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

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    RAY SUAREZ: And we continue our look at immigration reform, as GOP leaders repeated for a second day that there's no clear consensus on a path forward for comprehensive legislation.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio: We got a broken system that needs to be fixed.

    RAY SUAREZ: House Speaker John Boehner insisted today the vast majority of House Republicans do want immigration reform, but on their terms.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER: Through all the conversations that have occurred from -- with my own members, with Democrat members, it's clear that dealing with this in bite-sized chunks that members can digest and the American people can digest is the smartest way to go.

    RAY SUAREZ: In other words, the House will not take up the comprehensive bill that passed the Senate or anything like it.

    That bill includes a path to citizenship for some 11 million people already in the country illegally. Democrats insist on including that step. House Republicans have focused instead on border security, but they're under growing pressure to relent on the citizenship question, and after a two-hour meeting yesterday, they displayed a conference divided.

    REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-Calif.: There are three categories that those 11 million people go into, people that we all agree should remain here, people that we all agree should be removed, criminal aliens, people who have committed crimes and so on, and then people who may be in between.

    REP. STEVE KING, R-Iowa: I made the point that anything that is legalization ends up in citizenship. And if that's the case, I'm opposed to it, because it destroys the rule of law. You could never reestablish the rule of law in this country, at least with regard to immigration, again.

    RAY SUAREZ: This morning, the lead authors of the Senate bill, Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican John McCain, talked hopefully, after meeting with President Obama at the White House.

    SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: Once you say doing nothing is not an option, you have to move in a direction to be bipartisan. And once you're bipartisan, you're going to get some progress that can get something done. So, again, it's not going to be the same exact thing as we believe, but, at the end of the day, hopefully, it will be close enough that we can come to an agreement.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-Ariz.: We are in no way bigfooting the members of the House of Representatives. We'd like to see legislation along the lines of ours, but we can work with them on different pieces of legislation. We want legislation that we can go to conference on, that we can get a majority vote in both houses.

    RAY SUAREZ: House Republicans will now consider four separate bills, with a concentration on border security and enforcement of existing laws. None offers the possibility of citizenship.

    But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned today of the consequences of not acting quickly.

    REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-Calif.: I think delay can create problems, but I'm ever optimistic. So I believe that we will have immigration reform for the simple reason that the American people want us to have it, and that, if it doesn't happen in this year, it's unlikely that it's going to happen in an election year.

    RAY SUAREZ: Republicans have talked of voting on immigration before the month-long recess that begins in early August. But Boehner seemed to leave some wiggle room today.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER: I'm much more concerned about doing it right than I am of meeting some deadline.

    RAY SUAREZ: If action on immigration slides to the fall, fiscal battles over the federal budget and debt ceiling could sideline the issue indefinitely.

    And to the next in our immigration conversations.

    Earlier this week, we talked with House Republicans Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Raul Labrador of Idaho, along with Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez.

    Tonight, another Democrat, Arizona's Raul Grijalva. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and serves as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. I spoke with him yesterday.

    Congressman Grijalva, welcome to the program.

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA, D-Ariz.: Thank you, Ray.

    RAY SUAREZ: A lot of attention is being paid to whether Republicans will go for the Senate bill in the House, but I thought, since you're co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, we should ask you whether Democrats in the House are happy with the changes that were made to the bill to get it through the Senate?

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: Well, I think a great deal of discomfort, some outright opposition to the surge, the Corker amendment that added $30 billion-plus, doubled everything that was already in the bill.

    And, for many, for environmentalists and people that care about those public land laws, clean water, clean air, the waiving of all those laws along the border and public lands, people have difficulty with that. The issue of just militarizing the border to an extent that it becomes almost a combat zone will change the texture and the life in that community forever.

    I think it's excessive. I think it's overkill. I think we need to define what security is. And I think it includes much more components than boots on the ground and drones and helicopters and sensors and towers and fences. It includes much more.

    But the definition is very narrow. We will make an effort to try to expand that definition, but the bottom line, Ray, has been that a lot of the swallowing and bitterness of some of these additions by the Senate and even some of the components that were in the Senate bill before Corker were being swallowed because of the importance of a path to citizenship.

    RAY SUAREZ: So, you call it a bitter pill to swallow. Does it still have your vote as written if it came to the House floor?

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: If it came to the House floor and there were -- at this point, I have a great deal of discomfort with it.

    I feel that I have -- I have been reluctant to state what I would do in that situation, so that we wouldn't marginalize the opportunity to try to improve it.

    But a lot will depend on what the Republicans do here. If we start to redefine the path, then the only sole reason for any compromise or swallowing any of this has been the millions of people that we would add comfort and protection to. If that starts to leave, then, quite frankly, there's no compromise.

    RAY SUAREZ: Is the path to citizenship, some path to citizenship, a necessary precondition for this bill or a version of it to get your vote?

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: My vote and I think a great number of Democrats.

    The sentiment I'm giving you, Ray, about we don't like this part, we don't like that part is pretty prevalent, but the golden opportunity to do something about these families -- and I represent 350 miles of border communities, Nogales, San Luis, Somerton, all those communities, and constantly every day dealing with those families, the deportations, the split families, children left in foster care because their parents are gone.

    I mean, the human toll sometimes makes you makes you believe that that has to be the ultimate goal. And if that path isn't there, then what are we settling for?

    RAY SUAREZ: Earlier in the week, Congressman Trey Gowdy, your Republican colleague from South Carolina, was on this program.

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: Right.

    RAY SUAREZ: And he said the path to citizenship is not as important to him as securing the border right now, because unless you secure the border, you end up back in the same problem we're in now, with newly legalized residents and more people coming over the border trying to achieve that status.

    How do you reply to that?

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: I think that within the Senate bill, there's E-Verify that's going to make a demand of employers that people must have the proper documentation. Otherwise, the penalties on those employers that hire unauthorized people is going to be huge.

    Beyond that, you know, people are coming out of the shadows, declaring themselves, starting that process, family unification, much -- 40 percent of the people that are right now in this country overstayed their work visas or overstayed their visas.

    And as you seal this border and as you try to feel that the only way you can provide immigration reform is by zero-tolerance, secure border fences, double links, Border Patrol agents shoulder to shoulder, that's naive thinking. That's not the reality of the border.

    And the reality of the economy of this nation and this world, the effect of poverty, there's root causes here. And merely building the fences, symbolism, it's pandering and good political rhetoric, but it is not going to fix or accommodate the issue that we're dealing with here, which is the people that are here already and what do you do about them? He doesn't answer that question.

    And his idea of -- his idea of keeping people here with a provisional legal status is something that's so un-American, to have a second class of workers and people in this country with no access to citizenship and, more importantly, with a different set of rights and protections than the rest of us have.

    I don't think that's American. I don't think -- we have never been about that. And I think he misses the point on that value. But securing the border, from somebody from a state that doesn't have to deal with it on a daily basis, it's not just overreach. I think it's oversimplification.

    RAY SUAREZ: So very, very quickly, before we go, Congressman, is there a compromise floating out there that will leave people like Congressman Gowdy satisfied about the border and its security and leave the members of your Progressive Caucus satisfied that you have done well by the people who are here struggling, trying to get legal status?

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: Yes, I think a path has to be integral, redefining what you mean by security, so that we make it comprehensive, so that the issues that the gentleman from South Carolina is concerned about, we use -- part of security has to be economic development.

    Six million jobs in this country depend on direct trade import and export from Mexico, in the country. And so this is about jobs. This is about a vitality that we need in the borderlands in terms of an economy. We need to redefine that.

    I think that's the compromise, that you expand the definition of security from the simpleton stuff that we're talking about right now, fences and boots, to the more complex and lasting solutions, which is the economic development, good ports of entries, increased trade, increased visitorship.

    It's a win-win for everybody. And if there was an opportunity to sit down and have a rational discussion without posturing, I think that's a potentially good compromise.

    RAY SUAREZ: Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, thanks for joining us, sir.

    REP. RAUL GRIJALVA: Thank you, Ray. Appreciate it.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now to Egypt.

    Among the demonstrators who jam Tahrir Square every day are hundreds of women. They face a very disturbing threat from gangs of men who sexually assault female protesters.

    Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News reports from Cairo.

    And a warning: You may find some of the details and the images in her story distressing.

    LINDSEY HILSUM: Such sweet boys full of energy and fun. They have just been chasing a young woman up the street. The interviewer asks them why.

    "If a lady is respectable, no one will harass her," says a kid in red. The others pile in. "Why do they wear short skirts or tight trousers?"

    "Some young women, when we flirt with them, they smile."

    That's how it starts. This is how it ends. A mob attacks a young woman on the corner of Tahrir Square. We have disguised her identity.

    This is one of more than a hundred assaults in Tahrir Square during last week's demonstrations. This is the very place. Women still come to the square, but it's dangerous.

    This corner of Tahrir Square has become notorious for attacks on women. I can only come here tonight because it's almost empty because of Ramadan and people are praying. And I have got a whistle to protect me and an alarm and a whole crew of people around me. That's not the case for many women who come here.

    And the most horrific thing I have heard is that these attacks are planned, and, sometimes, women think that the men coming for them are trying to save them from being assaulted, but in fact they take them away and attack them again.

    A long darning needle. Janet Abdel Aleem and her group of activists distribute the needles to women for self-defense. She and her colleague Nada were assaulted in Tahrir Square last November.

    JANET ABDEL ALEEM, Fouada Watch (through translator): They were putting their hands into my pants and into Nada's pants and inside my blouse, touching me everywhere. There were about 15 to 20 people who said they were trying to protect and save us, but they suddenly started to attack us.

    LINDSEY HILSUM: Today, the Muslim Brotherhood are on the streets. The women tell me it's the secularists in Tahrir Square, not religious men, who do it.

    WOMAN: No, that's in Tahrir Square, not here; 170 women get raped in Tahrir Square, because I don't know which kind of people is going to Tahrir Square. Maybe it's the people, they freed them when they open prisons.

    LINDSEY HILSUM: But both political factions have tried to intimidate women off the streets at different times. And the Muslim Brotherhood blocked a law on violence against women.

    Law and order collapsed under their rule, so voluntary groups had to step in.

    ZEINAB SABAT, Tahrir bodyguard: We're doing the job of the police. We're doing the job of people who are in power who should be responsible for this.

    LINDSEY HILSUM: Zeinab is planning to join her male colleagues intervening to save women being attacked in Tahrir Square, because the victims now fear that rescuers may in fact turn out to be rapists.

    ZEINAB SABAT: I reached the point where I don't get scared anymore. Now when someone touches me when I'm trying to, not intervene, but patrolling at least, or anything like that, it's never fine. But kind -- I know it's part of the job, like, it's something that you cannot prevent for now.

    But when it comes to intervening, I saw cases. I saw victims and I -- it's traumatizing, and I see them. And I feel that it's not -- you cannot trust a man anymore.

    LINDSEY HILSUM: Poverty, unemployment, segregation of the sexes, many factors contribute to endemic sexual harassment in Egypt. But deprivation in social attitudes are not the only causes.

    JANET ABDEL ALEEM (through translator): The problem is, there's no law against this. People know if they go into the square and touch women, they will not be punished. Also, us women are blamed for being harassed. We shouldn't blame women for this.

    LINDSEY HILSUM: In Tahrir Square, they're holding Ramadan prayers just next to the place where women are frequently raped. Mob assaults and escalation of sexual harassment are the unintended consequence of a revolution that was meant to liberate Egyptians, men and women alike.

    RAY SUAREZ: The Muslim Brotherhood and other groups are calling for a million man demonstration tomorrow in Cairo. Its aim is to protest President Morsi's ouster and clashes with Egypt's military that left more than 50 people dead.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Nearly a week after a runaway train derailed and triggered an enormous explosion in a tiny town in Canada, there are growing questions and anger about what led to the tragedy.

    All this week, crews have searched the burned-out wreckage in the little town of Lac-Megantic. Authorities believe the final death toll will reach 50, making it Canada's worst railway disaster in nearly 150 years. It began early Saturday, with plumes of black smoke and fire, after a runaway train hauling crude oil rolled down a seven-mile incline.

    It derailed in the center of town, where at least five cars exploded, burning down 30 buildings.

