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

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    GWEN IFILL: And we come back to the Boston story.

    Last week's bombings sparked new interest in beefing up security at large public gatherings from street fairs to sports competitions.

    Jeffrey Brown looks into that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The question after the events of last week, how safe can we ever be, especially in major cities, when thousands of people gather in public buildings or for big events?

    It's a question that was posed after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 and a year later after a pipe bomb exploded in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park during the Summer Games, killing one and injuring 111; 9/11, of course, brought a ratcheting up of security measures, including, among much else, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA and surveillance cameras watching for suspicious activities.

    And there have been examples of thwarted attacks on public spaces, notably in 2010. The car bomb in New York City's Times Square was disabled after two street vendors reported the smoking vehicle to police.

    Since 2003, Homeland Security's Urban Area Security Initiative grants have funneled billions of dollars to major cities for anti-terrorism training and equipment. Security experts will now study Boston for lessons learned for future public gatherings.

    And just one small example: National Football League officials said today that they're increasing security for this week's player draft, to be held at New York's Radio City Hall -- Radio City Music Hall.

    And we look at these issues now with Jim Davis, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety. He's also chair of the National Governors Association Homeland Security Advisers Council. Among big events he's worked on was the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. And Ed Cannon, currently of T&M Protection Resources, a private security consulting firm, he was formerly an assistant chief of the New York City Police Department, and helped set up security for that city's marathon and many other events.

    Well, Jim Davis, starting with you, how does Boston change things for people in your position? What kinds of discussions are going on now?

    JIM DAVIS, Colorado Department of Public Safety: Well, certainly we're much more focused on security.

    You know, in the United States, we have got pretty short memories. And I think, after 9/11, we were very focused on security, and then things kind of -- we'd go through a time period where we don't a lot of attacks or we don't have any successful attacks, and now Boston happens. And people get focused on it again. I think that in the -- in law enforcement, in the intelligence community, we have always been focused on it.

    But people are going to be more receptive to security measures now and more focused on making sure that major events are safer.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Ed Cannon, explain to us how this works. Take something you have worked on, perhaps the New York City Marathon, for example. What kind of measures go into it? How much preparation? How much thinking, and again how might that change if at all now?

    ED CANNON, T&M Protection Resources: Well, Jeff, you know, the New York City Marathon is going to be examined with lessons learned from what occurred last week in Boston.

    And think about it -- 26.2 miles of a route is a very difficult area to effectively secure and police. So what we need to recognize is what a terrorist's mind-set is, what do they consider to be a high-value target. And their goals are to strike at something that's iconic, such as the World Trade Center, such as the Murrah Building, such as the Boston Marathon.

    And they also want to inflict as many casualties as they possibly can, and, lastly, they're looking to have an economic impact as well. So when you think about a marathon and thinking of what have a terrorist's goals are, we would focus primarily, -- because we have finite security resources, we would focus on those areas that are most crowded, specifically the starting line and the finish line.

    And I think what we're going to see is, as we have seen at venues post-9/11, where there's going to be additional screening, akin to what we see at Times Square on New Year's Eve where folks before they get into Times Square need to be screened by officers, and as are in ballparks, prevented from carrying in backpacks, briefcases, other large packages.

    And I think we're going to very rely heavily on the commitment of the civilian population to go along the lines of, if you see something, say something, and be more attentive, sort of like they do in Israel, which has been living for decades under this type of threat. If you leave an unattended package in an airport or a bus or a train station in Israel, it won't be long before a civilian will announce it to the others around them and to law enforcement that there is that unattended package.

    So there's going to be a combination.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, Jim Davis, one obvious question is, can we ever guarantee protection? Can we ever guarantee that something like this doesn't happen, given all of the kinds of things we just heard about?

    JIM DAVIS: No, I think we absolutely cannot guarantee it.

    So -- but, you know, the challenge is to make sure that the event is as secure as possible, while also allowing for people to enjoy the event. You know, people expect to be able to participate in a marathon. Or they expect to be able to go to a football game and enjoy that event and still have a feeling of security.

    So it really is a challenge for law enforcement to -- to make sure that you're doing what you can to secure the event while also allowing people the freedom to really enjoy the event.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, where is that line? Yes, where is that line? Because it's enjoyment. It's convenience. There are obvious civil liberties issues that can come up. Where do you draw the line?

    JIM DAVIS: Well, it's a continuum.

    And a lot of it has to do with what people expect. So, for example, National Football League, they look at all the bags that people -- all the spectators bring in bags. The security is going to look through your bags. They are going to pat people down as they come into the venue. And that is what people expect now from the NFL.

    It's, you know, if you want to get into the game, you have got to follow those procedures. So I think that it has a lot to do with people's expectations. Certainly, after something like Boston, I think people are going to be more willing to have security measures, more strenuous, more invasive security measures. But, again, you know, this is the United States, and we have got to protect people's freedoms and their civil liberties.

    ED CANNON: Jeff ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, Ed Cannon, go ahead.

    ED CANNON: If I could follow up on Jim's point, which is an excellent point, that there needs to be a balance between security and people's right to enjoy their everyday lives, to do business, to go to school, to enjoy the freedoms that this country has to offer the entire world, but I think what we're facing now is a new type of threat.

    The government has put in place a radar, if you will, that will identify large-scale attacks, such as the Murrah attack or the World Trade Center attacks, when they're in the planning or the very early operational stages. So I think what terrorists have done is, they have now -- the threat that we're faced with is more of a lone wolf or small cell, such as the brothers in Boston, who are involved in low-tech, low-cost, but high-consequence attacks.

    And because of these types of attacks, we do have to perhaps become more involved in some of these more thorough screenings before we come into venues. Also, the use of technology, closed-circuit television systems can be adjusted so as to recognize -- to be able to recognize things that are unusual, such as if there's a sensitive or an isolated location and someone enters that location, the cameras can be trained or programmed, I should say, with rules that will recognize that and send an alert.

    If a bag is dropped and left in a location for a particular amount of time, the video analytics will recognize that and send an alert. And to your question as to when does it become too much, this type of surveillance, these types of screenings, things like that, I think the courts will let us know. The courts have always let the police, to let the government and law enforcement agencies know if they have gone too far and crossed the line.

    JEFFREY BROWN: OK. Ed Cannon, Jim Davis, thank you both very much.

    JIM DAVIS: Thank you.

    ED CANNON: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Find out how much money different metropolitan areas, including Boston, have received from the Department of Homeland Security. There's a graphic on our home page. 

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    GWEN IFILL: Now: new developments in the upcoming battle for control of the Senate.

    Montana Democrat Max Baucus surprised Capitol Hill today by announcing he will not seek reelection when his term ends next year. That makes him the eighth senator, and the sixth Democrat, to step aside. The two Republicans hold safe red seats in Nebraska and Georgia. And three of the Democrats are from states President Obama carried last fall. But the rest are tossups that may cost Democrats control of the Senate in 2014.

    Plus, four more incumbent Democrats from North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alaska are considered vulnerable. So, can one senator's decision change the political landscape?

    For that, we turn to Stuart Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.

    Good to have you both here.

    What's the answer to the question, Stu?

    STUART ROTHENBERG, The Rothenberg Political Report: Yes, I think it changes the math a little bit.

    There are four seats right off the top that Republicans are very optimistic about, two open in South Dakota and West Virginia, and then the two Democratic senators from the South, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Getting beyond that four is the challenge. It's not to say the Republicans will win any or all of those, but they have a pretty good chance.

    So the question is can they broaden the playing field? Montana is an important addition. They need to put these other seats, as you mentioned, Alaska, North Carolina, into play.

    GWEN IFILL: And Max Baucus is no backbencher.

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: No, he's the chairman of a very, very important Finance Committee. And he's been around for 30 years.

    That's what you're seeing with so many of these folks who are retiring. They have been committee chairmen. They have been in Congress for 30 or more years. Actually, the interesting thing about open seats is no party really wants to have an open seat. Right? They are usually are tougher to defend.

    But in the case of Montana, it actually may be a better situation for Democrats, if Democrats are able to get the candidate that they're all talking about right now, Brian Schweitzer, the former governor of that state, left office very popular. He is the quintessential Montana Democrat.

    GWEN IFILL: And are they going after him?

    AMY WALTER: Oh, they most certainly will be going after him. If they get -- if Schweitzer is in that position, he runs as a governor, not as a 30-year incumbent with a long voting record, especially on some more controversial votes like the health care legislation.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Not as a Washington figure, but as a good old boy.

    AMY WALTER: Exactly.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: He's very charismatic and very Montana.

    GWEN IFILL: He knows how to rock a bolo tie.

    AMY WALTER: He does know how to rock a bolo tie.

    GWEN IFILL: He does.

    But let's talk about other retirements. In a more general sense, what is tipping or could be tipping the balance this time?

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Well, I think there are a number of individual reasons.

    For some of them, it's health. Jay Rockefeller, it's age and Health, Tim Johnson, obviously health. I think for Mike Johanns, the Republican from Nebraska, a younger man in his early '60s, I'm not sure the Senate was an ideal fit for Johanns. But for a lot of these, as Amy pointed out, a lot of these members are very senior. Five of the eight are over 70.

    Five of the eight have served five terms or more. So, you know, there are cycles in American politics. And the Democrats are hitting retirements in a particularly difficult class, at not an ideal time for them.

    AMY WALTER: And that's what -- politics is all about timing.

    GWEN IFILL: Right.

    AMY WALTER: And Republicans are hoping that the third time is the charm here.

    2010, 2012, Stu and I would have come in here and said, boy, the map looks really bad for Democrats, they could lose control of the Senate. And then those years unfolded. And of course 2010 was the year of the Tea Party, but it was also the year where Republicans nominated terrible candidates in states they were supposed to win. 2012, we, of course, had the infamous Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. So there were five seats essentially that Republicans lost because they just simply had terrible candidates.

    GWEN IFILL: But are there any open -- any -- any Republican seats being vacated where Republicans are at a disadvantage?

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Only -- not at a disadvantage.

    I suppose -- I mean, there is a scenario for Democrats to compete in Georgia, a very crowded Republican field. If one of the less broadly acceptable Republicans like Congressman Paul Broun, for example, were to be the nominee, I think Democrats would think we have an opportunity.

    They are recruiting candidates. They're recruiting either Congressman Barrow of Georgia, a Democrat, is a -- has proven to be a very strong candidate as a member of the House. And I believe they're recruiting Sam Nunn's daughter as a possible candidate. So the Democrats are trying to put a good candidate in play in Georgia, should the Republicans self-destruct.

    GWEN IFILL: So Democrats are hoping that they get another -- a revisitation of the luck they had last time, which is the Republicans shoot themselves in the foot.

    AMY WALTER: Exactly, even in states where they are on defense.

    Democrats are definitely playing defense this year. They got to play a little offense in 2012. They're not so lucky this year. 2016 looks great for them if they want to wait that long. But they have to hope that, in a place like Alaska, for example, there could be a competitive primary where the -- quote, unquote -- "wrong candidate" comes out, so that you get a situation like 2010 where the weaker candidate wins a Republican primary, giving a Democrat a chance to hold a tough seat.

    GWEN IFILL: If you are a second-term president about to enter the lagging days of your power and you are losing people in your party in the Senate, how -- what do you do about that? How does the president begin to position himself so that he's not at a complete advantage, as he has all these big legacy-making domestic issues lining up?

