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- 05/07/13--06:00: _ Rain Clouds Over O...
- 05/07/13--06:33: _Chambliss' Hole-in-...
- 05/07/13--06:57: _The Daily Frame
- 05/07/13--07:06: _Ask The Headhunter:...
- 05/07/13--07:17: _Tuesday on the News...
- 05/07/13--08:21: _In South Carolina, ...
- 05/07/13--09:05: _The Tuesday Cutline...
- 05/07/13--09:54: _Solar Powered Plane...
- 05/07/13--11:10: _Watch Live: Hearing...
- 05/07/13--11:50: _Obama: Sexual Assau...
- 05/07/13--13:12: _Inspiring Science W...
- 05/07/13--15:02: _Report on Military'...
- 05/07/13--15:10: _News Wrap: Three Mi...
- 05/07/13--15:15: _Threat of Escalatio...
- 05/07/13--15:18: _South Korea May Be ...
- 05/07/13--15:26: _Hey, Look at This! ...
- 05/07/13--15:36: _Communities Prepare...
- 05/07/13--15:45: _Tracking Sequestrat...
- 12/31/69--15:00: _Keeping America's H...
- 05/08/13--06:12: _Call It a Comeback:...
- 05/07/13--06:00: Rain Clouds Over Obama-Park Summit
- 05/07/13--06:33: Chambliss' Hole-in-One Puts Obama in Play on Budget Talks
- 05/07/13--06:57: The Daily Frame
- 05/07/13--07:06: Ask The Headhunter: Should Employers Pay to Interview You?
- 05/07/13--07:17: Tuesday on the NewsHour: Saving Recorded History
- 05/07/13--08:21: In South Carolina, Will Sanford Get a Second Chance?
- 05/07/13--09:05: The Tuesday Cutline...a Winner!
- 05/07/13--09:54: Solar Powered Plane Soars Slower than a Subaru
- 05/07/13--11:10: Watch Live: Hearing on Benghazi Attack on Wednesday
- 05/07/13--11:50: Obama: Sexual Assault in the Military is a 'Betrayal'
- 05/07/13--13:12: Inspiring Science With Frozen Roadkill and Harvested Whale Bones
- 05/07/13--15:18: South Korea May Be Growing Less Tolerant of Pyongyang's Provocations
- 05/07/13--15:45: Tracking Sequestration Across the Nation
- 05/08/13--06:12: Call It a Comeback: Sanford Wins South Carolina Special Election
It has been some time since a presidential summit has opened under such heavy clouds as will accompany Tuesday's White House meeting between President Obama and South Korea's new President Park Geun-hye.
Not only is rain anticipated as President Park arrives, part of an unusually cool spring in the U.S. capital, but the agenda is clouded with North Korean nuclear and missile tests, potential disagreements between the U.S. and South Korea over that country's civilian nuclear program and deepening tensions between China, Seoul and Japan, which further bedevil U.S. diplomacy in Northeast Asia.
And if that were not enough, at least one American analyst deeply versed in Korean matters says there is now "the danger of an increased probability of a second Korean War."
That gloomy assessment came from Joel Wit, a former State Department official involved in decades of U.S. negotiations with North Korea. He was referencing the risk of a new provocation from North Korea, such as its 2010 shelling of a South Korean island, and asserting that the new South Korean government is determined to retaliate much more quickly and vigorously to such an act than its predecessor.
Observing the 60th anniversary of the end of the first Korean War and paying tribute to the 36,000 Americans who died fighting in it, is one of the stops on President Park's crowded schedule. But the way that war ended in 1953 with an armistice between the United Nations, China and North Korea and all these years later still no formal peace treaty between the two Koreas, remains a visible example of the continuing volatility of the peninsula.
For the next two days, as President Park meets with the administration, hosts a dinner for several hundred at a Washington art museum and addresses a joint meeting of Congress, the Korean story will go back into the headlines where it was for a few anxious weeks at the beginning of the year thanks to its weapons tests and the fiery rhetoric of its youthful leader Kim Jun-Eun.
And in several Washington conferences over the past few weeks, analysts highly critical of the Obama administration's handling of the Korean issue and those more disposed to giving it a passing grade all agree on one point: the administration wants this story off the front pages. According to Michael Green, who handled Asian issues under the George W. Bush administration, "the more North Korea is in the news, the worse you look."
Another shared viewpoint among think-tankers is that the Obama administration's policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea has run out of gas. Victor Cha, who also served in the Bush White House said the phrase means "we don't know what to do." Wit said, "it never made any sense" and was driven by U.S. domestic politics and the desire to keep the U.S.-South Korea alliance intact during the hard-line administration of Park's predecessor Lee Myung-bak.
But beyond those points of rhetorical agreement, Korea analysts in Washington and Seoul remain divided on what the two capitals do next in dealing with North Korea. For example, Wit said it was fruitless to expect North Korea to yield to any kind of pressure and abandon its program that has produced an arsenal of perhaps a dozen nuclear bombs. He said the administration should pursue how serious North Korea is for a treaty to end the war in exchange for a moratorium on its nuclear program. Cha and Green reiterated the more familiar line that the U.S. cannot acknowledge a nuclear North Korea or appear eager to enter direct negotiations with Pyongyang.
Another point of general accord, not only among the Americans but also a group of Chinese scholars in Washington recently for a conference: China may be growing more frustrated with North Korea's weapons testing and may take some behind-the-scenes measures, but it is nowhere near cutting off its vital aid and support to the Kim regime.
The analysts said there is a possibility the U.S. could agree to Park's government taking the lead in opening talks with the North. The first test would be a commercial one: if North Korea is ready to back away from its closure of the joint industrial venture with South Korea at Kaesong. During the recent tensions, North Korea pulled its 53,000 workers from the complex. But on Monday, the North Korean government issued a series of demands for returning its workers, and Seoul promptly labeled them as unacceptable.
Beyond the diplomatic, President Park's agenda also includes a luncheon talk Wednesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to observe the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement. What she may not mention to a Washington audience attuned to shifts in the Asian balance of power is that China has now displaced both the U.S. and Japan as South Korea's No. 1 trading partner.
Photo of South Korean President Park Geun-hye by Jean Chung/Bloomberg via Getty Images. Michael D. Mosettig, PBS NewsHour foreign affairs and defense editor emeritus, watches wonks push policy in Washington's multitude of think tanks. From time to time, he writes dispatches on what those scholars and wannabe secretaries of state have in mind for Europe, Asia and Latin America.
From left, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., President Obama and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., play golf Monday. Photo by Dennis Brack/Getty Images.
The White House says President Barack Obama is "willing to try anything" to work with Republicans to find a solution to the nation's fiscal problems.
Monday, that meant venturing out to Andrews Air Force Base on a drizzly day in Washington to hit the links. Instead, one of the Republicans joining him scored a hole-in-one on the par-3 11th hole.
Is it a metaphor for how the president negotiates with Congress?
Speaking to reporters Monday night, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said he told Mr. Obama, "[S]ince I made a hole-in-one, he ought to give us everything we want on entitlement reform."
Also in the foursome were Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado. Udall and Corker are ranked by Golf Digest as the first and second-best golfers in Congress. Chambliss is ranked sixth-best. The Republicans faced off against the Democrats on Monday.
White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted the agenda was nothing more than bipartisan socializing so that Mr. Obama could "see if he can find some common ground on some of the challenges that confront us."
The Associated Press set the scene:
The foursome played under overcast skies that seemed to threaten rain that never came. Their game was cut short on the 15th hole so the senators could get back for a vote to allow states to tax Internet sales. The casually-dressed lawmakers had to rush in and shout their votes from the Senate's cloakroom since they did not have time to put on ties that are required in the chamber.
Corker said in a statement, "[A]nytime you can get the president's ear for a few hours, I think that's a good thing," the Washington Post reported.
The golf trip was part of a months-long charm offensive -- Mr. Obama has dined with senators in and out of the White House, visited Capitol Hill, and he frequently talks with them on the phone.
Budget negotiations remain stalled even as both chambers have passed 10-year spending blueprints.
The president is hitting the road Thursday to sell his own vision for how the government should invest, a plan that aims to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years.
Carney noted that Mr. Obama has not shifted his philosophy -- which has irked his fellow Democrats -- that his proposals mean "some difficult choices by everyone."
For Republicans, the option on the table is raising revenue, a plan dubbed a "non-starter" on the Hill.
With other big items on the agenda -- immigration reform legislation getting its first real examination this week, the gun control package that could be revived in coming weeks -- the White House is considering a handful of senators up for grabs on a variety of issues.
Reporters peppered Carney with questions Monday as his boss was on the course. Is golf really the best medium for this task?
Well, he's willing to try anything. (Laughter.) And whether it's a conversation on the phone, or a meeting in the Oval Office, or dinner at a restaurant, or dinner at the residence, he's going to have the same kinds of conversations and test the theory that this kind of engagement can help produce the results that everybody in this country -- or at least the majority of the people in this country who care about and pay attention to these issues wants to see.
I get asked a lot about inside game, outside game. He has long engaged in both. He's having one-on-one conversations, group conversations, meals, golf games, hard-headed negotiations with legislators, and he is going out to the country and talking to regular folks out there about the issues that matter to them and about the need for them to speak up and engage in a process to demand that Congress take action and do the most -- do the responsible thing to help the economy grow to help the middle class.
Those conversations with "regular folks," in fact, will return to the president's agenda this week. At Manor New Tech High School outside of Austin on Thursday, Mr. Obama will reprise his State of the Union message about middle-class jobs.
At the same time, the president's former re-election campaign is keeping up its efforts to engage supporters via Organizing for Action.
On a conference call Monday, the group's executive director, Jon Carson, told reporters that OFA will deliver a petition to Congress this week signed by more than 1 million people who want to see the immigration bill passed. OFA also has staffed up, with 19 coordinators working with volunteers in the field. The aim is to keep up pressure on (mostly) Republican lawmakers to support Mr. Obama's agenda.
Those efforts, and the president's outreach, will surely continue as Congress gears back up for this busy work period. But that's a long way from ensuring the president's goals translate to legislation that reaches his desk.
Amendments to the comprehensive immigration reform bill proposed by the Gang of Eight are due to Congress Tuesday afternoon, giving legislation-watchers a better sense of which provisions will shape the debate around the bill and what may derail it. Republicans plan to introduce many amendments that could change the final plan.
"They'll be looking to throw obstacles in the way of the process and propose poison pills in order to frame the debate for the far right," said Frank Sharry of pro-reform group America's Voice in this New York Times story.
The amendments come at the same time as a conservative study attacks the bill for its fiscal reasoning.
