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

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    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; photo by Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesOn Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. said the immigration bill is nearly "ready to go." The Morning Line

    Two weeks remain until Congress is scheduled to break for the Fourth of July holiday, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared is the deadline for his chamber to complete work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. With the clock ticking, and amendments piling up, backers of the proposal took to the Sunday talk shows to tout its prospects for final passage.

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the bipartisan group that drafted the legislation, reiterated his position that the border security elements of the package must be strengthened in order for the measure to stand a real shot at winning passage through both the House and Senate.

    "I think it's an excellent starting point, and I think 95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go. But there are elements that need to be improved," the Republican said during an appearance on ABC's "This Week."

    "I think the debate now is about what that border security provision looks like. And if we do that, this bill will have strong bipartisan support," Rubio added. "If we fail, we're going to keep trying, because at the end of the day, the only way we're going to pass an immigration reform law out of the House and Senate so the president can sign it is, that it has real border security measures within it."

    Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., another member of the so-called Gang of Eight, said Democrats would consider other border security provisions, so long as they were not being offered as a way to derail the overall bill. "We're open to constructive elements of how border security can be further achieved, but not, if at the end of the day, you're just simply using that as an excuse not to permit a pathway to legalization," Menendez said on CNN's "State of the Union."

    Menendez also dismissed talk that Rubio might walk away from the compromise without additional border security enhancements to the plan. "I think he is so into this process that I think he would lose out not to continue. And I have no indication that he has no desire or intention not to continue," Menendez said. "He's been a very good ally in this Gang of Eight and has been very helpful in bringing people to the bill as has Lindsey Graham and John McCain and Jeff Flake."

    Still, Politico's Manu Raju and Carrie Budoff Brown report that by charting his own course to sell the immigration proposal Rubio has unnerved some of his fellow Gang of Eight members:

    The Florida Republican has spent hours strategizing in private with the bipartisan group of senators, but he hasn't appeared in public with them since late April -- nixing requests for press conferences after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the immigration bill, according to Democrats, and most recently, for a joint interview on Univision.

    His public absences from his partners show the difficult line he is walking on immigration -- trying to woo conservative activists wary of the bill while keeping the Gang of Eight bill moving.

    It's a Senate trial by fire. Rubio is attempting to master a treacherous legislative process that has confounded lawmakers with decades of experience. The success or failure of the immigration overhaul bill will largely determine whether his efforts are seen as the shrewd mechanisms of a kingmaker or the political naiveté of a third-year senator.

    Politico's Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, meanwhile, write that Rubio's work on the immigration bill has brought with it some political risk, the most worrisome of which to the senator's advisers being the potential for the Florida Republican to get labeled as a Washington insider.

    The political consequences associated with immigration reform also are on the minds of Rubio's fellow Republicans.

    Graham, R-S.C., said the GOP could do further damage to the party's brand if it blocks a bill from moving forward. "If we don't pass immigration reform, if we don't get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn't matter who you run in 2016," Graham said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We're in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don't do that, it really doesn't matter who we run in my view."

    Menendez agreed with Graham's assessment. "I would tell my Republican colleagues, both in the House and the Senate, that the road to the White House comes through a road with a pathway to legalization. Without it, there'll never be a road to the White House for the Republican Party," said the New Jersey Democrat.

    For lawmakers, the more immediate concern is the bill itself, and the fight over more than 100 amendments that have so far been filed.

    The Hill's Ramsey Cox looks at six amendments worth keeping an eye on, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn's border security proposal, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy's provision to provide equal protection to immigrants in same-sex marriages and Rubio's modification to the English language requirement in the bill.

    The Washington Post's David Nakamura and Sandhya Somashekhar note that Republicans are also using President Barack Obama's health care law as a way to impede progress on immigration reform.

    Despite the slog ahead, Graham said he has "never been more optimistic" about the plan's chances for passage. "I think we're going to have a political breakthrough, that Congress is going to pass immigration reform. I think we're going to get plus 70 votes."

    Such a result would ramp up pressure on the Republican-controlled House, where GOP leaders have indicated they would prefer to pass a series of smaller measures rather than the comprehensive plan being debated in the Senate.

    SEVEN DAYS A WEEK

    The PBS NewsHour is announcing Monday an exciting expansion -- the addition of "PBS NewsHour Weekend."

    Starting Sept. 7, Hari Sreenivasan will anchor 30-minute Saturday and Sunday broadcasts. They may have a shorter format but the goal is the same: in-depth analysis of the day's national and international news and original field reporting.

    "It's an evolution in NewsHour's commitment to being a reliable, trusted news source that's available anywhere, anytime, weekdays, weekends and online," he said.

    "We are so fortunate to be a part of the next chapter of the NewsHour, bringing this trusted brand to audiences on air and online on the weekends," WNET President and CEO Neal Shapiro said in announcing the move.

    The program will be produced by New York PBS member station WNET and broadcast out of the Tisch WNET studios.

    Sreenivasan said the new show will allow local PBS member stations the opportunity to include local news at the end of the broadcast, and outlined a few other changes that will further connect viewers to the PBS NewsHour.

    "I'd like to infuse the public in the content creation and content distribution using different tools to see how we can best engage with smart audiences," he said. That could mean Google Hangouts, live chats and other social media platforms.

    The changes come as recent news stories have highlighted challenges facing the show in an evolving media universe. We'll have more detail on Monday's NewsHour. Watch here.

    LINE ITEMS

    Mr. Obama began his trip abroad with a speech to youth in Belfast. He's expected to have a full plate at Group of Eight meetings this week before giving a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

    Also on the trip, First Lady Michelle Obama this week will visit Trinity College and explore archives "documenting the Obamas' Irish ancestry."

    A new CNN poll released Monday found the president's approval rating has dropped eight percentage points over the past month, with half of respondents saying they don't believe Mr. Obama is "honest and trustworthy."

    "The drop in Obama's support is fueled by a dramatic 17-point decline over the past month among people under 30, who, along with black Americans, had been the most loyal part of the Obama coalition," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "It is clear that revelations about NSA surveillance programs have damaged Obama's standing with the public, although older controversies like the IRS matter may have begun to take their toll as well."

    Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA, said Sunday there is a "misunderstanding" when it comes to the government's surveillance programs.

    Roll Call's Shira Toeplitz and Abby Livingston detail how the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act could scramble Texas' map.

    West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is answering the NRA's ad against him with his own television spot.

    The New York Times' Trip Gabriel examined the relationship between Kentucky Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

    The Fix looks at the most interesting gubernatorial races this year and next.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Friday said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition that immigrants contribute to the economy and are more "fertile."

    Bush also called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a "formidable force" on the left.

    Thomas Jefferson was very much into winemaking. Read his letters and others from the Founders at the National Archives newly released online document trove.

    This 1993 reminder of the United States' record arming rebel forces is making the rounds on the Internet.

    With federal revenues up higher than expected, addressing the debt limit is now "clearly a post-August recess issue," House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Friday. He and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., will soon embark on listening tour across the country as they tackle tax reform -- the specifics of which they wouldn't address.

    Ashley Parker of the New York Times writes about Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn and his controversial border security amendment to the Senate immigration bill.

    Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Mr. Obama's DREAM Act decision. On Friday, journalist-turned-advocate Jose Antonio Vargas will debut in Washington his documentary on the topic, "Undocumented."

    Christmas is saved. Thanks, Rick Perry!

    Photos from the annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

    The Supreme Court has two weeks left in its term, and still 19 cases for which to announce decisions. We're watching a few major topics that have yet to see the justices' opinions: affirmative action in higher education, the Voting Rights Act section 5, and California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which both involve same-sex marriage.

    The NewsHour homepage will host SCOTUSblog's live coverage of Monday's decisions, which will come beginning at 10 a.m. For more in-depth Supreme Court coverage of the 2012-2013 term, visit our page.

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    The NewsHour on Friday looked at the administration's decision to aid the rebel forces. Jeff Brown spoke with former State Department official Vali Nasr and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

    Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    Mark Shields and David Brooks discussed Syria, Edward Snowden and surveillance programs Friday night. Watch here or below: Watch Video

    And Christina hosted the Doubleheader, with the guys weighing in on Hillary Clinton's ambition and the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

    Watch here or below:

    Larisa Epatko will live blog the Guantanamo Bay military commission Monday.

    Our data team has some interesting infographics examining the NSA's surveillance program.

    While Common Core curriculum standards are intended to provide comparable preparation to all students, that may not set up all students for success in the workforce, argues economist Robert Lerman.

    TOP TWEETS

    Split screen on Sky News: Obama's remarks in Belfast and Prince Philip leaving the hospital

    — Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) June 17, 2013

    My first #selfie w my mom @HillaryClinton back stage at #CGIAmerica. #ProudDaughterpic.twitter.com/84sEBHsRGn

    — Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 14, 2013

    FLOTUS #FollowFriday: @HillaryClinton announces a new effort to improve the health & well-being of America's kids --> http://t.co/wKyZOhJwRC

    — FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) June 14, 2013

    "There are far worse things to be accused of than trying to create good journalism and finding a way to pay for it." - @JudyWoodruff

    — NewsHour (@NewsHour) June 14, 2013

    .@TerryMcAuliffe at Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville. Smells awesome. #vagovpic.twitter.com/tn3SYfrupN

    — Ben Pershing (@benpershing) June 14, 2013

    Simone Pathe and Meredith Garreston 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

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    PBS NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will become the new anchor for "PBS NewsHour Weekend" which launches on Sept. 7. Photo by NewsHour

    Starting Sept. 7, the PBS NewsHour is expanding its family, adding a "PBS NewsHour Weekend" newscast on Saturdays and Sundays. The 30-minute show will be anchored by veteran NewsHour correspondent and director of digital partnerships, Hari Sreenivasan. The program will be produced by New York PBS member station WNET and broadcast out of the Tisch WNET studios. The show will be carried by most local PBS affiliates.

    "We are so fortunate to be a part of the next chapter of the NewsHour, bringing this trusted brand to audiences on air and online on the weekends," said WNET President and CEO Neal Shapiro in a press release.

    "PBS NewsHour Weekend" will continue NewsHour's tradition of delivering in-depth analysis of the day's national and international news. It will also feature original field reporting and allow local PBS member stations the opportunity to include local news at the end of the broadcast.

    To Sreenivasan, the move to weekends is a natural next step. "It's an evolution in NewsHour's commitment to being a reliable, trusted news source that's available anywhere, anytime, weekdays, weekends and online," he said. Besides the shorter format, solo anchor and different skyline, Sreenivasan also hopes to bring a few more changes to the anchor desk.

    "I'd like to infuse the public in the content creation and content distribution using different tools to see how we can best engage with smart audiences," he said. Sreenivasan and WNET's team plan to use social media, Google Hangouts, live chats and other platforms to connect with audiences and also to connect viewers with the program's guests.

    Sreenivasan will continue to produce reports for the weekday NewsHour broadcast, allowing for a seamless convergence of the two programs. Through the expansion of the NewsHour's extended online coverage seven days a week, Sreenivasan hopes to increase the program's range of sources to help produce and distribute content, widening NewsHour's audience.

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    By Larry Kotlikoff

    The U.S. Capitol; photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images The government should be budgeting for infinity, Social Security expert Larry Kotlikoff argues, if Social Security is to remain solvent. Photo courtesy of Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

    Larry Kotlikoff's Social Security original 34 "secrets", his additional secrets, his Social Security "mistakes" and his Social Security gotchas have prompted so many of you to write in that we now feature "Ask Larry" every Monday. We are determined to continue it until the queries stop or we run through the particular problems of all 78 million Baby Boomers, whichever comes first. Kotlikoff's state-of-the-art retirement software is available here, for free, in its "basic" version.

