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

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    Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

    The Morning Line

    The ultimate goal for President Barack Obama's renewed outreach to members of Congress is reaching an agreement on a long-term deal to address the country's deficit. But as the president prepares Tuesday to make the first of four trips to Capitol Hill this week, it's the issue of the 2014 budget that is taking center stage.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Tuesday will release his blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in October. The plan would seek to cut spending by $4.6 trillion over the next decade while bringing the budget into balance without raising taxes.

    The 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee previewed his proposal late Monday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

    "On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year," Ryan writes. "Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy."

    Ryan also launched a pre-emptive strike against attacks on his suggested reforms to entitlement programs, namely Medicare.

    Our budget repeals the president's health-care law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms. It also protects and strengthens Medicare. I want Medicare to be there for my kids--just as it's there for my mom today. But Medicare is going broke. Under our proposal, those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on. Starting in 2024, we'll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose--including traditional Medicare--and help them pay the premiums.

    The other side will demagogue this issue. But remember: Anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program's demise.

    Despite that warning, The Hill's Cameron Joseph reports that Senate Democrats are making clear they intend to use Ryan'S budget to target Republican candidates in next year's midterm elections.

    "The Ryan budget will be a gift that gives throughout the 2014 cycle for Democrats," pollster Geoff Garin said Monday on a conference call hosted by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

    As Ryan prepares for the expected backlash to his proposal, Senate Democrats are readying their own 2014 budget that could prove to be a tough political sell. The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery lays out the numbers for the proposal, which is expected to be unveiled Wednesday:

    Senate Democrats are drafting a federal budget blueprint that would raise nearly $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade and slice roughly $1 trillion more from projected spending, according to Democratic aides familiar with the document. >

    But the framework would never bring the budget into balance, potentially putting Democrats on the defensive as Washington enters a new phase in the ongoing battle over the swollen national debt.

    The New York Times' Jeremy Peters, meanwhile, writes about the challenge facing Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., who must harmonize a variety of viewpoints among the Democratic members of her panel:

    That diversity is one of the major reasons Senate Democrats have not written a spending plan of their own since 2009, given the challenge of bringing together senators from Oregon to Virginia to Vermont who do not always agree on issues like whether cuts should fall more heavily on military or nonmilitary programs, and which tax loopholes to eliminate.

    "Dealing with the difference of opinion is tough," said Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, an independent who has tried to ensure that the Democrats' budget does not include an adjustment to the inflation rate that would calculate it in a way that would decrease federal benefits. Mr. Sanders said he was confident the inflation rate calculation would be untouched, but he was not prepared to sign on to Mrs. Murray's plan until he sees the final document.

    "We've had long talks; we'll see what happens," he said.

    That wait-and-see approach could apply to any of the short- or long-term fiscal issues facing lawmakers. The real test for Mr. Obama this week is to see whether his "schmooze offensive" can help advance the process of loosening the stalemate over tax and spending issues. If the budget plans put forward this week are any sign, the president better turn up the charm even more.

    LINE ITEMS

    A judge struck down New York City's size limits on sugary drinks, calling the restrictions "arbitrary and capricious." Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday he would immediately appeal the decision. "We believe that the judge's decision was clearly in error, and we believe we will win on appeal," he said.

    Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, wrote a letter to Mr. Obama on Monday saying she was disappointed that none of his second term Cabinet selections have been African-American. "You have publicly expressed your commitment to retaining diversity within your cabinet," Fudge wrote. "However, the people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country's diversity."

    The Associated Press reports that the Obama administration is now denying more Freedom of Information requests than in its previous years. The analysis coincides with Sunshine Week, which promotes journalism that presses for open government.

    The White House also celebrates Sunshine Week, starting with this blog post on how it has reduced the FOI request backlog in the federal government.

    Ed O'Keefe has the skinny on Thursday's menu for Mr. Obama's lunch with Senate Republicans, as chosen by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine: University of Maine lobster, Fox family potato chips and wild Maine blueberry pie.

    Josh Rogin has the best headline about former Sen. Joe Lieberman joining the American Enterprise Institute.

    Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was found guilty Monday on 24 of 30 corruption charges, including extortion, bribery and racketeering. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

    A report out Tuesday on the state of school buildings in the U.S. finds it would take more than $500 billion to bring them up to date (not even accounting for student population growth), the Associated Press reports.

    Roll Call's Joshua Miller reports that the League of Conservation Voters has made a six-figure field investment in Rep. Ed Markey ahead of next month's Massachusetts Democratic primary for the special Senate election. Markey has made a television ad buy expected to air Monday.

    Former Politico reporter David Catanese started a blog that ranks and handicaps the possible 2016 presidential bidders. It's called The Run 2016.

    EMILY's List is setting its sights on governors' mansions in 2014, talking to women in 15 states.

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is on the road for a "Listening Tour," meeting with black Republicans in Brooklyn on Monday ahead of the release of the party's postmortem of the 2012 election from its "Growth and Opportunity Project."

    The Republican Party will address its technological shortcomings for the 2016 presidential election with a "major restructuring" of digital strategy, NBC News reports.

    Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington compares Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's dealings with companies to Frank Underwood of "House of Cards."

    Steve Goldbloom gets a little irreverent in the latest edition of PBS' SXSW Diaries.

    Today's tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA shows how fast the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- are growing economically compared with the United States.

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    The papal conclave begins Tuesday. Revisit our coverage of sede vacante with a guide to how a pope is elected and an overview from John Allen of CNN/National Catholic Reporter.

    The NewsHour looks into the digital afterlife and the legal issues after someone dies and leaves behind a social media presence. Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    Correspondent Judy Woodruff spoke with a former Afghan ambassador to the United States and a career U.S. diplomat on relations with Afghanistan after two U.S. soldiers were killed in an attack. Watch Video

    Watch Video

    TOP TWEETS

    Victory in NYC for liberty-loving soda drinkers. To politicians with too much time on their hands we say: Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!

    — Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) March 12, 2013

    Why Does (INSERT 2014 Democrat here) Want To Raise Your Hamburger Prices?ow.ly/iLwoO

    — Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) March 11, 2013

    Pentagon is only place you can arrive at 0710 and feel late for day. Except of course @gma where you would be very late!

    — Martha Raddatz (@MarthaRaddatz) March 12, 2013

    Join the #Transparency Caucus for a Capitol Hill panel on #FOIA reform Weds at 3pm: snlg.ht/ZBf9rD @sunshineweek

    — Sunlight Foundation (@SunFoundation) March 11, 2013

    This woman in front of the WH wins the day: she KNITTED a pie chart of the US budget onto an umbrella. twitter.com/jbendery/statu...

    — jennifer bendery (@jbendery) March 11, 2013

    Probs talking sequester RT: @buzzfeedandrewVegas PBS playing Sesame Street. President Elmo on phone w the Pentagon. twitpic.com/cajm7x

    — P.J. Tobia (@PJTobia) March 11, 2013

    Christina Bellantoni and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    Follow @cbellantoni

    Follow @burlijiFollow @kpolantzFollow @elizsummersFollow @indiefilmfanFollow @tiffanymullonFollow @dePeystahFollow @meenaganesan

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    Darth Vader and Luigi don't seem a likely pair, but we know what you're thinking after seeing the photo: George Lucas should include the Super Mario gang in the upcoming "Star Wars" sequel. Before we get to this week's Tuesday Cutline winner, here's the original caption to the photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images:

    "Tourists laugh as street artists dressed up as Darth Vader and Luigi enter a subway station at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany."

    With mentions of Luigi's plumbing profession, a reference to "Spaceballs" and a couple of "Luigi, I am your father" captions, this week's top cutline was a tough choice. But we have to salute our winner who meshed two of the biggest trendsetters of the past with today's largest pop culture craze: Congratulations to Christian Hawkinson for your winning caption.

    "I'm out $200 for costumes -- They'd better pick us for the Harlem Shake video."

    Thank you all for playing along. Join us next week for another Tuesday Cutline.

    About the Tuesday Cutline: Every other Tuesday, we post a photo. You compose a witty/funny/creative caption, submit it by Friday at 5 p.m. ET in the comments section or on the NewsHour's or Art Beat's pages. The following Tuesday we pick one winner. Everyone celebrates.


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    If you are a job seeker looking on massive online job boards for opportunities, beware. You may fall victim to a scam like the alleged scam by premium job board TheLadders, a website that is now the subject of a consumer protection class action lawsuit. Image by Imagezoo/Getty Images.

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

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

    Is the "jobs crisis" so bad that scammers are taking advantage of desperate job hunters? Most job hunters would laugh at the thought that everyone doesn't already know it.

    A consumer protection class action filed Monday against a job board, TheLadders, in U.S. District Court (Southern District of New York), suggests that consumers are fed up with questionable online job-application practices by employers and job boards alike:

    Frustrated job hunters told us in a NewsHour Making Sense report that automated job application forms were a waste of their time. In the same report, Peter Cappelli, a Wharton School of Business researcher, reported that 26,000 engineers applied online for a routine engineering job -- and the software rejected every single application. When applicants make it into a job interview, they report that "rude employers" fail to follow-up with serious applicants even after promising to do so. One employer reported in 2011 that TheLadders overwhelmed her company with job applicants for positions that she never advertised with TheLadders. To make matters worse, TheLadders told applicants that the salaries were double what they actually were. "I'd love to charge them for the amount of my time they wasted," employer Claire Peat said in "TheLadders: How the Scam Works."

    Could it be the recruiting systems that employers use to entice applicants have become a root cause of the unemployment (and under-employment) problem?

    TheLadders has built itself up as a career-industry icon -- "a premium job site for only $100K+ jobs, and only $100K+ talent." But it's only part of the problem, because employers themselves fund job boards and tacitly encourage their behavior.

    TheLadders case, filed by New York law firm Bursor & Fisher, alleges breach of contract and highlights what I believe is a trend toward selling access to commodity lists of jobs and resumes -- which are often inaccurate and out of date -- rather than actually matching real people with jobs. Employers and job hunters alike waste time with these corporate and job-board databases, and employers complain there's a "talent shortage" -- while over 14 million Americans are looking for jobs.

    In the aforementioned Making Sense report, job hunter Sharon Moore said that after a required online job application form repeatedly "kicked her resume out," she gave up. Perhaps Moore's mistake was that she didn't bother to ask why the system was doing this.

    But now job hunters seem to be wising up and taking action. A customer of TheLadders, listed as "Alishia" in the lawsuit, demanded to know why "only real, open $100K+ jobs" that she paid TheLadders for weren't real.

    The lawsuit alleges that after applying for a "$100K+ job" through TheLadders, Alishia was told by the employer that the job only paid $50,000, and that it had never been listed with TheLadders. The lawsuit includes a customer service transcript in which Alishia was told by TheLadders' representative ("Andy") that "we don't have a direct way of knowing the pay range of each of these positions, we make an estimate."

    The class action alleges:

    "From its inception until September 2011, TheLadders scammed its customers into paying for its job board service by misrepresenting itself to be 'a premium job site for only $100k+ jobs, and only $100k+ talent'. In fact, TheLadders sold access to purported '$100k+' job listings that (1) did not exist, (2) did not pay $100k+, and/or (3) were not authorized to be posted on TheLadders by the employers."

    The suit includes five counts including "violation of the Arkansas Deceptive and Unconscionable Trade Practices Act." A complete court-stamped copy of the class action complaint was obtained from the law firm that filed it and is available here: "TheLadders sued for multiple scams in U.S. District Court class action." (The suit cites articles I've written about TheLadders, and refers to source material from TheLadders' customers and from employers and recruiters reported in my newsletter and blog. It also cites other sources.)

    But TheLadders isn't the only job board whose utility is questionable. Last year, job hunters and employers pumped $1.1 billion into Monster.com. Monster claims over a million resumes and over a million jobs in its database. Yet since 2002, employers that were polled reported Monster.com was the "source of hires" no more than about 2-4 percent of the time.