    PIERRE LEBEAU, Quebec: It was like daylight. It came so light, it was like the sunlight. And I heard a lot of detonations.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Yesterday, Edward Burkhardt, chairman of the company that owns Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, traveled to Lac-Megantic for the first time since the disaster.

    MAN: Burkhardt.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: He faced angry, grieving townspeople, and sounded a note of contrition.

    EDWARD BURKHARDT, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway: I would feel the same way if something like this happened in my community. Beyond that, I don't know what to say.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Burkhardt has also come under sharp criticism from Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, who visited Lac-Megantic today.

    PAULINE MAROIS, Quebec premier (through translator): To my mind, the leader of that firm should have been there on the spot right at the beginning of this tragic incident. It seems to me that goes without saying. He should have been there to better communicate with the population. They have many questions to ask, and also, with the municipal authorities, they have all kinds of questions.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the meantime, it's still unclear what caused the disaster. The Canadian Transportation Safety Board says just an hour before the wreck, the train was in a nearby town, when an engine providing pressure to the air brakes caught fire. Local firemen responded.

    DONALD ROSS, Transportation Safety Board of Canada: The engine was shut down at about midnight. The fire was extinguished. And the train starts to move at approximately 00:56, after midnight.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Burkhardt suggested yesterday that the firefighters apparently changed switches in the train's cab.

    EDWARD BURKHARDT: Somebody tampered with it. We later found out -- we didn't know at the time -- that it was the Nantes fire department. Did they do this maliciously or on purpose? Absolutely not. They did what they thought was correct. It was an important causal factor in this whole thing.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: with its air brakes disabled, the train was now dependent on manual hand brakes. But Burkhardt says he believes the train's engineer failed to set them properly.

    EDWARD BURKHARDT: We think he applied some hand brakes. The question is, did he apply enough of them? He's told us that he applied 11 hand brakes. And our general feeling is that that's not -- now that that is not true. Initially, we took him at his word.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The engineer has not spoken publicly. But Quebec police have now opened a criminal investigation into the derailment.  


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Nancy Wood is an anchor with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who is covering this story. She joins us from Montreal.

    Thanks for being with us.

    NANCY WOOD, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: My pleasure.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Let's start with an update on the investigation. What's the latest that you have tonight?

    NANCY WOOD: Well, we know that the police have told us now there are 24 confirmed dead. But they have told the families and the friends of that small town of about 2,000 that the 50 people who are officially missing are dead. It's just that as they come across remains, they can now say we have 24.

    And they have released the identity of the first person officially. That's a 93-year-old woman. Her family says she wanted to stay in her home, she was quite spry and lively, but not spry enough to run that fast. And as it happened at 1:00 in the morning, unless you were awake, you had no chance of getting out.

    And the people who were in a small cafe, of course, couldn't get out quickly enough. But some people did manage to run, others, like this woman, no.

    NANCY WOOD: And as for the investigation -- you were asking me about that -- I should go back to that -- is that they are interviewing people. They interviewed Edward Burkhardt.

    They are treating the scene as a crime scene. And that's why they kept people away from it for so long. And that made people in the community very frustrated, because they wanted to see it.

    But they're not telling us any details of what kind of criminal investigation. It could be criminal negligence. It could be anything else, but they're not telling us.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is it routine for it to be considered a criminal investigation? Does it give them different procedural options? Why would they do that?

    NANCY WOOD: Well, I think's nothing routine about this kind of disaster. And so even the Surete de Quebec, the provincial police force, is saying they have never dealt with this magnitude of disaster with 50 people killed in a town of 2,000, and basically the downtown of this place obliterated.

    So clearly something went wrong, and I guess they have decided they're going to treat it as criminal, but they won't tell us why.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: OK.

    And let's talk a little bit about this engineer and the brakes question. It's just kind of coming into the light now that there was a problem with the train ahead of time. How -- is this a he said/she said on the fire department vs. the CEO?

    NANCY WOOD: Well, it is interesting, because the first we heard from Edward Burkhardt was much earlier in the week, where he clearly put the blame on the -- the small town, what's called Nantes -- on the Nantes fire department.

    And the fire department hit right back. They said absolutely not. There was a fire. There have been several fires on MMA trains over the last few years. We came in. We extinguished the fire. We called the railway. The railway sent personnel and we left that train in its place with personnel on board.

    Now -- then MMA said there'd been tampering with the train. And now they're saying it was the fire department that disengaged the air break, and the engineer should have set the hand brakes. And the engineer say he did set the hand brakes, although he's vanished. He's now not working. He's off work with pay, and he's not talking to anybody.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is it usual for there just to be one engineer on a train like this?

    NANCY WOOD: No. MMA is only one of two railroads that has permission to operate with single-person crews. Edward Burkhardt does have a reputation in the rail industry as somebody who acquires railroads and makes them more efficient. And more efficient usually means cost-cutting. And that is the case. He cut salaries by 40 percent when he took over this railroad in 2003.

    And he did have single-man crews and much more remote-controlled devices to make up for that. He said it's more efficient. In fact, he was saying yesterday it's safer because there are fewer distraction when there's only one person. But in this case, the engineer had got off the train, had gone to bed in that town, the town of Farnham.

    And he was saying that the fire department should have gone and woken up the engineer and brought them to the train. The fire department says, it's your railroad. We put the fire out. We called your railroad. If anyone is going to call the engineer, it should be you. So it's turning into a he said/she said, except, as I say, we're not hearing from the engineer in question.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And we heard quite a bit of jeering from the crowd of Edward Burkhardt. Is this just frustration boiling over at this point from the locals?

    NANCY WOOD: It is.

    And you know what's odd about this is that the president and CEO of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway has been in that town since Saturday, but he's just been kind of incognito. He hasn't talked to many people. He was had a few meetings with the mayor, but he was very under the radar.

    So there was nobody from the company that people could see. It's hard to imagine how you could work something out, how you could come in when your company has done this to a town and win people over. I would say it's next to impossible.

    But the fact that they were not visible for so long, that they blamed other people, and that they came in and were so improvised -- he was just kind of walking down the street with reporters, and he tried to give a news conference, but it turned into a gigantic scrum.

    The police had to stop people from heckling. And, to be fair, it wasn't the whole town that was heckling him. It was a few people who were obviously very frustrated and angry, but a lot of people were just watching and crying as he tried to explain what happened.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, finally, I want to ask. The American media is dipping in and out of this story. But you're there. Is this transcending across Canada? Has this sparked a national conversation about safety and transport?

    NANCY WOOD: Yes.

    And you know what the conversation is -- I know that you have the same conversation in the states -- is oil pipelines. And there is a push on to have more pipelines across Canada.

    And people don't like the idea of pipelines. But this has led to the discussion about, well, would you rather it was by rail and on old tracks with small companies?

    MMM's safety record is not a good safety record. So it's sparked that debate. It has had people wondering what is going through our town at 1:00 in the morning? Do we even know what the risk is? And it literally has people talking about Edward Burkhardt by name and hand brakes and air brakes and things that none of us ever talked about before. But it certainly has affected Canadians across the country.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Nancy Wood from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, thanks so much.


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    RAY SUAREZ: Finally tonight: video games, virtual reality and how changes in those technologies may be connected with economic behavior.

    NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman and Paul's avatar are our guides, part of his ongoing reporting Making Sense of financial news.

    And you should know his story contains some video game violence.

    MAN: You should feel like you're there.

    MAN: Oh, gosh. Oh, my gosh.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Video games, one of the world's fastest-growing industries, with more than $80 billion a year in revenues now, more than twice that of movies.

    MAN: The feeling of dropping is really awesome.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And at a recent developers conference in San Francisco, the race was on to try out a breakthrough that could take the industry to an entirely new level.

    MAN: This is insane.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Though not yet ready for retail -- it's expected to sell for about $300 -- the Oculus Rift is already being hailed as the Holy Grail of gaming, a lightweight, affordable headset to deliver totally immersive virtual reality, or V.R.

    NATE MITCHELL, Oculus VR: A lot of us got into the games industry to build virtual worlds and explore -- build and explore neat places. And being able to step inside those places for the first time is incredibly exciting.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Nate Mitchell, Oculus's 25-year old vice president, gave me a sneak peak at the headset, driving a mech, a sort of weaponized robot, in a virtual reality version of the popular post-apocalypse game "Hawken."

    Up, up, up, up. Ooh, yes. This is pretty cool.

    The split-screen images, what I'm seeing in each eye, don't come close to capturing the experience. But begoggled, I was virtually within "Hawken"'s Mad Max world.

    Oh, I don't like that sign, so let's just get that. There we go. There we go.

    NATE MITCHELL: There you go.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Got...

    NATE MITCHELL: Yes.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Pretty mild for video game violence these days, but still:

    Do you worry about possible misuse or abuse of this technology?

    NATE MITCHELL: There's always going to be people who use technology in weird ways, that you don't want to tap into.

    But to be honest, you know, we leave it to developers to choose the content they're building and people to choose what they want to play.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But what will they choose?

    JEREMY BAILENSON, Stanford University: We are entering an era that is unprecedented in human history.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Jeremy Bailenson runs Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab. While part of the lab's mission is to perfect the technology, its main purpose is to get a handle on V.R.'s psychological effects, now that it's nearing the mass market.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: In this world in which you can transform the self and have any experience that an animator can fathom, what are the consequences to the self? What are the consequences to society?

    PAUL SOLMAN: Is that as radical a change as your language suggests?

    JEREMY BAILENSON: Yes. We cannot underestimate how radical this change is. Video game violence research shows that if you put someone in a virtual scene that's nasty and violent, they behave more aggressively in the physical world.

    What we need to do is to think about the wonderful things we can do in these virtual worlds that can make the world a better place.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So Bailenson is designing experiments to try to do just that. First step for putting a new subject into those experiments, an alternate reality alter ego, a virtually real economics correspondent.

    Using high-resolution photos, lab manager Cody Karutz is creating a digital double to fool my brain into ultimately changing my behavior.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: For the first time ever, you get to see yourself in the third person as if in a mirror, except we control the mirror.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Oh, my God. That is so weird.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: Cody, can you give me dancing?

    I don't know if you have got these dance moves.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Yes, at first blush, this seems a lark. But placing a convincing avatar in a persuasive, yet manipulable environment was designed for an economic purpose: getting young people to save.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: This study looked at a college kid and transforms them into a body of someone who's older.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Specifically, into the body or future self of a 65- year-old. The study was designed to see if bonding with their senior selves would cause kids to salt away money for retirement.

    If I'm a kid and I'm looking at the older version of me, the idea is that I'm making a non-conscious connection that will stay with me and change my behavior.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: Exactly. It's -- you can tell someone you will be older some day, but the visceral experience of seeing your image in the mirror as older than you are causes this deep connection to your future self, and this is what drives future savings behavior.

    PAUL SOLMAN: In fact, in a 2011 paper, Bailenson and others reported that those who had seen their future selves in the virtual mirror subsequently put twice as much money into a savings account as those who hadn't. And the research continues.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: In future studies, we're actually going to build scenarios that show you what life would be like when you're older when you don't have money, so a very visceral reminder of what poverty would be like.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The aim is to help subjects save more and prosper, especially those who don't act as economically as their peers, as evidenced in the famous marshmallow test.

    Kids who resisted one treat for 15 minutes got two treats as a reward...

    WOMAN: You get two.

    PAUL SOLMAN: ... and later saved more and earned more as adults.

    So, we asked famous child psychologist Jerome Kagan, could a virtual reality experience or V.R. video game change behavior and improve it for the improvident in real reality?

    JEROME KAGAN, developmental psychologist: A lot of this is novelty effects. A lot of these experiments in the literature about you bring someone in and you show them what it's like to be old and you say, now, how much money would you like to give for your retirement? And they give a little more money.

    But by the time you're four, you understand the difference between fantasy and real life.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Well, but wait. Virtual reality, the very name suggests that you can't really or may not really be able to distinguish between the game experience and real life.

    JEROME KAGAN: I doubt that. You can always distinguish between being in a virtual reality laboratory and then leaving, closing the door, and going outside.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Not so, says Jeremy Bailenson.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: That's going to make you take off.