    AMY WALTER: Well, he has to -- on the one hand, there's not much that he can don't do about any of these.

    GWEN IFILL: Right.

    AMY WALTER: Trying to keep some of them there was not going to be an issue.

    But for so many of these red state Democrats, this is the great irony. Whether they're running as incumbents or whether for an open seat, they are going to spend their entire campaign running away from the president. So, actually, you know what they'd like from him is to not talk to them or to not make their lives that much harder. Certainly, the gun vote was one of those votes many of them didn't want to have to take. And they're hoping there aren't going to be that many more on the docket.

    GWEN IFILL: Is this just midterm politics as normal, as usual, or this an unusually high level of defections?

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Well, we have had a number of retirements in the past few cycles, and so this isn't that much out of the ordinary.

    My initial reaction was, it was. And then I went back and looked, and it is. But it's still important. And this gets right to I think the heart of your point. How -- the outlook for the Senate in 2014 starts to really kick in, in terms of legislative politics in the Senate at the end of this year and then certainly next year, because if the Republicans think we're going to pick up four, five, maybe six Senate seats, we just have to hang in there, hang tough, not give the president any victories, and then he's going to have to deal with us after the Senate, that is going to change the dynamic.

    And to the extent to which Republicans are at all cooperative, if four or five months from now, six months from now, they figure we're in a position we're going to gain seats, they are going to be less -- less cooperative.

    GWEN IFILL: On the other hand, isn't there something good to be said about fresh blood? We keep saying people stay in Washington too long, that this is a chance to mix things up.

    AMY WALTER: Well, so we have been saying that for a while. And there's always been talk about term limits being good to flush things out.

    If you look at the Senate in 2015, at least 49 members of the Senate will have been elected since 2008. If you look in the House, 40 percent of the House has been elected since 2010. There's been an incredible amount of turnover. And what it has done is actually polarized the Congress more ...

    GWEN IFILL: Even more.

    AMY WALTER: ... rather than bringing it together.

    GWEN IFILL: Oh, joy.

    Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, Stu Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report, thank you both very much.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Thanks, Gwen.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, from India, worries about the age-old bias favoring male children.

    Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro updates a story he did a dozen years ago about the skewed sex ratio of children born in India.

    It's another in our Agents of Change series.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: For some months, Pooja, a 22-year-old mother of three, has been coming to this crisis counseling center in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of Delhi.

    Pooja is trying to keep her family together. Her husband and in-laws have tried to throw her out. Their problem: All three children are girls.

    POOJA, Mother: The family says they need sons to carry on their name and since I have only three daughters, they tried to trick me into signing divorce papers so that their son could marry again. That led to some violence when I refused, and I had to run away to my mother's house for safety.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The preference for boys goes back millennia. Boys performed the last rites at their parents' funeral. They carry the family name and when they marry they bring a dowry into the family.

    Dowries were outlawed 50 years ago, but they're pervasive and mistakenly believed to have roots in Hindu scriptures, says Ranjana Kumari of the Delhi-based Center for Social Research.

    RANJANA KUMARI, Center for Social Research: This was never a practice anywhere prescribed, but certainly it was said that when the princess goes, she must carry a number of horses because she's used to a certain level of comfort. And so it is the duty of the king to insure the daughter is, ensure the daughter is given the -- and that gets distorted.

    Now even the poorest of the poor who cannot afford two square meals will also have to buy things for the wedding of the daughter.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: With rising aspirations in a rapidly growing economy, daughters have become an increasing financial liability for their families, says sociologist Ravinder Kaur.

    RAVINDER KAUR, Indian Institute of Technology: That don't want to pay dowries, they want to receive dowries. They want to give more education to the boys than to the girls because for them the boys are still more important.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And the census shows Indians are acting on that bias. For every 1,000 male infants born, there are just 914 females, in some regions, far fewer. In nature, those numbers are about equal.

    The gap began to widen in the '90s with new ultrasound machines that made it easy to learn a fetus' sex. These scans have led to the termination of millions of female pregnancies. In Delhi, the Center for Social Research has organized women into neighborhood groups trying to shift the ingrained gender bias, even invoking Hinduism's goddess of prosperity.

    WOMAN: We must begin to welcome girl babies into our homes, like the goddess Lakshmi has come into our home.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: They're also made aware of the law that's become known by its English acronym. That's the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Technology Act. Abortion is legal in India, but the act makes it illegal when done for sex selection.

    RANJANA KUMARI: A lot of people don't even know that we have a very strong law. If you, A., go for sex selection and also the doctor, the clinic, the radiologist can go to jail up to seven years if they're caught doing it. We're trying to tell people, instill some fear in the minds of people that should not go for sex selection.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: However, absent extensive surveillance and sting operations -- and they have been absent -- it's difficult to police something that happens in the privacy of a doctor's office, as one obstetrician told me in a NewsHour report on the same subject that I produced 12 years ago.

    Prakash Kakodkar candidly admitted he performed sex-selected abortions routinely.

    So you freely admit that you do, basically, contravene the law, I mean ...

    DR. PRAKASH KAKODKAR, India: Yes, most of us do, I would say. I won't deny that.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Do you face any legal sanctions?

    DR. PRAKASH KAKODKAR: No, that's what I said. There is no legal sanction because there is nothing on paper. I mean, who can ask you?

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: So despite the efforts of activists, in the two decades since it was outlawed, only 46 sex selection cases have been brought against medical practitioners, with just one, one single conviction.

    Meanwhile, census figures show the practice has become even more prevalent. Two decades ago, it was mainly in the northern farm states, whose green revolution had moved a lot of farmers into the middle class. Today, that middle class and lopsided gender ratio have spread widely.

    RAVINDER KAUR: Places like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, which are becoming more prosperous where there will be greater availability of technology and more incomes in the hands of families, they will tend to shape the family and sex select.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Here's a huge irony: As these areas become more affluent, fertility rates, the number of children born per woman, are declining. That's good news, especially in some of India's most densely populated states. But when it comes to gender balance, it's not good news.

    RAVINDER KAUR: You know when you want a smaller family, then the squeeze is on the girls, because, interestingly, suppose you're moving from a fertility rate of four to three. Then you want two boys and one girl. So if a lot of families in populous states want two boys and one girl, then obviously there's going to be a great excess of boys.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Kaur is seeing the consequences that she says are already becoming visible in those northern farm states. A shortage of brides is forcing men into marriage outside their communities, very awkward in a tradition-bound society.

    RAVINDER KAUR: Men in these states have been importing brides from let's say the east of India, the south of India. They're sort of going shopping for brides wherever they can.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: At the same time, Kaur sees a slight improvement in the gender ratio in the states that saw skewed ones early on. She attributes this to growing affluence.

    RAVINDER KAUR: Once people reach the higher rungs of the middle class, which I call the stable middle class, they don't sex select. Then they tend to view girls and boys as being of equal value. So they don't really care whether they have two girls, whether they have one girl, one boy, et cetera.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: She admits it will take many years and vast numbers making it into the stable middle class to correct India's gender ratio. The Center for Social Research's Kumari sees one other hopeful development that is also tied to India's growing and middle class. More girls are going to school.

    RANJANA KUMARI: India is full of contradictions. On the one side you see women in the villages still very disempowered, but on the other side there is a brighter picture. We have the largest number of doctors, lawyers, professionals. Our education level is going up for the girls.

    Women are filling the ranks in a very major way.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Counseling center client Pooja never set foot in a school, but she wants an education for her daughters. That's why she's pursuing the uphill battle to stay married.

    POOJA: Women are progressing more in society and I need the support of their father so that they can grow up in a proper family, so that they can get a good education, so that they can grow up and have good marriages.

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The best dowry for a young bride, she and many others say, is an education.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A version of Fred's story aired on the PBS program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.

    His reporting is a partnership with the Under-Told Stories Project at Saint Mary's University in Minnesota.

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    GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight, a new book about a major change in the way America fights.

    The attacks of September 11th sparked a revolution of sorts at the Central Intelligence Agency, transforming it from an operation focused on stealing secrets to something closer to a paramilitary organization focused on hunting down and killing terrorists.

    The Department of Defense has evolved as well, beefing up its global intelligence gathering capabilities, and at times conducting missions that were previously done by the spies of the CIA.

    New York Times national security correspondent Mark Mazzetti tracks all this in "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth."

    Margaret Warner sat down with him recently, and began by asking when it first became apparent that the line between spies and soldiers had blurred.

    MARK MAZZETTI, "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth": I started covering the military just shortly before the September 11th attacks.

    And in the months and years afterwards, what -- a lot of what I was reporting on was these efforts by Donald Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, to basically get soldiers outside of the declared war zones, so basically send them around the world.

    And that meant changing not only the authorities that the Pentagon had to do that, but to build the budgets and build the capabilities of special operations troops. And Rumsfeld really was furious at the Pentagon he inherited that it wasn't equipped to fight this kind of war.

    And so he was trying to push them more and more into intelligence gathering, manhunting. And there are some now famous memos that Rumsfeld wrote that sort of expressed his concern about these things. And then what we saw with the CIA was weak after 9/11. The -- President Bush gave the CIA lethal authority to capture and kill al-Qaida leaders, which is something it hadn't had for decades.

    And so they become much more into the killing business and the military business.

    MARGARET WARNER: More operational.

    Now when did the CIA -- they have started out capturing and interrogating terror suspects in these secret sites. When did they shift their focus and sort of embrace the policy of targeting and killing them instead?

    MARK MAZZETTI: There's a critical moment that I write about in 2004 when the CIA inspector general, John Helgerson, writes a pretty devastating report about the abuses in the CIA prisons.

    And really it had this effect not only within the agency, but in the Bush administration. And, ultimately Congress, and, as we all know, the American public started learning the details. The first drone strike in Pakistan took place a month after that report.

    Now, I don't want to draw too direct a line and say one absolutely led to another, but there's no question that this report, this internal report, led to -- helped lead to a new direction for the CIA from capturing to killing.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, you write about this, but briefly describe, what sort of debate was there within either the agency or the administration about the morality and legality of using drones to essentially carry out remote-control assassinations?

    MARK MAZZETTI: You had a whole generation of CIA officers who had come in to the agency after the 1970s Church Committee investigations, which many people will remember sort of aired all the dirty laundry about assassination attempts, coup attempts in the early days of the CIA.

    So many thought the CIA shouldn't be doing this in terms of handling armed drones. Then, of course, 9/11 happens. President Bush gives the lethal authorities. And those concerns that played out before 9/11 were quickly swept aside.

    And it -- but it did take some time for the CIA really to escalate its killing operations even after the 9/11 attacks. Some of it was because, as we said, there was this interrogation focus, but it was also, their intelligence wasn't particularly good in order to do these drone strikes. They had to broker secret deals with these countries in order to allow them to have the strikes.

    And then finally the big moment was, at the end of the Bush administration, President Bush decides that he's going to authorize the CIA to do drone strikes in Pakistan unilaterally, without even telling the Pakistanis, because he had reached a point of frustration.

    MARGARET WARNER: You write about a number of the downsides, and one of the most important ones you found was that it -- all this focus on targeting, finding specific terrorists took them away from the traditional work, in which they might come to, say, understand developments throughout the Muslim world, let's say the Arab spring, for example, which the intelligence agencies missed.

    MARK MAZZETTI: When the Arab spring happened, after the initial spark that happened in Tunisia that set up the Tunisian revolt, you had these cascading revolutions in Egypt, in Libya.

