Quantcast
Loading...
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)
Loading...

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog


Loading...

Channel Description:

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

older | 1 | .... | 231 | 232 | (Page 233) | 234 | 235 | .... | 1175 | newer

    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    KWAME HOLMAN: More people went out looking for jobs last month, and more people found them. The Labor Department reported the May numbers today. It said unemployment rose a tenth of a point to 7.6 percent, as the ranks of job seekers grew. The economy actually added 175,000 jobs, about what was expected.

    Wall Street moved sharply higher on the jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 207 points to close at 15,248. The Nasdaq rose 45 points to close at 3,469. For the week, the Dow gained nearly one percent; the Nasdaq rose four-tenths-of-a-percent.

    Gunfire broke out today near a college in Santa Monica, Calif. Police said a man began firing at vehicles from a street corner. They said at least one person was killed and several wounded. One suspect was in custody. At the time of the shooting, President Obama was attending a fundraising luncheon about three miles away.

    The president also was opening two days of talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Cyber-security figured high on the agenda. The U.S. has publicly accused China of hacking into American business and defense systems. China denies it. President Xi arrived yesterday with his wife at Ontario International Airport outside Los Angeles. They were greeted by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

    The FBI arrested an East Texas woman today for allegedly sending ricin-tainted letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. A third letter went to Bloomberg's group that lobbies for gun control. The woman was identified as Sharon Guess Richardson of New Boston. The FBI said she initially claimed her husband sent the letters.

    The U.S. Senate formally opened debate today on a bill to overhaul the country's immigration system.

    Ray Suarez has our report.

    RAY SUAREZ: Prospects for immigration reform have been clouded for years, but Senate supporters expressed hopes today they can break through.

    MAN: The majority leader.

    RAY SUAREZ: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talked optimistically of passing the first overhaul of immigration laws since 1986.

    SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: Our system is broken. It needs to be fixed. It is gratifying to see the momentum behind this package of commonsense reforms.

    RAY SUAREZ: Similar efforts died in 2006 and 2007, and opponents, including Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, argued this bill is no better, because it means amnesty first, before border security.

    SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-Ala.: The legislation basically says, everybody here is given legal status and put on a guaranteed path to citizenship. Just don't get convicted of a felony.

    RAY SUAREZ: The Senate bill worked up by eight senators from both parties would provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented people in a process that would take 13 years. Applicants would have to pay a fine and back taxes, learn English, and pass a criminal background check, among other things.

    But, first, backers need 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle and move forward to weeks of debate and final action.

    Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont urged senators today to let the process play out.

    SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.: We represent over 300 million Americans. They're counting on us not to use stalling tactics, but to stand up, vote for or vote against.

    RAY SUAREZ: Hoping to muster those 60 votes, Majority Leader Reid pledged to allow as many amendments as possible, with a deadline of July 4 to finish work.

    Utah Republican Mike Lee dismissed that offer.

    SEN. MIKE LEE, R-Utah: There is no series of tinkering changes that will turn this mess of a bill into the reform the country needs and that Americans deserve.

    RAY SUAREZ: Meanwhile, in the House, bipartisan talks are ongoing, but Republican Raul Labrador of Idaho pulled out this week over objections related to immigrant health care. And, yesterday, the chamber voted along party lines to block funding for a 2012 presidential order that delays deportations of young undocumented immigrants.

    KWAME HOLMAN: Michigan Congressman John Dingell now is the longest serving member of Congress ever. After 57 years in office, he passed the late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd today. The veteran Democrat is 86, and was first elected in 1955. He supported landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s and also played a key role in creating the Medicare program.

    Tropical Storm Andrea lost some of its punch today as it blew across Georgia and the Carolinas. Sustained winds dropped to 45 miles an hour, but the storm still was strong enough to whip up heavy surf. It also was dumping as much as six inches of rain as it passed. Andrea made landfall yesterday on Florida's Gulf Coast.

    The gray wolf may lose most of its remaining wildlife protections against hunting and trapping in the Lower 48 states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the move today, over the objection of environmental groups. The wolves were placed on the endangered species list in 1974. There are now more than 6,100 across 10 states.

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


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JEFFREY BROWN: In the final story of her overseas reporting trip to Lebanon, Margaret Warner looks at the tenuous peace among the country's various religious sects, and whether it can survive as the conflict in Syria moves deeper inside Lebanon's borders.

    MARGARET WARNER: In a high-end jewelry store in the Hamra district of Beirut, owner Elie Nawbar is entertaining a diverse set of friends.

    ELIE NAWBAR, Lebanon: He is a Shiite, and I'm a Christian. He's a Muslim Sunni. And we live together.

    MAN: And I'm very close friends.

    MARGARET WARNER: And you want to keep it that way?

    ELIE NAWBAR: Yes. And this is Lebanon.

    MARGARET WARNER: Nawbar spent much of Lebanon's brutal 15-year civil war, ending in 1990, in London, but he's back in business here and convinced that, even under the sectarian strains now inflamed by Syria's civil war next door, his countrymen won't let it happen again in Lebanon.

    ELIE NAWBAR: And they know what this means, war. Nobody wants it anymore.

    MARGARET WARNER: But plenty of other Lebanese aren't so confident, as they live amid reminders of the city's savage past, people from all walks of life, like this store clerk on Beirut's waterfront promenade.

    WOMAN: People here don't like each other. It's not easy to live here anymore. The situation in Syria is affecting Lebanon, and all the people here are scared.

    MARGARET WARNER: Sharing her fears on the water's edge below, a 50- year old fisherman who lived through the civil war.

    MOHAMMED AL-GHOUL, Fisherman: People are very scared, but what can we do?

    MARGARET WARNER: No wonder they're scared. As militias of Lebanon's Shiite party, Hezbollah, fight for their Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, sectarian fighting plagues Tripoli, and Sunni and Shiite villages in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley suffer regular rocket strikes.

    All this is putting at risk a government pact made after the civil war, giving Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians and other sects each a piece of the power pie.

    So says Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

    PAUL SALEM, Director, Carnegie Middle East Center: The Lebanese have found a way to coexist and manage their tensions without major confrontation. That arrangement is coming under a lot of stress because of the conflict in Syria.

    FOUAD SINIORA, Former Lebanese Prime Minister: Hassan Nasrallah, what he did, effectively, he entrapped Lebanon into the Syrian quagmire.

    MARGARET WARNER: Hezbollah's engagement in the Syria conflict, led by Hassan Nasrallah, has angered many, including former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

    FOUAD SINIORA: Well, this is endangering the political situation, the social cohesion in the country, as well as the economic and social consequences in Lebanon that are very devastating.

    MARGARET WARNER: As head of a moderate, largely Sunni bloc in parliament, Siniora joined with other factions to forge an official government policy of neutrality in the Syria conflict. But that policy was always a sham, says newspaper editor Ibrahim Al Amine, who is close to Hezbollah and its leader.

    IBRAHIM AL AMINE, Editor, Al Akhbar: No Lebanese can say he is not concerned with what is going on in Syria. In Lebanon, there are two sides, one force supporting the Syrian regime and another supporting the opposition. The forces supporting the opposition started acting on the ground first, before Hezbollah did. The difference is, Hezbollah's capacities are much greater.

    MARGARET WARNER: There's little dispute about the economic damage the Syrian war has brought here. On a visit to Hezbollah-dominated Baalbek, home to majestic Roman ruins, cab driver Sayed Hasan tried to insist tourists were still coming.

    MAN: From all places, Arab and Western countries.

    MARGARET WARNER: Until a fellow cabbie jumped in.

    ABBAS EID, Cab Driver: What is wrong with you? You tell them there are tourists? Look inside the shops. They are all empty. There is not work and no tourism here.

    MARGARET WARNER: Business is bad down the road in Machgara too for this owner of a roadside shawarma eatery, now that most legal trade between Lebanon and Syria has been shut down.

    HAJJ ABU WAEL AL SULTAN, Lebanon: The economy has become very bad because all the products I got were cheaper and came from Syria. Now everything is very expensive because the road is closed.

    MARGARET WARNER: This business owner also happens to be a Shiite refugee from Syria who fled after Sunni rebels burned out his restaurant and home near Damascus. He's part of another war-related stress on Lebanon, the waves of Syrian refugees. And he is one of the luckier ones.

    In the shadow of a new Saudi-funded mosque outside the Sunni border town of Arsal, we found the unlucky ones, struggling to put up tents. Most didn't bring money, but many brought newfound sectarian passions.

    Thirty-year old Sunni Khadija Jamal Alahmad trekked here with her 10 children after her husband was shot.

    KHADIJA JAMAL ALAHMAD, Refugee: Shia and Hezbollah attacked us, and they left nothing. They burnt the house, and we had a shop, but it is all gone now.

    MARGARET WARNER: How do you explain to your children why they are here and why you left?

    KHADIJA JAMAL ALAHMAD: The children know everything. I don't say anything to them. They saw how people were being killed and how the fighting was going on.

    MARGARET WARNER: How do you feel now about Shias, all Shias?

    KHADIJA JAMAL ALAHMAD: I hate them.

    MARGARET WARNER: All Shia?

    KHADIJA JAMAL ALAHMAD: Yes,all of them.

    MARGARET WARNER: Even with an influx of one million refugees into a country of just four million, the government won't allow official camps. So, poorer Syrians make do in garages or empty buildings. Working and middle-class Syrians have rented apartments, driving up prices.

    Tripoli restaurant manager Roula Sidawi says they are also taking Lebanese jobs.

    ROULA SIDAWI, Restaurant Manager: The Syrian worker gets paid 10 times less than the Lebanese worker, so the boss fires the Lebanese and hires the refugees.

    MARGARET WARNER: So is there resentment among Lebanese of the refugees?

    ROULA SIDAWI: A lot.

    MARGARET WARNER: The tidal wave of mostly Sunni refugees could also upset the demographic balance in Lebanon among Sunnis and Shias and a major combatant in Lebanon's civil war, the Christians. Though they're an estimated 35 percent of the population, many worry they will be persecuted or driven out, as Christians in Iraq and Egypt were after political upheaval brought Islamists to the fore.

    At a mountaintop shrine to the Virgin Mary, Joelle Karam voiced that fear.

    JOELLE KARAM, Architect. The majority of the Christians here are leaving the country. They are leaving Lebanon.

    MARGARET WARNER: But Beirut's Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop, Cyril Bustros, says Christians here need not fear or flee, if they keep their heads down.

    ARCHBISHOP CYRIL BUSTROS, Melkite Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Beirut: They cannot be caught in the war, and if they don't collaborate in and participate in the war; 2,000 years, we are here, and there is no way that we will leave the country to the Muslims. So we have to stay here.

    MARGARET WARNER: But on a carefree night, the kind that makes Beirut a magnet for so many in the Middle East, young partiers of all sects told us they would just as soon leave than watch their country slide again toward instability.

    So did three friends who had sought out a quiet restaurant nearby. Zalfa Halabi is due to graduate soon from prestigious American University of Beirut.

    ZALFA HALABI, Student: We're not sure what's going to happen next, and so our lives are sort of on hold.

    MARGARET WARNER: But graphic artist Bane Fakih, also on the verge of graduating, dreams of British Columbia, not Beirut.

    BANE FAKIH, Student: I really don't want to live what my parents lived, because I know, they told us stuff, and it seems really ugly. I'm definitely not staying here.

    MARGARET WARNER: Amidst the revelry that is still Beirut, a sobering warning for Lebanon.

    JEFFREY BROWN: On our World page, you can read personal stories of three Syrian refugees who fled to Lebanon. 


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Hello, gentlemen.

    MARK SHIELDS: Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, first, this revelation over the last few days that the U.S. government is collecting massive amounts of information, phone records of U.S. citizens, David, and listening to or collecting Internet e-mail communications of foreign citizens.

    Reaction?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, it's worrisome.

    I, on balance, think it's justified. I think the president's basically right on this and that most bipartisan leaders of Congress are right, that we live in a world of big data. We live in the world of gigantic databases where people are collecting large amounts of information. The stuff that is being done on American citizens, as the president said, is not the content of the calls. It's the network of connections of the calls.

    There is a FISA court review. There's congressional review. The targets are reasonably narrow. I worry about this being abused later on. But, as I understand the program right now, I think it's a reasonably supervised policy to try to control terror and balance it off with the normal privacy concerns.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Not troubled by it.

    Mark?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, to those Americans who are worried that nobody in Washington was ever listening to what they had to say, they ought to be reassured.

    No, Judy, every administration since I have been in Washington has an absolutely bottomless appetite for secrecy and information and intelligence. They just love it.

    I don't know what it is about presidents, but that we talk so glowingly about the need for an informed citizenry, and yet they get information, they want to hold it. And it's -- what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called the culture of secrecy is epidemic in this city.

    And I would just say to those, my friends on the left who defend this that, do you imagine the same kind of power and authority with a President Donald Trump, with a President Rick Perry, with a President Rick Santorum?

