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- 01/20/14--13:53: _A look at the confl...
- 01/20/14--16:10: _Syrian-American act...
- 01/21/14--05:39: _Ask The Headhunter:...
- 01/21/14--09:04: _Building enterprise...
- 01/21/14--10:45: _Ukrainian governmen...
- 01/21/14--11:15: _One dead in Purdue ...
- 01/21/14--12:08: _85 richest people o...
- 01/21/14--12:57: _Former Va. Gov. McD...
- 01/21/14--13:01: _News Wrap: Northeas...
- 01/21/14--13:08: _Iran absence, Syria...
- 01/21/14--13:13: _As diplomats ready ...
- 01/21/14--13:18: _Documents reveal Ch...
- 01/21/14--13:27: _Lifting Filipinos o...
- 01/21/14--13:27: _Tax code changes wi...
- 01/21/14--13:35: _Supreme Court consi...
- 01/21/14--13:42: _Russia hunts for 'b...
- 01/21/14--13:44: _Why the Sochi Olymp...
- 01/22/14--08:24: _America Unleashed: ...
- 01/22/14--10:15: _Twitter Chat: What ...
- 01/22/14--10:15: _Snowden to address ...
- 01/20/14--13:53: A look at the conflict in Syria through the eyes of a young poet
- 01/21/14--05:39: Ask The Headhunter: How (not) to Use a Resume
- 01/21/14--10:45: Ukrainian government sends warning to protesters via text message
- 01/21/14--11:15: One dead in Purdue University shooting; suspect in custody
- 01/21/14--13:01: News Wrap: Northeast braces for major snowstorm
- 01/21/14--13:27: Tax code changes will hit high-income Americans hardest
- 01/21/14--13:42: Russia hunts for 'black widow' suspects ahead of Sochi games
- 01/21/14--13:44: Why the Sochi Olympics may be a prime terror target
- 01/22/14--08:24: America Unleashed: Why We'll Be Number One Once More
- 01/22/14--10:15: Twitter Chat: What would prompt you to seek alternative medicine?
- 01/22/14--10:15: Snowden to address Obama's NSA comments in Thursday live chat
GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight, a very different look at conflict in Syria through the eyes of a young poet.
AMAL KASSIR, Syrian-American Poet: My name is Amal Kassir. I'm a college student. I'm a Syrian-America poet. And I use my words to inspire people.
I was born and raised in Denver. We moved to Syria in June of 2002.
My grandmother had a farm in Syria. And it is where the whole family grew up. And that's where we collaborated during the summertime.
My 60-something cousins, we would all be running around and eating the fruit. And she had pomegranate. She had so many plum trees. And the peaches, she knew when they would be ripe.
When I came back to America and came to the realization that I would never, ever again see my grandmother's farm, it was painful. The farm got taken over by regime soldiers. They cut down all of the trees and occupied it. And it didn't belong to grandma anymore.
They cut down all of the trees in her farm. They ripped the pomegranate bushes from the earth, and the lemons don't grow anymore. And the Syrian people wonder, does the tyrant not remember who fed him?
Momma is from Iowa. She's a little white girl, you know, and born in a Lutheran family. And my father is Syrian. He was born in Damascus.
MAN: We have family in Turkey. We have in Lebanon, in Jordan.
AMAL KASSIR: He came 1979. And Nebraska was where he landed.
His best friend dated my mom's sister. And so he ended up being introduced to my mom. You know, he would pay her to do his English homework, and they fell in love.
My father, he just took the path of feeding people, the way his momma fed him. This Damascus girl, my father's restaurant was the first stage I ever took, first stage. It was where I was asked about my grandmother's recipes, because that's where all of this comes from.
My grandmother always had dinner on the table. Even when the tyrant put checkpoints outside her door, her defiance made mealtime the battle her family would always win.
In the last few years, he's been responsible for killing more Palestinians.
The political message that is kind of hidden underneath the farming references, it's the fact that tyrants, at the end of the day, are going to be buried, just like everyone else. And their political establishment will crumble.
My grandmother has promised, she has sworn to write down every single recipe when this war is over. Yes, she knows what Syria will need. They know what Syria will need. They will rebuild this country with a prayer, with a meal, blistered hands and enough food to feed all of the neighbors.
And the tyrant, the dirt is waiting for him. He will learn his country, feel the weight of all of it on his chest. He will struggle against the dirt that fed him.
Amal Kassir lived in Syria for many years. She says her time there helped her understand the people's suffering while the freedoms she has in America allowed her to become an activist on their behalf. At 18, she performs slam poetry around the U.S. Hear her perform "My Grandmother's Farm" at the University of Colorado Denver.
By Nick Corcodilos
Don't apply for a job by submitting your resume. But if you must send one, here's how to do it right. Image by Flickr user Olivier Charavel.
In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees -- just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.
Question: I need a template for a two-page resume that will help me get in the door at a company I want to approach. Can you help?
Nick Corcodilos: Resumes are a weak, passive way to get in the door (or to represent yourself). Using a template or any kind of boilerplate to demonstrate your value to a company is the worst thing you can do to yourself when job hunting.
You're supposed to be uniquely qualified so the company will choose you instead of some cookie-cutter drone -- right? Do you really want a "template?" Do you really want a new job by reciting old history? (See "Don't lead with your past.")
But you asked, so if you insist on distracting yourself with resumes, I'm going to offer you my suggestions. If you're going to use a resume, here are two things to think about. Understanding these points might help you see the distinction between the resume itself and what's behind a truly effective resume. (In the end, this distinction should reveal to you why you don't really need a resume at all.)
Talk First First, have a substantive discussion with the person you plan to give your resume to. That is, the manager must already know you and you must know the specific needs of the manager. So, the person you give the resume to should be the hiring authority in the company you want to work for -- not someone in HR and not some unknown contact. Your initial personal contact with the manager prepares you to produce a relevant resume. (Does that sound backwards? It's not. Read on.)MORE FROM NICK CORCODILOS: Ask The Headhunter: How to Walk out of an Abusive Job Interview
Tailor to Fit Second, the resume should accomplish one thing: Show how you're going to solve that manager's problems. That's a tall order. I'll bet you've never seen a resume that does that. Few managers have, either. That's why most of the hires they make don't come from resumes but from truly substantive personal contacts.
The resume needs to be tailored to the specific employer and job. That's why job hunting isn't easy -- and it's why contact with the employer is so important. Obviously, we're no longer talking about resumes as a "marketing tool" but as a tool to prove you can do a specific job. This essentially voids your question and puts us into a different ball game. I never said I'd support the mindless use of a resume, just that I'd give you my suggestions.
Now that we're done with the two things you must take into account about using resumes, let's take the step that changes everything.
Tailor to Fit Exactly When you write the resume, sit down and describe as best you can how you're going to help the specific employer, and do your best to provide proof that you can pull it off. That's hard to do in writing. There is no boilerplate (or template) that's good enough because every person and every employer and every job is unique. Writing such a resume is hard work, and there's no way around it. If it were easy, every resume would produce an interview, but we know that doesn't happen.
(Have I talked you out of it yet? Maybe I've talked you into a whole new way of looking at job hunting without resumes. What I'm describing is not a resume about you. It's a business plan for a specific job!)
A resume can't answer questions (especially if it's muffled under the weight of 5,000 other resumes sitting on top of it). And a smart manager will be full of questions. This is why I don't like resumes as a job hunting tool. (See The truth about resumes.) I'd rather go straight to the hiring manager and have a talk with him -- but only after I've done my research so I can demonstrate how I'm going to bring profit to his bottom line.
Next week, we'll discuss how writing a business plan can make a resume totally unnecessary.