    And there was a lot of concern in the administration that the agency was a step behind all along the way. And one of the things I write about in the book is that when you're doing manhunting and you're doing counterterrorism, you're necessarily going to be being very close with foreign spy services. They're going to help you find terror leaders or militants.

    So you’re close with the Libyans and you're close with the Egyptians. But those are the last people who are going to tell you that there's a revolution on its way in the country. Right? And so ...

    MARGARET WARNER: Even if they know it. Sometimes, they miss it.

    MARK MAZZETTI: Even if they know it, they might not tell the CIA.

    So the question was how much the CIA or other intel agencies didn't have its ear to the ground to predict or at least to update these revolts as they were happening.

    MARGARET WARNER: Now, the new director of the CIA, John Brennan, seemed to indicate at his hearing that he wanted to dial back on the drone -- having the agency in the drone attack business. Do you think there is going to be a shift, and, if so, why?

    MARK MAZZETTI: Well, I think that the pressure is increasing on President Obama to bring more transparency to these operations.

    They remain in secret. And it's amazing that even some members of the Intelligence Committees who have access to the highest-classification information in the U.S. government, they realized during the Brennan hearings that they didn't have everything, and that they were pushing for more information.

    So there's pressure to at least bring more transparency. And Brennan has said that there is -- there are functions the CIA is currently doing that it probably shouldn't be doing. I think that this is going to be something that takes time, though, that not -- that the CIA wouldn't necessarily entirely get out of the targeted killing business.

    It may give up aspects of it. And then the question is, well, how long does it really take the agency to be moving back in the other -- the other direction? It could take years. But there's no question that the secrecy of all this is something that I don't think President Obama and the Obama administration is going to be able to maintain for very long.

    MARGARET WARNER: Mark Mazzetti, thank you for joining us. And I look forward to continuing our conversation about "The Way of the Knife" online.

    MARK MAZZETTI: Thanks very much.

    GWEN IFILL: As Margaret mentioned, there is more of their conversation online, and you can find that on The Rundown. 

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    It's a classic case of denial. Roughly half of Americans above the age of 40 believe "almost everyone" is likely to require long-term care as they age. Just a quarter think they will need it for themselves.

    The truth: 70 percent of Americans older than age 65 will need some form of long-term care.

    That gap means most Americans are doing very little to plan and save for the assistance they'll desperately need in old age, according to a new poll from the The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

    "It's rather surprising," said Jennifer Agiesta, director of polling for the Associated Press. "Very few people have arranged to pay for or even to think about their own needs. Most haven't even taken the basic step of talking to family members about their preferences."

    The problem will only become worse as America grays, with the number of seniors expected to nearly double by the time the last of the baby boomers turn 65. In 2030, seniors are expected to make up 19 percent of the U.S. population -- up from 12 percent in 2000.

    After interviewing 1,019 Americans aged 40 or older in the nationally representative survey, the pollsters highlighted several startling conclusions:

    52 percent said they had "a great deal or quite a bit of concern" about losing their independence and having to rely on others as they age.

    44 percent said they were moderately worried about being able to pay for the care they might need.

    35 percent had actually set aside money to pay for their long-term needs.

    Click on the graphic below to see how concerned the survey participants were about various aging issues:

    Why such rampant lack of planning? For one thing, Agiesta said, "people tend to guess wrong when they think about how much long-term care will cost them." They underestimate the costs of nursing home care, overestimate the cost of assisted living and "are all over the place when you ask them what the costs are for a home health care aid," she said.

    To an equal extent, they believe Medicare has their backs. Close to half -- 44 percent -- expect Medicare to pay for ongoing care at home by a licensed home health care aide, and 37 percent believe it pays for ongoing care in a nursing home.

    But it doesn't. As the AP-NORC report points out, Medicare only pays for "medically necessary care in a skilled nursing facility." In rare cases when home health care is approved, it's provided "under very limited circumstances and for brief stretches of time."

    Meanwhile, 54 percent of the survey participants said they don't anticipate needing Medicaid, the largest payer for long-term care -- even though many of them lack confidence in their ability to pay for those same services as they age.

    How much do Americans think their long-term care will cost? Click the graphic below to expand:

    But the bigger issue may be that most Americans simply don't want to think about aging.

    Nearly a third of those polled said they "would rather not think about getting older at all." When pressed, 52 percent said they had a "great deal" or "quite a bit" of concern about losing their independence and having to rely on others as they age. And 42 percent said they worried about having to leave their own home and move into a nursing home.

    The survey found that "significant majorities" prioritize almost anything that will give them more independence. That includes purchasing homes with no stairs and living close to family members, health care services and stores. Nearly seven in 10 were confident they'll be able to rely on family members "a great deal" or "quite a bit" in a time of need.

    What specific steps are Americans taking for long-term care? Click the graphic below to expand:

    Even though most older Americans "aren't doing much" to prepare for their own long-term care, the vast majority are supportive of a program that would help them do so, Agiesta said.

    Roughly three-quarters of those 50 and older -- a full 77 percent -- support tax breaks to encourage saving for ongoing living assistance, similar to a 401(k). Half favor a government-administered long-term care insurance program, like Medicare. And about a third support a requirement that individuals purchase long-term care insurance.

    Click the graphic below to see public support levels for three proposed long-term care options:

    Policy options aside, Agiesta said one of the biggest obstacles will be counter-acting the widespread belief among so many Americans that "other people are going to require much more care" than they will themselves.

    "As they approach this age and this stage of life, people should be thinking more critically about what they're going to need," she said. "Because it's probably not that different than what everybody else is going to need."

    The SCAN Foundation, which funded the AP-NORC survey, is an underwriter of the PBS NewsHour. Top photo by John Moore/Getty Images. All graphics were produced by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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    Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; photo by Center for American Progress Action Fund

    Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., speaks about health care reform in 2009. Photo by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

    The Morning Line

    Sometimes a retirement is more than a retirement.

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced Tuesday he would not seek a seventh term in 2014, setting off a political chain reaction that will reverberate from official Washington to Big Sky Country.

    "I often rely on Scripture," Baucus, 71, told his hometown paper the Billings Gazette. "Ecclesiastes says there is a time and place for everything." He said that after 40 years in Washington and following the death of his mother in 2011, it was time for a new perspective.

    "I just don't want to die with my boots on," he said. "I'm a Montanan. I'm coming home to Montana. It's my home."

    Baucus said he plans to use his remaining time in the Senate to focus on key policy matters, including an overhaul of the tax code, which he has been working on with Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

    "I'm not turning out to pasture because there is important work left to do, and I intend to spend the year and a half getting it done," Baucus said in a statement. "Our country and our state face enormous challenges - rising debt, a dysfunctional tax code, threats to our outdoor heritage, and the need for more good-paying jobs."

    The Washington Post's Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery have more on how the move gives Baucus the freedom to pursue sweeping legislative changes, starting with the tax code:

    The announcement could mark the beginning of one of the most consequential periods in Baucus's long public career, because he pledged to devote the rest of his time in Washington to pursuing a comprehensive rewrite of the federal tax code, a long-shot effort that many see as key to breaking the fiscal gridlock that has paralyzed Washington in recent years.

    That paralysis of taxes and spending has been a central feature of Obama's presidency, and Baucus said that when the president called him Tuesday about his retirement, Baucus quickly turned the discussion to tax reform. "They're going to get tired of me," Baucus said in an interview, adding that White House officials are still searching for a strategy for ending the stalemate.

    Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax issues, said his decision not to seek reelection frees him from the demands of a campaign and will also allow him to focus on new trade agreements and implementation of the Obama health-care initiative, which he played a major role in drafting.

    Next in line to take the committee gavel is Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, whose own brand of bipartisanship is "not without its detractors," writes Roll Call's Meredith Shiner. He especially irritated Democrats during the health care debate and proposing changes to Medicare last year.

    On the Hill, Baucus is known for a brash style, but also is viewed as someone pivotal to shepherding major legislation.

    And as the thinking goes in Washington, a senator planning to leave town sometimes feels liberated to revise his or her voting record. Gun control advocates were frustrated with Baucus last week, when he opposed expanding background checks for most gun purchases, and have suggested they are hopeful he might change his mind.

    Many assumed the reason Baucus voted against the background check measure was for political cover in his re-election bid, but that theory no longer seems to apply. That could make him a tougher sell for proponents of new gun legislation, although Baucus did support the original assault weapons ban passed in 1994.

    The Atlantic's David Graham writes that the Democratic primary to replace Baucus "will be a fascinating litmus test for the liberal coalition after the failure of gun control."

    For an examination of the political consequences, Gwen Ifill talked with Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report on Tuesday's Newshour.

    Rothenberg swiftly moved the race to a tossup and told Gwen that Baucus' decision changes the math in the 2014 battle for control of the Senate. Democrats are defending 21 seats and already have a handful of vulnerable incumbents to protect. Said Rothenberg:

    There are four seats right off the top that Republicans are very optimistic about, two open in South Dakota and West Virginia, and then the two Democratic senators from the South, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Getting beyond that four is the challenge. It's not to say the Republicans will win any or all of those, but they have a pretty good chance.

    Not only does Baucus' decision make the math tougher for Senate Democrats, it also means the party will lose even more experience from its conference in 2015. The six declared retirements -- Baucus, Carl Levin of Michigan, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Tim Johnson of South Dakota -- have combined to serve 30 terms in office.

    Walter said Baucus stepping aside means hanging on to that seat "might be easier" for Democrats than if he was seeking re-election, especially if former Gov. Brian Schweitzer listens to the entreaties that he run.

    "He is the quintessential Montana Democrat," Walter said.

    For gun control advocates, however, Schweitzer might not be any more receptive to their push than Baucus. The recently retired governor received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association when he ran for re-election in 2008 and earned an 'A' rating from the group.

    Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad called Schweitzer "unpredictable and ambitious" and noted that he actually polls better than Baucus back home.

    Watch the NewsHour segment here or below:

    Watch Video


    Police released on bond a man arrested on suspicion of sending letters laced with ricin to President Barack Obama and several senators after finding no evidence of the poison at his home. The New York Times reported the Mississippi man "said he had never even heard of ricin. 'I thought they said rice,' he said. 'I said I don't even eat rice.'"

    The development in the ricin case came as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters another laced letter was found at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. (which turned out to be a false alarm). Talking Points Memo has more on the strange story, which involves an Elvis impersonator claiming he was framed because of a spat he's been having with a Mississippi martial arts instructor and political hopeful. The Clarion Ledger talks with the man who said he had nothing to do with it.

    Members of the House will get a briefing from the top Republican writing tax policy. And Reid asked House Republicans to start negotiating on the budget, but Senate Republicans blocked the formation of a conference committee to reconcile the plans passed by each chamber.

    Behold the momentary massive drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after hackers tweeted from the Associated Press account Tuesday that an explosion at the White House injured Mr. Obama. The tweet was (obviously) false, and the FBI is investigating.

    Rhetoric in the final Massachusetts Democratic debate grew heated Tuesday night as Reps. Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch sparred over homeland security and federal bailouts.

    Politico's Maggie Haberman explores Hillary Clinton's new role: highly paid speech-giver at "$200,000 a pop."

    The Associated Press found that hospitals have been deporting undocumented immigrants while they were being treated to cut costs.

