audiology researcher at University of Southampton. Rowan studies hearing impairment and the importance of hearing in blind people. He uses sound in his experiments, such as a recent study on how listening can determine the quality of an object, like its shape or hardness.

    But he often relies on synthetic sounds, instead of human-made sounds, which he said are harder to trust. For example, the clicks in Thaler’s model show that the sound waves from human echolocation clicks are a lot shorter than Rowan previously thought. Thaler’s model was able to generate synthetic echolocator clicks that bore a high resemblance to what humans produce.

    An echolocation click performed by a human volunteer.

    A computer generated click, based on Thaler’s model. The difference is barely audible.

    For others, this model is just a start. “With only three volunteers, one doesn’t know how general this model is,” said Bo Schenkman, experimental psychologist at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Schenkman added that longer sounds, such as shhhhhhh, are also useful for echolocation and need to be included in the model.

    This research could also be put to everyday use at airports or on ships.

    Radar shares a lot in common with human echolocators by emitting a pulse of radio waves and building a picture from the echo. Galen Reich, an electrical engineer at the Microwave Integrated Systems Laboratory of University of Birmingham who worked with Thaler, was also surprised by the length and focused direction of the clicks. Unlike current ship’s radars, which have the single purpose of determining the distance to surrounding objects, systems based off human echolocation could identify texture and movement.

    But Thaler wants to know as much as she can about how human echolocation works because of the fact that people can be trained to do it. She has even gone as far as to practice it herself.

    “I’m actually not bad,” she said, estimating it would take 10 weeks while blindfolded to really master the ability. “I’ve discussed this with my family and they aren’t too keen.”

    Until then, her computer models should serve her quest to unravel a person’s capacity to see with sound, she said.

    The post Human echolocators ‘see’ with sound. Here’s what that actually looks like. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    STAYING — John Ward moved bags of mulch across his yard. The island ran out of sandbags, so residents there bought bags of mulch and soil as alternatives. Ward spray-painted a message to the hurricane on the plywood that covered the windows of his home. Photo by Joshua Barajas / PBS NewsHour

    MERRITT ISLAND, FL — They are supposed to leave the island this afternoon. They are supposed to pack up their belongings and kids and pets, and go to a mainland shelter or house or hotel. County emergency management officials have ordered all of Merritt Island, in central-east Florida, three feet above sea level, to evacuate ahead of one of the most powerful storms the Atlantic has ever seen.

    Now a Category 4, Hurricane Irma is barreling toward southern Florida, and expected to reach Merritt island by Sunday night. But as of midday Friday, several hours ahead of evacuation, many people on the island say they plan to hunker down and stay.

    On an idyllic street of single-story homes and palm trees, sandwiched between the Indian and Banana rivers, and the open sea, most residents spend Friday bolting boards over windows, buying food and other supplies, and removing any objects that could become projectiles from their yards.

    “The key word on Merritt Island is island. … If [residents] want to stay, they’re taking a big risk.”

    “My house has been here for 53 years, and not blown away yet,” says Chris Quarno, who plans to stay along with his daughters and granddaughters, and boasts that he has lived through six hurricanes on Merritt Island before. “My street’s going to flood. It did in previous storms. But not my house.”

    Irma, though, isn’t like previous storms. Irma is “way bigger than Andrew,” Gov. Rick Scott has warned. It is stronger than the last eight Atlantic storms combined. And Merritt Island, though technically today a peninsula, is still surrounded by water on three sides.

    “The key word on Merritt Island is island,” says Brevard County Emergency Management’s spokesman Don Walker. “I wouldn’t remotely call this anything other than a dangerous storm system. If [residents] want to stay, they’re taking a big risk.”

    PLANNING TO STAY — In his backyard, Chris Quarno said he had a few items to still take down, various candles and outdoor lights among them. He also bolted down a picnic table in the back to the ground. Photo by Joshua Barajas / PBS NewsHour

    Still, Quarno is planning to stay, but he is also a little worried, because his daughter, who lives next door, is almost nine months pregnant. And so, when he drives to the local 7/11 to pick up tobacco dip, he stops a police officer to ask when the bridges to get off the island will close. Just in case.

    The officer tells him the bridges will close if they become unsafe, if there are sustained high winds, for example. On Friday, Irma’s winds were at 150 mph.

    “She’s due in three weeks,” Quarno explains. “And people go into labor due to the barometric pressure. When Andrew hit, we had seven or eight people in the county go into labor because of the hurricane. A lot of puppies were born.”