Readers: Do you always use a resume to get in the door? Give us some examples of other ways you get an employer's attention!
Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth "how to" PDF books are available on his website: "How to Work With Headhunters...and how to make headhunters work for you," "How Can I Change Careers?", "Keep Your Salary Under Wraps" and "Fearless Job Hunting."
Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!
Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark. This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown -- NewsHour's blog of news and insight. Follow @PaulSolman
Antonio "Tony" Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga, is seen here with children in the Pinagsama village in Taguig city, Philippines. Photo courtesy of Gawad Kalinga
ANGAT, Philippines -- To Antonio "Tony" Meloto, migration is both culprit and symptom of the entrenched poverty in the Philippines. It is a poverty of self-esteem as much as anything material, he adds.
Migration of rural people to urban slums, which includes Filipinos from every walk of life from doctors to domestic workers to wealthier countries, disrupts the lives of millions of families and drains the country of talent that is much needed here and under-appreciated abroad, says the 64-year-old former Procter and Gamble executive and founder of Gawad Kalinga, one of this country's best-known nongovernmental organizations.
"Build the Filipino dream, not some other country's dream!" he exhorts a group of college students on a field trip to the Enchanted Farm, a rural project intended to reverse the migration trend and close the widening urban-rural wealth gap. An economist by training, Meloto wants to bring together talent groomed by the best universities and wisdom rooted in the traditional rural lifestyles to create new businesses and products: bottling of a traditional lemongrass tea, for example, or turning talented traditional cooks into fast food entrepreneurs.
"The combination of the genius of the poor and the rich is quite explosive," Meloto told me, explaining that "rich" in this context means people given the opportunities and privilege of a good education.
Ironically, some of the earliest "rich" partners to come to the farm project are migrants to the Philippines. Most are recent graduates from top European universities where Meloto lectures frequently. To attract more of their Filipino counterparts to follow suit is a challenge in a country where salaries cannot compete with those in wealthier nations, where a job overseas is considered a ticket to financial security.
Meloto says poverty in the Philippines is not just an economic issue but a behavioral one, the result of 350 years of Spanish, the American colonialism, "of us thinking we're not white enough and us believing we are not smart enough."
One symptom of the latter is the pervasive use of skin whiteners in the Philippines today.
"You should be happy with your skin color," he continued to the young collegians, gently ribbing one young man for his spiked blond dye job. "Don't show the world that God made a mistake when he made you Filipino. "
Slowly the message is getting across, Meloto says, pointing proudly to four high achievers from top Philippines universities who have decided to forge their careers at the farm project. Two of them returned from overseas, like Frank Chu, 32, who left a job at Citibank in New York.
"I realized that if I become very successful but my country's still poor, I'll always be treated by other countries as second class, " he says. " So I decided to go back and look for a way to help."
Joni Morales, 31, returned from a market research job in Singapore in pursuit of a long sought career with a nongovernmental agency, one that she says gets away from the traditional charitable top-down approach to development.
Working with people who have no dreams -- the poor who have never been allowed to dream and the wealthy who "do not have dreams beyond themselves" -- has been challenging, she says. But the farm is "a medium for us to find exactly as purpose and direction in our life."
Meloto hopes to install 24 Enchanted Farms across the Philippines some day, the foundation he's convinced for building the new Filipino dream.
Watch for Fred de Sam Lazaro's upcoming broadcast report on the PBS NewsHour, and view more of our Social Entrepreneurship profiles.
Protesters have been storming the streets in Kiev since December in response to Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovich declining an economic deal with the European Union. Video still by PBS NewsHour
Outside Ukraine's Parliament building in Kiev Tuesday morning, violent riots were perforated by catchy chimes and steady vibrations. According to the New York Times, those near the fighting between government police and opposition activists were sent a text message shortly after midnight. The sender? The Ukrainian government.
"Dear subscriber," it read. "You are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance."
The new anti-demonstration legislation that went into effect Tuesday and sparked the outburst of violence severely limits acts of protest. According to The Telegraph, the text message warning did not appear to stem the riots, which have, so far, generated petrol bombs and laser pens from opposition activists and tear gas and stun grenades from police.
In December, Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovich passed on an economic partnership with the European Union to accept a bailout from Russia. Activists vocalized opposition over the deal in November, but the new anti-protest law has reinvigorated the opposition movement that condemns Russia's influence and notorious hold on free speech and demonstration.
The last major protest in Kiev nearly a decade ago was largely fueled by online media circulated from mobile phones. In what's known now as the "Orange Revolution." Yanukovich's 2004 rival in the presidential election, Viktor Yushchenko, was declared the winner after protesters alleged Yanukovich rigged the election. In 2010 when Yanukovich's name was cleared, Yanukovich succeeded Yushchenko who had drastically lost public favor by the end of his term.
Shooting reported on campus. Bldg Electrical Engineering; Avoid area; Shelter in place. Check http://t.co/vQnl8blHvd for updates— Purdue University (@LifeAtPurdue) January 21, 2014
A shooting on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Ind., left one man dead and the gunman in custody.
According to reports, the suspect walked into a basement classroom in the school's Electrical Engineering building, located on the northwest side of campus, around noon EST and shot an unidentified man. Within minutes, students on campus were issued a text message via the school's alert system directing them to shelter in place until further notice.
The university lifted the order around 1:15 p.m., stating there was no further danger to campus, though the Electrical Engineering building would remain closed.
School officials said they believe the gunman knew and targeted the victim, and Purdue Police Chief John Cox said it appeared that the shooter did not intend to harm anybody else.
The IndyStar reports that there was only one suspect, who was unarmed and did not resist arrest. The identities of both the suspect and the victim have yet to be released.
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images
The famed "one percent" may be smaller than we think.
Eighty-five of the world's richest people own as much as the bottom half of the population, according to an Oxfam International report on economic inequality published ahead of Tuesday's annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The bottom half--about 3.5 billion people--holds about $1.7 trillion in global wealth, the study says. At the top, that's just 85 people with the same amount of wealth.
Oxfam's projections were based on the Credit Suisse 2013 Global Wealth Report and the 2013 Forbes' World Billionaires List.
According to the British humanitarian group's study, the top one percent globally amounts to $110 trillion. That's 65 times the total wealth of the global bottom half.
"This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems. Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown," said the Oxfam report.
As world powers convene in Davos, income inequality is top on their agenda.
Taking a ten-year outlook, the report highlighted 31 global risks that may pose significant threats to the world in the next decade. Second to wealth disparity were extreme weather events, followed by under- and unemployment.
"Each risk considered in this report holds the potential for failure on a global scale; however, it is their interconnected nature that makes their negative implications so pronounced as together they can have an augmented effect," said Jennifer Blanke, Chief Economist at the World Economic Forum.
Income inequality has been at the fore of public debate.
Oxfam's report called on world leaders in Davos to take steps to reverse the trend of widening inequality.
Among other things, the humanitarian group asked leaders to strengthen living wages for workers, support progressive taxation and crack down on financial secrecy and tax dodging.
Photo by Flickr user Gage Skidmore
Former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged in federal court Tuesday for accepting more than $135,000 in gifts from a local businessman, in exchange for political favors.
Filed Tuesday, the indictment charged the McDonnells for accepting gifts from a political donor, including luxury vacations and large loans from Jonnie R. Williams, Sr., the former chief executive of supplements manufacturer Star Scientific, over two years. In return, the McDonnells used their political clout to bolster sales of Star Scientific's dietary supplements. The couple was charged with 14 felony accounts, including wire fraud and obtaining property under color of their official office.
"I repeat emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in exchange for what I believed was his personal generosity and friendship," McDonnell said.