    Tom Harris -- Austin, Texas: My wife died, and I started taking survivor benefits at 62. I am now 66. Should I start collecting my own benefits, which would be higher, now? Someone said if I wait until age 67, I would get more than at age 66. Is that true?

    Larry Kotlikoff: Yes, you get about 7 to 8 percent more every year that you wait. But to start collecting the maximum possible benefit for the rest of your life, you should wait until 70. It will then be 32 percent larger than if you take it now, and 7 to 8 percent larger than if you take it at 69. Suppose you live until age 99? Suppose you need elder care? Social Security is best thought of as old age insurance to be used as protection against outliving your savings.

    Also -- and this is critical in your case -- if you take you own benefit now, you will eliminate your survivor benefit. As discussed in my column "Three Rules for How to Get the Highest Social Security Benefits," the way to maximize your lifetime benefits is to let one benefit grow while taking whatever else is available for as long as possible.

    Robert Wimer -- Belgrade, Mo.: I'm 64 but will be 66 in 18 months. I claimed $24,000 in 2012. Would I be better off taking Social Security at 66 or 70? Will it still be around in five-and-a-half years?

    Larry Kotlikoff: If you can swing it, money-wise, you should suspend your retirement benefit at 66 and start it up at 70, when it will be 32 percent larger, as I explain in my first answer this week. That's provided, however -- and readers of this column must never forget -- that if you're already taking Medicare Part B, you should pay your premiums out of pocket.

    As to Social Security's longevity, yes, it will be around in five-plus years. A 40,000-person strong American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is on notice to protect it, if needed by attacking congressmen with their canes. Recall the attack on House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., in 1989, when he dared to propose that oldsters contribute to their own catastrophic care insurance.

    MORE FROM LARRY KOTLIKOFF: Not Everyone Thinks You Should Wait Until 70 to Take Social Security

    But when you question the solvency of Social Security over the long run, you certainly make a good point -- a point I, as an economist, have been reiterating in these columns, including one on what I consider the real problem with Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff's research relating real economic variables to the amount of government debt.

    In another column, I exposed the fiscal cliff for the generational con job I think it was. In yet another, I returned to one of my favorite (or, really, least favorite) themes: the fiscal war on our children. And then there was the Making Sen$e Business Desk column laying bare the full extent of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's fiscal folly.

    Economic theory makes strikingly clear the dire long-term state of Social Security. But even economists who understand how far out we need to budget -- and there are precious few of them -- don't like to make public what our theory says, for two reasons. First, it's not an answer people easily comprehend. Second, it's not an answer that politicians, whose attention most economists secretly crave, want to hear.

    The answer is: governments need to budget out to infinity. And that leads to a very grim view of Social Security's finances not for you, Mr. Wimer, but for your children and grandchildren, their grandchildren and so on.

    Now I admit, infinity is a very long time. But economic theory also tells us that in budgeting out to infinity, we should place less weight on distant government expenditures and tax receipts. Specifically, we should include in our budgeting, not actual future expenditures and taxes, but their present values.

    Just as it says, "present value" stands for the value of something right now -- in the present. And the value right now of getting one dollar in the future is smaller the longer you have to wait for it. The reason is simple. You can put aside less than a dollar today, earn interest on that saving, and end up with a dollar in the future. If you can invest at 3 percent, you only need to put aside 41 cents today to end up with one dollar in 30 years. So 41 cents is what one dollar in 30 years is worth today.

    The fact that economics tell us to discount -- as in make less of -- each dollar owed or received in the distant future, however, doesn't mean a government can ignore those obligations and receipts, especially if there are loads of future obligations relative to receipts.

    Take the just-released 2013 Trustees Report on Social Security's long-run finances. Table IVB6 shows an infinite horizon fiscal gap of $23.1 trillion separating the Social Security system's projected costs and taxes after taking into account the several trillion in the Social Security trust fund. To give you a sense of how massive this shortfall is -- and it grew by fully 8 percent last year alone -- it is 50 percent larger than U.S. GDP and almost twice the size of total federal debt held by the public.

    Table IVB6 also reports Social Security's fiscal gap over the next 75 years. It's much smaller -- only $9.6 trillion, and that's the number people tend to use in discussion. But that number is only 41 percent of the actual economic gap: $23.1 trillion. Thus, the 75-year fiscal gap hides three fifths of the system's true long-term shortfall.

    Eliminating the infinite horizon fiscal gap would require an immediate and permanent 4-cents-on-the-dollar hike in Social Security's current 12.4 percent Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax rate. That's a 32 percent increase, implying that Social Security is 32 percent underfunded! Alternatively, we could cut all Social Security benefits immediately and permanently by 22 percent.

    President Obama keeps telling us that Social Security just needs to be tweaked. He should take a look at Table IVB6, and so should the press, which, as it does every year, has completely ignored this true and truly terrible assessment of the system's financial status.

    Some people will, no doubt, view paying 4 cents more per dollar earned as no big deal. Paul Solman, the proprietor of the Making Sen$e Business Desk, is one of these people. But let me publicly remind him that A) at age 68, he's close to retirement (well, within 20 years anyway), and B) he should think of those far from retirement, like his grandkids. Should they be asked to pay another four pennies of every 100 pennies they earn over their entire lives to keep the elderly's Social Security benefits unchanged for everyone, including those like Paul and Warren Buffett? That doesn't quite meet the sniff test.

    Social Security began reporting its infinite horizon fiscal gap in 2003. Back then it totaled only $10.5 trillion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the gap has risen 74 percent since then, leaving the system in far worse shape than back in 1983, when the Greenspan Commission supposedly "fixed" it.

    But the Greenspan Commission, like the current trustees, looked out only 75 years. In so doing, it ignored not just the 30 years between 2057 and 2087 that have since moved up into the 75-year window, but all the years after 2087 as well, when most of today's and tomorrow's children will still be alive.

    Ignoring the distant future when our kids' welfare is at stake is morally repugnant. But it's also forbidden by economic theory, and here's why.

    Economic theory doesn't tell us whether any given dollar the government takes from us should be called "taxes" or "borrowing." Theoretically and practically speaking, it's not a meaningful distinction. If the United States runs an implicit deficit in terms of its future obligations, as Social Security has been running, it's going to have to make the deficit up eventually by collecting taxes.

    Nor does economics distinguish between calling any given dollar that the government hands back to us a "transfer payment," as we usually think of Social Security benefits, or "repayment of principal plus interest," as if the government were making good on an IOU to its citizens.

    Economics is about real policy, not the language used to describe policy. But the government's choice of words, not its actual fiscal deeds, will dictate its cash flow projections and the fiscal gap it reports over any finite budgeting horizon, be it the 10-year horizon Congress uses or the 75-year horizon the Social Security Trustees favor. That's why an economist like me insists that it should use an infinite time horizon.

    And, by contrast, that's why Social Security's $23.1 trillion fiscal gap over an infinite horizon is kept off the books: It sounds better, to politicians, to talk about 75-year obligations for the simple reason that their total is lower. And because, if you call FICA contributions "payroll taxes" rather than "paying future debts," you don't raise the question: "Just how large are those future debts?"

    In short, then, limiting Social Security's gap to 75 years is not justified by economic theory. It can be any size anyone wants to report. So 10-year, 25-year, 50-year and 75-year fiscal gaps literally have no economic meaning because they measure our labels, not our policy.

    And if you want to talk truly big picture, for the U.S. government as a whole, projecting the current gap between revenue and expenditures indefinitely, the infinite horizon fiscal gap is a whopping $222 trillion! To close that gap would require not a 32 percent immediate and permanent tax hike in Social Security FICA taxes or a 22 percent immediate and permanent cut in Social Security benefits, but either a 64 percent immediate and permanent tax hike in all federal taxes or a 40 percent immediate and permanent cut in all expenditures apart from servicing official debt.

    Look for Paul Solman's response this afternoon.

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


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    By Hailey Leithauser

    Judder

    When Junk gives a shudder, like a tractor more quaint than intact, like lapsed reactors, pipes worn and contorted, a Toyota that's done for, or outdated aorta.

    Katzenjammer Think of the yowl of three senile felines. Think of a buzz saw's black, sauerkraut whine. Imagine ten screeched, unleashed violins. Imagine the dawn that follows the gin.

    Metrophobia

    I, too dislike it, or at least I find too much of it bromidic and unrhymed, muffled in a fog of cottony prose, frightened of shadows or stepping on toes.

    Hailey Leithauser Hailey Leithauser's poetry has appeared in the Gettysburg Review, Poetry and in the Best American Poetry and Best New Poets anthologies. Her first book, "Swoop," won the Poetry Foundation's Emily Dickinson First Book Award. That collection will be published in October.


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    By Paul Solman

    There have been dire warnings about future fiscal shortfalls for years, explains Paul Solman. Photo courtesy of Dave Reede/Getty Images.

    In his weekly Social Security Q&A, published earlier Monday, Larry Kotlikoff makes the case that Social Security's funding gap is much larger than the 75-year shortfall the government projects. Social Security's fiscal gap for infinity, he argues, more accurately captures the challenges to keeping the system solvent for today's children. His point, which he's made on the Making Sen$e Business Desk before, deserved a response.

    Ah yes: the long run. No, I'm not going to parry Larry by quoting Keynes: that in the long run, we're all dead. As Larry rightly points out, there are kids, grandkids, greatgrandkids to think about, as Larry might put it, ad infinitum. Moreover, if you believe Richard ("Selfish Gene") Dawkins and the basic tenets of evolutionary biology, all that really matters is our progeny, our DNA.

    No, I'm simply going to remind Larry, and the many tens of thousands of you who typically read this column, that economic history is littered with predictions of long run doom for governments that spend more than they "earn." Here's the fittingly beloved Adam Smith himself, in the fifth "book" of his "Wealth of Nations," published in 1776: "The progress of the enormous debts which at present oppress, and will in the long-run probably ruin, all the great nations of Europe, has been pretty uniform."

    Uh, not exactly. Not Smith's own United Kingdom, for example, which did just fine, despite similar laments from many contemporaries who declared the burgeoning English debt of the 18th century unsustainable.

    The thing about forever or infinity is that, by definition, it never ends. Britain was famous for issuing its IOUs as bonds called "consols." They had no maturity at all. That is, they paid an interest rate in perpetuity because it was presumed that even if the sun were to eventually set on the English Empire, it would never set on a borrower known as "England."

    As for the eventual solvency of Social Security in the United States, I will defer to a greater authority than I, Alicia Munnell, the Peter F. Drucker Professor of Management Sciences at Boston College's Carroll School of Management, who also serves as the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

    I recently confronted her with Larry's dire forecast. I have cited her response here before on this same issue, but it deserves repeating. [Note that the interview was done before the release of the 2013 Social Security Trustees Report.]

    Alicia Munnell: Big numbers happen over a long period of time and other stuff also happens over a long period of time.

    Paul Solman: Changes, you mean?

    Alicia Munnell: We have benefit commitments, but we also have people earning longer, and payroll taxes being paid for longer and perhaps at a higher rate. I find the most useful way to think about the deficit to Social Security is in terms of the payroll tax. So, how much would the payroll tax have to be raised to solve the problem for 75 years, which is Social Security's planning horizon, and how much would it have to be raised to solve it for infinity? And for [a] 75-year time horizon, the number is 2.36 percent.

    Paul Solman: So right now, the payroll tax for Social Security is 12.5 percent, split between employer and employee. So it would have to [be] up to something like 15 percent?