    He’ll turn on the TV and surround sound for his grandkids, so they can’t hear the wind.

    Back at home, Quarno’s son-in-law, Blake Ayers, says he plans to evacuate with his pregnant wife, who is still at work. But Quarno insists his daughter will stay right there on the island, in his fortified house, where she’ll be safer, and where his neighbor is a paramedic. Quarno has also bolted boards to his windows, and parked his cars and pontoon boat next to the house to break the wind. And he plans to fire up the generator for electricity in the basement, where he’ll turn on the TV and surround sound for his grandkids, so they can’t hear the wind.

    Down the street, John Ward has made the same decision. On the boards over his front window, he’s spray painted a defiant message: “A lot Staying Here Irma! 4 kids 2 adults pets.” On another window, at the request of his son, he’s sprayed eyeballs, looking southeast, in the direction of the storm.

    Spray painted messages appeared across the island on boarded up windows. The center window shows eyes painted on John Wards house at the request of his oldest child. Photos by Joshua Barajas / PBS NewsHour

    Ward’s wife wants to evacuate. They just moved to Merritt Island from Ohio in December, and have never been in a hurricane before. They have a three-month-old baby. But Ward reminds her that when they lived in Kentucky, they held the windows in place when a tornado tried to blow through their house. That they survived an ice storm in which they listened to the trees fall apart, and which made the fish tank freeze. And that they survived living in downtown Columbus, in a neighborhood that never felt safe.

    “We’ve been through more than this,” Ward says, as he stows a lawnmower and a motorcycle inside his garage Friday. “One kid is a little nervous, he’s 14, and remembers the tornado…. But my wife’s at Walmart, getting more bare necessities. We can go weeks in here.”

    “We’ve been through more than this. One kid is a little nervous, he’s 14, and remembers the tornado.”

    As they prep on opposite sides of the street Friday, Ward and Quarno walk over to each other’s houses a couple times to confirm that the other is staying. They agree the hurricane can’t hit them too hard, because NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is on the island, just north at Cape Canaveral, and the government would never put a space center in a vulnerable place.

    But Quarno also tells Ward to download the app Zello, which should operate like a two-way walkie talkie through the storm. (Editor’s Note: Zello doesn’t work if there is no wifi and no cellular data service.) And he says he has a generator for when the power goes out; Ward plans to hook onto another neighbor’s.

    Most people on the street seem to be staying, but not everyone. Ginger Trenta and her sister Micah Hughes, recently transplanted Texans with three children between them, say they’ll evacuate that afternoon for the sake of the kids.

    NOT STAYING — Unlike their neighbors Ginger Trenta and her daughter will not be staying on island during the hurricane. Photo by Joshua Barajas / PBS NewsHour

    “If I didn’t have any children I would stay and ride it out for the fun of it,” says Trenta, as her daughter sleeps in a side room and her two nephews watch cartoons. “But we don’t want the chance of being without power with them. That’d be really hard.”

    Instead, they plan to take the family to a hotel in Panama City, seven hours northeast of Merritt Island, out of the storm’s path. They tell the kids they are going on vacation.

    But Hughes’ son Aden, who is four, understands a big storm is on the way. “I don’t like them, they’re scary,” he says, as the street’s gutters begin to flood nearby.

    Elsewhere on the island, other residents and shops are hunkering down. The local 7/11, which has just gotten another shipment of gas, has boarded up windows but a big “OPEN” message scrawled on the front. At a nearby gun store, a graffitied message warns opportunists: “YOU LOOT WE SHOOT!” And at an Ace Hardware, which is selling out of soil and concrete anchors, the phone rings off the hook with questions from people who plan to stay.

    The clerk says the same thing at the end of every call. “Just stay safe.”

    The post Despite mandatory evacuation, many on this Florida island plan to ride out the storm appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JOHN YANG: The days of employees working with one company for their entire career are long gone. In today’s economy, most workers bounce around a lot.

    That’s true for Carlos Watson, now the CEO of a digital media company.

    Tonight, he shares his Humble Opinion on the importance of one skill you need wherever you go.

    CARLOS WATSON, OZY Media: There’s a big push in schools right now to get American kids to learn how to code. The thinking is that good jobs are hard to find, robots may soon take away many blue-collar jobs, at least the ones that haven’t already gone overseas, and that learning how to program computers or even create apps is the perfect idea to protect against this tide.

    Now, look, while I agree that coding should be a central focus in education over the next decade, I don’t think that alone is going to work without an equal emphasis on teaching the skills that are truly needed to turn the best ideas into money. I’m talking about sales.

