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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: The president made at least one straightforward pledge today, to keep the promise he made before he was elected to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

    But is that even possible?

    Charlie Savage has been covering the issue for The New York Times. And he joins us now.

    Charlie, the president said that keeping Guantanamo open is not necessary to keep the country safe. What does he base that on?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE, The New York Times: Well, President Obama's plan for closing Guantanamo involves bringing the detainees there who can't be sent home because they're deemed too dangerous to release or because they are from countries where security conditions are poor, taking those detainees and bringing them to another prison inside the United States.

    His original plan, which Congress blocked, was to use an empty maximum security prison in Thomson, Ill., to amp up its security further to supermax conditions. And his notion there is, we have terrorists all over the country, in supermax prisons in particular, and that's fine. It's not like that is actually a threat to national security. So we can still detain in wartime detention, is his view, without having to necessarily do it at Guantanamo, where things are so much more expensive and where there is this symbolic public relations problem that causes all sorts of foreign policy problems for the country.

    GWEN IFILL: What -- first of all, how many detainees are we talking about here?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: There are currently 166 detainees remaining at Guantanamo. That's down from 240 when he took office, and about 800 total whom the Bush administration brought there. President Obama has not brought anyone to Guantanamo.

    GWEN IFILL: And when you mention the expense and the president mentioned the expense, what are we talking about?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: It's more expensive to build anything there. It's more expensive because it is so far away. You have to barge things in around Cuba. It's more expensive to operate anything there.

    And currently the facilities there are sort of falling apart. The SOUTHCOM, which oversees Guantanamo, has a pending request for $200 million dollars in new construction to replace deteriorating facilities, which it says needs to be done right now. This would effectively build permanent structures to replace what had been temporary guard barracks and camps and so forth set up over 10 years ago.

    GWEN IFILL: The president also made another claim today, assertion. He said that the presence of Guantanamo makes it a recruitment tool for extremists. Is there any evidence to back that up?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, certainly, intelligence agencies have occasionally picked up propaganda or you see radical Muslim clerics and so forth mentioning Guantanamo in a list of grievances.

    I would say in the current era, probably drone strikes occupy the number one spot on that list. But there's also the continuing problem involving the low-level detainees at Guantanamo, not the high-level guys that are never going to get out, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. We're talking about -- about half the detainee population, 86, have been cleared unanimously by national security agencies for more than three years to be released if security conditions have been met.

    And the outward flow of those detainees has dried up for several years. That's what is leading to this turmoil and unrest at Guantanamo right now. And I think that's currently the issue that is attracting the greatest blowback globally, including from the -- recently from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    GWEN IFILL: And part of the blowback, part of the upheaval there right now has to do with this hunger strike which is under way. Is this what has forced the president to get tough on this issue again? Or was this always -- is this what the administration has been saying quietly all along?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, the administration's stated policy has been since Obama took office in 2009 that it wants to close Guantanamo.

    But in the face of congressional opposition to its plan to bring the detainees into the United States, and later some restrictions imposed by Congress on transferring them elsewhere to countries with troubled security conditions, that stated policy has been basically stated only. There has been very little effort by the administration for the past several years to actually do anything about it.

    It's been sitting on its hands, essentially waiting for the political winds to shift again. Even after Congress granted it in 2012 the power to issue case-by-case waivers to those transfer restrictions to send people back to places like Yemen, the administration has not exercised that authority once.

    And earlier this year, it transferred away the high-level State Department diplomat whose job it was to negotiate detainee transfers. And it didn't replace him. And so it is against that backdrop of ossification that the turmoil in Guantanamo, which for the first years of his presidency had been quite quiet, has recently grown up. The detainees have grown desperate that they are never going to go home, even the ones long since designated for potential release.

    They think the world has forgotten about them. And both the military and lawyers for detainees agree that that sense of growing hopelessness is the underlying condition that is driving this hunger strike and larger protest.

    GWEN IFILL: So why is the president's statement today any different from the assertions the administration has made before? Is there anything he can now do administratively in the face of congressional opposition?

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: Well, that's what is sort of interesting about this. Of course, he made this because someone asked him. It is not like he went out and chose, sui generis, to say something about Guantanamo, when he has been quiet about the topic for quite a long time.

    So he's saying, yes, in addition to trying to get Congress to budge, he has ordered a review of what could be done administratively. And both Republicans in Congress and civil libertarian groups on the other side are saying, well, there are things he could have already been doing right now, he could have been doing for some time. He could have been issuing or directing the secretary of defense to issue these waivers on a case-by-case basis to get some of the low-level detainees who have been jammed up out.

    He could appoint a high-level person in the White House with the authority to resolve interagency disputes that have slowed down certain policies like the creation of parole boards. They missed a deadline over a year that he had set up for -- to have parole hearings for detainees who are deemed too dangerous to release to see if they are still too dangerous. Nothing has happened because of an interagency dispute, and no one has resolved that dispute.

    And the ban on transfers to Yemen is not something that Congress imposed. It's something that President Obama himself created a year earlier after the attempted underwear bombing of that Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas in 2009. That's where 56 of the 86 detainees long since approved for conditional release are from, Yemen.

    And it is Mr. Obama's own self-imposed ban on any transfers to that country which has primarily kept them locked up.

    GWEN IFILL: Still in a tough position.

    Charlie Savage of The New York Times, thank you so much.

    CHARLIE SAVAGE: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can watch all of Mr. Obama's press conference on our website.

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The Food and Drug Administration approved overt-counter sales of the morning after birth pill for girls 15 and older. Before now, the pill was available to those 17 and over. Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered that the age restrictions be lifted, but the FDA said today's decision had been in the works before the judge's order.

    Three NATO service members were killed in a roadside bombing in Southern Afghanistan today. It came on the third day of the Taliban's spring offensive. The militants have vowed to target foreign military bases and diplomatic areas and to use insider attacks by Afghan soldiers and police to kill NATO troops. NATO didn't identify the nationalities of those killed today.

    In Libya, a confrontation escalated as militiamen surrounded the Justice Ministry in the capital city of Tripoli. It's the third day of trouble, as armed groups test the government's political transition. Gunmen stood guard today -- stood guard today beside trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns. Roads around the Justice Ministry were sealed off, the building was closed, and visitors were turned away. The militias are trying to force out members of Moammar Gadhafi's regime who are still in government posts.

    The Parliament of Cyprus narrowly passed a multibillion-dollar bailout plan today, avoiding national bankruptcy. The government struck the deal with its euro partners and the International Monetary Fund last week. Officials had warned that without the agreement, the country faced economic collapse and possible withdrawal from the euro system. The deal has angered many Cypriots by forcing large bank depositors to take major losses on their savings.

    More signs of growth for the U.S. economy today. Consumer confidence rose in April, after falling in March. The Conference Board, a private research group, says hiring and pay raises helped. And the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller index showed more -- home prices jumped more than nine percent in February. That's the biggest increase in nearly seven years.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 21 points to close well over 14,839. The Nasdaq rose more than 21 points to close above 3,328.

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

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We continue coverage our coverage of the president's news conference today with a look at his relationship with Congress.

    Joining me now are Dan Balz, chief correspondent with The Washington Post. And Glenn Thrush, he covers the White House for Politico.

    Welcome to the NewsHour to you both.

    So, the president said -- we heard him say at the news conference the rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated When Jonathan Karl of ABC asked him, does he still have the juice to get the rest of his agenda through Congress?

    Dan, does he have the juice?

    DAN BALZ, The Washington Post: Well, he has some juice. But we have seen throughout his presidency, particularly after the 2010 elections, how difficult it is for him to get the Congress to go along with the things he wants to do.

    And we thought perhaps after the reelection, he would have a little bit more strength to do that. But very quickly we fell back into the same divisions. And it's hard for him to overcome that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why? Why doesn't he have what people thought after the election, Glenn, that people might have, a little more clout?

    GLENN THRUSH, Politico: It is just really striking to me the difference five months make.

    You know, right after the election, people around the president were saying, this is a mandate. This is a ratification of everything that he was trying to do. But I think it's been a confluence of a bunch of different circumstances. I think a lot of this has to do with the predicate that the president himself established during the first four years. He doesn't have great relationships on the Hill with Democrats or Republicans.

    And at this point in time, he needs to have leverage up on the Hill, and he just can't rely on relationships.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So is it a matter, Dan, of just not cultivating members of the Hill?

    DAN BALZ: Well, that is part of it.

    I mean, as Glenn says, he's never been a schmoozer on Capitol Hill. But it's much more difficult to operate on Capitol Hill today than it used to be for any president. There are sometimes analogies made to Lyndon Johnson, and he should be more like Lyndon Johnson, you know, breaking arms and legs and twisting everybody.

    The fact is, that doesn't work the way it used to. This is a different time. The Congress is different. The country is so divided, red and blue, that it's just hard for any chief executive to operate that way and, as we have seen, for congressional leaders to get their way sometimes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Glenn, we heard the president say today -- he said, it's not my job to get members of Congress to behave. He said it's their job because they're elected to do what is right for the American people, he said, and they ought to be thinking about five, 10, 15 years from now, and not right now.

    Is he right about that? Does he have a point?

    GLENN THRUSH: Well, maybe the juice we're talking about needs to be in the form of a cattle prod.

    I think he is -- he's partially right about that.

    I think, you know, to a certain extent, as Dan said, the president is facing this incredible division. He has come up, however, with a fairly reasonable strategy, which is to approach the Senate and attempt to make these deals through the Senate. I think, on the immigration bill in particular, he can establish a conduit and put more pressure on the House Republicans.

    In terms of legacy, that particular argument hasn't worked so far.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What about that, Dan?

    DAN BALZ: Well, I think that's right.

    I think that in some ways, what we have seen since the reelection is a two-prong strategy, which is slightly different than what he did in 2011. I think there is still an effort working the inside and, as Glenn says, mostly through the Senate, hoping to break through with some Republican senators, who are certainly frustrated by the inability of Congress to do some things.

    But there is a more aggressive outside strategy that he has employed since the election. And in a sense, you could say there is a legislative strategy of working the inside, and there is a political strategy on the outside, which in a sense is aimed at, if we don't get those things, we are still going to benefit politically perhaps in 2014.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, when he says -- I mean, at one point, he said -- he said, I can't force Republicans to embrace commonsense solutions. He said they are going to have to say, we want to do the right thing.

    I mean, should he be more talented in some way in getting Congress to do what he wants?

    GLENN THRUSH: I mean, that isn't the roots of his political success. In 2008, he didn't just run against Congress. He ran against Washington.

    And his entire mind-set has been about -- until now, been about changing the larger political climate so that people will move in his direction. I think, in the middle -- in the early part of the summer, in May, starting in May, we're going to see some OFA action, part of his old campaign ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is this outside group.

    GLENN THRUSH: The outside group.

    We're going to start seeing some actions, we hear. I think that may have a limited impact.

    But, as Dan said, I think he really does need to continue to improve the inside game here.

    DAN BALZ: The challenge that he's going to face, the guns vote, while certainly a setback, is in some ways not a surprise. It's been -- I mean, nobody's wanted to deal with the gun issue for a long time.

    He sees the opportunity after Newtown, and was unable to be successful. They are putting so much now into immigration and they're optimistic that in the end they're going to get something on immigration. I think that's still a big question mark, particularly because of where the house may or may not be on that issue.

    The budget issue is one in which they're still is no evidence that there is grounds for a real breakthrough. And I think that's one -- if you look at the big frustrations that he may face by the end of this year, that could be it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you agree with Dan on immigration, that the prospects look good for that?

    GLENN THRUSH: Yes. I think even the prospects on immigration look good again, but then there is the possibility that this thing could blow up again.

    You have got folks in the House who are saying that they are a no-go on this, people who are ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On immigration?

    DAN BALZ: On immigration, people who are challenging Marco Rubio.

    You know, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio's -- the former senator from North Carolina, now head of the Enterprise Institute, has expressed opposition. So even that might not even be a smooth path.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, that is not a slam-dunk.

    And what about the sequester, the budget? Bigger -- the president put it today. He said, maybe we can fix the sequester problem by going for a bigger -- a bigger deal.

    What does that look like?

    GLENN THRUSH: Well, I think to a certain extent -- and I have noticed this in the last couple of days. And maybe Dan has as well.

    There's a certain bitterness creeping into the way that the White House is -- are viewing these fights. I think the gun battle for them was a really difficult experience. I think they believed that the moral force of having the Newtown families up on the Hill was going to change hearts and minds.