    The conservative affiliate of the Mark Zuckerberg-backed organization, FWD.us, launched a seven-figure ad buy in six states Tuesday to rally conservative support for the bipartisan immigration deal.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is blocking a vote on Ernest Moniz to be energy secretary because the department cut funding for construction of a nuclear processing facility in South Carolina.

    Mayors Against Illegal Guns has Arkansas in its sights. Senior members gathered Sunday to debate how best to target Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor on his vote against expanded background checks. Guns may not be their only issue, however. And the group run by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is spending against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

    FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver weighs in on the Senate's votes on the background check amendment, showing that states' rates of gun ownership was much more predictive of votes than opinion polls showing widespread favorability for background checks. The Post also examines public opinion on the issue.

    The House Tea Party Caucus re-launches Thursday.

    In Wednesday's Quinnipiac University poll, 66 percent of New Jersey voters had a favorable opinion of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, while 78 percent of voters said they didn't know enough about State Sen. Barbara Buono, the expected Democratic nominee, to have an opinion of her.

    Bob Edgar, the former Pennsylvania representative and executive director of the liberal group Common Cause, died suddenly at his home Tuesday morning.

    The Columbia Journalism Review says it's difficult for reporters to make sense of North Carolina veering toward more conservative state-level laws.

    Iowa Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds won't make a bid to become the state's first female U.S. senator, the Des Moines Register reported. The Republicans have yet to settle on a candidate to seek the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

    All the Republicans of Rhode Island's Senate support legalizing gay marriage.

    Two North Carolina Democratic political strategists were stabbed in their home Monday, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

    Ahead of the dedication ceremony for his new presidential library, former President George W. Bush told C-Span's Steve Scully that his relationship with former Vice President Dick Cheney has been "cordial" and that he misses his "pals" in Washington.

    Anthony Weiner has a peculiar style of communication with reporters.


    Jeff Brown examines security concerns in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

    As part of our ongoing immigration coverage, correspondent Kwame Holman talks with a former INS commissioner about expired visas. And Sarah McHaney updates the state of the evangelicals-for-immigration reform movement. Ray Suarez interviews an author who explored why faith leaders have gotten involved in the issue.

    Travis Daub charts how Boston was ranked No. 10 on the list of cities getting funds for homeland security.

    We look at the prison at Guantanamo Bay by the numbers.


    Nice step-back piece"@jkuhnhenn: Obama and Bush, distinct presidents with overlaps in policy and aspirations apne.ws/10yZjRP"

    — Ben Feller (@BenFellerNY) April 24, 2013

    Savader once threatened to send nude photos of women to the RNC and "to everybody in DC:" politi.co/12HCqtE

    — Kevin Robillard (@PoliticoKevin) April 24, 2013

    Boylston street is open. #bostonstrong

    — Mayor Tom Menino (@mayortommenino) April 24, 2013

    I'd watch a CNN Crossfire show with Uncle Ruslan and Senator Grassley.

    — Nu Wexler (@wexler) April 23, 2013

    Academic board of new Ron Paul institute includes 9/11 truther, other radicals dailycaller.com/2013/04/23/aca...

    — Alex Pappas (@AlexPappas) April 24, 2013

    Met woman in NYC Monday who wanted to talk about the "sequencher" when she heard I was from DC. Sounds like a tasty drink.

    — Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) April 23, 2013

    Katelyn Polantz 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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  • 04/24/13--06:42: The Daily Frame
  • Click to enlarge.

    Tam Wai Ping's "Falling into Mundane World" is on display at "Mobile M+: Inflation!" in Hong Kong. The exhibition of six giant inflatable sculptures next Hong Kong's future museum for visual arts will be open to the public Thursday through June 9. Photo by Laurent Fievet/AFP/Getty Images.

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    Watch Video Video edited by Joshua Barajas.

    If you go to a Charles Bradley concert, prepare to get hugged...by Charles Bradley. He does it every time. After the show -- after the screaming and the sweat -- he steps down from the stage, arms outstretched, and embraces the audience one by one. I got a hug. Video editor Josh Barajas got one, too.

    "When I go on stage and I see the audience, see the way they love me, the way they give me love, it's a love that you carry inside you," the 64-year-old soul singer said before a recent performance in Annapolis, Md. "It makes you want to open every bit of love you carry inside you. It's a beautiful feeling."

    Bradley's story is far from beautiful. His mother was absent for most of his upbringing. He left home at 14 and spent time living on the street and in subway trains in New York. It was then that he found Job Corps, the vocational training program created in 1964 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, and earned work as a cook. It was also around this time that he got to see James Brown perform.

    "When I got a chance, when I was 14, to go see James Brown...that just enhanced my singing," he said. "And when I went to Job Corps, I finally met my first band. I could sing. They wanted me to sing. But I was a little nervous being around a big crowd. But once you get that mic in your hand, it gets in your spirit, you just break loose."

    A soul singer was born.

    But it took nearly a half-century before the masses would get to hear his music. Bradley was in his 50s when the co-founder of Daptone Records "discovered" him in a Brooklyn nightclub performing as a James Brown act called Black Velvet. By age 62, Daptone released his first album, "No Time for Dreaming," to critical acclaim. It made Rolling Stones' 50 Best Albums of 2011, ranking him alongside smash hit artists like Adele and Frank Ocean.

    But success only seems to make him more humble. Bradley's painful past, which includes the shooting death of his brother in 2000, can be heard in his songs, notably 2011's "Heartache and Pain."

    "My songs come from a lot of my deep emotion, from the trials and tribulations that I've been through," he said. "Every lyric got a picture behind it. That's why sometimes it gets very emotional for me."

    Now 64, he recently released his second album, "Victim of Love," and has embarked on his first world tour. Now the world will get to hear the Screaming Eagle of Soul. They'll get to see his moves -- he's been dancing since he was 4 years old. They'll get to witness his spirit; his performance is coated in his faith -- at one point in the show he screams, "Can I go to church!" And they'll get their hugs. Bradley so much as promises it.

    "My goal now's really getting out into the music industry, getting to people's eyes so they're really seeing me," he said. "I see a lot of hurt in people's faces, and I see a lot of joy. That's why I like going out to the public, hugging them, letting them know that I see it."

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    Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg founded his social media website from his dorm room at Harvard University when he was only 19 years old. As Silicon Valley investors search for the next "Zuckerberg," they increasingly maintain a prejudice against older entrepreneurs. Vivek Wadhwa says the age discrimination in tech industries is a big mistake. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

    A Note from Paul Solman: Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa is a favorite contributor of ours on Making Sense and The Business Desk. His most recent contribution, on Silicon Valley discriminating against women, brought a torrent of spirited affirmations and denials.

    Now, he takes on a theme we've been following since January: older workers in America. They too are discriminated against, he writes, and once again, in supposedly meritocratic Silicon Valley. It's a big mistake.

    Vivek Wadhwa: It wasn't long ago that age was equated with knowledge. The apprentice learned from the master and the disciple from the guru. Older workers earned higher salaries because of their experience.

    Even today, we feel more comfortable with doctors, airline pilots, and Presidents who have grey hair. Yet older workers in many industries can't even get interviews. When they do get job offers, these are often at lower salaries. In Silicon Valley, investors openly talk about their bias towards younger entrepreneurs -- some argue that Internet entrepreneurs peak at the age of 25.

    True, some older workers become complacent as they age. They become set in their ways, stop learning new technologies and believe they are entitled to the high wages they earned at their peak. Their careers stagnate for a valid reason. But these are the exception rather than the rule. Whether it is in computer programming or entrepreneurship, older workers have many advantages -- they still are the experts.

    I know from personal experience, when I was CEO of a technology company, that older workers were usually better at following direction, mentoring and leading. They were more pragmatic and loyal, and knew the importance of being team players. They had smaller egos than some of my young recruits did. They were the steadiest performers and stayed with me through the most difficult times.

    As a professor at Duke University, I also researched entrepreneurship. My team found that the average and median age of successful company founders in a variety of fast-growing industries was 40. Twice as many founders were older than 50 as were younger than 25. And there were twice as many over 60 as under 20. The experience that entrepreneurs had gained, the contacts they made, networks they formed, their ability to recruit good management teams and their education give them their greatest advantage over kids fresh out of school.

    Why then do investors in Silicon Valley prefer to fund entrepreneurs who are hardly old enough to shave? Because they believe you have to be young to understand emerging technologies like social media. They are looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg. In their minds, the profile of the "perfect" entrepreneur is someone smart enough to get into Harvard or Stanford yet savvy enough to drop out. One billionaire even urges talented young people to skip college, presumably so they don't lose time before innovating.

    MORE FROM VIVEK WADHWA:Silicon Valley Discriminates Against Women -- Even If They're Better

    To a degree, the fact that the cult of Silicon Valley has been built around young people makes sense -- particularly in Web and mobile technology. The young have an advantage because they aren't encumbered by the past. Older technology workers are experts in building and maintaining systems in old computer languages and architectures. They make much bigger salaries. Why should employers pay $150,000 for a worker with 20 years of irrelevant experience when they can hire a fresh college graduate for $60,000? After all, the graduate will bring in new ideas and doesn't have to go home early to a family.

    These graduates grew up in an era when the whole world was becoming connected. To them, the world is one giant social network in which they can play games or work with anyone, anywhere. The young understand the limits of the Web world, but they don't know their own limits. Since they don't know what isn't possible, the Zuckerbergs can come up with new solutions to old problems. That is why they lead the charge in starting innovative mobile and Web companies.

    So I'm not denying the advantages of the young in coming up with audacious new ideas. But it is the role of the old to implement them. After all, great ideas by themselves don't lead to breakthrough technologies or successful companies. Ideas are a dime a dozen. The value comes from translating ideas into inventions and inventions into successful ventures. To do this, you have to collaborate with others, obtain financing, understand markets, price products, develop distribution channels, and deal with rejection and failure. In other words, you need business and management skills and maturity. These come with education, experience, and age.

    Employers and investors who believe that people stop being creative as they reach middle age are dead wrong. Take Ben Franklin. He invented the lightning rod when he was 44 and discovered electricity at 46. Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence at 70, and invented bifocals even later in life.

    Henry Ford introduced the Model T when he was 45. Sam Walton built Wal-Mart in his mid-40s. Ray Kroc built McDonald's in his early 50s. Some of the most creative people of the century were also not young. Ray Kurzweil published "The Singularity Is Near" in his 50s. Alfred Hitchcock directed Vertigo when he was 59. Frank Lloyd Wright built his architectural masterpiece, Fallingwater, when he was 68. And let's not forget the greatest innovator of recent times: Steve Jobs. His most significant innovations -- iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone and iPad -- came after he was 45.

    Nobel Prize winners of the 20th century are also middle aged and getting older, as Kellogg School of Management economist Benjamin F. Jones has documented. He found that the average age at which they made their greatest innovations was not, as urban legend would have it, in their teens or 20s but when they hit 39. The largest mass of great advances -- 72 percent -- came in an inventor's 30s and 40s, and only 7 percent came before the age of 26.

    So it may be time to get beyond the fascination with the Zuckerbergs and put aside our prejudices. Older workers have a lot to contribute not only to our corporations, but also to startups.

    Vivek Wadhwa is vice president of innovation and research at Singularity University, fellow at Stanford Law School, and director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University. He is the author of "The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent."

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

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    Alexei Navalny, second from right, takes part in an anti-government protest in Moscow in February 2012. Photo by Morgan Till/PBS NewsHour.