    The most innovative software can amount to little more than a good idea if a coder fails to convince investors to back it. This is even before getting customers to try it and then getting them to buy it.

    Despite the critical nature of sales, it’s still treated like a dirty word. You know, in fact, when I suggest that people learn how to sell, most people kind of crinkle their noses or quietly look askance, replying: Sales is about tricking people. It’s dishonest.

    Now, to tell you the truth, once upon a time, I agreed with them. But, today, I realize that sales skills are critical, and, in fact, are only going to become even more so as our work force becomes more fluid and, frankly, more unstable.

    In this new economy, we’re consultants, service providers, you name it. We have got side hustles. We have got second jobs. Whatever you want to call them, each requires sales in order to flourish.

    Now, when I started my first business, it was an education company. I didn’t want to sell. But a mentor gave me some really great advice that propelled our flailing start-up into a multimillion-dollar business. He said, Carlos, the only thing that matters is if can you sell. If you expect your good idea to sell itself, you are believing in a fairy tale.

    After that, I began requiring every staff member to take sales courses, and I mean everyone, from education counselors to members of the finance team, because the truth of the matter is that every job has a sales component.

    Recruiting top talent? Guess what? You better be able to explain why your company is the best. You want to get a reluctant student to properly prepare for the SAT exam? Well, you’re going to persuade her with a story that connects college to a career and to a broader success.

    Look, many students are just settling in for the start of school, and I am sure that if you’re a math or a computer science teacher, you have got a number of terrific lessons planned.

    But I also hope that, in addition to all that greatness, there might be at least a little bit of consideration on helping students attain the sales skills that I think are going to be critical to their success.

    JOHN YANG: Carlos Watson is also the host of a new program on PBS.

    Third Rail with OZY premieres tonight at 8:30 Eastern right here on most PBS stations.

    The post Why everyone should know how to sell appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JOHN YANG: Turning glass into art has been Dale Chihuly’s passion for more than 50 years.

    Working with such a fragile medium requires both brute strength and a delicate dance, as Jeffrey Brown found out when he visited Chihuly at his Seattle studios.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s the white-hot center of an art world phenomenon, the Hot Shop of Chihuly Studio in Seattle, where glass is heated, blown, and shaped into sculptures that have made Dale Chihuly internationally renowned for reimagining what glass can do, off-kilter baskets, giant chandeliers, installations with hundreds of parts, vibrant colors.

    Most of us think of glass as a real fragile thing, right? What makes them good for art?

    DALE CHIHULY, Glass Artist: Very few materials does the light go through.


    DALE CHIHULY: And it’s also manipulated in so many ways, as you see here today.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The work here takes great skill, and it’s thrilling to watch. The heat is intense, more than 2,000 degrees in the glory hole, or furnace. The pipes are heavy. The action is fast.

    It looks to me like a million things could go wrong.

    DALE CHIHULY: Yes. Well, mostly, it could get too hot and touch back.


    The glass moves, as we watched master gaffer Jim Mongrain spin out this experimental piece. And things can and occasionally do go awry.

    DALE CHIHULY: Now you see what can go wrong.


    JEFFREY BROWN: Dale Chihuly lost vision in his left eye in a 1976 car crash. And physical injuries long ago forced him to stop blowing glass himself.

    At 75, he heads a multimillion-dollar enterprise, employing at least 100 craftspeople, designers, marketing, sales and exhibitions teams, and others. And he’s a man obsessed when it comes to collecting: sheets of stamps, books on Van Gogh, toy soldiers, Pendleton blankets, on and on, housed in his boathouse building.

    Chihuly has long had his critics, who see more commerce than art. But the public loves him, and even by his lofty standards, 2017 has been a banner year, with major exhibitions including the Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, and the New York Botanical Garden, where his plant-like works amid the natural flora and fauna are attracting huge crowds this summer.

    If there’s a motto here, it’s think big.

    DALE CHIHULY: I do think big. Usually, I try to work big. And in terms of the exhibitions, the bigger the venue, the more people that see it. And I like to bring the work to people.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Why is that important to you?

    DALE CHIHULY: Well, it makes me think that, you know, people will probably be happy when they see my work. And that makes me feel good.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But even as crowds continue to come, including at the museum under Seattle’s Space Needle that’s dedicated to his work, this may also be the most difficult moment in Chihuly’s illustrious career, Amid renewed questions over, as a recent New York Times article asked, who is really making Chihuly art?