    Virtual experiences are very intense and the effects of them carry over to the real world.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, now what am I doing?

    JEREMY BAILENSON: Basically, you're going to fly around like Superman, and you are going to take off by putting your arms over your head.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, put them up?

    OK. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Where am I going now?

    JEREMY BAILENSON: Go down. Point your hands down. That will get you back down.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Ah! Ah! Oh, oh, oh.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: I got you. I got you. I got you. Close your eyes if you get scared.

    (LAUGHTER)

    PAUL SOLMAN: Holy. Holy. That's unbelievable.

    Oh, I -- I can see that that would be just unforgettable.

    Bailenson says research is beginning to show that virtual reality can have a deep and long-lasting effect on behavior.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: So now I'm underwater here, and...

    PAUL SOLMAN: Fish going by.

    In experiments, swimming with the fishes in water that turns from fair to foul makes people think twice about using plastic bags, which might otherwise wind up in the great garbage patch that's polluting the Pacific Ocean.

    And how about sawing down a virtual tree? On average, each American requires two virgin trees for a lifetime of pampering with that squeezably soft nonrecycled toilet paper. The feeling of felling a giant tree, however, can suffice to make some switch to the recycled stuff.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: I get calls from people months after experiencing what you just experienced saying that I never walk down that supermarket aisle without thinking about cutting down this tree.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And while we're on the subject of environmental awareness:

    JEREMY BAILENSON: We have people get on all fours.

    PAUL SOLMAN: ... Bailenson is now working on a study that has people experience being cows.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: We're trying to make a more visceral connection between an understanding about where your meat comes from and you're feeling what it's like to be led to slaughter.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Led to slaughter?

    JEREMY BAILENSON: You're led to slaughter, yes.

    And it's the idea of giving somebody a bigger connection with the process of eating meat.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But wait a second. Now we're getting to "Clockwork Orange." You're creating an aversive experience that is trying to rewire me.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: I think of virtual reality like uranium. It can heat homes and it can destroy nations.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The power to destroy, said Bailenson, lies not in his experiments, vetted by Stanford's institutional review board, but in the unexamined spread of commercial virtual reality, where the lowest common denominator is likely to win.

    JEREMY BAILENSON: These experiences we give you in this lab pale by comparison to a video game that kids play it for hours a day.

    My job is to create virtual experiences that can help, and also to inoculate the world to understand that when you have these virtual experiences, they're not free. They change the way you think about yourself.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Or about your future self, for better or worse.  


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  • 07/11/13--12:41: Poet Profile: Liao Yiwu
  • Watch Video

    Liao Yiwu was in his early 30s when he was arrested for writing and performing a poem about the brutality of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. His poem -- simply called "Massacre" -- was an angry, howling rant against the government and a plea for support for the fledgling pro-democracy movement. For his words, Liao served four years in jail, where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. Twice he tried to commit suicide. But his life turned around when he met a fellow political prisoner: an 84-year-old monk who showed him that music could be his salvation.

    "He told me that you will never have freedom, if you don't have freedom in your mind. And so he taught me to play the flute," Liao Yiwu told the PBS NewsHour. A new memoir about his time in prison has just been published by Houghton Mifflin called "For a Song and a Hundred Songs."

    Liao said he felt he had to write the book to make sure the stories were not covered up. "I needed to write it down so I wouldn't be forgotten like a stray dog," he said. Growing up in the Sichuan province during the Cultural Revolution, Liao received little formal education. But he learned traditional Chinese poetry from his father, and found his own way to the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He said he was never a political writer or activist, until he saw the events in Tiananmen Square unfold. "It changed my life," he said. "I felt helpless." After writing "Massacre" and surviving prison, Liao continued to write, often about the people from the lowest rungs on the social ladder.

    "I was with people who lived in the bottom of the society. And when I came out of prison, I was also living at the bottom of society. I know these people, the people of really low social status. And in these people, I see my own shadow. The so-called elite don't care for us, but we are the mainstream of society." He said even after he was released from prison, government officials continued to watch, harass and deny him visas to travel abroad.

    Liao Yiwu was in his early 30s when he was arrested for writing and performing a poem about the brutality of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. His poem -- simply called "Massacre" -- was an angry, howling rant against the government and a plea for support for the fledgling pro-democracy movement. For his words, Liao served four years in jail, where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. Twice he tried to commit suicide. But his life turned around when he met a fellow political prisoner: an 84-year-old monk who showed him that music could be his salvation.

    "He told me that you will never have freedom, if you don't have freedom in your mind. And so he taught me to play the flute," Liao Yiwu told the PBS NewsHour. A new memoir about his time in prison has just been published by Houghton Mifflin called "For a Song and a Hundred Songs." Liao said he felt he had to write the book to make sure the stories were not covered up. "I needed to write it down so I wouldn't be forgotten like a stray dog," he said. Growing up in the Sichuan province during the Cultural Revolution, Liao received little formal education. But he learned traditional Chinese poetry from his father, and found his own way to the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He said he was never a political writer or activist, until he saw the events in Tiananmen Square unfold. "It changed my life," he said. "I felt helpless." After writing "Massacre" and surviving prison, Liao continued to write, often about the people from the lowest rungs on the social ladder.

    "I was with people who lived in the bottom of the society. And when I came out of prison, I was also living at the bottom of society. I know these people, the people of really low social status. And in these people, I see my own shadow. The so-called elite don't care for us, but we are the mainstream of society." He said even after he was released from prison, government officials continued to watch, harass and deny him visas to travel abroad.

    His friend, Tienchi Martin-Liao, is the editor of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He says the government felt threatened because of the negative portrayal of Chinese society. "If someone writes fiction or a novel, it's okay. But he writes in a reportage style. And if people read it, they know it's the truth. It's not imagination. So the local authorities don't like that."

    Two years ago, Liao escaped China and now lives in Germany. But he continues to write and tell his country's story. "Young people don't even know what happened in 1989. They first find out when they go abroad to Western countries. But sometimes even then they don't believe it. The Communist Party has tried to eliminate parts of history. That is bad for the younger generation. If they don't have this historical consciousness, they will just focus on getting material goods. We have to work on that so everybody knows what happened."

    By Liao Yiwu, Translated by Wenguang Huang   (Composed on the morning of June 4, 1989) Dedicated to those who were killed on June 4, 1989 Dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution   Leap! Howl! Fly! Run!   Freedom feels so good!   Snuffing out freedom feels so good!   Power will be triumphant forever.   Will be passed down from generation to generation forever.   Freedom will also come back from the dead.   It will come back to life in generation after generation.   Like that dim light just before the dawn.   No. There's no light.   At Utopia's core there can never be light.   Our hearts are pitch black.   Black and scalding.   Like a corpse incinerator.   A trace of the phantoms of the burned dead.   We will exist.   The government that dominates us will exist.   Daylight comes quickly.   It feels so good.   The butchers are still ranting!   Children. Children, your bodies all cold.   Children, your hands grasping stones.   Let's go home.   Brothers and sisters, your shattered bodies littering the earth.   Let's go home.   We walk noiselessly.   Walk three feet above the ground.   All the time forward, there must be a place to rest.   There must be a place where sounds of gunfire and explosions cannot   be heard.   We so wish to hide within a stalk of grass.   A leaf.   Uncle. Auntie. Grandpa. Granny. Daddy. Mummy.   How much farther till we're home?   We have no home.   Everyone knows.   Chinese people have no home.   Home is a comforting desire.   Let us die in this desire.   OPEN FIRE, BLAST AWAY, FIRE!   Let us die in freedom.   Righteousness. Equality. Universal love.   Peace, in these vague desires.   Stand on the horizon.   Attract more of the living to death!   It rains.   Don't know if it is rain or transparent ashes.   Run quickly, Mummy!   Run quickly, son!   Run quickly, elder brother!   Run quickly, little brother!   The butchers will not let up.   An even more terrifying day is approaching.   OPEN FIRE! BLAST AWAY! FIRE! IT FEELS GOOD! FEELS SO   GOOD! . . .   Cry cry cry crycrycrycrycrycrycry     We stand in the midst of brilliance but all people are blind.   We stand on a great road but no one is able to walk.   We stand in the midst of a cacophony but all are mute.   We stand in the midst of heat and thirst but all refuse to drink.     In this historically unprecedented massacre only the spawn of dogs can survive.


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    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks with Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., as he walks to the Senate Democrats' caucus lunch on Thursday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

    The Morning Line

    Sometimes a day in Washington can be just as productive as an evening spent watching "Sharknado."

    Thursday might have been one of those days.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spent much of the day trading personal rebukes after Reid threatened to change the chamber's rules by allowing a simple majority vote on Cabinet nominees and agency picks, instead of the current 60-vote threshold.

    Reid said the reforms were necessary because his Republican counterpart had turned his back on an agreement forged by the two leaders earlier this year to limit the use of filibusters in the Senate.

    "It could be said Sen. McConnell broke his word. That certainly could be said. The Republican leader has failed to live up to his commitments," charged the Nevada Democrat.

    McConnell countered that pushing forward with the so-called "nuclear option" would permanently tarnish Reid's legacy. "No majority leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the Senate," said the Kentucky Republican. "Well, if this majority leader caves to the fringes and lets this happen, I'm afraid that's exactly what they'll write."

    Later in the day McConnell's re-election campaign sent out a tweet with an image of a tombstone bearing Reid's name and an inscription reading: "Killed the Senate."

    The dust-up centers on a handful of President Barack Obama's nominees, including Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Tom Perez to be Secretary of Labor, and vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board.

    Reid filed cloture on seven nominees Thursday, and signaled that if Republicans blocked moving forward with votes next week, he would push ahead with the changes. "If they aren't willing to be reasonable, we know where we're headed," Reid told reporters following a meeting of Senate Democrats.

    Politico reports that Reid told his members that circumstances were different than eight years ago when lawmakers avoided a similar showdown over President George W. Bush's judicial nominees:

    In a closed-door caucus meeting Thursday, Reid began by apologizing to his colleagues for cutting bipartisan deals to avert the nuclear option, including at the beginning of this year. And the Nevada Democrat complained that he allowed votes on scores of conservative nominees under former President George W. Bush after a bipartisan coalition headed off the nuclear option in 2005. But Reid said it had been the right thing to do because Bush had won a second term in the White House.

    Now, Reid argued, times have changed.

    "I ate sh-- on some of those nominees," Reid told his colleagues, according to sources who were present.

    The escalating war of words spilled back onto the floor of the Senate chamber late Thursday, with McConnell calling it "a dark day for the United States Senate" and again suggesting history would render a harsh judgment on Reid's leadership.

    "If we don't pull back from the brink here, my friend, the majority leader, is going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever," McConnell said.

    Other Republicans expressed outrage at Reid's tactics, arguing the changes would destroy the rights of the minority party in the Senate.

    "When that day comes and people wonder, 'What happened to the Senate? When did it die?' We will know the answer," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. "It died the day the nuclear option was triggered. That's what nuclear devices do. They destroy."

    But Democrats, frustrated by what they consider obstruction on the part of Republicans, said Reid had held out long enough.

    "It has been sad to see this chamber, once considered the premier deliberative body in the world, fall into such a state of paralysis and dysfunction," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. He praised Reid for going the "extra mile" in an attempt to preserve the agreement reached with McConnell at the start of the current session of Congress.

    Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker sought to bridge the partisan divide by suggesting Senators in both parties meet next week to talk through their differences.

    But even reaching a consensus on a day and time for that session proved difficult Thursday, with Reid setting the meeting for Monday at 6 p.m. ET in the Old Senate Chamber, and McConnell objecting because of what he noted is typically "sparse attendance" at the Capitol on Monday evenings.

    In perhaps a nod to the need to resolve dysfunction in Washington, Reid and McConnell have agreed to sit down together for an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    Meanwhile, in the House, members approved a farm bill after their first attempt came up short. The latest version approved Thursday did not include funding for food stamps, and did not receive a single Democratic vote.

    The House measure will need to be reconciled with the Senate farm bill passed last month on a strong bipartisan basis that contained funding for the food stamp program.

    And lawmakers continued to work on an agreement to reverse the increase in student loan interest rates, but even that reported deal appeared to be fraying late Thursday.