    CareerBuilder, another big job board, performs at about the same level. See "Just How Dumb Do You Think Customers Are?"

    Job applicants interviewed for the Making Sense report questioned whether jobs they actually interviewed for really existed, because no one ever got back to them with an answer about getting hired.

    The scam problem isn't uniquely American. In 2012, CBC Television in Toronto conducted a hidden camera "recruitment rip-off" investigation into a "career management" firm that charges sophisticated job hunters, including professional engineers, thousands of dollars for promises of "hidden jobs" that don't exist. Company executives were caught on camera making very specific promises that no one could possibly fulfill and then afterwards denying they promised customers anything. Who can "absolutely" promise you a job, other than an employer even if you're willing to pay for it?

    Perhaps the smell of jobs scams will attract more lawyers, and perhaps more lawsuits will reveal what I think is a very broken employment system in America. With over 14 million people actively hunting for jobs, and 3.2 million vacant jobs begging, something smells pretty rotten.

    Even allowing that some of those 14 million people are "unqualified" (Could all 14 million really be unqualified?), or "too old" (That's insane, while employers claim they value "institutional knowledge."), this means employers have a 4:1 advantage in today's employment market. With such an edge, they can't find the talent they need?

    Why aren't more job hunters doing something about poor service from employers that interview them, lousy performance from job boards and other "career services," and possible job scams?

    I think the problem isn't lack of talent. Remember that employers themselves are the primary "funders" of job boards like TheLadders, CareerBuilder, and Monster.com--they pay billions of dollars to post their jobs and to search the resume databases. Until employers start looking at their own questionable recruiting and hiring practices, it seems that "job application" software will keep making mistakes, and scammers will proliferate. Jobs will be left vacant. The economy will continue to flounder. Talented workers will be left on the street. After all, it's easier to blame workers and complain they have the wrong skills, than to suggest employers are blowing billions of dollars on... job board scams?

    TheLadders suit also includes allegations of an "Expert Resume Critique Scam." For now, customers of TheLadders who want to know more about the lawsuit can obtain information from Bursor & Fisher.

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

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

    Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark. This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow Paul on Twitter.Follow @PaulSolman


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  • 03/12/13--09:01: How to Eat an Apple in Space
  • Oh to be Chris Hadfield, eating maple syrup from a tube and casually gazing down at a smoke plume streaming from Italy's Mount Etna volcano while performing experiments to improve the metal in turbine blades and dental fillings.

    The good news is that the Canadian astronaut, who assumes the reins this week as commander of the International Space Station, is giving his 500,000-plus Twitter followers a virtual glimpse into his life in orbit. And that makes it splendid timing for a shoutout to his unparalleled social media acumen.

    In the past week alone, he's written about weightlessness, the Pearl River delta and the Comet Pan-STARRS. He's posted stunning pictures of Mount Fuji, Canada's South Saskatchewan River and Minsk, Belarus, hometown of his "happy crewmate Oleg Novitsky." He filmed a video on what he eats: cranberry-flavored buffalo jerky, Canadian maple candy and smoked salmon pate. (Video posted above.)

    He sees faces in the thunderstorms and "wicked geology laid bare in Northeast Africa."

    He even crowdsourced his next vacation spot.

    When I return to Earth in mid-May, where do you recommend I should visit? Can you tell me why in just 140 characters? Best places on Earth.

    — Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) March 10, 2013

    Among the suggestions from followers: the glowworms in New Zealand's underground caves, the penguins in Cape Town and the red rock formations in Utah's Moab. A man named Dave even offered up his Bristol shed, complete with whiskey, a window and a weasel under the floorboards.

    And every night, before bed, he posts a finale:

    Tonight's Finale: The very first glimpse of Moonrise. twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/...

    — Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) March 10, 2013

    But my favorite is this. Ever wondered how you put an apple down between bites in space? You Velcro it, naturally. To the "ceiling."

    One of my two apples delivered on Dragon. I stuck Velcro on the bottom so I could set it down between bites. twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/...

    — Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) March 11, 2013

    QUICK BITES

    This week's New York Times Magazine has a fascinating and wonderfully written story on new treatments for children with severe food allergies. I dare you to read the story of these kids and not get a little choked up.

    From USA Today: "The Environmental Protection Agency has no current plans to revise key hazard standards that protect children from lead poisoning, despite calls for action from the agency's scientific advisers."

    On de-extinction, and the case for bringing the passenger pigeon and the woolly mammoth back to life. National Geographic reports.

    How to cook an egg (and a penny and a hot dog) with the sun.

    From ScienceNews: "Liking rapper Nicki Minaj and enjoying cuddling ... hint at leftward political leanings." Things a person "likes" on Facebook can predict political leaning, age, gender and sexual orientation, a new study finds.

    NOT SAFE FOR LUNCH

    In Shanghai, nearly 3,000 dead pigs were dumped into a river that constitutes a main drinking water source for area residents. Financial Times reports.

    -Rebecca Jacobson, Patti Parson, David Pelcyger and Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.

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    Some 25,000 LED lights lit up the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge last Tuesday. It was a glorious sight on a rainy night, not to mention the talk of the town even a week later.

    In San Francisco, public art is part of the atmosphere, and so is controversy. The Golden Gate Bridge is a work of art -- much debated and redesigned before it was finally built in the late 1930s.

    Coit Tower, atop Telegraph Hill, is the city's other public art standout. The structure itself is a work of art, while inside, murals from the WPA era -- many of them with a leftist political theme -- are even more controversial than the tower itself. (In New York, similar depression-era murals at Rockefeller Center done by Diego Rivera were famously destroyed because they were too provocative, too leftist in the 1930s.)

    In San Francisco, a bust of murdered Mayor George Moscone was removed from public view because it was seen as grotesque.

    Marking the Bay Bridge's 75th anniversary, the new Bay Lights (which will cost a total of $8 million through 2015) are provoking lots of discussion. But is it a real controversy? The lights themselves shine nightly on the north side of the bridge, and undulate randomly according to a computer program devised by New York artist Leo Villareal. It's a lovely, lively tapestry, and it can be seen for miles.

    The publicity following the unveiling of the project was almost all favorable. You could hear the oohs and aahs wherever you went. Villareal became an instant folk hero. Then, over the weekend, a few letters to the editor began to appear in the local press criticizing the project. And John King, the San Francisco Chronicle's respected urban design critic, wrote a negative review of the installation.

    "Once the novelty fades," he wrote, "we're left with a 1.8 mile light show that has little to do with either the structure to which it is attached or the natural setting above which it shines." He went on: "What 'Bay Lights' lacks is what the Bay Bridge has in abundance, a rooted sense of emphatic place."

    King also criticized the designers for letting the lights shine only to the north, facing San Francisco's more expensive neighborhoods, and ignoring more working class areas to the south. (Incidentally, you can't see the lights while driving on the bridge, either. That's for safety, but no one is complaining.)

    Reaction to King's critique came quickly. In a letter featured on the Chronicle editorial page, a reader named Michael Barnes shot back: "King's criticism sees a Hamm's billboard (a former local beer) begging for attention and doomed to disappear, and misses the refined enhancement of our perceptions and the comment on the transitory nature of all things." Barnes, like some of the San Franciscans I've talked with, sees "the lights consistent with the transformation of day to night, of bridge to shadow." That's pretty hefty art criticism inspired by those flashy lights.

    Whether that constitutes a controversy -- like much public art around the nation -- is unclear at this point. Mostly, people are trying to get a glimpse of the nightly light show so they can decide for themselves if 25,000 LED lights, in place for the next two years, are worth getting upset about or worthy of celebration.

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    Willie Mae Washington, 92, and her daughter Ida are among the 15,000 women in the Oakland area participating in a study on genetic links to diseases like cancer. Photo by Robert Durell.

    A giant data bank containing genetic information on 200,000 people is in full operation in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's being ballyhooed by its founders as the world's best such repository -- more racially diverse than others in England and Iceland -- and linked to the electronic medical records of the participants. Researchers have begun to use it to explore the links between genes and disease, and, to some extent, between environmental factors like pesticides and genetics. The big data bank is a cooperative venture between the University of California at San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente, the big health provider that keeps health records for its 5.5 million California members. It is part of the genetic revolution that appears to be reshaping medical research.

    There's another data bank nearby that isn't as big, but may be of major value as well. It contains more than 100,000 vials of blood drawn from 15,000 women, plus their health records, starting in 1959. That makes it more than half a century old. Many of those samples are from the daughters and the granddaughters (and even a few great-granddaughters) of the original subjects, who, as with the larger data bank, were all members of Kaiser. The people who contributed to this bank are also racially diverse. Currently the bank is collecting new samples, using improved techniques.

    According to epidemiologist Barbara Cohn, who directs the Child Health and Development Studies in Berkeley, Calif., the generational data going back 55 years is unique and extremely important in figuring out how diseases like breast cancer appear in families. One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society, and 70 to 75 percent of those cancers go unexplained. The women have no known risk factors. Doing research on human subjects is always tricky and difficult, Cohn says, and the material collected over such a long time can provide clues that newer studies or data may not. Timing is crucial to discovering exposure to chemicals like DDT or other carcinogens. For example, blood collected during pregnancy, years ago, may provide information that could impact children and their children. Studies using those samples can look to the origins of breast cancer that may begin before birth. A fetus can be exposed to a disease that can be seen two generations hence.

    The older vials of blood are actually stored in Frederick, Va. Cohn believes the data bank (financially administered by the Public Health Institute of Berkeley) may be able to link environmental pollutants to disease more efficiently than the larger Kaiser-UCSF bank, because it goes back much farther and the samples can be tested for specific environmental exposures.

    Forty years ago, Ida Washington's mother, Willie Mae Washington, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The mother -- who is now 92, with her cancer in remission -- took part in the beginning of the Child Health and Development Studies, and more recently Ida Washington, who is 52, has been taking part as well. They are eager to find out why Willie Mae developed the disease, since she didn't seem to exhibit any of the risk factors. Cohn calls the women "a national treasure", and is convinced their records and their blood can contribute to the understanding of the disease and the environmental factors that may encourage it.

    The study expects to publish shortly new findings on how exposure to DDT (which is now banned) during a mother's pregnancy could affect a daughter's ability to get pregnant, and increase a son's risk of testicular cancer. Those are the kinds of questions the study is designed to explore.

    So while this data bank may not rival the big UCSF-Kaiser project in scope and depth, it plays a key role in the a long, complicated war to understand the connections between environment, genetics and disease.

    Watch PBS NewsHour Tuesday for more on genetic data banks.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Pacific oysters like the ones grown on Shina Wysocki's family farm near Olympia, Wash., are served in restaurants around the country.

    SHINA WYSOCKI, Chelsea Farms: We think our water tastes great here, and that makes our oysters taste great.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But there's trouble in the water. The ocean's pH, which measures the level of acidity of a liquid, shows the water is becoming acidified.

    Most growers like the Wysockis can only farm oysters if they can buy oyster larvae, also called oyster seed, from hatcheries. But a few years ago, the larvae suddenly began dying by the billions. The culprit? The seawater pumped into the hatcheries is so corrosive that it eats away the young oyster shells before they can form.

    SHINA WYSOCKI: Ocean acidification is a huge problem. And there are so many things. It's the currents, it's the carbon dioxide, it's the aragonite. And it's most of which, I understand a tiny fraction of, but what I do understand is when the nursery calls on the phone and says there's no oyster seed to ship, we don't have any.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Seed production in the Northwest plummeted by as much as 80 percent between 2005 and 2009.