    DALE CHIHULY: I didn’t like that headline.


    DALE CHIHULY: But I had to live with it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That hurt you?

    DALE CHIHULY: It’s a good question. If you answered that, the answer to that question was a team. I don’t think it was the best choice of words for the headline.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The trouble began earlier this summer, with a lawsuit by a former contractor who claims he helped create paintings by Chihuly, but was never paid or properly credited.

    Court documents portray a contentious back and forth, a man named Michael Moi claiming he participated in myriad clandestine painting Sessions, including when Chihuly himself contributed little to the conception or creative process.

    Chihuly denies all of Moi’s claims about the work, saying Moi was nothing but a handyman who observed some of Dale’s struggles with mental illness and threatened to make them public.

    Citing ongoing litigation, Chihuly declined to discuss the specifics of the case, but he did speak of his approach to making art, and of suffering for decades from bipolar disorder and depression.

    Do you know what triggers the depression?

    DALE CHIHULY: No, no idea. No idea how long it’s going to last or when it’s going to happen.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And you can’t really function during those periods?

    DALE CHIHULY: Well, I function. I mean, I still come into the studio every day. I just don’t function as well.

    JEFFREY BROWN: How much has that been a factor in your life and in your work?

    DALE CHIHULY: It’s certainly been a factor. I mean, when I’m on the upside, I have got a lot more ideas and a lot more energy. And when I’m on the downside, you know, I don’t feel that way. I’m more depressed.

    But, fortunately, I have that team that can kind of carry on with what I was doing when I’m on the downside.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That team approach, he says, also applies to his painting. In a session we were allowed to film, assistants had already prepped the canvas, in this case, half-inch acrylic.

    Chihuly spent minutes on each, squirting paint, pounding on splotches in quick gestures, toward flower designs.

    DALE CHIHULY: I like to work fast. And I don’t have to do a lot of the steps that somebody else might want to do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Chihuly says he’s working in a long tradition of artists who’ve used workshops to carry out their vision.

    So, then, how do you define your own role?

    DALE CHIHULY: I define it as, let’s say, the director of a movie, you know?

    Think about the making of a movie, and how many people it takes, and what the director does, not that they all work exactly the same. Or maybe think of an architect. Think of Frank Gehry. What does Frank do, exactly? And how many people are really involved in making one of his extraordinary buildings?

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, a lot of people have the romantic idea of the lonely artist, struggling alone.

    DALE CHIHULY: Absolutely.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That is not you?

    DALE CHIHULY: That is not me.


    JEFFREY BROWN: Can you separate the art from the business? Or is it all of a piece for — of what Chihuly is at this point?

    DALE CHIHULY: It’s hard to separate it, you know? I mean, we do big projects that involve a lot of money. And I can’t say that I’m not interested in that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Because it takes a lot of money to keep this place going, I would think, huh?

    DALE CHIHULY: A lot.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And also a lot of energy, which Chihuly claims he still has as well, as a firm grip on the creative vision for his studio.

    DALE CHIHULY: I haven’t decided to retire yet.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, the suggestions of a weaker Dale Chihuly, less in control, those — wrong?

    DALE CHIHULY: Yes, it hasn’t — we haven’t decided to do that. The first indication would be fewer people working for me.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And that hasn’t happened?

    DALE CHIHULY: And that hasn’t happened.

    JEFFREY BROWN: I’m talking to you in a year where I see you have, I don’t know how many major exhibitions. So it — it’s been a good year, right?

    DALE CHIHULY: Yes. It’s not a retiring year. Let’s put it that way.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And even in the shadow of the lawsuit, Chihuly glass is being blown for projects lined up for years to come.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeffrey Brown in Seattle.

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    JOHN YANG: From hurricanes to wildfires, natural disasters have drawn the country’s attention away from the political storms in Washington this week.

    But rest assured, we will bring you up to speed now with the analysis of Shields and Gerson. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson. David Brooks is away.

    Gentlemen, welcome to you both.

    We had the unusual scene this week of a bipartisan leadership meeting in the Oval Office, and the president cuts off his own treasury secretary as he’s making a recommendation and agrees with the opposition party on this debt ceiling, on a short-term C.R. and Harvey aid.

    Michael, what do you make of all this?

    MICHAEL GERSON, The Washington Post: Well, it’s just a massive shift.

    It wasn’t that long ago they were talking about putting the wall on the debt relief. And so it’s a huge change. I think that, you know, the art of the deal is easy when you surrender. That book wouldn’t sell very well, but it’s true.