    Alicia Munnell: Yes. Half. Right. So that's 1.2 percent more from you and 1.2 from the employer. Now think about that number. We recently had a payroll tax cut of 2 percentage points, and I couldn't even tell. And then they raised it again by those same 2 percentage points, and again I couldn't tell. I think some low earners felt it, but there wasn't jubilation when it happened and it wasn't cataclysmic when it went back. From the employee's perspective, the change that we're talking about is half of what we just went through in terms of this payroll tax cut and then increase.

    And that's if you say, I'm going to solve this whole problem just by raising the payroll tax. If you do anything else -- raise the taxable wage base or do any number of things -- the amount you need to raise from the payroll tax becomes smaller. I think that's a more sensible way to think about Social Security's finances than this $200 zillion trillion dollar shortfall.

    To be fair, 75 years is only part of the story because we have an increasing ratio of retirees to workers, and so when the 75-year period moves forward, you lose a year of surplus, [and] you pick up a year of deficits.

    So if you just solve the problem for 75 years, it's not enough. To really solve it, you've got to have something like a 4 percent increase in taxes, 2 percent for you, 2 percent for the employer. But I think solving it for 75 years would be just fine and all those numbers are manageable.

    In other words, a lot can happen from here to eternity. We can grow the economy like mad. We can raise taxes. We can cut expenses. Or, we could just keep owing ourselves and others and borrowing against the future. When will that come to an end? You tell me.

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


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    Watch Video David Thompson is "semi-retired." After his official retirement, the NASCAR buff decided to take a part-time job at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.

    "I just did not want to totally quit working."

    David Thompson didn't want to sit around in retirement. A fan of NASCAR since he was a kid, the 66-year-old now shares his knowledge and passion for the sport with others as a part-timer at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

    "It gives me a chance to get out, meet the public, and enjoy life," Thompson told us. "It's just a fun place to come to and work everyday."

    Thompson is one of many once-retired Americans who have decided to head back to work because they enjoy it. They want to feel useful and have something to do.

    So, is retirement as we know it a thing of the past? How long are we likely to work? We have spent the past year looking at the factors -- demography, economics and just plain personal preference -- that help explain what's happening to the American workforce as it ages in our special project, New Adventures for Older Workers.

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    Watch the "Doubleheader Live" with Mark Shields and David Brooks beginning at 5:15 p.m. EDT Friday. Leave your questions for the guys below or tweet using the hash #doubleheaderlive.

    Friday is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, so we thought it would be the perfect time to sit down with our boys of summer. That's right, Mark Shields and David Brooks, NewsHour's one-two political punch. The guys are here in the newsroom most Fridays to do a segment we call the "Doubleheader" where we address the sport of politics and the politics of sport. And this Friday, it will be live.

    Is there anything you've ever wanted to ask Mark and David? Now is your chance. Pitch your questions to the fellows for the special "Doubleheader Live." Leave them in the comments section below or tweet them @NewsHour using the hash #DoubleHeaderLive. We will address as many as we can starting at 5:15 p.m. EDT Friday. You can watch the live stream in the player above or on our homepage, pbs.org/newshour.

    You can subscribe to Hari on Facebook and Google Plus and follow him on Twitter @Hari.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: The “Group of Eight” summit was alive today with talk of Syria, and the U.S. move to intervene there more directly.

    The international gathering convened in Northern Ireland.

    And the G-8 leaders arrived today, Syria's bloody civil war overshadowed the conference's usual focus on trade deals and unemployment. The U.S. decision to send arms to the Syrian rebels guaranteed the issue a place in the summit spotlight. At the same time, it fueled a growing dispute between Washington and Moscow.

    President Obama and Russian President Putin met privately on the sidelines of the meeting today in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Publicly, at least, The tone was conciliatory.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We do have differing perspectives on the problem, but we share an interest in reducing the violence, securing chemical weapons, and that we want to try to resolve the issue through political means if possible.

    PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia: Of course, our opinions do not coincide. But we are united by the common intention to end the violence, to stop the number of victims from increasing in Syria, and to resolve the problems by peaceful means.

    GWEN IFILL: But Putin was much more blunt in London yesterday, without President Obama at his side. Criticizing any move to aid the rebels, he cited a notorious incident involving a rebel commander.

    PRESIDENT PUTIN: I believe one doesn't really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public gaze and cameras? Are these the people you want to support? Are they the ones you want to supply with weapons?

    GWEN IFILL: Putin also defended Russian arms shipments to the Assad regime.

    Back in Moscow today, the Russian foreign minister accused the U.S. of mounting military exercises in Jordan as a cover for implementing a no-fly zone over Syria, something Russia opposes.

    ALEXANDER LUKASHEVICH, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman: I think we fundamentally will not allow the scenario. And reports that our American partners are doing preparatory works at military complexes related to this in Jordan are also a direct violation of international law.

    GWEN IFILL: And in Damascus, Syrian President Assad condemned the U.S. move, telling a German newspaper that Europe will pay the price if it does the same.

    In Washington on Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney took the opposite tack, warning that President Obama is doing too little too late in Syria.

    FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY, United States: You had an opportunity earlier to provide support without having to get American forces directly involved, and they took a path. Now they're going to do it. But the question is whether or not they're a day late and a dollar short.

    GWEN IFILL: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough answered critics across the spectrum by saying the president has no intention to rush to war.

    DENIS MCDONOUGH, White House Chief of Staff: We want to make sure that Syrians who want to take charge of their own country have the ability to do that. We have to be very discerning about what is in our interests and what the outcome -- what outcome is best for us and the prices that we're willing to pay to get to that place.

    GWEN IFILL: The Syrian conflict itself is increasingly devolving into a sectarian war. On Sunday, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a Sunni, cut diplomatic ties with Damascus. He demanded that Shiite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon leave Syria.

    And late today, the Obama administration announced it would send an additional $300 million dollars in humanitarian aid to those affected by the Syrian crisis. That brings total U.S. assistance to nearly $850 million dollars since the civil war began. 


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: As the G-8 convened, a London newspaper reported Britain has hacked into e-mails and phone conversations of foreign leaders and diplomats. The Guardian said classified documents show it happened at a 2009 summit. The report said British intelligence even set up a bugged Internet cafe. Several countries, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey, called for full explanations.

    The man who leaked word of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency has spoken out again. Edward Snowden held an online chat on the Guardian website. He defended what he did, saying -- quote -- "It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials and the realization that Congress wholly supported the lies that compelled me to act."

    Snowden was last known to be in Hong Kong, but he said today -- quote -- "I have no contact with the Chinese government. I work only with journalists." He also said he doesn't expect a fair trial, if he is ever charged and returned to the United States.

    The government of Turkey kept up the pressure today in a bid to put an end to protests. Riot police fired water cannons and tear gas at small groups of demonstrators near Istanbul's Taksim Square. Police ousted the protesters from a park there over the weekend, ending an 18-day sit-in. Meanwhile, in Ankara, thousands of striking union workers waved banners and flags today in a peaceful rally appealing for a more democratic government.

    KAZIM AYHAN, Turkish Protester: We are here to protest the ruling party's pressures. We protest against unfair working conditions, their ignoring our demands, and limits on freedom of expression.

    WOMAN: We thought that common sense was on vacation. We thought it would return, but it didn't. We want wisdom and common sense. We're here to protect our children and prevent people from crying. We want to live in a normal country.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In response, Turkey's deputy prime minister suggested today the military could be called out if the police are not enough.

    The most destructive wildfire ever to hit Colorado is now 75 percent contained. Rain swept through the Colorado Springs area Sunday, helping put out flames. Fire crews hoped for more of the same today. The fire has destroyed nearly 500 homes and killed two people. Authorities said today they're getting closer to pinpointing exactly where it started.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 109 points to close well above 15,179. The Nasdaq rose 28 points to close at 3,452.

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


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision today striking down Arizona's law that required people to show proof of citizenship when they registered to vote in federal elections. The ruling affects several states with similar laws, and will block others from adding requirements to the voter registration process.

    The court found a state law cannot trump the 1993 voter -- Motor Voter law, which streamlines election sign-ups through a national form system.

    With us, as always, is Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal.

    Hello, Marcia.

    MARCIA COYLE, National Law Journal: Hi, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, tell us a little more about the case that the justices were asked to decide.

    MARCIA COYLE: OK. All right.

    The election clause in the federal Constitution, it gives states the responsibility to set the time, place and manner of federal elections. But it also gives Congress the power to alter those regulations. As you said, in 1993, Congress enacted the Motor Voter law. And that created a simple unified form to register to vote.

    In 2004, Arizona enacted Proposition 200, and that required state voting officials to reject any registration form that didn't include concrete evidence of citizenship, such as driver's license, birth certificate. The issue before the court was whether that requirement conflicted with the federal form, which only requires the applicant to attest, sign that the person is a citizen, under penalty of perjury.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What did the justices do? What did they say?

    MARCIA COYLE: Justice Scalia wrote for the majority. And as he was during oral arguments, he was very skeptical of Arizona's argument that, under the federal law, which requires states to accept and use the federal form, the terms accept and use means only to willingly receive the form and use it as part of the state's registration process.

    He said this was a mandate in the federal law for a specific purpose. And if Arizona and other states could tack on to the federal law different requirements, pretty soon, the federal law would no longer have a very simple and unified form.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, they knocked down what Arizona has done, but there was also language in the ruling that gives some hope to states and maybe even Arizona about a pathway they can choose if they do want to tighten voting requirements.

    MARCIA COYLE: Absolutely, Judy. This is the second part of his opinion.

    He said, well, Arizona, you can go back to the Federal Elections Assistance Commission, which oversees the federal form, and ask it to include a state-specific requirement like you have in Proposition 200. If the commission rejects your request, you can file a lawsuit and challenge that decision in federal court.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, is there -- is there clarity here or how do you read it?

    MARCIA COYLE: Well, I think it's one of those two-sided decisions. He did provide a road map for the states if they want to add requirements onto voter registration forms.

    On the other hand, he also spoke to the elections clause and the power that Congress has given here as being quite broad. I think ultimately what we're going to see is states are going to try to add some state-specific requirements to the federal form.

    Justice Alito wrote a dissent in which he said, basically, well, this is a remedy that is just not going to work, because right now there is no one on the Federal Elections Assistance Commission. It's not functioning.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Marcia, this was a 7-2 decision, unusual split among the conservatives. You had Justice Scalia writing the opinion, a couple of other conservatives joining with him. But then you had, as you just said, Justice Alito and Justice Thomas dissenting.

    MARCIA COYLE: Well, I have always believed that the conservatives on the court, as well as the more liberal members on the court, are not monolithic blocs.

    And the conservatives Justice Scalia and Justice Alito have differed on First Amendment cases. Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas are not clones. They also have differed on First Amendment and even some criminal law cases. So, while it is surprising to see it, it's not unusual.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you write about this, in fact, in your book.

    MARCIA COYLE: I do, "The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution."

    JUDY WOODRUFF: By Marcia Coyle. But it would be so much easier if they did fit into some easy explanation.

    MARCIA COYLE: It would certainly be easier for those of us who write and talk about the court.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Marcia, there are still some very high-profile cases the justices have been deciding on. We don't know how they're going to rule. What is the thinking about what's taking so long?

    MARCIA COYLE: OK.

    They're very difficult cases. The three that we're all sort of watching closely involve affirmative action, the University of Texas case, voting rights, the challenge to the heart of the Voting Rights Act, and the two same-sex marriage cases.