    I also feel that they thought the sequester was going to get people in line. That has not happened. And I think there is a sense now -- I think you kind of saw it in the president's demeanor at this press conference -- that things are going wrong. And they're not exactly sure how to deal with it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is that kind of attitude, Dan, if that is what they are thinking and feeling, is that helpful, harmful?

    DAN BALZ: Well, it's not helpful to be overly pessimistic if you are the president. You have to believe that you're going to be able to get some of these things done.

    I think they feel that right now there's a storyline that has kind of developed because of the guns vote and because of this change in the FAA funding, that he's on the defensive and can't get his way. I think their feeling is, it's a nice story for the press to focus on, but they have got some bigger fish they're going to try to fry.

    But I do think that there is a question about what their ambitions are on the budget at this point. I'm not convinced that they are as ambitious in their expectations as they might have been before. So we could get some solution to the budget issue. But every piece of history over the last several years tells us that, in the end, we do a minimal deal, not a maximum deal.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just a final quick question to you both about health care reform. Implementing health care reform, that came up today. The president said he's confident they can work that through. What do you see on that?

    GLENN THRUSH: Well, we know from our conversations with Democrats out in the states that there is an apprehension that this is going to impact them in the midterms.

    And we saw Max Baucus the other day call this thing a train wreck, so I think it is very much an open question how to deal with this.

    DAN BALZ: I agree.

    The president was trying to say, for most of the country, this is not going to be a problem. But we know there are a lot of issues for the implementation of that part of it which still has to come.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And this is for something that has already passed.

    DAN BALZ: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It's a matter of getting it implemented.

    Dan Balz, Glenn Thrush, thank you.

    GLENN THRUSH: Thank you.

    DAN BALZ: Thank you. 

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    GWEN IFILL: We turn to the investigation into the Boston bombings, and to Ray Suarez, who has the latest.

    RAY SUAREZ: It's been just over two weeks since the attacks and investigators are pursuing several lines of inquiry both here and abroad.

    Those include, according to several news organizations, widening the investigation to see if others may have helped the suspects before or after the bombings, and continuing to speak with the widow of the 26-year-old suspect who was killed, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

    And, as the president said at his news conference, the director of national intelligence will oversee a review of how 17 agencies handled earlier tips and questions about the older brother.

    For the latest, we turn to Evan Perez, who is covering the case for The Wall Street Journal.

    And, Evan, first of all, it's a good reminder that there are 17 agencies involved with questions like these. What are the kinds of questions that they're going to be asking themselves about the last several months?

    EVAN PEREZ, The Wall Street Journal: Well, you know, this happens after every one of these types of events.

    And I think it's sort of a natural response that happens, especially from the White House. Obviously, something went wrong here. Two bombs exploded and people died. So they want to know if there is anything else that they could have done. We know, for instance, that the Russian security agencies in 2011 expressed some concern about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother.

    And we know those concerns were sent over to the FBI and to the CIA. The FBI looked at it, investigated for about three months, didn't find enough, asked the Russians for more information. They never got any. And so right now, I think -- the president spoke about this today -- was, you know, I'm not sure that we can say a ball was dropped, per se.

    RAY SUAREZ: He defended the FBI.

    EVAN PEREZ: He defended the FBI and said they did what they could based on what -- the authorities they have under the law.

    The Russians didn't provide further information when they were asked. It's only now that they have come forward and said, well, we had some wiretaps that had her speaking with some suspicious people, and him, and his mother -- Tamerlan and his mother discussing very -- in very broad terms, the concept of jihad.

    So, now we know a lot more. Perhaps the FBI could have done more then. But that's hindsight.

    RAY SUAREZ: Meanwhile, the criminal investigation continues. And now they're looking more closely at Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow. What do we know about her?

    EVAN PEREZ: Well, we know that the FBI has been wanting to talk to her for -- you know, face-to-face for several days here since the bombings or since they identified Tamerlan and Dzhokhar.

    So they have been wanting and they have been trying to negotiate with her lawyers to, A., get more time to talk to her, and also to get some DNA samples. As we reported yesterday, the FBI found some female DNA on remnants of the bombs. And so they want to know whether -- you know, basically cross her off the list, if that's the case, that she had nothing to do with it.

    She basically has said, you know, that she had nothing -- she was completely shocked about the events. And I think what they want to know is, you know, the key period between the bombings on Monday, April 15th, and Friday, what was going on then? Where was Tamerlan? They know a lot more about Dzhokhar because he was at a dorm. And he was in college. And he's in and out. And there's more recordings of what he was doing.

    Tamerlan is a little bit more of a mystery, and I think she might be able to shed some light on that.

    RAY SUAREZ: The net seems to be widening to up to a dozen more people who may have some idea about the whereabouts of the two brothers.

    EVAN PEREZ: Right.

    There are plenty of associates, I think, that the FBI is very interested in, some more than others. There is some concern that perhaps some of these folks might have helped get rid of evidence, unwittingly, perhaps not on purpose, but a brother might have asked one of them to get rid of some materials and so on. And so the FBI has been essentially looking into that.

    They have been doing a lot of searches. One of the big problems with the case right now is trying to figure out where they put the bombs together. It's still somewhat of a mystery. They did searches of the home the brothers shared in Cambridge and found no residue. And so these are messy things to put together. These are black powder bombs.

    So it's very unusual for you not to be able to find this. You would have to be really good at cleaning up to be able to erase all proof of this. So that's something that I think they hope these folks can help them figure out.

    RAY SUAREZ: All during this time, more attention has been focused on the journey that Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar's mother, has taken during these years.

    EVAN PEREZ: Right.

    RAY SUAREZ: We see a couple of years ago a woman in stylish clothes and stylish hairstyles, and now a woman in black with her head covered, a very different kind of person.

    EVAN PEREZ: Well, yes.

    And, you know, her religious turn sort of mirrors her son's. And it appears what has happened -- what happened is after a few years here in the United States, the family was struggling. The boys are beginning to party. They're starting to enjoy American life. And she becomes worried. And she turns to religion as sort of a way to bring them back.

    It happens a lot with immigrant families. And I think she was trying to do that. She used religion. And it looks like, at least from what we can see right now, she is key to the beginning of his religious turn. He at some point goes off in a different direction. She says that she never put him into -- on to the path of extremism. But it's clear that she was very key, at least in the beginning, for his religious turn.

    RAY SUAREZ: There's been a lot of speculation about someone named Misha. Who is it? Have we talked to this person? And what have they said for themselves?

    EVAN PEREZ: The FBI was very mystified.

    This is something that was brought up by members of the family, who -- the Tsarnaev family, who essentially said that they were very worried that there was this mysterious Armenian figure who was very key to radicalizing Tamerlan.

    The FBI tracked done this person. He is of Ukrainian, Armenian descent, lives in Rhode Island. They have interviewed him. They have gotten his computer. They have gone through everything. At this point, they believe he had nothing to do with this. He has told and said in interviews that he hasn't seen Tamerlan in three years, and that if indeed he knew about this, he would have tried to stop it.

    So I think the FBI believes him and thinks that this might just be another one of those blind alleys that these cases tend to generate.

    RAY SUAREZ: Evan Perez of The Wall Street Journal, thanks for joining us.

    EVAN PEREZ: Thank you. 

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and how it can lead to dangerous consequences.

    Several states are now trying to tackle what they see as a serious public health concern. Oklahoma is one of the leading states on that front, as health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser reports.

    CRAIG BOX, Father of Austin Box: He was U.S. Army All-American. Only 100 players in the country are picked for that.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Austin Box seemed to have it all. He was a star linebacker for the University of Oklahoma Sooners. From childhood, his life was played out in the spotlight.

    CRAIG BOX: This is after he caused a big fourth down stop against Baylor.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: So when Box died suddenly at age 22, it revealed a darker side of life few people knew about, one of pain and the consequences of taking too much pain medication.

    In May of 2011, just two weeks after graduation, Box was found unresponsive at a friend's home. His father, Craig Box, remembers the call like it was yesterday.

    CRAIG BOX: I had a phone call from the office that there was a problem with Austin. He wasn't breathing at times and his heart stopped, and they were reviving him. And that's really all I knew until we got to the hospital.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: A toxicology report showed that Box, number 12, had taken a lethal combination of five different pain medications. None had been prescribed to him. Box had a long history of injuries, including a bad blow to his back that ruptured a disc.

    CRAIG BOX: I knew at times he was in pain, but he never talked about pain. He never complained about pain, never. And when I mean -- I'm not -- I'm not being contrite. He never complained about anything.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Box's parents had no idea he was taking painkillers or where they came from.

    CRAIG BOX: It was just a complete shock. It clearly was something I think he tried to keep from us. Well, I know he did.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: While Box's death was a terrible shock, it was also an ending health officials in Oklahoma are too familiar with. The number one cause of overdose deaths here is misuse of prescription painkillers.

    Terry Cline is Oklahoma's commissioner of health.

    TERRY CLINE, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health: Just over the last 10 years, or about 10 years, we have seen a 372 percent increase in the number of deaths from misuse of prescription drugs. It's huge.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: In fact, in Oklahoma, more overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers than heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine combined. The people dying from painkiller abuse don't fit the profile of illegal drug users, people like Austin Box.

    TERRY CLINE: I think he was the All-American boy who was struggling with an all-American issue that is prevalent in communities across our country.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Nationally, deaths from abuse of prescription painkillers, or opiates, has quadrupled to more than 16,000 by 2010.

    And Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, says things aren't getting any better.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: We have had a huge increase in the amount of these drugs that are prescribed. And the more that they are prescribed, the more that are abused. That's the bottom line.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: In fact, hydrocodone, found in the popular painkillers like Vicodin, is the most prescribed drug in the United States today.

    Doctors say, taken as directed, painkillers can be a godsend for people who suffer. But national surveys show the majority of people who misuse prescription painkillers get them not from their doctor, but from a friend.

    Whitney Box, Austin's sister, believes that was true in her brother's case.

    WHITNEY BOX, Sister of Austin Box: I think he was getting them for free from people who just wanted to be in his life and live in his world. They wanted to get close to him, wanted to get close to all of the players.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: All too frequently, pills are lifted from the family medicine cabinet.

    TERRY CLINE: They're not getting it from drug dealers. They're not getting it off the Internet. They're not purchasing it from somebody down the street. They're getting it right from our very own homes.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: That's what Wayne Walker did after pain medications prescribed for a ruptured disc led him to addiction.

    WAYNE WALKER, Suffered from Painkiller Addiction: When I was heavily into my addiction was asking people if I could use their bathroom. If I went into your house, I was going to ask you to use the bathroom, because I was going to go through your medicine cabinet.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Walker has been clean for over a year now. His doctor, Hal Vorse, who specializes in addiction, says people have the mistaken sense that prescription pills are safe.

    DR. HAL VORSE, Addiction Specialist: One of the first things out of their mouth is, well, I can't see why it's a problem because it's legal. Well, you know, it doesn't matter whether you buy your drugs in a liquor store, a pharmacy or on the street. You're going to be just as dead at the end. You know, addiction doesn't care where you get your drugs.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Dr. Vorse says physicians don't always see signs of dependency.

    HAL VORSE: Many times, doctors haven't been trained in addiction, and to recognize and understand when people start abusing their drugs and when they go cross that line into addiction.

    THOMAS FRIEDEN: When I was in medical school, the one thing I was told was completely wrong. The one I was told was, if you give opiates to a patient who's in pain, they will not get addicted. Completely wrong. Completely wrong. But a generation of doctors, a generation of us grew up being trained that these drugs aren't risky. In fact, they are risky.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Health officials also cite a cultural shift in the acceptance of taking prescription drugs in general.

    TERRY CLINE: In our society, where we expect a pill to make our lives easier to manage, sometimes, we take the easy way out.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Oklahoma is taking steps to tackle abuse. The governor has proposed $16 million dollars for treatment, public awareness, and education.

    The legislature has debated several bills. One, sponsored by Sen. Rob Standridge, himself a pharmacist, would alert doctors with an electronic red flag on patient records if they're already receiving painkillers.

    SEN. ROB STANDRIDGE, R-Okla.: When a patient picks up hydrocodone, for instance, pharmacists are required to send that information in immediately. And so now we have all that data. What this bill does is take that data and proactively alert the physicians.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Standridge is House sponsor of the legislation. Rep. Richard Morrissette says getting a bill passed aimed at prescription drug abuse was a political struggle.