    And he signaled surrender, not just on this issue, but somewhat on DACA and somewhat on the whole issue of debt, the debt ceiling, trying to get that out of American politics. So it was a firestorm for Republicans. They’re wondering, is this the new world?

    JOHN YANG: Mark?

    MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: I’m not sure it’s the new world, but I am sure that, if I were Mitch McConnell, I would be seething with anger, the Republican Senate leader, because what Donald Trump did to him and to Paul Ryan , the speaker, was cut them off at the knees.

    They had to go back to their respective caucuses and tell them, no, they weren’t going to take the position that they in fact had endorsed and told them they were going to take on the debt ceiling and the continuing spending resolution, but, in fact, they were going to follow the advice embraced by the president of Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic Well, .

    So, if you’re McConnell, just taking it from his perspective, he’s trying to hold on to a Senate majority going into headwinds of 2018, which doesn’t look like a good Republican year, and he’s got a president who is not helping him in that sense. He’s got to have something he can point to that the Senate has accomplished.

    The last, best hope, or only hope, actually, is probably tax cuts for their supporters and their admirers. And without the president, he can’t do that. And so he has to bite his tongue, bite his lip, and any other part of his facial extremity that he can and swallow hard, because he just — he was really diminished by this.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Yes, I think we Republican leaders look pathetic, though, in a certain way.

    They were livid, according to the reporting, on that three-month debt increase. They weren’t livid on nativism. They weren’t livid on misogyny. They were not livid on serial lying.

    I think that it makes them look like they have kind of a moral center problem, that this is what the final straw is, is a difficulty. Also, they have given a lot. They have given their standing. They have given their — almost their political character for nothing so far.

    MARK SHIELDS: I agree.

    MICHAEL GERSON: I mean, they have literally gotten nothing. And tax reform may not even happen, and if it happens, it might be a scaled-back version.

    So they have give an whole lot for very little in return.

    MARK SHIELDS: You’re absolutely right, Michael.

    But I would just add that that one picture that came out of that meeting of Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer each with their hands on the other’s lapels and shoulder, you could almost see them — kind of Trump was in his element, trash-talking to Schumer. And I knew you. You were from James Madison High School in Brooklyn, and Schumer to him saying something like, Donald, you’re from Jamaica, Queens. Who are you kidding?

    And it’s not a continuing relationship, but there’s a chemistry there that isn’t present with either McConnell or Ryan. Ryan is a choir boy to Donald Trump. He’s a darling of The Wall Street Journal editorial page. He’s never had a relationship with McConnell.

    I agree, but — I agree with what Michael’s point is. What were the words of Charlie Sykes, the Republican talk show host from Wisconsin who’s a friend of Paul Ryan’s? He said, quoting “A Man for All Seasons,” Paul, you know, for whales, you have traded your soul, but for a tax cut, you have traded your soul.

    And I think there’s a lot of truth to that.

    MICHAEL GERSON: He’s a diminished figure.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes. Yes.

    JOHN YANG: Chuck Schumer, who he called the chief clown, and is now…


    MARK SHIELDS: Yes, exactly, exactly.

    JOHN YANG: And Mitch McConnell — the president invited the Cabinet and their spouses up to Camp David this weekend. One Cabinet spouse who declined, Mitch McConnell.

    And how much was a shot across the bow at the Democratic — at the Republican leader — sorry — and was it his intent to diminish them? And how much of this was situational? He saw a deal he could take with the Democrats, and so he took it?

    MARK SHIELDS: I think it’s always the latter with him.

    And what was really remarkable was, he was delighted, was the president, in getting favorable reviews in the press that he hates, that he diminishes, that he denigrates on a regular basis, The New York Times, The Washington Post.

    And so thrilled was he, he actually called Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to bask in it and tell them the good reviews they were getting.

    I mean, no, this is not a matter of strategy or conviction. It’s a matter of…

    MICHAEL GERSON: It’s not a violation of his convictions. I’m not sure he has any.

    He has a set of instincts, which are nativist and nationalist. But I don’t think he has a set of economic and political philosophic conventions on spending or a lot of other issues. So, when he makes this kind of turn, I think it’s relatively easy for him.

    JOHN YANG: Do you think we are going to see more of it?

    MICHAEL GERSON: I think that he likes basking in this success.