    The court traditionally wraps up a term in the last week in June, which would be next week, really. We have one decision day scheduled for this week on Thursday, next week, probably two, maybe three days for the court. If it does want to wrap up, who knows? We're only told when a day is a decision day, but not what decisions are coming.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We're on the edge of our seats.

    Marcia Coyle, thanks.

    MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, Judy.

    GWEN IFILL: Online, we will have live coverage of the Supreme Court's end-of-term decisions as they arrive. And on the days opinions are issued, we will carry developments from inside the court from SCOTUSblog on our home page. 


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, we turn to the immigration legislation up for debate on the Senate floor.

    Ray Suarez has our story.

    RAY SUAREZ: Republican Marco Rubio of Florida helped craft the immigration bill.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-Fla.: Obviously, I think it's an excellent starting point. And I think 95-96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go, but there are elements that need to be improved.

    RAY SUAREZ: On Sunday, the senator called again for tougher border security requirements to win over conservative skeptics in his own party.

    MARCO RUBIO: I think the debate now is about what that border security provision looks like. And if we do that, this bill will have strong bipartisan support.

    RAY SUAREZ: New Jersey Democratic Robert Menendez said his party could support additional reforms, if they're offered in good faith.

    SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: We're open to constructive elements of how border security can be further achieved, but not if at the end of the day you are just simply using that as an excuse not to permit a pathway to legalization.

    RAY SUAREZ: Like Rubio and Menendez, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is one of the “Gang of Eight,” who wrote the bill. He warned Republicans will pay a heavy price if the bill failed.

    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: If we don't pass immigration reform, if we don't get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn't matter who you run in 2016. We're in a demographic death spiral as a party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform.

    RAY SUAREZ: Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has set a July 4 deadline to finish the legislation. That gives lawmakers two weeks to sort through more than a hundred amendments, among them, proposals to bolster the electronic employment verification system known as "E-Verify." The issue could draw added attention following today's raids on 7-Eleven stores in New York and Virginia.

    Nine owners and managers are charged in a scheme to employ undocumented immigrants from Pakistan and pay them under stolen security numbers. E-Verify is also the latest topic in our ongoing series “Inside Immigration Reform.”

    It's currently voluntary in most states, but that could all change under the new legislation.

    We get two points of view now, from Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and author of the book "The New Case Against Immigration Both Legal and Illegal," and Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Well, it seems to me that from my last couple of employers, I was already proving that I have a Social Security number and showed a document. What is the current version of E-Verify doing? And don't employees already have to do that, Mark?

    MARK KRIKORIAN, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies: It's true. You do have to demonstrate first your identity and also your authorization to work.

    But it's based on paper. And so the employer just has to take pretty much at face value whatever you show him. As long as it isn't Mickey Mouse's picture on it, he has to accept it. What E-Verify would do is the employer in doing all of his normal paperwork anyway would simply have to check with Social Security and Homeland Security databases whether the number, Social Security number, name, and date of birth are real and whether they match.

    So, the point is just to make sure that the stuff that is already being provided is genuine and that the person isn't lying to his employer.

    RAY SUAREZ: Christopher, a version of E-Verify was already rolled out a couple of years ago. Was the federal government up to the task of matching the documents presented by workers with its own database?

    CHRISTOPHER CALABRESE, American Civil Liberties Union: I would say no.

    Certainly, the federal government has gotten better at this task, but the trick here is that, first of all, you have to be correct in the E-Verify system before you can work. So, if there is an error in the database, that means you cannot work. And when you look at entire population, a large one like the U.S., 154 million workers, even a small error means hundreds of thousands or even a million workers might not be able to work.

    So, even a very effective system is going to potentially ensnare a lot of workers.

    RAY SUAREZ: So, do you think the new E-Verify, the new generation E-Verify proposed in the Senate legislation has a shot at working?

    CHRISTOPHER CALABRESE: You know, I think that you're still going to have a lot of workers who are going to get caught up in the system that aren't going to be able to work because of errors in the database.  

    And that's going to be a real problem for them. I mean, this thing about this bill that is maybe -- or about this program that's different than many other things in the bill is this affects everybody. So, whether you have anything to do with immigration or not, you're going to be under this new mandate, and that mandate may mean that you, through no fault of your own, suddenly need to sort of prove your work eligibility to the government. And that may prove tricky.

    RAY SUAREZ: Mark, a step in the right direction?

    MARK KRIKORIAN: It's clearly a step in the right direction.

    The idea that hundreds of thousands of people are somehow going to be denied employment because of mistakes in the system is just not true. First of all, you have to be hired first. You're already working for the employer. Only then do they check. They don't screen people ahead of time.

    Number two, something like one-third of all new hires last year were already screened through the system. It's voluntary, but it is pretty widely used. We have used it for a number of years. We have never had any problem with it. But some people do get what's called tentative non-confirmation.

    Basically, it's an initial response that says, something seems to be wrong. Double-check everything and see what the problem is. Most of the time, you know what that turns out to be? It's women who took their husband's name when they got married, but didn't tell Social Security.

    And, frankly, I think I would want to know about that when I was 25, not when I was 65. So, in a sense, it's almost a public service making sure that the information in your Social Security account is correct early on, rather than trying to fix it later.

    RAY SUAREZ: Many of the supporters have tried to shift the burden to employers to check whether someone is legally authorized to be in the country and work, say, we can fix this quickly. Social Security cards have never had pictures on them. They have never any kind of physical data on them.

    Make it a hard card, a non-counterfeitable card, something with biometric data on it, and make the immigrant carry it. What do you think?

    CHRISTOPHER CALABRESE: Well, there's a couple of problems with that. The first one is, it couldn't just be the immigrant who carried it, because if you didn't have a card, that could mean either you were a citizen or you weren't work-authorized. It would have to be a card for everyone.

    And that would be a tremendously expensive proposition, I think tens of billions of dollars. Imagine everybody in the United States run through the DMV, through some sort of federal identification system, because that would basically be what it would be. It would be issuing a new identity credential.

    And so, that's a very expensive proposition. And, honestly, I'm not sure it solves the problem. Remember, the people who don't want to comply with the immigration system now aren't complying. Right? You could have a very high acceptance rate, a very high compliance rate, but if it wasn't the people you were trying to get at, the folks who want to hire undocumented workers and don't really care what their credentials look like, I'm not sure any of these proposals actually get at those people.

    And that's a huge problem. We could have a very expensive, very invasive system that actually doesn't solve the problem you want to solve.

    MARK KRIKORIAN: The interesting thing that people don't get is that most illegal immigrants work on the books now. Our estimates are something like 60 percent of illegal immigrants who have jobs working on the books with regular employers, and they have lied to the employers about who they are. Social Security actually estimates even more, maybe 75 percent.

    So, this isn't just an issue of people huddled in front of the Home Depot working for cash. Most of the problem can in fact be addressed by a better -- by an E-Verify system that is applied universally. It's not a magic bullet. It's not going to magically fix everything all at once, but it is one of the most important elements, because if people have a very hard time finding work, then it becomes much less appealing to come here or stay here as illegal alien.

    RAY SUAREZ: So, in the short time we have left, let me get a quick shot at the waterfront from both of you on how we can do better what E-Verify sets out to do.

    Christopher?

    CHRISTOPHER CALABRESE: Well, I think one of the things we can do is enforce existing wage and hour laws. Put some of this money we're spending towards E-Verify towards finding the bad employers, actually sending in testers to see if they're not complying with the law, and bringing down the existing penalties that we have on those employers. It's much less invasive than a giant system targeted at everybody.

    I think it's something that keeps ordinary folks who really don't even realize they're being affected by this discussion from having to grapple with a giant federal bureaucracy in order to work.

    MARK KRIKORIAN: If you don't like E-Verify, you need -- the only real solution is to let illegal aliens work again. In other words, you can't have a ban on illegal immigrants working, but not have some way for legitimate employers to actually know whether they're hiring people who are authorized to work or not, because this isn't an issue of crooked employers.

    You're always going to have some of that. That's what we have police and other things for. The issue here is legitimate, law-abiding employers who want to do the right thing, but now have real difficulty in telling whether somebody is legal or illegal. And the way the law is now, if you look too closely, you can actually be sued by the Justice Department for discrimination.

    So, E-Verify is important for employers, as well as the country as a whole.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, the debate is under way on Capitol Hill.

    Gentlemen, thank you both for helping us explain to the public what's at stake.

    CHRISTOPHER CALABRESE: Thank you.

    MARK KRIKORIAN: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, online, “Five Things You Should Know About E-Verify.” That's on the Rundown. 


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    Functioning as a pilot program up until now, the federal database program E-Verify is set for some changes under a sweeping Senate immigration bill.

    E-Verify -- an electronic program run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security contrived to help businesses filter out undocumented immigrants from their pool of new hires -- has garnered renewed attention in recent weeks as the Senate debates a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

    E-Verify

    (noun)

    1. An Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)

    The program started in 1996 with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Employers can submit information from a potential employee's Employment Eligibility Verification Form, or I-9, through this multi-step process online, and the Social Security Administration and the USCIS will match it to government records and decipher whether the employee can work legally in the U.S.

    On Tuesday's NewsHour, we'll talk to Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, and Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, for two points of view on the federal database's potential future under new legislation.

    Under Current Law, the Program Is Voluntary in Most States

    "E-Verify today is largely a volunteer system where employers can check the employment status of workers after they have hired them as part of the I-9 process," Calabrese told the NewsHour. "It's mandatory for federal contractors and in some states, and it's also mandatory for most government workers."

    The program, while still voluntary, receives typically high marks for its usability, according to Calabrese, but its error rate is difficult to discern. The program, he said, currently skews to larger employers who can handle the processes with a how-to-manual spanning 80-pages.

    Krikorian, a critic of the bill's architecture, told the NewsHour:

    The point of E-Verify is to enable legitimate employers to know whether their employees are liars or not. Without it, if you give an employer an ID with a picture of Mickey Mouse and any combination of numbers in a 9-digit number, you can probably get hired .. In concept, electronic employment verification is one of the most important goals of immigration control. You can't have immigration control in a modern society without it.

    The USCS website notes that "U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States -- either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization," and that diverse strength on the economy "also attracts unauthorized employment."

    The program as it stands now looks like this -- with both a step-by-step process on how an employer and employee completes an I-9 form, as well as a self-check process where individuals can check their authorization status themselves:

    Under the Senate Bill, Many Expect Mandatory Electronic Employment Verification

    As part of the I-9 process, Calabrese laid out this potential process that would be mandatory for all employers within five years of passage:

    You would start a new job. You would present your documents. Someone in the HR department would have to be trained in how to use the system. E-Verify would verify your work eligibility from those documents. If your photo was in the system, via a passport, perhaps, that would come up. If the system authorized you, it'd be, 'Congratulations and you're on your way.' Other times, if the system says you're not authorized, either because you're not supposed to be or because of an error in the system, you'd have eight days to contest that determination and you might have various procedural hurdles available, like appealing to judges.

    The process, according to Calabrese, is not supposed to be a pre-screening system for potential hires. In fact, he said, if employers follow the procedural rules, "You're not supposed to do E-Verify until after you've hired someone."

    In an interview with The Washington Examiner, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the bipartisan group that drafted the legislation, reiterated a position he flagged on a Sunday show -- that strengthening the border security provisions of the bill was key.

    [The Democrats] don't want anything to make the path to citizenship uncertain. But it already is conditioned. The path to citizenship in this bill -- the path to that green card -- it's already conditioned on the full implementation of E-Verify. It's already conditioned on the full implementation of the entry-exit tracking system. And, the last thing is, it's got to be fully conditioned on the completion of the specific border plan that we detail.