The think tank Heritage Foundation estimates the pathway to citizenship provisions in the current comprehensive immigration proposal would cause a fiscal deficit of $6 trillion as immigrants become eligible for federal benefits and pay less in taxes than what the government will spend. The deficit will hurt the national debt or cause the public to pay more taxes, the study concludes.
Heritage President Jim DeMint teamed up with senior research fellow Robert Rector to pen this Washington Post op-ed Tuesday:
A properly structured lawful immigration system holds the potential to drive positive economic growth and job creation. But amnesty for those here unlawfully is not necessary to capture those benefits.
We estimate that when those who broke our laws to come here start having access to the same benefits as citizens do -- as is called for by the Senate "Gang of Eight" immigration bill -- the average unlawful immigrant household will receive nearly $3 in benefits for every dollar in taxes paid.
Instead of the comprehensive reform the Gang of Eight seeks, DeMint and Rector advocate for a piece-by-piece legislative approach.
David Nakamura of the Washington Post analyzed where other conservatives fall -- with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and the group Tea Party Patriots on one side, yet many conservatives who back the bipartisan bill's cosponsors on the other.
Nakamura reports: "Critics of the Heritage Foundation's methodology said it failed to account for social mobility among Hispanics. The price tag estimated in the study also includes the costs of educating and providing services to immigrants' U.S.-born children, but as citizens they are entitled to those benefits regardless of whether the bill passes Congress."
Public opinion isn't on Heritage's side. A poll commissioned by the liberal labor union SEIU and conducted by Hart Research Associates found 73 percent of Americans favor the current massive proposal. That includes 66 percent of Republicans, according to an SEIU press release.
A majority of 74 percent also voiced support for the pathway to citizenship section of the bill, when asked by the surveyors if they supported "allowing illegal immigrants who pay taxes, learn English and pass a background check to remain in the U.S."
As the political divides take shape and fiscal conservatives balk on the bill, some social conservatives, including the evangelical community, continue to support it. The Evangelical Immigration Table announced its "Pray for Reform" campaign this week, calling on Christians to pray for 92 days for a legislative outcome that "upholds our values of human dignity, family unity and respect for the rule of law."
All this comes as Vice President Joe Biden told faith leaders Monday that the administration will wait for the immigration debate to play out before making another push on gun control measures.
The U.S. Senate approved a bill with a 69-27 vote that would allow states to collect sales tax for online purchases. It now goes to the House as anti-tax advocates gear up to defeat it. Reuters previews the fight there.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns has launched another ad attacking Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., on her vote against expanding background checks. Ayotte responded Tuesday in a Concord Monitor op-ed. The Washington Post reports at least two Republicans have signaled they might reconsider "no" votes, possibly reviving the effort.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has raised nearly $6.2 million for his re-election bid since November. The Republican has $3.4 million cash on hand. His Democratic challenger, Barbara Buono, brought in just $738,000 and is at risk of not qualifying for matching funds, according to the Star-Ledger.
Christie had lap-band stomach surgery in February to help with weight loss and spoke with the New York Post about it for this scoop.
The Washington Post continues its look at "political intelligence" and whether Congress is profiting from its day-to-day business.
Politico's Manu Raju picks up on a potential problem for Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Neither may be able to run for both re-election to the Senate and president in 2016.
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., raised $270,000 on the first day after joining the crowded GOP Senate primary.
The New Republic's Noam Scheiber looks at whether Sen. Cruz would be eligible to run for president under his own strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution.
The man who wrote the rules for the Iowa caucuses, Richard Bender, will retire this month after working for more than three decades with Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines Register sat down with Bender for this interview.
The Boston Globe's Stan Grossfeld catches up with the player who elbowed Mr. Obama in the face during a game of pickup basketball back in 2010.
Marin Cogan writes in The New Republic of the ubiquity of Capitol Hill photobombing, and how it's become a part of life and mark of importance for those who work in D.C. politics.
Michelle Obama will have a book signing Tuesday at Politics and Prose bookstore in Northwest, D.C.
Speaking of Politics and Prose, NewsHour's Supreme Court correspondent Marcia Coyle will be there discussing her new book, "The Roberts Court," May 18 at 3:30 p.m. The book is now out, and it's riveting. Here's its listing on Amazon.
We dare you to read this awesome AP lede without cringing: "Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East Coast. They will arrive in such numbers that people from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered roughly 600-to-1. Maybe more."
You can help track the cicadas' emergence across the country with this simple backyard how-to from Radiolab.
Prince Harry will be in the D.C. area Thursday and Friday. And he's meeting with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
The Atlantic examines why NPR reporters have fantastic-sounding names.
Go ahead, try to beat Slate's Great Gatsby computer game and grasp the American dream.
As we ready "Covering Watergate," a segment scheduled to air May 17 looking back at the Senate Watergate hearings, we're asking viewers for their memories and comments. How did the Watergate scandal and hearings affect your life or the way you perceived government or the media? What do you think Watergate's effect was on the nation? Share your stories here, call our oral history hotline at (202) 599-4PBS or use the hashtag #CoveringWatergate.
Christina talked with Huffington Post's Jon Ward about the special election in South Carolina.Watch Video
Ray Suarez interviewed the Forbes reporter who was in Austin for the big reveal of a 3-D printed gun.
Ray also fielded a debate between former SEC commissioner Paul Atkins and Columbia Law School professor Robert Jackson about the SEC's pending decision on whether to require companies to disclose political donations.
Sign of the times? GOP pol coming out in support of gay marriage is big national news but admitting he smoked pot as a kid = sort of meh.— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) May 7, 2013
WH visitors logs reveal guest list for secret, swanky inaugural party: bit.ly/13rdlT7— Emily Goodin (@Emilylgoodin) May 7, 2013
Roll Call launches "World's Greatest Deliberative Body" on same day Reid calls Cruz a "schoolyard bully" #timing— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) May 6, 2013
Autocorrect is killing me with the names and stuff in my tweets! Gahhh— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) May 6, 2013
No, iPhone, I mean "hell," not "he'll." When I mean "he'll" you'll sure as shot know.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) May 6, 2013
Head of Air Force's sex assault prevention branch charged with....sexual assault. stripes.com/news/air-force...— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) May 6, 2013
RIP Simpsons' creator Matt Groening's mom. How many names do you recognize from the obituary? twitter.com/pourmecoffee/s...— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) May 7, 2013
Desk assistant Simone Pathe contributed to this report.
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.
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A man works on a flower mosaic of Big Ben and Tower Bridge in Keukenhof garden in Lisse, the Netherlands. Photo by Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images.
By Nick Corcodilos
Ever feel like a company wasted your time after an interview because they never got back to you about their hiring decision? Headhunter Nick Corcodilos says that when employers ignore deadlines for hiring decisions, job seekers have a right to be compensated for their time. Photo by Altrendo Images/Getty Images.
In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees -- just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.
Question: The rudeness of employers seems to be pervasive out there. I had interviews with a company recently. The second round involved four finalists meeting 12 employees over eight grueling hours. In mid-March, they said that they would make a choice by April 1. On April 7, I called the HR person and got her voice mail. I said that, based on the timetable she had provided, I wanted to know their decision and asked her to call me. On April 17, I emailed the hiring manager to reinforce my interest and asked if they had made a decision.
The next day the HR manager responded that they had hired a candidate who had started work the last week of March. She said that a formal notice would be sent to other applicants within the week.
April is over. There's been no notice. One of the other three finalists told me she has heard nothing at all. Are manners and simple courtesy totally dead?MORE FROM NICK CORCODILOS: The Only Interview Question That Really Matters
Nick Corcodilos: Job applicants appear promptly for interviews, devote hours of unpaid professional time to an employer, and then wait patiently for a hiring decision by the promised date. And yet a company ignores its own timeline without any update or comment to the candidates. Why? Because candidates are free.
You could be bold instead of free. Send the HR manager -- certified mail with a copy to the hiring manager and the CEO of the company -- an invoice for your time.
Am I crazy to suggest this? Would you be crazy to actually do it? Imagine the note:
My time for our first interview was free, as it was an exploratory meeting. You requested more time for the second round of meetings, which I provided at no cost, contingent on your company fulfilling its commitment to respond with a decision by the date you chose, April 1. You ignored my calls, emails, and your own deadline, without the courtesy of a notice.
I am thus billing you for the eight hours of my professional time spent in the second round of meetings with your team. As a professional, I would never dream of being irresponsible with the time of my clients, my vendors, or my employer. Time is money. I live by the deadlines I commit to, and I expect others to do the same. Anything less would be irresponsible to our industry and to our profession. None of us could operate with integrity if we ignored our commitments. This is not a joke. I expect payment within 10 days.
If this seems extreme, why should it? Is there a more polite way to notify a company that it has erred? Sure -- but you've already done that, several times.
Every day, companies ignore these time commitments with impunity. Why is a deadline for a hiring decision any less important than a deadline to deliver a product to a customer? The company's ability to meet either deadline establishes its reputation. (See "Death By Lethal Reputation.") Yet, while companies worry plenty about dissatisfied customers, they don't give a thought to what other professionals in their industry will say about them.
A job applicant treated with disrespect can do as much -- if not more -- damage to a company's business as a dissatisfied customer. Do employers really think word doesn't get around?
Maybe hiring managers assume that their HR departments handle all the necessary niceties with applicants. But just how accountable are HR departments? Does this company's public relations department realize that while it's spending millions on good press, the HR department is scuttling it? If you're a hiring manager, and you're not sure how job candidates are treated after they leave your office, please read "Respecting The Candidate."
Your HR department might explain that processing applicants, job offers, hires, and rejection letters is cumbersome. Tell that to your customer who cancels the order that's a month late, or to the prospect who's waiting for a sales rep to return her call.
The technology to keep candidates informed is here. The will isn't. Why? Because job candidates don't cost anything. Companies can get all your professional time they want, for free, without any obligation to you whatsoever.
That's wrong. Don't you think it's time for employers to put some skin in the game, if only because it would make them think twice about the costs they impose on applicants?
What if employers had to pay for job interviews? Should you really send an invoice if an employer ignores its obligation to you?
Good questions. Would it make any difference if you actually sent in that invoice? It might, if you copy the company's public relations department and three leading industry publications. (Don't forget to add me to your list.) To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie's song, "Alice's Restaurant," can you imagine 50 people a day sending interview invoices to employers? They may think it's a movement. And something might finally change.
You don't want to ask an employer to pay you for an interview? Then consider Conrado Hinojosa's provocative "The No-Nonsense Interview Agreement."