    It's one thing to say, oh, well, President Obama is sensitive and all of these things. And I just -- I really -- I think it's a real problem. It's been a problem in this country. We classify too much. We keep too much from our citizens. And this is an example, I think, of it's going too far.

    DAVID BROOKS: I agree in part. We have a national security state which is gigantic and overblown. Hundreds of thousands of people have top security clearance, so I agree with that part.

    And I agree with the penchant for secrecy. I blame it on the fact that, if you're in the national security apparatus, your disaster if there's an event. And so you will do anything possible to prevent an event, but your career will not hang on if somebody's privacy is violated.

    So, their interests are all over here. And I worry about that, too. Nonetheless, when you fight wars or when you are involved in international conflicts where there are enemies, you have to have -- citizens, I think, have to have some trust in the authorities. The authorities have to have some power to do things that they think are right.

    And as long as there's a court review, as there is, as long as there's some oversight, at some point, I think we as citizens have to say, we are going to trust the authorities to some degree.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And that's what the president said today, Mark.

    MARK SHIELDS: That's ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He said, there are protections. There's the Constitution. There's the so-called FISA court.

    MARK SHIELDS: The FISA court, I have yet to see a decision made by the FISA court. It's a secret process.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is a special court that was set up a few years ago.

    MARK SHIELDS: It is 11 judges, but we don't know what goes on.

    There's one side presented. And I don't know of the number of rejections that the FISA court has given. I guess where I disagree with David is, it's very seductive to become part of this intelligence community, because we're doing it because we're protecting you. We're taking care of you. We're going to make sure you're safe, and anything that's done in that name.

    We went through the entire Cold War. That was a real threat. That was a real threat, and the Soviet Union. And the intelligence community, which was closed off and completely cloistered, and nobody could go near it, was absolutely wrong.

    As late as 1989, it was saying the Soviet Union was getting stronger economically, militarily, it was a bigger threat than it was -- and George Kennan had predicted 50 years earlier it would implode of it -- the seeds of its own destruction were there. And I just -- I think that you have to trust your citizenry.

    You have to open up to debate. Barack Obama ran on transparency and open debate. I don't see that being present in this.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, a couple things.

    First, we live an age of data. What the government has done to our phone records, private companies are doing that every single day. If you have a credit card, they're looking at the vast array of spending patterns every single day. So, this is happening to us every single day. This is part of the age we live in.

    Should we have known that they are doing this to the phone records? To some extent, we already did know this, but we probably should have known. The secrecy of the program was a mistake. I agree with that. But, nonetheless ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In other words, you're saying the government should have told everybody, we're doing this.

    DAVID BROOKS: Told that they were doing this.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But then they're telling -- the other argument is, they're telling the terrorists.

    DAVID BROOKS: Right. But, if you're a terrorist, I assume -- you assume the phone records are being used in this way.

    But they still have the responsibility if they see somebody -- if they see these Boston guys, the bombers, calling some number, and then they want to trace the links to that number, it seems to me that's a -- legitimates piece of information that they should have.

    Now, the second question is -- and Charlie Savage, my colleague, raised this earlier -- should we just -- instead of collecting big reams of data, when they have a suspicion, should they then have to go back and get a separate subpoena, so it's a much narrower set of data? That seems to me a very legitimate argument we have to hear answered.

    MARK SHIELDS: Can I just respond to David's point about Visa and MasterCard and my Safeway card?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.

    MARK SHIELDS: Safeway knows whether I bought the Ben and Jerry's, and I shouldn't have bought the Ben and Jerry's ice cream last week.

    But Visa and MasterCard, they have that information, and we know they have that information. They can't indict you. They can't ...

    DAVID BROOKS: Fair enough.

    MARK SHIELDS: They can't -- they can't go after my taxes.

    I mean, a federal government with that kind of power and without restraint can do that. I mean, it's really giving an enormous amount of power.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And that's fair enough.

    If I could just make one political point, usually -- and this is sort of arguing against my point -- usually, the people, the voters more or less side with security. But following the IRS scandal, following the other affairs, the Justice Department stuff, I think the politics of this may switch. There may be more people who may be more appalled by this program than maybe they would otherwise be.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just quickly to both of you. You both agree the media was right, the news organizations were right to report this once they found out, that that's not a violation of ...

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    MARK SHIELDS: I do.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: OK. All right.

    Well, let's move on to another announcement this week. David, the president announced that he wants Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, to become his national security adviser, a woman who's been on his National Security Council staff, Samantha ...

    DAVID BROOKS: Power. Power.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: ... Power to be his U.N. ambassador.

    What does it mean?

    DAVID BROOKS: I think they're outstanding picks.

    He has tended to pick people who are more staff-oriented, who are more process-oriented. But Power and Rice are -- they can do process fine, but they are strong advocates for positions. They're idea-oriented. They're aggressive, strong individuals. So I think they will widen the frame of debate.

    And so I think they're outstanding picks on that regard. As far as whether they shift foreign policy one way or the other, they're known as -- I guess the phrase is liberal hawks. They're willing to use power to prevent humanitarian disasters in some circumstances. They were both among the more aggressive forces on whether we should do Libya.

    That's not to say all circumstances. They have not been aggressive, as far as I know, on Syria, for example. But they tend to be a little more aggressive on wanting to prevent humanitarian disasters, believing it's in America's foreign policy interests. So I think they're both outstanding picks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You agree?

    MARK SHIELDS: I don't question David's assessment of either individual.

    I do find it fascinating that, when Barack Obama became president, that his secretary of state was Hillary Clinton, the secretary of defense was Bob Gates. Now he has -- his national security adviser was Gen. Jim Jones, the former commandant of the Marine Corps.

    Now he has in position Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, John Kerry as secretary of state, who will -- will soon have Susan Rice as national security adviser, and, pending Senate ratification, Samantha Power as U.N. ambassador, all of whom supported him for the nomination and for election.

    I mean, the Lincoln team of rivals ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you're saying that's different from how...

    MARK SHIELDS: They're loyalists.

    Well, I mean, Hillary Clinton obviously didn't support him.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    MARK SHIELDS: Leon Panetta wasn't an intimate or a supporter even, the successor of Bob Gates. Bob Gates didn't support him. Gen. Jim Jones wasn't campaigning in Iowa for him.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does that say?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, it says that there's a pulling in of loyalty. And I'm not saying loyalty trumps ability, because these are able people.

    I think, in the case of Susan Rice, there's no question this was very personal with the president. He likes her. He's close to her. He appreciates her support, particularly in 2008. And he knows she was hung out to dry on Benghazi, that his administration did a ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The talking -- so-called talking points.

    MARK SHIELDS: ... did a terrible thing to her.

    It wasn't Petraeus. It wasn't Clinton. It wasn't Panetta who went out there and did those five shows. She did it, and she paid for it. And I ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: She couldn't be secretary of state.

    ... security adviser.

    MARK SHIELDS: Couldn't be secretary of state. And I think that's it. And I think he really felt an obligation, as well as an emotional commitment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Change in foreign policy direction?

    DAVID BROOKS: I doubt it. Obama runs his own foreign policy. There may be more of a tinge toward this humanitarian interventionist side, but he runs his own foreign policy.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes. I haven't heard either one of them mention the word Syria in public.

    Apparently, the Damascus moment for Susan Rice in her career was Rwanda in the Clinton administration. And she's become -- that would never be repeated, that that was on her watch and she feels an enormous sense of obligation. But I haven't either heard her or Samantha Power.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let's bring it home finally, domestic -- a political story.

    New Jersey this week lost long time Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat. The Republican governor, Mark, Chris Christie, after a few days, announced that he will have a special election in four months from now, and he named somebody as a caretaker, the state attorney general.

    But, David, what does it say that Christie is having a special election which just happens to be a month before his own standing for reelection as governor of the state?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. He's an astonishing governor who wants to be reelected.

    So he's a Republican in a Democratic state, so he decides, I don't want to run on the same ticket where there's a popular Democratic senatorial candidate who will probably win and bring in a lot of Democratic votes.

    So he decides he's going to -- he's got a lot of flexibility. He can schedule the election when he wants. And he decides to schedule it 13 minutes before his own election to sort of get it all out of the way -- even a couple weeks before.

    But, you know, he wants to win, and he's using power to do it. Is it inexcusable? I think it's an excusable use of power. Is it ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Excusable?

    DAVID BROOKS: ... totally on the up-and-up? No. It's a political maneuver.

    MARK SHIELDS: What made him special? What made him special was, he was a tell-it-like-it is ...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Christie.

    MARK SHIELDS: Christie -- different, not your typical pol.

    Asbury Park, N.J., August of 2011, Hurricane Irene is coming. He goes down there and says, get the hell off the beach. Nobody else in American politics does it. People cheer. He is different. And this makes him very much a pol. This was too cute by half.

    This was a way of saying, we're going to have an election. OK, the Democrats will have a primary, because that means two House members can run and not jeopardize their seats, but, at the same time, Judy, what it means is that he will not face a -- as David put it, a popular Democrat on the ballot, risk his margin. All he's talking about right now is his margin.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you mentioned that it's going to cost 20-some-million dollars ...

    MARK SHIELDS: Twenty-four million dollars...

    JUDY WOODRUFF: ... to hold a special election.

    MARK SHIELDS: ... as you're holding down the Meals on Wheels for people.

    DAVID BROOKS: He was never Mother Teresa. He was a politician.

    MARK SHIELDS: But he was different. He wasn't such a self-serving -- this was so transparently self-serving. Plus, he wouldn't even let poor Frank Lautenberg be buried before he started speculating about the thing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Nothing self-serving about the two of you.

    David and Mark, thank you.

    MARK SHIELDS: Love your earrings.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On our home page, you can watch Mark and David's conversation from 2007, when the issue of NSA wiretapping first dominated the news. Catch that. And don't miss a special Doubleheader live with Mark and David on June 21.


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    RAY SUAREZ: Now: how one teacher-led program is making sure students at risk of dropping out of high school are not only getting their diploma, but going on to graduate from college as well.

    Ash-har Quraishi of WTTW Chicago reports for our American Graduate project.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI, WTTW Chicago: It's just after 9:00 a.m. when Rachel Bennett greets her third period students. Bennett is a high school Spanish teacher here at Perspectives Leadership Academy. But this is the one class she teaches each day where nobody learns Spanish.

    RACHEL BENNETT, Perspectives Leadership Academy: Mostly, what I do, I feel, is to harass my kids to be their best selves at all times.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: Bennett teaches a daily 40-minute class designed by a nonprofit educational organization called OneGoal.

    RACHEL BENNETT: And then your two next steps, what are the next two that you're working on?

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: What's interesting about OneGoal is that it pinpoints and targets low-income underperforming students in non-selective Chicago public schools, students who are least likely to graduate from high school, let alone college.

    Jeff Nelson is the co-founder and CEO of OneGoal.

    JEFF NELSON, OneGoal: We're taking underperforming students that typically have a less than 10 percent chance of earning a bachelor's degree and right now 85 percent of our alumni in college are persisting.

    WOMAN: All right, so we have approximately 40 minutes to get this done.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: OneGoal focuses on these students because nationally only eight percent of ninth graders in low-income communities are expected to graduate from college by the age 25.

    That's in stark contrast to students from the highest-income families, where 32 percent will finish college in that same time. Nelson says the cornerstone of OneGoal's methodology begins with recruiting and training exceptional teachers, who in turn identify underperforming students with the least opportunity and the most potential.

    JEFF NELSON: We believe and have seen empirical evidence that teachers matter most in education reform. And when we got started building OneGoal, we realized that nationally and locally there were no college access or persistence providers that were using exceptional teachers as the focal point of their work.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: And so OneGoal has partnered with the Chicago Public Schools and is currently in 23 of the district's high schools. The program hopes to be in half of all Chicago high schools by 2017 and is already expanding nationally.

    Here's how it works. A OneGoal teacher takes on a group of 25 students and sticks with them for three years, beginning in their junior year of high school. The teacher's instruction focuses on three pillars: prepping students for ACT test, guiding them as they apply to college and helping them develop specific leadership skills.

    JEFF NELSON: The five leadership principles that we spend time working on are professionalism, ambition, resilience, integrity, and resourcefulness. The reason those five skills are important to us is because those five working in concert are predictive of success in college.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: Often, Nelson says, these character traits come easily for students who have grown up in some of the city's roughest neighborhoods, where they have already developed an inner strength remarkable for their age.

    JEFF NELSON: Oftentimes, though, those skill sets are not pinpointed as assets. Oftentimes, kids think that they walk into this environment with liabilities. We think it's completely opposite.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: Once the students move on to college, they stay in regular contact with their OneGoal teacher through their first year. The aim here is not just to get kids into college, but to equip them with the support system they need to finish.

    JEFF NELSON: We have seen 20, 25 years of education reform in the United States. Almost all of it has been directed in pre-K through 12, which has -- so we have seen the proliferation of charter schools. We have seen early childhood work, interventions work. We have seen human capital providers. We have seen big city mayors like Rahm take on education. Yet almost none of it has spilled over into higher education.