    Add 'Biometrics' to Your Vocabulary

    A flashpoint in the current Senate bill, biometrics is a branch of biology in which human characteristics are translated into statistical data.

    "It can include pictures, fingerprints, iris scans and even elements like how an individual walks," according to Calabrese.

    Last week, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, proposed an amendment he calls the RESULTS Act: "Requiring Enforcement, Security and Safety, & Upgrading Legitimate Trade and Travel Simultaneously." The provision stipulates a number of proposals. Among them is a fully operational E-Verify system and a biometric exit system in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection would track immigrants leaving the U.S. at all U.S. international airports and seaports.

    In addition to an exit system, the Senate bill, Calabrese said, "encourages every state to provide a driver's license photo to a Department of Homeland Security."

    And although Cornyn's amendment would require biometric data, Krikorian said the bill, amended by the Senate in late May to include a fingerprinting system, "would only require a biographic exit to prove that it was you."

    Bipartisanship Aside, the Program Has Critics

    For those Americans who are authorized to work in the U.S., critics say the impending legislation could lead to substantial headaches from unintended consequences. A USCIS study of the program, using 2009 data, found that 0.3 percent of applicants received tentative nonconfirmations (TNC) that were erroneous but ultimately corrected.

    Resources for Employers and Employees Are Extensive

    How to Enroll in E-VerifyFor Employers and Employees: Take a Webinar

    For more on E-Verify and what is proposed in the Senate immigration bill, visit our Immigration page and watch Tuesday's PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: Next, to Iran. Over the weekend, the country chose a new leader to replace outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. .

    Crowds poured into the streets of Tehran on Saturday evening, cheering for the country's next president, Hassan Rowhani. The man widely described as a reform-minded cleric won Friday's election in stunning fashion. He captured nearly 51 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff and well ahead of several more conservative candidates.

    PRESIDENT-ELECT HASSAN ROWHANI, Iran: God willing, this election will be a prelude to the changes that are demanded by the people. This includes, of course, revolution in the economic cultural, social and political fields.

    GWEN IFILL: Rowhani's win was marked by a late surge, as reform voters coalesced behind him in a turnout that topped 70 percent. It was far cry from the mass protests that followed the 2009 election.

    Violent clashes erupted then amid widespread claims that Iran's ruling clerics rigged the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The protesters were forcibly depressed. Rowhani has called for moderation and for reviving Iran's economy. In recent years, international sanctions aimed at Iran's nuclear program helped fuel rising inflation and high unemployment.

    Rowhani presided over nuclear talks with the West between 2003 and 2005. But, today, the president-elect would not support ceasing Iranian enrichment, at least not without negotiations.

    PRESIDENT-ELECT ROWHANI: We will make nuclear talks more active. This is the basic problem. The solution to the nuclear problem is just talks. Neither threats nor sanctions will work.

    GWEN IFILL: Rowhani left open the door to improving relations with the United States.

    PRESIDENT-ELECT ROWHANI: The problem complicated and difficult. There's an old wound that should be dealt with, with prudence. Of course, we are not seeking tension or increasing the tension. Common sense says our two countries should think about the future more than the past.

    GWEN IFILL: U.S. officials cautiously welcomed Rowhani's victory, but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Obama administration wants to see more.

    JEN PSAKI, State Department Spokeswoman: We look forward to him and are hopeful that he will fulfill the campaign promises he made to the Iranian people, such as expanding personal freedoms, releasing political prisoners, and improving Iran's relations with the international community. But time will tell.

    GWEN IFILL: Israel is watching closely as well. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened military action to stop Iran's nuclear program. He spoke Sunday.

    PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israel: While the elections no doubt express the dissatisfaction of the Iranian people with their regime, I don't see it producing the genuine change in Iran's nuclear policy.

    GWEN IFILL: Israeli President Shimon Peres, by contrast, took a more hopeful stance regarding the new Iranian leader.

    SHIMON PERES, Israeli President: He says he will not go for these extreme policies. I am not sure that he has specified policies what will be his policies, but it will be better, I am sure. And that is the reason why the people voted for him.

    GWEN IFILL: Rowhani now confronts the challenge of satisfying demands for change at home and abroad, while staying in the good graces of Iran's hard-line supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 


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    GWEN IFILL: Joining me now to tell us more about Hassan Rowhani and what his victory means for Iran and the United States are Karim Sadjadpour, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Cliff Kupchan, Middle East director at the Eurasia Group.

    Cliff Kupchan, you have met him. What is he? Who is he? Tell us about him.

    CLIFF KUPCHAN, Research Director, Eurasia Group: Well, he's a very straightforward, thoughtful, earnest guy.

    You ask a question, you get an answer. He's kind of the anti-Ahmadinejad. You ask a question, you get a tirade. So, I think it's a new leaf for Iran. I think we're out of the ideology and we're back into the realm of the real world. Now, how much power he has how far he can take Iran in the new world, it's a different question.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, I'm curious about this, Karim Sadjadpour, because he's uniformly been described as a moderate, which means what by our standards?

    KARIM SADJADPOUR, Associate, Carnegie Endowment For International Peace: Well, it's all relative.

    If we were having this conversation 10 years ago, Rowhani would have been described as a conservative. But given the rightward shift of Iranian politics over the last decade, he was really the lone moderate choice that people had in this election.

    And if you look at Iran over the last decade, this is a nation which has been suffocating under political pressure, economic mismanagement and tremendous external economic pressure. So, I think, for the Iranian people, this is the meteorological equivalent of a light rain after eight years of drought.

    GWEN IFILL: But if you were to draw some sort of loop between Ahmadinejad on one side and Khatami on the other, is he in the middle somewhere?

    CLIFF KUPCHAN: He is in the middle somewhere. But I think ...

    GWEN IFILL: He's not a reformer?

    CLIFF KUPCHAN: No. And that's what's very important for everyone to understand. He is not a reformer.

    He is a child of the system. He served as the secretary of the national security council for 16 years. He sits on Iran's highest adjudicating bodies. He's very, very close to the supreme leader. So, he's a cautious man of the system who may pursue reform, but is not going to turn his back on the system.

    And that is why I think, in my view, Supreme Leader Khamenei let him become president, because ultimately Khamenei does not view him as a threat to the system.

    GWEN IFILL: If the supreme leader is the guy who gets the final say, how much power does Rowhani really have?

    KARIM SADJADPOUR: Well, Iranian presidents have influence domestically, I would argue, more than they do internationally, in changing the strategic principles of the Islamic republic.

    So, just like in Washington, when there is a new president, you bring in a whole new team, a group of folks to staff the bureaucracies, and Rowhani will be able to bring more kind of professional managers and technocrats into the system, those types of moderate forces that have been purged over the last decade.

    But when it comes to, I would argue, the ideological principles of the Islamic regime and the Iranian revolution, resistance against America, rejection of Israel's existence, support for groups like Hezbollah, for the Assad regime in Syria, I would argue that Rowhani's influence is going to be more tactical than strategic.

    He's not going to be able to change those principles, but he can do it so -- he can conduct diplomacy with a smiling moderate face, as opposed to Ahmadinejad.

    GWEN IFILL: What about nuclear weapons? We have been watching Iran's nuclear capability grow. That's what obviously Israel is worried about. It's what almost everybody is worried about, tangentially or directly.

    CLIFF KUPCHAN: Well, look, I agree with my friend Karim that we're unlikely to see change on Syria.

    But I think the nuclear arena is different. This is where, in the debates, Gwen, he effectively linked Iran's nuclear position with sanctions with the suffering of every Iranian citizen. And it worked. So, in some ways, this election was a mandate for Hassan Rowhani to pursue a different nuclear policy.

    I think that he will pursue a more reasonable position. I think he will bring in skilled diplomats and the atmospherics will change.

    It doesn't mean we're going to get a deal, but it means I think we have got better chance today than we did last Friday.

    GWEN IFILL: When you say we, does that mean the U.S. finally has someone to deal with, to talk to who is not going to come to well of the U.N. and declare that U.S. smells of sulfur, or whatever that was?

    KARIM SADJADPOUR: Well, first, I agree with the perspective that this, for the Obama administration, was the best possible outcome or the least bad outcome of a very flawed electoral process.

    And I think if you talk to someone like Secretary of State John Kerry or Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, even Obama himself, if they could push a button and normalize relations with Iran, they would love to, because Iran has significant influence over a lot of U.S. foreign policy challenges.

    But I would argue this time around, as opposed to Obama's first term, they're -- they're -- what they're hoping for is less a rapprochement, which they probably see as unrealistic, and more detente.

    But I would argue that the person who is perhaps most concerned with Hasan Rowhani's victory is Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel, because I think what he sees is the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. Iran is going to continue to pursue, he believes, the same hard-line nuclear policies, but do so with a moderate base, which is going to make it more difficult to coerce and pressure Iran.

    GWEN IFILL: Is that what he should be worried about, Cliff Kupchan?

    CLIFF KUPCHAN: I think Israelis get the reception. I think they know that at the end of the day that Iran will have some domestic ability to enriched uranium, that the world is, whether they recognize Iran's right to enrich, they will recognize that Iran is enriching.

    And what Netanyahu is up to keep the pressure on to get the best deal, to get the most inspections, to get the longest lead time, if they do try to create a weapon, so that something can be done about it. So, I think he's worried. I think he will keep the pressure up.

    But if we can get a good, verifiable, intrusive deal -- and I have been to Israel six times in the last two years, and that's what they tell you. They would support that. They will go along with that.

    GWEN IFILL: So, these conversations, these talks that were under way and then were frozen waiting on the outcome of this election, do you expect them to start again?

    KARIM SADJADPOUR: I think they will start again.

    Rowhani will be inaugurated in August. And if you look at his previous team of nuclear advisers, they were all U.S.-educated. They came from merchant backgrounds. They were not ideologues. So, I think he has a mandate, at least from the Iranian public, to pursue a process of confidence-building.

    You have a government in Washington that is interested in confidence-building. This is the first time that these stars have aligned since the year 2000. But I think our expectations should be tempered.

    GWEN IFILL: Final brief question for both of you.

    In your opinion -- I will start with you, Karim -- was this a free and fair election? We saw the turnout.

    KARIM SADJADPOUR: It wasn't free, in that only a limited pool of candidates were allowed to run.

    But, as opposed to the 2009 election, when people believed the votes weren't counted, this time, it looked, to the surprise of many of us, that the integrity of the ballot box was respected.

    GWEN IFILL: Cliff?

    CLIFF KUPCHAN: It wasn't free in the same way that Karim said.

    But, but compare Iran to its neighbors, where there aren't any elections. There is still, I would point out, this remarkable, enduring democratic streak in Iran. And the Iranians really do care about the vote. It's a remarkable country. I think it was free and fair enough for me to admire what happened.

    GWEN IFILL: Cliff Kupchan of the Eurasia Group and Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie -- Carnegie Endowment, thank you both so much.

    KARIM SADJADPOUR: Thank you, Gwen.

    CLIFF KUPCHAN: Thanks, Gwen.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: why some Republican governors who have been vocally opposed to Obamacare are having second thoughts about walking away from an expansion of Medicaid.

    Hari Sreenivasan is back with that story.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Medicaid is a crucial piece of the health reform law and its goal of providing new coverage to 30 million Americans.

    Roughly 13 million of them are expected to receive coverage by expanding eligibility to the program, which provides health care to the poor. But the calculus changed after the Supreme Court decided states could opt out, even though the federal government would pick up 100 percent of the new costs for the first three years.