    A new Quinnipiac University poll released Friday found voters mostly believing Republicans are responsible for the lack of action in Washington.

    From the survey:

    There is gridlock because Republicans are determined to block any Obama initiative, 51 percent of voters say, while 35 percent say President Barack Obama lacks the skills to convince leaders of Congress to work together.

    Asked another way, 53 percent say Obama is doing "too little" to compromise with congressional Republicans, but 68 percent of voters say congressional Republicans are doing "too little." Ten percent of voters blame Democrats for gridlock, while 23 percent blame Republicans and 64 percent blame both parties equally.

    And because of it, American voters said 69 percent to 27 percent that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will not be able to work together to pass immigration reform.

    The NewsHour's Ray Suarez examined that issue Thursday, reporting on Speaker John Boehner's continued insistence that the House take up the issue on its own terms, and speaking with Rep. Raul Grijalva.

    The Arizona Democrat discussed his discomfort with the border security deal that led to passage of the sweeping Senate measure.

    Watch the segment here or below:

    Watch Video

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday in an interview with Talking Points Memo that she disagrees with Boehner's decision not to put the a bill on the floor that does not have the support of most of his Republican members.

    "The Constitution says a majority. It doesn't say the Hastert rule, or sometimes the Hastert rule, or when I feel like it the Hastert rule. It says the majority. And there are ways to achieve the majority that I hope they will pursue," she said.

    Track the latest on our immigration page.

    LINE ITEMS

    Pennsylvania's attorney general won't defend the state's ban on gay marriage.

    Freshman Democratic Rep. Mark Takano of California used the grammar skills he developed as a high school teacher to take Boehner to task for his statement about immigration reform.

    Among the immigration bills in the works by House Republicans: a new version of the DREAM Act for children brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

    Amy Walter points out in her column for the Cook Political Report, "there is no political figure - Republican or Democrat - who can 'sell' the GOP conference on the need for [immigration] reform."

    San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a former member of Congress, admitted he has a problem with sexual harassment, saying he needs help and will work with professionals "to make changes in my behavior and approach."

    Sens. Elizabeth Warren, John McCain, Maria Cantwell and Angus King announced Thursday that they will introduce an updated version of the Glass-Steagall Act that would separate traditional banks and other financial institutions such as investment banks and hedge funds.

    Amy Chozick details Hillary Clinton's goldmine of speechmaking.

    In an interview with the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., defended the hiring of a staffer who advocated for Southern secession and praised John Wilkes Booth.

    Sen. David Vitter's super PAC is raking in big bucks for a TBD office, Roll Call reports.

    Sen. Kay Hagan, one of the most vulnerable Democrats up in 2014, has more than $4 million in the bank.

    A Democratic state senator in South Carolina is keeping apace with Gov. Nikki Haley in fundraising as he attempts to prevent her from winning a second term.

    Is this the weekend for former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer to say what he is up to?

    Sen. John Cornyn hired a tea party operative for his re-election campaign.

    Public Policy Polling has more meaningless early surveys from Iowa. Spoiler alert: Hillary Clinton still leads.

    Thanks to Superstorm Sandy sending it ashore, a grieving mother was able to read a message in a bottle her daughter had thrown into the water years before dying in an accident.

    Some eerily similar pictures from Egypt -- this time during the 1952 revolution.

    Greenpeace activists scaled the Shard, western Europe's tallest building, as an act of protest against drilling for oil in the Arctic.

    Paul Farhi explains embargoes, giving detail on how they are sometimes ridiculous.

    A new study found that a family of four needs to earn $88,615 annually to "enjoy a modest existence in the greater Washington D.C. area."

    BuzzFeed gives us 26 reasons why the Bay Area is awesome.

    Forget Journolist. There's a list serv for political types who love Phish.

    Jay-Z says that of course he gets texts from the president.

    A T-shirt with the president as a broccoli head? Perhaps the perfect gag gift. Thanks, PETA!

    Christina wrapped up guest-hosting for Kojo Nnamdi on WAMU 88.5 in Washington D.C. with a segment on bullying among siblings, the war between the D.C. Council and Wal-Mart and a new art exhibit on Ballet Russes.

    NEWSHOUR: #notjustaTVshow

    In this week's blog post, Gwen Ifill looks at a week's worth of "split-screen politics." Check it out here.

    Remember to submit your questions for Virginia's gubernatorial candidates to Judy for the debate she's moderating July 20.

    Experiencing virtual reality may help us save for our economic futures, Paul Solman explains in Thursday's Making Sen$e report.

    Want to know what Paul looks like morphed with Mitt Romney or Mr. Obama? Explore more effects of virtual reality on our Making Sen$e page.

    The Dow soared on Thursday, but it's much more likely to hit 5,000 before 20,000, argues economist Terry Burnham.

    For the latest on the Canadian train disaster, Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Canadian Broadcasting Company's Nancy Wood about the criminal investigation into the derailment.

    We heard from Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News how Egyptian women rescue each other from assualt in Tahrir Square.

    TOP TWEETS

    Huge decision. RT @ZacMcCrary: @TheFix@aaronfromsd Should #SharkNado skip Iowa straw poll or is it a must win?

    — The Fix (@TheFix) July 12, 2013

    1. It's not an immigration reform bill w/o pathway to citizenship. 2. It's not a farm bill w/o nutrition funding.

    — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) July 11, 2013

    RT if you agree: If Reid changes the rules to kill the filibuster, "Killed the Senate" will be on his tombstone pic.twitter.com/VDAmiiSYpI

    — Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) July 11, 2013

    Old school. #ThrowbackThursdaypic.twitter.com/tBuLOOtxCX

    — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 11, 2013

    I mean at this point "he killed the Senate!" is as devastating as "he cancelled a screening of 'Grown-Ups 2'!"

    — daveweigel (@daveweigel) July 11, 2013

    Barack and Michelle. #ThrowbackThursday#TBTpic.twitter.com/c64XhRVBUd

    — FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) July 11, 2013

    I just heard Trent Franks ask Siri for "the strongest arguments against the farm bill."

    — Matthew Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 11, 2013

    Me too!!! Poll: Americans favor shorter presidential campaigns http://t.co/4Te625IBMn via @USATODAY

    — Paul Singer (@singernews) July 11, 2013

    Thank you DC for standing with food trucks! #saveDCfoodtruckshttp://t.co/DWy9FOX405

    — The Big Cheese (@bigcheesetruck) July 11, 2013

    Whoa. The man behind the great Dickens and Dostoevsky hoax finally speaks out http://t.co/cEkPO291PO

    — David Grann (@DavidGrann) July 11, 2013

    I edited a draft letter by GOP members to Boehner that is looking for cosigners. Not signing it. #Immigrationpic.twitter.com/xhLYSYi3lx

    — Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) July 11, 2013

    The Onion looks at the reasons behind Obama's low approval ratings: http://t.co/d1V6j3BO1P

    — Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) July 11, 2013

    I'd be happy to compare my record of fighting for #Alaska w/ @SarahPalinUSA, but it doesn't seem fair since she never finished the job. -MB

    — MarkBegich (@MarkBegich) July 11, 2013

    How many ties do you think @hari's got in his desk? Answer coming tomorrow as he packs up for NewsHour Wknd in NY pic.twitter.com/0O1uo6qCPF

    — NewsHour (@NewsHour) July 11, 2013

    Simone Pathe and desk assistants Mallory Sofastaii and Jordan Vesey 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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    International Space Station crew member, U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg demonstrates how she washes her hair in space onboard the International Space Station.

    If you thought brushing your teeth in zero gravity looked hard, try washing your hair.

    U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg gives us a firsthand tutorial from the orbiting International Space Station that features no-rinse shampoo, runaway water and a percussive track to capture the mood.

    The real lynchpin to this endeavor seems to be the Velcro. Everything -- the water, the shampoo, the comb, the soap -- is attached by Velcro to the space station walls. You know, so they don't fly off and go rogue.

    The best part of the video is watching the various stages of Nyberg's hair as it transforms throughout the washing process -- from windswept to troll doll to magnificent mohawk.

    (Remember troll dolls? Those crazy-haired, demonic little creatures that you never actually picked out at the toy store, but somehow forced their way into your childhood armory? Well it turns out they conduct spacewalks. And design thermal control systems.)

    Here's to hygiene in space.

    As a sidenote, Nyberg -- in the spirit of the great social media maven Chris Hadfield -- has been posting some great material on her Twitter feed during her International Space Station mission. She discusses her spacewalks and "floating in to work." And she's posting lots of photos. See, for example, these forest fires in Quebec and this "spider's nest" cloud over Corsica:

    I love this "spider nest" looking cloud over Corsica. July 10. pic.twitter.com/5OAp0Z9OA1

    — Karen L. Nyberg (@AstroKarenN) July 12, 2013

    QUICK BITES

    Cubelets: Small Robots Teach Big Science Lessons. Science correspondent Miles O'Brien reports for the National Science Foundation's Science Nation:

    From USA Today: "Data from the Hubble Space Telescope has helped determine that a planet orbiting a nearby star likely shares Earth's deep-blue tones, but the similarities stop there, astronomers report."

    A new study links disposal sites for wastewater from hydraulic fracturing to "profound" increases in number of earthquakes at those sites. Bloomberg News reports.

    In the latest Field Notes post from the simulated Mars mission HI-SEAS, the would-be crew takes on washing machines. Or more precisely, the lack of washing machines. Faced with weeks of wearing the same underwear (a common annoyance on the International Space Station), the crew tests a variety of anti-bacterial clothing with mixed results.

    The White House recognizes 12 citizen scientists.

    From Slate: Spider Webs Use Electric Charges to Trap Insects:

    And don't miss our latest science stories:

    8 Things You Didn't Know About Nikola Tesla

    The Day 'Dog Vomit' Slime Mold Invaded My Front Yard

    Patti Parson and David Pelcyger contributed to this report.

    We invite you to participate in our ongoing science content assessment. Help us continue to improve our program by taking this survey.

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    PBS NewsHour political editor Christina Bellantoni's program and "hugging token" for her visit to a revered guru known as the "hugging saint." Amma, a 60-year-old South Indian woman who has hugged more than 32 million people to promote love, will be in New York City until Saturday, then heads to Massachusetts to close out her summer tour.

    Did I ever tell you about the time I waited 10 hours for a hug?

    It all started innocently enough.

    I was holding Eagle Pose at Yoga District one night, when Anna suggested her yoga students should go check out the Hindu saint of hugging.

    Come again?

    That's right, Amma was coming to town.

    Revered as a powerful guru, a saint and a low-level Dalai Lama, the 60-year-old South Indian woman born as Mata Amritanandamayi is now better known throughout the world as Amma, or "mother." She has hugged more than 32 million people, all for the goal of spreading "selfless love and compassion toward all beings," according to her website.

    The site goes on to profess that Amma "inspires, uplifts, and transforms through her physical embrace, her spiritual wisdom and through her global charities, known as Embracing the World." And Amma weighs in there about her source for energy: "Where there is true love, anything is effortless."

    Sure, sign me up.

    It would have made perfect sense to spend my Sunday at one of Amma's big events in Northern Virginia, but it just didn't work with my schedule. Monday morning was out, so I figured going after work was my only option. After all, the hotel where Amma-palooza was taking place was less than two miles from our NewsHour studios.

    As I pulled up Monday night, I started to get a sense of what I was in for when the hotel parking lot was completely full.

    I'm sent a mile away to another lot, where I'm given an Amma parking discount. On the shuttle, everyone is ecstatic. A man is carrying a plastic plate full of gorgeous flowers he says grow wild at his home. They are for Amma. Oops -- I've come empty-handed. I ask if they know what I'm in for. They insist it will change my life, and swear it is worth it.

    Inside, the main hall is full and they aren't handing out "hugging tokens" until after the program. So I settle into the overflow room. Amma is offering a professorial sounding revival in her native language, with a translator chiming in every few minutes.

    She tells her fans, we engage in physical activity for the body but neglect the heart. The best way to stop doing that? Allow it to feel.

    Love is our true nature, she tells us. And, our karma will come back to us regardless of the situation.

    Then, simply: "The people who love us also expect love in return."