    And so our country has begun to get college access right, but we see huge dropout rates in college.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: Cynthia Barron is a coach with the University of Illinois at Chicago's principle training program. She has over 40 years of experience in Chicago public schools.

    CYNTHIA BARRON, University of Illinois at Chicago: There's nothing better than preparing students for that next step after high school and then making them feel confident and comfortable in their academic skills, that they can do it.

    But along with that is also this ability to, one, know what college life is about, know what career readiness is about, know what that life is going to be like when they graduate, but then also helping them to develop the network that is going to help them, but then also how to anticipate those obstacles, what do they have to put in place.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: OneGoal student Anthony Halmon knows something about obstacles. Last year, his South Side neighborhood ranked fourth among 77 communities for the number of violent crimes. According to the latest census numbers, nearly 26 percent of households here are below the poverty line and nearly one in five residents is unemployed.

    By his sophomore year, Halmon was getting into trouble. With a C average, he was doing the bare minimum to get by and he was a new father.

    ANTHONY HALMON, Perspectives Leadership Academy: Outside of school, I didn't do nothing, sat on my butt, played games. I didn't use computers. I didn't use my time wisely. I just did ignorant things.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: Rachel Bennett says through self-motivation and the support of OneGoal, Halmon turned everything around.

    RACHEL BENNETT: Last quarter, he had a 4.1 GAP, yes, with the weight of his A.P. lit class. So he was doing that all as a young father. He still takes care of his 2-year-old, sees her every day, takes her to all her doctor appointments.

    ANTHONY HALMON: My OneGoal teacher, she always encouraged me, like, if you don't want to do nothing for yourself, then do something for your baby, make a life for her. You always want your child to have a better life than you already have, so it's like she's part of my motivation.

    ASH-HAR QURAISHI: Today, Anthony is in the final running for a full-ride scholarship to Cornell University. It's the kind of ambition OneGoal hopes to instill in all of its students.

    ANTHONY HALMON:
     If I don't leave and I stay here, it's still not going to do nothing for my family. So I would rather go get an education and go start on my career and bring that back towards them, so I can actually raise a family and take care of my daughter, take care of my mother also, because I'm doing it for myself, but I'm also doing it for the family and for people that I love.

    JEFFREY BROWN: On our Web site, you can find more on enrichment programs that work to get students not only to, but through college.

    American Graduate is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, this week marked the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

    Gwen Ifill has our book conversation about a young Chinese woman named in honor of that revolt and her fictional counterpart.

    GWEN IFILL: Fiction collides with fact in "Nine Days," a new novel that takes young adult leaders to China and back. In it, two American high schoolers, a girl and a boy, set out to find a missing political dissident. The fictional girl and the real-life woman who inspired this story share the same name, Ti-Anna.

    Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt is the author of the book inspired by the search for Ti-Anna's father, who has been held by Chinese authorities since 2002.

    Ti-Anna Wang, Fred Hiatt, thank you both for joining us.

    FRED HIATT, Author, "Nine Days": Thank you.

    TI-ANNA WANG, Daughter of Imprisoned Chinese Dissident: Thank you.

    GWEN IFILL: Fred, tell me how you two met.

    FRED HIATT: We met about five years ago when Ti-Anna came to Washington right after graduating from high school to try and bring attention to her father's case.

    And she submitted an op-ed to The Washington Post, of which we get about 100 a day. But this one was extraordinary. We published it. And then I said, “Would you have a cup of coffee with me?” And that's how we met.

    GWEN IFILL: How did you know that your father's story could get that kind of attention?

    TI-ANNA WANG: I came to D.C. I'm from Canada. And so I really didn't know how things worked in this town.

    But I was willing to try anything to bring attention to my father's case. And submitting an op-ed was one way that someone else told me that I should try. And so I did. And I didn't -- I never thought that it would be published and that later on a book would come of it.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, Ti-Anna, tell us the story of the real Ti-Anna, including the origin of your name.

    TI-ANNA WANG: OK.

    So, my name -- I'm named after Tiananmen Square, June 4, and I was born in 1989. And my father, who was a well-renowned political dissident at the time, decided that he wanted to name me in commemoration of his colleagues who died that night, and also in celebration of the ideals that the students were -- had sacrificed their lives for.

    My father was a political dissident. He moved to the United States in 1982 to found the overseas Chinese democracy movement, a cause that he gave himself to. And he -- for 20 years, he advocated for democratic change in China, until 2002, when he was kidnapped from Vietnam, forced into China, and eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison, where he has been ever since.

    GWEN IFILL: How do you compare yourself to your fictional counterpart?

    TI-ANNA WANG: I can't compare at all.

    She's -- it's kind of strange to be fictionalized into a heroine of sorts. You can't help but make a sort of comparison. And the fictional Ti-Anna, she's pretty great. She's...

    She's smart and courageous and very filial.

    And I think it's good, because it's a -- I think it's good to have someone -- kind of almost someone to look up to in this book.

    GWEN IFILL: But, Fred, why a young adult book? This could have been a children's book. This could have been an adult novel. Why this particular -- I know you have a child who is reading teen lit by now.

    FRED HIATT: Yes.

    GWEN IFILL: But what about this story lends itself to that?

    FRED HIATT: It's a story of adventure and of a friendship between these two that I thought would work for kids.

    But I did also think that, you know, there are a lot of young readers who are interested in the world and interested in human rights, interested in human trafficking, which also comes into this story. And I don't have anything against zombies and vampires, but for kids who might want to move to something else, it would -- it might be good to have a story that deals with some of these issues.

    GWEN IFILL: Do you feel that, in your using this -- this way of telling the story as a way of getting to an issue that otherwise we don't talk about that much, and imprisoned dissidents and human rights issues in a place like China, where the U.S. is trying very hard to work with these days?

    FRED HIATT: Yes.

    And this story was a way that might provide an opening for kids to start thinking and talking about those issues.

    GWEN IFILL: Ti-Anna, now you live in Taiwan? You're studying language?

    TI-ANNA WANG: Correct.

    GWEN IFILL: Mandarin.

    But tell us about your father. When is the last time you saw him? What is happening with him?

    TI-ANNA WANG: So, my father, he's being -- serving his sentence in a prison in Shaoguan, which is about five, six hours away from Hong Kong.

    GWEN IFILL: He's 65 now?

    TI-ANNA WANG: He's 66 years old, so no -- no longer a young man. He has some chronic health issues and has had three strokes in the last 10 years in -- during his imprisonment.

    I last saw my father in December 2008. And I went -- obviously went to see him. And -- but since then, I haven't been able to get a visa to go to China. And I assume it's as a result of -- the result of things I might have said and done in support of his release. We exchange letters quite frequently. I got a few letters from him just last month.

    GWEN IFILL: Does he know about the book?

    TI-ANNA WANG: I'm not sure.

    I wrote him a letter when it came out in April. But there's -- when you write a letter, there's a lot of censorship. So, when you send it, it's held at the prison for about a month or two before he actually gets it. So I don't know. I don't know if he knows about it just yet, but hopefully soon.

    GWEN IFILL: What do you hope, Fred, to accomplish by writing this story this way?

    FRED HIATT: You know, at the back of the book, there's an afterward by Ti-Anna and by me for young people who might want to get involved in any these issues, talks a little bit about how.

    Of course, the best thing would be, you know, if, when the paperback comes out, we could write a new afterward about his -- her father was freed.

    GWEN IFILL: The name of the book is "Nine Days." And it is written by Fred Hiatt of The Washington Post. And it tells the fictional story of the real life Ti-Anna Wang.

    Thank you so much for joining us.

    FRED HIATT: Thank you, Gwen.

    TI-ANNA WANG: Thank you. 


    Loading...
    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: We return now to the story of Edward Snowden, the 29- year-old former CIA employee and intelligence contractor who's admitted leaking government secrets. Is he a criminal who put Americans at risk, or is he a hero who told Americans what they need to know about how closely their government is watching them?

    We have two points of view on that from Jane Harman, a former nine-term member of Congress who was the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. She's now president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. And author and journalist James Bamford, who has written extensively about the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

    Welcome to you both.

    JAMES BAMFORD, Author, "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America": Thank you.

    GWEN IFILL: So, James Bamford, is Edward Snowden a leaker or a whistleblower?

    JAMES BAMFORD: Well, he's definitely a whistleblower. He's not profiting from this in any way. He's going to be harmed very severely because of this.

    He's doing this because he thinks it's right, because he thinks that the public should know that the government was picking up and storing billions of their telephone records. You know, they had a debate about this in England in the last few weeks. But it was public. It was about a bill going through congress to do a similar thing.

    Over here, we don't do that. We just secretly do all these things. The public has a right to know what's being done with their telephone records.

    GWEN IFILL: Jane Harman?

    JANE HARMAN, Former U.S. Congresswoman: He's a leaker. And what he did was inappropriate.

    I do think we should have a public debate. We actually had a public debate around the 2008 amendment to FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This law has been on the books since 1978. It was passed in response to the abuses in the Nixon administration, and pursuant to the Church Commission, which investigated a lot of intelligence abuses in the mid-'70s. It was passed by overwhelming bipartisan margins, and it set up the Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence Committees, in addition to the FISA court, to review individual actions against U.S. persons.

    And it continued that way through 2011, when it was clear the authorities were outdated. And then we amended it after a public debate in the United States Congress. And it works well.

    GWEN IFILL: Sen. Udall, we just heard, talked about the scale of this program. Is it possible to share this kind of information, as Edward Snowden did, and not share it at such a scale? Is that the problem, really?

    JAMES BAMFORD: Have him share the information about what he picked up?

    GWEN IFILL: So much of it.

    JAMES BAMFORD: Well, we have yet to see what else he has out there. Right now, he released basically two big programs, the one about the telephones and the one about PRISM, which is intercepting the Internet traffic.

    I don't think that was a big release. I mean, people should know this is going on with their communications. What's the big secret? The terrorists obviously assume -- they have assumed all along that we're doing this. So, why keep it a secret from the American public?

    GWEN IFILL: Both The Washington Post and The Guardian have reported that he's made available to them PowerPoint slides, of which they only published four of them, because they thought there were things he was giving them that were too secret.

    JAMES BAMFORD: Well, I haven't seen those. I can't make any judgment about those.

    What I'm making a judgment on is what we have seen. And what we have seen is the government access without any knowledge of any public about access to billions of telephone records every day. Every day, somebody picks up the telephone, makes a phone call, a record of that phone call is being kept by NSA. People should know that, the same thing with the Internet.

    GWEN IFILL: Jane Harman, let me read to you something that James Bamford has written about the NSA.

    He wrote that: "There is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created."

    JANE HARMAN: Well, it's large. I agree with that, but the programs we're talking about were developed in Congress pursuant to debate.

    They are subject to oversight by Congress. There is a federal court -- that's what the FISA court is. It's a rotating court that includes 11 federal judges, at least three of whom have to live near Washington so they can personally review any individualized requests to read content or listen to -- and, in fact, the phone records are records, but to listen to somebody, it's prospective. It's not retroactive.

    No one is listening to our phone calls right now, unless there's an individualized record for an American. But, at any rate, Congress passed these laws. And they are -- and my experience, having worked there and having been involved in the 2008 amendments to FISA, having been very distressed that the early Bush administration wasn't following FISA right after 9/11 -- but, at any rate, these laws work well.

    And the oversight is robust by the senators and House members who do it, mostly on the Intelligence Committee.

    GWEN IFILL: There are laws. There are courts. What's wrong with that, if it's legal? Or is that what's wrong with it?

    JAMES BAMFORD: Well, Congress. Please.

    Where were they when the Bush administration was doing their warrantless eavesdropping?

    JANE HARMAN: I will answer that.

    JAMES BAMFORD: Well, let me finish.

    You know, the Congress Intelligence -- the Senate Intelligence Committee, when it started out under Frank Church, it started out as an organization to protect the public from the intelligence agencies. Now it's simply become a cheering gallery for the intelligence agencies. They want to give it more money. They want to give it more power. And you can see what happens during the Bush administration.

    JANE HARMAN: I have -- I served there for eight years. And I don't think I was a cheering gallery for the Bush practices.

    First of all, I objected, once I understood it, that the Bush Terrorist Surveillance Program, TSP, was being conducted outside of FISA. That wasn't information I had. I was in the so-called “Gang of Eight,” let into this very, very secret program. I was told every time it strictly complied with law.

    What I wasn't told is these were Bush laws made in the Justice Department. And when that was clear, I and many others in Congress spent a lot of time making sure that this program, which was known to the public -- I mean, first of all, it was leaked to The New York Times -- everybody was aware about the phone records collection program and what it was for -- was strictly covered by FISA, and that was the product of a public debate.

    GWEN IFILL: Let me ask you both a question.

    There have been at least two polls out today showing most Americans think it's fine, that they don't really have a problem with this. So, let me ask you this question, James Bamford. What has the gathering of this information, this effort that the NSA has spent to gather personal information, what has that hurt?

    JAMES BAMFORD: What it hurts is a democracy.