    Russian lawyer and political activist Alexei Navalny faces 10 years in prison for embezzlement charges in a trial that resumed this week in Russia.

    His defenders call the trial politically motivated -- retribution, they say, for his blogs critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party, which Navalny famously labeled the party of "crooks and thieves."

    The criminal charges against Navalny, 36, include stealing $500,000 from a state-owned timber company during his time as adviser to the governor of Kirov, Russia, a city about 900 miles northeast of Moscow. Despite the distance, more than 100 people reportedly made the 12-hour train ride to show their support at his trial.

    According to the Associated Press, Navalny first made a name for himself by buying shares in state-run companies and using his stakeholder position to acquire internal documents that he said showed officials had siphoned off millions of dollars.

    Despite a growing opposition to the government led in part by Navalny, Putin's popularity has remained strong within the country, and he resoundingly won re-election as president in March 2012.

    In a Feb. 29, 2012, interview on the PBS NewsHour, Navalny said of Putin prior to his re-election that even though he's "a very power-hungry politician, he's a smart, flexible person" who could lead reforms in the country.

    Watch the full interview:

    Watch Video

    Navalny's hearing continues Thursday. A guilty verdict, and even a suspended sentence, would prevent Navalny from running for public office.

    View more of our World coverage.

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    As part of an ongoing web series, NewsHour profiles STEM teachers who have found innovative ways to teach their students about math and science.

    Watch Video

    Video by Rebecca Jacobson and Cindy Huang.

    Jerriel Hall meets his 23 students in the hallway on a Thursday morning to tell them they are no longer third graders at Leckie Elementary School in southwest Washington, D.C. They are cadets on the spaceship Achievement. And he is not their teacher, but the alien ambassador Newton, who will be their guide to his home planet.

    "Welcome to the dark zone," he says.

    When the students walk into their classroom, black curtains speckled with bright paint hang in a semicircle around the center of the classroom. Glowing stars and moons are set around the classroom. Tables are littered with glowsticks.

    A video of Hall wearing headphones pops up on a whiteboard at the front of the room. "Cadets, cadets, this is mission control," the video says. "If you are able to hear this message please contact mission control immediately."

    Newton informs the class that they must take measurements and record data on this new planet. To repair their ship and return to Earth, they need to solve math and science problems at each station on the planet Entramedon.

    "We are going to collect data and measure, all those fun things you humans like to do," Newton tells them. "I guess you're human," he adds, prodding one of the boys. "Are you human?"

    It's fun and a little silly, but their mission is serious. The third graders are reviewing math and science skills before the DC Comprehensive Assessment System test this month, the yearly high-stakes standardized exam for grades 2-10 in the District of Columbia. Creating a new fictional setting, complete with props and a storyline, engages the children's imaginations and forces them to put their knowledge into a new context, Hall said.

    This is his fourth year teaching, and this isn't the first time that Hall has turned his classroom into a new setting for his students this year. His first transformation turned his classroom into an emergency room, giving the kids white coats and face masks. They formed trauma units, solving multiplication and division problems to save patient Charlie Brown.

    The students loved it, he said, and since then he has also turned the classroom into a restaurant and a beach. It's a surprise every time, so the students have no idea what's coming until they receive a note at breakfast that morning. The activity takes the whole 90-minute class period.

    For the outer space scenario, Hall is reviewing measurements, graphing, multiplication and division. He's thrown in some physics as well, having students solve word problems about gravity, force, energy and motion.

    The playful settings gives students more experience with word problems, Hall said, on which each of the classroom stations relies. Occasionally, a new message from mission control pops up, giving the class a new problem they must solve together to repair the communicator.

    The third graders get into the story too, asking Newton why, if he's an alien, he speaks English. When one girl asks where Mr. Hall is, one of her classmates says, "We're not on Earth anymore. We crashed. Don't you remember that?"

    While the students are calling him Newton for the day, Hall has another name for his students: scholars. Scholars always strive for excellence, he tells them, and scholars go on to college, which seems light years from the third grade. But Hall reminds them that college is a reality for them, too.

    "A lot of these students have never had a teacher that told them that they were going to college," he said. "A lot of them didn't even know anyone who went to college. I do not let them forget why they are here and the work and the urgency that we need to do to complete our tasks, so they can be successful and go to college."

    Do you know a science or math teacher who has a creative lesson plan for his or her students? Send us your nominations here, and your teacher may be featured as a part of this ongoing series.

    Related Links:

    How Math Got Its Groove Back

    For the Love of Pi and the Tao of Tau

    STEAM Ahead: Merging Arts and Science Education

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    Doris Meissner, director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, says a proposed W-Visa category would for the first time allow low-skilled foreigners to legally work in the U.S.

    The United States has long welcomed foreigners with advanced degrees to work in this country. A proposal in the immigration reform bill released April 18 would for the first time, allow foreigners with lower job skills to legally work here.

    Under the "W-Visa" program, which would start in April 2015, foreigners with lesser skills would be able to apply for positions in the country. The program would be based upon a system of registered employers who, after applying and being accepted, are allowed to hire a certain number of W-Visa category individuals each year.

    Employers must first advertise the position for 30 days on a Secretary of Labor website before it becomes a position capable of being filled by a W-Visa holder. Employers couldn't advertise positions that require a bachelor's degree or higher.

    The visa would last three years and workers could renew it for additional three-year periods. Visa holders couldn't be unemployed for more than 60 consecutive days. They would be able to bring a spouse and minor children, who also would receive authorization to work in the U.S.

    "They are addressing something that has never been available to us before in the immigration system," Doris Meissner, director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute told NewsHour's Kwame Holman in a recent interview. Between 1993 and 2000, Meissner served as the commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    "We've always had visas available for seasonal jobs that are short term. ... But more and more our economy, being a service economy, has year-round jobs that are relatively permanent where there is sometimes a need for foreign-born workers."

    The number of visas to be offered would be capped at 20,000 the first year and grow to 75,000 by the fourth year. In the years thereafter, the annual cap would be based on a formula that would consider the number of new job openings, the number of unemployed U.S. workers as well as the demand for W-Visa workers.

    This temporary worker plan was brokered as a compromise between lawmakers, industry and labor unions.

    "The new W-Visa classification features a streamlined process for employers to register job openings that can be filled by temporary foreign workers, while still ensuring that American workers get first crack at every job and that wages paid are the greater of actual or prevailing wage levels," U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in an April 3 statement.

    Read more from this series:

    Undocumented Individuals 'Deeply Rooted' in U.S. Communities

    Forty Percent of Non-Citizens Live in U.S. on Expired Visitor, Student Visas

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Federal investigators pieced together more of the Boston bombings puzzle today, as one of the victims, a policeman, was honored. The service featured a mass turnout by other police officers.

    Police officers by the hundreds lined up in the late morning sun to pay respects to Sean Collier, the MIT officer shot and killed last Thursday night, allegedly by the bombers. The college canceled classes for the day, as thousands turned out to memorialize the 26-year-old Collier.

    ROBERT RANDOLPH, Chaplain to the Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: We do not understand why Sean Collier was taken away from his family, his brothers and sisters in law enforcement, his friends on this campus. And we shout into the darkness. Even if no one hears, we say thank you for Sean, for his gifts, compassion, his energy, his sense of right and wrong.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The singer/songwriter James Taylor played an interlude, and later came Vice President Biden.

    VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I’ve known the Colliers my whole life, and today's the first time I met them. I grew up in the same neighborhood. I was telling them that -- like a lot you have a badge, shield pined on.

    You went out in my neighborhood, when I moved to Claymont, you either became a firefighter, a cop, a priest, or you joined the trades. I wasn't capable of doing any of them, so I ended up where I am. But I know you. I know you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mr. Biden also spoke of the terrorist threat that gripped Boston last week.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Whether it's al-Qaida central out of the FATA or two twisted, perverted, cowardly knockoff jihadis here in Boston, why do they do what they do?

    They do it to instill fear, to have us, in the name of our safety and security, jettison what we value most and the world most values about us: our open society, our system of justice that guarantees freedom.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the scene of the Boston Marathon attack, Boylston Street, reopened to the public.

    And in the investigation, the Associated Press quoted unnamed U.S. officials who said the bombs were triggered by rudimentary remote controls. Some of the gunpowder in the devices may have come from this store in New Hampshire, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev bought $400 dollars worth of fireworks in February.

    WOMAN: He just wanted the biggest, loudest stuff that we have in the store, pretty much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The surviving Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar, has reportedly told investigators that the brothers learned to make the pressure cooker bombs from an online magazine called Inspire. It's published by al-Qaida's affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula and includes a section called "Open Source Jihad" that explains bomb-making techniques.

    The ideology that apparently sparked the attack remained on display on Tamerlan Tsarnaev's YouTube page, links to videos from, among others, an Islamist fighter in the North Caucasus.

    This afternoon, The Washington Post reported that the CIA asked to place Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name on a watch list more than a year before the attacks. It wasn't immediately clear when his name was added to the list. But The Post said it happened after the FBI closed its initial inquiry.

    For more on what may have turned two young men into violent terrorists, I'm joined now by Dr. Jerrold Post, who had a 21-year career at the CIA, where he founded the Center for Analysis of Personal and Political Behavior. He's now a professor of psychiatry, political psychiatry and international affairs at George Washington University. And Jessica Stern, who is a lecturer at Harvard and former National Security Council staffer who's interviewed dozens of terrorists to try to understand what motivates them.

    Welcome to you both.

    Dr. Post, to you first.

    How does radicalization like what we have seen here happen? How does a young man living in the United States go from reading material to acting in a violent way trying to kill people?

    DR. JERROLD POST, The George Washington University: The phenomenon of radicalization online is really quite alarming.

    It's been estimated that there's some 4,800 radical Islamist websites. And I am struck that young men and women who are isolated, not feeling they belong, this way, can belong to a virtual community of hatred. Anwar al-Awlaki, who was known as the bin Laden of the Internet, was very adroit at manipulating individuals who were no longer lonely, but now belonged.

    The issue of moving to violence is not so well understood. That often seems to be happenstance and often precipitated by the death of a friend, the loss of a loved one, the blowing up of a family home. And the issue of radicalization, though, this is a systematic process and quite alarming and a major counterterrorism challenge.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Jessica Stern, what do you see in your research that turns -- that causes these young men to turn the corner to something violent?

    JESSICA STERN, Harvard University: Well, I think it's often about confused identity.

    And some young people seem to have a lot of trouble withstanding that confused identity. And they find a way to identify with people who feel oppressed. That narrative of oppression is often appealing to young people for whom something, as Dr. Post said, has gone wrong.

    With Faisal Shahzad, he started having tax problems. He became more religious. He started going to Pakistan. But he until that change was described as a fairly nice person. This is -- it's not a unique thing. We have seen this before.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just to be clear, you're referring to one of the terrorists who tried to ...

    JESSICA STERN: The Times Square bomber. I'm sorry.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That's right. I just wanted to be clear.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Post, you talked about feeling isolated, not feeling as if they belong. But they had to have read or seen something before that fueled the change. Is that right?

    JERROLD POST: Oh, absolutely.

    And it's quite striking. Jessica and my colleague Gabi Weimann, who wrote a book, "Terror on the Internet," talks about, especially for the youthful generation, in fact they are often consolidating their identity online. And the -- I have analyzed the themes in these online sites.