McDonnell promised to return "tangible" gifts from Williams in July when he first apologized for the scandal. The Washington Post reports that McDonnell has repaid a $50,000 loan Williams gave to his wife and $70,000 Williams made to a McDonnell-owned business.
Current governor Terry McAuliffe said he was "troubled by the charges" but sent his "thoughts and prayers" to the entire McDonnell family.
"This is a sad day for Virginia," McAufliffe noted. "But I remain optimistic that we can work together to reform our system in order to prevent episodes like this from occurring ever again."
GWEN IFILL: A new winter storm shut down schools, shredded airline schedules and closed government offices from the Mid-Atlantic to New England today. Official Washington went dark as windblown snow began piling up. It made for dangerous driving, and touched off scores of accidents. More than 2,200 flights were canceled, and New York and other cities braced for at least a foot of snow.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, New York: Everyone remembers how frigidly cold it was in the last storm. This could be even a bit colder. So, again, we want to focus -- the best thing that can happen for this city is for the folks that work in the Sanitation Department to be able to do their job. We, every single New Yorker, we can help them do their job by staying off the streets, staying out of our cars.
GWEN IFILL: The National Weather Service warned that windchills could reach 40 below in some places.
The major players moved into position today to open the Syrian peace talks tomorrow in Montreux, Switzerland. But there were fresh recriminations over Iran's absence and new revelations of atrocities, allegedly by the Syrian government. Chief foreign correspondent Margaret Warner has more on all of this right after the news summary.
In Lebanon, a new bombing struck at supporters of Hezbollah, the Shiite militia fighting for the Assad regime in Syria. A car bomber killed four people in a Shiite neighborhood on the outskirts of Beirut; 35 people were wounded in the blast. The Nusra Front in Lebanon claimed responsibility, calling the attack retaliation for Hezbollah's actions in Syria.
Russian security agents are now hunting for three women who may be planning suicide bombings. Police leaflets say one is believed to be in Sochi, where the Winter Olympics begin next month. The women are known as black widows because their Islamist militant husbands died in previous attacks. We get more on the investigation later in the program.
All-out street battles broke out overnight in the capital of Ukraine. It marked a dramatic shift in the struggle between the pro-Russian government and protesters demanding closer ties with the European Union.
We have a report from Matt Frei of Independent Television News.
MATT FREI: Welcome or welcome back to Kiev, and yet these are fireworks. But they are used as missiles, and no one here is celebrating.
The avenue leading to Parliament is now the deafening front line of protest that's become a siege, a homemade catapult their proudest, if not most accurate weapon. There was no shortage of would-be Davids, while the Goliaths stood their ground responding with stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas.
I was here month-and-a-half ago, and the atmosphere couldn't be more different now. This is a full-scale siege, a standoff protesters and the riot police right in the center of Kiev just about 500 yards from the Parliament Building behind me.
The same Parliament that just a few days passed a new raft of anti-protest laws borrowed straight from Vladimir Putin. That is what has triggered this latest standoff. In the morning, the streets looked like an apocalyptic Narnia. The water cannon has coated everything in a blanket of ice, encrusted with discarded cobblestones the detritus of battle.
I went off to see one of the main opposition leaders in their makeshift headquarters, a place teaming with the urgency of history, but also vexed by the prospect of failure.
ARSENIY YATSENYUK, Fatherland Party: I condemn the violence. And this is my key message for the last two days. This is not the way we can get the results.
MATT FREI: And that's the problem of Ukraine's second stab at the Orange Revolution. Gray is the new orange.
GWEN IFILL: The government of Thailand has declared a state of emergency amid its ongoing political crisis. The announcement came after a series of recent attacks at anti-government protests in and around Bangkok. The decree is in force for 60 days. That gives security forces the power to ban large political gatherings, detain people without charge, and to impose curfews.
Reams of documents released today show how the Roman Catholic Church in Chicago hid decades of child sex abuse by priests. The material covers 30 clerics, out of at least 65 identified by the archdiocese as child molesters. We will hear from a lawyer for some of the victims later in the program.
President Obama will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican this March. The White House announced today the president hopes to discuss a shared commitment to fighting poverty and inequality. His visit will be part of a larger trip to Europe.
Fishermen in western Japan have reportedly made their biggest dolphin roundup in four years. The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd says about 250 dolphins were captured during the annual hunt. More than 50 of them were selected for sale to aquariums and others. About 40 were killed for their meat. The rest were released.
MELISSA SEHGAL, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: These dolphin slaughters occur almost daily for six months. The dolphin drive season begins September and continues through the month of March. These dolphin killers will go out and hunt these dolphins and small whales. Almost daily, slaughters occur, and dolphins are taken captive for marine parks around the world.
GWEN IFILL: Over the weekend, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, tweeted that she was deeply concerned about the slaughter. A spokesman for the Japanese government insisted the traditional dolphin hunt is legal.
Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted today in a federal corruption investigation. They're facing wire fraud and other charges in connection with gifts from a political donor. Republican McDonnell has insisted he did nothing illegal. He was term-limited and left office this month.
Wall Street had an up-and-down day. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 44 points to close at 16,414. The Nasdaq rose 28 points to close at 4,225.
GWEN IFILL: Delegations from dozens of countries are arriving in Switzerland for tomorrow's peace talks aimed at ending Syria's bloody civil war. But, so far, the highly publicized absence of one country is casting a shadow over the event.
Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.
Some of the images in her story may be disturbing.
MARGARET WARNER: The arrivals hall at the airport in Geneva today was jammed with diplomats and negotiators, including the head of the opposition's Syrian National Coalition.
He made clear his goal:
BADR JAMOUS, Secretary-General, Syrian National Council (through interpreter): We hope that the people of Syria have great confidence in us. We are here to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people and the demands of the Syrian revolution. And we will not accept less than removing the criminal Bashar al-Assad and changing the regime and bringing the criminals to justice.
MARGARET WARNER: That seems the longest of long shots at the moment. Syrian President Assad has made it equally clear he has no plans to give up power.
Moreover, the sessions planned in lakeside Montreux, amid tight security, already hit a diplomatic speed bump with the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon inviting Iran Sunday night, and then disinviting Tehran yesterday. Today, Iran said it never wanted to go in the first place.
MARZIEH AFKHAM, Iranian Foreign Ministry (through interpreter): About us not being invited to the Geneva II talks, I have to announce that we were never interested in participating. This was the U.N. secretary-general insisting that we participate in these talks, and now they have canceled their invitation. This is very unfortunate and sad, and we are very keen to know the real facts as to why he was forced to reverse this invitation.
MARGARET WARNER: Criticism also came from the Russians, who said it was a mistake not to include Iran.
SERGEI LAVROV, Russian Foreign Minister (through interpreter): Despite the largely ceremonial nature of the event, the absence of Iran in the list of 40 countries cannot but raise questions.
MARGARET WARNER: And a major new revelation today in a document commissioned by Qatar, a report from three former war crimes prosecutors, with photographs of what they said was the torture and killing of some 11,000 detainees by the Assad regime. They reportedly were taken by a Syrian police photographer who's now defected.
Desmond de Silva is one of the report's authors.
DESMOND DE SILVA, Syria Inquiry Team: The pictures are reminiscent of the worst pictures that came out of Belsen and Auschwitz after the Second World War. And these poor creatures were not just starved, but they were also tortured whilst they were starving.
MARGARET WARNER: In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague saw some of the 55,000 digital images.
WILLIAM HAGUE, British Foreign Secretary: I have seen a lot of this evidence. It is compelling and horrific. And it is important that those who have perpetrated these crimes are one day held to account.
MARGARET WARNER: The U.S. State Department called the report and photographs extremely disturbing.