    RICHARD FEELY, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory: And what we found was just very dramatic. When the waters were highly corrosive, the organisms died within two days. The oyster larvae just simply died. When the water was high pH, they did just fine. It was just like a switch.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: That switch is happening around the world as oceans take in large amounts of carbon dioxide, or CO2, says Dick Feely, a senior scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

    RICHARD FEELY: Over the last 200 years or so, we have released about two trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And about a quarter of that, or 550 billion tons of carbon dioxide, have been absorbed by the oceans.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All that CO2 changes the chemistry of the water by making it more acidic, 30 percent more since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

    Because of natural tide and wave patterns, the Pacific NorthwestCoast has been hit hardest, with corrosive water being brought up from the deep ocean to the surface, where shellfish live.

    That's why Washington's shellfish industry, worth $270 million a year and responsible for thousands of jobs, is the first to feel the effects of this global phenomenon, says Bill Dewey of Taylor Shellfish, the largest producer of farmed shellfish in the country.

    In a single night, Taylor's growers will bring in about 50,000 oysters.

    BILL DEWEY, Taylor Shellfish Farms: This is the first place these deep corrosive waters are coming to the surface. And we're an industry that relies on calcifiers, so we're the first to see the effects and to scream about it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Ocean acidification acts a lot like osteoporosis, the condition that causes bones to become brittle in humans. For oysters, scallops and other shellfish, lower pH means less carbonate, which they rely on to build their essential shells. As acidity increases, shells become thinner, growth slows down and death rates rise.

    BILL DEWEY: With oysters, the vulnerable stage that dissolves in these corrosive waters in the very, very young stage. They're using a form of calcium carbonate to build their shell that dissolves really easily.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: On the East Coast, growers are starting to worry that they will be hit next.

    New Bedford, Mass., is America's top-producing fishing port, and sea scallops, another species vulnerable to acidification, makes up 77 percent of their production.

    SARAH COOLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Shellfishing is really a way of life for many of those families and much of that community. And taking that away further homogenizes our country. We could see changes in the demographics of the community, as working families move away.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Sarah Cooley studies the socioeconomic impacts of altered oceans at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. She and other researchers project acidification could reduce U.S. shellfish harvests by as much as 25 percent over the next 50 years.

    SARAH COOLEY: We will look back and say, oh, things used to be like this, and I hope that's not the case. I hope we can actually preserve those pockets of individuality in the country that make it so great by finding these regional solutions that can help out different regions to preserve their ways of life.

    But what we are looking at is probably on the order of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars just related to the shellfish fishery in this country alone, because it's a $740 million industry.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Oystermen have been working with scientists to find ways to adapt. Hatcheries now monitor seawater and only allow it in when acidity levels are lower. They're also adding sodium carbonate and eelgrass to help balance the pH levels. That's helped growers recover nearly 75 percent of their losses.

    But Dick Feely says that strategy won't work in the future, when scientific models show corrosive waters will become more pervasive at the sea surface.

    RICHARD FEELY: Because, as we continue to release more and more CO2 in the atmosphere, and that will be taken up by the oceans, eventually, the oceans will be corrosive 50 percent of the time or 60 percent of the time within the next 30 or 40 years.

    This would be a 100 percent to 150 percent increase of the acidity of the oceans by the end of the century. This is a very dramatic change that has not been seen in the world oceans for more than 50 million years.

    BILL DEWEY: For shellfish growers, the future is now. This is a very real problem, and we hope that people pay attention to the canary in the coal mine here.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Washington state recently convened a panel of policy-makers and scientists to develop long-term strategies to the problem. And scientists are still learning more about how the impacts of acidification will ripple through the entire food web of the ocean.

    But oystermen already know this is just the beginning of a long-term struggle.


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    On tonight's PBS NewsHour, Correspondent Spencer Michels and I report on a massive, groundbreaking study underway at Kaiser Permanente and the University of California at San Francisco, which one day may shed light on the genetic roots of health conditions such as Parkinson's, cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease.

    UCSF Professor Neil Risch, the lead genetic researcher, told the NewsHour that the information researchers are gathering from genetic studies, at his lab and others, are on the verge of revolutionizing medicine.

    "We can actually look to see how the genes that somebody has, and they've had since they were born, interact with environmental factors that actually work together to either increase or decrease risk of say heart disease or cancer or a whole variety of things," Risch said.

    The 200,000 Kaiser Permanente patients who submitted their saliva and blood for genetic analysis will not learn their own genetic profile; the data bank Risch and his colleagues are compiling is for research only. But a number of private companies, including 23andme are now offering personal genetics testing for as little as $99.

    Despite all the research in recent years, scientists still know very little about how our genes impact our long-term health. And environmental factors play a significant role as well. So what can we actually learn from a detailed analysis of our genes? Not a whole lot ... right now. But in the not-too-distant future, a simple blood test may reveal that our genetic makeup puts us at higher risk for certain diseases.

    I asked people in San Francisco's Union Square for their take on this question: If a genetic test revealed you were at risk for getting a disease, especially a disease that can't currently be prevented or treated like Alzheimer's, would you want to know?

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The latest fiscal fight in Congress formally began today, the process of trying to adopt a budget for the fiscal year that begins in October.

    House Republicans went first. Senate Democrats go tomorrow. Neither side is likely to win many converts across the aisle, but, for now, it's all about spelling out political differences.

    NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman begins our coverage.

    REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis.: We believe that we owe the American people a balanced budget. And for the third straight year, we have delivered. In fact, we balance this budget in just 10 years.

    KWAME HOLMAN: As House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan spelled it out, the Republican plan would cut the deficit by $4.6 trillion dollars over 10 years. Some of that would come through the higher taxes approved in January. But $1.8 trillion would come from repealing the president's signature health care law.

    In addition, the plan converts Medicaid to a block grant to the states and reduces its federal funding share. Ryan also proposed, as he has in the past, transforming Medicare by giving seniors a fixed amount to purchase traditional program coverage or a private plan.

    Last year's Republican vice presidential nominee acknowledged that the plan won't get past Senate Democrats or President Obama. Instead, he said, it's an opening bid.

    PAUL RYAN: Will the president take every one of these solutions? Probably not. Are a lot of these solutions very popular and did we win these arguments in the campaign? Some of us think so. And so what we're saying is, here's our offer. Here's our vision. Here's how we propose to plan to balance the budget and grow the economy, repair the safety net, save Medicare.

    KWAME HOLMAN: But Democrats quickly charged that Ryan's math, especially on taxes, doesn't add up. He would eliminate most deductions and lower tax rates. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Ryan asks nothing from the wealthy to help cut the deficit.

    JAY CARNEY, White House Press Spokesman: There is no way to do that in a revenue-neutral way without raising taxes substantially on middle-class families. We look at the Ryan budget as a perfect example of why balance is so necessary, because this is what -- this is the alternative to balance.

    It results in unfair tax hikes on middle-class Americans, and it results in undue burden on middle-class Americans through the cuts envisioned.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Democrats in the Senate are unexpected to unveil their budget for the 2014 fiscal year tomorrow. And unlike the House Republicans' plan, the measure is expected to include a mix of spending cuts and tax increases.

    Senate Majority leader Harry Reid offered a preview this morning.

    SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: The Democratic plan will cut wasteful spending and reduce the deficit, close tax loopholes that benefit the rich and invest what the economy needs to go, to go really hard, to continue to build, to grow. It will encourage a strong middle class.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Democratic aides said the plan would cut deficits by about $1.8 trillion over 10 years, half through tax revenues and half from spending cuts.

    But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he has low expectations.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky.: Call me a skeptic, but there's little chance the budget my Senate Democratic friends put forward will balance either today, 10 years from today or ever. And I doubt it will contain much in the way of spending reform either.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Amid the back-and-forth, President Obama began a series of four trips to Capitol Hill this week, starting today with a meeting with Senate Democrats. He came and went without comment, but he will be back tomorrow to meet with House Republicans. On Thursday, he confers with Senate Republicans and House Democrats.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And we explore further the politics and the policies of the competing budget plans with Nancy Cook, the economic and fiscal policy correspondent for the National Journal.

    So, still again, two very different visions, right? You referred to it in your report as world views. Start with the Republicans. What did you hear today?

    NANCY COOK, National Journal: Sure.

    A lot of what we heard from the Republicans was very similar to what we have heard from them in the past. They want to change Medicare for people starting in 2024 and turn it into more of a voucher program, where people go out and buy their own private health insurance. They want to block grant things like Medicaid and food stamps so that it goes through state funding. It changes from an open entitlement program to something that will only support people as long as the money lasts.

    And they want to unwind some things that federal government spends money on, like housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But these are really policies that we have heard from them before. There wasn't a lot of new substance there.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, and, in fact, you were at the press conference. And I was watching. A reporter pointed that out to Paul Ryan.

    NANCY COOK: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And he was sort of -- and we saw a little bit of it. He was sort of unapologetically continuing on, no matter what happened in the election, right?

    NANCY COOK: Well, there's a feeling on the part of the House Republicans that, although the presidential election was lost for the Republican Party, the House Republicans feel like they still maintain the majority in the House.

    And they feel like that gives them some sort of a mandate. I also feel like the ironic thing in the Ryan budget and the biggest change is that a lot of the savings that Ryan uses to balance the budget in 10 years -- that is a new policy goal for him -- actually come from signature White House and President Obama policies, thing like the Affordable Care Act and the new tax revenue gained by the fiscal cliff deal.

    JEFFREY BROWN: That was passed in -- at the end of last year.

    NANCY COOK: Right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, that plays into how he's getting to his budget balance, you're saying.

    NANCY COOK: Yes. That is a huge part of the math of how he's getting there in the 10-year window. He doesn't make Medicare changes until 2024. So that wasn't really part of it. And it was through these other savings.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, on the Democratic side, it's tomorrow. Patty Murray is the Senate Budget Committee chair. She's putting forth a plan. And, partly, this is interesting, because there hasn't really been a Democratic plan for a while, right?

    NANCY COOK: That's absolutely right.

    The Senate Democrats haven't produced a budget since 2009. This is a real talking point of the Republicans. And so part of the challenge of her budget is to defang that idea that the Senate Democrats don't produce a budget. But, also, it's a tricky thing politically, because she has to unite very different people in her caucus, everyone from, you know, the liberal independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, to Mark Warner, who is a senator from Virginia who has been much more of a deficit hawk. And these are people both on her committee that she has to unite behind this proposal.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And you can't walk through all of it, but give us a couple of examples of what is expected that sort of toes the line between those two extremes in the party.

    NANCY COOK: Well, the biggest difference is, is that she's calling for $1 trillion dollars in new revenue. And that's going to come through closing loopholes, whereas the Ryan budget doesn't want any new revenue. So, that's sort of a big headline difference.

    The other thing is, is that she's going to propose about $275 billion dollars in savings from health care programs, but again no changes whatsoever to benefits. This comes more through efficiencies or reduced payments to hospitals or doctors.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, both sides know that their proposal is not going to fly with the other. Is there talk that you hear about some middle ground, or is this, as we heard in Kwame's piece, sort of just positions now to see what they can get to?

    NANCY COOK: I think this week is like the budget battle knife fight. You know, everyone is just swarming each other and trying to figure out what the negotiations are.

    But also you have to keep in mind that they're setting up the parameters for the debt ceiling fight that we're going to face this summer. So, with each of these things, it sort of feeds into the next budget battle. And that's what it's meant to do this week.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, in the meantime, you have the president coming to Capitol Hill today for the first time of four meetings with all the different factions. What do you hear from members about -- either the ones who have already participated or are they looking forward to this? Do they see something good coming out of it? What's going on?

    NANCY COOK: Well, the great thing about having the bully pulpit of the White House is that even if people are critical of the president, it's always flattering to either get an invitation from the president to dinner or to have the president come visit politicians' turf by coming up to Capitol Hill.