    But you can’t underestimate these Democratic leaders would impeach him with the drop of a hat. They’re not allies. They want higher taxes, not lower taxes. So I think that there are some fundamental conflicts of interest here that emerge very quickly.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes, they don’t want — Democrats are not on record favoring tax cuts to Steve Schwarzman and other sort of billionaires who back Donald Trump or Wilbur Ross.

    But, no, I think both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are pretty clear-eyed people, and they know that there are no permanent alliances here. I mean, it’s a matter of temporary interest, and plus the fact they can’t get too cozy with him for a simple reason. He is the energizer for 2018 for the Democrats if they hope to win back the House and maybe even make a dent in the Senate.

    JOHN YANG: Well, one of the issues that he appears to be talking to the Democrats, or talking about working with the Democrats on, is what to do about the dreamers.

    He rescinded DACA earlier in the week. But, by the end of the week, he seemed to be arguing with himself about whether this was a good thing to do.

    MARK SHIELDS: No, I agree.

    I mean, the strength of Donald Trump as a candidate — and I’m not in any way defending moral convictions or anything of the sort — was that he says what he means, you know where he stands.

    Well, on DACA, you have no idea where he stands. He has a great heart, as he tells us, and then he turns to give the bad news to Jeff Sessions. He wants them to stay. And he says — gives the Congress that hasn’t voted for 16 years to give justice to these folks who were brought here as children six months to do it, and then adds, the fill-up at the end, well, if they don’t do it, then maybe I will have to act myself.

    So, I don’t know where he stands. And it must be terrible to live in that suspense.

    MICHAEL GERSON: There’s a pretty obvious legislative deal here that they could do.

    You could do stronger border security, not the wall, but stronger border security, and take care of the status of the dreamers. That would be obvious. But I’m not sure whether he preemptively conceded that this week or not, whether that is now even an option. Does he have the leverage to engage in that kind of deal?

    I’m not sure because of the confusion here.

    JOHN YANG: You wrote in a column earlier this week about this — on this topic that he felt that executive action was wrong on the dreamers, but he didn’t feel that way when he put in the travel ban on people from mostly Muslim nations.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Yes. Yes, this is not a consistent belief in the limits on executive authority. That’s not a Trump-like belief.

    It’s a consistent belief that he wants to get the outcomes that he wishes. But that was deeply inconsistent. He wasn’t deferring to the Congress or to others when it came to the travel ban, the early version of the travel ban, which the courts struck down, like some elements of DACA, the extension of DACA, was struck down during the Obama administration.

    MARK SHIELDS: The votes are not there in the House to do it. Let’s be very blunt about it, unless Paul Ryan wants to violate the great Republican rule, which is to pass it with Democratic votes. There is not.

    Donald Trump wreaked a whirlwind in 2016 by his anti-immigrant rhetoric. So, the Republican Party is far more polarized on this issue than it ever was before. And the Democrats lost a number of people, From Jay Rockefeller, to Max Baucus, to David Pryor — to Mark Pryor, to Mary Landrieu, who voted for it, and have been replaced by people who are opposed.

    So I’m not sure that the votes are there to even act, if Paul Ryan decided it was the right thing do.

    JOHN YANG: You talk about members of Congress who were turned out by the voters. We’re seeing some members of Congress voluntarily retiring themselves.

    Yesterday, Charles Dent of Pennsylvania, moderate Republican, said he’s not going to run for reelection. You have had two others, I think you can fairly say centrist Republicans, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dave Reichert of Washington.

    We’re getting into that season where retirements come, because the party’s got to get other candidates to run.

    Why do you think — or do you think we’re going to see more moderates, more centrists like these people, centrist Republicans, saying that they just don’t — they’re going to go home?

    MICHAEL GERSON: The fundamental reality here is that you have had the ideological sorting of the parties.

    The Republican Party has become more conservative. The Democratic Party has become marginally more liberal. There’s almost no overlap in the middle, ideological overlap, in either house of Congress.

    That leaves moderates homeless. We have had a hollowing out of the middle in the U.S. Congress. There’s less opportunity for compromise. Dent said that they have taken it to a new level of dysfunction, was his statement, and that he wasn’t having fun anymore.

    He also faced a primary challenge, likely primary challenge, which would have been nasty. So I think you make a decision, you know, do I want to go through all this for essentially, you know, a useless outcome?

    MARK SHIELDS: So, every member of Congress has at least 250 people in his or her district who wants that seat. To be a member of Congress, obviously, you have to get elected. You have to be good at that business.