Even before this, among the two million refugees who've endured three years of civil war, hopes were not high for a positive outcome in Montreux.
IBRAHEEM QADDAH, opposes Geneva Conference (through interpreter): We have lost our faith in the international community. We don't care about Geneva conference and whether it takes place or not. We have lost many of our relatives and friends and family members in the fighting, and we have lost Syria.
UM HADI, Syrian (through interpreter): All countries are plotting against the Syrian people; no one is supporting the Syrian people. If the international community wanted to solve the crises, they would do that. People are being killed for nothing. No one cares about the Syrian people.
MARGARET WARNER: President Obama discussed the Syria conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone today. They, along with the U.N., are the conveners of the conference, and will be represented by Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
GWEN IFILL: Hari Sreenivasan is in New York and spoke with Margaret a short time ago.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, Margaret, we have been waiting for this meeting for quite some time. What are the expectations?
MARGARET WARNER: Hari, I have to say, by the standards of international conferences like this, the expectations are pretty low.
That is, there is really no shared -- there is no shared sense of what the goal is when you talk to the two adversaries here, the Syrian government and the opposition. But tomorrow is a set of speeches. The hard bargaining in Geneva on Friday.
And the hope by the United States and the U.N. and most of the countries there is that at least you will get a united chorus from the 30 or so different countries that are speaking tomorrow that the answer is not a military solution, but a political solution. And they hope that the two adversaries will hear that and that when they speak there will at least be some sense that they, too, want to pursue that, even though they have very different end states.
Their visions are very, very different. Secretary Kerry's theory has been for some time now that if you could at least get these two warring parties to sit down for the first time face to face and commit to continuing negotiations in Geneva without any particular time limit or deadline, that they could begin to find a way forward.
That said, a senior U.N. official said to me today, you know, as you said, Hari, they have worked so hard to get this conference together. But he said there are so many different -- there are so many traps here and so many different actors. And he said, I'm really not an optimist.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, so tell us a little bit what happened yesterday, Ban Ki-Moon inviting Iran then uninviting Iran? Why?
MARGARET WARNER: I am told by people close to him that he began with the premise that this conference won't really be successful, that is, there is no resolution to the conflict, without Iran's participation because they are such major backers of President Assad. They supply weapons, they supply trainers.
They have gotten Hezbollah militias to come in and fight for him. They have sent fighters from Iran itself. And so they had to be part of it. Then I'm told Ban was told himself by the Russians and then by the Iranians that Iran was ready to accept the basic premise of this conference, which is that the ultimate -- this to set in motion a process that will ultimately lead to a transitional governing body, pave the way to a new government in Syria.
And so Ban thought he would make this announcement and that, within an hour, there would either be written or a verbal statement from Iran saying they welcome coming to the conference and they accept this premise, they join in this premise. Instead, all they got was a letter or a statement saying, we're very happy to come.
So Ban was upset. Then, of course, he came under tremendous pressure yesterday from Secretary Kerry, from the Syrian opposition, which said it would boycott the conference, and also from the Gulf state led by Saudi Arabia that they, too, would boycott. So, he had a choice, hold a conference with Iran there, but one of the two major adversaries not there. And so, given that choice, he rescinded the invitation.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So let's talk a little bit about the two conveners of this conversation, the U.S. and Russia. They have very different takes on Syria. What do they agree on?
MARGARET WARNER: Well, Hari, you're right. They have different takes, but they are also essential to one another. This conference wouldn't be happening without the two of them.
Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov have really worked hard on this, with Secretary Kerry pressuring the Syrian opposition to come, and Lavrov really pressing and pressuring the Iranians to help him persuade the Syrian government to come.
They also share the view that there can only be a political solution, and they share concern about the growth of all of these jihadi terrorist groups, these fighters that have been attracted, as if Syria were a magnet to the conflict there and are getting training and weapons and connections that would make the U.S. and Russia both more vulnerable to terrorist attack down the line.
But, as we know, Russia has been Assad's main defender on the U.N. Security Council. It's resolutely stood in the way of tough sanctions or any resolutions demanding humanitarian access, and the bottom line is that Russia's got longtime interests in Syria, it doesn't want to lose Syria as at least very friendly, if not quiet state, and it has a kind of visceral reaction against any thought of forcible regime change anywhere by the outside world, by the Western powers, after the Libya experience.
And so, almost reflexively, Russia reacts negatively when it senses something like that is in the works, especially if it's led by the U.S.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Margaret Warner, thanks so much.
MARGARET WARNER: Thank you, Hari.
GWEN IFILL: The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, the country's third largest, shielded and protected priests who were accused of sexual abuse for decades. Newly released papers document the actions of 30 priests, nearly half of them deceased, the rest now out of ministry. Victims who had long pressed for more information talked about it at a press conference in Chicago today.
JOE IACONO, abuse victim: The priest that abused me moved seven times and abused others. If they would have stopped him, like they would have stopped the other at the time of abuse, there would be many -- there would be significantly less victims.
Part of the release of these files, I am hopeful that there will be less victims in the future and people will stop putting the reputation of the institution above the welfare of the children. That is my hope.
GWEN IFILL: The documents released as part of a settlement with those victims describe how the late Cardinals John Cody and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin approved the reassignments of priests.
In a letter sent to parishes this past weekend, Cardinal Francis George, who took over the Archdiocese in 1997, apologized for the past actions of the church, writing, "In the late '80s, the archdiocese began to put its house in some order," and he said he hoped transparency would be helpful. But he also said that almost all of the incidents were perpetrated by priests he never met.
We invited leaders of the archdiocese to appear tonight, but they declined.
We are joined by a lawyer for some of the victims, Jeff Anderson.
Welcome, Mr. Anderson.
What did you learn from this new raft of documents today?
JEFF ANDERSON, plaintiff's attorney: Well, what 6,000 pages of the offending priests' files reveal very clearly is a very longstanding pattern and practice by all the top officials, including the past and current cardinals, of making conscious choices to protect offenders, keep their offenses secret, and thus protect the reputation of the archdiocese from the 1950s to the present time and up until 2006.
GWEN IFILL: Mr. Anderson, in this letter that Archbishop George sent to congregations this weekend, among the -- he conceded there had been mistakes, but he went on to say, especially in the case of Father Daniel McCormack, who was arrested twice, he said, mistake is not a cover-up.
JEFF ANDERSON: Well, Cardinal George's position that this was mistakes and primarily by those who preceded him is really deflection and denial.
When it comes to McCormack, it was on his watch, and there were reports to his office, and there was a second arrest that became known to him. And he chose to keep McCormack in ministry and give him a promotion, and McCormack continued to abuse children. And it is that kind of thing that's reflected in these documents past and present that Cardinal George should himself be apologizing on behalf of himself and his choices and his predecessors.
And until he does and until they do, there can be no acknowledgment of the truth of the past and it's destined to repeat in the future, which is what survivors really need, is -- is change.
GWEN IFILL: So, this is not so much about discovery of new incidences of abuse themselves, but about holding the church accountable?
JEFF ANDERSON: Absolutely.
It's really not about the offending priests anymore. These documents reveal the top officials had actual knowledge time and time again and chose to keep it secret. They made conscious choices, not mistakes, conscious choices, to protect themselves and the offenders, and in that case imperil many, many, many children.
And so what the survivors did is demand accountability and transparency. And when Cardinal George denies responsibility, he's holding himself less accountability and being less than transparent. These documents do speak for themselves.
GWEN IFILL: That's actually the language that he used, accountability and transparency, in his message to the church. But you obviously think that falls short.
In this case, we're talking about 30 cases, 6,000 pages involving 30 cases. And there are 65 all together, so you're expecting more?