    A friend and I grab dinner at the hotel, with hours to go before the "hugging tokens" get handed out at 9:30 p.m. Then it's our moment, and they hand me a laminated blue square that reads, R-4, and send me into the hall.

    They're on A-2. I ask about the process, and volunteers tell me to prepare for a long night.

    I'm iffy on staying at this point, so we start exploring. There's beautiful peppy music, often with drums played by a group at the front of the room. And on stage sits Amma, surrounded by people and wrapped in bright colors.

    People are beaming as they walk away after her embrace.

    We learn they will cycle through the alphabet, with numbers 1 through 5. Next up, A-3. Doesn't seem so bad.

    We snap some pictures. A volunteer is at our side in a moment, chagrined that we hadn't followed the rules forbidding photography. There's a small sign posted on the wall to the back of the room that neither of us had noticed. I immediately regret not taking any before being warned.

    I walk my friend out, and an Amma volunteer follows us, insisting he delete any photos on his camera.

    I head back into the hall, looking for something to eat. There's delicious Indian fare at every table, and it's affordable. Dressed in white flowing garments, vendors laugh and chat, and their children run around the hall. The whole vibe starts to remind me of a Grateful Dead show.

    Around 1 a.m. I start to wander the main room again. Amma is still doing her thing. J-3.

    Checking out the booths, I start to realize the depth of the Amma industrial complex. Here's a bracelet Amma wore for an entire year! Only $1,000. Prayer beads. Postcards. Music for your iPod. That said, it's important to note here that her foundation raises millions of dollars for good causes, and she has helped people all over the world.

    There are hundreds of chairs set up facing the front of the room. Some people sleep, or meditate, but most everyone is milling about, waiting for their moment in Amma's arms.

    J-2.

    I get up close enough to observe. I start counting, doing the math in my head. Amma is devoting about 8 seconds per person to the "darshan." When people come off the stage, they look re-energized. It's 2:30 a.m. And we're only in the L's.

    I'm texting with my best friend, who is awake on the West Coast, starting to worry I've lost my mind. But there's no way I'm giving up now. I have plenty to read, and as I sometimes tell people, you can sleep when you're dead, right?

    Amma hasn't budged all night. She doesn't stretch, hasn't gotten up to use the restroom and shows no sign of weariness. She's radiant, in fact.

    Close to 4 a.m. I am talking with a volunteer about the fact my work day starts in just a few hours, and I haven't slept. I'm delirious. She lets me in around Q-2.

    I think it's because she took pity on me, though this great 2007 piece by a 2007 hugging virgin said Amma likes to prioritize newbies. Wish I'd thought of that earlier in the night.

    So now I'm in line, officially. A man tells me about what to expect, and how I should behave.

    He asks if I am Christian. My family has never really practiced any organized religion, and it's not something I have ever made a priority.

    "Well Amma is your god now," he tells me. The man also says because it is my first time, I should ask the hugging saint to come up with a mantra for my new spiritual practice he is sure I'll engage in. I do like to do yoga, and I'm open to it, so I tell the volunteers.

    We're almost there. I'm instructed to leave my belongings and remove my shoes. Nothing in my hand but my R-4 token. They ask my language. They move things along. Eight seconds. Eight seconds. My turn.

    It all happened so fast, but the most memorable sensation from hugging Amma was the fact that the bright flowers on a strand around her neck were smushed into my face and forehead. They were so fragrant I wondered for a moment if they were laced, and that's why everyone looked so happy.

    She smiled and laughed, and said "ma ma ma ma." Then she handed me a flower petal and a Hershey kiss.

    Instead of asking directly for a mantra, I couch it a bit.

    Nice to meet you Amma, I tell her. They said I should ask you for a mantra.

    She looks me in the eyes, reaches into an ornate bowl behind her filled with laminated cards.

    It says: "Mantra." And on the back the pre-printed text tells me I should go to the left of the stage to see a volunteer about getting one.

    And then it was over. The man I'd been sitting next to had told me to take a breather when the hug ended so I could reflect on the energy Amma had transferred to my soul.

    I sit for a second, and I felt a little shaky. Then again, it's 4:30 a.m. and I haven't slept.

    I watched the other people overcome with emotion and joy and wished for a moment I had such faith in something.

    I'm basically delirious and all I can think about is the fact I need to be writing the Morning Line in less than three hours. But at this point, I've gone too far to turn back now.

    So I follow the directions on the "Mantra" card and head to the mantra circle. A man smiles as he beckons for me to sit down next to a woman not much older than me. I'd seen her earlier with her child.

    The woman is crying. This is someone who knows heartbreak, I think.

    We're given some options for a sort of preamble to the mantra Amma would be giving to us.

    We can choose divine love, compassion, patience, peace, and so on.

    The woman doesn't hesitate: "Love, divine love," she tells the volunteer.

    I'm less sure, but opted for peace because it's what I need today.

    We return to the stage, this time to Amma's right.

    We have plenty of time to sit and observe what's happening.

    Children bring Amma presents -- mostly apples -- and she continues beaming her radiant smile on everyone around her, even as the conveyor belt of huggers chugs along.

    Maybe it's because we're reaching the end of the night, or perhaps because there are fewer people listening, but I'm able to pick up on a lot of the internal Amma bureaucracy. (I won't give away any trade secrets, though it's really not that interesting.)

    There's a lot of matter of factness up here.

    Timekeepers are literally tracking the minutes that people are sitting in quiet reflection. 15 and you're up, make room for the next person to sit cross-legged.

    It's my turn to feel Amma's embrace once more. Someone hands her the scrap of paper reading "Peace" and she looks closely at my face. Then she's speaking again, repeating the words that would become my mantra. It all happened so fast, what I remember was Amma taking a handful of flower petals, smashing them into the back of my hair and twirling them around in a circle while declaring, "Shante!" A man is there with a laptop, jotting down what she's said.

    Within seconds, I'm whisked away again. The scrap of paper back in my hand, I deliver it to the next volunteer. He observes what Amma has said and the lone word "Peace" and thumbs through a box of what look to be color-coded index cards.

    There are four symbols above four words that the volunteer made sure I could pronounce before leaving the stage. Not well enough, apparently, because the woman and I were sent to mantra training.

    Yet another volunteer, smiling widely despite dawn peeking at us from outside the hotel, explained to us that we were special to have been chosen by Amma for a mantra. He taught us how to say it, at least 108 times per day, and preferably while using mala beads.

    So, what is my mantra?

    It's a secret, they insisted. I had figured I would honor that, but Googled it while writing this piece anyway. I can't seem to find an exact translation, though I did find this totally groovy video.

    I haven't sat down yet to follow the exact instructions, but I figure I will given that I'm about to go on a relaxing vacation. No better time to strive for peace, right?

    In the meantime, perhaps the lesson I draw from the experience is even simpler. If you're blessed with your freedom, presented with the opportunity to do something different, just say "Why not?"

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    Bradley Manning explains why he released classified information during his trial. Court sketch by William Hennessy Jr.

    Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked top-secret documents about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, is the eighth person charged by the Obama administration under the 1917 espionage law. Unlike other alleged leakers, Snowden revealed his identity right away and has maintained a highly public profile ever since.

    "He has been the most outspokenly direct in his assertions that not only did he do it, but it was the right thing to do," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

    Snowden (pictured at right) was charged in June with three felonies: theft of government property and two charges under the Espionage Act of 1917; unauthorized communication of national defense information and conveying classified communications information to an unauthorized person. (View the criminal complaint.)

    Snowden is currently in a sort of diplomatic limbo, holed up inside the transit area of a Moscow airport, as he attempts to negotiate safe passage to a country that will offer him asylum. On Friday morning, the New York Times reported Snowden "met with representatives of international human rights organizations and appealed for their help in seeking asylum status in Russia until he can safely travel to Latin America."

    View an interactive list of the 11 alleged leakers charged under the Espionage Act:

    Bradley Manning, another person charged under the espionage law, eventually admitted to turning over classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to WikiLeaks, though he said he only meant to provoke public debate. He evaded identification at first and might never have been turned in if it weren't for a government informant: computer hacker Adrian Lamo.

    Two others charged under the law, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim and Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, still deny any wrongdoing.

    Snowden, on the other hand, readily acknowledged committing the disclosures before even being accused. Making the prosecution's job all the easier are Snowden's charges of disclosing "classified communications intelligence information", in addition to revealing "national defense information", said Aftergood. "There's essentially no doubt that the records disclosed by Snowden fit into that (former) category."

    What kind of punishment could Snowden face?

    For each count under the espionage law, the defendant faces up to 10 years in jail plus monetary fines, said Aftergood, but Snowden has not been indicted yet, so the number of counts isn't final.

    Shamai Liebowitz, who was convicted of a communications disclosure violation, was sentenced to 20 months in prison, but that was partly because of his agreement to plead guilty, Aftergood added.

    Why have more people been charged under the espionage law under the Obama administration than previous ones?

    Snowden is the eighth person to be charged under the espionage statute under the Obama administration, more than double the other presidents combined.

    The Justice Department has not explicitly addressed the question except to say it's not a deliberate policy of going all out, it's just how things have turned out, said Aftergood, who offered some of his own theories:

    It's simply become easier to identify the leaker. "More and more of our communications leave easily accessible electronic footprints, whether it's email or phone records or downloads of documents on classified networks. It is easier than ever to track them to their source," he said.

    The sting of the WikiLeaks revelations also might have come into play. "The scale of the WikiLeaks disclosures was so unprecedented and came as such a shock to officials that they were determined to do whatever they could to prevent a recurrence. Part of that included a zero tolerance posture toward leaks," said Aftergood.

    "Obviously, they were not entirely successful and whatever they did in the last couple of years was not sufficient to dissuade Snowden from doing what he did. Nevertheless, I think that is probably part of the explanation for the hard line on leaks."

    Congress also has insisted in a bipartisan manner that leaks be prosecuted and combated to the utmost, he added. "No one has been saying, stand down, back off, take it a little easy."

    Related Resources

    How Much Diplomatic Persuasion Does U.S. Wield in Snowden Affair? Watch the discussion with P.J. Crowley, former assistant secretary of state for public affairs now at George Washington University, and James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington: Watch Video

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

    Frontline's 'WikiSecrets' Explores Mysteries of Bradley Manning

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    This photo from 1900 shows European-Americans boarding rowboats on the banks of the San Joaquin River in California. Using archives records like maps and photographs, scientists are trying to revive the delta. Photo courtesy Bank of Stockton

    For centuries, California's San Joaquin River teemed with over half a million wild Chinook salmon. Today, the river -- much of it dry -- has almost none. This year scientists have begun reintroducing Chinook into the river with hopes to eventually restore the salmon population--and the river itself. PBS NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels reports on tonight's NewsHour.

    The San Joaquin - like its larger cousin, the Sacramento River - flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and then out into San Francisco Bay. The Delta and the rivers that form it are part of a vast ecosystem that support fish, wildlife, and, of course, farming throughout the Central Valley. California is trying to restore not just the San Joaquin River, but the Delta as well. And those efforts have cast new attention on the human as well as the ecological history of this fascinating and watery part of California.

    The state has funded scientists from the San Francisco Estuary Institute to reconstruct an image of the Delta's pre-Spanish landscape. Using a process of "historical ecology," these researches are layering thousands of historical sources from dozens of archives, including navigational charts, government land surveys, drawings, photographs, and journals to paint detailed picture of the Delta ecosystem of 200 years ago.

    By understanding the region's ecological history and how native Americans carefully used the land, researchers hope to restore the Delta's vibrant ecosystem and ensure a more sustainable future.

    Take a look at the people and landscape of San Joaquin River over a century ago:

    View Slide Show

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  • 07/12/13--14:14: A Look Into a River's Past
  • California has funded scientists from the San Francisco Estuary Institute to reconstruct an image of the San Joaquin Delta’s pre-Spanish landscape. They layer navigational charts, government land surveys, drawings, photographs, and journals to paint detailed picture of the Delta ecosystem of 200 years ago.



    For more on this story, read Restoring the San Joaquin River and Recalling Its History.

    On the Banks

    This 1900 photo shows European-Americans boarding rowboats on the banks of the San Joaquin.