    So, I talked with a number of Senate Republicans last week who seem to -- you know, they seemed excited by the dinner. They were unclear if it would lead to a big budget deal, but at least the attention. I think today Senate Democrats were a little less flattered, but still excited that the president came up to Capitol Hill and they're hearing from him directly.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Of course, tomorrow is House Republicans, right?

    NANCY COOK: Right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, Paul Ryan, you can't expect a love fest there, I guess.

    NANCY COOK: Yes. He's going to face his fiercest critics over the next few days when he meets with the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans. And that's an interesting sideshow to these dueling budget proposals. Does that set up any goodwill for some sort of budget deal this spring?

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Nancy Cook, National Journal, thanks so much.

    NANCY COOK: Thanks. 


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: 115 Roman Catholic cardinals began their Vatican conclave today to select the next pope. Their first vote was inconclusive, but they will resume tomorrow, continuing until one man wins a two-thirds majority.

    We have a report from Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN, Independent Television News: At 5:34 this afternoon, the doors to the Sistine Chapel shut. The Swiss guards of the Vatican were left standing watch over a process seemingly immune to time itself.

    If there's a front-runner, it's this man, Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, who seemed to know the oath of secrecy by heart. Behind him, Odilo Scherer from Sao Paulo, Brazil. In a chapel which has been swept for bugging devices and cameras and watching all this pomp and circumstance, a rather more bedraggled crowd in front of St. Peter's enduring thunder and rain.

    This morning, we found Cardinal Thomas Collins from Toronto heading off to what he called an awesome experience.

    Do you have a favorite in your mind?

    CARDINAL THOMAS COLLINS, Archbishop of Toronto, Canada: This isn't politics. It really isn't.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: The Canadian, clutching his cassock close, and keeping his choice for the walls of the Sistine Chapel alone.

    Do you thrill it will be a quick conclave? Or do you have any feeling about that?

    THOMAS COLLINS: I think with Viterbo in 1200, it was three years. So, but that -- I don't ...

    They had -- look, they had to take the roof off wherever they were. And I would hate to do that with the Sistine Chapel. You would wreck a lot of good art. OK. See you, guys.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: Later, the cardinals entered the majestic St. Peter's Basilica, the leaders of the Catholic flock seeking divine inspiration before choosing their shepherd-in-chief.

    Leading the mass, 85-year-old Cardinal Angelo Sodano, praying for unity and a pontiff who would embrace the mission with a noble heart. There was applause, if not universal, when Pope Benedict's former right-hand man thanked him for what he called a brilliant papacy.

    Tonight, the eternal city really felt that way, a swollen crowd agog for nothing more than a puff of holy smoke.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The cardinals' schedule each day calls for two rounds of voting in the morning and two more in the afternoon.

    A Colorado judge today entered a plea of not guilty for James Holmes, the man accused in the mass shooting at a movie theater last July. That came after his lawyers said Holmes wasn't yet ready to enter a plea of his own. The accused gunman sat silently next to his defense team in court. He is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the attack that left 12 people dead and 70 injured. Holmes may yet choose to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

    A sharply divided U.S. Senate committee has voted to expanded mandatory federal background checks to nearly all gun purchases. The tally in the Judiciary Committee today was 10-8, with all Democrats for it and every Republican against it. A vote on a separate plan by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines was delayed.

    The Federal Aviation Administration today approved Boeing's plan to redesign the troubled batteries on its 787 Dreamliner. In several instances, the lithium ion batteries have overheated or caught fire. As a result, the entire fleet of Dreamliners was grounded earlier this year. The FAA says the extensive testing of the redesigned batteries will be needed before the planes can return to service.

    The top U.S. intelligence official warned today that North Korea's tough talk and provocative actions pose a serious challenge. National Intelligence Director James Clapper appeared at a Senate hearing on global threats. Clapper said North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong-un, is proving unpredictable. His regime recently staged a long-range missile launch and nuclear test, and has threatened a nuclear strike against the U.S.

    RETIRED LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER, National Intelligence Director: The rhetoric, while it is propaganda-laced, is also an indicator of their attitude and perhaps their intent. So, for my part, I am very concerned about what they might do. And they certainly, if they so chose, could initiate a provocative action against the South.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Clapper also warned that across-the-board spending cuts are hurting the intelligence budget and jeopardizing national security.

    Five American troops were killed in Afghanistan last night when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed. It happened outside Kandahar City in the south. NATO said an investigation was under way, but initial reports showed no enemy activity in the area. Two other Americans also died yesterday, shot by an Afghan policeman.

    There's a new health warning out about the commonly used antibiotic Zithromax. The Food and Drug Administration said today it can cause a potentially fatal irregular heart rhythm in some patients. Zithromax is often prescribed to treat bronchitis and sinus infections.

    The woman chosen to run the Securities and Exchange Commission promised -- quote -- "unrelenting enforcement today." Former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White spoke at her Senate confirmation hearing. She is expected to be confirmed, but Richard Cordray faces Republican opposition to his nomination to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His current temporary appointment expires at year's end.

    It was a light trading day on Wall Street, and stocks didn't move much one way or the other. The Dow Jones industrial average gained two points to close at 14,450. The Nasdaq fell 10 points to close at 3,242.

    And Twinkies could be back in stores this summer. The companies buying bankrupt Hostess Brands said today that's their goal. Two companies jointly submitted the only bid to buy the Twinkies brand for $410 million dollars. It is subject to approval by a federal bankruptcy court on March 19th.

    Those are some of the day's major stories -- now back to Judy.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we turn to the strong reaction and discussion that's been sparked online, in the media, at home, and at the office by Sheryl Sandberg's new book.

    It's one of the perpetual questions and dilemmas asked about the American workplace. More than half of the nation's labor force is female. Yet only 14 percent of executive positions are staffed by women. So why are there so few women at the top? That's one of many issues Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, takes on in her new book, "Lean In."

    Sandberg discussed that Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes" as part of her media tour.

    SHERYL SANDBERG, Facebook: I think we're stalled. And I think we need to acknowledge that we're stalled, so that we can change it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: One of the biggest names in the Silicon Valley tech world, Sandberg addresses issues on pay, gender stereotypes, and the work-family juggle that working mothers and fathers face. She argues women are too often prone to undercutting their own career potential.

    SHERYL SANDBERG: They start leaning back. They say, oh, I'm busy. I want to have a child one day. I couldn't possibly, you know, take on any more, or I'm still learning on my current job. I have never had a man say that stuff to me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And she says too few women are willing to promote themselves.

    SHERYL SANDBERG: I'm not suggesting women aren't ambitious. Plenty of women are as ambitious as men. But I am saying -- and I want to say it unequivocally and unapologetically -- that the data is clear that when it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you're doing, men/boys outnumber girls and women.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Some consider the book a kind of feminist manifesto, but her writings and interviews have spawned a flurry of news headlines across the media world, a major criticism, that Sandberg, a multimillionaire, Harvard graduate, protégé of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and one-time executive at Google, is too much a part of the elite to provide advice that's useful for many working women.

    SHERYL SANDBERG: I am not saying that everyone has the resources or opportunities I have. I'm not saying that everyone's husband is going to wake up tomorrow, read a book and start doing his share. We need to help women own the power they have, learn how to negotiate for raises, get the pay they deserve.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On ABC's "Nightline," Sandberg said even she realized that she needed to be more aggressive on her own behalf when she was first offered the Facebook job.

    SHERYL SANDBERG: It was my brother-in-law who said to me, what, are you kidding? No one takes the first offer. Go negotiate. And I said, well, if I negotiate, maybe he won't like me. Maybe I won't get the job. It won't work out.

    And he said to me, why are you going to take this job and make less than any man would take? And that was motivating.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Sandberg insists she is not letting employers off the hook. But her emphasis is on motivating women to help themselves by thinking and acting differently.

    We dive deeper now into the reaction with perspectives from three women who have written on this. Katha Pollitt is a well-known writer, essayist, poet, and critic who writes a column in The Nation. Danielle Belton is the creator and editor of a blog on pop culture and politics called The Black Snob. And Jody Greenstone Miller is a businesswoman who has served in senior roles in both the private sector and government. She is the founder and CEO of Business Talent Group, a consulting firm.

    Welcome to you all.

    Katha Pollitt, you had a mostly positive reaction to what Sandberg has written. What does she bring to this long-simmering discussion?

    KATHA POLLITT, Author/Essayist: Well, I think she brings optimism.

    I think that's so important. I think a lot of the writing and conversation about women and work, it's a real downer. It's, oh, you will have a baby and then you won't be able to come back. And, oh, God, you're going to feel guilty all the time. It's really terrible. Your husband isn't going to help you. You probably won't get that job anyway.

    And, you know, she brings to it sort of like, well, why don't you do what you can to make sure that that terrible fate doesn't befall you? Make sure you and your husband are on the same page about equality in the home. Don't marry a man who isn't equal. Be on the lookout for things like -- that drag down your own confidence like the impostor syndrome. Who doesn't have that? I'm a fraud and soon people are going to find out.

    I think it's a very -- it's all framed in a very positive way. I think that's what people like about it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Danielle Belton, you were saying to us that you think she has useful advice for a certain group of women, but that she doesn't reach a broad -- a broader group of working women.

    DANIELLE BELTON, The Black Snob: Well, yes.

    When she's talking about how there's not enough women leaders in some of these CEO positions, which specific women is she referring to? Often who fills these positions come from the Ivy League system. They come from the elite. They come from the upper echelons of society.

    She's not necessarily talking about women who came from my alma mater, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. You know, it seemed like she's asking women of the elite to make a choice and to choose the harder path by pursuing these higher-level positions.

    The problem is she wrote a book that was for all women, as opposed to narrowing the focus there. And so I feel like that's where a lot of this criticism and confusion is coming from, because a lot of things she says make sense if she is talking about her own peers. It doesn't necessarily make sense if she's talking about all women in general, because the plight of working-class, poor and middle-class women is demonstrably different.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Jody Greenstone Miller, how do you see that?

    JODY GREENSTONE MILLER, Business Talent Group: Well, to me, everything Sheryl says makes sense. And I think people should listen to her.

    I think if we listen to her, however, we will not solve the problem that she herself so eloquently states, which is how do we get to a world where half of our leaders are women? And I believe if that's our goal, which I think it should be, the problem is women aren't leaning in not because they don't know how to, but because they don't like the world they're being asked to lean into.

    And until we really take steps to acknowledge that and address that, I think we're going to be having this conversation 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you're saying employers have responsibility here, too?

    JODY GREENSTONE MILLER: I think employers and our culture. I think it's about what kind of leaders we want.

    Do we want leaders only who go through this particular path? Or do we want to create other routes to leadership that allow for a diversity of people, broadly speaking, not just women, but men and women, to get to leadership positions with a different set of choices than Sheryl and her peers are making?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Katha Pollitt, what about these points that there is a role for the work -- for employers, the folks who are doing the hiring and the promoting, and that there is perhaps a swathe of women who are left out of what Sheryl Sandberg is writing?

    KATHA POLLITT: Well, the first point I think is absolutely true.

    The main responsibility for changing this situation cannot rest on individual women. There are plenty of women who have leaned in very hard and are just invisible to people who do not want to employ women. They may think they do, but each individual woman, somehow, she's not the right woman.

    That's why I would place much more emphasis than Sheryl Sandberg does on things like affirmative action, anti-discrimination suits, quotas. Do you know that the only countries where women are gaining in representation in legislatures are countries that have quotas of how many women should be there and parties that have quotas of how many women candidates they put up?

    If things keep going this way in America, it is going to be 70 years before we get to parity in Congress. That's a long time. The second point, I think, is also sort of true. But, you know, I'm not in the running to be a CEO. I'm a writer. I was a freelance writer and an editor at The Nation for most of my life. And I do find some of the things she says quite useful.