JEFF ANDERSON: We are.
There's another 35 yet to be revealed, and we're working now to make sure that they are, the same way these 30 are. But what is evident is that there has been and remains a longstanding pattern and practice, and as long as the top officials deny that they are the problem, the problem persists.
GWEN IFILL: You have represented victims around the country. Is there a difference between the way the Chicago authorities have handled these cases and the way it's been handled in other cities and jurisdictions?
JEFF ANDERSON: We have worked with survivors across the country in disgorgement of These kind of secrets, and documents, and these kinds of patterns. And, sadly, the pattern reflected here, past and present, are much like those across the country from L.A. to Philadelphia, and I'm sorry to say have grave similarities.
GWEN IFILL: So what are the options at this point for your clients? What are they seeking now from the church?
JEFF ANDERSON: Well, what the survivors need first is to know that the truth of the past is known and revealed, which makes it less likely to be repeated in the future, which means that the survivors can then rest more comfortably knowing that children will be less likely be harmed in the future if there is an acknowledgment of the problem and the practice and it is changed.
And what they really need is the practice to be acknowledged and to be changed so that kids are protected. That's what survivors want.
GWEN IFILL: Have we seen the end of financial settlements in these cases?
JEFF ANDERSON: No. No, there's a lot more work to be done. There's a lot more disgorgement to be done. There's a lot more accountability to be had.
And until there is a full transparency, full accountability, there is a lot of work to be done on the courage and the shoulders of the survivors with whom we work every day in gratitude.
GWEN IFILL: I guess I'm trying to get to the bottom of an interesting question here, which is both you and the church say what you really want more than anything else is healing, transparency that leads to healing for these survivors. Is that even possible?
JEFF ANDERSON: Well, I think it is.
I mean, these are wounds that run so deep, they are never erased. But there is healing through light, through truth and through the knowledge and the recovery of the power around accountability. And when survivors know they have done something to protect other kids of the future, they can rest better and feel better and recover their own power.
And, so, yes, they can get better, and they do. And when they know other kids are at risk, they remain anxious, worried and troubled that the same patterns that caused them to be harmed are being repeated both in the present and the future.
GWEN IFILL: Jeff Anderson, an attorney speaking on behalf of sexual abuse victims, thank you so much.
JEFF ANDERSON: You're welcome.
GWEN IFILL: Next to the Philippines, where one organization is trying to tackle the nation's poverty by luring people to the countryside.
Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has the story, part of his ongoing Agents for Change series.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In a country that is rapidly urbanizing into ever more crowded cities, Tony Meloto is trying to get people to come or come back to the farm.
Well, where we're going here rice and -- organic rice. And we have 30 different crops here.
ANTONIO MELOTO, Enchanted Farm: Well, we're growing here rice, organic rice, and we have 30 different crops here.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Three years ago, Meloto established an 85-acre campus about two hours from the capital, Manila. Called the Enchanted Farm, it's a village of about 50 families relocated from urban slums, a farm and a place for research and innovation.
ANTONIO MELOTO: The vision is making this the Silicon Valley for agribusiness and social entrepreneurship.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: There's lots of fertile land in the Philippines, Meloto says. It just doesn't produce enough of the right crops and products, so rural people move to the city in search of a livelihood. Those who can leave the country, about 10 percent of this nation of 100 million -- doctors, nurses, welders and domestic workers -- work abroad.
ANTONIO MELOTO: So, how many of you are planning to leave the country after you graduate?
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: An economist by training and one of the country's best-known anti-poverty activists, Meloto tries to persuade young visitors to the farm to stay.
ANTONIO MELOTO: It is possible to create another career or business path in this country, rather than be a domestic worker abroad, which is not bad, because they are the heroes of the Philippines. But I think the next generation like yours will be wealth creators in the Philippines and job generators, not job seekers abroad.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Meloto came from a lower-middle-class family, but, with scholarships, was a high academic achiever and went on to an international business career, including a posting in Australia. But he says he felt a keen awareness of those left behind.
ANTONIO MELOTO: I started to see that the basic problem was the disconnection of those privileged with the best education, with the best opportunities, from those who have no dignity, no justice, no hope. I felt that I had to go back to the Philippines, go to the poorest slum and try to discover my -- myself.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He began in the mid-'90s by joining a lay Catholic organization, trying to forge a sense of community in slums riddled by gang violence. A few years later, he founded Gawad Kalinga, or Giving Care, organizing mostly volunteers and focusing first on decent housing.
ANTONIO MELOTO: Because a human being who lives in an animal pen will think and behave like an animal, and when men are deprived of their dignity, then they are on a survival mode, and that's when they get into gangs.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: To date, Gawad Kalinga has transformed the homes of 200,000 families, housing about a million people.
Residents build and maintain these small model communities, which elect their own leaders. These G.K. enclaves stand out for their cleanliness and bright colors, 2,000 across the Philippines, including some that were in the path of the recent Typhoon Haiyan.
Gawad Kalinga communities located in the path of the recent super typhoon did sustain some damage. There are roofs that are blown off, but for the most part the structures are still standing. The typhoon killed more than 6,000 people, but not a single one of them was in a Gawad Kalinga community.
ANTONIO MELOTO: We coordinate with the local government units, and they point us to where safe areas are.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Safe because they're on higher ground. Gawad Kalinga also makes certain that occupants have clear legal title. It's a key issue, says executive director Luis Oquinena.
JOSE LUIS OQUINENA, Gawad Kalinga: Because the poor rest here, they are -- they are always victims.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He says slum dwellers are always vulnerable to eviction by natural disasters or people with more means who lay claim on their land.
Gawad Kalinga has never pays to acquire land for its communities. Instead, it convinces landowners to donate a part of their holdings, promising to work with the government to develop infrastructure, to everyone's benefit.
JOSE LUIS OQUINENA: When you have a community of this size, government will start building those public roads. When you have those public roads and electricity, then obviously the land will appreciate.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: That idea of partnership between haves and have-nots is behind the farm project as well, in this case to create socially minded businesses.
ANTONIO MELOTO: The combination of the genius of the poor and the rich is quite explosive.
Some of the earliest ones have been young Europeans, a toy maker working with local women and local materials, hoping to grow in a market where almost all toys are imported from China. Another enterprise is making a traditional lemongrass tea claimed to prevent certain diseases.
VAIMITI RIGAL, Philippines: Lemongrass is good for health, good for the blood system and also very tasty. And Tito Tony had the very good idea that this tea is very awesome, so why don't we make it a worldwide product?
ANTONIO MELOTO: Lemongrass is antioxidant, and it is now selling about 50,000 bottles a month, and our target is a million bottles in a few years, which will provide jobs to 1,000 people.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Those with no business experience are coached on how to start one. A laid-off garment worker and a former domestic worker both refugees from Manila slums are being converted from traditional cooks to fast-food entrepreneurs. They hope to set up food stands like this one in shopping malls.
LOLITA BALDOZA, Philippines (through interpreter): I am really grateful to live here. Before this, I lived in Manila close to the river, and it flooded any time it rained hard. I was living like a squatter.
This is my little store.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: As she builds her food business, Lolita Baldoza sells convenience items from her home. Her husband, who works on the farm and cares for their two pigs, and their 12-year-old son enjoy a modest home, but it's secure and dry.
LOLITA BALDOZA: We can sleep well. We can -- my life here is very happy and happy, happy, yes.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Comfortable?
LOLITA BALDOZA: Comfortable.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: To sustain the farm, there's a new conference center that Meloto hopes will bring visitors, ideas, and revenue. The complex was built with donations from several large companies like Shell Oil, and the carmaker Hyundai. It's not charity, Meloto says, just good marketing.