    And they have an extra olfactory nerve. They can smell the political winds that are blowing. In 2006, when the Democrats did won back the House from the Republicans, twice as many Republicans retired that year as did Democrats. And I think what you’re going to see is a number of Republicans. You have already seen some who are trying to run for governor or statewide office or the Senate, because, you know, it just — it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a great year, and not that they themselves — but it is no fun, believe me, to be in the House with the minority.

    All the power is with the majority. All the power is with the speaker and the committee chairs. And I think that does affect — I think Michael’s points are valid, but I think it does affect whether you do want to stay.

    JOHN YANG: So, you think they’re smelling that the House could be in play?

    MARK SHIELDS: I don’t think there is any question that that is part — what has to be part of the equation, yes.

    And, no, right now, you would have to bet that, if it’s going to be a referendum on Donald Trump, if he’s sitting at 33 percent, at 34 percent favorable…

    MICHAEL GERSON: If he has a 35 percent base going into this midterm election, I think it’s pretty disastrous.

    JOHN YANG: Michael Gerson, Mark Shields, thank you very much.

    MARK SHIELDS: Thank you, John.

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.



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    JOHN YANG: We turn our attention now out West, where a wet winter and spring had brought hopes for a quiet wildfire season. It’s turned out to be anything but and, in fact, could be one of the worst in American history.

    More than 80 large wildfires are burning in 10 Western states. At least nine firefighters have died.

    NewsHour special correspondent Cat Wise reports from the front lines of the nation’s highest-priority wildfire, about 40 miles outside Portland, Oregon.

    CAT WISE: The Eagle Creek fire has charred some 30,000 acres in the heart of Oregon’s scenic Columbia River Gorge. It isn’t the biggest blaze crews are battling in the U.S., but, today, it’s considered the most threatening to public safety and property.

    And the small town of Cascade Locks has been square in the path of the flames.

    ERIC RISDAL, Division Supervisor, U.S. Forest Service: We have been trying to make a donut around town of burnt vegetation, so the fire can’t come into town on its own power, working under our conditions, rather than its own.

    CAT WISE: U.S. Forest Service Division supervisor Eric Risdal has been overseeing crews working around the clock to protect the community and surrounding areas.

    ERIC RISDAL: We have made a tremendous amount of progress with the few resources we have had, and I think the danger to Cascade Locks, we’re lessening that every day.

    CAT WISE: Yesterday, after smoky conditions eased, helicopters began attacking the fire with massive buckets full of Columbia River water. It’s only 7 percent contained, but improving weather conditions are slowing its spread. The fire began over Labor Day weekend.

    Bone-dry vegetation and high winds pushed the flames about 13 miles in just 16 hours between Monday and Tuesday.

    Traci Weaver is a public affairs official for the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

    TRACI WEAVER, U.S. Forest Service: We have seen some really explosive fire behavior. A couple days ago, we reached historic peaks for a lot of our fire indices, which is incredible, because it’s really fairly late in the season for the Pacific Northwest. Usually, we’re on a serious downturn by early September.

    CAT WISE: Earlier in the week, the fire dumped ash on Portland, and much of the region has been blanketed in a smoky haze deemed unhealthy to breathe by state officials.

    The blaze has also closed a stretch of one of the state’s main east-west interstates, where crews are now trying to clear 2,000 trees. Only a small number of homes and buildings have been destroyed so far, but hundreds remain evacuated, including 75-year-old Sally King.

    She left her home in the middle of the night on Monday and came to this Red Cross shelter in Gresham. King has volunteered for 30 years at a historic building overlooking the Columbia Gorge, and she expressed the collective heartbreak of millions of Oregonians.

    SALLY KING, Evacuee: We have visitors from all over the world coming, and they are just amazed at the beauty here. It just seems to be a magical place. There’s all kinds of things to do. There’s a lot of hiking.

    CAT WISE: Were you surprised at how quickly the fire spread?

    SALLY KING: Yes. Yes, it did spread very fast. But we had a very wet winter, and that makes all the grasses grow, and then the rain stopped and everything went dry. We need rain. And Oregon is well known for its rain. And people are thinking, you mean you want more rain? Yes, bring it on, lord. Thank you.

    CAT WISE: The Red Cross is currently sheltering about 200 people who have nowhere else to go, according to Monique Dugaw, an organization spokesperson.

    MONIQUE DUGAW, American Red Cross: Our resources are all over the state. We have had a shelter open for almost four weeks at the Chetco Bar wildfire in Southern Oregon. We have two shelters open for this gorge wildfire, another one in the Eugene area.

    Our folks have been going literally nonstop from the past month from one wildfire response to the next. We are preparing for this to be the norm.