    I think, for example, if you're a schoolteacher, why is it that the principal is usually a man? A schoolteacher can become a principal.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me stop you there and come back to Danielle Belton.

    What about this point from Katha Pollitt that, yes, employers do have a role, but there is something useful for all women to take away from this about how they view themselves in the work -- in a work role?

    DANIELLE BELTON: Well, the part of the book that I felt that really personally resonated for me was the one about women and confidence, women and being able to clearly state their power, because often women are socialized to really downplay their gifts. They're socialized to be polite. I often call it apologizing for existing.

    It's like you have gotten this great job. You do a great job at it. You work very hard and diligently. But then when someone asks you to speak up, you still have this fallback urge to downplay all the work, the hard work that you have done. But you don't say, “May I please have a raise?” You ask and demand for that raise.

    And so that portion of the book, I feel, is applicable to lots of women in the career and in the work force.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But you're also saying -- and I will turn to Jody Greenstone Miller on this -- that there are women who really are never going to get to a point of aspiring to be a CEO, and yet they want to be paid fairly for what they're doing and they want to have equal opportunity.

    JODY GREENSTONE MILLER: Yes.

    I mean, I think there's no question women should be paid fairly. They should have equal opportunity. I think the thing that concerns me about this advice is, in and of itself, I don't think it will solve the ultimate problem, which is, until we have different paths that allow women and men, for that matter, to really rise to leadership levels with different models, models that don't mean you have to devote a very, very large percentage of your life to your work, I think you will always have this issue.

    No matter how well women represent themselves, no matter how much confidence they have, the number of women who will choose to play in that league are going to be few and far between.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In fact, you write about how employers could break up the workweek, split up job assignments, have people be available even if they're not on the job literally 40, 80 hours a week.

    Katha Pollitt, what about the role of men in all this? Are we focusing too much attention on how it's women's responsibility to get this right?

    KATHA POLLITT: Yes, I think we are.

    I think, you know, men are half the people. And men run most of these businesses and workplaces where women are not doing as well as they should.

    Women -- and men are the fathers. And I think one of the nice things about this book, I have to say, is that she expresses the desire that men do better in this regard in a very positive way. I mean, don't fathers want to spend more time with their children? I think they do. Aren't fathers very important parts of their children's development and upbringing? Yes, they are.

    So let's have a world where men can do that. I mean, it should be as normal for a man to stay home with children as a woman to stay home with children. And, ideally, everybody would do half and half.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just quickly to our other two guests, Danielle Belton, what is the next thing that needs to happen for women, if they are going to have a larger share of the pie when it comes to work opportunity?

    DANIELLE BELTON: It really boils down to family leave. I mean, women are trying to create this work-life balance. And until business accommodates that, it is always going to be an issue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Jody Greenstone Miller?

    JODY GREENSTONE MILLER: I think we have to open our minds and imagine that we can have a CEO who is working three days a week and structuring the world around her to accommodate that in a way that it will be good for her and good for the business and good for the men. And that's what I think we should aspire to do.

    And, by the way, Sheryl is in a good position to try to do this. So, I would love to see her try to institute some of that at Facebook.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we thank you all for being with us.

    Jody Greenstone Miller, Danielle Belton, and Katha Pollitt, thank you.

    KATHA POLLITT: Thanks.

    DANIELLE BELTON: Thank you.

    JODY GREENSTONE MILLER: Thank you.


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    JEFFREY BROWN: In California, researchers are sifting through a huge collection of genetic data that could be a key to unlocking vital information for doctors and patients.

    NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels reports.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Every year, 240,000 men in America learn that they have prostate cancer. Reggie Watkins, a retired parole officer and a patient at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., is one of them.

    REGGIE WATKINS, Kaiser Patient: The first biopsy showed a slight cancer, slight amount of cancer. The second biopsy showed no cancer. I do think there's a genetic situation in my family. I'm not the only and my brother is not the only one in the family to have this problem.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Until recently, Watkins' family history and his unique genetic makeup would have played a minor role, if any, in his medical care. But thanks in part to a massive, groundbreaking new study under way at Kaiser and the University of California, San Francisco, information gleaned from patients' genes may prove the key to identifying and treating a host of diseases.

    NEIL RISCH, University of California, San Francisco: You know, you're not born to this world as a blank slate. You come into it with a certain genetic disposition.

    SPENCER MICHELS: UCSF Professor Neil Risch, the lead genetic researcher, says that his project and others that compile vast amounts of genetic information are on the verge of revolutionizing medicine.

    NEIL RISCH: We can actually look to see how the genes that somebody has and they have had since they were born interact with environmental factors that actually work together to either increase or decrease risk of, say, heart disease or cancer or a whole variety of things.

    SPENCER MICHELS: More than 200,000 Kaiser patients in California over the last five years have volunteered saliva and blood samples for genetic analysis. Those samples are processed at this Kaiser lab using state-of- the-art robotic devices which extract the DNA.

    CATHERINE SCHAEFER, Kaiser Permanente: This is the richest, largest, the most comprehensive data bank right now in the world.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Catherine Schaefer directs Kaiser's gene research program. She says what makes the project unique when compared to other genetic data banks, including larger and older collections in Iceland and England, is the number of participants and their diverse ethnic mix.

    Perhaps most important, Kaiser's data bank has detailed electronic medical records for those participants that go back at least 15 years, a collection rare in the medical world.

    CATHERINE SCHAEFER: It's a large group of people who we know everything about their medical history. We can look across diseases and see, are there common elements in these diseases? Are there common genetic influences that lead to a variety of diseases?

    SPENCER MICHELS: The DNA samples Kaiser collects are anonymous and private. The health records have been de-identified. Individuals who donate blood or saliva will not learn of their own genetic profile. The data bank is for research only.

    A steady stream of those samples gets delivered daily to Kaiser's biorepository lab, according to Sunita Miles, lab manager.

    SUNITA MILES, Kaiser Lab Manager: So, these are big bags of saliva that we have received from the U.S. Postal Service.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Every day, huh?

    SUNITA MILES: Every day, we receive these. They come from consenting research participants. They receive the kit, they spit into the kit, and they then close the cap and send it back to us in a yellow envelope.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Researchers say that Kaiser, with 5.5 million California members, is an ideal partner in building the gene data bank. In Northern California alone, it does 30 million blood tests a year, an entirely automated process that spews out reports on everything from cholesterol levels to liver function.

    This is also where blood samples for the study are first received, and then passed on to the genetic researchers; 10 percent of Kaiser's members have consented to be part of the data bank.

    Analyzing the genes of the first 100,000 patients was done here at Risch's U.C. lab in San Francisco. It was a long and costly process that was paid for with $25 million dollars of federal stimulus money from the National Institutes of Health. The data is stored digitally, billions of bits, in these UCSF servers.

    NEIL RISCH: We think of this as really a gold mine, but a lot of gold is still in the mine. And we need the pickaxes to get it out.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Kaiser's Schaefer says researchers are just beginning to tap into the database gold mine, and she thinks Alzheimer's will be one of the diseases which will be better understood by what they find in the data bank.

    CATHERINE SCHAEFER: We don't have any way right now to treat Alzheimer's. We don't have any way to prevent Alzheimer's. So if we can understand what are the underlying pathways by which genes and environment interacting actually create the disease, then we have a chance to interrupt that process.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Researchers acknowledge that the promise of genetics to treat and potentially prevent disease is moving slower in some cases than initially expected. But Schaefer and others are also convinced that genetics will play a vital role in determining which medicines can most benefit people.

    CATHERINE SCHAEFER: We actually are finding, for example, that genes are an important factor in how people respond to medications. So we're increasingly identifying what are the genetic variations -- or the genetic variants that are important when you're about to prescribe a medication for someone.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Medicine to lower high cholesterol, statins, are part of Risch's studies.

    NEIL RISCH: So, you know, if people take statins, we look to see how their cholesterol, LDL cholesterol responds to taking statins. And we clearly show there's a dose relationship. The larger your statin dose, The more response you have. But there are genetic factors that also determine how well you are going to respond to statin use.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Early results not yet published show promise of making genetic connections to high cholesterol that haven't been made before.

    NEIL RISCH: We look at 700,000 different genetic markers. You can really come up with a genetic profile of how much these genes are actually contributing to your individual cholesterol level.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Questions facing the organizers of the big genetic data bank include whether this is the most efficient way to study common diseases and whether enough scientists will use the data bank to justify its cost.

    But those concerns, raised as the data bank was getting going, seem to have been answered by the response of scientists wanting to use the data.

    NEIL RISCH: It's something like 80 requests so far. This is only going to exponentiate as -- again, as people become more aware of the resource and what its capabilities are.

    SPENCER MICHELS: The enormous potential of the data bank only serves to emphasize the importance of genetics in health, especially precision or personalized medicine, says the chancellor of UCSF, oncologist Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann. She says big changes are coming.

    DR. SUSAN DESMOND-HELLMANN, University of California, San Francisco: It is not unreasonable to think that your doctor in the future will say, in addition to checking your blood count or your liver tests, we're going to get a genetic sequence for you because you are dealing with a clinical problem, anything from a cancer, Parkinson's disease, where I'm going to be able to precisely treat you knowing that sequencing information. That's a difference today vs. the future.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Prostate cancer, like Reggie Watkins has, is high on the list of diseases sure to be influenced by new genetic studies, says Desmond-Hellmann.

    SUSAN DESMOND-HELLMANN: I think the data base is going to be extraordinarily rich for prostate cancer. It remains true that most men, if they live into their 80s, will die with prostate cancer. Some men will die from prostate cancer.

    Boy, that is a really difficult issue clinically. Who do we treat? Who is going to get in trouble, and who should we ignore? This data base will allow us to start to ask those questions. Who lives with and who dies of prostate cancer?

    SPENCER MICHELS: Desmond-Hellmann believes the genetic revolution is at hand. And, she predicts, databases like the one in the bay area will flourish. Sequencing, reading through the part of the DNA code for genes looking for abnormalities, will become routine as it becomes easier and cheaper.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Online, we pose the question, how much would you want to know about your DNA? Find out what people in San Francisco's Union Square had to say.


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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight, to our Daily Download segment.

    During the campaign, it was called Obama for America, President Obama's online effort to galvanize support. In his second term, it's morphed into Organizing for Action, again reaching out for support, this time on particular issues and again using social media.

    This week, the president addresses the group for the first time.

    And I talked to our Daily Download team, Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz, about it and more when we sat down together yesterday.

    Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz, welcome back.

    LAUREN ASHBURN, Daily-Download.com: Thank you.

    HOWARD KURTZ, Newsweek/CNN: Thank you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, so we talked a lot during the campaign about this notion of using social -- social media for the president and Mitt Romney, for that matter, to reach out.

    Lauren, what are they doing now with this new morphed organization?

    LAUREN ASHBURN: Well, this OFA, which is essentially all of the campaign's social media, Facebook, Twitter, all of that apparatus, is now going to be used for issues, for immigration ...

    HOWARD KURTZ: Gun control.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: ... for gun control, for a variety of issues that the Obama administration is trying to push.

    HOWARD KURTZ: But the question is, Lauren, can -- even though the OFA has got the 33 million Facebook friends of the president, 22 million Twitter followers and so on, can it galvanize the kind of grassroots support that it did during a campaign when you had a definite opponent in Mitt Romney, and not just ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, exactly, the question, what are they asking people to do? Because, during a campaign, right, it's vote for me and get your friends to vote for me.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: Right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What do they ask now?

    LAUREN ASHBURN: It's also, give me $5 dollars and give me your e-mail.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Right.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: And when they posted an article, they posted an article on BarackObama.com. And it was by Jim Messina, who is the former campaign manager who is now running OFA; 47 people Tweeted it.