    REP. RICHARD MORRISSETTE, D-Okla.: Whether it's the pharmaceuticals, the doctors, or manufacturers, everybody has a lobbyist and a special interest trying to protect what is. And they don't want change, because they are very familiar with what is. People are making a lot of money at this, too. When you start pushing on those nerves, you're going to get pushback, and that's exactly what's happened.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Some physicians don't think legislators should tell doctors how to practice medicine.

    Dr. Daniel Morris is a specialist in pain management who treats patients in advanced stages of cancer. Morris says some physicians are so worried about patient abuse that they have stopped prescribing painkillers altogether.

    DR. DANIEL MORRIS, Pain Management Specialist: And with all the pressure, legislative pressure, the law enforcement pressure, the press, media, it's becoming more and more difficult for physicians to offer, you know, pain medications to people who really deserve it. And you're seeing family doctors who put signs up in the waiting room: "We do not prescribe hydrocodone. We do not prescribe methadone."

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: Austin Box's family would like others to remember his young life destroyed by drugs.

    CRAIG BOX: He was a very sensitive, caring person. He was just friends with everybody. He treated everybody with a lot of respect.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER: The family has started a foundation to educate doctors, patients, and policy-makers, so that other families will not have to live through a similar tragedy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On our Health page, read the top 10 things the Centers for Disease Control says you should know about prescription drug abuse. If you still have questions, send them to us and a CDC official will answer them on our website in the days ahead. 

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight: the new arena for an old and fiercely fought debate over abortion.

    Jeffrey Brown has our update.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The central battleground in the debate over abortion rights has shifted in recent years to the states. In just the past two months, five states, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, North Dakota and Virginia, approved more stringent restrictions in abortion.

    In North Dakota, for example, the new law prohibits abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be soon as soon as six weeks.

    REP. BETTE GRANDE, R-N.D.: North Dakota believes in the life of the unborn child, believes that the heartbeat is life.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Such laws are aimed at undermining the standards set out in the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade. That decision gave women the right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, about 24 weeks into pregnancy.

    Speaking last Friday at a Planned Parenthood conference, President Obama took aim at measures designed to limit abortion rights. He told the crowd such policies would -- quote -- "roll back basic rights" when it comes to women's health.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar. You want to make sure you are still living in 2013.

    Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman's constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn't have to remind people that when it comes to a woman's health, no politician should get to decides what's best for you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The president also pledged to fight every step of the way on behalf of Planned Parenthood. Two Republicans in Congress and several GOP-controlled state legislatures have introduced initiatives to defund the organization.

    Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists are also pointing to the trial of Philadelphia Dr. Kermit Gosnell, seeking to pressure lawmakers to enact more restrictive regulations for abortion clinics. Gosnell is facing four charges of first-degree murder related to late-term abortion procedures. The jury in that case began its deliberations today.

    So how does each side see the focus as it has shifted from Washington to the states? And what's next?

    We're joined by Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, and Ilyse Hogue, newly installed president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

    Welcome to both of you.

    ILYSE HOGUE, NARAL Pro-Choice America: Thank you.

    CHARMAINE YOEST, Americans United for Life: Thank you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Ilyse Hogue, let me start with you.

    What do you see happening in the states that is leading to all these recent actions?

    ILYSE HOGUE: You know, we see an extreme agenda taking hold in some of these states that, first of all, doesn't find support across America. And 70 percent of Americans believe that Roe should be upheld.

    And we're seeing out-of-touch politicians actually, not only rolling back women's freedom, but endangering women's lives as they put more and more arbitrary restrictions on women being able to access safe and legal abortion, as is their constitutional right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, I know, Charmaine Yoest, you have a different take on it. But why do you think it is happening now? Why so much in the states now?

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, because America's abortion policy is actually out of touch with the American people.

    We have an abortion policy that is so radical that only China and North Korea and Canada have as radical a policy.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In what -- how do you use that word radical? What does that mean?

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, most of the countries around the world start to limit abortion after 12 weeks.

    And we can have abortion in America for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. So what you are seeing is, this rising tide of pro-life legislation is being responsive to the fact that most Americans have a commonsense approach to abortion, where they want to see parental consent, informed consent, clinic regulations.

    This horrible trial that you are seeing in Philadelphia of Kermit Gosnell with his house of horrors abortion clinic in Philadelphia shows you exactly what happens when you have a completely unregulated abortion industry, allowed to have their own oversight over themselves.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, that trial has gotten a lot of attention.

    ILYSE HOGUE: I'm outraged.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You're outraged.

    ILYSE HOGUE: I'm outraged. And I have been out in front saying I'm outrage since I took this position.

    I think it's critically important, because it is exactly the arbitrary restrictions, the lack of funding available for women who need safe medical care that has driven these vulnerable women into the clutches of Kermit Gosnell. I get up and go to work every single day to prevent women from being victimized by the likes of Kermit Gosnell.

    What we had there was not a failure of regulation. What Kermit Gosnell was doing was illegal in all 50 states. It was illegal by federal law. And it is people like the anti-choice extremists who are putting roadblock after roadblock, driving reputable doctors out of business, and driving women to the Kermit Gosnells.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is there -- looking at the states again, because I want you to respond on the state issue, the trial aside -- give me an example of what you see happening in a state that you find egregious.

    ILYSE HOGUE: Well, I mean where to start, right?

    South Carolina, we're not talking about regulations that keep women safe. I agree it's absolutely commonsense and mainstream that women should have safety in their access to abortion care. What we are seeing in South Carolina is that facilities that provide abortion are subject to arbitrary restrictions, like how long the grass is outside the clinic, as though that has anything to do with the care going on inside.

    These are backdoor, back-alley efforts to drive clinics out of business, drive women to back-alley providers, and harm them in the end, not keep them safe.

    JEFFREY BROWN: OK, your response to a specific example like that.

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Sure, absolutely.

    But this is a really disingenuous argument, because NARAL and NOW and Planned Parenthood never met an abortion restriction that they are willing to support. Every single time you see commonsense solutions being put on the table, they come out and they -- they want to see ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: But let me stop ...

    CHARMAINE YOEST: They want it's to be completely unrestricted.


    CHARMAINE YOEST: And here is the thing, Jeff, if I can make an analogy.

    This isn't a question of access. For example, we could have 20 more restaurants in America. We could have all the restaurants that you wanted if you didn't have the department of public health to oversee and to come in and do inspections. But then would you have a lot more food poisoning.

    And that is what you are seeing in the abortion industry today. Yes, we have back-alley abortions, and they are run by big abortion in this country.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is the focus in the states precisely because of a dissatisfaction on your side with what was happening in the courts?

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, it's this -- what is happening out there in our culture today is a grassroots uprising, where you are seeing a response to a completely out-of-control abortion industry.

    Just in the last six months, we have seen two women die in clinics that were legal abortion clinics. And yet there is no oversight being taken care of. And so, as a result you have them -- you know, what other industry do you see that completely has oversight?

    For example, in our country today, we have veterinary clinics that are better regulated than abortion clinics.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And you are citing public attitudes that support ...

    ILYSE HOGUE: Well, no, actually, I'm citing the fact that abortion clinics or medical facilities that provide abortion should and are upheld to the same safety standards as other medical facilities.

    What we are seeing -- and this is where it is hard for me to hear Charmaine, with all due respect, use the word common sense. Common sense means a commonly held value by the community; 70 percent of Americans believe that these are decisions that are best made by women, their families, and their doctors.

    These are medical decisions, not by politicians or busybodies. I respect Charmaine's decision. I just don't think, like most Americans, that she should be the one to make the laws. These are medical procedures best decided by families and their doctors.

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Can I just respond to this? Because I think this is a really important point.

    Ilyse is being disingenuous by describing her position, because, Ilyse, I would like it noted for the record that she has just come out and said that she supports clinic regulations that are based on what we expect from other surgical centers.

    That's exactly the kind of legislation that just passed in Alabama. And yet there was a firestorm. In Virginia, for example -- in Virginia ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you were also citing a 12-week -- you were comparing it to other countries. Some of these states do go further than that ...

    CHARMAINE YOEST: So, abortion clinics, then, ought to be regulated like other surgical centers and that ...

    ILYSE HOGUE: So then we agree.

    We believe that women should -- that the facilities that support these procedures should be -- so they are clean, they are safe. What we had in Philadelphia in Gosnell wasn't a problem of regulation. It was a problem of enforcement.

    Even the Pennsylvania governor had said it was a problem of enforcement. But what we are seeing Charmaine's group push for are arbitrary restrictions, the width of the hallway. The width of the hallway has no bearing on the medical care that a woman can get, the number of parking spaces, as they are pushing for in Virginia. Of course ...

    JEFFREY BROWN: Do you, in a word, both expect that this is going to end up in the courts, back in the courts?

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Absolutely. And we are excited about we are seeing in the courts.

    For example, we're involved in a case in Oklahoma right now where the -- there is legislation that required the abortion industry to dispense chemical abortion in the manner that it was approved by the FDA. And yet the abortion industry, big abortion, with whom Ilyse is applied, opposed even something that is as commonsensical as that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Do you think we're going ...

    ILYSE HOGUE: We are already seeing a number of court cases, including ones that Americans United for Life, I think, support, saying -- that go far beyond Roe, far beyond women's ability to decide about abortion with their doctors.

    They are supporting rollbacks of contraception. They actually have model legislation on their website that would limit IVF, as we have seen in the personhood amendment. This is a radical agenda and this is the antithesis of common sense. Americans believe that women and their families and their doctors can make these personal decisions, not meddling politicians.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right.

    CHARMAINE YOEST: That is just a misrepresentation of our opinion. We are working to make sure that there are commonsense regulations that protect women from an industry that preys on their health.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right. To be continued, I promise.

    ILYSE HOGUE: Thank you, Jeff.

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Thank you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Charmaine Yoest, Ilyse Hogue, thank you both very much.

    ILYSE HOGUE: Thank you.

    CHARMAINE YOEST: Thank you.

    Thank you.

    GWEN IFILL: You can hear more of that debate online. Read an opinion piece from both Charmaine Yoest and Ilyse Hogue. That is on our Rundown. 

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  • 05/01/13--05:58: Sunset at the Wagah Border
  • Every evening, Pakistani and Indian security forces conduct a flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah border between the two countries.

    Waving the Flag

    Everyday at dusk ceremonial Pakistani and Indian border guards put on a dramatic display of swagger and pride as they lower the flag at the Wagah border crossing between the two countries. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    In Formation

    India and Pakistan have fought four wars and had numerous skirmishes since the partition of India and creation of Pakistan in 1947. The two countries have held this border crossing ceremony since 1959. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    Watching the Parade

    Thousands of Pakistani families come to watch and wave flags and bask in the festive atmosphere. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    Indian Troops

    Both sides lunge and clench their fists to look intimidating on both sides of the gate. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    At Attention

    A Pakistani guard stands at attention. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    In Full Stride

    The ceremony has been filmed and documented numerous times. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    Face to Face

    The infantrymen stand on either side of the gate. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    Opening the Gate

    The Wagah gate is on the Grand Trunk Road which runs from Kabul, Afghanistan, through Pakistan and India and ends in Chittagong in Bangladesh. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

    Folding the Flag

    The ceremony ends with the two sides folding their flags, shaking hands and retreating to their respective sides of the gate. Photo: Daniel Sagalyn/PBS NewsHour

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  • 05/01/13--06:00: How Safe Is Pakistan?
  • Marriott Security Barbed wire outside the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. Photos by Daniel Sagalyn.

    Last month, I was one of 10 U.S. journalists visiting Pakistan on a reporting trip sponsored by the East-West Center, a Hawaii-based organization that promotes understanding among the United States, Asia and the Pacific. Before taking off, many friends and family asked the same question: Is Pakistan a safe place for Americans to visit?

    Given near-daily reports of sectarian bombings, targeted killings and Taliban insurgency in Pakistan, it was a legitimate question.

    The perception of Pakistan as a violent place, according to some business leaders in the country, is having a disastrous impact on the nation’s economy. Pakistani textile executives we met on the trip complained that coverage of Pakistan by Western media is too bleak and depicts the country as overly dangerous. The overdramatized portrayal, they say, is bad for business.

    Kohinoor Mills Kohinoor Mills just outside Lahore, Pakistan.

    “Our biggest problem that as a textile community we are facing is the inability of our international buyers to visit Pakistan,” said Aamir Fayyaz Sheikh, chief executive officer of Kohinoor Mills, which produces fabric that ends up in clothing sold around the world. “People who are potentially looking to buy from Pakistan, they don’t want to come here. What they see on the television, what they read in the media, about all the activities that are going on in Pakistan … that’s really putting them off from traveling to our country.”