    CAT WISE: An investigation into the fire’s cause is ongoing, but authorities believe a teenager tossed fireworks into the woods.

    The Eagle Creek fire is just one of a handful of blazes currently burning across Oregon. Altogether, the state’s wildfires have scorched more than 1,000 square miles. That’s about one-third of all the land burning across the United States.

    The blazes throughout the West have drawn 26,000 firefighters, backed by upwards of 200 helicopters. Back in Oregon, the focus remains on keeping the gorge fires contained, but officials and the public are already sizing up the seemingly lasting damage.

    TRACI WEAVER: It’s going to be a long, slow recovery process. Nature has evolved with fire. It will recover, but we just, as humans, need to be patient with it.

    CAT WISE: In the days ahead, crews will be especially focused on protecting an area of forest called the Bull Run Watershed, which supplies Portland’s drinking water.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Cat Wise in Cascade Locks, Oregon.

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    JOHN YANG: The digital age has made our lives easier in many ways, from banking to shopping, to staying connected with loved ones across the country. But it’s also made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to protect our personal data.

    Major breaches in recent years at places like Target, Home Depot and J.P. Morgan have exposed tens of millions of individuals’ information. But Equifax’s announcement yesterday might be the biggest and most significant yet.

    One out of every two Americans stands to be a victim. Some 143 million consumers’ sensitive data is potentially compromised by a security breach at the consumer credit reporting agency.

    Our own William Brangham has learned he was one of them, and so did I.

    So, William, I am very interested in what you have to say.

    What does Equifax say happened here?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What happened was, it seems that from mid-May to July of this year, there was a vulnerability on their Web site software, and that allowed hackers to get in during that period of time and access 143 million Americans’ information.

    The company found out about this breach, they closed the loophole that allowed the hackers in, but not before this data got out.

    JOHN YANG: And what kind of data are we talking about here?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It’s everything that would be in your credit report.

    So, it’s Social Security number. It’s your name, it’s your address, it’s your driver’s license information, it’s your employers, it’s your payment history, it’s what bank accounts you have.

    It is — if you were an identity thief, it is a gold mine or the Holy Grail, as one person described it to me. The thing that a thief could do with this information is, one, they could hack into your existing accounts once they have all that information. They could also set up new ones pretending to be John Yang or William Brangham and set up new accounts and then rack up big charges on those.

    So, the great irony here is that Equifax is a company that actually sells identity theft protection, and here it is they have theoretically allowed a huge breach that could trigger a ton of identity theft.

    JOHN YANG: So, what do people like you and I, what are we supposed to do?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The main advice that I have been given today is not to panic.

    There are several things that you can do. You can set up fraud monitoring on many of your accounts, so you get an alert, a text alert, a phone call, an e-mail, if suspicious activity appears.

    Several major consumer groups have urged people to freeze their credit accounts. That basically means it doesn’t allow any person to set up a new bank account in your name, a new mortgage in your name, a new loan in your name without you being alerted to it.

    So, you have to contact not just Equifax, but the other two major credit reporting agencies to let them know about this. And you’re supposed to just basically monitor your bank and your credit card and look for suspicious activity.

    JOHN YANG: And there’s a question about how Equifax handled all of this, isn’t there?


    They found out about this on July 29, and we only found out about this breach on — this week. So, you’re supposed to, in these kinds of cases, immediately jump to do something about it. And it seems like they didn’t give consumers much time.

    There was a long period of time where this information might have been out there. And, secondly, several executives at the company, after they found out about the breach, sold about $18.8 million worth of stock in their company before this news got out, the implication being they didn’t want their stock to tank and their stock to lose value.

    And, sure enough, today, their stock value dropped about 13 percent. So, as one person said to me today this — quote, unquote — “stinks to high heaven.”

    JOHN YANG: And Equifax is offering to help consumers like you and me, but there are strings attached, right?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s exactly right.

    You can go to Equifax’s Web site, and they give you — if you put in your name and the six digits of your Social Security number, they will tell you if they think you might have been compromised. And you can sign up for one year free fraud protection from them.

    The problem is, is that many of these problems — I mean, once your Social Security is out there, that’s not a one-year problem. That is a very, very long-term problem. So it’s a solution that also, if you sign up for it, you give up your right to potentially sue the company.

    You have to — any argument you have with them has to be settled by arbitration, which almost always goes in the company’s favor.

    JOHN YANG: William Brangham, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more to talk about this in the days to come.

    Thanks so much.

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