    A democracy, you're not supposed to do things like that. You're supposed to have open societies, where governments, if they want to do that, do what the British did. Bring a bill through Congress, say we want to do this. We want to have all your records every single day sent to the NSA. See how much of a vote you will get on that. They tried that in Britain, and they voted it down.

    GWEN IFILL: And what has it risked? What really -- what has it thwarted?

    JANE HARMAN: Again, this is metadata.

    It's telephone numbers, not attached to people. And the only access you can get to this metadata, if a U.S. citizen or a U.S. legal resident is involved, is on an individual basis once you go through a federal court to get an individualized warrant, which is what the Fourth Amendment requires.

    GWEN IFILL: When you were in Congress -- can I ask you, how often were you briefed on programs like this, especially PRISM and programs like that?

    JANE HARMAN: Well, PRISM started after I left the Intelligence Committee.

    GWEN IFILL: They're not secret anymore.

    JANE HARMAN: But I was briefed regularly on programs.

    Sure, did I want more information? Yes, I wanted the memos that the Office of Legal Counsel, the OLC, and the Justice Department was providing. We couldn't get those. And, yes, I wanted more robust briefings, and I think Congress should always push for that. And I'm not saying this is perfect. And I think we agree that there ought to be a robust public debate.

    And, oh, by the way, I think we need a comprehensive -- a new comprehensive set of legal boundaries around our post-9/11 policy. We're in the second decade.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, that's the line I want to -- where I want to end this. There has got to be a line somewhere between privacy and security. You agree on that. Where is the line?

    JAMES BAMFORD: Well, the line -- you know, the line, I would put it, is if you're going to invade American privacy, you bring a bill through Congress and you do it publicly that way. You don't do it secretly, like they used to do in East Germany during the Cold War.

    Look, we're talking about having a debate now. How would we have had this debate, how would we be sitting here talking about this if it wasn't for Edward Snowden?

    GWEN IFILL: Good question.

    JANE HARMAN: I -- well, I think -- I applaud what Mark Udall has done and Ron Wyden. They made clear they disagreed with some aspects of this. They pursued their disagreement inside the system.

    And I think, ultimately, they would have caused the debate that we should be having.

    JAMES BAMFORD: It didn't.

    JANE HARMAN: Well, I'm sorry.

    I think Americans want our country protected. I don't think it's a choice between security and liberty. I don't think it's a zero sum gain. It's a positive sum gain. You get more of both or less of both. We created a privacy and civil liberties commission when we reorganized the intelligence community in 2004.

    You're rolling your eyes, but President Obama ...

    JAMES BAMFORD: Because they just appointed the first person to it.

    JANE HARMAN: Well, the Senate finally confirmed the person. But that commission can be very helpful here.

    GWEN IFILL: We're not going to resolve this tonight, unfortunately.

    Jane Harman, James Bamford, thank you both very much. We will talk about it some more.

    JAMES BAMFORD: Thank you. My pleasure. 


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we kick off a weeklong series on food and how climate change is affecting what we produce and how we eat.

    Tonight, special correspondent Sam Eaton reports on new efforts to preserve forests while keeping up with the demand for farming in Costa Rica.

    It's part of our series “Food for 9 Billion,” in partnership with Public Radio International's "The World," Homelands Productions, American Public Media's “Marketplace,” and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

    SAM EATON: This is a typical farm in Costa Rica, about 10 acres of coffee mixed with more than a dozen food crops, like corn, beans and bananas.

    But when 65-year-old farmer Ademar Serrano Abarca purchased this land a decade ago, it was with the idea of doing things differently. Instead of clearing all the trees, a common practice in tropical agriculture, he set aside more than a quarter of it, letting the forest regenerate.

    ADEMAR SERRANO ABARCA, Costa Rica: Not all of us share these same ideas. Other farmers don't have this. They have lost it. But, for me, it's a gain. Everything you see here is a gain for me.

    SAM EATON: Worldwide, agriculture represents a huge threat to the planets remaining natural areas. Costa Rica is trying to preserve what nature it has left. It's one of the first countries to compensate farmers like Abarca for leaving part of their land out of production.

    The minister of agriculture, Gloria Abraham Peralta, says policies like this have allowed Costa Rica to go from having one of the fastest rates of deforestation on the planet to today boasting around 50 percent forest cover.

    MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE GLORIA ABRAHAM PERALTA, Costa Rica: It's a commitment to the future, not by the big companies or the big farms, but by the small farmers, who know that their future depends on how they care for their farms and their ability to adapt. The future generation's food supply also depends on that. I think that we as a country can be a good public example at an international level of what can be done.

    SAM EATON: Those federal incentives sweeten the pot for small farmers like Abarca. But the benefits of fostering biodiversity on the farm don't stop there. Scientists at the nearby Las Cruces Biological Station have been researching how farmers like Abarca are gaining from the services nature provides.

    GRETCHEN DAILY, Director, Stanford University Center for Conservation Biology: Land is an asset that provides all kinds of things that we need, not just food.

    SAM EATON: Gretchen Daily directs Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology.

    GRETCHEN DAILY: So, the land is producing about 15 food types for people here. Then, on top of that, there's birds providing pest control services. The vast majority of pests on crops are controlled naturally by birds, by wasps, by bats, and other things.

    SAM EATON: In the past, farms were generally considered to be ecological deserts, completely barren of the rich biodiversity that exists on nature preserves.

    But, as scientists study more and more small farms like this one, with its mix of trees and coffee, trees and food crops, they're finding that an incredible amount of biodiversity can coexist with food production.

    It's early morning, and Daily's team is stringing out mist nets in Abarca's coffee fields. So far, they have captured more than a hundred different species of birds on these farms and forest fragments. It's part of a project to quantify their value in dollars. Each bird, like this Rufous-capped Warbler, plays a specific role. And that role corresponds to an economic benefit to the farmer.

    MAN: Some of these birds that we're capturing, we have records that go back about 14 years.

    GRETCHEN DAILY: So, what we're trying to find out is how many insects do they eat. If you have this little bit of tree cover here, how many Warblers will you have, and how much of a boost will the Warblers give to the coffee farmers? This one eats the biggest and most worrying pest on coffee. We found in its droppings a lot of those little bugs that are really destroying the coffee. So it adds a huge boost to the income of farmers.

    SAM EATON: Daily and the team have been tracking the income potential of every insect-eater and pollinator on these farms. It's a 24-hour job. These bats run the night shift, consuming pests, carrying pollen and scattering seeds until dawn.

    GRETCHEN DAILY: Each night, they can consume about their body weight worth of insect flesh, mosquitoes and other kinds of pests that the farmers don't want.

    SAM EATON: But it's nature's smallest pollinators who have so far brought the biggest gains. In a study Daily ran on nearby coffee farms, she documented how forests next to the farms and the hundreds of species of native bees that inhabit them are a boon to coffee production, with the bees leaving the forest and spreading pollen from plant to plant for that one week of the year that the coffee plants bloom.

    GRETCHEN DAILY: So you need to have forests integrated into the coffee farm right next to where the farmers are working, and the bees then fly out, and they're workers, just like the people are. On the one farm where we worked, we have measured the value of that, and it boosts yield by about 20 percent, and that led to an income boost of about $60,000 dollars per year, which really put those farmers into a good economic position.

    SAM EATON: And it's not just small farms that stand to gain from biodiversity. Costa Rica is the largest pineapple producer in the world, but a vast monocrop like this is extremely vulnerable to costly pest infestations, which are becoming more severe with climate change. Most farms use huge amounts of pesticides to control the outbreaks.

    But this farm is using trees instead, offering a window into how even large-scale industrial agriculture can benefit from working with nature, rather than against it.

    Jennifer Monge manages the B Jimenez farm in northern Costa Rica. She says keeping half the land in forest provides a natural pest barrier, as well as creating a cooler microclimate, which protects the pineapples from damaging heat waves and drought.

    JENNIFER MONGE, Manager, B Jimenez Farm: So we have been able to increase our yield without touching the forest. We have increased our efficiency in managing pests, and we have increased our overall productivity without increasing our work force.

    SAM EATON: Yields on this pineapple farm are higher than average and the farm is profitable.

    Gretchen Daily says examples like these are proof that the model is scalable.

    GRETCHEN DAILY: The idea in the past has been that to have really high yield, you have to blitz it clean and just plant a monoculture of pineapple or sugarcane or coffee or whatever it is.

    But what we're finding today is that, actually, you can sustain really high yield and pretty high biodiversity in these new really smart production systems that are economically attractive as well.

    SAM EATON: With two-thirds of our crops worldwide depending on some form of pollination, Daily says more and more farms, large and small, will need to integrate nature, and, if they don't, the drive to produce more food could wipe out our greatest asset for adapting to the challenges of the future.

    GRETCHEN DAILY: And so the magic, I think, in the future to get us out of the crisis we face now, with all of these intense pressures on land, with us catapulting to nine billion people on the planet, diets shifting more towards meat, climate change unfolding in ways that we can't really predict, and other things, the magic is going to come in figuring out how to value nature in our decisions, how to see nature as an asset, a natural asset that can be the engine of human development in the coming century.

    SAM EATON: Perhaps a good place to start, she says, is by seeing nature not as something separate from us, to be preserved and protected, but as an integral part of our daily lives, and, ultimately, of our survival as a species.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You can find links to our partners stories in the “Food for 9 Billion” series on our website. And, tomorrow, we will look at the struggle for water in booming Qatar. 


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Now to the U.S. relationship with China and a look at what was and wasn't accomplished at the weekend summit between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    Jeffrey Brown reports.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Outwardly, at least, there was an air of California casual at the two-day summit in Palm Springs between Presidents Obama and Xi.

    At one point on Saturday, the two men took a nearly hour-long walk, ditching jackets, ties and advisers. Still, there were no breakthroughs on the issue topping the agenda: U.S. accusations of wide-ranging cyber-attacks by China. Last month, a confidential Pentagon report charged Chinese hackers had stolen design data on more than two dozen American weapons systems, including an advanced Patriot missile system and the F-35 joint strike fighter.

    Aides say President Obama confronted Xi with specific evidence. In public, though, the language was measured.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We're going to have to work very hard to build a system of defenses and protections, both in the private sector and in the public sector, even as we negotiate with other countries around setting up a common rules of the road.

    PRESIDENT XI JINPING, China: We need to pay close attention to this issue and study ways to effectively resolve this issue. And this matter can actually be an area for China and the United States to work together with each other in a pragmatic way.

    JEFFREY BROWN: On other issues, the two presidents did agree to work on reducing production of powerful greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons. And they joined in speaking against a nuclear-armed North Korea.

    China has criticized Pyongyang for recent threats South Korea and the U.S. And, on Sunday, just a day after the Obama-Xi summit, North Korea held its first official talks with South Korea in two years. A higher-level round of talks is set for Wednesday.

    JEFFREY BROWN: More now from Douglas Paal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He's a former National Security Council staffer and State Department official. And retired Army Col. Larry Wortzel is a commissioner on the congressionally chartered U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He's also a former military attaché to China.

    Larry Wortzel, let me start with you.

    And, first, just looking at the meeting itself, the optics of the two leaders walking together casually, how important is that in the broader scheme of things?

    RET. COL. LARRY WORTZEL, Commissioner, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: Well, I think that's important because it helps set the phone for how they will relate to each other and perhaps how the senior government staffs of the two countries will relate to each other. But, beyond that, not a lot was accomplished here.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, Doug Paal, let me bring you in.

    Is it more at this point about fleshing out the larger relationship or about accomplishing specific things along the way?

    DOUGLAS PAAL, Former National Security Council Official: It's very much about the larger relationship.

    The United States and China, like rising power and the established powers of history, are coming into greater conflict, very -- much more friction between the two of them as China's power grows and extends into America's traditional spheres of influence.

    How to manage that, to keep it from becoming out of control and into conflict is a big challenge. Mr. Xi Jinping is coming in for a 10-year tenure of office, by all expectations. Getting him early to think about these big issues and to put before him those big issues, our ambitions and our fears, in a kind of quiet setting, is a way to sort of shape China's responses to this developing situation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But, when you say big issues, you mean the big issue of the relationship between the two, as opposed to, say, cyber-spying?

    DOUGLAS PAAL: Well, cyber and spying are part of -- it's a big and important part of it.

    But we also have our navies floating nearby their navies. We have intelligence aircrafts and ships near the Chinese coast. We have got important territorial disputes between China and its neighbors. And we have the big issue of North Korea nuclear proliferation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Larry Wortzel, come in on that. Are you suggesting that we should be pushing more on something like cyber-spying, and not worry so much about how that impacts the larger relationship?

    LARRY WORTZEL: Well, I think how we push an issue is important.

    But, quite frankly, Xi Jinping laid down a number of very strong markers that highlighted where we disagree, on sovereignty in the Senkaku islands, on U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and issues relating to China's sovereignty. And, his foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, made it very clear that, although China may agree that in the long term the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearized, we take very different approaches to it.

    So I think in the end what this did for Xi Jinping is to strengthen his own message at home of a strong China, strengthen his Communist Party line about China's dream, and to strengthen the idea that China is now a great power state, which was part of his press release.