    With the widespread arrival of Europeans in the 1800s, the Delta’s ecosystem began to change dramatically, for the worse. Photo: Bank of Stockton

    Early Maps

    This 1824 map by Spanish missionary Father Narciso Durán is one of the earliest European depictions of San Francisco Estuary, showing over a dozen distinct indigenous communities in the Delta.

    In the early 1800s, the Delta’s indigenous populations declined precipitously due to forced relocations to Spanish missions and epidemics of European diseases that decimated entire villages. This effectively ended native land management of the Delta.

    Accounts from the 1830s and 1840s describe once-thriving villages within the Central Valley deserted and strewn with the bones of the former residents. By the Gold Rush era, which began in 1848, the indigenous population of the region was significantly reduced. Photo: University of California, Davis

    A Flourishing Ecosystem

    For over 6,000 years, native groups in the Delta modified the environment through their fishing, hunting and gathering of food plants; harvesting tule grass to construct boats, rafts, huts, and mounds; and altering vegetation with controlled fires.

    This woman of the Tachi Yokut tribe is holding a bundle of tule reeds, which have been used for construction for centuries. Photo: San Joaquin Valley Library System

    Turning Marsh into Farmland

    Following the Gold Rush, the fertile Delta marshland was turned into farmland to feed a growing population. Rivers were leveed, wetlands drained, tidal sloughs dammed, riparian forests cut and flows altered, forever changing the landscape and ecosystem.

    This photograph, taken between 1904 and 1907, shows workers from Middle River Navigation and Canal Co. standing on a dredge scoop in used to convert Delta marshland into agricultural land. Photo: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

    Row of Rowboats

    Men tend to boats in a Delta canal around the turn of the century. Photo: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

    Turn of the Century Abode

    An A-frame house with a grass roof near the San Joaquin River in the early 1900s. Photo: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

    A Lake Disappears

    The San Joaquin River was not the only body of water diverted for agricultural use.

    Until the late 1800s, southern San Joaquin Valley’s Tulare Lake, named for the tule rush that lined its banks, was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi and the second largest freshwater lake in the entire United States.

    The 690-square-mile lake went dry after its tributary rivers were diverted for agricultural irrigation and municipal water uses. This late-1800s image shows workers in Tulare County drilling a water well with the help of a horse. Photo: Tulare County Library

    Family with Baskets

    Tulare Lake was home to the Tachi-Yokut tribe, who fished its waters and built boats and homes with the tule reeds.

    This Yokut family of the Wuksachi tribe in Eshome Valley in Tulare County, Calif., poses with tightly woven baskets in October 1903. The baskets are able to hold water. Photo: University of California, Berkeley

    Man with a Tule House

    In Tulare, Calif., the namesake tule reeds were made into homes. Photo: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

    Yokut Portrait, 1910

    This 1910 photograph shows a group of Yokut people from the Woodlake and Badger areas of the San Joaquin Valley. Photo: San Joaquin Valley Library System

    Preparing Acorns

    This October 1903 photo shows baskets and a structure used for drying and shucking acorns, a staple in many early Californian’s diets.

    Photo taken in Eshome Valley, Tulare County, Calif. Photo: University of California, Berkeley

    Santa Rosa Rancheria Family

    “Indian John” poses with his family at the Santa Rosa Rancheria near Lemoore, Calif., in the Central Valley.

    The Santa Rosa Rancheria belongs to the Tachi Yokut tribe and is still active today. Photo: San Joaquin Valley Library System


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    The Obama administration has charged Edward Snowden with espionage -- its eighth. Under past administrations, there were only three. See where Snowden fits in with the others charged in this interactive feature.

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    By Simone Pathe

    Alan Krueger, the outgoing chair of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, uses rock 'n' roll's superstar economy to explain America's winner-take-all economy. Photo courtesy of Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

    What can the music industry teach us about America's economic inequality and the state of upward mobility?

    Alan Krueger, outgoing chair of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, spoke at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, last month about inequality in America and ways that the president's economic policies are supposedly strengthening the middle class.

    The setting for his speech wasn't coincidental. Krueger drew on his 25 years of teaching to explain how U.S. economic inequality, with wealth concentrated among the lucky few, mirrors the rock 'n' roll industry. Below are some excerpted portions of "Land of Hope and Dreams: Rock and Roll, Economics and Rebuilding the Middle Class." For the full speech and accompanying graphs in PDF form, click here, or you can read it on the White House website.

    This is the first in a series of three posts examining economic inequality in America. Next, we'll hear a very different perspective from Greg Mankiw, a chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush.

    First, Krueger introduces his take on how persistent economic inequality reduces upward mobility with an explanation of the music industry:

    The music industry is a microcosm of what is happening in the U.S. economy at large. We are increasingly becoming a "winner-take-all economy," a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced. Over recent decades, technological change, globalization and an erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the U.S. have put the middle class under increasing stress. The lucky and the talented -- and it is often hard to tell the difference -- have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up.

    These same forces are affecting the music industry. Indeed, the music industry is an extreme example of a "superstar economy," in which a small number of artists take home the lion's share of income.

    The music industry has undergone a profound shift over the last 30 years. The price of the average concert ticket increased by nearly 400 percent from 1981 to 2012, much faster than the 150 percent rise in overall consumer price inflation.

    And prices for the best seats for the best performers have increased even faster.

    At the same time, the share of concert revenue taken home by the top 1 percent of performers has more than doubled, rising from 26 percent in 1982 to 56 percent in 2003.

    The top 5 percent take home almost 90 percent of all concert revenues.

    This is an extreme version of what has happened to the U.S. income distribution as a whole. The top 1 percent of families doubled their share of income from 1979 to 2011.

    In 1979, the top 1 percent took home 10 percent of national income, and in 2011 they took home 20 percent. By this measure, incomes in the entire U.S. economy today are almost as skewed as they were in the rock 'n' roll industry when Bruce Springsteen cut "Born in the U.S.A."

    In my talk, I will focus on why these dramatic changes are taking place and explore their consequences. I will also describe President Obama's vision for providing more opportunities for middle class families and those struggling to get into the middle class.

    I should be clear about my overall theme: while the U.S. economy is recovering from the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression, we must also take steps to strengthen the middle class and provide more opportunities for those born to less fortunate circumstances. If we don't, we will fail to live up to our promise as a nation and be susceptible to the kinds of forces that created economic instability in the past.

    To rebuild the economy from the middle out, the private sector will have to step up and reinvigorate the norms and institutions that have supported inclusive growth in the past. The government has an important role to play as well, but with severe budget constraints and limited political will, the government can only set the conditions for the private sector to grow, and provide more jobs and opportunities for middle class families. It is, to a considerable extent, up to private sector businesses, organizations and communities to ensure that economic growth leads to widely shared prosperity and a decent living for the vast majority of our people.

    ...

    As Krueger demonstrates with the music industry, luck can have a lot to do with who rises to the top, and the same is sometimes true of who pulls in the big bucks in our economy, he argues. And just as in the music industry, where the norm for what people are willing to pay for concert tickets has changed, there's been an evolving norm of fairness that, he explains, has skewed the way wealth is distributed in the workplace, therefore exacerbating economic inequality:

    The notion that profitable companies should share some of their success with their workforce used to be ingrained in U.S. companies. Earlier studies have found that companies and industries that are profitable tend to pay all of their workers relatively well, the managers as well as the janitors. In economics we call this "rent sharing." While this is still the case, the practice has been eroded. ...

    It is not hard to find reasons why the institutions and practices that long enforced norms of fairness in the labor market have been eroded. At a time when market forces were pushing an increasing share of before-tax income toward the wealthiest Americans, the previous administration cut taxes disproportionately for the well off. ...

    Consequences

    Economic inequality stymies mobility and hurts the overall U.S. economy, Krueger argues. He introduces what he's coined "The Great Gatsby Curve" to demonstrate that as nations' income inequality across households rises, generational economic mobility decreases:

    ...(T)he three-decades' long stagnation in real income for the bottom half of families threatens our long cherished goal of equality of opportunity. In a winner-take-all society, children born to disadvantaged circumstances have much longer odds of climbing the economic ladder of success. Indeed, research has found that countries that have a high degree of inequality also tend to have less economic mobility across generations.

    This is shown in the next chart, which displays a plot of the degree of income mobility across generations in a country on the Y-axis (the intergenerational income elasticity) against a measure of the extent of inequality in that country in the mid-1980s (the Gini coefficient for after-tax income) on the X-axis.

    As economic inequality increases, Kruger argues, so does economic immobility. Graph sources: Miles Corak (2011), OECD, CEA estimates.

    A little over a year ago, I called this relationship "the Great Gatsby curve" because F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel highlighted the inequality of the Roaring '20s and class distinctions -- I had no idea they would remake the movie as a result!

    Each point in the graph represents a country. Higher values along the X-axis reflect greater inequality in family resources roughly around the time that the children were growing up. Higher values on the Y-axis indicate a lower degree of economic mobility across generations. The points cluster around an upward sloping line, indicating that countries that had more inequality across households also had more persistence in income from one generation to the next. Note that the U.S. is on the upper right of the line, indicating that we have both high inequality and low mobility.

    The rise in inequality since the 1980s is likely to move us further out on the Great Gatsby Curve.

    You can read Krueger's defense of how Mr. Obama's policies are rebuilding the middle class, and how a robust middle class strengthens the economy, at the end of his full speech.

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


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The testimony is over, closing arguments are done, and now it's the jury's turn. Six women in Sanford, Fla., began deliberating this afternoon in the case of a neighborhood watch volunteer accused of murdering an unarmed teenager on Feb. 26, 2012.

    MARK O'MARA, attorney for George Zimmerman: I have never said this in a criminal trial before. I have never heard it being said before. I almost wish that the verdict had guilty, not guilty, and completely innocent, because I would ask you to check that one.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Defense attorney Mark O'Mara used his close to insist again that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense and to reject any suggestion that he had it in for Trayvon Martin.

    Instead, O'Mara argued it was Martin who went looking for trouble that night. He pointed to the four minutes between the time the 17-year-old initially ran from Zimmerman and when he stopped running.

    MARK O'MARA: The person who decided that this is going to continue, that it was going to become a violent event was the guy without didn't go home when he had the chance to. It was the guy who decided to lie in wait, I guess, plan his move, it seems, decide what he was going to do, and went.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Martin was unarmed but the defense lawyer argued the teenager still had potential weapons at his disposal and that he used them.

    MARK O'MARA: But that is cement. That is the sidewalk. And that is not an unarmed teenager with nothing but Skittles trying to get home. That was somebody who has used the availability of dangerous items, from his fists to the concrete, to cause great bodily injury.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The prosecution says Zimmerman profiled Martin, assumed he was a criminal, and actively pursued him, leading to the fatal shooting.

    But O'Mara told the jurors that the case is full of could-have-beens and maybes, and he warned jurors not to do the prosecutors' work for them.

    MARK O'MARA: You can't fill in the gaps. You can't connect the dots for the state attorney's office in this case. You're not allowed to. This is their burden. They have to take away reasonable doubt.

    They have to look at this case and say to you, ladies and gentlemen of this jury, hi, we're the state. We have proved this case beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt, because we have connected every dot that fall into line that leads to nothing but conviction.

    And they just didn't.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ultimately, said O'Mara, the killing of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy, but he said the jury must not let sympathy influence the verdict.

    In his rebuttal, prosecutor John Guy acknowledged the case and the evidence may not be perfect, but, he argued:

    JOHN GUY, Florida District attorney: It is enough, with your common sense. It is enough. And I'm not asking you to fill gaps. I'm asking you to do what you do every day. Start from the beginning, get to the end, and apply your common sense.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: With that, it fell to Judge Debra Nelson to instruct the six-woman jury on the main charge of second-degree murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter.

    JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, 18th Circuit Court of Florida: In considering the evidence, you should consider the possibility that although the evidence may not convince you that George Zimmerman committed the main crime of which he is accused, there may be evidence that he committed other acts that would constitute lesser included crimes.