    Without meeting face to face, buyers sometimes have a hard time getting an understanding of what production capabilities exist in Pakistan, the textile leader said. “It’s very difficult to do everything on an email or telephone,” Sheikh explained. “Sometimes big buyers need to come and feel the place.”

    Trying to encourage foreigners to visit Pakistan has been very difficult since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks.

    “When we try to convince somebody from the U.S. to come here and meet us here, in their mind comes, ‘OK, once we get out of the airport, some sniper is going to be sitting somewhere and is going to shoot us down,’” the textile executive said.

    Lahore Textile Plant

    Textiles in Pakistan are big business, accounting for $12.4 billion in exports and 53 percent of all exports from the South Asian nation, according to the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association. About 15 million Pakistanis owe their jobs to textiles.

    So just how safe is Pakistan for prospective buyers or investors, or visitors? It’s hard to draw a definitive conclusion.

    “Getting an on-the-ground look is clearly the best way to assess a business possibility, but in today’s Pakistan you need to think about when a trip is really needed, how long you stay, and how you manage it,” said Teresita Schaffer, a former State Department official who has worked in Pakistan. “Keeping a low profile, avoiding crowded places, limiting how much publicity you give to your trip and your travel plans, and similar ‘management techniques’” would be important factors to keep in mind when traveling to Pakistan, said the former ambassador.

    Schaffer, who is now a senior adviser for South Asia for the international consulting firm McLarty Associates, said “political violence last year was down from its record levels of the year before, but there is lots of anecdotal evidence of increased crime — both muggings and, more worrisome, kidnappings.”

    During our recent trip, we were able to travel freely around Islamabad and Lahore without a security escort, and there were no incidents jeopardizing our safety.

    One of our stops was Fort Lahore, a complex built in the 16th century with gardens, stately palaces, and halls in the heart of the Old City. Pakistanis from all over the country visit this historical site.

    Fort Lahore

    We also went to the Wagah Border Ceremony to watch Pakistani and Indian soldiers march and lower the flag. View a slideshow of the event:

    View Slide Show

    Many Pakistanis were welcoming and asked if they could pose for pictures with us. They seemed happy to have us visiting their country and most of us on the trip felt safe.

    Boys at the Fort

    However, many of us were surprised at how many security checkpoints and barricades there were throughout Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.

    The Marriott Hotel, which had been attacked by a suicide truck bomber in September 2008 resulting in 53 deaths and more than 260 wounded, today is an armed fortress. Driving in front of the hotel often requires a checkpoint stop. It’s hardly unique in Islamabad where many building have security outposts with armed guards, barbed wire, barricades and watchtowers.

    Checkpoint Signage

    While riding the Metro Bus in Lahore, a new elevated bus line that runs through the city, many Pakistanis were friendly, asking where I was from and what I thought about their country. One man in Western clothing, however, warned me: “Pakistan is not a safe country. You should get off at the next stop.”

    Lahore Bus Turnstile

    A couple of weeks after traveling to Pakistan, the State Department issued a revised travel advisory, urging Americans to “defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan, [because the] presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan.” The State Department warning went on to say that “threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.”

    While this warning listed almost half-dozen terrorists attacks that have taken place this year, no Americans have been killed. The textile executives lamented these types of State Department warnings, and told our group that no shipments have ever been delayed because of terrorism, and that no visiting businessmen have been killed either.

    Read More:

    Pakistan Elections Could Mark Historic Transfer of Power

    Pakistan: Land of Contrasts

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

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    Watch Video

    The Morning Line

    President Barack Obama marked the 100th day of his second term Tuesday with a customary news conference that highlighted the fresh challenges and unresolved business facing his administration.

    During his 48-minute session with reporters in the White House briefing room, Mr. Obama fielded questions on Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons, the administration's review of intelligence gathering prior to last month's Boston Marathon bombings and his ability to pressure Congress to act on his legislative agenda.

    At the same time, the president also addressed issues that came up during his first four years in office -- the debate over closing the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, implementation of the health care reform law and the push to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (In fact, all three of those issues came up in one way or another during the president's 2009 press conference on his 100th day in office.)

    NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman rounded up Mr. Obama's key remarks in this report.

    On Guantanamo Bay, the president was asked to respond to reports that a majority of the 166 prisoners at the facility are engaging in a hunger strike, with 21 of them being force-fed through tubes inserted in their noses.

    "I don't want these individuals to die," the president said. "Obviously, the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can. But I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this."

    Mr. Obama also pledged to "reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that's in the best interest of the American people."

    Gwen Ifill spoke with New York Times reporter Charlie Savage on the rhetoric versus reality when it comes to closing Guantanamo Bay:

    Watch Video

    But the president's ability to sway members of Congress also came under scrutiny, in the form of a question from Jonathan Karl of ABC News.

    "Do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress?" Karl asked.

    "If you put it that way, Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up and go home," Mr. Obama responded. "Golly."

    The president went on to say that he was confident about the prospects of passing an immigration bill through both chambers of Congress and added that he'd had "good conversations" with lawmakers in both parties on reaching a long-term deficit reduction deal.

    Still, he dismissed the idea that it was his responsibility to get lawmakers "to behave."

    "That's their job," the president said. "Members of Congress are elected in order to do what's right for their constituencies and for the American people."

    Judy Woodruff examined the president's relationship with Congress with Dan Balz of the Washington Post and Politico's Glenn Thrush, who filed this Politico story after Tuesday's news conference.

    "I think a lot of this has to do with the predicate that the president himself established during the first four years. He doesn't have great relationships on the Hill with Democrats or Republicans," Thrush said. "And at this point in time, he needs to have leverage up on the Hill, and he just can't rely on relationships."

    Balz, meanwhile, said dynamic between the branches of government has changed, which means the president has had to alter his approach.

    "There are sometimes analogies made to Lyndon Johnson, and he should be more like Lyndon Johnson, you know, breaking arms and legs and twisting everybody," Balz said.

    "The fact is, that doesn't work the way it used to. This is a different time. The Congress is different. The country is so divided, red and blue, that it's just hard for any chief executive to operate that way and, as we have seen, for congressional leaders to get their way sometimes."

    Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    After laying out an ambitious agenda in his second inaugural address, the president has had to grapple with stinging defeats of key pieces of legislation, most notably expanded background checks, as well as unforeseen developments like those in Syria and Boston. The president could certainly use a quick legislative victory to boost his second term, but the most promising element now in the works -- immigration reform -- appears to be months away. And not only that, the fate of the bill appears to rest mostly with members of Congress.


    As jurors deliberate in the murder trial of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell, correspondent Jeffrey Brown took a look at how the fight over abortion is playing out at the state legislative level. He reported on the five states in recent months that have made moves to restrict access to abortion or to the clinics where it's performed.

    Then Brown moderated a debate with Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Ilyse Hogue, newly installed head of NARAL Pro-Choice America. The two sparred, but agreed they each are outraged by the charges outlined against Gosnell. The segment ended with a handshake.

    Watch here or below:

    Watch Video

    The two organizations had come together for a debate on the NewsHour in January to mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Yoest and former NARAL president Nancy Keenan described how their efforts had changed more recently:

    Both Yoest and Hogue penned op-eds for our website. Find those here and here.


    With primary votes now in, Democrat veteran Congressman Ed Markey will face Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts special election for U.S. Senate on June 25.

    Here's why Gomez isn't likely the next Scott Brown.

    Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte finds herself as on the hotseat over gun policy in New Hampshire town hall meetings this week. She's also the focus of Concord Monitor, Washington Post and New York Times stories Tuesday and Wednesday. Constituents, including the daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, challenged Ayotte Tuesday on her vote against the Manchin-Toomey background checks bill.

    Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., sees a glass half empty on a second gun background checks vote in the Senate, he told a Pennsylvania newspaper editorial board.

    Authorities found ricin in the former martial arts studio of the Mississippi man arrested on suspicion of sending poison-laced letters to the president and members of Congress.

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said on WTOP radio Tuesday that his administration never gave special treatment to a dietary supplement company that is under a federal securities investigation, despite more than $100,000 in political contributions from its chief executive and thousands of dollars more in gifts to McDonnell's family.

    Progressive Change Campaign Committee is debuting a TV ad Wednesday targeting Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., on his vote against background checks, calling on him to "put Montana first."

    The House Majority PAC passed along this attack video against House Republicans.

    Mr. Obama will nominate Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., Wednesday to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    No official word on the agenda for Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston's two news conferences Thursday, but a "kickoff reception" scheduled for Friday suggests the Republican will become the third member to enter the race for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss' seat.

    Apparently Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has seen some of the public opinion numbers his fellow Republicans have seen. He's announced that he now supports same-sex couples adopting, although he's still opposed to same-sex marriage.

    Better late than never: FreedomWorks endorses former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford in the South Carolina special congressional race. So does Sen. Rand Paul.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to debut a $1.5 million 60 second TV spot Wednesday. It's the first ad of the Republican's re-election campaign.

    Senate Democrats and staffers expect Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to introduce an amendment in committee extending the benefits of immigration reform to same-sex couples. But while Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has co-sponsored a bill with Leahy that would allow green card petitions on behalf of "permanent partners," Republicans warn that such an amendment could kill the immigration bill.

    Pennsylvania's Republican Gov. Tom Corbett says job applicants who can't pass drug tests are a "serious problem" in his state. Addressing Pennsylvania's troubling unemployment rate on Radio PA, Corbett said, "The other area is, there are many employers who say, 'We're looking for people, but we can't find anybody that's passed a drug test,' a lot of them." Pennsylvania's overall unemployment rate was down from 8.1% in February, to 7.9% in March -- slightly higher than the national rate of 7.6%.

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't happy with his hometown paper of record's choice not to cover the murder of a black teen in the Bronx.

    Democrats in West Virginia are still seeking a candidate. Rep. Nick Rahall has decided not to challenge Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat, opting to run for a 20th term in the House instead.

    Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democrat, will face opposition in 2014 from a conservative activist, Ron Meyer Jr., who at 23 is not yet old enough to serve in the House.

    National Review writes Wednesday morning freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is considering a bid for the presidency in 2016.

    Cruz will headline a Republican Party dinner in New York. Also in this story: "squishy"?

    The Washington Post looks at poll numbers and finds campaign finance reform just isn't a top priority among voters.

    The mayor's race in Pittsburgh is getting messy -- so much so that the current mayor, who is stepping down, is behind the group running ads against a possible successor, the Post-Gazette reports.

    Congress got a lesson in the alphabet this week.

    At the end of Mr. Obama's news conference Tuesday, he agreed to say a few words about now openly gay NBA player Jason Collins.

    A lesser known billionaire Koch brother -- William, brother of Charles and David, the conservative activists -- will see his collection of Western frontier art on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in summer 2014.

    Female reporters don't all wear hipster glasses, and other musings on the Hollywood stereotype by Neda Semnani.

    USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page landed the first major interview with study-abroad-student-turned-murder-defendant Amanda Knox.

    Sorry, infield partiers! Preakness officials are beefing up security this year at the annual Triple Crown race, so you'll need clear coolers and can't bring backpacks.

    Oh, it's on.


    Correspondent Ray Suarez spoke with Evan Perez of the Wall Street Journal for an update on the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings, and the federal review of how 17 agencies handled tips they'd received about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

    NewsHour health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser examined the availability and abuse of prescription drugs. Here are the CDC's top 10 things you should know about prescription drug abuse. Desk assistant Laura Sciuto rounds up key facts about the most abused prescription drugs in America.

    NewsHour science producer Jenny Marder explains the science of falling space junk -- and the chances of it hitting humans -- in Tuesday's Lunch in the Lab.

    Headhunter Nick Corcodilos outlines the four elements of the "Ask the Headhunter" approach to landing a job on our Making Sense page. And Nick hosted a live chat about the job search, resumes and networking on Tuesday.


    People who know Cruz say he's out-studied, out-hustled people his entire life, from HS to Harvard, law firm to TX. Wld relish '16 challenge

    — Robert Costa (@robertcostaNRO) May 1, 2013

    Good for a poss primary challenge RT @amyewalter: That shot at @grahamblog by POTUS is sure to make it into a campaign ad for Sen. Graham

    — Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) April 30, 2013

    On DC's busted metro, every day is a "mayday!"

    — Olivier Knox (@OKnox) May 1, 2013

    Christina Bellantoni, Tiffany Mullon 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:

    Follow @cbellantoni

    Follow @burlijiFollow @kpolantzFollow @elizsummersFollow @tiffanymullonFollow @meenaganesan

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    Manhunt: Trailer

    Cindy Storer and Nada Bakos were working for the CIA when the airplanes struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. But the hunt for terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden didn't start that day.