Bad behavior is un-businesslike. I challenge any HR manager to explain why it's okay to ignore even an implied commitment to a job candidate. If your company shines in this regard, I'd like to hear from you, too. In fact, I'll gladly highlight your company in an upcoming column. In the meantime, I think employers should start paying to interview applicants -- perhaps then they'd behave the way they expect applicants to behave.
Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth "how to" PDF books are available on his website: "How to Work With Headhunters...and how to make headhunters work for you," "How Can I Change Careers?" and "Keep Your Salary Under Wraps."
Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!
Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark. This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow Paul on Twitter.Follow @PaulSolman
With more than 3 million sound recordings and a million-and-a-half films and videos, the Library of Congress holds the largest audio and visual collection in the world. Imagine 100 miles of shelves and state-of-the-art preservation efforts. That's what we recently saw at the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Va.
As a report about audio preservation released earlier this year details, historic sound recordings nationwide continue to be lost or degraded. Researchers estimate more than half of the oldest recordings have already been lost. To staunch the loss and ward off "cultural amnesia," the Library has proposed bold steps to coordinate the efforts of some 14,000 public and private institutions in its preservation efforts.
Patrick Loughney, the executive director of the center, told us: "This is really the mother lode of audio-visual cultural history in the United States, but there is a great need. There is generally a great concern in this country about preserving great municipal buildings, about open spaces that make America great, like Yellowstone Park and the Everglades and all the natural areas. This is akin to preserving that kind of material when we talk about preserving sound and recording history. And it is taken for granted."
Gene DeAnna, head of the recorded sound section, showed us the evolution of sound formats and how they enabled new and improved recordings -- and access:Watch Video
Videos edited by Victoria Fleischer.
Watch Tuesday's PBS NewsHour for our full report about the Library of Congress' preservation efforts. Read our recent post about the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.
Editor's Note: Late Tuesday former Gov. Mark Sanford was named the winner of the special election in South Carolina's 1st congressional district.
This simply isn't your typical House race.
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert is involved. So is a life-size cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi. But the National Republican Congressional Committee? No, it has stayed away.
And to top it all off: The last major poll of the race had the two candidates separated by only one percentage point.
It's election day in South Carolina's first congressional district, and voters will choose either Republican Mark Sanford or Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to be the House's newest member, capping off what will surely be one of this off-year's most contentious and entertaining election campaigns.
House Democrats have piled money into the race, in the hopes that Colbert Busch, in her first foray into politics, can spring the upset in a ruby-red district that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won easily last November. A Colbert Busch win over Sanford, an embattled former governor, would send a signal that Democrats can be competitive in Republican strongholds in 2014. A Colbert Busch loss, however, would be a warning that their road to a House majority could be steeper than they expected.
Sanford's struggles as a House candidate go back to his tenure as South Carolina's governor: He left office in disgrace at the end of his second term, after it was discovered that he left the country for several days in June 2009 to carry on an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. On the campaign trail this year, he has portrayed himself as a contrite man asking voters for a second chance at politics, and the strategy allowed him to cobble together enough votes to survive the GOP primary and the primary runoff.
But Sanford's credibility took another hit after the leak of new court documents in April: They showed that his ex-wife filed suit against him in February, alleging that he had trespassed on her property. While Sanford maintained that his reasons for entering his ex-wife's home were harmless, the revelation chilled his campaign's fundraising and even shut down hopes that the National Republican Congressional Committee would financially support his House bid.
The renewed focus on Sanford's personal troubles also opened the GOP candidate up to a new wave of attacks. House Majority PAC, a superPAC that backs Democrats in House races, came out with ads like "Trust" that hammered the former governor for his past transgressions.
And during Colbert Busch's one and only debate with Sanford, she "went there," lambasting the Republican candidate for using state money while carrying on his extramarital affair.
"When we talk about fiscal spending, and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn't mean that you take that money that we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose," Colbert Busch quipped.
Sanford has countered the Democrats' jabs at his flaws by playing to his district's conservative electorate, highlighting Colbert Busch's ties to Democratic interest groups, funders and policymakers. Indeed, groups like House Majority PAC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are spending six-figure sums on Colbert Busch's behalf. And some big-name Democrats -- Rep. James Clyburn, Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand among them -- attended her mid-April D.C. fundraiser, an event headlined by her younger brother, Stephen Colbert (of "Colbert Report" fame).
The former governor put that strategy to work during the debate, calling into question Colbert Busch's independence from her campaign's backers.
"When you think about this larger notion of whose voice will be carried," he said, "will it be Nancy Pelosi's voice? Will it be a labor union voice?"
Those same themes inspired the Sanford campaign's "Voices" ad, as well as his mock debate on the campaign trail with a life-size cardboard cutout of the House Democratic leader.
The National Republican Congressional Committee and most outside groups are still committed to sitting out the race, but there has been a mild uptick in support from high-profile Republicans, both inside and outside the Palmetto State. Last week, he received fundraising help from Nikki Haley, his successor as governor of South Carolina. And over the last two weeks, he's collected endorsements from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, as well as both of South Carolina's senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (who happens to be the most recent occupant of the seat he hopes to fill).
And Sanford's polling numbers seem to have improved since the trespass allegation against him was made public in April. The Democratic pollster PPP came out with a survey days after that revelation, and it had a lot of good news for Elizabeth Colbert Busch: She was up by 9 points, and many more respondents had a favorable view of her (56 percent) than of Sanford (38 percent).
But that same firm released its last survey of the race this past Sunday, and it showed that the race has since tightened up dramatically: Sanford was now up by 1 point, and the favorability gap between him and Colbert Busch shrank from 18 points to 7 points.
So a race that has been exciting and unpredictable throughout, with its colorful cast of characters and momentum swings in both directions, looks to be a close one right up to the very end.
Related Content:High Stakes for South Carolina SpecialWatch the Full Debate Between Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford (South Carolina ETV)
Photo of Elizabeth Colbert Busch, official portrait, courtesy of Colbert-Busch campaign. Photo of Mark Sanford, official portrait for state of South Carolina.
We should have been prepared.
Post a photo of Darth Vader in a men's bathroom and cue the innuendos. Before we get to our clever submissions and the Tuesday Cutline winner, here's the original caption to the photo:
"A fan dressed as the character of Darth Vader is pictured in public toilets during a Star Wars convention on April 27, 2013 in Cusset. Photo by Thierry Zoccolan/AFP/Getty Images."
Captioners, we'll never think of a light saber the same way. Several of you couldn't resist to include it in your caption, and many others thought this would be a great moment for Darth to declare, "Luke, I am your father." But our winner wrote from the kid's more innocent perspective. Congrats to Jerome Golfman! You've won a NewsHour mug for your caption:
"Do you mind? That breathing is very distracting."
Thank you all for playing along. Join us next week for another Tuesday Cutline.
About the Tuesday Cutline: Every other Tuesday, we post a photo. You compose a witty/ funny/ creative caption, submit it by Friday at 5 p.m. ET in the comments section or on the NewsHour's or Art Beat's pages. The following Tuesday we pick one winner. Everyone celebrates.
A member of the Solar Impulse crew rides an electric bike alongside the solar-powered plane as it lifts off from Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., on May 3, on the first leg of a trip across the United States. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.
A solar-powered airplane is flying at breakneck speed across the continental United States. If you're talking breakneck speed for a 1971 VW Microbus. With a flat tire.
Okay, it's not that bad, but dang it takes a long time to get from place to place. The plane, a spindly, insect-looking thing called Solar Impulse HB-SIA, is cruising at 43 mph at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet, which translates to 18 hours and 18 minutes to fly from San Francisco to Phoenix, where it landed on May 4. It's next leg to Dallas, which could start as early as Saturday, is expected to take about 20 hours, depending on windspeed, according to Solar Impulse spokesperson Alenka Zibetto.
But here's the very cool part: Powered only by sunlight, it will fly coast to coast without a lick of fuel. It is blanketed with nearly 12,000 silicon solar cells that drive its four electric motors and recharge four large batteries that store power. That storage allows it to fly at night when the sun is down.
The aircraft's skeleton is made of carbon fiber tubes, and the wing spar, according to material provided by the team, "is formed of an internal honeycomb structure pressed between two layers of carbon fiber. This structure reproduces the cellular structure of honeycombs, ensuring very high resistance and maximum lightness."
Its two pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, who fly one at a time, do so wearing a parachute and an oxygen mask, since the cockpit isn't pressurized.
There are two Solar Impulse aircrafts, one of which suffered a setback in 2012 when the wing spar cracked under pressure during testing, postponing its planned around-the-world flight to at least 2015.
After Dallas, it will travel to St. Louis, then Washington D.C., ending in New York City, with the pilots switching off for each leg.
And while many are crowing about what the plan represents for the future of clean energy technology, a question still looms. At such speeds, could it ever be an efficient aircraft?
"For a solar power airplane to be commercially viable it has to be fast," Bob van der Linden, chairman of the aeronautics division at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, told the Christian Science Monitor. "That means jet power, not solar power."
On its website, the company says that airline's engines aren't about to start functioning without fuel, adding that it is not attempting to revolutionize the aviation industry. In fact, it claims, "it would be stupid and pretentious to even attempt this."
The plan instead "is to use the power of this airborne symbol to help change people's minds about renewable energies." Piccard added, "Our airplane is not designed to carry passengers, but to carry a message."
Bad news for painted turtles from Discover Magazine: Since the animal's gender is determined by soil temperature during incubation (cooler soil makes males, warmer makes females) global warming could make the species extinct by the end of this century.
Researchers propose a new type of communication between plants, in this case chili peppers and basil, "possibly involving nanoscale sound waves, traveling through the dirt to bring encouraging 'words' to the growing seeds." Science NOW reports.
Stuck between record levels of smog in Beijing and fast rising domestic energy demands, the Chinese government has revived plans to dam the Nu River, one of two free-flowing rivers remaining in the country, the New York Times reports.
Doctors have long believed that if someone is without a heartbeat for longer than about 20 minutes, the brain usually suffers irreparable damage. But this can be avoided with good quality CPR and careful post-resuscitation care, the BBC reports.
From Science Buzz: "Researchers at Virginia Tech are working on several versions of robotic jellyfish that someday could be used by the military, or for mapping the ocean floor, or cleaning up oil spills."
NOT SAFE FOR LUNCH
What hurts more: Childbirth or getting kicked in the (male) groin? AsapSCIENCE takes on the question.
Tom Kennedy, Patti Parson and David Pelcyger contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Solar Impulse HB-SIA was the first solar-powered plane to fly across the continental U.S. That record was set by the Sunseeker in 1990.
Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of mission in Tripoli, Libya, during the time of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, reportedly told House investigators that U.S. officials in Libya knew the assault on the compound was a premeditated terrorist attack from the start. He'll be testifying at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday, which you can watch live in this blog post.
"I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning," Hicks said, according to a transcript supplied to CBS News' "Face the Nation".
His testimony would contradict what U.S. officials, including U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, told media outlets in the days following the deadly attack that it stemmed from a spontaneous demonstration against an Internet video depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad -- rather than a preplanned siege.
The burnt U.S. consulate in Benghazi a day after the attack. Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images.
Hicks said in the investigation that the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens would have reported a demonstration, but instead he said the compound was "under attack." Stevens was one of four Americans killed during the raid on the consulate on Sept. 11, 2012.
Also testifying at the hearing are Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism, and Eric Nordstrom, diplomatic security officer and former regional security officer in Libya, both of the State Department.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. The hearing begins at 11:30 a.m. ET.
The same House committee held a hearing on the matter when more information came to light in October.
Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, also testified at a Senate hearing on the investigation into how the State Department handled the consulate's calls for more security before the attack.
View more of our World coverage.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama says military personnel who engage in sexual assault are betraying the uniform they are wearing. He says he has directed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to "step up our game exponentially" to halt such assaults.
In a tough statement, Obama said he wanted members of the armed services to hear directly from their commander in chief that such behavior is not only unacceptable, but illegal and unpatriotic.
Obama's remarks came in response to a question about charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, who led the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit. He was charged with groping a woman in a northern Virginia parking lot on Sunday.
Obama made his remarks during a news conference Tuesday with South Korea's president, Park Geun-hye (goon-hay).
Spencer Michels interviewed Dan Sudran from San Francisco's Mission Science Workshop, who uses unlikely objects in an unlikely place to inspire kids about science.
When San Francisco's newly constructed Exploratorium opened this spring on a pier sticking out into San Francisco Bay, it received plenty of plaudits from the press and others. The hands-on science and technology center had originally opened in 1969 and had become a favorite of generations of children and their parents.
It was envisioned and created by Frank Oppenheimer, brother of atomic bomb developer J. Robert Oppenheimer, and its goal was to inspire and excite young people about science, to supplement school science courses, and amuse as well as educate. It was one of the very early science and technology centers in the nation, and it has been influential in hundreds of cities that have tried to emulate the formula. It became the place to go for visitors to the Bay Area, as well as for local children and their parents and teachers with their classes. It grew in attendance and exhibits, and finally exceeded the capacity at its home in the Palace of Fine Arts.
In building the new Exploratorium, the non-profit executives pulled out all the stops. They launched a $300 million capital fund. They designed a flashy, ultra-modern building on the pier, with solar panels and all manner of eye-catching and practical exhibits in the new space. They wooed donors and visitors, news crews and politicians, corporate executives and civic leaders. The Exploratorium is a formidable organization with a $50 million annual budget and a top-notch reputation. In these days of need for more and better American scientists, the institution has a major role to play.
But across town, in the heart of the working-class Mission District, the Exploratorium has a cousin. It's a down and dirty garage, actually a former high school auto shop, where school kids are invited to take in the science.
Dan Sudran, a former labor organizer for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers and a former attorney, has set up what he calls the Mission Science Workshop. He's got all manner of science on display: road-kill animals in a freezer; bones he harvested from a whale on the beach; skeletons of birds found in the woods; rocks from volcano country, scientific games from India and a thousand other items that can't help but appeal to fourth graders and above from nearby schools.
Sudran appreciates the Exploratorium, which actually helps support him. But his approach is much less corporate, much more disorganized, at least at first glance. Still, it's effective and it's appealing. I talked with him in the course of preparing a story about the Exploratorium and the Mission Science Workshop for the PBS NewsHour and for KQED Television in San Francisco. You can see the interview in the video above.
RAY SUAREZ: The problem of sexual assaults in the nation's armed forces is getting worse, and maybe much worse. The issue drew the national spotlight today and a presidential rebuke.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We're not going to tolerate this stuff, and there will be accountability.
RAY SUAREZ: The news of growing sexual assaults in the military raised the president's hackles at a news conference with the president of South Korea.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let's start with the principle that sexual assault is an outrage. It is a crime. That's true for society at large, and if it's happening inside our military, then whoever carries it out is betraying the uniform that they're wearing.
RAY SUAREZ: Mr. Obama spoke as an annual Pentagon study reported sexual assaults in the military rose from just under 3,300 in 2012 to nearly 3,400 last year. But it also found that up to 26,000 cases went unreported.
At a Senate hearing this morning, the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh, struck sparks with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, suggesting it's not always a commander's fault if victims don't come forward.
GEN. MARK WELSH, U.S. Air Force: The things that cause people to not report are -- primarily are really not chain of command. It's: I don't want my family to know. I don't want my spouse to know or my boyfriend or girlfriend to know. I'm embarrassed that I'm in this situation.
It's the self-blame that comes with the crime. That is overridingly on surveys over the years the reasons that most victims don't report. And I don't think it's any different in the military. Prosecution rates in the Air Force for this crime ...
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.: I think it's very different in the military. I think you're precisely wrong about that. Everything is about the chain of command.
RAY SUAREZ: The president said today the military has to exponentially increase its efforts to address the problem. And Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced he's issuing new orders to change the culture in the ranks.
DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL, United States: Together, everyone in this department at every level of command will continue to work together everyday to establish an environment of dignity and respect, where sexual assault is not tolerated, condoned or ignored.
RAY SUAREZ: The Pentagon report came just days Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, who runs the Air Force unit on sexual assault, was himself arrested for allegedly groping a woman. And, in February, Air Force Lt. Gen. Susan Helms overturned a captain's conviction on aggravated sexual assault.
Now Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is holding up Helms' nomination for vice chair of the U.S. Space Command. She spoke at today's hearing.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-Mo.: The general said, no, no, we believe the member of the military. That is the crux of the problem here, because if a victim does not believe that the system is capable of believing her, there's no point in risking your entire career.
RAY SUAREZ: In response, lawmakers are pursuing multiple kinds of legislation on the problem. One could strip commanding officers of their ability to reverse convictions.
I'm joined now by Mark Thompson, the Washington deputy bureau chief and national security correspondent for TIME and writer of the Battleland blog.
And, Mark, you have seen the reports. You have seen the Pentagon's self-reporting on this. Does that 26,000 unreported assaults a year look like a solid number? Where does it come from?
MARK THOMPSON, TIME: Well, it's an extrapolated number, Ray, from anonymous phone surveys done by the Pentagon of military people. And so it's sort of squishy to begin with.
What's particularly striking about the number, of course, is from 2010 to 2012, that number grew by 35 percent, whereas the hard number, the number of cases that actually were brought forward by people complaining about sexual assaults in the military only went up by roughly six percent from 3,200 to 3,400.
So even though they are getting more reports, those that are unreported are going up even faster.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, a number of unreported cases nine times larger than the number of reported cases ...
MARK THOMPSON: Right.
RAY SUAREZ: ... is that bigger than the service chiefs even realized at first?
MARK THOMPSON: Well, I think, number one, it is bigger than what you see in the civilian world, where the proportion of reported is an order or two bigger than what you see in the military.
But this is not a new problem. This is a longstanding problem. I was on this show 16 years ago talking about it. It remains a problem, what's happening. You have got about 14 percent of the military in uniform that are women, and all of a sudden, with these female senators, several of which we just saw, this is not being able to be ignored by the chiefs, the secretary of defense or anybody else.
It seems like we may have reached a turning point this weekend with the arrest of this Air Force officer.
RAY SUAREZ: Today, at the news conference at the Pentagon, the general in charge of overseeing the management of this problem flipped this on its head in a way and said that part of it is that there's more reporting.
MARK THOMPSON: Yes, I think ...
RAY SUAREZ: So, this is good news, that they're changing the culture.
MARK THOMPSON: Yes, to go back to what I just said, the math shows that it's going up faster in the unreported realm than in the reported realm.
We see this throughout the military whenever there's a bad problem, be it mental health issues, PTSD, anything that has to be self-reported. Whenever the numbers go up, the Pentagon is always very quick to say, it's because we have removed stigma, we have put signs all over the bases and posts encouraging people to come forward.
And I think there is some truth to that, but essentially it remains a huge problem and they're just getting at a bit of it by reducing the stigma.
RAY SUAREZ: And, at the same time, the arrest of the Air Force's senior officer in charge of getting those numbers down, arrested himself during an accused sexual assault.
MARK THOMPSON: Yes, I mean, that is the problem. That's what stunned everybody I spoke to at the Pentagon over the last couple of days.
I mean, a couple of things about Lt. Col. Krusinski's case. He was picked for that job specifically. And people I talk to suggest, well, he couldn't have been -- you know if someone is right for such a sensitive post. The Air Force put him in that post. A lot of people are asking questions about that now.
And we're just going to have to -- the Air Force has asked to take this case away from Arlington County, which is where the Pentagon is located, and prosecute it on their own. We will learn what happens on that score come Thursday.
RAY SUAREZ: You mentioned the female senators. There are also more members of Congress willing to push back on this issue, including a legislative attempt to take the adjudication of these issues out of the chain of the command. What does the Pentagon say in response?
MARK THOMPSON: Well, Sec. Hagel was asked about that today. He doesn't like it. He wants it to stay within the chain of command.
The advocates of change are saying, now, listen, we're not going to take it out of the Pentagon. We're going to keep it in the Pentagon, but it is going to be staffed, for lack of a better word, by a professional force of military sexual trauma advocates, who will be fair, won't be affected, because they won't be in the chain of command of the victim or the accused.
And victims there, advocates believe, will be able to get a fairer shot at their day in court.
RAY SUAREZ: How is this handled in other country's militaries, where they have an even higher percentage of women in the ranks?
MARK THOMPSON: Yes. It doesn't -- it seems to be a particularly -- particularly nagging problem in the U.S. military, just as gays in the military were a big problem here, and it wasn't a problem anywhere else.
I don't know if it's something in the American psyche or something in the American military, but it's a particular combination that has generated this for a long time.
RAY SUAREZ: Mark Thompson, thanks a lot for being with us.
MARK THOMPSON: You bet.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The Wall Street rally of 2013 has passed a new milestone. The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 15,000 today for the first time. The Dow gained 87 points to finish at 15,056. It's up 15 percent this year. The Nasdaq rose three points today to close at 3,396.
Three women in Cleveland are free today after being captive for years. Their discovery Monday evening could close several kidnapping cases, but it also raised new questions for police.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Cheers greeted police after the three women who had long been missing were found alive and apparently well. It had started with a cry for help coming from a rundown home.