    Therefore, if you decide that the main accusation has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, you will next need to decide if George Zimmerman is guilty of any lesser included crimes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The case then went to the juror to sort out the often conflicting testimony, and the waiting began. Law enforcement and community leaders in Sanford, Florida, have called for calm, no matter what the verdict turns out to be.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive for a decade will face hundreds of new charges. An indictment running to 977 counts was filed today against Ariel Castro. The charges range from aggravated murder to kidnapping to rape. Castro pleaded not guilty to an earlier indictment. Prosecutors say they have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.

    Janet Napolitano is stepping down as U.S. secretary of homeland security. She announced today she will resign to become president of the University of California system. During her four years as secretary, Napolitano has been a leading proponent of immigration reform. In a statement, President Obama praised her and said, because of her work, the country is more secure against terror attacks.

    In Egypt today, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters protested against the military ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. But this time, there was no violence. Crowds massed in several cities after Friday prayers, waving flags and chanting slogans. At the same time, a popular Muslim cleric insisted Morsi's followers will never accept the country's interim leadership.

    SAFWAT HEGAZY, supporter of Mohammed Morsi (through translator): The prime minister is not legitimate and he doesn't have any authority. From our point of view, as revolutionaries, he betrayed this revolution. Anyone who supports the coup is a traitor to this revolution. We don't recognize this government. Any party which becomes part of this government, we will consider it part of the coup.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. called today for Morsi's release. A State Department spokeswoman said the Obama administration is concerned about all politically motivated detentions involving members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    A bomb ripped through a busy coffee shop in Northern Iraq late today, killing at least 31 people. More than two dozen others were wounded. The bomb went off just after diners had finished sunset meals, breaking a daylong fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

    There's been new trouble in Syria between rival rebel factions. Gunmen linked to al-Qaida killed a top commander of the Free Syrian Army, a militia force backed by the U.S. and other Western powers. A spokeswoman for the FSA said it happened last -- late last night near a checkpoint in Latakia province, close to the Turkish border. The group called it an act of war and vowed to retaliate.

    A train derailment in France today was the country's deadliest in years. At least six people died and dozens were injured when the train jumped the tracks and crashed into a station outside Paris. It was loaded with passengers leaving for summer holidays and the upcoming Bastille Day. There was no word on the cause, but the French president promised a thorough investigation.

    A Pakistani teenager addressed the United Nations today, nine months after she was shot by the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai made a plea for the cause of educating girls.

    We have a report from Robert Moore of Independent Television News.

    MALALA YOUSAFZAI, Pakistani activist: I'm here to speak up for the right of education of every child 

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

    ROBERT MOORE: She spoke before a special youth session of the U.N., her parents and brother watching, telling delegates she felt more passionate than ever about her cause.

    MALALA YOUSAFZAI: The Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed.

    And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life, except this. Weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage was born.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    ROBERT MOORE: She was introduced by Gordon Brown, who is the U.N.'s special envoy on education. He knows that in, Malala, the campaign has an exceptional advocate who is speaking on a special day.

    GORDON BROWN, former British prime minister: Never before, I believe, has a 16th birthday been celebrated in this way. But never before either have we had a teenager that has shown such courage.

    ROBERT MOORE: The U.N. sets many worthy goals that are never achieved. So the question is whether Malala's power both as an activist and as a symbol can really make a difference and get tens of millions of the most disadvantaged children into primary school education.

    Malala's message has resonated here and, it's hoped, far beyond.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.N. also reported that in countries torn by conflict, the number of children attending primary school rose from 42 percent in 2008 to 50 percent in 2011.

    The abortion drama in the Texas legislature headed into its final acts this evening. Republicans in the state Senate moved to pass some of the toughest restrictions in the nation. They include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The state's Republican lieutenant governor, presiding over the debate, warned he will not let Democrats and protesters kill the bill, as they did in a previous special session.

    The U.S. Justice Department is revising its rules for investigating news leaks. That follows criticism that investigators collected phone records involving Associated Press employees, as well as e-mails of a FOX News reporter. Under the new guidelines, it will be harder to obtain search warrants for reporters' e-mails. And the department will notify news organizations in advance, in most cases, if it seeks a subpoena of phone records.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained three points to close at 15,464. The Nasdaq rose 21 points to close at 3,600. For the week, the Dow gained 2 percent; the Nasdaq rose 3.5 percent.

    Those are some of the day's major stories.


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    RAY SUAREZ: The man who leaked word of major surveillance programs at the National Security Agency made a new bid today to break free of his international limbo.

    Edward Snowden's renewed request for asylum in Russia came nearly three weeks after he flew into Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. He's remained in a transit area there ever since.

    Today, Snowden met with human rights activists and Russian politicians at the airport. A Russian news Web site showed video of the first time he had been seen since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.

    Tatiana Lokshina of Human Rights Watch was at the meeting.

    TATIANA LOKSHINA, Human Rights Watch: Here cannot stay here indefinitely. There has to be some kind of a solution. And that's what makes him ask Russian for an asylum.

    ROBERT MOORE: The anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks is assisting Snowden. Its Web site published a statement from him that said: "I didn't seek to sell U.S. secrets. That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly. But it was the right thing to do, and I have no regrets."

    A Russian parliamentarian who met with Snowden reiterated the Kremlin's stance first articulated last month by President Vladimir Putin.

    VYACHESLAV NIKONOV, State Duma, Russian Federation: He already asked for political asylum in Russia, and the response was positive, on one condition, that he stops to hurt interests of our American partners, as Putin put it. So the ball is on his side of the field.

    RAY SUAREZ: Vyacheslav Nikonov said Snowden agreed today to stop leaking information about American surveillance.

    But, in Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney took a dim view of the Moscow meeting.

    JAY CARNEY, White House press secretary: Providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government's previous declaration of Russia's neutrality and that they have -- and that they have no control over his presence in the airport.

    It's also incompatible with Russian assurances that they do not want Mr. Snowden to further damage U.S. interests. But, having said that, you know, our position also remains that we don't believe this should and we don't want it to do harm to our important relationship with Russia.

    RAY SUAREZ: Later, President Obama spoke to Putin in a phone call. A senior U.S. official said he raised concerns about Moscow's handling of Snowden.

    The U.S. has already revoked Snowden's passport and filed a raft of charges against him. And today's New York Times reported Washington is pressuring other countries, especially in Latin America, not to offer him refuge.

    Snowden indicated today he would like to accept asylum offers from Venezuela, Nicaragua or Bolivia, but he believes he cannot safely travel there.

    Indeed, last week, the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was denied passage through some European airspace after leaving Russia, and then grounded in Austria amid reports Snowden might have been on the flight.


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    RAY SUAREZ: For more on all of this, we turn to Ellen Barry, The New York Times Moscow bureau chief. I spoke to her a short while ago.

    Ellen Barry, welcome to the program.

    Well, we got to see Edward Snowden for the first time in some time, publicly, on camera. Now that that day is ending in Moscow, are we any clearer about what his situation is?

    ELLEN BARRY, The New York Times: I think so.

    I mean, for one thing, we know he's in Moscow. No one had seen him for the three weeks since he arrived here from Hong Kong. The main thing that he made clear today is that he is running out of options and that Russia is the default position, and he views it as his safest and maybe actually his only option right now.

    RAY SUAREZ: But he did say he hopes to eventually end up in Latin America. Was there any discussion of how that might happen?

    ELLEN BARRY: You know, there was no specific discussion that I'm aware of. He did talk a great deal about the attempts of the -- you know, by the U.S. or European countries to prevent him from making his way to Latin American countries.

    He expressed gratitude towards those countries who had offered him asylum. He said that they were four, and among them is Russia. But it seemed clear from the presentation and even the fact that he had this meeting at all today, that he is principally concerned about his safety and he sees Russia as his only safe option.

    RAY SUAREZ: Earlier, Russia rebuffed is asylum request. And the president, Vladimir Putin, had gone as far as to say that perhaps he could stay if he no longer leaked and no longer revealed surveillance secrets of a friendly country, the United States. Where does that stand now? Did he make an assurance that he's done leaking?

    ELLEN BARRY: Well, he said that he saw this condition as not being an obstacle to his remaining in Russia. He also went on to say that he never intended to harm the interests of the United States, and that in fact his past actions have not been intended to do that.

    So it wasn't entirely clear from what he said whether he was guaranteeing that there would be no more leaking of classified materials or simply that he didn't view them as damaging to the United States. But given that he is, you know, involved in some kind of a negotiation with President Putin, it may well be that he is willing to agree not to publish further.

    RAY SUAREZ: It was interesting, as you mentioned, he gave further explanation of himself, asserted his bona fides as a real whistle-blower and not someone who was involved in espionage or theft, didn't he?

    ELLEN BARRY: Well, he certainly portrayed his actions -- he regards himself as a patriot and portrayed his actions as sort of oriented towards the greater good for Americans and other people.

    But, actually, I would say the thrust of his discussion today had to do with the practical question of where he goes, and what his next steps are, because for the last week or so, really maybe the last two weeks, it's looked increasingly like -- increasingly like he has no options.

    RAY SUAREZ: So you could see that he's actually more concerned, worried about his future?

    ELLEN BARRY: I must say that I -- me and my colleagues spoke to quite a number of people who were in that meeting. And none of them conveyed -- none of them said that they saw him as -- they mostly said that he appeared cheerful, that he appeared to be in good physical condition, and not particularly anxious.

    They described him as perhaps shy or not comfortable speaking to an audience necessarily. But everyone described him as not being distraught and perhaps as being sort of optimistic about what would come of this meeting.

    He asked the group of people who were invited today to intercede on his behalf, both with President Putin, I assume to increase his chances of actually gaining asylum, and with the United States, presumably to prevent further efforts on his part to make his way to Latin America, which he says is his final destination.

    RAY SUAREZ: Who were the other people in the room? They have been described as a mix of human rights people and Russian parliamentarians. Were they politicians that were -- who are close to the current government of Putin?

    ELLEN BARRY: Right.

    I mean, that was one of the most interesting things about this group of people. They were rather mysteriously invited via e-mail yesterday evening at a point where basically no one knew whether this was a real e-mail address or the real Ed Snowden.

    A few of them were representatives of internationally recognized human rights organizations like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, who are often extremely independent and in fact critical of the Russian government.

    And then there were others really across the gamut who are either politicians or political analysts, but in one way or another sort of pro-system public figures or pro-Kremlin figures.

    RAY SUAREZ: And, quickly, to close, Ellen Barry, can we assume that the next step is still a kind of mystery, what happens next to Edward Snowden?

    ELLEN BARRY: Well, I mean, what appeared today is that the process of his asylum bid is getting started and there's really no way to put the toothpaste back in the tube now.

    One of the invited guests who is a Kremlin-connected lawyer said that he expected that reviewing this appeal would only take about two or three weeks.

    That's a relatively short time for an asylum bid. And soon thereafter, you began to hear from some fairly influential and well-connected politicians who are coming out and saying that Russia really should give him asylum.

    That inclines me to think that it's quite likely that he will receive it, but only time will tell. And obviously if he has the option of traveling to Latin America, that appears to be his preference. Russia is for him really a default option.

    RAY SUAREZ: Ellen Barry of The New York Times, thanks for joining us.

    How does Edward Snowden compare to others who have been charged with espionage? Online, we take an in-depth look at the increase of prosecutions of leakers under the Obama administration.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It's been nearly a week since a jetliner crash-landed at San Francisco's International Airport. The initial phase of the investigation is wrapping up on the ground. But the week has also brought new questions about the pilot and the crew, the training, and what may help explain what caused the accident.

    We go back to Hari, who has our update.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Piece by piece, workers last night began the careful process of removing the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214. Cranes lifted large sections of the Boeing 77, including one of the engines and part of the fuselage.

    Pieces of the broken plane will be sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's offices in Washington for further investigation. The rest will be housed in a San Francisco hangar for now.

    Chief Deborah Hersman said yesterday that a final report is most likely a year away.

    DEBORAH HERSMAN, chairwoman, National Transportation Safety Board: We want to make sure that we complete this investigation as expeditiously as possible. And so I will tell you it's going to be a high priority for our agency. And we look at getting close to or under that 12-month mark.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: From the outset, it's been clear the plane was flying too low and too slow. But it's still unclear why. Investigators found no problems with the plane's engines, computers or automated systems. They say the South Korean pilot was landing a 777 at the San Francisco Airport for the first time, although he had thousands of hours of experience on other planes.