    And there are three, and this coincides with what Jessica said earlier. First, we are the victims. Secondly, they, the West, and especially United States and Great Britain, but also Israel, are the victimizers, and therefore defensive jihad is justified and required against those who are doing this to us.

    And that's a powerful message. And you have people who have -- the brothers were characterized as losers by their uncle, who are not doing so well in their lives, and that he had given -- had lost his dream to be an Olympic boxer, that his parents had left and were back in Dagestan. All of these together may have helped move him into this sphere where -- from passivity and helplessness to activity to aggression.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, of course, some of this has to be speculation at this point, because we don't have the whole story yet.

    Jessica Stern, tell us about what kind of information is available online. We have heard about this one website, Inspire. But as you said -- both of you have said, there are thousands more. What do they say? And are they all in English?

    JESSICA STERN: Yes, there are a lot that are available in English. And, in fact, there are a number of scholars who communicate directly with jihadis online.

    It's quite remarkable, what's going on now, the kind of back-and-forth. But it's not just jihadi ideology and how-to manuals that are available online. There are also "The Anarchist Cookbook." Paladin Press had a book called "Hit Man" that resulted in a lawsuit because someone followed the directions and actually committed murder.

    It's available online. I was curious, and I looked last night. It's right there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about the -- staying with you, Jessica Stern, just a moment, what about the ideological or the religious, Islamist strain of this? I mean, for example, are there passages from the Koran? Or is it extreme language that veers off in another direction?

    JESSICA STERN: Well, what we have found is that it's often people who are most ignorant about Islam who can pick and choose passages, actually, from any religion that would seem to support a holy war.

    And right now there's a canned ideology, a jihadi ideology that seems to be very appealing to the kind of alienated and lonely and lost young men that Jerry Post is talking about, that canned jihadi ideology right there. Some of them are converts.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I'm sorry. What did you say there at the end?

    JESSICA STERN: I said of the -- about 35 percent of those who actually have tried to carry out jihadi attacks, most of them failing, of course, have been converts to Islam.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Post, is enough beginning to be known about this process that more could be done by authorities, by experts like you, like Ms. Stern to identify people who are -- may be susceptible to doing something?

    JERROLD POST: Well, this is a real dilemma.

    And what we mustn't do is undermine the very foundations of our liberal democracy in coping with this problem, because we have individuals. We can't be monitoring everyone's e-mail. The way Major Hasan, my psychiatric colleague at Fort Hood, was found was by monitoring the e-mails of al-Awlaki.

    But it's a very difficult process. And if someone is himself exploring, feeling a sense of fervor, meaning, of aggression, it's quite a daunting challenge. But we mustn't give up our civil liberties in pursuing that challenge.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, just quickly, final question to you, Jessica Stern.

    It seems to me just a few years ago, we were hearing that there was more homegrown radicalization going on in Europe, in Great Britain, because perhaps young people were not feeling as assimilated there as they were here in the United States. That's changed?

    JESSICA STERN: Well, it does seem to be changed.

    For the most part, Muslims in the United States are much better integrated. They're better educated than the average American. They're more likely to vote than the average American. But the New York City Police Department predicted after the 2004 murder of Theo van Gogh, that that kind of radicalization would come to the states in about five years, and I think they were right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On that note, we will live it there.

    Jessica Stern, Dr. Jerrold Post, we thank you both.

    JERROLD POST: Thank you. 

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Rescuers in Bangladesh worked frantically today in the ruins of an eight-story building. It collapsed this morning, killing at least 87 people and injuring dozens more. The disaster, near the capital city of Dhaka, focused attention again on a garment industry that supplies major U.S. chains.

    We have a report narrated by John Sparks of Independent Television News.

    JOHN SPARKS, Independent Television News: This mangled pile was home to four textile factories and a shopping mall.

    But at 8:30 this morning, the structure began to shake. Pillars snapped, the floors collapsed, and the world went dark, said one. It's thought there were 2,000 people inside at the time. A huge crowd gathered in this suburb of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, as workers used rolls of fabric to make their escape. Others pitched in, searching for survivors, working together to carry them out. Many simply waited and prayed for their loved ones.

    SIRAJ MIAH, Bangladesh: My wife went to work this morning, and I have been looking for her, but I can't find her anywhere.

    JOHN SPARKS: Young children may have been left in a number of crèches located in the building. And locals say scores of people, perhaps hundreds, are still trapped inside.

    ABDUS SALAM, Bangladesh: I went into the building. I saw a lot of people stuck inside. I rescued some, but many can't get out.

    JOHN SPARKS: This catastrophe raises difficult questions for officials and company bosses. Locals say cracks appeared in the building yesterday. It was even reported on television stations.

    But the factory supervisors said it was safe to work. Poor safety conditions were highlighted last November, when 112 lost their lives in a fire at another facility. When the alarm sounded, managers told employees to continue working because it was only a drill. Clothes bound for U.S. giants Wal-Mart and Sears were found in the charred remains and campaigners criticized them for failing to protect workers, although both firms blame their suppliers for using the factory without their permission.

    Today's disaster is unlikely to slow a booming industry, which thrives on the world's lowest labor costs.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In Iraq, at least 51 people were killed in a second day of violence between the Shiite-led government and Sunni tribesmen. A gun battle erupted when security forces tried to clear armed Sunnis from a town northeast of Baghdad. There was more killing in at least two other cities one day after Iraqi troops stormed a Sunni protest camp, killing 56 people.

    A leading opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin went back on trial today, claiming he's the victim of political revenge. Alexei Navalny organized major protests against Putin's return to power last year. Now he's charged with embezzling half-a-million dollars in timber from a state-owned company in 2009. Today, a court in Kirov refused to throw out the charges, and Navalny cried foul.

    ALEXEI NAVALNY, Russian Opposition Leader: We asked the judge to be replaced. Our appeal that the case be returned to the prosecutors has not been approved, which is yet further evidence of the obvious fact that the case is absolutely politically motivated and the judge is restricted in making independent decisions. The judge has rejected our appeal that he be replaced.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Putin's government denies using the courts to crush dissent.

    A new strain of bird flu has now spread to Taiwan, after killing 22 people in mainland China to date. That word came today as the World Health Organization said the strain is one of the most lethal yet. WHO scientists reported the H7N9 strain jumps from birds to people more easily than previous strains did. So far, though, there's little evidence that it can spread easily between humans.

    The head of the Federal Aviation Administration went before Congress today, defending furloughs of nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers. The unpaid days off have led to some flight delays, but Michael Huerta told a House hearing the decision was unavoidable, in the face of mandatory budget cuts.

    Republican Congressman Hal Rogers and others called for more flexibility.

    REP. HAL ROGERS, R-Ky.: You imposed 11 days of furloughs across all FAA employees, regardless of how critical those employees are to the mission of safe, efficient air traffic control. Can you explain?

    MICHAEL HUERTA, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator: What we came to the conclusion was that the national airspace system is an interconnected network. Weather phenomena or how aircraft are moved throughout the system doesn't make any distinction between large hub facilities and small air facilities.

    The fact is that over 70 percent of our operations budget is devoted to payroll, and the agency cannot put itself in the position of choosing winners and losers.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A White House spokesman said today the administration is now willing to consider legislation to keep the controllers on the job.

    The people of Newtown, Conn., have rejected school and town budgets that included more money for school security. Tuesday's vote came four months after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. The budgets would have added $770,000 dollars to hire more police and school guards. Town leaders say voters balked at overall spending increases and tax hikes.

    Wall Street was held back today by some weak corporate earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 43 points to close at 14,676. The Nasdaq rose a fraction of a point to close at 3,269.

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

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    GWEN IFILL: And we come back to Boston.

    Jeffrey Brown picks up on another part of the story: how victims will be compensated.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Within hours of the attacks, city leaders were getting calls asking how people could help victims. Part of the answer is coming from The One Fund, which was announced by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. It will provide compensation to those injured and to families of those killed.

    The fund has received more than $21 million dollars in commitments already. Some 50,000 individuals have promised nearly seven million dollars. The rest of it is coming from corporate donors.

    But hard decisions await about how the money should be distributed.

    Attorney Kenneth Feinberg has been named the fund's administrator. He's overseen similar efforts before, for 9/11, the shootings at Virginia Tech, and Aurora, Colo., and after the BP oil spill. And he joins me now.

    Ken Feinberg, welcome back to our program.

    Well, one key decision, obviously, who will be eligible? What can you tell us so far?

    KENNETH FEINBERG, The One Fund: Well, how much money is there in all of these programs that I administer. First, you have to determine how much there is to distribute, and then who's eligible, how much should eligible claimants receive, how quickly?

    These are the tough decisions have that have to be made once a fund is established and certain individuals are deemed eligible to receive the funds.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is insurance coverage a factor either way, whether people have it or don't have it?


    These are programs in which donors voluntarily, private donors, submit funds to a central fund and basically say we want to help the victims. The funds would get bogged down terribly if you started asking questions about need, collateral sources of insurance. The nature here is to try and get the money out the door to eligible claimants as fast as you can, simply, with a minimum of complexity.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, in trying to decide how much each person deserves, what kinds of things will be covered?

    KENNETH FEINBERG: Well, first of all, of course, you have to set aside funds for those who lost their lives.

    In Boston, it's, thank goodness, four people, not 32, like Virginia Tech, or thousands in 9/11. So first you set aside a certain amount for the families of those who lost loved ones. Then you set aside funds for those physically injured. Now, in Boston, some of the injuries are horrific, life-altering, double amputees, single amputees, brain injuries, people hospitalized for weeks and weeks.

    You set aside a substantial amount of money to distribute to those individuals depending on how long they have been hospitalized. Hospitalization is a pretty good indicator of seriousness of injury. And then if there are funds left over, maybe you compensate others, mental trauma, et cetera.

    We did compensate mental trauma in Virginia Tech for those students who were not injured, but were in the classroom and witnessed the horror. But we didn't do so in Aurora, Colo. There simply wasn't enough money.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In thinking about those who have been horrifically injured, including amputees, isn't one question the kind of long-term needs that people will have of continued rehab and therapy and the prosthetics themselves?

    We checked one source that said a person with an amputation can easily run up about $500,000 dollars over many years, over a lifetime. So how can you plan ahead for that?

    KENNETH FEINBERG: You can't. You can't possibly.

    There's only a limited amount of money. Now, it's been extraordinarily -- it's been amazing to me how much money has already poured into Boston for this tragedy. It's an amazing thing. The charitable impulse of the American people is something I see time and time again in these special programs.

    But there's simply not enough money to make victims or their families or those horribly injured whole financially. You're not going to be able to do that. And you do the best you can, but you try and dampen somewhat expectation to think that somehow there's going to be money sufficient to cover long-term, life-altering injuries.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is that one of the things you have learned? You have had a lot of experience at this. And I just wonder, what -- what have you learned that is most important, really, in setting this up and setting up expectations?

    KENNETH FEINBERG: The most important lesson I have learned over the years, Jeff, is the emotional context of all of this.

    My background in law is of very little help when it comes time to meet with families who lost loved ones or individuals terribly injured, tragically injured, the emotion, the anger, the frustration, the uncertainty, the disappointment. Why me? Why not my next-door neighbor or my friend? Why was it directed at me? Why was I in the wrong place? Why did I lose my son or my daughter?

    And how you cope with that in trying to explain to families and victims, this is all I can do. I have this money. It is a thimble of what you need or what you have lost, and it's a sense of frustration and helplessness that this is the best we can do. That's all we can do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, I'm sure -- excuse me -- that emotional issue is true in all the cases you deal with.