Neighbor Charles Ramsey:
CHARLES RAMSEY, Neighbor: And I look and then see this girl, and she is just going nuts on the door. We had to kick open the bottom.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Then a stunning 911 call.
AMANDA BERRY, Rescued After 10 Years: Hello, police. Help me. I'm Amanda Berry! I have been kidnapped and I have been missing for 10 years. And I'm here. I'm free now.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Amanda Berry vanished in 2003, when she was 16. She is now 27 years old. A six-year-old girl was rescued as well. She is believed to be Berry's daughter. But there was no word on the identity of her father.
Police also found Gina DeJesus, kidnapped in 2004 and now 23. The third woman discovered in the house is Michelle Knight, taken in 2002 and now 32 years old. Investigators didn't say if they had been restrained or otherwise harmed. Instead, this morning, police Chief Michael McGrath hailed the news of the rescue.
POLICE CHIEF MICHAEL MCGRATH, Cleveland: Thankfully -- and I mean thankfully -- due to Amanda's brave actions, these three women are alive today.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The owner of the house was identified as Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver. He was arrested, along with his brothers Pedro and Onil, after officers searched the residence.
It turned out police had gone to the house twice since 2004, but not about the kidnapped women. This morning, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the investigation is ongoing.
MAYOR FRANK JACKSON, Cleveland: We have several unanswered questions, why were they taken, how were they taken, and how they remained undetected in the city of Cleveland for this period of time.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The three women spent the night at a local hospital. They have now been reunited with relatives.
The man accused of killing 12 people at a Colorado movie theater last summer wants to use an insanity defense. Lawyers for James Holmes said in a court filing today they will ask to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. Holmes is due in court again next Monday.
Two new studies conclude that gun killings in the U.S. have actually fallen in last 20 years. The Justice Department reported today there were just over 11,000 gun homicides in 2011. That was down 39 percent from the peak year of 1993. The Pew Research Center found a similar decline. The two studies also said non-fatal gun crimes have dropped nearly 70 percent.
At least 20 people were killed and more than three dozen injured in Mexico City early today after a natural gas tanker -- gas tanker truck lost control and exploded in a suburb. Mexican TV showed flames shooting from charred homes and vehicles. Officials said some of the injured have burns over more than 70 percent of their bodies and may need treatment at a burn center in Texas.
In Northwest Pakistan, three bombings killed at least 18 people in political violence ahead of national elections on Saturday. In the worst attack, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up near a vehicle that carried an Islamist candidate. A dozen people died, but the candidate escaped unharmed.
President Obama warned today there are no easy answers to stopping the violence in Syria. He also defended his deliberate approach to possible military action. He said he wants the best possible analysis of evidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry met with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Kerry said they will try to get the Syrian government and opposition to attend a peace conference.
China denied today that it sponsors cyber-attacks on U.S. defense networks. That accusation came Monday an annual Pentagon report. For the first time, it directly attributed attacks on U.S. computer systems to the Chinese government and military. Today, a spokesman for the Chinese military called for both nations to join in fighting cyber-criminals.
Those are some of the day's major stories -- now back to Jeff.
JEFFREY BROWN: And we return to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as the threat of further escalation loomed over a White House summit today.
The day began with a new warning on North Korean state television aimed at joint U.S./South Korean naval drills in the yellow sea.
WOMAN: First, Korean people's army units in the southwestern sector of the front will take immediate counteractions in case even a single shell drops over the territorial waters on our side. Second, in case the enemies recklessly counter our counterstrikes, all striking forces will turn the five islands in the West Sea of Korea into a sea of flames.
JEFFREY BROWN: The new threat of from the North and its young leader, Kim Jong-un, follows several months of tough talk and actions, while the U.S. and South Korea conducted joint military exercises that were seen in turn as provocations by the North.
In December, North Korea test-launched a long-range rocket. In February, it carried out another underground nuclear test, its third to date. And when the U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions as a result, the North renounced the armistice that ended the Korean War, and then insisted it would fire off more mid-range Musudan missiles.
Despite North Korea's threat, there were no launches and U.S. officials now report the North has removed the weapons from a launch site. Against that backdrop, President Obama held a White House summit today with South Korea's new president, Park Geun-hye, followed by a joint news conference
PRSIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The days when North Korea could create a crisis and illicit concessions, those days are over. Our two nations are prepared to engage with North Korea diplomatically and over time build trust. But, as always, and as President Park has made clear, the burden is on Pyongyang to take meaningful steps.
PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE, South Korea: We will be no means tolerate North Korea's threats and provocations, which have recently been escalating further, and that such actions would only deepen North Korea's isolation.
JEFFREY BROWN: Park took office in February, becoming South Korea's first female president. She's the daughter of Park Chung-hee, who took power in a military coup and ruled South Korea in the 1960s and '70s before being assassinated.
The new president came to power seeking to improve relations with the North, but her tone has changed with events. In an interview with CBS News yesterday, Park warned that her country will meet any aggression in kind.
PRESIDENT PARK: Yes, we will make them pay.
JEFFREY BROWN: Still, President Park has also said that if the North relents on its nuclear program, she's prepared to resume aid shipments and economic initiatives.
JEFFREY BROWN: We're joined now by two former diplomats with extensive experience dealing with North and South Korea. Kurt Campbell was assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs during the first Obama administration. He now has a consulting company. And Donald Gregg was U.S. ambassador to South Korea during the George H.W. Bush administration. He's now chairman of the Pacific Century Institute.
Kurt Campbell, I want to start with you.
The North Koreans come out with a new warning today. We see President Park say, we will make them pay if they do something. What do we make of the level of at least aggressive talk?
KURT CAMPBELL, Former State Department Official: Yes.
Well, look, there's clearly a ritual quality to this. This has been going on for months. I actually think the more significant language is not from the North, but from the South. What's happening in South Korea is that the tolerance for this kind of behavior has decreased very substantially.
In the past, the South has been prepared to take these indignities, these provocations sometimes in stride -- it's difficult, but to accept them. I think there is a growing sense in South Korea that if they are presented with an opportunity to strike the North, they will take it.
And particularly Madam Park, who's come to power with a clear determination to reach out to the North, finds herself in a circumstance where she has been really purposely undermined in that effort by the provocations of Pyongyang.
JEFFREY BROWN: Donald Gregg, what do you -- how do you see the situation? And if you see it similarly, where is that coming from in South Korea with that stance that we're seeing?
DONALD GREGG, Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea: Well, I was very sorry to hear of some of the right-wing groups in South Korea talk about the desirability of having nuclear weapons developed in South Korea.
When I was ambassador, I moved to get our nuclear weapons out of the South. And I'm appalled at the idea that there are people in the South who now think they need them themselves. I think that the meeting today between the two presidents gets them off to a good start. I think that's terribly important.
But there's an awful lot of work left to be done to restart some kind of contact with North Korea. And I would think the first thing that needs to be done is to reopen the case on the economics section just above the -- along the DMZ, where almost 50,000 North Koreans were very effectively put to work by South Korean economic firms.
JEFFREY BROWN: You have both met President Park.
Let me ask you, Kurt Campbell, what's the most important thing for us to know about her?
KURT CAMPBELL: Well, it's difficult to say.
I talked with her when she was a candidate. I was part of the delegation that met with her during the transition. We have known her for years. She's very sober. She's very careful. She -- her whole life has been about service to South Korea. We -- you touched on the tragic death of her parents.
I think she came to power with a pragmatic sense that she wanted to have a constructive diplomacy with North Korea. I agree with Ambassador Gregg that that's a desire of hers. I think she and her advisers have been a little bit surprised at how reluctant and difficult, if you will, the North Koreans have been in the opening gambit.
If you look historically, North Korean leaders almost always test new South Korean presidents during the opening months of an administration.
JEFFREY BROWN: They're both new, aren't they, here?
KURT CAMPBELL: Yes. That's right.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.
KURT CAMPBELL: But, frankly, even though you might expect that historically, when you're in the midst of it and you're dealing with really a very unpredictable young leader, it can be somewhat unnerving.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, Donald Gregg, when President Park and today President Obama also talked about the possibility, still the possibility of talks with North Korea, where is the potential in at this point?
DONALD GREGG: Well, I think a lot of that have is inside Park Geun-hye.
I met her first when I was chief of station in Seoul in the mid-'70s. I was there when her mother was shot by a North Korean agent who was aiming at her father, but missed her father and killed her mother. She went to North Korea in 2001 and met with Kim Jong-il. And I met her in South Korea in 2002 and congratulated her for going.
And I will never forget her response. She said, "We must look to the future with hope, not to the past with bitterness."
And I think she carries that inside her. And I think she has a lot more political leeway to make some moves toward the North to get things going. And, again, I come back to Kaesong as something that worked to the benefit of both of their sides, that was something that can be worked on. There are also track two activities which can be encouraged.
There's a scientific consortium which met for the first time in Europe, and the North Koreans came up with six or seven agriculturally related scientific issues that they would like to discuss with the West, so that I think if we can get beyond this period of really shrill rhetoric, I think there are ways of quietly starting some things which can act as confidence-building measures and sort of create a little bit of trust where absolutely no trust seems to exist now.
JEFFREY BROWN: OK.
KURT CAMPBELL: I would agree with that generally. And I think what Ambassador Gregg has outlined is the right approach.
I will say, though, that when the original conception of this sort of economic engagement was discussed over a decade ago, the idea was for actually more North/South real economic engagement. If you look at what Kaesong is, it is essentially a very contained effort in which workers work, and they're kept apart from other North Koreans. And so it's really a contained ...
JEFFREY BROWN: So it never became what one might have thought?
KURT CAMPBELL: No. And so I actually don't think it has been as -- it has not served as the kind of opening that anyone had hoped for.
What the North is still struggling with is that they're deeply wary of any kind of economic reform because of fear that it will undermine the leadership of the Kim family.
JEFFREY BROWN: And, Donald Gregg, just briefly, in our last minute here, do we know more about the leader of North Korea at this point, enough to know whether, as you say, we can get past this point?
DONALD GREGG: I think he's quite a high-stakes poker player.
I wish we had invited him to the United States in 2009, as I suggested. I think his father made a wise choice in choosing him. I think he's smart. I think he's tough. I think his over-the-top rhetoric has at least established his own stability within North Korea. He's going to be around for a long time.
And we have to find ways to get in touch with him and move towards some form of trust politique, to use Park Geun-hye's own term for her North Korean policy.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Donald Gregg and Kurt Campbell, thank you both very much.
KURT CAMPBELL: Thank you.
DONALD GREGG: Pleasure.