    So, for President Obama and his group to have that kind of article sitting on Barack Obama and only have 47 people tweet it shows that they're not getting the groundswell of support that they did during the presidential election.

    HOWARD KURTZ: But they may be getting the groundswell support from very well-heeled donors, which The New York Times reports they're paying $50,000 dollars apiece to come to this meeting that the president is going to address. So, maybe aiming at a slightly different audience there.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Do you have a sense of who they -- what they're asking people to do? I mean, to stay -- you mentioned gun control. You mentioned, well, various things that are coming up. What do they ask people to do?

    HOWARD KURTZ: Call their congressman, do all the things they use digital tools to do in order to get a sense of people backing the president's legislative agenda, especially in the Republican House.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: It's online grassroots action.

    JEFFREY BROWN: OK.

    Next -- next agenda item for us that also came out this week is the Pew Research Center, a new study, and we talk a lot about Twitter. So, this one suggests that there is a disconnect between Twitter and public opinion.

    Describe for us what comes out here.

    HOWARD KURTZ: Well, it's hardly surprising, because although all journalists are on Twitter, only three percent of the public is actively tweeting. We're talking about not a snapshot of the general public.

    We're talking about people who are much younger, many of them under 30; 57 percent of them self-identify as either Democrats or Democratic-leaning. And so, not shockingly, you get a different kind of public opinion when you just look at the tweets.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: So, let's take a look.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right. Give us an example. We have got one.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: We have some information for you.

    President Obama's reelection, according to this Pew poll, the public opinion poll said 52 percent of the people were happy with the reelection. On Twitter, 77 percent were positive, had a positive feeling about that.

    HOWARD KURTZ: They were ecstatic.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: Which goes right to Howie's point, which says that there are more Democrats than Republicans on Twitter.

    The second one, President Obama's second inaugural, the public, 48 percent positive, but here, very interesting, on Twitter, only 13 percent positive. So it really skews ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, that's an example of the second one, where the public was more positive than Twitter.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: Right. Well, and that's often the case. I find the public is much more positive than Twitter. I have had a death threat on Twitter. It can be a very nasty place.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, there's a couple of issues here. One is the political issue, partisanship. And there's the sort of general negativity, right, of social media.

    But on the partisanship one, o, this sort of suggests in some cases Twitter is more liberal or more Democratic-leaning, but in other cases perhaps not?

    HOWARD KURTZ: Perhaps more conservative. That was exactly the conclusion reached by the Pew researchers.

    But when you look at, for example, the president's second inaugural address, was that because people thought it wasn't liberal enough, or was it because people just like to snark on Twitter, particularly the percentage? I think it's half the people on Twitter are under 30. Yes.

    And so maybe they're just more negative toward everyone. And that's an experience anyone who has been on Twitter has personally experienced.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: I don't think that's true. I don't think it's just young people who are negative.

    I think that Twitter is this big megaphone. And if you have an opinion and you want your opinion to be heard, it has to be more negative in tone than positive in order for people to listen to it.

    HOWARD KURTZ: Or at least sharper and louder to break through the static. I mean, after all, people wouldn't go on Twitter -- they want to go on to read what others are writing, but they wouldn't broadcast on Twitter

    unless they really felt they had something to say. Sometimes, that slides into negative ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so, this, of course, goes to something we have talked about in the past, which is, what in the world does Twitter tell us?

    You know? What is it useful for when you see this kind of differences between it and public opinion?

    HOWARD KURTZ: It's a way of measuring passion.

    It is not a snapshot like a public opinion poll. It is not a perfectly -- perfect sample of United States' opinion. It is a way of seeing what is getting the most traction, what is trending, what people feel strongest about.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: And it's also a way of sharing information. We saw this during the election.

    The Obama campaign would share all of its information over Facebook, over Twitter. And it's the same thing for journalists. When we're finished here, I will share this link so that everybody can see it on Twitter. They can become more informed.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, in that sense, it's interesting that it differs sometimes from public opinion. But it doesn't -- it's not supposed to in some ways, I guess.

    HOWARD KURTZ: It's like listening to talk radio. We shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking that it's like a public opinion survey. But it certainly tells you what people are chattering about and what they feel strongly about.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: Well, public opinion surveys also don't convey tone. Right? So, you're asked, yes, no? You answer.

    HOWARD KURTZ: Approve, disapprove.

    LAUREN ASHBURN: Yes, right. And on this, you get to say, yes, no and, boy, is he a jerk.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Lauren Ashburn -- that's not a good note to end on, but ...

    LAUREN ASHBURN: I'm sorry.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Lauren Ashburn, Howard Kurtz, thanks so much. 


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    President Barack Obama arrives at Capitol Hill Tuesday to meet with Senate Democrats who are planning to unveil their budget blueprint this week. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

    The Morning Line

    Much has been made about President Barack Obama's stepped up outreach to lawmakers on Capitol Hill aimed at boosting support for his fiscal policies. But there are fresh signs that the president should also keep an eye on his standing with the American people when it comes to his handling of the economy.

    A new Washington Post/ABC News survey found that the president currently holds a 44 percent to 40 percent advantage over congressional Republicans on the question of whom the public trusts more to deal with economic concerns. In December, the poll showed an 18-point split in favor of the president.

    The Washington Post's Jon Cohen and Karen Tumulty also explain the dip in the president's overall approval rating:

    Obama's overall job-approval rating stands at 50 percent, down five points from before he took the oath of office in January. Looking along partisan lines, the slippage since then has been particularly pronounced among political independents. Two months ago, independents tilted clearly in his direction, with 54 percent approving and 41 percent disapproving. Now, half of independents express a negative opinion of the president's performance; just 44 percent approve.

    Still, they note, the survey conducted last week of 1,001 adults found Congress "remains far lower than the president in public esteem, with only 16 percent approving of its performance and 80 percent disapproving."

    The poll comes as the president has recently shifted his strategy in pushing his legislative agenda, making a public effort to seek compromise with Republican lawmakers, including a dinner last week with a dozen GOP senators. On Wednesday he will take his next step by meeting with the entire House GOP conference on their turf. It's the first time he's met with them at the Capitol since Jan. 27, 2009. He attended the House GOP retreat the following January, but last met with the conference at the White House on June 1, 2011.

    In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Mr. Obama outlined his philosophy on his recent outreach to Republicans. He said he has discovered "people don't always know what I've actually proposed. And it's a lot easier to have a conversation when there's something specific. So I've said, 'Here this may not have gotten reported on. Maybe you guys didn't see it in your office. But here are the things we're looking to do.'"

    He said it's a process that could eventually result in consensus on fiscal matters and shrinking the deficit, saying he is prepared to do "some tough stuff," but overall the president did not sound as optimistic about a so-called grand bargain emerging:

    But ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide. It may be that ideologically, if their position is, "We can't do any revenue," or, "We can only do revenue if we gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid," if that's the position, then we're probably not gonna be able to get a deal.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Tuesday he was taking a wait-and-see approach before making a judgment about the president's commitment to working with Republicans.

    "The question is, is he going to go out on the campaign trail and start campaigning against us again like he has been since the election," Ryan said. "Was the so-called charm offensive a temporary, poll-driven political calculation, or was it a sincere conversion to try and bring people together?"

    Ryan continued: "The question is, is there follow through? This question is, does the campaign start back up or does the engagement continue in a real, constructive and promising way? I don't know the answer to that question. Time will tell."

    The 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee unveiled his 2014 fiscal year budget on Tuesday, which would cut the deficit by $4.6 trillion over 10 years in part from repealing the president's healthcare law and transforming Medicare into a "premium-support" program in which seniors would get a fixed federal subsidy to purchase coverage.

    The president told ABC that his budget outline to be released in April would not balance the budget it 10 years. But he charged that Ryan's proposal does so by adding to the burden shared by low and middle-class Americans.

    "We're not gonna balance the budget in ten years because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucherize Medicare; you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid; you've essentially got to either tax middle-class families a lot higher than you currently are; or you can't lower rates the way he's promised," Mr. Obama said.

    "My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance," the president added. "If we've controlled spending and we've got a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance. But it's not balance on the backs of, you know, the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families who've got disabled kids. That's not the right way to balance our budget."

    Mr. Obama on Tuesday met with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill. His former colleagues described the session as "workmanlike" as he heard their concerns on mostly fiscal matters. But liberals in the caucus didn't back off confronting the president about their concerns over entitlement issues.

    Here are 10 things you need to know about Ryan's budget, courtesy of Roll Call.

    In PBS NewsHour's segment about Ryan's budget proposal, Jeffrey Brown talked with Nancy Cook of National Journal about the dueling pieces of fiscal legislation -- the Ryan plan and the Senate Democratic blueprint set for release Wednesday. She noted that Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., has a difficult job ahead to unite some "very different people in her caucus, everyone from, you know, the liberal independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, to Mark Warner, who is a senator from Virginia who has been much more of a deficit hawk."

    Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    Correction: An earlier version of this story said Ryan unveiled his budget on Monday. He released his plan Tuesday.

    LINE ITEMS

    As lawmakers wrangle over just what should be exempted from the sequester and money to implement the president's health care law, the continuing resolution legislation to keep the government funded stalled in the Senate.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced with only Democratic votes legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases.

    Virginia's Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling decided against running for governor as an independent, which helps Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

    The Justice Department's inspector general released a report showing the Voting Rights division with "numerous and troubling examples of harassment and marginalization of employees and managers."

    The Associated Press reports on the White House response to complaints from Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge that the president has not named any African Americans to his Cabinet since beginning his second term.

    Colorado is one step closer to legalizing civil unions.

    The man who secretly captured the Mitt Romney 47 percent video will go public in an interview on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" on Wednesday.

    Discouraged with the cost of a new biometric ID card, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested Tuesday that the Senate immigration group's legislation may have to rely on an expansion of the controversial E-Verify system for employers to vet potential employees.

    Casting the shadow of blame down Pennsylvania Avenue, House Republicans released a web video explaining that while White House tours may have been halted due to sequestration, the Capitol doors are still open to visitors.

    George P. Bush made it official Tuesday that he will seek the office of Texas Land Commissioner. The presidential nephew and grandson (Jeb Bush's son) announced his bid in a tweet.

    Scott Romney, brother of Mitt and son of George, won't be running for U.S. Senate in Michigan in 2014.

    TMZ first reported Tuesday that the First Lady was among the latest high profile victims of online hacking. The FBI and LAPD are reportedly investigating Russian hackers for exposing the personal and financial information of Michelle Obama and Joe Biden, among others.

    The Hill's Molly Hooper follows up with those House Republicans booted from top committees as punishment for speaking against leadership.

    Politico's Ken Vogel details the Republican who's-who that was a closed-door weekend retreat sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.

    Slate's John Dickerson examines the argument that the president's outreach to Republicans could be a trap.

    Mitch McConnell is buying up air time.

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's excuse to get out of jury duty is that he has "irreconcilable conflicts within my public duties as governor." And a new survey from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling found that he is in bad shape ahead of his 2014 re-election bid.

    Digital First Media's Ryan Beckwith looks at former senators and where they are now.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a constitutional amendment related to campaign finance that seeks to find a solution to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. The "Democracy is for the People amendment" aims to "stop corporations and their front groups from using their profits and dark money donations to influence elections," Sanders said. He said eight other states joined his, along with more than 300 cities and towns, to pass resolutions calling for the ruling to be overturned. Similar legislation was introduced in the House.

    "Everyone knows there's no decent barbecue in Washington." That's right, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Kevin McCarthy gave their thoughts on Netflix's "House of Cards."

    Two of the three candidates in Massachusetts' GOP primary, state Rep. Dan Winslow and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, released campaign videos Tuesday.

    In the latest edition of PBS' SXSW Diaries, Steve Goldbloom gets actor Paul Rudd to dish on the genesis of the term "dramedy."