    They were part of a team of intelligence analysts, many of whom were women and were therefore dubbed "The Sisterhood", whose story is told in the documentary "Manhunt", which airs Wednesday on HBO.

    The two women recently spoke to senior correspondent Margaret Warner in an interview airing on Wednesday's PBS NewsHour. Storer described the difficulties she had tracking down the little-known at the time terror network al-Qaida in the 1990s.

    "If you're working on a state -- a country -- you already know the wiring diagrams, you know how the state is organized," she said. "But with a group like this, you had to figure out if they even existed."

    The CIA did learn about its presence and ties to global terrorism, and presented that information to the president in daily intelligence reports. In particular, one memo dated Aug. 6, 2001 was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." (PDF file) and written by Barbara Sude, another CIA analyst featured in the documentary.

    Bin Laden "felt like the United States was driving the world movement against Muslims and was the driver behind everything that was happening that was bad," said Sude, who now works as a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation in Washington, D.C.

    When the towers fell and nearly 3,000 people died, the women watched with the rest of the world but with an added sense of responsibility.

    "That sense of responsibility is not lost on the people who do that job to have to point out that maybe there were some issues leading up to 9/11 or points missed. Certainly the people doing the work understood exactly what had happened," said Bakos.

    Information the women and other intelligence analysts gathered culminated in the lethal raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, 10 years later.

    President Obama tells the nation on May 1, 2011 that Osama bin Laden is dead:

    Watch Video

    Read More:

    'Zero Dark Thirty' Catches Criticism Over Torture Depictions and Accuracy

    CIA Director Leon Panetta describes the tension of waiting for the outcome of the bin Laden raid.

    Abbottabad: How Did Bin Laden Hide in This 'Sleepy' Town?

    Browse all of our World coverage.

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    Watch Top Secret America - 9/11 to the Boston Bombings on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

    In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Americans are asking why the country's intelligence agencies failed to prevent the devastating attack.

    On Tuesday, FRONTLINE aired "Top Secret America: 9/11 to the Boston Bombings," a documentary that looks at the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on counter-terrorism efforts since September 11, 2001 and asks whether they have made us safer.

    Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, FRONTLINE hosts a live chat with Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, Washington Post reporter and film correspondent Dana Priest and FRONTLINE producer Mike Wiser. Watch the conversation below.

    Top Secret America Chat

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  • 05/01/13--10:05: The Daily Frame
  • Click to enlarge.

    Princess Tarinan von Anhalt throws paint into the airflow from the engine of a Learjet at Signature Flight Support in West Palm Beach, Fla. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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    By Paul Solman

    Is age discrimination a hushed secret or a blatant action by employers filling vacant jobs? Nick Corcodilos explains why the practice continues despite some companies' worries that they are losing out on the institutional knowledge and experience that older workers can bring to the table. Photo from Getty Images.

    Paul Solman answers questions from the NewsHour audience on business and economic news here on his Making Sense page.

    James -- New York: Why aren't you addressing blatant age discrimination?

    We have millions out of work and they are being denied jobs not because of the skill set but because the younger hiring managers won't hire them or pay them.

    I had changed careers by 36 and by 38 I was facing agism. What is being done about that? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) isn't really reaching people with public service announcement about age discrimination either.

    Paul Solman: A blatant question about blatant age discrimination deserves a blatant response. Our job expert, Nick "Ask the Headhunter" Corcodilos gave one in an interview for an upcoming story that will run on PBS NewsHour Friday.

    Here is the transcript from our discussion.

    Paul Solman: How big a problem is age discrimination or are people just using it as an excuse for the fact that they're older and can't get jobs because their skill are obsolete?

    Nick Corcodilos: There is age discrimination, but I think there are two kinds. One is when the employer is discriminating for specific reasons and doing it intentionally. For example, I had one human resources (HR) executive explain to me, "Well, older workers just have a shorter shelf life; they're probably not going be on the job as long as a younger one, so we really try to be careful about who we're hiring." It's always with sort of a wink and a nod.

    The other is where you have managers who really aren't looking to discriminate but feel a little on edge because the candidate they're talking to is older. Sometimes they can even smell age concern on the part of the candidate and they wind up discriminating almost unconsciously.

    Paul Solman: It's obvious that age discrimination hurts older workers. But you have argued that it hurts employers even more.

    Nick Corcodilos: I think that the big age problem in the job market today is really on the part of employers and that they don't seem to be calculating the cost of age discrimination to them when they practice it. You'll get companies who on the one hand tell us that they're losing this great institutional knowledge and they worry about baby boomers growing older and retiring and taking all this expertise away. But on the flip side, you see that the recruiting and hiring methods as we've discussed before just make absolutely no sense in that regard.

    Nick is talking about our story on the futility of Internet job search, which we chronicled last year.

    Nick Corcodilos cont.: The point is, whether they're doing it tacitly or implicitly, employers are discriminating against older workers and then they are actually complaining about the fact that the folks who are working today are growing older, that baby boomers are starting to retire, that they're losing all this institutional knowledge and expertise.

    Meanwhile, they're actually recruiting in a way that discourages hiring older workers, turns older workers away.

    So there's just a huge disconnect and I think that stems from the fact that HR practices and good business practices just don't walk hand in hand anymore, they're very separate from one another.

    Paul Solman: Why would this disjunction be occurring? How can you say, on the one hand, "we need institutional knowledge" and on the other hand be discriminating against older workers by pushing them out or not hiring other older workers with institutional or knowledge or experience? Is it just that they don't think? Is it all subliminal and they don't realize what they're doing?

    Nick Corcodilos: Well on a strategic level, employers really are behaving stupidly. Look at how they do recruiting: this automated process under which they will publish a job description chock full of so-called "key words", and then have software algorithms that attempt to match applicants to the resumes against those key words.

    So where in the key word collection do we capture institutional knowledge? No one advertises for that. Of course they don't.

    The problem is that they are losing candidates through this process; a human being would be able to judge as possessing institutional knowledge. And only a human being would be able to assess whether candidates are capable, personality-wise, of sharing and disseminating that institutional knowledge to help other newer and younger workers.

    Paul Solman: But they can't just be stupid can they? This must be a side effect of the technology. People who are looking to the bottom line and trying to maximize their profits, their efficiency, their efficacy, wouldn't continue to behave stupidly if they knew they were.

    ASK THE HEADHUNTER The Talent Shortage Myth and Why HR Should Get Out of the Hiring Business

    Nick Corcodilos: I think stupidity in business is really an interesting thing. What winds up happening is a disconnect between your company's strategic management and then your more applied on-the-street management.

    I guarantee with you that the board of directors of most companies has no idea what the costs of hiring people really is in the HR department. An online job search seems cheaper. But what HR is doing is turning away valuable candidates. They're experiencing false negatives. That means the right person applies for the job electronically but the algorithm kicks them out so they lose that individual.

    Paul Solman: Are you suggesting that the whole push towards maximizing shareholder value of the past few decades is self-defeating for companies because it's made them cut their HR budgets to a point that they just aren't getting good people anymore?

    Nick Corcodilos: No. I think what's happening is companies are trying to maximize shareholder value and I think they realized that if they could hire more effectively, they would.

    What I'm suggesting, though, is that human resources departments in most companies have become so detached -- have become such a bureaucracy -- that they have become clueless. They don't realize that the processes they have put in place have very little to do with recruiting, retaining and bringing on talent.

    So while I agree that that maximizing shareholder value is going on at the board level and at top executive levels I don't think it's going on in the HR department.

    I feel sorry for HR people nowadays.

    HR is marginalized. No one really pays much attention to what's going on in HR and HR struggles with the fact that what is prevalent in America today is job boards, huge databases that we use to recruit and hire people.

    What winds up happening? Last year, one recruiting channel sucked up over a billion dollars worth of money from our employment system. One job board. And the other job boards suck up money too.

    When you look at recent surveys, companies that were surveyed say that one company was the source of their hires 1.3 percent of the time. So 1.3 percent of all hires come from this one channel and yet we spent almost a billion dollars recruiting through it. It simply doesn't work and yet HR is basically saddled with using this kind of system.

    ASK THE HEADHUNTER The Four Best (Not Easiest!) Ways to Land a Job

    So when you're not recruiting effectively you're not recruiting properly through a certain channel, like a job board, then what's left of you? I don't believe HR's been able to figure that out. They need to go back to the way they used to do it. They complained that they got so many millions of applicants, they couldn't possibly spend the amount of human time on all those applicants. But they could solve the problem tomorrow if they stopped soliciting millions of applicants through job boards.

    If they went back to using personal contacts and having their own employees go out there to find, recruit, bring in good people, they could personalize the process, make it more intelligent, more pragmatic. And guess what? Better for stockholders.

    Paul Solman: But does that explain older worker discrimination?

    Nick Corcodilos: To a significant extent, but not entirely. I really think you cannot separate the money from the age. When employers discriminate over age, they're also discriminating over money. Older workers tend to make more money, especially the higher up you go, and companies don't want to spend the money. They want to spend less. Peter Capelli, down at Wharton, has done research on this and has demonstrated that companies seem to be looking for employees who can do X, Y and Z, who can hit the ground running immediately, the perfect candidate, but they don't want to pay the market rates.

    Paul Solman: So what's an older worker to do? Accept lower pay, I guess. Any strategic advice?

    Nick Corcodilos: I really don't think that an older worker can stop age discrimination, but you can successfully distract the employer from that issue if you focus on the reason they really want to hire you and that can make you more successful. It's up to you to demonstrate that.

    Realize that there are really two costs to employers of not filling a job promptly. One is the job remains undone, though companies seem to have really lousy accounting practices when it comes to figuring out what it costs to keep a job vacant. They know what it costs to fill a job, they don't know what it costs to keep it vacant for a long time. So they're losing that way.

    THE TRUTH ABOUT ENTREPRENEURS Twice As Many Are Over 50 As Are Under 25

    The other component is they're missing out on phenomenal skills and capabilities of experienced older job hunters: wealth of knowledge, expertise, seasoning, maturity. Companies need to be reminded of that.

    But remember, the word "discrimination" isn't always pejorative. When an employer discriminates because an older worker lacks certain kinds of skills that are important in the market today, then it's almost a legitimate form of discrimination because the employer is just trying to figure out who can actually get the job done.

    So there are some older workers -- probably a lot -- who simply don't have the skills or the wherewithal to do a certain kind of job. There, it's up to the worker to go out and bring themselves up to speed and do it in an aggressive way, do it as quickly as possible.

    Paul Solman: Aren't employers afraid to get rid of older workers because they're afraid the older worker's gonna sue them for age discrimination?

    Nick Corcodilos: Sure, some employers are are afraid of letting older workers go because they think they're going to get sued. And they probably will get sued. But the reality is, you could get sued at any time by any kind of worker. I think its incumbent on an employer, if they want to be smart, to figure out what is the benefit of keeping this employee or letting them go. Do the calculation and just go ahead and either keep them or let them go based on what's good for the business. You can't sit there and do calculations based on the legal risk.

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

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    Click thumbnail to enlarge.

    If you grew up with pets or have one now, you understand the unconditional love humans can feel for their animals, and animals for their owners. If you haven't experienced this type of bond firsthand, you've most likely witnessed the power of a human-pet connection through someone.

    "Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology" chronicles one example of this relationship via the tale of Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton, the book's author and illustrator, respectively, and Paul's two cats, Tibby and Fibby.

    "Lost Cat" begins with an experimental aircraft crash that injures Paul and renders her effectively on house arrest for months. During that time, her relationship with MacNaughton and her two kitties, Tibby and Fibby, are her main lifelines. When Tibby disappears for five weeks, Paul becomes distraught--after all, Tibby had been her cat for 13 years.

    'Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology'Eventually, Tibby returns, but to Paul's shock and dismay, he doesn't seem the same kitty. Somehow he's a different Tibby--a more adventurous, more sophisticated Tibby. Paul and MacNaughton find themselves wondering: Where was Tibby for five weeks, and what exactly did he find that so changed him? Thus ensues the tale of "Lost Cat," which revolves around the couple's quest to track Tibby as he embarks on subsequent mysterious travels. And, yes, there is "kitty GPS" involved.

    Paul's storytelling, combined with MacNaughton's illustrations, some of which you can see above, add up to a thoughtful, kind and funny story about the love people can have for their pets and the weird places that this love and accompanying devotion can take them. But it also travels beyond the realm of human-pet relationships, offering commentary on all relationships and the roles of those we love, and sometimes don't love, in our lives.