ANTONIO MELOTO: This will be the venue for the National Youth Congress. This is sponsored by the Philippine armed forces.
So, General, these are the new generation of Filipinos.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: As the conference began, Meloto introduced four young people who've come to work on the farm. All are top graduates of prestigious universities -- usually a ticket to far more lucrative jobs abroad.
Two actually returned from jobs overseas: market research in Singapore, investment banking in New York. Cherie Atilano passed up a Fulbright scholarship that would have taken her to Germany.
CHERIE ATILANO, college graduate: There's a lot of hungry people in the Philippines, but knowing that we also have 12 million hectares of underproductive land, I'm so optimistic to really make the agriculture as a stable backbone of our economy.
ANTONIO MELOTO: This is a country that does not have any excuse to remain poor, and it is important for us now to raise a new generation of Filipinos who will have that kind of conviction.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Gawad Kalinga hopes to develop several more farm campuses like this one. Its goal is to bring five million families out of poverty by 2024.
WASHINGTON -- Higher-income Americans and some legally married same-sex couples are likely to feel the biggest hits from tax law changes when they file their federal returns in the next few months. Taxpayers also will have a harder time taking medical deductions.
In other changes for the 2013 tax year, the Alternative Minimum Tax has been patched -- permanently -- to prevent more middle-income people from being drawn in, and there's a simpler way to compute the home office deduction.
Tax rate tables and the standard deduction have been adjusted for inflation, as has the maximum contribution to retirement accounts, including 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts.
The provisions were set by Congress last January as part of legislation to avert the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts. "We finally got some certainty for this year," said Greg Rosica, a contributing author to Ernst & Young's "EY Tax Guide 2014."
Nevertheless, the filing season is being delayed because of the two-week government shutdown last October. The Internal Revenue Service says it needs the extra time to ensure that systems are in place and working. People will be able to start filing returns Jan. 31, a week and a half later than the original Jan. 21.
"People who are used to filing early in order to get a quick refund are just going to have to wait," said Barbara Weltman, a contributing editor to "J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2014."
No change in the April 15 deadline, however. That's set by law and will remain in place, the IRS says.
The tax legislation passed at the start of 2013 permanently extended the Bush-era tax cuts for most people, but also added a top marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent for those at higher incomes -- $400,000 for single filers, $450,000 for married couples filing jointly and $425,000 for heads of household.
On top of that, higher-income taxpayers could see their itemized deductions and personal exemptions phased out and pay higher capital gains taxes -- 20 percent for some taxpayers. And there are new taxes for them to help pay for health care reform.
There are different income thresholds for each of these new taxes.
An additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax, for example, kicks in on earnings over $250,000 for married couples filing jointly and $200,000 for singles and heads of household. Same for a 3.8 percent tax on investment income.
But the phase-out of personal exemptions and deductions doesn't begin until $300,000 for married couples filing jointly and $250,000 for singles.
Taxpayers who didn't plan could find themselves with big tax bills come April 15 -- and perhaps penalties for under-withholding.
"It's a snowball effect," said Dave Du Val, TaxAudit.com's vice president of customer advocacy.
"The complexities of the tax code are only affecting those of us trying to read it," National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said in an interview. Tax software makes a lot of those complexities invisible to most people.
As a result, taxpayers might not realize they're being helped by a wide array of deductions and credits. "They have no idea of the benefits they are getting through the tax code," she said.
One simplification: Many investors will find it easier to report stock sales if the 1099-B forms they receive contain key details of the sale and the correct basis for computing gains and losses.
The IRS processed more than 147 million tax returns in 2013, down slightly from the previous year. More than 109 million taxpayers received refunds that averaged $2,744, also slightly less than in 2012.
The upward trend of electronic filing continued, with more than 83 percent of returns being filed online. The biggest jump, 4.6 percent, was among people who used software programs to do their own taxes.
The IRS is continuing to offer its Free File option, which is available to taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $58,000 or less. These taxpayers can use brand-name software to file their taxes at no cost. Some states also participate. The agency also has an option for taxpayers of all incomes -- Free File Fillable Forms -- which does basic calculations but does not offer the guidance that a software package would.
For the 2013 tax year, the personal exemption is $3,900. The standard deduction is $12,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $6,100 for singles, and $8,950 for heads of household.
Many credits and deductions were extended for 2013, including several for education. Among them: the American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 per student for tuition and fees and deductions for student loan interest and tuition-related expenses. Many of these are phased out at higher income levels.
Schoolteachers will still be able to deduct up to $250 in out-of-pocket expenses for books or other supplies.
Taxpayers will still be able to deduct their medical expenses, but it will be more difficult for many to qualify. The threshold for deducting medical expenses now stands at 10 percent of adjusted gross income, up from 7.5 percent. There's an exception, though, for those older than 65. For them, the old rate is grandfathered in until 2017.
HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION
Among the other changes for 2013, taxpayers who work at home will now have a simplified option for taking a home office deduction.
"You can claim this deduction for the business use of a part of your home only if you use that part of your home regularly and exclusively," the IRS says.
But, if you sit at your kitchen table and check work email, it doesn't qualify. "The regular and exclusive business use must be for the convenience of your employer and not just appropriate and helpful in your job," according to the agency.
The IRS said that for tax year 2011, the most recent year for which numbers are available, more than 3.3 million people claimed nearly $10 billion in home office deductions using Schedule C. The number does not include the home office deduction taken by farmers, which is taken on a different form.
Most taxpayers claiming the deduction are self-employed, according to the IRS.
Until this year, you had to figure actual expenses for a home office, according to Weltman. "Starting with 2013 returns, if you're eligible for the deduction, you can take a standard deduction of $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet," she said. The maximum deduction using this method is $1,500.
The IRS says people who take the simplified option will have to fill out one line on Schedule C, as opposed to a 43-line form.
Weltman likened the simplified home office deduction to the IRS deduction for business use of your car. "You can do your actual costs or the IRS mileage rates."
The standard mileage rate for business use of a car in 2013 is 56.5 cents a mile.
Beginning this year, same-sex couples who are legally married will for the most part have to choose married filing jointly or married filing separately when doing their tax returns. This is true even if they live in a state that does not recognize gay marriage.
Many of these couples will now find themselves hit by the marriage penalty, especially if both spouses work.
For example, with their incomes combined, they might hit the threshold for the extra Medicare taxes, or the beginning of the phase-out of deductions and the standard exemption.
However, when it comes to things like estate taxes, the federal recognition of same-sex marriage will help legally married gay and lesbian couples. That was the issue in the Supreme Court decision in the case of Edith Windsor, who had to pay estate taxes after her lesbian spouse died.
In addition, health insurance purchased from an employer for a same-sex spouse can be paid pre-tax and excluded from income.
"Like opposite-sex couples, gay and lesbian married couples can qualify to use the head-of-household status, when kids are involved, where the spouses are living apart," the IRS says.
Same-sex married couples also have the option of filing amended returns going back to 2010, using the married-filing-jointly status. Rosica said couples will have to look at their individual circumstances to see if that's beneficial from a tax perspective.
When it comes to filing state returns, same-sex married couples living in states that don't recognize gay marriage most likely will have to file as singles. Since federal returns often are used as a starting point for state returns, that could force them to calculate their federal taxes twice, once for filing the federal return and once for figuring out their state taxes.
If you made energy efficiency improvements to your home, such as installing new windows or a qualifying furnace or heat pump, you might be able to take an energy credit of 10 percent of the cost up to a lifetime maximum of $500.
However, of that total, the IRS says, "only $200 can be for windows, $50 for any advanced main air circulating fan, $150 for any qualified natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler, and $300 for any item of energy-efficient building property."