    So far, 23 states, mostly led by Democratic governors and the District of Columbia, have said they plan to expand eligibility starting next year. Eighteen others with Republican governors are opposed. Those states could be passing on billions of dollars. Now some Republican governors who have been opposed to the health care law are pushing to expand Medicaid. That includes Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Arizona, where Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill to do so today.

    We look at what's behind these changes in two of these states.

    Mary K. Reinhart is with The Arizona Republic. And Karen Kasler is with Ohio Public Radio.

    So, Mary K. Reinhart, let me start with you. What did Gov. Brewer have to do, and why did she do it now?

    MARY K. REINHART, The Arizona Republic: Well, she had to get a bipartisan coalition of her Republican-led legislature to go along with what she's announced at the beginning of the legislative session in January that was a top priority. And that was expanding Medicaid.

    It was a surprise, stunned observers, because she had -- we were one of the states to sue to stop Obamacare, and the governor needed to get this coalition behind her. She put these folks together. When negotiations stalled, the governor called a surprise special session. And in just 48 hours, this bipartisan coalition in the House and Senate pushed through Medicaid expansion, and got her to where she is today, signing that bill.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And she still doesn't admit that this is in support of Obamacare, right?

    MARY K. REINHART: She admits that this tiny little piece, she supports. She says it's the law of the land. The election certainly was conclusive, with the reelection of President Obama. The Supreme Court made its decision.

    And she is trying -- was trying to convince for the last five months opponents in the legislature, both the leaders in the House and Senate, that this was -- this was a done deal, and what Arizona needed to do was go along, do the math, look at the calculus, as you say, and realize that we're talking about insuring an additional 350,000 people, bringing in about $1.6 billion dollars in the first year alone, and upholding the will of the voters here in Arizona, who in 2000 said they wanted to expand our Medicaid program to insure people under the poverty level.

    So, we had already had -- we had already been an expansion state. The governor said it was just a folly to not go ahead and expand Medicaid.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Karen Kasler, I want to ask you, what is the state of play in Ohio? Where is Gov. John Kasich now?

    KAREN KASLER, Capitol Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio: Well, Gov. John Kasich, like in Arizona, surprised a lot of people when he supported the expansion of Medicaid.

    He has been an opponent of what he calls Obamacare, but he said in his budget he took the avenue of, this was a way to capture 13 billion federal dollars over several year and a way to help Ohio's 1.5 million uninsured Ohioans, many whom are very poor and can't afford health insurance.

    And so he spent a lot of his personal capital trying to get this passed. His proposal, though, went over very, very poorly in the state legislature, which is dominated by Republicans. You have a lot of Republicans in Ohio who are very suspicious of the expansion of Medicaid.

    And so it was stripped out of both the House version and the Senate version of the state budget. Our House speaker had said that, of his 60-member caucus, 20 members -- and this is quote from him -- "would rather shoot themselves in the head than vote for Medicaid expansion."

    So, right now, what's happening is that's out of the state budget, and it's being considered in a different way. We have a Medicaid expansion bill that has only one backer. But now there's a bill that dropped late last week that has lot of bipartisan support, which would reform Medicaid in Ohio by trying to contain costs and integrate work force development and measure health outcomes. And that appears to be the way that Ohio is going to go, Medicaid reform, rather than Medicaid expansion.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, how does this affect his relationship with the legislature, especially with those 20 who would rather do something else?

    KAREN KASLER: Well, it's certainly been an interesting thing to watch, because Gov. Kasich got a lot of what he wanted in his first budget cycle.

    And Ohio is almost completely run by Republicans. There's a supermajority in the House and Senate. And Gov. Kasich is a Republican as well. And so there's been a real push on his part to try to get Medicaid expansion, but there's been a real resistance on the part of lawmakers to do it.

    And so this is kind of seen as maybe a halfway point. The lawmakers who are putting this Medicaid reform bill together are saying that they want to improve the system before we start talking about adding more people to it. And so they are still leaving that door open slightly, but right now the path appears to be toward reform, rather than expansion.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Mary K. Reinhart, I want to come back to you and ask, how does the hospital industry see this and what kind of influence are they having in the conversation?

    MARY K. REINHART: Well, like in other states, I think the hospital industry, the Chamber of Commerce, have been very involved in trying to push Medicaid expansion.

    And they were right on board early on in Arizona. They have been carrying for a growing number of uninsured who are coming through the emergency rooms. We have had couple of Chapter 11 bankruptcies in Arizona. So, today, at the signing ceremony, one state lawmaker, a Republican, said, you have saved rural Arizona, you have saved our hospitals.

    So, clearly, they were on board. They are also going to be paying -- they're going to be taxing themselves essentially to help pay Arizona's additional share of Medicaid expansion. So they're in all the way with an additional provider assessment to help pay our share of expansion.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Karen Kasler, I want to ask, how much money is at stake here? Quite a few members of the GOP in different states have said this first three years, free stuff is great, but that 10 percent is still a lot of money to us later on.

    KAREN KASLER: And Gov. Kasich has said it's about $13 billion dollars over seven years. But that money issue is really critical to a lot of Republicans, who have been on the fence or even opposed to this.

    They feel like expanding Medicaid, and then if there's a chance that the federal government wouldn't somehow follow through, that would be a difficult benefit to take away. And so that's been a lot of the concern from conservatives. And there have been some conservative think tanks that have actually put out reports saying that they're very concerned about the long-term stability of the system.

    And so that has been a real issue here, is, will this money be there when Ohioans need it over time? But the hospital issue is really critical here in Ohio, too. We have a lot of rural hospitals. And we have a lot of urban hospitals. And they're very concerned about their long-term financial stability if Medicaid is not expanded.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, Ms. Kasler, I want to ask, what is the timeline here? If the legislation that is making it so far doesn't include the expansion, what is next for it?

    KAREN KASLER: Well, the budget needs to be signed by the end of the month. And that is not going to happen.

    And there's been a concern that if indeed Medicaid expansion wasn't started by June 30, there wouldn't be time to capture all those federal dollars. But I'm told by lawmakers who are behind this Medicaid reform bill that they still think there's a possibility to go back and get some of that money, that there's no rush, that we need to improve the system before we add beneficiaries to it.

    But, certainly, time is of the essence, because the clock is ticking here, and so there's a concern to get it done as quickly as possible. With the budget out of the way, maybe that would move forward. The first hearing for these reform bills is tomorrow. And so there's a chance it will move forward.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mary K. Reinhart, quickly to you, too. This isn't the end here. People are proposing ballot measures.

    MARY K. REINHART: Right.

    There's a group of two former conservative GOP senators and some GOP activists. Really, the grassroots that's been opposed to this all along are going to be officially kicking off a referendum drive on Saturday. They're taking out petitions with the secretary of state's office. They have got 90 days to collect about 86,000 signatures.

    If they're successful, our Medicaid expansion bill goes on hold until the next general election. Then there’s lawsuits that are soon to follow. It's not over yet.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mary K. Reinhart from The Arizona Republic and Karen Kasler from Ohio Public Radio and TV, thanks so much.

    KAREN KASLER: Thank you. 


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    GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight: the collection of information online and its economic consequences.

    The recent revelations about surveillance have raised numerous questions about the use of data by the government and service providers. We close with a look at another concern about the information that's gathered: Is it deepening a widening class divide?

    Economics correspondent Paul Solman gets that take, part of his reporting on “Making Sen$e of Financial News.”

    PAUL SOLMAN: In Berkeley, Calif., the studio of Jaron Lanier, author, composer, computer scientist and lately, leading critic of the digital technologies he himself helped invent.

    They're widening the economic divide, he says, darkening our future by destroying paid jobs, like musicians, which is how he once supported himself.

    JARON LANIER, Author, "Who Owns the Future?": This is a shakuhachi. It's classical Japanese bamboo flute.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Can we hear that?

    JARON LANIER: Yes, sure.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Lanier has also long worked in technology, still does, as a telecommuting consultant to Microsoft research in Seattle.

    But in recent years, he's grown skeptical of the Internet. In 2010, he published "You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto," a critique of digital networks, like Facebook and Twitter, which he calls shallow and dehumanizing.

    JARON LANIER: You don't do the "Begin the Beguine" or something like that?

    I used to for money.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But it was the computerization of the music industry that helped inspire his new book, "Who Owns the Future?" in which he argues that digital networks are destroying jobs and the middle class, exacerbating economic inequality by providing free stuff that's really paid for by the information the networks take from us and sell to other big companies.

    What's the basic thing you worry about?

    JARON LANIER: That we have used digital networks to organize our world, and digital networks have a certain negative side effect that none of us foresaw.

    In a digital network, whoever has the biggest and best-connected computer is going to get all the power and all the money, and that centralizes the rewards so much, that it screws up the society and the economy eventually.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, this is the Googles, the Facebooks of the world?

    JARON LANIER: Well, it's not just the usual suspects like the Googles and Facebooks.

    So far, there are two kinds of industries that have been overtaken by the structure of digital networks. One is finance. And the other is what we call the creative industries, journalism and music and that sort of thing.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, I can see the problem with respect to the concentration of power, but how does it affect the average person?

    JARON LANIER: Well, what happens when you interact with somebody else's giant computer over a network is always at first there is some special treat for that you entices you to enter into their game.

    In the case of finance, it was really easy to get cheap mortgages. In the case of consumer Internet services, it's free stuff. It's the coupons. It's free social networking and search.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Free music, flee blogs, free almost everything.

    JARON LANIER: Exactly.

    So, what happens is, there is initial free stuff. The market contracts, because a lot of what used to be paid is made free, so that the economy gets a little bit smaller. And just notice that while you're getting all these free treats, there's more income concentration.

    And in finance, it's created incredible rewards for the people with the biggest computers. And in the media industries, it's done the same thing.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But is it only happening in pockets, or this is going to be pervasive?

    JARON LANIER: It's coming to basically everyplace.

    We already have self-driving cars. So, eventually, all the taxi drivers, all the truck drivers go out of work. We already have 3-D printers. We have robotic manufacturing tools. Eventually, manufacturing workers go away.

    We will have automatic robotic mining of raw materials. We won't have all those people moving to the Dakotas to frack anymore. That will go away.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, in economics, the cliched phrase is “creative destruction.”

    JARON LANIER: Creative destruction is great, so long as there is enough rebuilding to make up for the destruction.

    What's happening right now is all of the rebuilding, all of the wealth creation is happening around the biggest computers, and not out in the world.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And Lanier thinks that's a recipe for disaster. There's plenty of creation in his world, of course.

    What is this?

    JARON LANIER: So, this was made by a guy who lived on the streets of Baltimore. And he made this out of garbage, some of the detritus of a motel that was torn down in Baltimore.

    He called it the Abutar, because his name was Abu, the master flute maker of the ghetto.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But even master Abu wasn't making a living, a harbinger, Lanier fears, of a grim two-tier economy.

    JARON LANIER: The problems I'm talking about with mass unemployment due to people being left out of the information economy, that is still a decade or two away. And the reason I'm talking about this now is, I think we have enough lead time to fix it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, what do we do about this?

    JARON LANIER: It turns out that the very first concept of digital networking actually solved this problem in advance.

    So, the first person to talk about digitally networked culture was a guy named Ted Nelson, who started his work in about 1960. And Ted's idea was that everybody who contributed over a digital network would get paid in little tiny micro-payments for whatever they did. And what that would do is, it would create an economy that would grow as things became more digital.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, for example, I'm driving, as I do now, and I'm part of a network. And I let people know if there is traffic up ahead. So, I would get paid for that?