    I know you're just starting in on this particular one with the Boston fund. Are there any important similarities or differences in this case that you see from others that you have dealt with?


    The main one here so far -- and I'm just getting into the Boston situation -- is the horrific physical injuries. Fortunately, in Boston, fortunately -- and this sounds strange -- but, fortunately, four deaths, compared to almost 3,000 in 9/11 or 32 at Virginia Tech. But, still, you never get over the sense of trying to help people, of compassion in dealing with these one after another. It is difficult.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, Ken Feinberg, just very briefly, I think people can probably hear in your accent that you have some Massachusetts roots yourself, from nearby Brockton. Does that bring anything different for you to this?

    KENNETH FEINBERG: No, you feel a sense of -- you're from that area, so you're challenged to do the very best you can.

    I grew up in the area. And it adds a little bit of reinforcement that it's from your neck of the woods, so you want to do the best you can.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Ken Feinberg is administrator of The One Fund Boston.

    Thanks, and good luck.

    KENNETH FEINBERG: Thank you very much. 

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    GWEN IFILL: Now an update on the probe into a poison pen mystery.

    Federal investigators swarmed a Tupelo, Miss., home last night, hunting for the sender of ricin-tainted letters mailed to government officials.

    The home belongs to Everett Dutschke.

    EVERETT DUTSCHKE, Resident of Mississippi: Everybody has something suspicious in their house, but, no, there is nothing that is related to these letters.

    GWEN IFILL: Dutschke has not been arrested, and no charges have been filed. Last night's search came after yesterday's sudden twist, when a first suspect was released.

    Without explanation, federal prosecutors dropped all charges against Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth, Miss. An FBI agent testified that a search of Curtis' home found no evidence of the dangerous substance. Curtis, who was released yesterday evening, said he told investigators all along that he was innocent.

    PAUL KEVIN CURTIS, Former Suspect: I respect President Obama. I love -- love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.

    GWEN IFILL: But it turns out Curtis has some history with Dutschke, who once threatened to sue him. Dutschke, seen in this 2007 photo with Sen. Roger Wicker, one of the officials who received the poisoned letters, also maintains he didn't mail them.

    EVERETT DUTSCHKE: My family knows I didn't have anything to do with this. The people that actually know me know I don't have anything to do with this.

    GWEN IFILL: The case bears some resemblance to the deadly anthrax mailings in 2001. Scientist Steven Hatfill was under suspicion in that case for six years.

    STEVEN HATFILL, Biological Weapons Scientist: I am not the anthrax killer. I know nothing about the anthrax attacks. I had absolutely nothing to do with this terrible crime.

    GWEN IFILL: The government later cleared Hatfill and paid him a five million dollar settlement. Another scientist, Bruce Ivins, emerged as the prime suspect, but killed himself after his name surfaced.

    Now the turn of events in the ricin investigation has official Washington on edge again. There was a brief scare yesterday that another tainted package had turned up, but it turned out not to be true.

    And for more on what investigators do and do not know about the ricin scare, we turn to Kimberly Kindy, who is covering the investigation for The Washington Post, and Marilyn Thompson, Washington bureau chief for Reuters and author of "The Killer Strain: Anthrax and a Government Exposed."

    I spoke with them a short time ago.

    Welcome, Kimberly Kindy and Marilyn Thompson.

    Kimberly, tell us what's the latest we know on this, what's turning into a very odd investigation.

    KIMBERLY KINDY, The Washington Post: It is. That's for sure.

    Well, today, FBI went to the former karate studio of the person who they are now focused on who they are at least -- we can say they are investigating, and that's James Everett Dutschke. The bizarre twist kind of is for -- that, yesterday, after they dropped charges against Kevin Curtis, he and his attorney actually pointed their finger at Mr. Dutschke and said that they thought he framed them.

    Whether or not there's other evidence out there that is causing them to focus on Mr. Dutschke, I talked to his attorney, and they said they are unaware of any other evidence that would have caused them to now be looking at him.

    GWEN IFILL: But these two men have had some conflicts, we are given to understand.

    KIMBERLY KINDY: Yes, according to Mr. Curtis, yes, according to Mr. Dutschke's lawyer, no.

    She said that her client says that there has not been any conflict or anger that she knows about. And she said that -- her attorney said that the last time they were in contact with one another was in 2010. She said they have had three or four encounters with one another and that they are acquaintances.

    GWEN IFILL: Do we know whether there is any -- there have been any other searches or there's anyone else who the spotlight has fallen, as the FBI and other institutions continue this investigation?

    KIMBERLY KINDY: Not that we know of, just Mr. Dutschke at this point.

    GWEN IFILL: Marilyn Thompson, does this ring a bell for you? You wrote a book about the search of the -- the search for the anthrax killer. People actually died in that case back in 2001. And this seems the same in some ways, kind of poison pen letters sent to government officials. Is it the same, or is it different?

    MARILYN THOMPSON, Reuters: Well, it has some similarities, Gwen.

    It's quite interesting to see the parallels and to try to examine what the FBI actually learned from the horrific events of 2001 about investigating this type of case. They have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in beefing up their bioterror capabilities, and yet in many ways this really feels like the Keystone Cops out on the trail of an Elvis impersonator and a karate teacher. It's a really bizarre criminal investigation.

    GWEN IFILL: So, it's been 12 years since that case. Do we know that authorities have learned anything on how one begins to get to the bottom of these kinds of biological weapon -- weaponization cases?

    MARILYN THOMPSON: Well, what they should have learned in 2001 after a very rigorous, sophisticated investigation that took them all over the world was that the science of a bioterror agent is what can ultimately convict a criminal.

    They spent, as I said, untold amounts of money getting to the bottom of what the anthrax really was. And, ultimately, using DNA fingerprints of the material, they were able to finger an exact vial in the Fort Detrick laboratories that happened to be in the possession of a scientist there, Bruce Ivins. And so they felt that they could then go to court with absolute certainty about what this material was, how lethal it was, and where it came from, which is very important in proving a criminal case.

    GWEN IFILL: So it would have been impossible, for instance, for the first suspect to have had anything to do with this if there was no evidence of ricin either on his keyboard, anywhere in his home, anywhere at all?

    KIMBERLY KINDY: Right. That's exactly right.

    And everyone that I'm talking to today who has watched the case that Marilyn knows so much about, the anthrax case, said that this is -- they don't understand why they didn't learn precisely what Marilyn was just talking about. Look for evidence before you arrest somebody. Was there evidence? Apparently, there wasn't. Much of what they were looking at, circumstantial, you know, the letters that referenced a book that he was writing, the fact that he was out there and talking a lot.

    These are some of the same things that kind of tripped them up and led them to make a false arrest, a wrong arrest the last time around. So why didn't they learn and hold back until they had true physical evidence before they made the arrest? That's the big question that -- everybody who's watched the FBI over the years investigate these cases, that's the question they're asking.

    GWEN IFILL: And, also, Kimberly, do we know whether -- what do we know about the letter that was sent to the judge? We -- everyone's focused on the letter that was sent to the president, sent to Sen. Wicker. But do we know whether anyone has been able to point the finger at where that letter came from?

    KIMBERLY KINDY: I do not have any information on that. They believe that it is from the same person, that it's related. They just don't obviously know exactly who it is.

    Apparently, some of the same things that were referenced in the letter that went to the White House and the letter that went to Sen. Wicker very similar. But I do not have somebody saying that the sign-off, for instance, was, "This is K.C. and I approve this message," things like that that led them to Kevin Curtis.

    GWEN IFILL: Marilyn Thompson, is there any evidence that, in these cases, there is sometimes just pressure to get it done, to come up with a solution, especially with so many other -- so much other nervousness around the world about the Boston bombing and other outstanding investigations?

    MARILYN THOMPSON: There's absolutely no question, Gwen, that these cases are fraught with political pressure, especially when the intended targets are members of Congress, the U.S. Senate, and the president of the United States.

    The FBI, being a political agency itself, has to show and be held accountable on the Hill for every action they take in these cases. They go over regularly, as they did in the anthrax case, to brief members about the progress of their investigation. I'm sure they have talked with President Obama about it by this point.

    They are under a lot of pressure to do something fast and show that they're in control of the situation, no question.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, I know you will -- I know you will both be following what happens next.

    Marilyn Thompson, author of "The Killer Strain," at Reuters, now at Reuters, and Kimberly Kindy of The Washington Post, thank you both so much.

    MARILYN THOMPSON: Thank you, Gwen.

    KIMBERLY KINDY: Thank you. 

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the floods along the Mississippi and other Midwest rivers, creeks and streams.

    This week, communities are coping with rising waters, heavy rain and increasing damage, with no immediate end in sight. The scope of the problem keeps growing, with flooding along the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers. Towns and cities from North Dakota to Arkansas have felt the brunt, with its biggest impact so far in Illinois and Missouri.

    Ray Suarez has the story.

    RAY SUAREZ: The rain-swollen Mississippi River neared its crest today near Saint Louis, after days of rising waters.

    Muddy river waters covered the tops of trees and street signs, and a boat was the best way to get around in some areas. The unruly river caused more than 100 barges to break free earlier this week. A handful of them hit a Saint Louis County bridge. The Coast Guard says at least 10 barges sank.

    Meanwhile, floodwaters on the Illinois River crested at 29 feet. That's the highest it's risen in 70 years. The waters began falling today. Volunteers worked steadily to throw up tens of thousands of sandbag barriers to stop flooding. But, for some houses, the waters couldn't be stopped. Many stood partially submerged yesterday. Buildings on the floodplain, like this one, were suddenly in the middle of the river.

    Meanwhile, in the north of the state, the water receded enough in some areas to allow residents to start their cleanup. In Des Plaines, west of Chicago, the streets are lined with the unsalvageable.

    WOMAN: We see people going through our things. And it's not something you just throw out that you don't want. This belonged to my children.

    MAN: I have lived here all my life, and I have never, ever seen anything like this, never.

    RAY SUAREZ: Steady downpours across the Midwest have swollen streams, creeks and rivers beyond their banks. Four people in three states have died in the floodwaters.

    It's a striking change from just a few months ago. In Saint Louis, the river was almost 40 feet lower as recently as four months ago. Last summer's drought forced barges to lighten their loads to ride higher in the water. Shallow banks meant a long, single-file trip down the Mississippi for thousands of barges.

    National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs spoke to our colleagues at KETC Saint Louis earlier today.

    MARK FUCHS, National Weather Service: It's not entirely unheard of, but for the river to go as long as minus-4.6 feet, all the way up to 35.2, as it is right now, is -- is considerable. And we really haven't -- I have looked back in history trying to find comparable events. And there's a handful. But I have to go all the way back into the '60s, early '70s perhaps to find anything close to that.

    RAY SUAREZ: The National Weather Service expects many of the rivers and creeks in the Midwest to remain high into next month.

    Illinois' director of emergency management warned yesterday more flooding may be on the way.

    JONATHON MONKEN, Illinois Emergency Management Agency: I just got the forecast up north for the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Their forecast is expected to be in the 70s this weekend, which means we're going to have an extremely rapid snowmelt up north, which will contribute additional water to what we're seeing here. So it's definitely something that people need to keep our eye on.

    RAY SUAREZ: In Clarksville, Mo., officials also said they remain on alert for what's still to come, even as floodwaters began falling.