    The cockpit voice recorder shows two crew members called out to abort the landing seconds before impact, but the landing gear and tail clipped a seawall and the plane smashed to earth. In the meantime, there was new information today on one of the two Chinese teenagers who were killed. San Francisco police confirmed she was hit by a fire truck racing to the scene.

    A spokesman said the girl was on the ground and covered in foam used by fire crews. It is just one of the indications of the chaos after the crash.

    On 911 calls released yesterday frantic passengers are heard begging for help.

    WOMAN: We just got in a plane crash. And there are a bunch of people who still need help, and there's not enough medics out here -- that need help. There is a woman out here on the street, on the runway who is pretty much burned very severely on the head, and we don't know what to do.

    We have been on the ground, I don't know, 20 minutes, a half-hour. There are people laying on the tarmac with critical injuries, head injuries. And we're almost losing a woman here. We're trying to keep her alive.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Ultimately, members of the flight crew got most of the passengers off the plane with only a handful of serious injuries.

    Yesterday, six of the flight attendants on board returned home to South Korea. They dismissed the label of heroes.

    KIM JI-YEON, flight attendant (through translator): I feel even ashamed to hear that. I think I just did what I was expected to do.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Back at San Francisco International, engineers will continue to remove the remains of the plane through the weekend. Airport officials hope to reopen the runway by late Sunday.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We have learned late in the afternoon today that doctors at San Francisco General Hospital say a third child has been pronounced dead from the crash.

    We turn now to Andy Pasztor, aviation safety reporter for The Wall Street Journal who has been following the Asiana investigation.

    Thanks for being with us.

    ANDY PASZTOR, The Wall Street Journal: My pleasure.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, first of all, explain to us. This is -- we have seen this time and time again about the fact that the computers worked as they were supposed to work.

    How is that possible that the flight and the plane was doing exactly what it was supposed to do, and the pilots don't recognize that they're too low and too slow until almost six seconds before impact?

    ANDY PASZTOR: After many accidents, the word that usually comes up, even weeks or months later, is inexplicable.

    And in this case, as your report showed pretty well, the inexplicable part isn't what happened. Investigators have pretty well determined what happened to this plane.

    But it's inexplicable how two experienced pilots on a beautiful day flying a visual approach with no apparent problems from air traffic control or from the plane managed to get so low and so slow that they slammed basically 1,000 feet in front of the runway.

    And I think that is a major question that people are going to have to ponder. The other inexplicable part of this investigation, as far as I can see, is, after the crash, the pilots waited a full 90 seconds to even open a single door on this aircraft.

    So you had the surreal scene of a plane with its tail severed, its engines missing, presumably dozens of seriously injured passengers moaning and groaning in the cockpit, and the pilots are telling the flight attendants to have the passenger goes sit in their seats while they talk to the tower to determine what to do.

    For many airline aviation safety experts, that is truly an inexplicable scene.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: I mean, this seems like sort of a cultural problem, not between Americans and Koreans, but really about the relationship with the flight attendants and the pilots and their behavior and what their expectations were in these kinds of situations.

    ANDY PASZTOR: Well, I think that's partly true.

    And if many of your viewers are frequent travelers, and if they can imagine an aircraft in that condition being told by the flight attendants to sit in their seats, I think you would have many people refusing to obey.

    And, now, to look at it from a little bit different perspective, to evacuate a big plane like that, to deploy the slides and have people go down the slides, you can have dozens of serious injuries.

    And you don't want to do that unless it's absolutely necessary. But from the safety experts I have talked to, they simply cannot explain why the doors weren't opened even just to look for the emergency crews and to get a sense of what was happening around the plane.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, let's talk a little bit about this specific type of aircraft. The 777, there's been a lot made about the fact that the pilot didn't have any training coming into this particular airport on this type of aircraft.

    How different is the cockpit inside here vs. the 10,000 hours that they might have flown elsewhere?

    ANDY PASZTOR: Well, I think it's significantly different. The pilot who was flying this aircraft was flying an Airbus A-320, which is a much smaller aircraft and has many different systems.

    The most important difference, I think, that investigators are looking at has to do with the auto-throttle system, basically the automated system that controls the speed, the plane's speed and engine thrust.

    And because the Boeing plane has a much different system, he wouldn't have had any cues, perhaps, from the throttles, the actual levers moving back and forth, as they should in a Boeing aircraft.

    He was expecting them not to move because he was flying an Airbus. He used to fly an Airbus craft. And he may have gotten confused, perhaps, in exactly what the engines were doing.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So are there not bells and whistles that sort of go off and say you're too low and too slow?

    ANDY PASZTOR: No, there definitely are various warning systems already on this plane.

    And even beyond that, as the investigators have made clear, one of the basic things that pilots learn when they start flying even small propeller planes is, when you are on landing, when you're on approach to a strip, you watch your speed.

    And in interviews with investigators, these pilots basically acknowledge that they thought the automation was taking care of the speed, and they didn't monitor it as carefully as they should have. And no now investigators are looking to see whether they properly engaged the automation or inadvertently may have disconnected it during the flight.

    It seems at this point that the National Transportation Safety Board believes preliminarily that there was nothing wrong with the automation system itself.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, briefly -- this might be a philosophical question, but are pilots losing their edge or perhaps relying too much on the technology?

    ANDY PASZTOR: I think that's been an issue for years. It's increasing in importance. I believe that many experts will tell you that yes, they are. And there's some efforts being made to have pilots fly more by hand, manually, to do more things without automation.

    But I think the important thing to remember really in this case, this is not an automation problem. This is a simple attentiveness problem. And that's what the board and the investigators are really trying to understand. How could these experienced pilots not do the basic, minimum airmanship tasks flying into San Francisco?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Andy Pasztor from The Wall Street Journal, thanks so much.

    ANDY PASZTOR: My pleasure.


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    RAY SUAREZ: Next, the long battle over one of the largest river restoration projects in the country, an effort that's facing new troubles over funding.

    NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels has our story from California.

    SPENCER MICHELS: This is the once-mighty San Joaquin River, and much of it has been like this, dry as toast, since the 1940s.

    That's when the federal government constructed Friant Dam near Fresno, California, which impounded the San Joaquin's water in a large reservoir, so it could diverted through a vast network of canals to farms and ranches in the San Joaquin Valley, leaving some sections of the river wet, some dry.

    Today, the San Joaquin Valley is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. But the fish are gone, and the river is a ghost of its former self.

    Now there is a controversial move afoot to cover this sand with water to restore this river. Before the dam, the water began high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and flowed west, through the Central Valley, and eventually out through San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

    The survival of salmon that used to come up the river from the Pacific Ocean is a crucial reason for restoring the river.

    Gerald Hatler works for California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    GERALD HATLER, California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Before significant development, we probably had runs on the San Joaquin in excess of half-a-million fish.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Half-a-million salmon?

    GERALD HATLER: Yes.

    SPENCER MICHELS: And what is it now?

    GERALD HATLER: That population is what we call extirpated, which basically means the population is extinct.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Hatler and fish biologists are trying to figure out how to bring the salmon back to the river, which means bringing back the river itself.

    GERALD HATLER: I have never worked on anything that's had the magnitude of this project. In fact, it's certainly the largest river restoration in California, and perhaps the United States. We're looking at restoring a 153-mile stretch of river that dries up periodically.

    SPENCER MICHELS: It's the second longest river in California. And, in the late 1800s, it became a river of legend, a major highway and fishery. Steamboats used to race in its deep channels. Ferry boats brought people and crops across its fast-moving water.

    But all that changed with the dam. Twenty years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, claiming fish populations downstream from Friant must be protected under law.

    Monty Schmitt is a senior scientist with NRDC.

    MONTY SCHMITT, Natural Resources Defense Council: The San Joaquin River is a really important resource for the entire state of California. It will improve water quality downstream, and it restores a living river that future generations will get to enjoy.

    SPENCER MICHELS: But ranchers throughout the valley had come to depend on the water diverted from the river.

    Gary Bursey farms almonds and wine grapes. He feared a reduction in his water supply could hurt his production. And for what?

    GARY BURSEY, California farmer: We in ag, we always had our suspicions. Do you put 400 or 500 salmon in front of the food and fiber for our country?

    SPENCER MICHELS: Nevertheless, Bursey and other farmers, concerned they would lose the lawsuit and be ordered to give up even more water, finally, in 2006, signed an historic settlement with the NRDC and the Bureau of Reclamation. It was hailed as a unique agreement that brought together environmentalists and farmers.

    Alicia Forsythe manages river restoration for the Bureau of Reclamation.

    ALICIA FORSYTHE, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: We are taking away approximately 17 percent of the water for the -- that would have otherwise gone to the farmers on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley.

    So, we're looking at a series of actions to try to reduce or avoid that water supply impact.

    SPENCER MICHELS: It was a compromise, says Ronald Jacobsma, who runs the Friant Water Users Authority, representing 15,000 farmers.

    RONALD JACOBSMA, Friant Water Users Authority: Our concern was if we left this in the hands of a federal judge, this could be far worse. The uncertainty, the risk became a bill too much for our folks. We couldn't afford to lose half of our water supply.

    Our experts also said, if you made some improvements along the river, you could probably get by with less water.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Jacobsma and the NRDC's Schmitt, antagonists in court, today are trying make the settlement work. But progress has been slow.

    This spring, the first actual moves toward restoring the river began, when more water was released from the dam, and scientists experimentally put some salmon into the river for the first time, to watch how they behave and where they go.

    Those are small steps. Most of the money spent thus far, seven years after the agreement, has been on plans and research, which doesn't impress Cannon Michael, who farms a variety of crops near the river.

    CANNON MICHAEL, California farmer: To date, not one shovel of dirt has been turned. There's been over $100 million of money that's been spent, and I know there has to be a lot of studies. But $100 million is a lot of money, and not to show really one physical result for it is a big challenge.

    SPENCER MICHELS: The settlement acknowledges that fixing the river will take much more money than that. The river channel needs improving, so the water can flow without flooding or seeping through its banks onto farmland.

    Some farmers who have planted near the riverbed and have gotten used to the dry river contend that increased flows are drowning the roots of their crops and need to be pumped off at government expense.

    A small dam that diverts water into irrigation canals needs replacing; fish screens and ladders need to be designed and tested; bypasses must be constructed; and some water may be pumped upstream for reuse, projects that could cost $2 billion, mostly federal money.

    Both sides worry that Congress won't appropriate enough money for future work, although it has authorized the restoration.

    MONTY SCHMITT: When we signed the settlement agreement in 2006, we didn't envision that the country would go through a recession, and it did have somewhat of an impact on the restoration program.

    The problem with federal appropriations is you can't predict what the federal government will appropriate next year or the year after.

    CANNON MICHAEL: And without the funding to do the large-scale projects, the river isn't going to function the way that the settlement envisioned it.

    SPENCER MICHELS: One local Republican congressman has tried to stop funding for the restoration. And rancher Bursey thinks that's not a bad idea.

    GARY BURSEY: Is this the right way to spend a billion-and-a-half dollars or a billion -- or whatever number we want to put on this project. Is 500 fish, is that a viable -- is it a viable trade-off?

    SPENCER MICHELS: His numbers may be off -- no one is sure -- but his concerns continue to divide the parties, despite the settlement.

    RONALD JACOBSMA: Our 20-member districts have supported the settlement and continue to support it, but there are pockets of landowners who have resisted s and don't like this idea at all. And they're very concerned about their livelihoods.

    SPENCER MICHELS: Overall, reclamation's Forsythe says the settlement is succeeding through collaboration between farmers and environmentalists. And she sees the changes in attitude as paralleling the changes in the bureau and the nation.

    ALICIA FORSYTHE: Our attitudes have changed. Our perception of the environment, our values as a nation have changed. And that's why we can look at Friant Dam today and say, maybe we never should have done that. But in the context of the '30s, it was the right thing to do.

    SPENCER MICHELS: For now, it remains impossible for salmon to swim the length of the river and spawn. But a few fish are living in the river and are reproducing. Still, it may take another 20 years before the restoration of the San Joaquin can be judged a success or a failure. 


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