RAY SUAREZ: Next: the second of two stories on how to better engage students in the world of science.
Last night, we reported on a science program in Maine that encourages problem-solving.
Tonight, NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels visits one of the nation's most successful science and technology centers, one that recently moved and reopened in California.
Our story was jointly produced with our PBS colleagues at KQED San Francisco.
SPENCER MICHELS: Popular science can be cool, intriguing and inspirational -- that's the operating principal at the new Exploratorium in San Francisco, a $300 million dollar building that just opened on the waterfront, designed to attract a million kids and their parents a year.
Some of the new exhibits have an artistic bent. And some are seemingly simple displays where you have to search to find the science.
ROB SEMPER, Associate Director, San Francisco Exploratorium: It's sand on top of a rotating disk. It actually shows the connection between linear motion and rotational motion. And those kids might remember that when they're taking some course in math or some course in science.
SPENCER MICHELS: Physicist Rob Semper is associate director of the Exploratorium.
ROB SEMPER: And the point is, having these experiences, rich experiences, is key to really being excited about what you're doing. We don't know where it will happen, but there's so many exhibits here, we hope it will happen to everybody at one exhibit here or another.
SPENCER MICHELS: The new Exploratorium has 600 exhibits, 150 new ones. Among them is a whimsical statue of Frank Oppenheimer, founder of the center in 1969 and the brother of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who pioneered the atomic bomb.
For 44 years, the institution was housed in the landmark Palace of Fine Arts. Frank's idea, revolutionary at the time, was to take a new approach to science learning, outside of school.
ROB SEMPER: Frank really felt that people needed to explore science on their own, not necessarily in the classroom, in a curriculum. So I think Frank had the idea that people would come to these places more than once.
NATE POLA, Student: I don't remember every time since I was younger, but I think more than -- definitely more than 50 times.
SPENCER MICHELS: It was a new concept that spread across the country and the world. There are 800 science centers today, places where you can touch everything, get your hands dirty, and experience scientific phenomena firsthand.
CYNTHIA KARR, San Francisco: It's just the ambiance, the openness, the warehouse feel. It's not manufactured. It's just a neat place to be.
PAUL DOHERTY, Co-Director, San Francisco Exploratorium: Well, you could never do that with a regular magnet.
SPENCER MICHELS: Paul Doherty is a senior scientist who thinks he gets what Frank Oppenheimer was looking for.
PAUL DOHERTY: As soon as a person comes over and begins to interact with it, that brings the exhibit to life. We know we have a good exhibit when the person laughs and turns around and says to anybody passing, “hey, look at this.” That's a good exhibit.
SPENCER MICHELS: As the Exploratorium matured, it expanded, exporting its model around the world. And when it couldn't expand, it sought space elsewhere.
With much fanfare, the nonprofit organization launched its new high-tech solar-powered building on a refurbished pier on the San Francisco waterfront. Tickets are $25 dollars for adults, $19 dollars for children. As before, the museum is a combination of fun and science. Here, you can see what happens if both sides of your face were exactly the same.
For all its success, the Exploratorium out here on San Francisco Bay and centers like it raise some interesting questions. What is the most effective way for kids to learn science? And do these centers like this supplement or actually replace what goes on in school?
ROB SEMPER: School is very important. Reading textbooks is very important to learn science or to learn about nature.
SPENCER MICHELS: But, Semper says, school is not enough.
ROB SEMPER: Having a real experience is also important. So you actually need both. And, in fact, laboratories in schools often don't do enough to help people really experience some of the phenomenon on their own.
SPENCER MICHELS: Take this tinkering clock, for example. Can it teach kids science?
ROB SEMPER: I have seen people stare at the mech clock, stare at the mechanism, get really intrigued by, how does that work? Why did it do it that way?
SPENCER MICHELS: One of the most popular exhibits at the old and the new Exploratorium is a huge mirror that visitors can watch for hours.
ROB SEMPER: It's a mirror that was actually built for NASA for a space shuttle, for a flight simulator. When you walk towards it, all of a sudden, your head appears upside down, because it's a curved mirror. It also makes your sound be magnified. We find people very intrigued by it. Then they try to figure out, how does it work?
The museum floor is our experimental space, and we study how people learn. We study how to make better exhibits.
SPENCER MICHELS: But while big science and technology centers like the Exploratorium can be exciting and attract thousands of people, some educators say a smaller, less expensive approach to out-of-school learning, with more emphasis on poor and underserved kids, can be just as effective in supplementing what happens in school.
Dan Sudran runs the Mission Science Workshop in San Francisco in a former high school auto shop. Much of the material available here, he gathered himself on a tight budget. For the kids he serves, it is essentially free. Its goals are similar to the Exploratorium's, says its founder, but not completely.
DAN SUDRAN, Director, Mission Science Workshop: Some people come in and say, this is a mess. I said, yes, but it's a controlled mess. But when kids realize it's OK to have something of a mess, it's kind of like OK to just make mistakes, because the world is kind of a mess.
I want all four of your guys to figure out your environment.
SPENCER MICHELS: Sudran began his workshop two decades ago, and it seems more down and dirty than its upscale cousin across town.
Today, a class of fourth-graders walked a few blocks from a nearby school to learn about animal habitats.
DAN SUDRAN: A lot of the teachers who come here feel somewhat overwhelmed, because they have so many other things to teach. And many of them don't have a background that makes them confident in teaching it.
And they also realize that there's something special about science that it doesn't work to just download knowledge.
SPENCER MICHELS: Fourth grade teacher Robert Savant says he needs more support if he's to teach science in a robust fashion.
ROBERT SAVANT, Fourth Grade Teacher: I can teach and teach in class, and they will get a portion, but here it really cements what I have taught in class. And you find that a lot of kids are not just visual learners, they're not just oral learners. They need to be able to touch. This is a little more accessible for lower socioeconomic kids than, say, the Exploratorium.
SPENCER MICHELS: Sudran's self-imposed mission is to reach kids in need and kids who live too far away to visit the Exploratorium.
DAN SUDRAN: And what we're doing is going into primarily poor neighborhoods and cities in California. So, Exploratorium has been helpful to us. They have given us stuff.
But, like I say, I'm just a little bit of a nagger, a nitpicker, and I say, why such a concentration of resources? I'm working in East Side of Salinas, down in Fresno County also. And those kids could -- they might as well be 10,000 miles away from San Francisco. The Exploratorium has this $300 million dollar capital fund. If we could get one percent of that, one percent, three million dollars, we could start 30 community science workshops in towns that I could name right now in California.
SPENCER MICHELS: For its part, the Exploratorium sends educators into underserved communities in the Bay Area and beyond to bring hands-on science to children. It allows free entry to those who can't afford it. Plus, it has an extensive training program for teachers.
Physicist Linda Shore directs the teacher institute.
LINDA SHORE, Director, Exploratorium Teacher Institute: They come to us and we teach them literally how to take these large $50,000 dollar exhibits and make small tabletop versions of them for their classrooms, so that their students literally have an experience with an exhibit that they themselves have built.
SPENCER MICHELS: The wide goal of both the Exploratorium and the Mission Science Workshop is basically the same: not to replace school, but to inspire a keen interest in science by piquing the imaginations of children, parents, and teachers. And both institutions have existed long enough to show that they work.
JEFFREY BROWN: Online, you can watch a video showing how the Mission Science Workshop uses frozen roadkill and harvested whale bones to inspire students.
RAY SUAREZ: Now an update on the impact of federal spending cuts known as the sequester.
The government must reduce spending in most programs across the board by $85 billion dollars this year -- the latest fallout, federal officials announced today they're postponing auctions for new oil and gas leases in California. Those bids were planned for an area that features one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the country.
Staffing and budget problems were cited as one of the several reasons for the decision, but when it comes to tracking the effect of the sequester, it's a tricky thing. While some cuts have already hit, others are still to come and some may be avoided.
One of the most immediate and visible changes, furloughs for air traffic controllers that led to flight delays, ended within a week of when the cuts took effect. That's because Congress and the president signed a bill quickly providing new relief for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Some other furloughs, such as at the State Department, have been avoided through budgetary maneuvers. But the president maintains incremental fixes are the wrong approach to the sequester
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What's clear is that the only way we're going to lift it is if we do a bigger deal that meets the test of lowering our deficit and growing our economy at the same time. And that is going to require some compromises on the part of both Democrats and Republicans.
RAY SUAREZ: With no compromise in sight, communities across the country are bracing for sequester to kick in during the coming weeks. Workers at this Naval facility in the town of Crane in southern Indiana, for example, are protesting pending furloughs of civilian employees.
The Department of Defense is facing the prospect of cutting more than $40 billion dollars. Social programs in other states are already taking a hit. In Monmouth County, N.J., the local Meals on Wheels program has halted hiring and taking on new delivery routes to needy seniors. Federal funding currently covers more than 60 percent of the program's costs. Now officials are waiting to see how much money is cut in the weeks ahead.
In Washington, some cutbacks are already visible. The White House began canceling tours to the public in March. Would-be visitors are now encouraged to take a virtual tour online. Last week, the Smithsonian announced three exhibit areas would be closed through September, citing a reduction in a security contract.
For more, we turn to colleagues from across the country. Gene Grant is with New Mexico PBS. Gretchen Frazee is with WTIU at Indiana Public Media, and Flo Jonic is a reporter at Rhode Island Public Radio.
Guests, let's go from east to west and check on how the effects of the sequester are being seen where you live and work.
So, we will start in Rhode Island with you, Flo.
FLO JONIC, Rhode Island Public Radio: The effects of the sequestration cuts were first felt in Rhode Island by 8,000 long-term unemployed people.
At two weeks ago, they sustained a $40 dollar-a-week benefit cut. That may not sound like a lot, but it is when you consider we live in a fairly expensive part of the country. And the average weekly benefit in Rhode Island is only $369 dollars.
Most of our cuts are still ahead. Head Start will lose 200 of its 2,800 slots next fall. They're going to do it by serving the neediest children. That means a lot of poor children will be going to kindergarten without benefits of this program; 4,000 Rhode Islanders next winter will lose low-income heating assistance. That's a very big deal when you consider about half of the state heats with heating oil, which is costing upwards of four dollars a gallon.
I talked to a man who was trying to live on a $1,700 dollar-a-month Social Security check, and he told me that that help was the difference between eating and keeping warm. Other cuts that are in the offing, but have not yet been imposed, 1,700 Rhode Islanders will lose the federal nutrition program known as WIC. Rhode Island will lose about two million dollars in special education funds. They're still trying to figure out how that's going to be absorbed.
And we stand to lose $15 million dollars in programs for housing the very poorest among us. That includes the closure probably of one shelter next winter, and this winter we had shelters with standing room only.