    JEFFREY BROWN: I'm wondering about that, Doug Paal. Is a meeting like this, picking up on that, more important for the Chinese than it is for us?

    DOUGLAS PAAL: I doubt it's more important for them than for us.

    I think it's going to be equally important in the long run. This is an era of great interconnected issues. And we have nuclear weapons overhanging us. If we can't work our way through some of these problems, no matter how nationalistic each of our leaders has to be for his respective domestic audience, we could have a disastrous 21st century. So, it's really important to throw the Hail Mary pass, to try to make something work on this.

    We're not going to know the results of this for a while. We have had small discussions on cyber-security and on HFCs, which were in some ways positive. But the real test of this is going to be a few years from now.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What about on the North Korea issue? Did you see much movement or anything of import there?

    DOUGLAS PAAL: There's been important movement by the Chinese on the North Korean issue. Whether it amounts to anything truly substantial will take some time.

    China used to always say, our first interest is stability on the peninsula. Our second is denuclearization. They have now shifted those priorities, putting denuclearization first, which means implicitly that they were willing to go take some risk of stability to restrain North Korea's nuclear development.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Larry Wortzel, is there -- going back to the kind of larger issue here, is there a potential or a fear of coming to a kind of cold war relationship? Or is that what this is about, trying to avoid that?

    LARRY WORTZEL: Well, I mean, we're certainly in a number of areas in a competition, and to a certain extent confrontational relationship.

    I think it's useful if both leaders can back away from that. We are not going to agree on a lot of things. And I think, on the Chinese side, they're probably a little bit concerned that the tone of what came out of this gets delivered once the national security adviser changes.

    And they're probably a little concerned about what happens when we get a new U.N. ambassador who has focused on human rights.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Explain that for us a little bit, I mean, because there's a new team coming in.

    LARRY WORTZEL: There's a new team coming in.

    Now, in China, you know, you go to -- you go out to Xinjiang, you go out to the far west if you don't follow what the party line says. But in the United States, it's not unusual to have national security advisers being stronger or weaker or running off on what they think ought to be done, despite the president's guidance.

    But I am pleased to see that President Obama reinforced the importance of the rebalancing to the Pacific in his remarks about this summit.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Doug Paal, just very quickly, before we go, I do want to ask you about Edward Snowden, who we heard discussed in our earlier segment, thought to be in Hong Kong seeking asylum there. What are the chances of that, the relationship with Hong Kong and China?

    DOUGLAS PAAL: I suspect that he's getting out of Hong Kong, because he didn't realize until very recently that Hong Kong has a strong extradition arrangement with the United States.

    I don't understand how the Chinese would want to keep Snowden there. This would be a huge issue between us if they were to interfere with the extradition process. And they do have that right, but they, I think, will not exercise it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Doug Paal, Larry Wortzel, thank you both very much.

    DOUGLAS PAAL: Thank you. 


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: a glimpse inside the wild world of animal biotechnology.

    Ray Suarez has that book conversation.

    RAY SUAREZ: Glow-in-the-dark cats, goats that produce human pharmaceuticals in their milk, mutant mice engineered to have cancer or Alzheimer's disease, they may sound like science fiction, but these animals all exist today. Scientists and researchers can create animals genetically tailored to desired specifications nature never intended.

    Is it desirable just because it's possible? Are there ethical boundaries that must be watched?

    Emily Anthes is author of "Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts."

    And she joins me now.

    And your book is chock full of moral mine fields, the whys, the whens, the when-it's-OKs to do these things. Had you realized how far along this science was when you started on this journey?

    EMILY ANTHES, Author, "Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts": I had some idea about what was going on in university and scientific laboratories.

    I knew scientists were tinkering with genes and brains, but it surprised me how far along this technology was in terms of trickling out to the public, that you can now buy a glow-in-the-dark genetically engineered pet or remote-control a cockroach with a kit you can buy online. That was really surprised to me.

    RAY SUAREZ: Now, we humans have been shaping animals to our needs for thousands and thousands of years. What's different about now? Has science leapt ahead much faster than it took, for instance, to domesticate a cow?

    EMILY ANTHES: Right.

    So, if you look at something like the dog, we have altered that immensely just through breeding. But our molecular technologies allow us to make changes more quickly, to make more targeted changes. You know, we can just change one gene, instead of having to crossbreed, and also to start taking genetic material from one species and putting it into another species.

    You could never get a jellyfish and a cat to interbreed, but you can now take a jellyfish gene and put it into a cat.

    RAY SUAREZ: And that's one of the things that pulls you up short. Animals are useful. They're enjoyable. They're our companions. They're our food. And all these different categories seem to be spilling over into each other.

    Nobody contemplated, I don't think, a glow-in-the-dark cat.

    EMILY ANTHES: Right.

    And it's not something that was intended to be a pet. Scientists created it to sort of answer some basic biological research questions, but now that it exists, it could become a pet. It could be used in all sorts of different ways.

    RAY SUAREZ: Are there places where human beings almost instinctively put on the brakes, where breeding two kinds of dogs for desirable traits might be OK, but taking something out of a fish and putting it into a plant might not be OK, or out of an animal and putting it into a human might not be OK, where we haven't even really thought it through, but it just seems wrong?

    EMILY ANTHES: We have emotional responses to a lot of these developments. And I think they're particularly strong when the animal looks different.

    So there are some genetically engineered animals. You can take a gene from a spider and put it into a goat, but it still looks like a goat. But if you start getting animals like cats that glow green or cyborg insects that have wires coming out of them, I think that's a little more emotionally -- it's tougher to digest, because they look strange.

    RAY SUAREZ: Do we also have a hierarchy, unspoken, unthought-out really, where there are things that we might think it's OK to do to a cockroach, to a fish that would suddenly make us feel pretty bad if we saw somebody doing them to a horse or a dog?

    EMILY ANTHES: Absolutely. We have hugely inconsistent views towards animals.

    And some animals, our society loves: horses, dogs. Mammals and particularly primates, things that are closer to us, we generally tend to want to mess with them less than things like invertebrates, which seem foreign, and maybe we don't have as much sympathy for the insect or the cockroach.

    RAY SUAREZ: Were there times when you were doing the research, because you saw a lot of these animals one on one, where you suddenly said to yourself, I thought I was OK with this, but now I'm not so sure?

    EMILY ANTHES: One of the big ones for me -- and this is more of a thought experiment than something I actually saw -- but it's been suggested that maybe if we're going to keep eating meat, we should engineer farm animals that don't feel pain.

    And, logically, that sounds like a good idea. If we're going to be using these animals for food, then it's better for them if they don't feel pain. But there's something emotionally in me that resists that idea. It seems like maybe going a step too far. It seems like maybe it's alleviating our own unease with what we're doing.

    And I think I worry that if it gets too easy to use animals, if we eliminate our own discomfort, then maybe it will give us an excuse to do more of it. So, that's something that sort of sits uneasily with me.

    RAY SUAREZ: You walk us through the science of cloning at some detail and some length. And it turns out it takes thousands of procedures in some of the early cases to end up with one living being.

    And as we go down this frontier, there's going to be a lot of operations on a lot of animals that can't consent and can't refuse.

    EMILY ANTHES: Cloning is an incredibly inefficient procedure. And there's been some discussion about clones themselves and whether they're healthy or have defects. And there are welfare concerns there.

    But the welfare issue that doesn't get talked about much, as you point out, is to clone one person's pet dog, you have to harvest dogs -- harvest eggs from hundreds of dogs and put dozens more through these surrogate pregnancies. So there's a question about whether it's fair to enlist all of these animals in the creation of a duplicate of somebody's pet.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, as a frivolous case ...

    EMILY ANTHES: Right.

    RAY SUAREZ: ... as much as people do love their pets, but if we can stop fatal diarrhea among infants in the developing world by putting something into goat's milk, maybe that's a decent use of milk that we were going to create anyway, frankly.

    EMILY ANTHES: Absolutely.

    And that's one of the things that I really encourage people to do is that biotechnology can seem very scary when you think about it in the abstract. But when we look at individual cases on a case-by-case basis or particular applications, some of them may be more justified than others.

    And if it's a lifesaving intervention, either for animals or for humans, perhaps we can justify some of this experimentation.

    RAY SUAREZ: What's next? I mean are there some things that we're close to that are going to shock people when they come to fruition or come to market?

    EMILY ANTHES: I think the area of cyborgs is a huge growth area. And it's something scientists have done, so there are steerable cockroaches and rodents.

    But I think this meshing of the biotic and the abiotic of living and machine is really the future of biotechnology. And we're going to see a lot more animals and, frankly, humans that have electronic components integrated with their bodies.

    RAY SUAREZ: "Frankenstein's Cat."

    Emily Anthes, thanks a lot.

    EMILY ANTHES: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On our website, you can see more of Ray's conversation with the author, as well as a slide show of more of the strange creatures discussed in the book. 


    0 0

    By Nick Corcodilos

    People who market themselves as "headhunters" may not always have their clients' best interests at heart. Photo courtesy of David McNew/Getty Images.

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

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

    Question: My friends and I are successful technology types and receive calls about positions from headhunters often. We are all experiencing the following:

    The initial salary range presented is higher than the job actually pays and thus everyone's time is wasted. The recruiter then weasels out of the lie. The headhunter calls with a "hot" opportunity, gives us the details, finds out if we're interested and then tells us that interviews will be conducted very soon. We never hear about it again. Our calls go unanswered until another opportunity comes up and the process starts all over again. The headhunter asks if we will interview, but he doesn't know any specifics about the job, like what the company specializes in or what technologies they use.

    Are these really legitimate positions? Why don't headhunters take the time to research the position in order to convince the candidate to pursue the opportunity? Why don't they return our calls or explain what happened to the "hot" position? Do they really think we will recommend other candidates when they are so unreliable and inconsistent with their stories?

    What's going on? We don't have time to waste talking about positions that don't exist, or to interview for positions not in our specified salary range. Many thanks for your input!

    Nick Corcodilos: Good headhunters do all the proper things you describe. The rest are charlatans and their behaviors are ruses. This is just one kind of career racket in today's difficult employment market. Most "headhunters" are no better than most personnel jockeys: They are ignorant of their own business, they don't understand the jobs they're trying to fill, their strategy is to "dial for dollars" and they lose their credibility quickly.

    You must understand two things. First, the cost of entry into the headhunting business is so low that anyone -- and I mean anyone -- can give it a shot. All it takes is a cell phone and access to some databases. Although there are some good headhunters out there, the business attracts the kinds of scammers you and your friends have encountered.

    Second, turnover in most headhunting firms is very high because the level of training is so low. Many new headhunters -- I shiver to even call them that -- simply don't know how to do their jobs. The experiences you've had are the result. You have hit the nail on the head. Refuse to have your time wasted.

    MORE FROM NICK CORCODILOS: Ask The Headhunter: Never, Ever Disclose Your Salary to an Employer

    One way to avoid problems is to grill all headhunters. Play hardball. Ask for references, such as clients and candidates they have matched. Tell the headhunter that if she doesn't call you back when she says she will, her name will be mud among your associates. Insist on details about the job, or do not provide details about yourself. A legitimate headhunter will smile and cooperate. The rest aren't worth worrying about.

    Don't worry that you are missing out on opportunities. Fast-buck artists who talk a good line, make little sense and don't keep promises aren't headhunters. They're in business only to make a buck and most of them don't know the first thing about dealing with the professional community in which they recruit. Heck, most don't even recruit -- they copy and paste resumes. So, make them earn their money!

    (To any "headhunters" out there, if this describes you, don't send me your complaints. You get no sympathy from me for treating candidates like this.)

    Good headhunters will treat you with respect and they will do what they say they're going to do. It really is that simple. One of my favorite articles on this topic is by Joe Borer: "How to Judge a Headhunter."

    The purpose of Ask The Headhunter is to teach people how to be their own headhunters -- even when they're not actively seeking a job -- and to cut out the middle man when necessary. But when you meet a good headhunter, you'll know it. He's worth your patience and your attention because he'll treat you with respect and help you negotiate a deal like you never could on your own.

    Headhunters that behave poorly are just the tip of an iceberg in the employment industry. While there are some good career coaches and counselors, recruiters and employment agencies that you will find through their satisfied clients, there are far more unscrupulous practitioners that will waste your time and money.

    Perhaps the worst scam is the "career marketing firm" that wants thousands of dollars up front to find you a job. I recently published a new PDF book titled "Fearless Job Hunting: Avoid Employment Scams, Ruses & Rackets." To download a chapter about how to protect yourself, click here: "Career Help: Don't Get Suckered." There is no cost and you will not be asked to provide any personal information.

    Be careful out there: Desperate job hunters easily fall prey to scams they would otherwise walk away from. Expect respect and keep your standards high.

    If you've encountered questionable employment practices, I'd like to hear about them. Please post in the comments section below.

    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


    Loading...
    0 0

    Protestors rally for Congress to pass immigration reform in Homestead, Fla. in May. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    The Morning Line

    For the first time in nearly six years the Senate will hold a pair of votes Tuesday on a sweeping overhaul of the country's immigration system.