    JARON LANIER: A little bit, sure.

    Or here is actually a better example. Right now, one thing that concerns a lot of people is that government agencies are putting up cameras everywhere. And so, as you walk around in a big city, you might be tracked constantly. I think the government should have to pay for whatever it does, including getting information from people, and should be constrained by its budget.

    So, if they have to pay for collecting those images of you walking around, then they have to create a sense of balance about how often they do it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But you're not just talking about street corner surveillance cameras. You're talking about any computer network that is extracting information from me.

    JARON LANIER: Right.

    So, what we have right now is, we have thousands of computers, big computers around the world who are creating dossiers on all of us. Any information that exists because you exist should bring you rewards. You get ill, and you get better, and your medical case history and data gathered from your body becomes part of the medical databases that help other people. You get paid for that.

    And, furthermore, it should be based on how valuable it turns out to be. So it might turn out that some -- something about your DNA turns out to help a lot of people 10 years later can be more valuable than expected. You should benefit proportionally to its value.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But how do you force a computer network to pay me for something that they have been extracting from me for years for free?

    JARON LANIER: I know when I talk about these ideas, it must sound as though I'm talking about this extremely complicated thing.

    But you have to remember I have been through this once because I have been involved with the Internet from the beginning. And we -- a relatively small number of people brought about this pretty complicated thing already. What I'm talking about now to me is just a continuation of the same spirit.

    And it doesn't seem any more complicated than what we have already done. It's just moving in a different direction that I think is more suitable to making a sustainable society.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, I have been naive when I have for number of years now thought, gee, free is good. Free is communal. Free may be the wave of the future.

    JARON LANIER: Look, I helped make up the whole idea of free, open everything a long time ago. And there's a lot of great qualities to it.

    However, if we create a world where everybody can benefit from the information economy, even if it's just pure information -- in other words, you actually get paid for your blog post or your social network activity if you're popular, that kind of stuff, then we can create a stronger middle class than we have ever had before as technology gets better. That is the big idea. That's the big possibility.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Jaron Lanier, thank you very much.

    JARON LANIER: This was great. I'm very happy that you're interested. 


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    By Nick Corcodilos

    Securing a job, headhunter Nick Corcodilos says, is not about looking for a job opening, but about making connections where you want to work. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Samuel Mann.

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

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

    Question: I know someone who plans to return to work in the fall. She has been a stay-at-home mom since 2008. She is a college graduate with about two years of work experience. How do you recommend she begin her job search? She has a degree in history with a Spanish minor but is not interested in teaching.

    Nick Corcodilos: Your friend could just start looking for open jobs and then apply to hundreds if not thousands of them, like most people do. Or, she could decide what work she really wants to do, then go after it with motivation and gusto. She could get a job through inside contacts, because that's how most jobs are filled. The following tips are summarized from my PDF book, "How Can I Change Careers?", in particular from the section titled, "The Library Vacation."

    First, she should avoid looking for a job. That's right: Forget about jobs. Jobs come from identifying good companies, products and people. She should start making choices about these before examining any jobs: start by going to the local library's magazines and periodicals section. She should scan business and specialty publications to find products, services and companies that motivate her. This can take a bit of time, but so does meeting your future spouse. Do it carefully and thoughtfully.

    Second, she should pick a small handful of companies -- no more than four or five that produce products or services she's interested in -- and research them, drilling down into each industry, company, product, technology and job function. These will be her target companies. Her objective is to learn enough to be able to talk about these intelligently.

    MORE FROM NICK CORCODILOS: Ask The Headhunter: Avoid Employment Scams, Ruses and Rackets

    Third, she should start scouring the Internet for the names of people connected to these companies. Databases like LinkedIn and publications online, from the Wall Street Journal to the local newspaper, make this pretty easy. Reading about these people and about what they have to say about their work, their companies and their industries is important.

    Finally, she needs to start contacting them. (You can "Meet The Right People" without contacting top managers.) Don't ask for a job. Instead, talk shop, because people love to talk about their work. (But they hate being asked for job leads.) Ask for advice and insight about their industry. Ask a smart question about the topic they discussed in an article or on a forum. Ask them what they are reading lately that influences their work. Ask them what they like about their industry and employer. Ask what advice they'd give you, if you wanted to work at their company. Make a friend.

    This seemingly circuitous route to a job is how most business is done, whether people realize it or not. People love to complain that, "The other guy got the job (or the sale) because it was wired for him! He knows someone on the inside!" But that's not the point. The point is that the person on the inside knows the person looking for a job. The trust in that connection enables the insider to make a choice that minimizes risk and increases the chances of a positive outcome. This is how companies hire. Your friend needs to learn how it works, and do it herself.

    How did we go from researching companies and products your friend is interested in to making friends with people she doesn't know? We did it honestly. If she pursues products and companies she's honestly motivated about, it will be easier to introduce herself and talk to the people connected to them. Her questions about work, business and opportunities will be easier and more genuine. Dialogue based on honest interest turns into advice and introductions to hiring managers. Insiders recommend people they know, even if they've met them recently. They like to recommend people who demonstrate an honest interest in the work and the business.

    And that's why the way to beat the "insider" who has a job "wired" is to become an insider yourself, honestly and with integrity.

    There is nothing easy about this approach. But there's nothing easy about sitting around waiting for people you don't know to find your application on an online job board.

    To learn how one employer relies on this approach to hire people, see James Frye's insightful article, "Why Insiders Get Hired -- And You Don't."

    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


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    Protesters rally outside the U.S. Capitol against the NSA's recently detailed surveillance programs. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    The Morning Line

    President Barack Obama is defending his administration's broad collection of information from technology and phone companies, outlining what he deems strict parameters for surveillance programs and saying the debate has "gotten cloudy."

    In an interview broadcast on PBS with Charlie Rose, the president compared the "tradeoffs" from surveillance programs to airport security and checkpoints for drunk drivers.

    "We say, 'Occasionally there are going to be checkpoints. They may be intrusive.' To say there's a tradeoff doesn't mean somehow that we've abandoned freedom. I don't think anybody says we're no longer free because we have checkpoints at airports," Mr. Obama said.

    The president ticked off ways in which the National Security Agency generates reports that lead to the FBI seeking warrants for more information, and noted repeatedly that the content of phone calls are never revealed. "It is transparent," he insisted.

    He also acknowledged the political pressure he's been under since news about the programs surfaced several weeks ago:

    The whole point of my concern, before I was president -- because some people say, 'Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he's, you know, Dick Cheney.' Dick Cheney sometimes says, 'Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel.'

    My concern has always been not that we shouldn't do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances? So, on this telephone program, you've got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program. And you've got Congress overseeing the program, not just the intelligence committee and not just the judiciary committee -- but all of Congress had available to it before the last reauthorization exactly how this program works.

    The fact the spying programs dominated the interview illustrates the difficulties of communicating the "balance" Mr. Obama talked about to the American people.

    A new survey from the Pew Research Center and USA Today found the American people divided over whether the surveillance programs are in the public interest, but want to see 29-year-old former government contractor Edward Snowden prosecuted for leaking classified information to The Guardian and others.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein said this week the Intelligence panel is waiting on more information from the NSA before revealing details about the programs in a public hearing.

    The Charlie Rose interview aired after Snowden hosted an unusual several hours-long live chat on the Guardian's website. He defended leaking sensitive information to the press, and presented himself as somewhat of a hero.

    Among the memorable moments? This line: "Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now."

    The president's 47-minute Rose interview was taped before he headed overseas to the Group of Eight meetings in Ireland, so he was not asked to respond to Snowden's tirade.

    During the interview, Mr. Obama detailed his stance on China's challenges, the elections in Iran and what the United States should do in Syria, saying the nation is wary of a rush to war.

    "It's very easy to slip-slide your way into deeper commitments," Mr. Obama said.

    Another highlight from his remarks on Syria:

    What I'm saying is, that if you haven't been in the Situation Room, pouring through intelligence and meeting directly with our military folks and asking, what are all our options, and examining what are all the consequences, and understanding that for example, if you set up a no-fly zone, that you may not be actually solving the problem on the zone.

    Or if you set up a humanitarian corridor, are you in fact committed not only to stopping aircraft from going that corridor, but also missiles? And if so, does that mean that you then have to take out the armaments in Damascus and are you prepared then to bomb Damascus? And what happens if there's civilian casualties.

    And have we mapped all of the chemical weapons facilities inside of Syria to make sure that we don't drop a bomb on a chemical weapons facility that ends up then dispersing chemical weapons and killing civilians, which is exactly what we're trying to prevent.

    Unless you've been involved in those conversations, then it's kind of hard for you to understand that the complexity of the situation and how we have to not rush into one more war in the Middle East.

    The White House promoted the interview heavily.

    Watch the full interview here or check out the top soundbites.

    SCOTUS RULES

    The Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that requires people submit proof of citizenship when they register to vote in federal elections. The 7 to 2 decision, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting, found that a state law cannot take precedence over a 1993 federal law -- the Motor Voter Act -- that streamlines election registrations through a national form system.

    Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal explained the Court's decision:

    Justice Scalia wrote for the majority. And as he was during oral arguments, he was very skeptical of Arizona's argument that, under the federal law, which requires states to accept and use the federal form, the terms accept and use means only to willingly receive the form and use it as part of the state's registration process.

    He said this was a mandate in the federal law for a specific purpose. And if Arizona and other states could tack on to the federal law different requirements, pretty soon, the federal law would no longer have a very simple and unified form.

    But Coyle also noted that the ruling gave states an opening to tighten voter laws.

    "I think it's one of those two-sided decisions. He did provide a road map for the states if they want to add requirements on to voter registration forms," Coyle said. "On the other hand, he also spoke to the elections clause and the power that Congress has given here as being quite broad. I think ultimately what we're going to see is states are going to try to add some state-specific requirements to the federal form."

    Watch here or below:

    Watch Video

    Hours after the decision, Sen. Ted Cruz used the news to push his amendment to the immigration overhaul that would require voters show ID at the polls.

    The Supreme Court still has more than a dozen cases for which to announce decisions. We're watching a few major topics that have yet to see the justices' opinions: affirmative action in higher education, the Voting Rights Act, and California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which both involve same-sex marriage.

    On decision days, the NewsHour homepage will host SCOTUSblog's live coverage beginning at 10 a.m. ET. For more in-depth Supreme Court coverage of the 2012-13 term, visit our page.

    LINE ITEMS

    Mr. Obama and Vladimir Putin huddled Monday to discuss Syria, but "failed to resolve" their vast differences, writes Scott Wilson of the Washington Post.

    Former U.S. Medicare and Medicaid administrator Don Berwick announced his plans to run for governor of Massachusetts. Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe rounds up the political consequences.

    Jeremy Peters of the New York Times notes that Republicans are pursuing new limits on abortion to appeal to the party's base.

    Politico's John Harris and Maggie Haberman explore Bill Clinton's "autumnal mood" these days.

    The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman profiles Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions, one of the leading opponents of the immigration reform plan in the Senate.

    The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday is expected to take up an immigration reform proposal that focuses on border security.

    Even though efforts to pass gun control measures failed in Congress, the White House continues to push its own initiatives to reduce gun violence, reports NewsHour's Tiffany Mullon. In January, Mr. Obama signed 23 executive actions intended to curb gun violence, and in a 1 p.m. speech Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden will highlight "completed or significant progress" on 21 of those 23 measures. Chief among them: lifting a freeze in gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control, new training for "active shooter" situations, and new emergency response plans for schools and houses of worship. Previewing the speech, a senior administration official told reporters, "The vast majority of the American people support these critical steps, it's time for Congress to take action and get this done." The Washington Post's Philip Rucker has more.