RAY SUAREZ: We will move next to Indiana.
Gretchen, how does it look there?
GRETCHEN FRAZEE, WTIU: It's actually very similar to what we just heard about in Rhode Island.
Head Start is probably the program that has and seen the biggest impact so far. It's estimated that about 1,000 of the children that currently go to Head Start programs will be cut. That's out of about 15,000 throughout the state. And a lot of those programs are starting to cut back. Already some of their summer programs, for example, have been cut back.
Here, where I am in Bloomington, they are actually only taking about a third of the students that they originally had estimated would be able to come into the summer program. We're also seeing cuts to our long-term unemployment benefits.
Last month, they were cut about 10 percent, which is -- doesn't seem like a lot, but, again, as we heard in Rhode Island, when you are on that fixed income, it can really cut into your budget. One of the other things we're still waiting on is our defense industry. That's quite a big industry here in Indiana.
And what we're seeing is that it was estimated that about 1,000 National Guard technicians would be put on furlough for 22 days. We had heard just last week that that has actually been cut back to 14 days is all. So that's some good news.
However, there are a lot of people still waiting for news. As you saw in the television story, there are some employees in Crane, Ind. About 4,000 of those civilian contractors at the Naval base down there are set to be put on furlough, but really they have not heard exactly when that will be, how long that will be. So we're really still in a wait-and-see mode here in Indiana.
RAY SUAREZ: And we head next to New Mexico with Gene Grant.
GENE GRANT, New Mexico PBS: Very similar to what we heard from Indiana, that last bit of it about certainly the Department of Defense and Department of Energy cuts here.
Here, Ray, in New Mexico, we have so big -- so much federal presence, either through military or through our national laboratories. Two of them, Sandia National Labs here in Albuquerque and Los Alamos National Labs up about two hours north -- north of Albuquerque in Los Alamos.
And initially it looked like we were facing about $43 million in budget cuts. That was between Air Force and Army, Army being the bulk of that. But there are a lot of things that are starting to turn over slowly as possibilities to sequester that are giving people some trouble, including some of our Senate and congressional delegation, who are fighting right now to, for example, move some money around through a reprogramming scheme with DOE to continue with a deal they had made with the state to clean up some stuff, some transuranic acid and other waste, nuclear waste up at Los Alamos.
Well, we're obligated to have that cleaned up. There's an agreement between the state and DOE. They're asking for $20 million more to ensure that happens. Sen. Tom Udall has said, in fact, if that doesn't happen, he would predict furloughs as early as next week.
And I want to go back to something our guests from Indiana just mentioned as well, that Sec. Hagel is expected to announce next week, as we hear it out here, whether -- what the deal is going to be on furloughs. We have also heard about 22 weeks down -- 22 days down to 14. We're not quite sure where it's all going to level out. And, see, the mystery is the big problem at this point for New Mexico.
RAY SUAREZ: In your states, is there growing awareness that this is happening?
Flo, if you're not in Head Start, if you're not on unemployment insurance, is it getting a lot of play? Is it something that people are talking about that these federal cuts are here and the effects are starting to be seen?
FLO JONIC: It's not getting a lot of coverage or awareness. I haven't heard anybody talking about it.
Our legislature has been absorbed with same-sex marriage recently. I'm not seeing any movement on Smithfield -- that's where our statehouse is located -- to alleviate any of these cuts. There's a lot of lobbying going on, particularly to restore the Meals on Wheels cuts that are anticipated, which could affect -- 200 seniors could be cut off the Meals on Wheels program here.
But I'm not seeing any movement to restore these cuts. And this is at a time when Rhode Island is in a better position financially than it has been in a long time. For the first time in several years, we don't have a huge deficit to face this year.
RAY SUAREZ: Gene, you opened by mentioning that New Mexico is among the states most dependent on transfers from the federal government. Is there high awareness there of the possible effects down the road, unreeling as they may be, of the sequester on a state like New Mexico?
GENE GRANT: Sure.
On the street, yes, seemingly in our legislature and in official New Mexico, no. We just finished our session just about 30, 45 days ago. It hardly came up. It was an amazing circumstance to watch happen. On the street, however, it is a much different deal.
Keep in mind, Kirtland Air Force Base, which Sandia National Labs is on their property here in Albuquerque, they have come up with a metric that shows one out of every 14 jobs in the entire state of New Mexico are somehow associated with Kirtland Air Force Base. We're talking about a payroll annually of about $1.2 billion out of here. And their predictions -- not the predictions -- their radius of influence for that money is about a 50-mile radius around that base.
So anybody that's a civilian contractor -- we have already had some contractors let go at Kirtland, where we have had maintenance and janitorial services let go. And one of the interesting things I'm going to be watching here is, how is this going to affect minority-owned business contracting? That's been a very big push here in New Mexico for a lot of years for all of our federal outlets. And some great progress has been made.
But all that could potentially roll back if in fact those most vulnerable contractors are the first to be let go. So folks are kind of waiting and seeing which way this is going to play out in a lot of different ways. But I'll tell you, if you're in someone's kitchen or dining room, they absolutely know about sequestration.
To hear it officially in New Mexico from either the governor's office, the legislature, the mayor's office here in Albuquerque, very, very little at this point.
RAY SUAREZ: And, Gretchen, there was this titanic political battle before sequestration arrived. Once it came, did people really believe that it was that big a deal? Or are these effects in Indiana on the National Guard, on a base in Crane, on people who have kids in Head Start so limited that it's not widely felt yet?
GRETCHEN FRAZEE: I think the issue here really isn't that it's so limited, as much as who it affects.
I talked to one economist who basically said the cuts we're seeing are really to, to be honest, low-income services. And that's just not what you hear about. So a lot of people in the middle and upper classes aren't even fazed that much by sequestration, barring, of course, the contract -- the defense contractors and other people in the defense industry.
So, really, we haven't heard much about it. As our other colleagues have mentioned, we also wrapped up our legislative session, and there really wasn't -- it wasn't discussed hardly at all. And we have heard a few things here and there from our U.S. senators, for example, especially when you were seeing those FAA furloughs that were backing up some of the airports.
But other than a few things here and there, we really have not heard much, again, going back to some people in the defense industry. They have been vocal about it, but, again, those are a limited number of people here in the state that are being affected.
RAY SUAREZ: Gretchen Frazee in Indiana, Gene Grant in New Mexico, Flo Jonic in Rhode Island, thanks to all of you.
Find out how the sequester affected a community near you. That's on our home page.
New Jersey Public Television show "NJ Today" featured a story on how a local Meals on Wheels program is in danger because of the sequester.
The sequester. It's the term used to describe a series of across the board federal spending cuts, and a topic that has dominated political talk in Washington since the elections. At the beginning of March the cuts began to kick in when President Barack Obama and members of Congress were unable to work out a deal. As a result, by the end of the fiscal year, $85 billion in automatic reductions to both defense and domestic spending will take effect.
Not all federal programs are getting equal treatment when it comes to the reductions. When lawmakers first approved the cuts in August 2011 they exempted a number of programs including Social Security and veterans' benefits. More recently, Congress gave the Federal Aviation Administration greater flexibility to administer cuts after public outcry over flight delays from furloughs to air traffic controllers. Now, two months after the reductions began, other agencies are starting to feel the impact.
A meals on wheels program based in New Jersey won't be hiring any new workers or adding more routes, in anticipation of the automatic budget cuts. Member station New Jersey Public Television featured the report Monday, on their show NJ Today.
In Oklahoma, officials are expecting a variety of cuts to social programs, the National Weather Service and public health. The Head Start program in Central Oklahoma is facing a cut of $600,000, which will have an impact on the number of children admitted to the program and cost at least seven teachers their jobs. Member station OETA has a full report on the sequester's impact in Oklahoma.
PBS member station OETA produced a report on the sequester's impact in Oklahoma, from head start programs to the National Weather Service.
Scroll Down to See How Sequestration Effects Your Region
MoreSee the Sequestration Effects in Your Region
Stay tuned for more sequester coverage from our member stations. Watch Tuesday's PBS NewsHour for a report on sequester cuts across the country.
JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight: movies, music, and more helping define and preserve our cultural heritage.
The 1894 silent film "Annabelle Butterfly," created by none other than Thomas Edison himself in his New Jersey studio, now one of the oldest movies ever restored. As with other films from this period of experimentation, when frames were mostly colored by hand, restoration like this is a painstaking process.
It's all part of the work done here at the Packard Campus of the Library of Congress, the largest audio and visual collection in the world.
PATRICK LOUGHNEY, National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, Library of Congress: Movies and sound recordings were an essential glue that helped create and form American culture, just as important as any other cultural aspect in America.
JEFFREY BROWN: Patrick Loughney heads the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, millions of recordings and films on some 100 miles of shelves.
The 45-acre campus is nestled in the hills of central Virginia, a state-of-the-art modernized facility that once served as a Cold War-era outpost for the Federal Reserve Bank, designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Today, the treasure being protected is cultural, an effort born of a growing concern that audio and visual recordings were disappearing, in some cases misplaced, ignored, or forgotten, in others due to film and tape literally disintegrating.
Gene DeAnna, who heads the vast Recorded Sound Section at the Library of Congress, says cylinders invented by Edison in the 1800s were the very first mass produced sound format.
GENE DEANNA, Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress: If Columbia Records, who manufactured these, wanted to make 10 cylinders, they would have to have 10 recorders, and the singer or the band or the speaker would speak or sing into the horns and make 10, and then they'd reload and do it again. And these would be mostly heard not in private homes, but in nickelodeons.
JEFFREY BROWN: One example here, President McKinley's 1896 campaign songs recorded on wax cylinders.
Years later, technology had evolved. This 1936 Louis Armstrong recording was made on a nickel-plated copper disc. The goal here is to extract as much of the sound or sonic information as possible from the old format in order to create a new high-quality digital version that can be preserved for the future.
We watched that process, stripping off the audio DNA in a sense, undertaken on a lacquer disc of Arthur Smith's "Guitar Boogie" from the 1940s, and American composer Roy Harris' "Duo for Cello and Piano" from the 1970s.
But a tremendous amount of material has been lost, even historic recordings by the likes of George Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland. The Library was mandated by Congress to develop a new audio recording preservation strategy, and brought out a plan earlier this year, among its goals: create a publicly accessible national directory of collections; develop a coordinated policy, including a strategy to collect, catalogue, and preserve recordings; construct storage facilities for long-term preservation; and simplify and clarify disparate copyright laws governing historical recordings.
It's not an easy task, says James Billington, the librarian of Congress, but it's a necessary one.