There are additional credits for solar. However, the credit for plug-in electric vehicles has expired.
Once again, the IRS is reminding taxpayers to make sure their Social Security numbers are entered correctly and their returns are signed. Those who feel they need more time can apply for an extension, until Oct. 15. But if you do file for an extension, remember to estimate and pay any taxes due -- or face a possible penalty.
By Carole Feldman, Associated Press
GWEN IFILL: The Supreme Court heard arguments today that could strike a blow to public sector unions and to authors of original works. In the first case, non-unionized home health care workers in Illinois say they shouldn't have to pay for contract negotiations. And in the second, can an author's heirs still stake claim to a big Hollywood production more than 30 years later? The 1980 movie "Raging Bull" earned Robert De Niro an Academy Award for his portrayal of a embattled boxer Jake LaMotta.
As always, Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal was in the courtroom this morning and she is with us tonight.
Let's start with the union case, Marcia.
MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: OK.
GWEN IFILL: So, are home health care workers normally covered by unions?
MARCIA COYLE: Well, there are a number of states that have recognized unions to represent those types of workers.
And the state of Illinois did in this particular case not only recognize the union, but really supported it, Gwen, because it found once it had a union, it dramatically reduced turnover in these jobs, it raised wages, and it offered benefits that made the job more attractive to workers. So the union is supporting the -- I'm sorry -- the state is supporting the union in this case before the Supreme Court.
GWEN IFILL: So, how could a Supreme Court ruling in this case affect public sector unions in general?
MARCIA COYLE: Well, if the court were to rule for the three challengers, who are home health care workers, who are not members of the union, it could really, as Justice Kagan pointed out today, radically -- radically alter the workplace around the country where there are unions like this.
These three home health care workers who are non-union members are saying that, because this is a public employee union, even bargaining for wages is a way of petitioning the government, and their fee to support the bargaining costs is compelled speech, violating the First Amendment.
Now, the interesting thing here, Gwen, is that the Supreme Court has recognized for years that non-union workers can be asked, compelled to pay a fee to support bargaining activities. However, it balances that out with the first didn't impingement on their First Amendment rights by saying that none of that fee can go to union advocacy. It has to be strictly for bargaining costs.
GWEN IFILL: So, we're not talking about forcing them to pay dues, just forcing them to pay for the part of the negotiation cost that they benefit from?
MARCIA COYLE: That's right, exactly. It's a way to prevent what is called free riders, getting the benefits of what the union can negotiate, and yet not sharing in any of the costs to the unions.
GWEN IFILL: Did the justices have any sympathy for that today?
MARCIA COYLE: Well, yes, they did.
I saw -- I can't really say the court is divided here, but I can say that there were several justices, such as Justice Breyer and Kagan, who did see this as really an attempt to overturn a 35-year-old Supreme Court decision, and really alter how the workplace operates with agency shops.
On the other hand, justices such as Justice Kennedy seemed to grasp the idea of the challengers that when you are petitioning as a public employee the government for higher wages, you're speaking almost really on a matter of public concern. In fact everything, that you're bargaining for is a matter of public concern ultimately.
And he expressed concern that this is -- that public employees are surrendering -- or non-union members are surrendering a substantial amount of their First Amendment rights. So, there does seem to be a certain amount of openness on the part of some justices to reexamine this very bedrock principle that's been around for three decades now.
GWEN IFILL: On the second case that the court heard today, this interesting -- what we have calling shorthand around here the "Raging Bull" case...
MARCIA COYLE: Yes.
GWEN IFILL: ... this isn't really so much about the film or even about ownership as much as about delay?
MARCIA COYLE: Yes, exactly. In fact, it's really about the daughter of screenplay writer Frank Petrella, whose screenplay she says was the basis for the film, whether she can actually get in to court and make her claim that MGM has been infringing the copyright on that screenplay.
The issue before the justices is really whether can unreasonable delay in raising your right, your copyright here, can actually be used to bar you bringing your lawsuit. Is it a defense, for example, to MGM? And the lower courts here said that it could bar it.
But the wrinkle is the Copyright Act itself says that people can bring copyright claims within three years of an infringing act. So, Paula Petrella, who brought this lawsuit, filed it in 2009, and is claiming that MGM infringed from 2006 to 2009.
So, the issue for the justices is, can this sort of very old doctrine of unreasonable delay preempt the limit that Congress put in to the actual law that you have three years to file a copyright action each time there's an infringing act?
GWEN IFILL: So if this was a law that Congress wrote, could Congress have role in trying to straight this out?
MARCIA COYLE: Well, I think, ultimately, it depends, Gwen, on what the court says. If the court says that this doctrine of unreasonable delay can be used to bar these types of suits, then Congress could look at the Copyright Act and make it explicit that the doctrine doesn't prevail, that the three-year time frame they put in the law is what should govern here.
It really does depend on what the court says. And I couldn't tell at the end of the argument which way the court was going to go. There seemed to be good arguments on both sides for which -- whether the doctrine or the -- limiting the law should prevail.
GWEN IFILL: Was there any discussion at all in the court today about whether this could have -- the ruling in this case could have broader implications for authors of other works or for new technologies which don't have necessarily three-year life spans?
MARCIA COYLE: Oh, absolutely.
If it's a copyright case, it's going to fall under the Copyright Act, of course. But this doctrine of unreasonable delay, and I will use the word, it's called latches, could affect all kinds of works. And you could see in the Supreme Court itself with amicus briefs that there were a number of amicus briefs by musicians, composers, authors who really want to be able to assert their copyrights after a certain period of time.
On the other side, you have studios and other producers, business as well that feel, gee, if you wait 18 years, as Paula Petrella did here, to sue, you really ought to be out of luck because we relied on that time period in which you were silent. And you shouldn't be able to come in and skim the cream off the top, as MGM's lawyer said.
GWEN IFILL: Fascinating, as always, Marcia Coyle, reporting tonight in Washington for us in a lovely snowstorm, but reporting on the Supreme Court. Thanks again.
MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, Gwen.
GWEN IFILL: Authorities in Russia are on the hunt for three women suspected of planning terrorist attacks at the upcoming Winter Olympics, now less than weeks away.
President Obama spoke today with Russian President Vladimir Putin to offer his full support in helping ensure a safe and secure Games in Sochi.
Hari is back to begin our coverage.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The streets of Sochi were heavy with security today. And images of three potential female suicide bombers were posted around the city. They're known as black widows, women who were married to Islamist militants killed by security forces.
Police said it's believed that one of them, 22-year-old Ruzana Ibragimov, is already inside Sochi.
Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, chair of the House Homeland Security Commission, was there today, assessing the situation.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-Texas: All the briefings that I have received from the intelligence community to the FBI and others indicate that there are serious concerns and that we need to do a lot to step up security. We have 15,000 Americans traveling to Sochi for the Olympics.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The challenge grows out of a long-running Islamist insurgency in Russia's North Caucasus region, which includes Dagestan and Chechnya. Sochi lies roughly 400 miles away, but the militants have demonstrated an ability to reach across Russia.
In late December, two suicide bombings hit the southern city of Volgograd, killing 34 people. On Sunday, an Islamist group in Dagestan claimed responsibility for that attack, and threatened the Olympics.
Today, Russia's National Anti-Terror Committee said police killed a senior Islamist militant in a shoot-out in the North Caucasus. Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised a ring of steel to protect Sochi. And Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov counseled calm today. He said the world will join Russia in safeguarding the Olympics.
SERGEI LAVROV, Russian Foreign Minister (through interpreter): Terrorism has no nationality. Terrorism has an international dimension. President Putin has repeatedly stated that we will ensure security at the Olympic Games. Special staff are operating, including representatives of practically all the states whose athletes will participate, and I'm convinced sufficient measures are being undertaken.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the meantime, the Olympic Torch has reached Southern Russia, en route to Sochi.