    A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found that Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist leads Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott 47 percent to 37 percent in a potential 2014 gubernatorial contest in the Sunshine State. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson also holds a 10-point advantage over Scott in a hypothetical matchup.

    Democratic Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, who is up for re-election in 2014, said Monday that he is more of a Rockefeller Republican than a Pelosi Democrat.

    Guy Taylor reports for the Washington Times that the State Department is taking over the process for vetting security contractors to the embassy in Iraq.

    New Jersey Citizen Action and New Jersey Communities United filed a brief in state Supreme Court Monday, highlighting the "smoking gun" in a 1915 state law that they say could force Republican Gov. Chris Christie to hold the election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg on the same day as this November's general election.

    Democratic consultant Mo Elleithee wrote a letter to his daughter for Father's Day about sexism in America and how working for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign shifted his views. He talked about it on Morning Joe Monday.

    Jim Holshouser, who was North Carolina's first Republican governor of the 20th century, died Monday at 78.

    Well, it's a close contest as to who voters think would win a fight between a shark and a bear. 56% chose the bear, and 44% the shark, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling.

    Apparently there aren't reindeer in "American Somolia." Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., would know.

    Yeah, the journalism business is hard for everyone.

    NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

    The latest in our "Inside Immigration Reform" series explores the issue of E-Verify, highlighted further Monday after a raid of 7-Eleven stores that had hired undocumented immigrants. Ray Suarez talked with Mark Krikorian and Chris Calabrese of the ACLU.

    Watch here or below:

    Watch Video

    And Politics Online Production Assistant Meena Ganesan put together this handy primer on the five things you should know about the E-Verify proposals.

    Ready for it? Hari Sreenivasan, Mark Shields and David Brooks will take your questions Friday at 5 p.m. ET for a special DoubleHeader Live.

    The Los Angeles Times covers our big announcement about expanding to seven days a week with "PBS NewsHour Weekend."

    We talked to public media reporters about the expansion of Medicaid in the states.

    Paul Solman spoke with Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality, about how free technology widens economic inequality. And on his Making Sen$e page, Paul responds to Social Security expert Larry Kotlikoff's warning that Social Security is much deeper in the hole than the government likes to say.

    TOP TWEETS

    OMG, you guys, I've been asleep for a year (& 5 months)! MT @Morning_Joe Breaking Sen. McCaskill to announce support for H Clinton in 2016

    — Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) June 18, 2013

    "Almost everybody has written off Rick Santorum as a 2016 contender -- everybody, that is, except Rick Santorum." :( http://t.co/5xdnE1WDie

    — Elise Foley (@elisefoley) June 18, 2013

    Guys! It's obviously a Harry Potter reference ... #phoenix#fawkes

    — Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) June 17, 2013

    In Dublin, Mrs. Obama and daughters visited historic Trinity College. ''It's like Hogwarts, as Sasha pointed out," said Mrs. Obama.

    — Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 17, 2013

    This. RT @darth: OK OK #gameofsnowdenpic.twitter.com/VioeHEJvhs

    — Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) June 17, 2013

    As @mmurraypolitics just pointed out, if sen holds up your nomination or threatens to, then go to MA and run for office. Warren, now Berwick

    — Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) June 17, 2013

    Fun fact about the WH library via WaPo: Jacqueline Kennedy asked Yale librarian James T. Babb to pick collection http://t.co/WU29uYAdtV

    — Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 17, 2013

    So far some pretty lame wedding gifts from SCOTUS to @ryanjreilly

    — daveweigel (@daveweigel) June 17, 2013

    Happy Birthday Newt! pic.twitter.com/v2ODiPbVQg

    — Callista Gingrich (@CallyGingrich) June 17, 2013

    I bet he just asked about the Superbowl ring. RT @nycjim@ReutersWorld: Putin, Obama at G8. http://t.co/rCx4oOwBZIpic.twitter.com/kkhNyOVHjS

    — dustin_hughes (@dustin_hughes) June 17, 2013

    Meena Ganesan, Simone Pathe and Politics 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

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  • 06/18/13--08:13: How to Woo a Cicada
  • A periodical cicada basks in the sun at a cemetery in Lorton, Virginia. Photo by Jenny Marder.

    On a hot spring day in late May, I went hunting for periodical cicadas with John Cooley, a veteran expert of the behavior, distribution and unusual courtship rituals of these insects. The trip was for a tape piece we've been preparing on cicadas, which is slated to air on Wednesday's NewsHour broadcast.

    As our van pulled into Deep Run Park, just outside Richmond, Virginia, a noise rose up from the din, first a soft buzzing, like a bike engine from a distance, but rising increasingly in volume and pitch as we drove along a row of tall pine trees lining the road.

    "This is a fairly pure chorus of Magicicada septendecim," Cooley said, referring to the specific species of periodical cicada. "I can see one flying right over there."

    Sure enough, a cicada was flitting along the treetops. And then another. And another. Cicadas in cicada territory are like stars. The longer your eyes search for them, the more the bugs come into focus, and the more you see.

    The cicadas that emerged this spring from Georgia to Connecticut belong to a 17-year brood, known as Brood II.

    The car pulled to a stop in the parking lot, and Cooley climbed out, strode over to the trees and plucked two male cicadas from their branches.

    "Now you're mine," he told them, not unkindly.

    And they were his. For Cooley, we learned, is a cicada whisperer. Nearly 20 years ago, the University of Connecticut researcher and his partner had made a discovery. It's long been known that the males are the singers of the species -- they're the ones creating the 100-decibel racket, "the big boy band in the trees," Michael Raupp, an entomologist from the University of Maryland has called it.

    The males bellow out for weeks to attract a mate, producing a frenzied, raucous cacophony of wooing. Not unlike what you see on an episode of "The Bachelorette." Or any movie that features multiple men competing to bed Cameron Diaz.

    But what Cooley and Dave Marshall had discovered was that females signal too, with a soft click of their wings.

    In the case of this species, the male song is comprised of a long tone followed by a quick downstroke, which Cooley can whistle so precisely, it's hard to tell if the sound is coming from him or from the red-eyed, black-bodied, veiny winged creatures, now crawling across his tee shirt and onto the microphone receiver we've attached to the waistband of his trousers.

    Biologist and researcher John Cooley uses a junk light switch to attract and capture the attention of a male cicada. From video by Charlie Voth.

    Then the female, if she likes the look of him, will click her wings in approval. And only then will the male be encouraged to pursue her.

    "When a female makes that little click signal, that's a sound of mating acceptance," Cooley said. "So you get these duets with all this courtship involved and eventually that culminates in a mating."

    As the bugs crawled across his chest, arms and wrist, he demonstrated the noise by clicking his thumb and pointer fingernails together, until that proved unsatisfactory, at which point he stuck the bugs in his mouth to free up his hands. Their little legs hung out from his pursed lips, waving frantically, as he pulled his bag from the car trunk and rifled through his laundry, finally producing from the bottom what he was searching for: an old light switch "from the junk box."

    He placed the bugs back on his wrist and clicked the light switch again and again, mimicking, he explained, a female. The male cicadas crawled toward the sound, fixated.

    in 2001, Cooley and David Marshall published a paper showing that male cicadas produce not just one sound, but several. As the female begins the wing click, their call changes, becoming faster and more constant. And then it changes again just before the act of mating occurs.

    From Cooley's Magicicada.org website:

    "Under some circumstances, males engaged in duets acoustically obscure the downslurs of potential competitors, reducing the likelihood of a female response and increasing the likelihood that competing males will continue chorusing, depart and search elsewhere."

    It is a complicated and sophisticated duet that is unique to this insect and that varies slightly according to the cicada species. And its hold on the male is remarkably strong.

    "You see, he's my friend for life now," Cooley said of the cicada still moving across his wrist. "He'll stick around forever. There's very little I can do to him that will make him go away at this stage."

    He waved his hand up and down and indeed, the cicada clung to it, going nowhere.

    "Look at that," he said. "It's not flying away... All the normal things that an insect would do, like try to get away and all that, all that's gone by the wayside here, because it is as if there is a receptive female somewhere around here."

    He shook his head. "There isn't. All we have is this," he points to the light switch. "It's just because we've learned to crack the code that these insects use."

    QUICK BITES

    Here's a fascinating post by Carl Zimmer's blog The Loom on vampire bats -- how they feed, move, drink blood and attack cows.

    Miles O'Brien had this report for Science Nation last week on the sensory systems of boas, pythons and pit vipers.

    Space.com has a look at NASA's eight new astronaut recruits.

    And The New York Times has this profile of Bill Nye the Science Guy - who's taking on more than just teaching science to children these days.

    Snowflake the Albino Gorilla Was Inbred

    NOT SAFE FOR LUNCH

    "The last thing most people would want in their bodies is mucus laden with viruses," Science News reports. "But a new study suggests that viruses called bacteriophages, or phages, grab onto mucus and then infect and kill invasive bacteria."

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    Defense attorney Cheryl Bormann, seen in this sketch from May 5, 2012, wears the Muslim hijab when the defendants are in the courtroom. Sketch by Janet Hamlin/AFP/Getty Images.

    The pre-trial hearing on the five suspected 9/11 plotters continued Tuesday at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- without the accused present. The day focused on why the International Red Cross opposes requests to disclose its confidential condition reports on Guantanamo detainees.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected architect of the 9/11 attacks, and four accused co-conspirators were in the courtroom on Monday, but they chose not to attend Tuesday's proceedings.

    At the hearing, Matthew MacLean, a civilian attorney for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the ICRC must maintain its reputation as a "strictly impartial" entity and, therefore, couldn't release the confidential Guantanamo detainee condition reports to the defense attorneys who requested them.

    "The primary method we have to get access to places that nobody else can access" is to keep the information it collects confidential, he said. "Our role is too unique and too important" to compromise on that point.

    But, MacLean continued, the intent is not to deprive the prisoners' defense team of potentially helpful evidence. And if there was a disclosure, either with or without its consent, the ICRC could get a waiver to provide information, he added.

    The defense attorneys tried to convince the judge why the records were necessary. Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz said he represents a man -- Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi -- who "could be put to death." "We have a reasonable and good basis to believe the information contained within the ICRC reports could be extremely useful to our case."

    When the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, asked him if he could get the information elsewhere, Ruiz responded: "I don't know of any other way."

    The U.S. government has the documents, Ruiz added, so the defense is not asking the ICRC itself for the records nor asking it to testify.

    Although the lawyers simply could ask their clients what they told the ICRC, Cheryl Bormann pointed out that her client, Waleed bin Attash, first spoke to the ICRC in 2006. "He does not have a perfect memory. ... He didn't write down every day what happened to him in captivity." That's why they need the records from the ICRC, she said. "We are balancing the ICRC's mission with saving a life."

    Bin Attash allegedly ran an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. The other defendants are Ramzi Binalshibh, who allegedly tried to become a hijacker but when he couldn't get a visa to enter the United States located flight schools for the other hijackers; Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, accused of giving the hijackers money and Western clothes; and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, nephew of Mohammed who is accused of providing money to the hijackers.

    The charges against the five men include 2,973 counts of murder for each of the people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The U.S. government is seeking the death penalty.

    On Monday, lawyers representing the accused sought more specifics on how they could communicate with their clients and how to handle classified materials when the trial begins, which could be years from now. (Read what happened here.)

    The pre-trial hearing continues throughout the week. The judge can issue rulings on the motions at any time.

    View all of our World coverage.

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