    The legislation, negotiated by a bipartisan group of eight senators and approved last month by the Judiciary Committee, would bolster border security efforts and create a 13-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the country.

    The two procedural votes slated for Tuesday afternoon will determine whether lawmakers are able to move forward with debate on the proposal. Supporters of the plan are hoping for a different outcome than June 2007 when the Senate fell seven votes shy of the 60 needed to proceed to final debate on a bipartisan compromise.

    Erica Werner of the Associated Press wrote in her curtain-raiser ahead of Tuesday's votes that both measures "were expected to succeed by comfortable margins, because even some senators with deep misgivings about the immigration bill said the issue deserved a Senate debate."

    The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, are among the Republicans expected to vote in favor of proceeding with the bill, but notes they face tough choices when it comes to whether they will back the plan in its final form.

    President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks Tuesday morning "reiterating his strong support for commonsense reform legislation," according to a White House official. The official added the president "will again praise the bipartisan progress that continues to be made in the Senate."

    Mr. Obama will be joined at the event by members of the law enforcement community, business and labor leaders, and elected officials from both parties.

    Watch the full remarks of the president:

    Watch Video

    The New York Times' Ashley Parker highlights some of the most significant amendments being offered to the bill, including one from Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn called "RESULTS":

    Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, has signaled that he plans to introduce a measure that would require several border security triggers -- including a 90 percent apprehension rate of illegal crossings -- to be met before undocumented immigrants could transition to lawful permanent residence, or green card, status. His amendment also would require putting into place a biometric exit system and a nationwide electronic-verification system, to ensure employers are not hiring workers who are in the country illegally.

    Democratic senators in the bipartisan group of eight that drafted the legislation, as well as immigration advocates, seized on the provisions as logistically unfeasible hurdles that could delay indefinitely a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. Speaking Sunday on Univision, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, warned that Mr. Cornyn's amendment was "a poison pill."

    Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Mr. Cornyn said, "The true poison pill would be the failure to take sensible measures by adopting measures like mine which are designed to solve the problem."

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the so-called "Gang of Eight" that crafted the legislation, has warned that the border security provisions currently in the bill need to be strengthened in order to boost conservative support for the proposal in both the Senate and the Republican-controlled House. The challenge there will be addressing the concerns of Republicans without turning off Democrats who believe the provisions make the process too onerous on immigrants.

    Proponents of reform are pushing for an overwhelming final vote to ramp up pressure on House lawmakers to act on the Senate version. Reid said last week that his chamber will finish work on the measure before the July 4 holiday recess.

    House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that he remained optimistic Congress could produce a bill by the end of 2013.

    "I think, no question, by the end of the year we could have a bill. No question," Boehner said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

    DRIP, DRIP, DRIP

    At first the question arose whether Edward Snowden should be dubbed "leaker" or "whistleblower." Now, into the second week of conversation about the National Security Agency's Internet and phone call data-tracking programs Snowden exposed, he gets the term "traitor."

    The latest official to use that charged moniker is House Speaker Boehner, in his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

    "The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk," Boehner said. "It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it's a giant violation of the law."

    On Monday, Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein called Snowden's NSA leaks an "act of treason."

    Indeed, the federal government is at work investigating Snowden's actions as the Justice Department prepares to file charges. Formal charges would help the Justice Department extradite Snowden, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, back to the United States, the New York Times says.

    A public opinion poll from the Washington Post/Pew Research Center on Monday showed less sympathy with Snowden than support for the government program. While 41 percent of Americans disapprove of the data surveillance practices, 56 percent think the NSA's accessing of phone records is "acceptable."

    Thousands, however, have voiced support for Snowden's actions. A petition on the White House website asking for his pardon has more than 40,000 signatures. Libertarian leader and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who Snowden supported for president in 2012, thanked the intelligence worker for pushing government transparency. Paul released a statement on the website Campaign for Liberty Monday:

    "The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret."

    On Monday's NewsHour, senior correspondent Judy Woodruff spoke with a former director of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, who argued Snowden is not a credible source and who defended the security practices.

    Watch that here or below:

    Watch Video

    And Gwen Ifill spoke with former Rep. Jane Harman, who is now president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and writer James Bamford.

    Watch their discussion report here or below:

    Watch Video

    LINE ITEMS

    The Obama administration has withdrawn its appeal to a U.S. District Judge's order to make Plan B One-Step contraceptive pills available to women of all ages over the counter.

    The Senate on Monday passed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill on a bipartisan 66 to 27 vote. The measure, which expands government subsidies for crop insurance and makes cuts to the food stamp program, faces uncertain prospects in the House, which is working on its own proposal that would implement even deeper reductions.

    Four Democrats and two Republicans have filed to run in the Senate special party primaries in New Jersey on Aug. 13. The Democrats include Newark Mayor Cory Booker, state assembly speaker Sheila Oliver, and Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone. Conservative activist Steve Lonegan and physician Alieta Eck are the two Republicans.

    A poll released Monday by Suffolk University found Democratic Rep. Ed Markey leading Republican Gabriel Gomez 48 percent to 41 percent in the race for the Massachusetts Senate special election on June 25.

    The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously approved the nominations of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be Secretary of Transportation and Penny Pritzker to be Secretary of Commerce on Monday. Their nominations now go to the full Senate for a vote.

    Bloomberg points out that "the Snowdens are a government family."

    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., will meet with families of the Newton, Conn., shooting on Thursday. Sandy Hook Promise is deploying families to the Hill to mark the six-month anniversary of the shooting and resurrect momentum on background check legislation.

    Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley is expected to announce Tuesday that he's forming an exploratory committee to run for Illinois governor.

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell ducked into an elevator Monday to dodge questions about a federal grand jury investigation into gifts he and his family have received, giving Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine an opportunity to urge state lawmakers to tighten restrictions on gifts.

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is facing fallout in his reelection effort from the Penn State child sex abuse scandal and the firing of long-time football coach Joe Paterno, Tom Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

    Former Republican consultant and pioneer of the political tipsheet Doug Bailey has died.

    And the first woman to represent Nevada -- former GOP Rep. Barbara Vucanovich -- died Monday at 91.

    "Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD..." Hillary Clinton is now on Twitter.

    Just in case you're in the mood to peruse all the charts used as props in Congressional speeches, William Gray of CSPAN has you covered.

    And don't miss the Tumblr "Obama is checking your email."

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    Jeffrey Brown looks at the U.S.-China relationship following last weekend's summit between Mr. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    In her new book, "Frankenstein's Cat," writer Emily Anthes explores the sometimes wild and weird outcomes when scientists experiment on animals with biotechnology.

    A world with fewer trees is bad for your health, NewsHour's Jason Kane reports.

    On our Making Sen$e page, social security expert Larry Kotlikoff stresses the advantages of waiting until age 70 to collect the maximum Social Security benefits.

    TOP TWEETS

    Thanks for the inspiration @asmith83& @sllambe - I'll take it from here... #tweetsfromhillary

    — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 10, 2013

    Welcome to Twitter @hillaryclinton!

    — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) June 10, 2013

    I'm looking forward to following @hillaryclinton and the #TBD. #tweetsfromhillary

    — Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) June 10, 2013

    my sister is living the dream. just ya know, running into VP Biden on Amtrak and getting a selfie. twitter.com/robinec/status...

    — robinec (@robinec) June 10, 2013

    Sessions making a really sad face #gangof8tattoos

    — Elise Foley (@elisefoley) June 10, 2013

    Looking forward to watching Tim Tebow watch the Patriots this fall.

    — Tim Siedell (@badbanana) June 10, 2013

    Here at #QP with a U.S. visitor -@cbellantoni from @newshour. Feel free to impress her, MPs. #cdnpoli

    — Susan Delacourt (@SusanDelacourt) June 10, 2013

    Christina Bellantoni, Simone Pathe and desk assistant Mallory Sofastaii contributed to this report.

    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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

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

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    Follow @cbellantoni

    Follow @burlijFollow @kpolantzFollow @elizsummersFollow @tiffanymullonFollow @meenaganesanFollow @ljspbs

    Support Your Local PBS Station

    //

    0 0

    Researchers in Qatar are trying new techniques to grow food, such as pumping carbon dioxide into greenhouses and using drip irrigation in sandy plant beds.


    Read more: Coaxing Food From One of the World's Driest Places

    Vegetable Market

    A small desert country, Qatar imports more than 90 percent of its food and desalinates 99 percent of its water. Researchers are trying out new techniques to grow food, such as pumping carbon dioxide into greenhouses and using drip irrigation in sandy plant beds.

    Here, sellers display imported vegetables at the wholesale market in Doha. Photo: Jon Miller/Homelands Productions

    Pilot Facility

    In order to address the lack of water and generally harsh environment for growing food, Qatar’s national fertilizer company -- with additional investment from Norway’s Yara International -- provided land to build the Sahara Forest Project pilot facility.

    Spokespeople for both companies say the idea is not to find new markets for petroleum-based fertilizer, but to plan for a future beyond fossil fuels. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Greenhouse Innovations

    The air in this seawater-cooled greenhouse is enriched with carbon dioxide from the fertilizer factory next door. This makes the plants grow faster while lowering the factory’s greenhouse gas emissions. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Evaporation

    Salt water drips through cardboard honeycombs, providing cooling and humidity for the greenhouses. The same technology is used to cool outside areas. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Solar Array

    This concentrated solar power array uses curved mirrors to intensify the sun’s heat, powering a thermal desalination unit. In a larger facility, the array could be used to generate electricity. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Desalination

    A thermal desalination unit transforms seawater into fresh water for drinking and watering plants. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Wind Barriers

    Open-cell cardboard walls serve as “hedges,” slowing the wind and providing shade and moisture for shrubs and grasses. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Cucumber Flowers

    Cucumbers are the Sahara Forest Project’s first test crop, but anything that can grow in a modern hydroponic greenhouse should be able to grow here. The system uses fertilizer but no pesticides. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Barley Grows

    Barley grows in the sand, thanks in part to drip irrigation. Researchers are experimenting with using this method on a range of agricultural crops. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Desert Plant

    Researchers also are encouraging the native plants to grow. Desert plants provide food, fodder, biofuel and create their own ecosystems. Photo: Elsa Naumann/Sahara Forest Project

    Full-scale Facility

    An artist’s rendering shows a full-scale commercial facility. The project’s designers say the concept should work in any low-altitude desert area near a large source of salt water. Photo: Courtesy of Sahara Forest Project


    0 0

    Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., says ignoring the cuts set to take effect under sequestration would be a mistake. Photo by Alex Wong/ Getty Images.

    The $85 billion cut in federal spending known as sequestration continues to migrate slowly through the government. But the cuts, taking effect over the next four months, for the most part seem to have been forgotten by the public and the press.

    Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall says ignoring the growing cuts would be a mistake.

    "My concern is we might get the opposite of compound interest. We're all told to invest now and be patient and you see your assets' value increase -- sometimes exponentially. I worry that there's a tipping point with sequestration where the cuts suddenly add up to more than the sum of the parts," Udall told the NewsHour in a phone interview last Wednesday.

    "I don't want to be standing here -- or in Colorado maybe even more importantly -- on Oct. 1 saying, 'I told you so. We should have acted. We now see the effects of these cuts.'"

    There are no official figures on how much of the required reductions have occurred so far but the bulk of the sequestration cuts haven't been made yet. Udall says they're coming.

    "You don't have to look very far, at ... the effect that sequestration would have on the national parks, the military -- we're looking at over half a million civilian employees being furloughed 11 days starting July 8, " Udall said.

    "Given the fragile economy we have and the nascent signs of recovery, it just seems to me we ought to think and act more like a businesswoman would, which is to target your cuts, not do them across the board in this simplistic, blunt way."

    Udall said that is "the whole point" of legislation he and Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins co-authored. The measure aims to give all federal agencies the kind of relief from sequestration's across-the-board mandate Congress recently gave the Federal Aviation Administration, which allowed it to avoid planned furloughs of air traffic controllers that would have snarled air travel. Udall was a chief negotiator of the FAA deal.

    But he says many in Congress seem to believe other pending cuts -- including to programs for the needy -- can be absorbed and no budget flexibility is necessary.

    "That's really the narrative here," Udall said. "At home, when I do visit agencies that provide for the social safety net whether it's Meals-on-Wheels to name one or -- not a social safety net but an investment in the future in Head Start -- increasingly the looks on people's faces are of deep concern."

    Giving such programs flexibility to shift funds, even in the four months that remain before the fiscal year ends in October, would preserve funding of important services, according to Udall.

    "We're talking tens of millions of dollars overall. And those dollars at some point really do make a difference in people's lives," he said.

    Udall says he gets a sympathetic hearing from top Senate appropriators who must approve his plan.

    But his bill's prospects are complicated by the fact that giving agency heads the power to move money around to save critical programs means Congress would need to release its jealously guarded authority to legislate -- line by line -- what federal agencies spend.

    "Those are legitimate concerns," says Udall, "[Appropriators] want to protect Congress's oversight and power of the purse."