    We recently talked to Paul and MacNaughton from their home in San Francisco about their book, and of course, Tibby:

    ART BEAT: Caroline, you start off this story by describing this crazy plane crash you were in. How did that happen, and what was that like?

    CAROLINE PAUL: Well, I fly an experimental plane, and it's basically as I describe in the book: a hang glider. I tell people that when they say, 'What's an experimental plane? Sounds like something that can't fly.' Usually it does fly. It's a hang glider with a go-cart underneath it and a lawnmower engine. And I've had some difficulties with it for a while, and I knew I was having problems, but I thought I could handle it. I was trying to fix it but not with probably as much enthusiasm as I should have, because I'm not very handy. I just thought I could sort of fly my way around it, and one day that didn't work anymore.

    ART BEAT: That's definitely not an experience that everyone would live to tell about, so it's an interesting way to start a book. Through your recovery you took on this cat-tracking adventure. How did you even think to start that?

    CAROLINE PAUL: When Tibby left I was pretty devastated, and when he came back, I was happy. But as that sort of feeling began to fade, I started to feel all these emotions that I had never associated with my cat before: jealousy, betrayal. I think my world was already turned upside down by the plane accident, and I really thought that the one thing that I knew was my cats. So when he started to look like a completely different cat -- not the shy cat that I had known but more of what I describe in the book as a "swashbuckling adventurer" -- I was really turned upside down again, and I just wanted to follow him. I just wanted to find out what his secret life is, and Wendy is the person that said -- because she was of the more rational mind at the time -- she said, 'Well, you know you clearly can't. You're on the sofa with pain killers and on crutches, so we're going to have to figure out a technology that can." So I went to a spy store. I didn't really know what else to do. I figured the spies would know how to do something like track a cat.

    ART BEAT: Yes, but that's maybe not what everyone would think to do.

    CAROLINE PAUL: Well, there's a spy store in San Francisco! There's one right there. I don't know if it's the only one the country, but it's called the International Spy Store, and it's got everything. I went right to the experts.

    ART BEAT: Wendy, you suggested the technology, but your relationship with Caroline was fairly new at the time. What was going through your head at the beginning of this endeavor, and how did your thoughts about Caroline and kitties change throughout the story?

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: Well, when Caroline and I met and first got together, I was not that much of a cat person. In fact, I was not that much of a pet person in general. But I was pretending to be, as we are known to do when we are in the beginning stages of a relationship -- anything that our new love loves we love, right? So I would pet the cat and do all that stuff. Then when the plane crash happened, everything really did turn upside down, and Caroline, like she just said, was in a pretty bad state. She's a very adventurous, active person, and then to have that just turn around completely and be stuck inside, immobilized, was really hard for her. It was a difficult situation, so I was just trying to be as supportive as I could be, and encouraging as I could be. When she got interested in tracking the cat, it was actually this kind of sense of purpose. I've never been injured like Caroline was at the time but -- and Caroline, you can interrupt me here at any time -- but it seemed like she didn't have much to do or much of a sense of real purpose when you're recovering. Is that wrong? Is that ok to say?

    CAROLINE PAUL: No, that's completely true. Yes, I was adrift. I was afloat.

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: This quest to find out to what happened to these cats that she had relied upon for so long really gave her a sense a purpose, and I was definitely encouraging in any way shape or form. It was pretty incredible to watch that transformation, and I guess all the while I was spending time with these cats and getting to know them. I fell completely in love with them and ended up becoming, I think, as a crazy cat person -- if, on occasion, sometimes not more than Caroline.

    CAROLINE PAUL: We were both transformed, I guess.

    ART BEAT: How did you both decide that this story would make a good book? And had you worked together before?

    CAROLINE PAUL: Well, I'll just suggest how it came into be in a book. I was on crutches for a long time, and I was hurt for at least over a year. It was obvious that I was injured. And some people would ask, and I would tell this long convoluted story that included a lot of things, like the injury and the recovery and how you recover from injury, and I would also talk about following Tibby. That's when people's eyes lit up. People would basically be bored with me until I started talking about stalking my cat, and then their eyes would light up, and that's how you know you have a good story.

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: Well, yes, it was an adventure. It led from the GPS to the camera to the communication class and on and on. It was clear it was a good story. But we hadn't collaborated on anything before. In fact, as an illustrator I'm used to working with people but not used to working with people who I'm close to, let alone in a relationship. And Caroline, as a writer I think you are used to working on your own, right?

    CAROLINE PAUL: Yes, I'd never collaborated with anybody.

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: Yes, that's how writers generally work. So this was a first for both of us, and it was a challenge because we have very different ways of working, and our sense of time is very different. Caroline is very punctual. She was a fire fighter and she's a pilot, and you need to understand degrees and be very specific about things. If she says she's going to be there in an hour, she is there in an hour. I say an hour, and I mean like in the afternoon -- like generally around that hour. So we had to figure out systems to address that. And we did.

    CAROLINE PAUL: Yeah, we did. We did well. I'd never collaborated, so as a writer I thought what I would do is write the book and hand it to Wendy and she would illustrate it. But soon I realized that really this was a conversation we were having with each other to make this book, because this was a memoir really from both of us. We ended up that I would write a couple of pages or a chapter and hand it to Wendy, and she would do an illustration, and then I would sort of change depending on the voice that she was offering in the illustration. It really became a sort of interchange along the way. The other thing is that because we both lived this, and being in a relationship, of course, the work becomes a metaphor for your relationship, so it's different than a normal writer-illustrator collaboration. We had to be sensitive to that. So if I handed her something that I thought was brilliant and wanted her to read it and give me feedback or an illustration, and she didn't do it within 10 minutes, well I realized that she no longer loved me. Basically.

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: We had to work that out. We're happy with the way it ended up becoming kind of a conversation between the two, when neither could really stand alone. And it's about 50/50 writing and illustration, so there's an illustration on almost every spread. Like Caroline said, it does become a conversation between them.

    ART BEAT: When you started tracking Tibby, what did you realistically think you were going to find him doing? In your wildest dreams, what would he have been doing?

    CAROLINE PAUL: I was of two minds, honestly. Based in my ideal world, he never would have left. He loved only me, and he was a certain kitty in my mind. So when he became this completely other kitty -- obviously he had a very active outdoor life with other interests and loves -- that was a shock to me. When I didn't know where he was, I wanted him in some ways to be far away, because if he was far away then he wouldn't have heard me calling every night, and if he hadn't heard me calling every night that would be why he hadn't come home. But on the other hand, I wanted him close by so that he was safer, and yet I called for him every night he didn't come home. The truth is I was like any parent. I didn't want my kitty to have this other life. Or maybe I'm like anybody in a relationship; I want the creature that I love to love only me. It's unrealistic, really, that their universe has me at the center of it, but that's kind of what we want, especially with our animals, I think.

    ART BEAT: In the last chapter, you offer your readers seven potential morals to this story. What was the most important lesson that you both got out of the actual adventure and then the reflection that may have come through the writing process?

    CAROLINE PAUL: What I learned is that -- and I think I say this in one of the morals -- I'm not exactly sure how I say but, you really can't completely know a creature that you love, be it a cat or a girlfriend or a boyfriend, or a child. You just cannot know and you have to be at peace with that. I think as humans we do want to control our relationships, and you can't. It's probably better that you can't. That wouldn't be a real relationship, and we'd never learn and grow. I think that in the end, I had let go of that -- or at least I hoped that I had. I wasn't actually going to know everything about Tibby, and I couldn't really know anything about anybody that I loved. But I had to trust that there was still this very strong connection.

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: The other thing that we both came to understand and experience was the idea of loss and that try as we might to hold our loved ones dear to us, whether they be human or feline or whatever, it's almost inevitable in one sense or another that there could be, and probably will be, some kind of loss temporary or inevitably permanent, and we have to grapple with that a little bit.

    ART BEAT: So what is your current kitty ownership status?

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: Let's talk about my cats. We ended up getting the two cats that Caroline said in the book that I was excited about. We did go to the pound and get two rescue kitties. They're named Mia and Maxine; they're sisters. One is black, one is black and white, and they are the center of the universe and luckily they love me and only me and will never leave.

    CAROLINE PAUL: Of course. And Tibby actually accepted them pretty well. It was really beautiful to watch him be like, 'Ok, well, at least it's not something around my neck.' He sort of bemusedly let us bring two more cats in.

    ART BEAT: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

    CAROLINE PAUL: We've gotten two big responses. One of them is that a lot of people come up to us -- they come to our readings or they write to us and they say, 'Thank you for the book, my cat saved my life.' And that sounds hyper-dramatic, but they're often teary when they tell us or quite emotional, and they mean it. In some way, the cat, their animals, have really brought something to their lives that no humans could. That love and connection is unique, I think, and people who own animals understand that.

    WENDY MACNAUGHTON: The other thing we've heard is that the connection that people have with animals is directly related to the connections that people with have other humans. We had one person tell us just in a conversation about the book yesterday that it was through learning to love an animal, her pet, that she able to learn to love another person. So it does end up being a metaphor for larger relationships.

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    Surely it was the first time the word "juice" was used in a presidential press conference to mean political clout. And maybe ever. After reciting a few of Mr. Obama's recent legislative disappointments, ABC's Jonathan Karl looked the president in the eye: "So my question to you is, do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress?"

    Mr. Obama shot back with self-deprecating humor: "If you put it that way, Jonathan -- maybe I should just pack up and go home. Golly. I think it's a little -- as Mark Twain said, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point."

    But as his answer wore on, it was clear a nerve had been struck: "I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common sense solutions. I can urge them to. I can put pressure on them. I can rally the American people around those common-sense solutions. But ultimately, they, themselves, are going to have to say, we want to do the right thing."

    In fact, the president has run into a torrent of opposition in recent months -- on spending, on taxes, and perhaps most personally disappointing for him, on a gun control measure that aimed to expand background checks for people buying firearms online or at gun shows. Every outcome has had a different set of forces at play and a different set of constituencies. And there are predictions of coming success on immigration reform. Still it is striking that only three months into his second term, after an election he won by an impressive margin (the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to win election and re-election by a margin greater than 4 points), that Mr. Obama faces questions about how weak he is.

    But every other president I've covered has also struggled with a recalcitrant Congress. According to Congressional Quarterly, Bill Clinton's success rate on House of Representatives floor votes from 1995-2000 was among the lowest for presidents who have faced divided government in the post-War era. President George H. W. Bush cooperated with Democrats on measures to raise taxes, and so faced some of his most difficult opposition from his own Republican party.

    In an article comparing President George W. Bush's connection to Congress with that of President Reagan, the Washington Post's Dan Balz wrote in 2004: "... Bush has had a more distant relationship with Congress. Reagan developed friendships with two powerful Democrats, one of them House Speaker Thomas P. 'Tip' O'Neill. Bush has not, and administration officials blame Democrats for not meeting the president halfway. But some Congress watchers say the problem is that Bush listens less and commands more in his dealing with Congress than Reagan did."

    The three presidents who preceded Reagan -- Nixon, Ford and Carter -- had their own challenging face-offs with Congress. And it is true that Reagan was able to win tax increases and an increase in the retirement age, to shore up Social Security, and his strong personal popularity helped him pull that off. But President Obama has found it harder to translate his relatively strong popularity ratings into legislative success.

    Members of Congress today mostly represent districts drawn to protect them and their political party, so they have less reason to pay attention to what national polls say. They are able to focus almost singularly on their own districts and states, knowing that any opposition they face is likely to come from the more extreme end of their own party. That's not an incentive for GOP House members to want to side with the president when he argues he's thinking about the national good.

    Mr. Obama said Tuesday he understands that: "we're going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what's going to be best for the country. But it's going to take some time."

    There are more than three and a half years left in his presidency, but just eight months left before a mid-term election is in full swing. We'll all be watching closely to see what sort of "permission structure" the president has in mind.

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    The HBO documentary "Manhunt" details the grueling work by CIA agents in the search and capture of Osama bin Laden. Photo courtesy of HBO

    The second anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death brings a revealing new account of what it took to get him. The HBO documentary "Manhunt" by filmmaker Greg Barker, based on the book by journalist Peter Bergen, joins a two-year blizzard of books and films, each purporting to tell the inside story of the hunt for the elusive terrorist and the al-Qaida network he built.