JAMES BILLINGTON, U.S. Librarian of Congress: There are all kinds of obscure places where things have been preserved, sometimes in people's attics. It's detective work reassembling what the original product was, as close as possible and as permanent a new material of reformatting as can be made.
So, you look at the recorded sound one, it's so diverse, it's so interesting. It's not just music, or it's a lot of music. It's also comedy, and it's the sounds of -- that we no longer hear, even the sounds of a foghorn or a distant train whistle. All of this is the soundscape of our world, and our country has been very -- a very noisy participant and a very creative one.
JEFFREY BROWN: When it comes to film and TV, the loss is also great. A recent study, for example, estimates that 80 percent of motion pictures made before 1930 have been lost.
At the Conservation Center, technicians work on those that have managed to survive, however damaged, in an effort to bring them back to a form that can be copied, preserved, and shown once more. That can entail cleaning of the old film, repairing of sprockets and splices, and resetting exposure levels.
LUCILLE BALL, Actress: Oh, you great big Latin lover, you.
JEFFREY BROWN: More recent films and video require repairs as well, episodes of "I Love Lucy"; the only appearance by the rock band The Doors on "The Ed Sullivan Show"; and a 1975 documentary on the Memphis blues, a technician rescanning the film version, toggling between the grainy original and the tweaked vibrant version of blues great B.B. King.
The 1940 film "Road to Singapore," with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour, is taking months to fully mend. Of course, technology has changed again, as video and music are delivered digitally. But even in the Internet age, Patrick Loughney says, the nation must take care to preserve its cultural heritage.
PATRICK LOUGHNEY: There's a belief among the younger generation that everything has been digitized that ever existed before or will soon be and will be available on the Internet. And that's factually not accurate.
JEFFREY BROWN: In the meantime, a constant flow of new treasures, about 150,000 sound and moving image recordings, continues to be taken in each year at the Packard facility.
And there's a renewed focus on helping preserve the rich material held by other institutions.
PATRICK LOUGHNEY: There are vast amounts of audiovisual history in the United States that are -- have not been preserved, that are being held by institutions or private collectors who should be acknowledged for recognizing the importance of those materials, but they need help.
JEFFREY BROWN: To that end, the Library has created a foundation to raise public and private funds to award grants to smaller archives for their preservation work.
And, online, you can see and hear more about the preservation efforts. That's all on our Art Beat page.
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford throws up his arms after casting his vote Tuesday in the special election against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Photo by Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images.
In the end, it wasn't even close.
Four years after admitting to an extramarital affair that derailed his national political prospects, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford won a special House election that will return him to the seat he once held in Congress.
"I am an imperfect man, saved by God's grace, and one who has a conviction of the importance of doing something about spending in Washington, D.C.," Sanford told supporters at his victory rally Tuesday night. "I am going to try to be the best congressman I could have ever been."
Sanford, a Republican, defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch by a 54 percent to 45 percent margin in the 1st Congressional District race to replace Tim Scott, who was appointed to the Senate by the state's current governor, Nikki Haley, when Sen. Jim DeMint stepped down last year to lead the Heritage Foundation.
Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, ran on a pro-business platform in what ultimately was a high turnout race.
The nearly 13,000-vote margin of victory prompted Sanford's hometown paper to declare him "The New Comeback Kid." The State's Gina Smith writes:
The big victory Tuesday suggests First Congressional District voters cared more about a consistent voice for limited government and no new spending than transgressions that seemed certain to torpedo Sanford's political career four years ago.
One voter put it simply to The State: "He's not perfect by any means. But he's been in office before and he did a good job for South Carolina."
Colbert Busch backers will point out this was a strong Republican district that Mitt Romney captured last fall by 18 points.
But Democrats had invested plenty of time and money in Colbert Busch's campaign, just as national Republicans wrote Sanford's political obituary. Handicappers like friend of the NewsHour Stuart Rothenberg rated the race a tossup that tilted to the Democrat's favor. The former governor was outspent four-to-one, and Democratic field organizers numbered at least 100 in the coastal district by Election Day. Politico has more on the spending by outside groups.
Politico's Alex Isenstadt breaks down the reasons Sanford pulled out a win, identifying his focus on tying Colbert Busch to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as a major factor:
A turning point in the race came two weeks ago, when Sanford held a mock debate with a cardboard cutout of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, implying that the California Democrat -- persona non grata in conservative South Carolina -- was a stand-in for his Democratic opponent.
The former governor endured days of derision from the press for the move -- Mark Sanford, once regarded as a viable potential presidential candidate, was debating a piece of cardboard.
But behind the scenes, Sanford's aides grinned: Every time a reporter put "Pelosi" and "Colbert Busch" in the same sentence, the Republican was winning. And some Democratic aides began to worry, too.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told NewsHour coordinating producer Linda J. Scott on Tuesday that Democrats were prepared for either outcome. "We're going to win that election one way or another," he said.
Sanford's family drama is far from over. In fact, he's due in court Thursday to answer his ex-wife's accusations that he trespassed at her home on Super Bowl Sunday.
And, as The Hill's Cameron Joseph reports, Sanford may not have the easiest time rejoining the GOP caucus nearly 13 years since he left the chamber.
In a major week for immigration reform, lawmakers filed 301 amendments to the 844-page legislation, scheduled for a markup over the next few weeks in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., alone filed 49 amendments to the bill.
The Associated Press reports that Republican senators adding to the bill "bluntly warned" the measure will fail "unless border-security provisions are greatly strengthened."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of the key members of the Gang of Eight senators pushing the bipartisan plan, slammed the Heritage Foundation's reasoning for opposing comprehensive immigration reform as a stereotype of immigrants as poor.
Roll Call's David Drucker reports that conservatives granted a private meeting with Rubio predicted the legislation "would move significantly to the right as it proceeds toward President Barack Obama's desk." But advocates have reason to cheer, with some tea party activists getting on board with the reform effort.
An immigration rights lawyer and Defense of Marriage Act opposer called amendments to the immigration bill from Sen. Patrick Leahy "nothing short of a strategic master stroke," Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner reports. The amendments would allow marriage recognition for gay couples in immigration proceedings. They would, however, be a dealbreaker for Republican supporters of reform.
Wednesday at the White House, Mr. Obama meets with national leaders representing Asian-American and Pacific Islanders about immigration reform. The president will also dine privately at the Jefferson Hotel Wednesday night with 10 House Democratic leaders, including Hoyer and Pelosi.
The Washington Post's Philip Rucker writes Wednesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has become the focus of the investigation led by congressional Republicans into last year's attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Three State Department officials are scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the events before, during and after the assault that killed four, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The NewsHour will livestream Wednesday's hearing.
Delaware legalized gay marriage Tuesday after a close vote in the state Senate.
The AP looks at efforts to revive the background checks bill.
New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie addressed his weight-loss surgery at a news conference in Newark on Tuesday. "I'm doing it for my long-term health," Christie said. "This is about being healthier for the rest of your life."
Move over GreenTech Automotive. Virginia Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is now attacking Democrat Terry McAuliffe's investment in Franklin Pellets, a renewable energy company that has yet to produce any pellets. But, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner, Cuccinelli signed off on a deal for storage space between the state and Franklin's sister company last year.
The New York Times brings us the interactive we've all been waiting for: photos and descriptions of every New York state politician who's had a scandal.
Reuters reports that Congress "will begin writing a new, $500 billion U.S. farm law next week ... even as calls mounted for deeper cuts in farm subsidies and food stamp spending."
The White House now has a chief privacy officer, a former Twitter attorney.
Depriving Democrats of their best chance to pick up a Republican-controlled seat, Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., announced Tuesday he will not run for retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss' seat.
Former President Bill Clinton said at a forum Tuesday that speculating about his wife's political future is a waste of time and the nation needs to be more focused on the big problems, the AP writes. "Hillary hasn't mentioned it to me," he said when asked about her 2016 ambitions. The question is "the worst expenditure of our time" because it prevents people from "getting into the grimy details" of the problems facing the country, Clinton said, adding that the former secretary of state is taking a role at his foundation, writing a book and "having a little fun being a private citizen for the first time in 20 years."
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg barely squeaks by Judge Joe Brown to land at No. 36 on the Reader's Digest ranking of the most trusted people in America. She scored the highest among all Supreme Court justices. Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and former President Jimmy Carter are the only public officials to fare better than Ginsburg on the list.
Not The Onion: The Washington Post chronicles one man's quest to lead a group of people carrying loaded rifles into Washington, D.C., on Independence Day.
If a veteran of the war in Afghanistan named Cole runs for Congress, radio psychic Sherry Sherry may have a career as a political handicapper.
Actual headline on a press release sent to us Tuesday: "Over 1K Tomatoes Delivered to House Speaker Boehner's Office Urging Removal of Rep. Don Young." And photos exist.
Christina and USA Today's Paul Singer talk with PBS' Media Shift about how politicians are bypassing the press to use social media.
Christina will be the banquet speaker at the League of Women Voters of Virginia convention next month.
Ray Suarez speaks to Time's Mark Thompson about a new Pentagon report showing an increase in the official number of sexual assaults in the military.
Checking in with public media correspondents from around the country, Ray looks at how communities from east to west are handling sequester cuts. With the help of our public media partners, you can see how your region is affected here.
How did Watergate affect you? Let us know ahead of our May 17 special looking back at the scandal that changed American politics and made the NewsHour what it is today.
We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey- we'll be in touch.— McDonald's Corp. (@McDonaldsCorp) May 7, 2013
I got the opportunity to meet one of the greatest women in the world, the first lady first_obama and... instagram.com/p/ZBCX0CNBKW/— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 7, 2013
Received this from a friend in Louisiana re: POTUS. twitter.com/ellencarmichae...— Ellen Carmichael (@ellencarmichael) May 7, 2013
Korean press devour one of their own, hit by jet lag CC: westwingreports instagram.com/p/ZBJhdDLK8Y/— Jared Rizzi (@JaredRizzi) May 7, 2013
Let the record show, it took POTUS about 90 seconds to make the first #ganghamstyle reference.— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) May 7, 2013
Hey @govchristie, happy to hear u want to lose weight! If u ever hit the gym & need a work out buddy, call me. 💋💋 good luck!! ✌😋— NiC0LE P0LiZZi (@snooki) May 7, 2013
"This is a great night for Dover, Delaware" is a sentence you get like one chance to use, ever— daveweigel (@daveweigel) May 7, 2013
The best/worst photos of Vladimir Putin huff.to/16SntIy— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) May 7, 2013
Katelyn Polantz and desk assistant Simone Pathe contributed to this report.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.
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