    Halter tops, miniskirts and bedroom slippers are among the fashion don'ts U.S. News and World Report's Elizabeth Flock included in a post on what to wear to the Conservative Political Action Conference set for this week. Flock also has the 411 on a zombie-themed networking party.

    Today's tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA finds that African Americans, Hispanics and young people are the least likely to use traditional banks.

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    The Daily Download segment examined how the new Organizing for Action spinoff of the Obama campaign will use technology to push its issue campaign. Watch here or below. Watch Video

    And as if on cue, Organizing for Action emailed supporters Tuesday asking them to share stories about how the sequester is affecting their communities. Included in the note was the story of a fifth grade teacher in Tampa and how her county's schools "could" lose $3 million in funding for Head Start programs, and school lunches and "as much as $2 million in federal funding for special education." "The sequester isn't a list of numbers made up to scare you. It's a very real thing that will negatively impact real people -- like Megan's 36 students and their families," the message read.

    Judy Woodruff talked with Katha Pollitt of The Nation, "The Black Snob" blogger Danielle Belton and Jody Greenstone Miller, CEO of Business Talent Group about Sheryl Sandberg's new book "Lean In" and the ongoing conversation about the role of women in society. Watch that here.

    Don't miss this West Virginia Public Broadcasting piece about our Student Reporting Labs.

    Jenny Marder looks at how to eat an apple in space.

    TOP TWEETS

    Happy birthday to superstar @newshour politics teammate @kpolantz! #ff

    — Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) March 13, 2013

    Out in Vegas, when not being smacked around by Mo Green, Fredo Romney waits for someone to call about Mass.Senate race.

    — Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) March 13, 2013

    Is Dennis Rodman helping to elect a new pope? He's in Rome, per @rodneycbsnewsinstagr.am/p/WzA2Sxmw_Q/

    — Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) March 13, 2013

    Today, @vp had his first weekly breakfast with @statedept Sec Kerry, a tradition that started with Former Sec Clinton twitter.com/VP/status/3115...

    — Office of VP Biden (@VP) March 12, 2013

    '@mittromney enjoying a fluffernutter cupcake for his 66th birthday today instagr.am/p/Ww_lx5ELlT/

    — BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) March 12, 2013

    Great joy as Pres George HW Bush went to his Houston office for 1st time in 2013. He reports getting a "fair" reception from the staff.

    — Jim McGrath (@jgm41) March 12, 2013

    With my good friend from Western PA, @mikekellypa (yes, we planned this) twitter.com/RepMeehan/stat...

    — Patrick Meehan (@RepMeehan) March 12, 2013

    I'm thrilled to be joining the @bostonglobe's State House team, covering politics in my home state. Will miss the awesome @rollcall crew.

    — Joshua Miller (@jm_dc) March 12, 2013

    Katelyn Polantz, Cassie M. Chew, Linda J. Scott and politics desk assistant Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

    Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.

    Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

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    Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, spoke during a mass for Ash Wednesday on Feb. 13 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo by Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images.

    Updated 3:30 p.m. ET: Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was selected as the Catholic Church's 266th pope and the first from South America. He took the name Francis. (Read more)

    Original Story:

    As the first three rounds of voting Tuesday and Wednesday failed to produce a pope, the 115-member conclave will keep trying Wednesday afternoon with renewed hopes of reaching consensus. There's no clear frontrunner, but out of the cardinals who are eligible to become the 266th pontiff, certain ones are being discussed as possibilities. We profile some of them here:

    Angelo Scola of Italy

    Cardinal Angelo Scola celebrates the funeral mass for Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini on Sept. 3, 2012 in Milan, Italy. Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images.

    Cardinal Angelo Scola is the 71-year-old archbishop of Milan and if history is any indication, his nationality might work in his favor. Prior to Pope John Paul II, who was Polish, and German Pope Benedict XVI, Italians have had a lock on the papacy since 1552, according to the Vatican. Italians also make up the largest voting bloc in the conclave at 28.

    Scola is a theologian who has written about issues such as bio-medical ethics, marriage and sexuality, and advocated for social progress in the areas of immigration and poverty. During the last conclave in 2005, when Pope Benedict XVI was elected, he was considered too young for the post.

    Peter Turkson of Ghana

    Peter Turkson, pictured here in St. Peter's Square in Rome, was appointed a cardinal in October 2003 by Pope John Paul II. Photo by Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images.

    If Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, of Ghana were to become pope, he would represent a part of the world where the Catholic faith is growing. According to a Pew survey released in February, the number of Catholics is shrinking in Europe but expanding in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

    Turkson is president of the Vatican's peace and justice department, which works with other groups toward social justice and human rights. He told the Associated Press that he's ready to become pope "if it's the will of God."

    Sean O'Malley of the United States

    In 2004, Sean O'Malley, in his Capuchin garb, participated in an annual blessing of the lobster boats at the Cardinal Medeiros Dock in South Boston. Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

    Cardinal Sean O'Malley, 68, is one of only 11 Americans among the 115 total eligible cardinals in papal contention. Though commentators in general are saying the next pope will not likely be an American, O'Malley has gotten attention for how he ably worked with different dioceses on the child sex abuse scandal as the archbishop of Boston, according to a Washington Post profile.

    In addition to the continental United States, O'Malley has worked in Latin America and the Virgin Islands, and speaks fluent Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and German.

    Marc Ouellet of Canada

    Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet walks through St. Peter's Square before attending a pre-conclave meeting on March 7. Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images.

    Cardinal Marc Ouellet (pronounced "Wellette"), 68, is in charge of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, where he selects archbishops and bishops, and is therefore known by many of the cardinals.

    Ouellet has been described as a "compromise candidate" because though he is from North America (he was the archbishop of Quebec), he has done extensive missionary work in South America. But he reportedly has said in the past that being pope "would be a nightmare."

    Odilo Scherer of Brazil

    Cardinal Odilo Scherer, archbishop of Se Cathedral in Sao Paulo, Brazil, speaks at a press conference on Feb. 13, 2013. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images.

    Born of German immigrants in Brazil, Cardinal Odilo Scherer, 63, also straddles different regions of the world. As archbishop of Sao Paulo, he has lent his voice to pro-life and environmental efforts in his country.

    As a nod to Scherer's ability to reach out to believers, Pope Benedict XVI named him as one of two Latin Americans to the newly created Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. Scherer is among the most active cardinal Twitter users.

    Timothy Dolan of the United States

    Cardinal Timothy Dolan attends mass at St. Peter's basilica before the conclave on March 12 at the Vatican. Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.

    St. Louis-born Cardinal Timothy Dolan, 63, has been described as having a large personality. "If he weren't a clergyman, Dolan probably would have been a U.S. senator, given his people skills and gift for gab," writes John Allen for the National Catholic Reporter.

    Dolan was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2010, and has taken a strong stance against anti-Christian violence abroad. Last year, Pope Benedict XVI made him a cardinal. He is currently archbishop of New York.

    Luis Tagle of the Philippines

    Cardinal Luis Tagle leaves after a church service in Manila on Feb. 13. Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images.

    At 55, Luis Tagle, archbishop of Manila, is one of the younger cardinals in the conclave. "He is humble, he is meek, he is very bright, he is media-savvy, he is simple," said the Rev. Francis Lucas, head of the mass media commission of the Roman Catholic bishops in the Philippines, at a press conference.

    In October, Tagle took part in a Synod of Bishops -- an advisory body for the pope -- and said the Catholic Church should listen more and be a quieter place where people feel comfortable to go. (Listen to an interview he gave to Vatican Radio.)

    Tagle is one of the more active cardinals on social media, with a Facebook page that has racked up more than 120,000 "likes".

    Additional Resources:

    The National Catholic Reporter has a list of the men who could be pope.

    Betting on the pope in the United States may be illegal, but OddsChecker.com has compiled the odds from 13 international bookies.

    The Guardian has a Pontifficator interactive in which you can select a pope based on different criteria including age and outlook.

    How does the secret balloting to elect the next pope work? We have an explainer.

    Read all of the NewsHour's Papal Transition coverage and follow us on Twitter:

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

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    By Larry Kotlikoff

    Social Security provisions are so nuanced and difficult to understand that they are sure to make anyone go mad. That's why Larry Kotlikoff has three general rules, which if followed, can help maximize Social Security benefits without the headache. Image by Flickr user 401(K) 2013.

    Larry Kotlikoff's Social Security original 34 "secrets", his additional secrets, his Social Security "mistakes" and his Social Security gotchas have prompted so many of you to write in that we now feature "Ask Larry" every week. This week, we're featuring him twice.

    Incidentally, Kotlikoff's state-of-the-art retirement software is available, for free, in its "basic" version. His considerable and often very useful total output is available on his website.

    Social Security benefit provisions are so devilishly complex that I've come to believe that Satan himself had a hand in their construction. The 'simple' formula for determining the total benefits received by a married spouse involves ten distinct mathematical functions, one of which is in four dimensions. And there are additional complex functions that circumscribe the arguments entering into the primary functions.

    Here's what this monster looks like in the case of a married spouse. B(a) stands for the benefit (B) of the spouse at a certain age (a). I won't burden you with the meaning of the other functions and their arguments, but this is actually what the equation looks like. (I know because of developing software to solve Social Security problems.)

    B(a) = PIA(a) x (1 - e(n)) x (1 + d(n)) x Z(a) + max((.5 x PIA*(a) - PIA(a) x (1+d(n))) x E(a,q,m), 0) x (1- u(a,q,n,m)) x D(a)

    And, after you work out these functions and the functions governing these functions, you have to run a potentially enormous number of cases to determine which collection start date for which benefits will produce the highest lifetime income from Social Security.

    A less user-friendly system of saving and insurance could not be devised -- not even by the Russians, who know a thing or two about bureaucracy. Ardent defenders of Social Security, who believe the system's every provision is sacrosanct, should spend an afternoon with its Program Operating Manual System followed by a test on what they've learned. They, too, would start cursing the devil and praying for deliverance.

    But let me not go any further there. My goal is not to recruit for the tea party (of which I am not a member). My goal is to provide general guidance for getting the most out of Social Security because right now, most people are discriminated against due to lack of knowledge -- knowledge that is extremely hard to come by.

    Here, then, are my three general rules for higher lifetime benefits.

    Rule A: Take Social Security's really good deal, namely waiting to collect much higher benefits, over somewhat fewer years.

    Rule B: Take spousal, survivor, mother/father, and child benefits, which may be available to you based on your current or former spouse's earnings history.

    Rule C: Make sure that following Rule A doesn't undermine following Rule B and vice versa.

    Here's why:

    Rule A -- taking much higher benefits over somewhat fewer years -- makes sense. Social Security actuarially reduces benefits if taken early and actuarially increases benefits if taken late. This is a big deal. Retirement benefits starting at 70 are 76 percent higher than starting at 62. Spousal benefits are 43 percent higher at full retirement age (66 these days) than at 62. And survivor benefits are 40 percent higher at full retirement age than at 60.

    "But does waiting to collect make sense?" you may reasonably ask. "What if I wait and die before I collect? I'll lose the benefits I would otherwise have collected."

    True. But you'll be dead. Furthermore, you'll be in heaven (thanks to cursing the devil). In heaven, you'll have tons of virgins or raisins or whatever you like and no need for money anyway.

    The real danger is not dying, which is the closest thing to heaven on earth. The real danger is living. Indeed, the very worst thing that can happen to you, financially speaking, is living beyond your life expectancy because you'll need to keep paying for all the necessities and pleasures of life longer than expected.

    This prospect -- living to a surprisingly ripe old age -- means your planning horizon must run that far as well. And when you properly value future Social Security benefits through to your maximum age of life, not to your expected age of death, waiting to collect is a no-brainer.