    It's a vivid contrast to the Hollywoodized account in "Zero Dark Thirty," the controversial film by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow. "Zero Dark Thirty" devotes its first third to re-enacting the interrogations of detainees, some using brutal methods like waterboarding, and turns over the last third on a heart-stopping dramatization of the SEAL raid on the Abbottabad compound. (The film strongly suggested that brutal interrogation of detainees produced the crucial links that nailed bin Laden.) Given short shrift was the painstaking, hard-to-dramatize work that linked the two.

    That's where "Manhunt" comes in. It lays out for the first time the unsexy work of uncovering the al-Qaida network and bin Laden's role, not impressionistically as "Zero Dark Thirty" does, but in all its painstaking detail -- how beginning nearly a decade before 9/11, a group of CIA analysts assembled, sifted, plotted and graphed a network of individuals, communications, transactions and events that they ultimately came to identify as al-Qaida.

    Most remarkably, it tells the story not through actors playing composite characters but through narratives and testimonies from the actual people involved -- from formerly faceless CIA analysts, many of them women, to plainspoken field operatives to then-deputy CIA director John McLaughlin.

    Central to the tale is the collective story of six women CIA analysts, informally known as "The Sisterhood," who spent much of the 90's assembling a picture of the matrix that was al-Qaida. Curly-haired Cindy Storer played a crucial role in recognizing that seemingly unrelated attacks around the world, from the Black Hawk Down episode in Somalia to the East Africa bombings to the USS Cole, were in fact the work of a single organization named al-Qaida, headed by the Saudi financier and former anti-Soviet mujahedeen leader in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden.

    "Zero Dark Thirty" gave a nod to the importance of the female analysts too, but rolled them into one fictionalized character, the bold, beautiful, redhead Maya, who seemed to spend as much time witnessing brutal interrogations at CIA black sites in the field as she did in front of a computer screen. In real life, as we see in "Manhunt," these brilliant analysts looked like your neighbors, teachers or office workers, wrestling with the difficulties of the task not in staccato confrontations with male colleagues, but cooped up in a warren of windowless offices, surrounded by white boards, photographs, flow charts and gruesome al-Qaida recruiting videos, and sharing outsized bottles of Tums. Their work was dissed by others in the agency. Storer was counseled that she was spending too much time working on bin Laden. "They said we were obsessed crusaders, overly emotional, using all those women stereotypes," she says in the film.

    When 9/11 hit, guilt set in, but also rage at critics who blamed 9/11 on "intelligence failures" despite the repeated CIA warnings to the White House through 2001 that a huge attack on U.S. soil was in the offing. "People say, 'Why didn't you connect the dots?'" Storer says. "Well, because the whole page is black!"

    "Something that people don't fully grasp is how alone the CIA felt in this period of time," says former deputy director McLaughlin. Because the CIA had the deepest knowledge of al-Qaida, "the feeling all of us had was this is on our shoulders -- to prevent this from every happening again."

    So all these analysts and operatives turned their skills to targeting specific individuals, to be killed or captured for often brutal interrogations. Unprecedented collaboration with the U.S. military brought successes, rounding up or killing major al-Qaida figures worldwide. There are many books describing this operational marriage, from Gen. Stanley McChrystal's memoir "My Share of the Task" to Mark Mazzetti's "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth."

    But "Manhunt" shows its human toll. CIA analyst-turned-targeter Nada Bakos describes what it was like to spend years in Iraq tracking a "monster," the chief of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al Karkawi. "I was thinking about him 24/7 and it just wasn't pleasant after a while." Her efforts paid off with his killing by a US airstrike in 2006. "You definitely need to know what your moral center is in order to be able to do that job," she says. "My job was to hunt a person down to capture or kill. I had to be okay with that."

    Bakos's major coup was leading the team that nabbed al-Qaida emissary Hassan Ghul in Iraq. He revealed that bin Laden relied on a single courier for all his communications, and what his full pseudonym was. That was the breakthrough in the CIA's hunt for bin Laden, refocusing the agency on al-Qaida's courier network.

    Whether coercive interrogation techniques are necessary or effective -- the controversy in which "Zero Dark Thirty" clearly takes a stand -- is openly debated by some of the actual players in "Manhunt," but ultimately left unresolved. But the moral dimensions of the issue are clear. "We knew Americans would find out at some point about everything we were up to. There were no illusions," says former Counterterrorism Center deputy chief Phillip Mudd "I understand people are uncomfortable with this, but the options we had were not very good ... There are philosophical debates you can have, but at the end of the day, the question is: Are you gonna move or not? Yes or no? Go or no go? That's it."

    Another unresolved question is posed by McChrystal, who as commander of Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq pioneered the partnership of analysts and door-kickers. "The really key part is not how to do these operations. The thing to understand is why are the people we are fighting doing what they're doing? Why is the enemy the enemy? If you don't understand why they're doing it, it's very difficult to stop it." That's a quandary for us all to ponder.

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    Harvesting oysters at Drakes Bay Oyster Co. in the Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco. Photo by Spencer Michels.

    "O Oysters, come and walk with us!" -- Lewis Carroll

    Not since Lewis Carroll wrote "The Walrus and the Carpenter" have oysters garnered so much attention. The oysters grown and harvested in Drake's Estero -- part of the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco -- are the subject of a national controversy that only seems to grow as a plea by an oyster farm to stay in operation gets closer to federal appeals court.

    Briefly, the facts: Drakes Bay Oyster Company and its predecessor have existed since the 1930s. Sometime after the area became part of a National Seashore in 1962, the company was told that its lease would run through 2012, and then it would have to close down operations. The land was now owned by the U.S. government, and it was designated as wilderness - or potential wilderness.

    Seven years ago the company changed hands, and one of the new owners, Kevin Lunny, decided he would try to extend the lease and stay open. The Department of the Interior studied the case, as did a number of scientists, and last November Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar decided the operation should cease. In a nutshell, Salazar decided that a commercial enterprise was incompatible with wilderness and with the concept of a national park. Lunny and his family didn't agree with the decision. They said the science was flawed, the area really wasn't wild, and they went to court.

    That's where the controversy stands now. The court will hear arguments in mid-May. It all sounds pretty simple, and pretty local. But it isn't.

    I've been working on a story for the PBS NewsHour about the oyster controversy, and I cannot remember a subject I've reported on (with the possible exception of climate change) that has evoked more email and phone calls, even before the story aired.

    On the local level, everyone in Marin County (where Point Reyes is located) has an opinion. Many of those I've talked with love the oyster company, love the oysters, love the Lunnys, and are opposed to closing down the farm they remember from their youth and that they still visit on weekends. The odd thing is that most of these people are dyed-in-the-wool environmentalists. But they are also sustainable, local food enthusiasts, and even if they see the problem with letting one commercial operation remain in the "pristine" National Seashore, they are willing to make an exception. "What's the big deal?" they ask. These folks have bombarded the local newspaper, the Pulitzer-prize winning Point Reyes Light, with letters in support of the Lunnys.

    But they aren't the only activists on the issue. The first time I called the Lunnys to ask about the case, I hadn't been off the phone for 20 minutes when I got a phone call from a Washington, D.C.-based organization called Cause of Action. It's a self-described "government watchdog," headed by a former employee of the conservative Koch Brothers foundation, which has taken on the Lunnys' cause. They are providing pro bono legal services to the oyster farm (not their only attorneys), on the theory that big government shouldn't be trying to close down small business.

    "When you have a federal government that in some cases is unchecked, it can lead to certain harms to economic freedom," director Dan Epstein told the NewsHour.

    But entry into the fray of a conservative Washington advocacy group has changed the nature and the tenor of the debate. Instead of a simple case of whether a commercial operation belongs in a national park, the issue has become whether government is bullying those on the land. We can't say bullying "property owners" since the land is owned by the government, and the Lunnys' predecessors were paid for it.

    On the other side of the issue are local and national environmental groups, including the National Parks Conservation Association and Environmental Action of Committee of West Marin County. And their approach is pretty straightforward: A lease is a lease, and a commercial enterprise despoils a gorgeous wilderness area. They don't agree an exception should be made, even if locals personally like the oysters and the Lunnys. The activists fear a bad precedent if Drakes Bay stays open. They envision other "exceptions," and a danger to other wilderness areas and national parks.

    But some people you might expect to agree with the strict environmentalist point of view are on the other side. A group of celebrated restaurateurs, including Alice Waters of Berkeley's Chez Panisse and Patricia Unterman of San Francisco's Hayes Street Grill, have said the Drakes Bay Oyster needs to stay open since the farm provides local, sustainable and delicious oysters.

    And those supportive voices have been joined by the most unlikely of allies: conservative Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana. He has introduced a bill primarily to expedite the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and oil and gas development in Alaska. But added on to the bill is a provision to extend the oyster farm lease for at least another 10 years.

    The conservative involvement in the controversy confuses and disappoints some of the longtime environmentalists in the area, who don't feel comfortable with such allies. California's Marin County is one of the country's most liberal areas, so it's tough for old-time activists like Phyllis Faber to admit they're on the same side as Vitter and Cause of Action. Faber says she thinks the hardcore environmentalists are behind the times -- they're longing for a wilderness that never existed.

    Meanwhile, both sides have marshaled as much science as they can, to argue that the oyster farm is either cleaning up the environment (they've gathered up plastic tubes previous growers have left behind) or ruining it (harbor seals may be in jeopardy; the area looks messy; "marine vomit" covers the oysters). When the National Academy of Sciences was asked to study the issue, its scientists said there wasn't enough data to rule either way.

    I don't know how this controversy will end, but I do know how Lewis Carroll's poem about walking on the beach with a group of oysters concludes:

    "O Oysters," said the Carpenter, "You've had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?" But answer came there none-- And this was scarcely odd, because They'd eaten every one.

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    Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, left, and former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, right, are vying for Virginia governor, while Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, center, who declined to run, has defended McAuliffe against some of Cuccinelli's attacks. Photos courtesy of Cuccinelli, Bolling and McAuliffe.

    This year's only competitive election is the Virginia gubernatorial race between former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

    Watching the mudslinging from both campaigns, however, the race so far looks more like a public relations duel over the candidates' respective ties to two businesses than an issues-based campaign that will serve as a battleground bellwether for 2016 and beyond.

    The press releases layer thicker by the day. In one of the latest from McAuliffe, his team announced that if elected he would create an independent ethics commission to monitor Virginia's politicians and implement by executive order a ban on gifts to elected officials -- an implicit dig at his Republican opponent and current Gov. Bob McDonnell.

    McDonnell's cozy relationship with Jonnie Williams, the chief executive of supplement manufacturing company Star Scientific, which is currently facing a federal securities investigation, could have been enough to pique the interest of McAuliffe's press shop, and indeed, the governor is a crucial part of this story.

    But Cuccinelli himself has received $18,000 in personal gifts from Williams or his company, several thousand of which he did not disclose until Friday, prompting state Democrats to call for his resignation.

    As Cuccinelli's stock holdings in Star Scientific grew, the attorney general's office was defending the state Department of Taxation in a disputed tax suit against Star Scientific. Cuccinelli only appointed private lawyers to take over the case in April, saying he didn't know about the Star Scientific suit for 19 months.

    Cuccinelli said he hadn't realized the totality of his holdings in Star Scientific exceeded the $10,000 disclosure requirement, which is why he didn't disclose them for a year. The campaign maintains it was an oversight, certainly not as egregious as the poor judgement seen in McAuliffe's lackluster business record, they argue.

    And so in attempt at transparency, Cuccinelli's camp decided to make available to reporters eight years of the Cuccinelli's tax returns.

    His first campaign ad, featuring his wife talking about his commitment to "the vulnerable and those in need," is an attempt to soften his campaign image thus far and connect with moderate voters that Republicans are hoping to capture in states like Virginia.

    Cuccinelli has reprised two central Democratic lines of attack from the 2012 presidential election and turned them on his opponent: tax releases and a questionable business record.

    A Cuccinelli web video features clips of prominent Democrats, including McAuliffe, demanding that Mitt Romney release his returns.

    McAuliffe responded by releasing three years of tax summaries, showing he paid $3.6 million in taxes on $16.8 million in income over two years -- a vast sum compared to the $200,000 Cuccinell reported earning in 2012.

    And in another attack reminiscent of Democratic hits on Romney, Cuccinelli repeatedly targeted McAuliffe for a failed business record that did more for foreign and out-of-state interests than for the Virginian worker.

    A year after the debut of the electric car company McAuliffe bought from a Hong-Kong carmaker, GreenTech Automotive employs far fewer people than promised, while its production plant has opened in Mississippi.

    McAuliffe maintains that Virginia would not bid on the plant, while officials from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership maintain they were just skeptical of GreenTech's usage of EB-5 visas, which are awarded to foreigners who invest in American start-ups.

    Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who decided against challenging Cuccinelli, first as a Republican, then as an Independent, has taken McAuliffe's side on the issue, somewhat undercutting Cuccinelli's criticism that the plant is not in state.

    While starting GreenTech was once seen as McAuliffe's opening bid for his candidacy, McAuliffe prefers to talk about his business experience and "putting jobs first" in general terms, highlighting the driveway paving company he started at age 14 in his first TV ad, which will begin airing Thursday.

    It's no surprise he isn't mentioning GreenTech, from which he quietly resigned as chair late last year. Cuccinelli wants voters to think McAuliffe is embarrassed by his business; McAuliffe points out that running for governor is a full-time job, which Cuccinelli should have considered before campaigning as an attorney general.

    Staying on in McDonnell's administration has thrown Cuccinelli in deeper water as attention on McDonnell's ties to Williams has increased. The Washington Post reported Monday that the FBI is interviewing associates of McDonnell about the extent of his family's relationship to Williams, who is a major campaign donor and has bestowed significant gifts on the family, including picking up the $15,000 catering tab for McDonnell's daughter's wedding.

    That caterer, also the former governor's mansion chef, told state and federal authorities Williams paid for the catering. Now he's pressing for embezzlement charges against him to be dismissed because he claims Cuccinelli stands to gain from convicting someone who could expose the political expediency of Cuccinelli's and McDonnell's ties to Williams.

    Responding to calls for him to resign, Cuccinelli has since recused himself from the case.

    Meanwhile, the McDonnells maintain that the 2011 launch party they hosted at the governor's mansion for one of Star Scientific's tobacco-derived supplements and a trip by the governor's wife, Maureen, to Florida to promote the supplement were all typical state economic development initiatives, not efforts to boost Star Scientific in return for favors.

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  • 05/01/13--14:34: The Antarctic's Ice Paradox
  • Scientists have been trying to create a clearer picture of how the Antarctic responds to climate change. Photo by Nerilie Abram.

    It's no secret that the ice sheet is melting in Greenland. Last year, the Arctic ice cap shrunk to a record low, with only 24 percent of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice, a 50 percent drop from its 1979-2000 summer average. At the height of the 2012 summer, Greenland had experienced melting across 90 percent of its surface. For a journalist, it's an easy story to tell: temperatures climb, the ice shrinks.

    But at the opposite end of the world, in Antarctica, the picture isn't quite as less clear. Satellite images from 2012 showed that Antarctic sea ice reached its highest levels extent on record, evidence skeptics often point to as proof that climate change isn't happening. And for years, the East Antarctic ice sheet, which covers the majority of the continent, appeared to be stable or perhaps even gaining mass.

    NOAA Satellite Snow and Ice Mapping Data Sea ice around Antarctica, June 21, 2012. Although average sea ice extents around Antarctica have been increasing over the last several years, land-based ice sheets are melting at fast rates. Courtesy NOAA.

    There are several reasons why changes in Antarctica are simply harder to explain than those in the Arctic, says Waleed Abdalati, professor of geography at the University of Colorado. The geography is different and data collection is challenging, he said. Second Plus, the climate and a large hole in the ozone layer have buffered large parts of the continent from warmer air.

    "The fact that you have a large, tall, thick ice sheet situated at the South Pole creates a climate down there that tends to isolate it from the rest of the world," Abdalati said. "And it does that in large part by setting up a circulation pattern where winds blow around the perimeter of the continent and block warmer air from lower latitudes."

    Unlike the Arctic, it has been almost impossible at times to collect data in Antarctica. Satellite data only dates back to 1979; research station data to the mid-1950s, in some areas. The ice sheet east of the Transantarctic mountains was less explored and less understood until recently; parts are still inaccessible. And throughout the continent, which is larger than the United States, the ice sheet varies dramatically, making the ice losses and gains more difficult to tease out, Abdalati said. Greenland, on the other hand is smaller, easier to access and has been therefore studied in greater detail.

    So what is really happening in the Antarctic?

    The short answer is that the ice around Antarctica is growing, but the ice on the continent is shrinking, and both are a result of climate change. Just how much it's changing and how fast depends on where you look.

    In some parts of the continent, the Antarctic ice is melting just as rapidly as the ice in the Arctic Circle. In fact, the Antarctic peninsula, which juts into the Southern Ocean, was one of the earliest climate change "hot spots", where rapid warming caused enormous segments of glaciers to break off into the ocean. In a recent study in the journal Nature Geoscience, new ice core data from James Ross Island, located at the northern tip of the peninsula, shows that warming on the peninsula has reached its highest rate in 1,000 years.

    Nerilie Abram works with ice core samples from Antarctica. Photo by Paul Rogers.

    Nerilie Abram, a research fellow at Australian National University and lead author of the study said that the ice melt in peninsula has increased 10-fold over the last 600 years, with the largest increases occurring in the last half century.

    "The Antarctic peninsula contributes to more than half of the ice melt in Antarctica, and even there it varies," Abram said. "On James Ross Island, almost 5 percent of the ice cap is melting and refreezing. But if you went down to the coastal areas that are at sea level around island, the amount of melt is even higher."

    The peninsula is particularly vulnerable because of its location in the Southern Ocean, which has a warming effect, she added.

    At the West Antarctic ice sheet, ice is melting faster than it ever has in that location, but at a less dramatic pace than on the peninsula, said Eric Steig of the University of Washington, whose study was also published recently in Nature Geoscience. There, warmer air temperatures combined with warmer ocean water circulating below the ice shelves both cause the ice to melt at the "upper bound of normal," he said.

    At this rate of melt, the ice shelves in Antarctica won't last, he explains, and its not obviously linked to human activity the way it is on the peninsula. And of course, that rate could change.

    He suspects that the melt on the West Antarctic ice sheet is similar to what occurred on the peninsula 20 years ago, Steig said.

    And while the ice loss has been fairly well documented in the west and the peninsula, data on the East Antarctic ice sheet paints a murkier picture. The most recent estimate published in the journal Science in 2012 states that the East Antarctic ice sheet is gaining mass by 14 gigatonnes per year. However, that data, as the study points out, has a 43 gigaton margin of error, Abdalati says, making it difficult to confirm the gain with any certainty.

    Perhaps the most confusing detail - the growth of sea ice around Antarctica - is also a direct response to climate change, said Andrew Carleton, professor of physical geography at Penn State University. Despite the warming climate, sea ice surrounding the continent has increased about one percent every decade between 1979 and 2008, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    It seems counter intuitive, but that growth is a result of the glacial melt happening on the rest of the continent, Carleton said. As fresh water melts into the ocean it decreases the salinity of the seawater, he explained. Water with less salt content freezes at a higher temperature, so even with warming air temperatures melting the glaciers, the Antarctic Ocean continues to gain sea ice.

    "It seems paradoxical, but it makes sense," Carleton said.

    The story of Antarctica is not a simple one, Abdalati says, and scientists are still working to make sense of how it fits in the bigger picture of climate change.

    "It's not that it doesn't fit. It all fits," he said. "We have to ask 'what is the story telling us?'"

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: The Boston bombings investigation took another new turn today with federal charges filed against three college buddies of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They're accused of trying to get rid of evidence or lying to investigators after the attack. Two of the three are from Kazakhstan.

    Azamat Tazhayakov is on the left, and Dias Kadyrbayev is in the center in this undated photo with Tsarnaev taken in New York. The third new suspect was identified as Robel Phillipos.

    We get more now from Dina Temple-Raston of NPR.

    Dina Temple-Raston, give us a sense what we know, if anything, about these three.

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, National Public Radio: Well, we know that, as you said, two of them are from Kazakhstan and the third one is American.

    We also know that they -- that two of them, the two Kazakhstan students, were arrested 11 days ago. They were arrested on immigration charges. And officials had some idea that they might be involved somehow with the main suspect in the Boston bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and so they basically kept them on these immigration charges until they could build a case that at least would give them some idea of what role they might have played.

    It's important to realize that the role they played is after the bombing, not before it.

    GWEN IFILL: Right.

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: It appears what they did is tried to help their college friend.

    GWEN IFILL: Let's walk through the complaint that was filed today in Boston as these men were charged. It says that they intentionally obstructed justice. How did they do that, allegedly?

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, what they -- what -- there are two things that we think that happened, according to the criminal complaint.

    The first is that when they first saw the photographs that were released of the suspects, remember, suspect number two is who authorities believe is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the one with the white hat. When they first saw that picture, they actually texted him and said, hey, dude, that looks like you. And he wrote back, LOL, laugh out loud.

    And then when they started to realize that maybe it was in fact him, they went to his dorm room. And when they went there, they found a backpack that was filled with fireworks that had actually been emptied of their explosive powder. And apparently there was Vaseline in the backpack and I guess an assignment from the university, a homework assignment.

    And so they grabbed the backpack basically and decided that they would dispose of it. From the criminal complaint, it seems like something that they did very much on the spur of the moment. This wasn't something that they had sort of really thought through.

    GWEN IFILL: And then they began to talk -- when the authorities began to talk to these young men, they began to uncover a pattern of not only obstruction of justice, but also lying and concealment of their role after the fact?

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, not exactly.

    Robel Phillipos, the third person who was arrested today, this 19-year-old student also from this university, he is the only one who is being charged with lying to federal agents. He is not being charged with obstruction of justice.

    And, apparently, when federal agents asked if he had had any contact with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the bombing, he denied it. Then they asked him if they'd gone to the dorm room or if his friends had gone to the dorm room, and he denied that, too. And he was basically caught in a lie to federal agents.

    GWEN IFILL: So the stories changed as the -- in the days -- it's important to remember that the Tsarnaev brothers were at large for, what, four days, and during that period of time authorities were talking to these young men and we assume others?

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: Yes, exactly.

    And these young men, the other thing that was interesting that they mentioned in this criminal complaint that one of the young men went to the dormitory to meet Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just days after the bombing, like two days after the bombing, and he had given himself a short haircut, and he mentioned that to FBI agents.

    GWEN IFILL: How did they get into his room? They showed up and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- this is his dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and his roommate let them him? Dzhokhar wasn't there himself?

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: That's what we understand, that at least in the time when they took this backpack out that.

    He was there the first time they went. He was not there the second time they went. The roommate let them in. And according to the criminal complaint, they took the backpack and they actually took his laptop as well, because they didn't want it to seem like -- rouse any suspicion of the roommate by just taking the backpack.

    And authorities say in the criminal complaint that they found the backpack in a landfill a couple of days ago with these fireworks without the powder in them that backpack, but they didn't find the laptop. And in fact that was why they had gone to the landfill to try and find this laptop. Presumably -- it's not mentioned exactly in the criminal complaint, but presumably these two students hung onto the laptop and that's something authorities have now.

    And that's important because it gives them an ability to take a look at what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was doing before the bombing, because they can mirror that hard drive.

    GWEN IFILL: Do we have any idea about the history of these young men, how long they have known each other, how close friends they are?

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: It seems that they are very close friends.

    Apparently, Dzhokhar spent a lot of time in the New Bedford apartment of these Kazakh students. And they took classes together and that sort of thing. And it sort of seems that they came together over the last couple of years, as foreign students often do when they are together in this sort of college environment.

    I don't think anybody necessarily thinks there's anything particularly nefarious about their friendship. One of Kazakh students had actually gone to Kazakstan back in December and had come back. And there's been some question about whether or not there was something nefarious or suspicious about that.

    But a lot of foreign students actually go back home for the Christmas holiday. And there hasn't been any real suggestion that that's a problem, although what is interesting about these visa violations is apparently part of what was going on with these visa violations is that these kids didn't attend class much. But, you know, there are a lot of college students who do that.

    GWEN IFILL: But that can be used as a pretext to hold you.

    To be clear again, in this charge today, they are not being charged with any complicity with the bombing itself. But for what they are being charged with, how stiff is the potential penalty?

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, they can get years in prison for this.

    But I think what is important here is that we have understood from officials that they are following as many -- or they're tracking as many as a dozen people who might have something to do with this case. And what these arrests today shed light on is not what happened before the bombing, which is what they are really interested in.

    How did they make the bombs? Did they test the bombs? Did someone help them put together this plot? What this sheds light on is what happened perhaps afterwards. And they seem to be having a lot more evidence on that than they do beforehand. And that's what they're really focused on now.

    GWEN IFILL: So, it's fair to say the hunt is still under way.

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: There's more to come.

    GWEN IFILL: Dina Temple-Raston of NPR, thanks so much.

    DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: You're very welcome. 


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