    MAYOR JO ANNE SMILEY, Clarksville, Mo.: Oh, yes, it can change in an instant. It could change if in fact we have a deluge of rain above us and the river should go higher than we can handle. Then we will have to increase the height of the wall that's there. And it can be done, but we'd have to pull things -- pull things back together really fast.

    RAY SUAREZ: In North Dakota, residents are scrambling to prepare for the coming melt of plenty of spring snow. Bulldozers built more than seven miles of clay levees in anticipation of a rapidly rising river in Fargo.

    APRIL WALKER, City Engineer, Fargo, N.D.: Intention is to get as much done in a managed fashion, so it's not -- I don't want to say Armageddon, but it's not as hurried as we were in the 2009 event or previous events.

    RAY SUAREZ: Volunteers worked earlier this week to fill 500,000 sandbags in five days, ahead of the floodwaters.

    While some communities brace for the snowmelt, the worst may be over in others. Floodwaters are slowly receding from the highest levels ever seen along the Grand River in Western Michigan. When it was running high, the Grand carried debris all the way to Lake Michigan.

    MARY JO BOLETTO, Michigan: The piles are incredibly tall. And there's just -- just the amount of debris is pretty remarkable.

    STEPHEN SHERWOOD, Michigan: I found a picnic table, some shoes. I found some caulk that it looks like people were using to cover up holes in their houses, so just all kinds of stuff.

    RAY SUAREZ: Weather officials said the Grand River was expected to fall below flood stage tomorrow. 

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    GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight, the debate over food aid sent abroad, who gets paid to grow it, ship it and deliver it.

    Margaret Warner has the story.

    MARGARET WARNER: American food aid goes to places where the need is dire, to Jordan, where thousands of Syrians have sought refuge from civil war, to Haiti, after the devastating 2010 earthquake, and to Pakistan that same year, when floods forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

    The budget for what's known as Food for Peace is $1.5 billion dollars a year, managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or AID, and the Agriculture Department. The idea came from President Eisenhower nearly 60 years ago.

    PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: It is -- quoting -- to explore anew with other surplus-producing nations all practical means of utilizing the various agricultural surpluses of each in the interests of reinforcing peace and well-being of free peoples throughout the world, in short, using food for peace.

    MARGARET WARNER: Until now, the commodities have been bought from U.S. farmers and shipped overseas on U.S. vessels, to be donated to local governments and non-governmental organizations, or NGOs.

    But President Obama's new AID budget proposal calls for scaling back that system known as monetization. Instead, nearly half the money would be used instead to buy local bulk food in or near the countries that need it.

    USAID administrator Rajiv Shah made the case for buying local at a U.S. Senate hearing today.

    DR. RAJIV SHAH, United States Agency for International Development: A core part of our thinking is by using and partnering with those who represent real, local solutions, we can bring the cost of our work down and create the kind of institutional strength that can sustain these efforts and activities after American aid and assistance goes away.

    MARGARET WARNER: As rumors of the proposed change surfaced in February, U.S. farmers, food and shipping companies and some NGOs objected in letters to lawmakers. And a bipartisan group of 21 senators from agricultural states protested in a letter to President Obama. The final decision rests with the relevant committees in Congress. 

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    MARGARET WARNER: And for more now, we turn to Andrew Natsios, former administrator of USAID in the George W. Bush administration and former vice president of World Vision, a faith-based NGO. He's now a professor at the George H.W. Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. And Ellen Levinson, director of the Alliance for Global Food Security, made up primarily of NGOs that deliver food and other aid, she also heads a consulting firm whose clients include U.S. companies that produce food.

    Welcome to you both.

    Andrew Natsios, tell us more. What's the case for this change that the Obama administration wants to make?

    ANDREW NATSIOS, Former Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development: We actually proposed this change 10 years ago under President Bush. We proposed that 25 percent of the budget at the time of Title II be used under Food for Peace for local purchase of food aid.

    This is not a partisan issue. If President Obama and President Bush both support the same reform, you have to ask the question, who's opposed to it? Special interest groups are opposed to it. They killed the legislation then and they're trying to kill it now.

    The case for it is, one, it takes three to four months to ship food. I ran the program for four years, 25 years ago and then when I was AID administrator for five years. I know exactly how much time it takes, because that's one of -- that's the subject I teach, actually, famines, war, and humanitarian assistance.

    And people die waiting for the food to arrive. I saw people die in Somalia waiting for the food to arrive. It's a long, complex process to ship food 7,000 miles from one part of the globe to the other part, particularly when a civil war is going on.

    When there's food surpluses locally, you ought to be able to buy the food locally. We're not saying all the food should be purchased locally. We think it depends on the circumstances. Those decisions should be made by Food for Peace officers and AID officers who have years of experience doing this.

    I might also add that 25 percent -- 20 percent to 25 percent of the Food for Peace budget is the cost of ocean shipping. If you buy the food in the area, you don't have to pay those costs, you can buy more food.

    MARGARET WARNER: All right, let me get Ellen ...

    ANDREW NATSIOS: We believe we can feed two million to four million more children as a result of these reforms.

    MARGARET WARNER: Let me get Ellen Levinson in on this.

    Your group opposes this change. Why? Well, how do you respond to what Mr. Natsios had to say?

    ELLEN LEVINSON, Alliance for Global Food Security: Well, thank you, Margaret.

    Actually, today, the United States is buying commodities overseas to deliver to people in need. It's giving out cash to people who are facing emergencies, including people who are refugees from Syria. So, there is authority to do it, and $375 million dollars was spent last year for that purpose.

    Our members who are nonprofit organizations working overseas agree with what Andrew just said, which is we should be able to do that in cases where it's a good idea and where we know we can control it and get good commodity.

    But no matter what, we're going to have to buy commodities from the United States, because there's not enough to buy locally and the commodities available are not the quality we need. So, no matter what, even under this proposal, we need American commodities.

    And, to us, we shouldn't be bypassing the law that says how to provide it. And, nowadays, unlike when Andrew was there, there is pre-positioning of commodities overseas near the areas where emergencies take place. And those commodities can get there even before local purchase.

    MARGARET WARNER: And what about the point that the General Accounting Office made in a couple of reports, that there is a lot of inefficiency, that the cost of shipping alone takes up a lot of the funds?

    ELLEN LEVINSON: Well, actually, it's not shipping. And this is where there's a lot of confusion.

    The greatest cost -- and I think this makes a lot of sense if you think about where we're distributing the food, in the worst countries and difficult situations in the world -- is the overland transportation. Ocean freight is about 12 percent at most.

    MARGARET WARNER: Back to you, Andrew Natsios.

    Another point -- well, first of all, how would you respond to Ms. Levinson, and ...

    ANDREW NATSIOS: Well, the GAO actually opposed virtually everything Ellen's just said, and has for 10 years.

    The fact that we're buying food locally is something that we did over her objection and her coalition's objection when there was no other alternative but to accept this, because the force of it was so powerful. They finally agreed to very modest reforms. We're trying to extend those reforms now.

    Ocean freight is not 12 percent. It's 20 percent of the cost. And there's an additional cost to go overland. Now, let's say, for example, in Southern Sudan, we have been providing food there because of the civil war that went on far 25 years that killed 2.5 million people. The World Food Program, which is the food organization of the United Nations, which is one of the best-run U.N. agencies, made agreements with local farmers in Uganda, which borders on Southern Sudan. It's an inland country. It has no ports.

    By shipping the food from the farms in Southern Uganda -- Northern Uganda into Southern Sudan, we saved four months of time, and not only the cost of ocean shipping, but also overland shipping, because it was just a few hundred miles, as opposed to 1,000 miles.

    MARGARET WARNER: But am I right that -- and let me just get Ellen Levinson back in here.

    Are you two disagreeing? Or, actually, is the proposal that the Obama administration came up with after a lot of pushback from many of your members and people in the industry, the pushback to the sort of early draft -- it's now settled. It will be roughly 50-50. Is that acceptable to your group?

    ELLEN LEVINSON: No, that's not the point here.

    First of all, local purchase sounds wonderful. And I -- you know, we strongly believe that we need to build the capacity of farmers in developing countries to produce sufficient amounts of food to meet their needs. And to us, that's where a lot of investment needs to go.

    However, they're not prepared at this point to provide the commodities. And local purchase could be distorting, which it has been in Uganda. Uganda wasn't a tradition major food producer of corn. They were asked to produce corn for emergency food aid. Twice in the last decade, small farmers lost all their incomes because that commodity wasn't being bought in two of the years, and they didn't have commercial markets.

    So, to us, the best thing to do is help people produce for commercial markets, also buy for food aid when they have it. But we do not think that that's like one against the other. We think we need both.

    MARGARET WARNER: OK, quick final -- and, please, quick final answer from both of you, and that has to do with the constituency for these programs.

    The letters that were written to the president and to the Senate said, you know, part of the -- keeping this Food for Peace program going or food aid going is that U.S. businesses and U.S. transportation companies have an interest.

    Briefly, Mr. Natsios, on that? Could you lose the constituency?

    ANDREW NATSIOS: Well, one, most of the NGOs now support President Obama and President Bush's position on this.

    Ellen's coalition is basically shipping companies and the longshoremen's union and American farm group interests. It is not the NGO community that supports the proposal. There may be three NGOs left that are taking her position.

    MARGARET WARNER: Let me give her the final word on that.

    ELLEN LEVINSON: I'm sorry. That's 14 organizations. You can look at our website. They're World Vision, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency. They're a range of faith-based organizations and development organizations that do vast amounts of humanitarian and development programs overseas.

    ANDREW NATSIOS: No they don't, Ellen. They do very small amounts.

    MARGARET WARNER: All right.

    ANDREW NATSIOS: The biggest NGOs all -- who support food aid all support this proposal.

    MARGARET WARNER: OK, Mr. Natsios, I'm sorry. I have got to leave it there.

    ELLEN LEVINSON: OK. Thank you.

    MARGARET WARNER: Ellen Levinson, Andrew Natsios, thank you both.

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    The George W. Bush Presidential Center, set to open May 1, 2013, is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the George W. Bush Institute and offices of the George W. Bush Foundation.

    George W. Bush and Laura Bush

    Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand in front of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is set to open May 1. Photo: George W. Bush Presidential Center

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    The George W. Bush Presidential Center includes the George W. Bush's Presidential Library and Museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute, and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation. Photo: Peter Aaron/Otto for Robert A M Stern Architect

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    Freedom Hall at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. At 226,000 square feet it is the second-largest presidential library, behind the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Photo: Peter Aaron/Otto for Robert A M Stern Architect

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    Entrance to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. On April 25, the former president and Laura Bush will commemorate the completion of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Photo: George W. Bush Presidential Center

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    George W. Bush Presidential Center sits within a 15-acre urban park recreating the historic native prairie landscape of the past. The park recycles all storm water runoff and serves as a demonstration project for using the native landscape to conserve water. Photo: George W. Bush Presidential Center

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    The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). It is the 13th presidential library in the NARA system. Photo: Peter Aaron/Otto for Robert A M Stern Architect

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    The George W. Bush Presidential Center was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. It was built by Manhattan Construction and earned LEED Platinum certification, the highest certification for sustainable development. Photo: George W. Bush Presidential Center

    George W. Bush and Laura Bush

    Attending the April 25 dedication ceremony will be all of the living presidents and first ladies: President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter. Photo: George W. Bush Presidential Center


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