    For now, the focus in Washington is not on the sequestration cuts that remain this fiscal year but on fixing sequestration -- which remains the law until it's changed -- next fiscal year and beyond.

    President Barack Obama still hopes to reach a broad budget deal with Congressional Republicans that includes raising the federal borrowing limit and fixing sequestration long term.

    Udall's push: Fix sequestration now.

    "I disagree tactically with the administration on how they ought to be responding to sequestration. I think we ought to make these changes under Udall-Collins. And there's still plenty of reason to sit down and do the bigger deal that has to be done," he says.

    I asked Udall, still an avid mountain climber at 62, if his fight makes him feel like he's facing one of his more arduous climbs.

    "I do," he said, "Although often times when you're on a mountain, whether a medium-sized mountain or a high mountain like some I climbed in Asia, you generally get a view of the summit. So you know what your goal is, you know your ultimate destination. Some days here in Washington, it seems like it's perpetually cloudy."

    Support Your Local PBS Station

    //

    0 0

    View Slide Show

    See how the harsh environment in Qatar is made more adaptable to growing fruits and vegetables.

    In the small Middle Eastern country of Qatar, where fresh water is scarce and most food is imported, scientists are testing ways to grow vegetables that use more greenhouse gases than they produce.

    Simply removing the salt from seawater to make it drinkable and useful in agriculture takes an enormous amount of energy and money.

    So in 2012, with backing from Qatar's national fertilizer company and additional investment from Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara International, the newly formed Sahara Forest Project built a $7.5 million pilot site next to an ammonia plant near Doha.

    There, scientists and engineers are building systems where waste products from one component are used to fuel another. For example, seawater runs through cardboard panels to cool the air in a greenhouse where cucumbers grow and carbon dioxide is pumped in from the factory next door to make the plants grow faster.

    Jon Miller of Homelands Productions reports on the project in the next installment of the "Food for 9 Billion" series airing on Tuesday's PBS NewsHour:

    Watch Video

    Watch Monday's report on Costa Rica's efforts to increase biodiversity in farming.

    The "Food for 9 Billion" series is a PBS NewsHour collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting, Public Radio International's The World, American Public Media's Marketplace and Homelands Productions.

    Follow @NewsHourWorld

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    An installation of handmade bones was laid out on the National Mall to protest genocide. The effort was organized by One Million Bones. Photo by Simone Pathe.

    For 48 hours, the grass on the National Mall disappeared underneath a sea of white and grey "bones," a symbolic mass grave on the footsteps of the U.S. Capitol. The One Million Bones project is a public art installation created to protest genocide and raise awareness of ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Burma and Somalia.

    Installation artist and activist Naomi Natale conceived of the project in 2009 while the violence in Sudan was unfolding. She was reading Philip Gourevitch's well-known recounting of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families."

    "I felt moved to make the reality of what was being described [in the book into] something we in the United States could see," Natale told the PBS NewsHour. One Million Bones embodies what Natale called "the art of the uncomfortable and the inconvenient."

    Partnering with poet Susan McAllister in her hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., Natale founded Art of Revolution, a nonprofit dedicated to using art for social change, and began organizing One Million Bones locally. From there, they branched out to New Orleans and began coordinating with 2,000 schools around the country, encouraging teachers to incorporate education about genocide and bone-making workshops into their curriculum.

    "Art allows for a connection on an emotional level," says Natale.

    Made of clay, plaster, paper and other materials, bones were handmade by people from all 50 states and over 30 countries. Some biodegradable bones were crafted in honor of supporters who donated to One Million Bone's activist partners, including the Enough Project and CARE.

    One Million Bones has held smaller installations: 50,000 bones covered a downtown block of Albuquerque in August 2011, and blanketed New Orleans' Congo Square in April 2012.

    Their end goal was always to bring a "visible petition" to the National Mall, where volunteers, dressed in white, laid out the bones in 16 sections early Saturday morning.

    "We don't know if the bones are male, female, Jew[ish] or Tutsi," said Congolese activist Neema Namadamu, speaking to assembled volunteers and the normal Mall traffic -- joggers and tourists whose curiosity made them pause.

    Despite the symbolism and scale of the installation, volunteers were upbeat, hoping their activism would help spur the international community and the U.S. to live up to the mantra "never again."

    Former UN envoy to Sudan Dr. Mukesh Kapila reflected on genocide as a crime all humans are capable of committing in his keynote address on Saturday. Despite all the optimism, "there will be more bones," he said.

    "This great nation was started by genocide," he reminded the dwindling crowd as the setting sun cast a warm glow on the white of the lawn and the Capitol dome.

    As organizers collect the bones and lawmakers return to work, will the installation have had an effect? Natale thinks so. After a day of educational seminars on the Mall, volunteers prepared to "take a bone to Congress" on Monday, having scheduled more than 70 meetings on Capitol Hill.


    Loading...
    0 0

    Watch Video

    Chief legal officer David Drummond defends Google's response to the government's national security requests for information.

    In his first U.S. television interview since the latest news broke of the government's surveillance program, Google's chief legal officer David Drummond told PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown on Tuesday that the company has given the U.S. government information on only a "tiny fraction" of its hundreds of millions of users.

    The interview airs on Tuesday's NewsHour broadcast.

    The Washington Post reported Thursday that the National Security Agency and FBI were accessing user content and connection logs at nine U.S. Internet companies, including Google and Facebook, in a program that was code-named PRISM.

    Google and Facebook have denied the government had "direct access" to their servers.

    In his interview with the NewsHour, Drummond insisted that Google "never received anything as broad" a request from the U.S. government as was suggested in earlier published reports.

    Drummond told Brown that the reporting on the issue has left the "serious misimpression" that Google is allowing the government unfettered access to its servers and even attaching equipment to extract information.

    In reality, he said, Google hands over information in response to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court-ordered requests after its legal team thoroughly reviews them.

    On Tuesday, Google sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller asking permission to publish in its transparency reports the number of times it has been requested to hand over information to the government and the scope of its compliance. The company wrote:

    "Google's numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide."

    When asked if Google ever turns down the requests, Drummond said: "We are willing to push back if something is overly broad."

    Drummond also said Google has complied in the past with requests for data from governments in others countries, but only under the terms of protocols established by international treaties and laws.

    Related Coverage

    June 10: What Should Be Up for Public Debate When It Comes to Secret Surveillance?

    June 10: NSA Contractor Edward Snowden Is Source of Leak on U.S. Surveillance Programs

    June 7: Mass Collection of Communication Data Speeds Inquiries, Prompts Privacy Debate

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    Watch Video Professor Ronald Stockton is happy leading his classes on long hikes through the cemeteries of metro Detroit. He'll only retire when he can no longer inspire his eager students at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Ronald Stockton has been teaching political science and international relations for decades at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. But rather than sit at his desk, this septuagenarian slips on boots and a wide-brimmed hat and leads his students through hours-long walking tours of the area's historic graveyards.

    These tours, he hopes, will teach his students more about the area's -- and their own -- history. Many of his students are Muslim with Arab genealogy.

    "Living in Detroit, there's a very large and old Muslim population," he said in his office on a rainy morning last fall. "When we think of Muslims we tend to think of Arabs, and in Detroit that means people mostly from Lebanon or Iraq.

    "But then you discover there are Albanians and people from Afghanistan who were here 100 years ago. And from India and Pakistan and China -- Chinese Muslims. You see people from all around the world that are here and you suddenly realize how complex and amazingly interesting this community is."

    Why does the 72-year-old continue to work long past when he could have retired?

    "I feel I'm doing good. If I think I'm not really relating to my students and they're not learning from me then I'm not going to do this just out of vanity. I've always said that I'll know it's time to retire when I tell a joke in class and it doesn't work because I know I'm losing my class."

    PBS NewsHour profiled Dr. Stockton as part of an in-depth look at the so-called "death of retirement": folks who are working well past the "traditional" retirement age due to a variety of factors. We've already introduced you to Babs Tatialas and Mike Kemp. Stay tuned when we launch our interactive project, "New Adventures for Older Workers" Wednesday.

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    Watch Video

    What if government paid for the information it collected on its citizens? Jaron Lanier, widely regarded as the father of virtual reality and the author of "Who Owns the Future?", suggests that would be one step toward balancing the exploitative nature of the free technology that's making society more unequal. Paul Solman recently sat down with Lanier. You can watch their full interview -- soon to air on The PBS NewsHour -- above. Below is a separate excerpt from their conversation.

    Jaron Lanier: I love Silicon Valley. [But] one of the things that really pisses me off about what we're doing is that there's only one business plan now for digital networking, which is you gather information about people, in order to manipulate them.

    Being able to use the biggest computers to calculate money out of the rest of the world by manipulating it creates the greatest fortunes in history instantly. It's also the financial schemes -- the schemes that do high frequency trading, that bundle derivatives in complicated ways, that couldn't have been done without computer networks.

    Also, I think, in a way, it's the National Intelligence Agency. And I think a lot of people have doubts about whether they can trust government agencies indefinitely with all that information about what everybody's doing, but if the government had to pay people for information gathered from them, that would create a sense of balance.

    See, I think one of the problems with making information free -- we think of it as this sort of hippie-like thing that's good for grassroots activists or something, but it also means that the government can spy for free, and I don't think the government should be able to do anything for free.

    Paul Solman: But you're not just talking about street corner surveillance cameras, you're talking about any computer network that extracts information from me.

    Jaron Lanier: Right. So what we have right now is thousands of big computers around the world creating dossiers on all of us to try and manipulate us in one way or another, sometime, somehow in the future. If they have to pay us for that information, that would be a more effective way of moderating what they do than to try to have privacy laws, because that stuff is never enforceable and it's impossible for the law to move fast enough to keep up with programmers.

    Paul Solman: But how do you force a computer network to pay me for something that they've already extracted for years for free?

    Jaron Lanier: Look, it used to be that people got free land in the American Midwest, and then we started to have a real estate market instead. This transition has happened before, and it will happen again.

    I think having it come about will require political genius; it will require a bit of luck; it won't be any easier than it was in the physical world, but I don't think it's necessarily any harder, either.

    Paul Solman: But it would entail, I would think, rules and regulations that would coerce the computer networks to pay us for what we're giving them.

    Jaron Lanier: Rules and regulations are important but they can't be the primary thing that holds a society together. What has to hold a society together is a structure that supports a social contract that people voluntarily like. So let me explain what I mean by that. First of all, there's a technical side to it. Right now, we've technically designed our network so that it forgets where everything came from, and I don't want to go over this too technically, but we can have a link to something, but there isn't a link backwards.

    So, for instance, somebody can link to your mortgage and leverage it, but you don't know who's leveraged your mortgage. So that idea of one-way linking is how we lose our value in the first place. If we just changed the network design technically, that would transform things. If you knew who was leveraging you, then you could invest in who leveraged you -- see what I mean? So all of a sudden that would open up things quite a lot.

    Paul Solman: So if people like me knew what all the cookies on our computers were doing, and whom they were serving, and how they were being sold, that would change the power relationship?

    Jaron Lanier: That's right. Right now, we create information asymmetry on the network, because you can point at something, but that thing doesn't know it's being pointed at. And that was a huge technical decision that was made at the birth of the Web. Before then, we always assumed networks would have two-way links. I know this is a little technical. But the fact that you only have a one-way link means that somebody can leverage your mortgage and you don't know it. But if you did know it, then homeowners could invest in whoever was leveraging them and cancel out the effects of being overleveraged.

    Paul Solman: Or they could apply political pressure.

    Jaron Lanier: Or you could use political pressure, whatever it is. But the point is it would become known who was doing what if we had two-way links, and that would become the basis for knowing where value was really moving around in the network.

    Once we do have visibility into what's going on, I think it creates the potential for what we call a social contract, or what you can call the golden rule of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This is what I always tell students: It's not that hard, really, to break into cars or houses, but the reason we don't do it much is not so much that we are confident we could get caught -- it's not so much fear of the police -- it's that don't want to live in a society where that happens a lot. We like living in a society where cars and houses aren't broken into a lot. It's the golden rule, and that has to take hold online.

    And that's much, much more important than enforcement and regulations, and laws and police and all that. All that stuff can cover, like, 5 percent of the population. Ninety-five percent of people have to buy into a social contract to make it viable, and I think they will when they see that it's the source of their own wealth.

    Paul Solman: So, I've been naive when I have, for a number of years now, thought: free is good; free is communal; free may be the way of the future.

    Jaron Lanier: Well, listen, I've also been naive. I've been naive for longer than almost anybody on exactly that point. I was part of the first generation of people to think about what's now called "open culture," which is the thing I'm now opposing, and I made up a lot of the rhetoric that people bring up to oppose what I'm saying now.

    There was a time that I really thought that making information free and open would benefit everybody, and I just neglected to think through that whoever has the biggest computer would then dominate everyone else by being able to do more with that information. And I saw that coming about in a very real way, where people in the music business that I really loved were really suffering as it got digitized.