    The obvious caveat here is if you are certain you will die in the near term, say before age 80. In this case, taking benefits early may make sense. But even in this case, delaying retirement benefits until age 70 may have a payoff -- namely, giving your current and former spouses the possibility of collecting higher survivor benefits.

    Rule B -- availing yourself of other available benefits -- is an even bigger no-brainer. More is more. If you can get extra benefits for yourself or your family members at no cost in terms of your own retirement benefit, why not go for it?

    Rule C -- making sure that following Rule A doesn't violate Rule B and vice versa -- is where the "fun" begins. The fun, that is, of figuring out which benefits to take when.

    If you take your retirement benefit at the same time you take a spousal benefit, one of the two benefits will zap the other, either in full or in part. The same is true in simultaneously taking a retirement and a survivor benefit. The key to double dipping is to take the two benefits at different times and not lose anything, because the benefit you take last will have risen while you waited.

    If you're a widow or widower (including the widow or widower of an ex- to whom you were married for ten years or more), this just means being careful. Depending on the relative size of your own and your deceased spouse's full retirement benefit, you either want to start your survivor benefit first and then switch to your retirement benefit or the other way around.

    If you are or were married and qualify for a spousal benefit as a current or divorced spouse prior to reaching full retirement age, your options for declining to take your spousal benefit or your retirement benefit at the same time are severely limited by Social Security's so-called "deeming provisions." This accounts for most of the complexity in the monster benefit formula.

    Once you hit full retirement age, you have more flexibility. If you haven't already taken your own retirement benefit, you can take your spousal benefit and put off taking your retirement benefit until age 70, when, as I emphasize almost every week, it will start at its highest possible value. (See Rule A, above.) Even if you have already started taking your own retirement benefit, you have the option to suspend it and start it up again at 70 at a 32 percent higher value.

    What's best to do will depend on your individual circumstances. If you are married, what you can do will also depend on what your spouse does -- because your eligibility to collect a spousal benefit depends on your spouse either collecting his/her retirement benefit or having suspended its collection.

    And if you are divorced after ten years of marriage, your ex has to be above 62 for you to collect a spousal benefit on his or her record -- assuming, that is, that the person is collecting a retirement benefit or has suspended its collection. If your ex-spouse is over 62, but has neither begun collecting nor suspended, you can still apply for your spousal benefit, provided you've been divorced for two years.

    For all the complexity, the bottom line is simply this: There is a lot of money at stake. Possibly as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars. It all depends on making the right lifetime benefit decisions.

    So before you head to the local Social Security office, as some 10,000 baby boomers are estimated to be doing every day now, know in advance what benefits you do and don't want to apply for. The good folks at Social Security will almost surely try to do their best for you. But Business Desk founder Paul Solman called to begin taking a spousal benefit when his wife applied and suspended benefits at age 67. He was told by the nicest and most earnest SS employee imaginable "I never heard of that before."

    This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @PaulSolman


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  • 03/13/13--09:11: The Daily Frame
  • Click to enlarge.

    Participants paint their faces and bodies during the Ogoh-ogohs parade in Tunjuk Village in Bali, Indonesia. For the Balinese, Ogoh-ogohs reflect the form of demons or expression of bad traits. They are paraded around the villages and towns as a symbol of Bhuta Kala (Evil Spirit) to be attenuated. Photo by Sayoga/ Getty Images.


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    HINKLEY, Calif. - We all love a neat, tidy Hollywood ending to a David and Goliath story. Sadly, in the real world, they are hard to come by. More often than not, the little guy might win a battle, but Goliath prevails over the long haul -- winning the war.

    Before I went to Hinkley, I did, of course, watch the movie once again. As it turns out Erin Brockovich is accurate in many respects.

    Watch Video

    You might remember the woman who gets a big check at the end of the movie after the down-on-her-luck, crusading legal assistant has brought a giant utility to its knees for polluting the groundwater beneath the tiny desert town half way between L.A. and Las Vegas.

    In the movie, she was known as Donna Jensen (and played by Marg Helgenberger). There is no real-life Donna Jensen -- the details of her story are a composite of several real-life travails.

    But Roberta Walker was the main inspiration. Naturally, it was not long after I met her that I asked her what she thought of the movie.

    “Oh, it was a piece of crap,” she said. “The only true thing about the movie is that [Pacific Gas and Electric] poisoned us. We didn’t bring a giant to their knees obviously; we just woke them up -- woke up the dragon.”

    Roberta is not allowed to say how much she got from the $333 million dollar settlement that gave the screenwriters such a nice bow to wrap up the movie. It was, however, enough to allow her and her husband to build a new home on a hill overlooking Hinkley.

    “We loved it here, everything about it,” she told me. “The peace, the quiet, the privacy, and we built it.  We had our well tested…and there was no chromium.”

    But there is now. And Roberta is looking to move again -- out of Hinkley. But that does not guarantee she will find chromium-6 free water.

    The real-life ErinBrockovich has moved onto the national stage as a consumer advocate and now curates a crowd-sourced map of reported cancer clusters. It is a real eye-opener. 

    Chromium in U.S. Tap WaterA few years ago, The Environmental Working Group did a study of U.S. tap water, and it found a chrome-plated, potentially carcinogenic mess. They tested tap water samples from 35 cities and found chromium-6 in 31 of them.

    The highest concentration EWG discovered, came from Norman, Oklahoma. But at nearly 13 parts per billion, the water there is still considered safe according to the 22-year-old EPA standard (100 ppb). It is, however, more than 600 times greater than the public health goal established by the California Environmental Protection Agency in the wake of the Hinkley well poisoning scandal.

    Naturally, I was wondering about the tap water in my office/apartment in Bethesda, Maryland. Turns out it is .19 parts per billion (ppb.) That is ten times more Chromium-6 than the Cal/EPA public health goal.

    I am a big proponent of tap water. I think the widespread use of bottled water is an environmental disaster. So I bought myself a countertop filter. And now I won’t drink anything straight from the tap anymore. I might soon upgrade to an under-sink model.

    It is a shame that we cannot be more confident about the water that flows into our homes. Regulators at the state and federal level say they have to weigh public health concerns against the economic realities of tougher drinking water standards.

    In the U.S., we have a Food and Drug Administration to insure that any chemicals we ingest in the form of drugs are safe before they are allowed on the market.

    Should we apply the same burden of proof to chemicals that are widely used by industry, which all too frequently poison our wells?

    David Heath of the Center for Public Integrity contributed to this report. 

    View photos from the field production of the investigation here. 


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    Watch Video

    Bianca Bosker, author of "Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China," discusses how the Chinese are copying the most iconic cities and towns of the West.

    Throughout history, civilizations have copied, borrowed and shared architectural styles. London's St. Paul's Cathedral and the United States Capitol dome are both modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Chicago's Tribune Tower takes from the Gothic design of Rouen Cathedral in France. Now, the Chinese are copying the most iconic cities and towns of the West.

    China's rapid urbanization has fueled an enormous building boom. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, China has built housing equivalent to roughly two Spains from 2000 to 2010. Stepping into cities like Hangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing, one might mistake neighborhoods for Venice, Paris or London. While copying architectural styles is as old as architecture itself, China has done it on an unprecedented scale and speed.

    "We're almost in a paper mache of something you see in New England," said Jeff Layman, who lives with his wife Fumiyo and their two children in a single-family, three-story house with a driveway in Lane Bridge, a residential community in Beijing.

    While some of the older houses ostensibly resemble American suburbia, the Laymans said the quality of the construction material is sub-par and the infrastructure of public utilities is poor.

    Built in the 1990s, Lane Bridge was one of the first Western-style housing developments built to house expatriates. Since then, native Chinese homebuyers have moved in and demand for Western-style housing is on the rise. Shanghai has built nine suburban towns in various European styles as a part of the city's "One City, Nine Towns" initiative.

    Bianca Bosker, an American journalist and author of "Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China," a book on Chinese copycat architecture, visited these nine towns. At Thames Town, one of the "nine towns" in Shanghai, she was struck by the brick-by-brick resemblance to buildings in Britain. Bosker toured many of China's copycat communities in an effort to understand why a country with its own rich architectural history is turning to the West in their urbanization efforts.

    "In recreating Paris, China is not paying homage to France. China is celebrating China," she said. China's building of the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and the canals of Venice is a way of showing off its technical prowess and affluence to the world.

    "There's something very powerful about China's metaphor of being able to rearrange the world order as they see fit, putting Amsterdam next to D.C.," said Bosker.

    But beneath China's aesthetic desire to look like the West is a very real need to accommodate rapid urbanization and mature into its modern architectural styles.

    "What's happening in Shanghai is seen as a desire to manage rapid growth," said Jonathan Solomon, associate dean of Syracuse University's architecture school. "One can call it copycat, or one can call it an honest attempt for good town planning principles."

    China under Communist dictator Mao Zedong in the mid-1900s prioritized the countryside over the city center and looked to Soviet architecture, which consisted mainly of blocks of high-rise buildings. After China's economy opened up in the 1990s, there was an effort to demonstrate that the country had modernized, which manifested through architecture.

    "If you look at the official mandate for One City, Nine Towns, one thing listed as priority is learning from the West, learning how to house people and create towns by studying what they've done abroad," said Bosker.

    China classifies all of its residents as either urban or rural. The concept of a suburb is new, and according to Solomon, the question of what Chinese suburbs should be is not fully answered.

    Although they live in a gated Westernized community, the Laymans understand they live in a developing country struggling to house its expanding urban population.

    "It's not like a suburb out of California or Chicago," said Fumiyo Layman. "There's no standard municipal services. Sometimes we would run out of hot water for days."

    According to Solomon, Fumiyo's frustrations are part of China's greater urbanization problems. The country has to figure out how to move 22 to 30 million people around the city, keep air and water clean, prevent flooding and desertification and provide social services. To accomplish this in the fastest manner possible, China used Western models that best serve development.

    "China looked for imitation rather than innovation in the period of trying to quickly find a way of adapting to the market and urban design challenges," said Bosker.

    China's architectural replication can be seen as a part of a larger process to modernize and grow into its own models. Solomon sees this trend and feels hopeful.

    "I have hope that this...pollination between cultures will lead to development of contemporary Chinese styles," said Solomon.


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    Newly elected Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on March 13. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

    It took cardinals only two days to elect the new leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics on Wednesday afternoon: Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first pope from South America. He took the name Pope Francis.

    A church official announced "habemus papam" or "we have a pope" in Latin, and Bergoglio's name. He appeared at the Vatican balcony to address the crowds gathered:

    As translated: "Dear brothers and sisters, good evening. It seems the cardinals have chosen a pope who is from far away, but here I am," he said, smiling. "I would like to thank you for your embrace."

    After saying prayers for Benedict XVI and the church, he said:

    "Let us begin this journey together. It is a journey of friendship, love, trust and faith. Let us pray always for one another and for the whole world -- let us be one brotherhood. I wish that this journey for the Church starts today."

    He asked for prayers, in silence, for himself as well.

    ( Watch Video )

    Bergoglio, 76, served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, where he was born, since 1998. He was appointed as a cardinal in 2001.

    White smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel and its bells rang in verification, as a crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square to await his appearance at the basilica balcony. Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

    The news as announced via Twitter:

    HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM

    — Pontifex (@Pontifex) March 13, 2013

    The newly named Pope Francis said he was "immensely happy" to be the new pope:

    Inmensamente feliz de ser el nuevo Papa, Francisco I

    — Jorge M Bergoglio (@JMBergoglio) March 13, 2013

    Pope Benedict XVI, who held the papacy for eight years, announced his resignation last month. He will now go as "pope emeritus" Benedict XVI and will continue to live in the Vatican in Rome.

    We'll have more about the new pope on Wednesday's NewsHour. Read all of the NewsHour's Papal Transition coverage and follow us on Twitter:

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

    Support Your Local PBS Station


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