    Like, I saw real people who shouldn't have suffered suffer, and I wasn't willing to take the attitude: Well, to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. I just was not willing to do that. You know, if people are suffering in our utopia, it's the wrong utopia. And I really do believe that more and more people will come to see that suffering is real and this open ideal is not working.

    Paul Solman: An author friend of mine and I argue about this. She rants against all the free blogs; I say they are wonderful. And she says: no, "free" is depriving a whole class of people of a way to make a living.

    Jaron Lanier: Well, you know, I'm worried about something even a little deeper than people not making a living.

    Wealth does concentrate around whoever has the biggest computer. And that, in turn, screws up our politics, because it turns into so much wealth concentration that we create what our founders called an aristocracy around the biggest computers.

    This is not new for digital networks, it's just that digital networks make this problem much more acute because we can act stupidly with such efficiency these days.

    Paul Solman: When you say stupid, you mean it's stupid long term because if you concentrate wealth in a few hands, that's not a sustainable society.

    Jaron Lanier: Right. So, to have a sustainable society, and I mean that both economically and politically, you need to have a broad enough distribution of benefits that there's sort of a middle class hump that can outspend the elite -- that's what creates a stable democracy, but that middle class hump is also where all the investors come from. It's also where all of the customers come from. If you don't have that, an elite by itself eventually becomes fragile and falls apart anyway. So, even for the elite, it's to their long term benefit to make sure that the whole is healthy.

    Paul Solman: But why can't the moneyed elites just buy everyone off -- I mean, kind of like ancient Rome: bread and circuses. Virtual reality -- seriously! Plug everybody in, give them enough to eat, keep them warm -- nobody's freezing in America, nobody's starving...

    Jaron Lanier: I sometimes wonder if that's what we're headed towards. One of the things I've thought about is that some of my friends who've become very wealthy through using digital networking, wealthier than anybody else in history, actually, they're very interested in funding exotic medical research that might make them live a very long time, or be immortal. But meanwhile, there's also this funding of sort of fake immortality, where you create media effects or sort of fake ghosts of people who've died, so that other people can interact with them as if they're still alive.

    I sometimes wonder if we are headed towards this two tier society of a small number of immortals that are descendants of people who have the biggest computers today, and everybody else kind of churning through these sort of fake experiences of interacting with dead loved ones and that sort of thing.

    Paul Solman: It's possible.

    Jaron Lanier: It's possible. Interestingly, that was exactly the future foreseen in HG Wells' novel "The Time Machine" in the late 19th century.

    Paul Solman: And Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"; all kinds of science fiction.

    Jaron Lanier: Science fiction as a genre was more or less invented because this possibility was foreseen in the 19th century. The idea of the left and Marxism, as well as science fiction, are both cultural inventions to deal with exactly the possibility that we seem to be hurtling towards. But I personally don't believe that the elite would be able to survive all by itself in a little island, no matter how powerfully it's defended. I think it would fall apart as it always has.

    This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions. Follow @paulsolman

    Support Your Local PBS Station


    0 0

    By Paul Solman

    Watch Video

    What if government paid for the information it collected on its citizens? Jaron Lanier, widely regarded as the father of virtual reality and the author of "Who Owns the Future?", suggests that would be one step toward balancing the exploitative nature of the free technology that's making society more unequal. Paul Solman recently sat down with Lanier. You can watch their full interview -- soon to air on The PBS NewsHour -- above. Below is a separate excerpt from their conversation.

    Jaron Lanier: I love Silicon Valley. [But] one of the things that really pisses me off about what we're doing is that there's only one business plan now for digital networking, which is you gather information about people, in order to manipulate them.

    Being able to use the biggest computers to calculate money out of the rest of the world by manipulating it creates the greatest fortunes in history instantly. It's also the financial schemes -- the schemes that do high frequency trading, that bundle derivatives in complicated ways, that couldn't have been done without computer networks.

    Also, I think, in a way, it's the National Intelligence Agency. And I think a lot of people have doubts about whether they can trust government agencies indefinitely with all that information about what everybody's doing, but if the government had to pay people for information gathered from them, that would create a sense of balance.

    See, I think one of the problems with making information free -- we think of it as this sort of hippie-like thing that's good for grassroots activists or something, but it also means that the government can spy for free, and I don't think the government should be able to do anything for free.

    Paul Solman: But you're not just talking about street corner surveillance cameras, you're talking about any computer network that extracts information from me.

    Jaron Lanier: Right. So what we have right now is thousands of big computers around the world creating dossiers on all of us to try and manipulate us in one way or another, sometime, somehow in the future. If they have to pay us for that information, that would be a more effective way of moderating what they do than to try to have privacy laws, because that stuff is never enforceable and it's impossible for the law to move fast enough to keep up with programmers.

    Paul Solman: But how do you force a computer network to pay me for something that they've already extracted for years for free?

    Jaron Lanier: Look, it used to be that people got free land in the American Midwest, and then we started to have a real estate market instead. This transition has happened before, and it will happen again.

    I think having it come about will require political genius; it will require a bit of luck; it won't be any easier than it was in the physical world, but I don't think it's necessarily any harder, either.

    Paul Solman: But it would entail, I would think, rules and regulations that would coerce the computer networks to pay us for what we're giving them.

    Jaron Lanier: Rules and regulations are important but they can't be the primary thing that holds a society together. What has to hold a society together is a structure that supports a social contract that people voluntarily like. So let me explain what I mean by that. First of all, there's a technical side to it. Right now, we've technically designed our network so that it forgets where everything came from, and I don't want to go over this too technically, but we can have a link to something, but there isn't a link backwards.

    So, for instance, somebody can link to your mortgage and leverage it, but you don't know who's leveraged your mortgage. So that idea of one-way linking is how we lose our value in the first place. If we just changed the network design technically, that would transform things. If you knew who was leveraging you, then you could invest in who leveraged you -- see what I mean? So all of a sudden that would open up things quite a lot.

    Paul Solman: So if people like me knew what all the cookies on our computers were doing, and whom they were serving, and how they were being sold, that would change the power relationship?

    Jaron Lanier: That's right. Right now, we create information asymmetry on the network, because you can point at something, but that thing doesn't know it's being pointed at. And that was a huge technical decision that was made at the birth of the Web. Before then, we always assumed networks would have two-way links. I know this is a little technical. But the fact that you only have a one-way link means that somebody can leverage your mortgage and you don't know it. But if you did know it, then homeowners could invest in whoever was leveraging them and cancel out the effects of being overleveraged.

    Paul Solman: Or they could apply political pressure.

    Jaron Lanier: Or you could use political pressure, whatever it is. But the point is it would become known who was doing what if we had two-way links, and that would become the basis for knowing where value was really moving around in the network.

    Once we do have visibility into what's going on, I think it creates the potential for what we call a social contract, or what you can call the golden rule of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This is what I always tell students: It's not that hard, really, to break into cars or houses, but the reason we don't do it much is not so much that we are confident we could get caught -- it's not so much fear of the police -- it's that don't want to live in a society where that happens a lot. We like living in a society where cars and houses aren't broken into a lot. It's the golden rule, and that has to take hold online.

    And that's much, much more important than enforcement and regulations, and laws and police and all that. All that stuff can cover, like, 5 percent of the population. Ninety-five percent of people have to buy into a social contract to make it viable, and I think they will when they see that it's the source of their own wealth.

    Paul Solman: So, I've been naive when I have, for a number of years now, thought: free is good; free is communal; free may be the way of the future.

    Jaron Lanier: Well, listen, I've also been naive. I've been naive for longer than almost anybody on exactly that point. I was part of the first generation of people to think about what's now called "open culture," which is the thing I'm now opposing, and I made up a lot of the rhetoric that people bring up to oppose what I'm saying now.

    There was a time that I really thought that making information free and open would benefit everybody, and I just neglected to think through that whoever has the biggest computer would then dominate everyone else by being able to do more with that information. And I saw that coming about in a very real way, where people in the music business that I really loved were really suffering as it got digitized.

    Like, I saw real people who shouldn't have suffered suffer, and I wasn't willing to take the attitude: Well, to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. I just was not willing to do that. You know, if people are suffering in our utopia, it's the wrong utopia. And I really do believe that more and more people will come to see that suffering is real and this open ideal is not working.

    Paul Solman: An author friend of mine and I argue about this. She rants against all the free blogs; I say they are wonderful. And she says: no, "free" is depriving a whole class of people of a way to make a living.

    Jaron Lanier: Well, you know, I'm worried about something even a little deeper than people not making a living.

    Wealth does concentrate around whoever has the biggest computer. And that, in turn, screws up our politics, because it turns into so much wealth concentration that we create what our founders called an aristocracy around the biggest computers.

    This is not new for digital networks, it's just that digital networks make this problem much more acute because we can act stupidly with such efficiency these days.

    Paul Solman: When you say stupid, you mean it's stupid long term because if you concentrate wealth in a few hands, that's not a sustainable society.

    Jaron Lanier: Right. So, to have a sustainable society, and I mean that both economically and politically, you need to have a broad enough distribution of benefits that there's sort of a middle class hump that can outspend the elite -- that's what creates a stable democracy, but that middle class hump is also where all the investors come from. It's also where all of the customers come from. If you don't have that, an elite by itself eventually becomes fragile and falls apart anyway. So, even for the elite, it's to their long term benefit to make sure that the whole is healthy.

    Paul Solman: But why can't the moneyed elites just buy everyone off -- I mean, kind of like ancient Rome: bread and circuses. Virtual reality -- seriously! Plug everybody in, give them enough to eat, keep them warm -- nobody's freezing in America, nobody's starving...

    Jaron Lanier: I sometimes wonder if that's what we're headed towards. One of the things I've thought about is that some of my friends who've become very wealthy through using digital networking, wealthier than anybody else in history, actually, they're very interested in funding exotic medical research that might make them live a very long time, or be immortal. But meanwhile, there's also this funding of sort of fake immortality, where you create media effects or sort of fake ghosts of people who've died, so that other people can interact with them as if they're still alive.

    I sometimes wonder if we are headed towards this two tier society of a small number of immortals that are descendants of people who have the biggest computers today, and everybody else kind of churning through these sort of fake experiences of interacting with dead loved ones and that sort of thing.

    Paul Solman: It's possible.

    Jaron Lanier: It's possible. Interestingly, that was exactly the future foreseen in HG Wells' novel "The Time Machine" in the late 19th century.

    Paul Solman: And Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"; all kinds of science fiction.

    Jaron Lanier: Science fiction as a genre was more or less invented because this possibility was foreseen in the 19th century. The idea of the left and Marxism, as well as science fiction, are both cultural inventions to deal with exactly the possibility that we seem to be hurtling towards. But I personally don't believe that the elite would be able to survive all by itself in a little island, no matter how powerfully it's defended. I think it would fall apart as it always has.

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


    0 0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Defenders of expansive surveillance by the government stepped up demands today to go after an intelligence contractor who exposed the secret programs. The target of their ire remained out of sight, as investigations of the leak gained momentum.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio: He's a traitor.

    GWEN IFILL: House Speaker John Boehner's strong words this morning were targeted at elusive former CIA employee Edward Snowden.

    JOHN BOEHNER: The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it is a giant violation of the law.

    GWEN IFILL: Boehner's Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, went even further.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky.: What's difficult to understand is the motivation of someone who would intentionally seek to warn our nation's enemies of the lawful programs created to protect the American people. And I hope that he is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    GWEN IFILL: Snowden briefly worked as a contractor at the National Security Agency, where he learned of sweeping efforts to mine phone data and monitor e-mails and other digital records.

    Today, his employer, defense consultant Booz Allen Hamilton, announced that after three months on a job for which he was paid $122,000 dollars a year, he's been fired for ethics violations.

    Snowden's last known location was Hong Kong. But he checked out of his hotel there yesterday. He could face criminal charges in the U.S. once the Justice Department finishes its investigation.

    At the White House today, Press Secretary Jay Carney said one thing is clear.

    JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: It is important to note that, when it comes to contractors, they swear an oath to protect classified secrets, just as government workers do. And that is important to remember.

    GWEN IFILL: Carney also confirmed the NSA is doing a damage assessment of any harm done by the disclosures.

    But not every member of Congress sees Snowden as the problem. Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon wants hearings on the NSA's activities. He suggested that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn't tell the truth last March when he denied massive monitoring was taking place.

    Lawmakers were briefed by NSA officials on Capitol Hill today. Many still appear to support the agency. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says congressional oversight has been robust.

    SEN. HARRY REID, D-Nev.: That's why the American people in polls -- two polls I saw today support what is happening with trying to stop terrorists from doing bad things to us.

    GWEN IFILL: Adding to the debate, the American Civil Liberties Union announced it has filed suit, charging that the phone data collection violates the right to free speech and privacy.

    But the uproar also extends overseas. In Brussels today, the European Union Parliament met in emergency session to discuss whether the U.S. surveillance has violated the civil liberties of Europeans. 


    Loading...

older | 1 | .... | 231 | 232 | (Page 233) | 234 | 235 | .... | 1175 | newer


Loading...