HARI SREENIVASAN: To tell us more about the so-called black widows, we are joined by Robert Bruce Ware, a professor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. He's written extensively about the Russian Caucasus.
So, help us understand this black widow phenomenon.
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: The black widows first appeared in June 2000, when a woman detonated a bomb attached to her body at a Russian military base in Chechnya.
They attracted worldwide attention in October 2002 during the Moscow theater hostage crisis, when Chechen rebels distinctively featured female insurgents. And ever since 2003, there have been number of incidents in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus, involving women related to martyred fighters who have detonated bombs on their bodies at various public events.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, there was a group called Villayet Dagestan that took responsibility for those horrible bombs that we just saw at the end of December. Who are -- who is this group?
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: The group started during second Chechen war, and is affiliated with the broader called the Caucasus Emirate that seeks to separate the North Caucasus region from Russia.
Villayet Dagestan is based in the Republic of Dagestan, which is at northeastern end -- sorry -- at the southeastern end of this region, essentially in the area between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So you saw this 50-minute-long video where these two bombers basically laid everything out.
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: Yes.
HARI SREENIVASAN: What were they asking for? What was the purpose of their new threats against Sochi?
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: Well, in the long run, what they -- the long-term goal is for Russia to leave North Caucasus region.
But what they're doing in this video is demonstrating the assembly of some explosive devices that have been subsequently strapped to the bodies of the men who claim that -- that Sochi Olympic events will be targeted.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, are there other groups that Russia needs to be worried about in addition to these folks who just claimed responsibility for the recent bombings?
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: There are throughout the North Caucasus a number of groups who have been agitating for the withdrawal of Russian forces and for the withdrawal of Russia from the North Caucasus region, and also are pursuing a number of local grievances involving local corruption, police brutality and so forth.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, is Sochi somehow sort of symbolic or important to these different groups? Is this a homeland?
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: Yes.
Exactly 150 years ago, the Circassian people, a people in the north -- northwestern area of this region, essentially on the Black Sea, were deported en masse to Turkey and to other parts of the world and also suffered horrendous massacres, to the point that the events are often described as genocide.
So, the Sochi Olympics are taking place on the same site where the Circassian people were massacred and deported in a genocidal manner exactly 150 years ago. And one of the points that's made in the video is that essentially the Olympic ceremonies are being held on the bones of their ancestors.
Now, the men in the video also say that they're specifically taking vengeance for Muslim blood that's been shed in Dagestan, in Somalia and in Syria.
HARI SREENIVASAN:So, is there a history of sporting events in Russia being attacked as political statements?
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: There's some history of it.
Specifically, there was a black widow attack at a Moscow sporting event in Moscow in 2005. And perhaps most notably, the Russian-installed leader of Chechnya, Akhmed Kadyrov, was assassinated at a soccer game in May of 2004 when the seat beneath him exploded.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Robert Bruce Ware, thanks so much for your time.
ROBERT BRUCE WARE: OK. Thank you.
Manufacturing excellence is one of four economic forces that sets the U.S. economy apart from the rest of the world. NewsHour still photo.
Are America's best years behind us or are we headed for new heights? We've heard from both sides of that debate on Making Sense. Last spring, David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, yearned for 19th century America and warned that believers in a "sunny future" are blind to the debt bubble. Just as quick to condemn America's dependence on printed money and predict a spectacular economic bust was former trader Terry Burnham, now at Chapman College.
But not all economists are so gloomy. When we saw Charles Morris, the man who analyzed the crash several years before it happened, writing about what he called "the best-kept secret in the economics media," we thought we'd better tune in. "Comeback: Why the US Sits at the Brink of a New Boom" is Morris' prediction of a long-term growth period rivaling the 1950s and 1960s. And it's not going to be a self-destructive boom, as afflicted the housing market; it will be rooted in manufacturing and energy, Morris says.
Here with another dose of optimism is Milken Institute senior fellow and former Harvard Business Review editor Joel Kurtzman, who identifies four forces of economic change propelling the U.S. toward a brighter future. The following is adapted from his forthcoming book, "Unleashing the Second American Century."
Joel Kurtzman: For some odd reason, Americans like to think of our nation -- which is by far the largest and most sophisticated economy in the world -- as the underdog. It wasn't that long ago -- at least it doesn't seem like it was that long ago to me -- that books were being published like, "Japan as Number One." And now it's China.
Case in point: a chart in the Wall Street Journal about research and development in a number of countries was titled "China Catches Up," despite the fact that the amount China spent on R&D, according to the chart, was only about half of what the United States spends. Not only that, but if you think about it, whereas the U.S. spends big on R&D since we have a robust research infrastructure already in place, a lot of what China spends is to set up labs and train people, which we've already done. Now, I have nothing against China, in fact I admire it, but catch up to the United States? Not for a while. In my view, the United States is about to undergo a "growth spurt," just as China, and much of the emerging world, are slowing down.
There are four forces that explain why the United States will be entering a period of very strong growth: our creativity is ahead of all other countries; there is a renewal of manufacturing; we have enormous newly accessible supplies of energy; and we are flush with investible capital.
The Force of America's Creativity
If you take a walk through the Kendall Square area of Cambridge, Mass., you get a sense of what I mean by the force of America's unsurpassed creativity. In a one-square-mile area around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there are dozens of large biotech and life sciences companies, dozens of startups and one of the most vibrant (if not the most vibrant) academic research centers in the world. As a result, Novartis, a giant Swiss pharmaceutical company, moved nearly its entire research center to Cambridge from Switzerland to take advantage of expertise located in that one square mile. And the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi recently paid $17 billion to buy Genzyme, an American biotech pioneer, to get into Cambridge and gain access to its brains, its CEO said.
At the same time, billions of dollars have been spent building new research centers linked to MIT and nearby Harvard, like the Broad Institute, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, the Whitehead Institute and many others. These research centers are doing pioneering work in genetics and medicine.
No other country has anything quite like that one square mile of Cambridge real estate. But in the United States, we also have other centers of creativity that rival Cambridge -- the areas around Stanford, in San Francisco, around San Diego, in Austin and Seattle, at the Research Triangle, along the I-95 corridor in New Jersey, in Houston, and in many other areas. And this is just biotech and the life sciences. We also have other world-leading clusters of creativity focusing on robotics, advanced manufacturing, computing, software, telecommunications, entertainment, materials science and many other scientific and technological areas.
And, because America is entrepreneurial, these clusters also produce companies -- lots of them, which is why ideas coming out of our labs end up on our desks, in our phones, attached to our eyeglasses and in our cars, offices and homes so quickly. These centers of creativity are creating measurable value and are unique to the United States.
The Force of a Manufacturing Renewal
At the same time, while many people mindlessly repeat the phrase, "We don't make anything here anymore," it's simply not true. The fact is the United States remains the preeminent manufacturing power in the world, producing about 20 percent of the world's manufactured goods in the United States, and a lot more outside the country. Though China produces almost as much as the United States does within its borders -- also about 20 percent of the world's goods -- there is a big difference between what our two countries make.
China is a world power in low-margin electronics assembly, textiles and machinery. But the United States is a powerhouse in high-end, high-margin, sophisticated manufacturing processes. The United States leads the world in aircraft engines, turbines, avionics, advanced material fabrication, helicopters, business jets, and -- depending on the year -- airliners. We are also the leader in sophisticated radar and telecommunications technology, and, of course, in weaponry. In addition, the United States has retained its leadership in space, with private companies, like SpaceX, building some of the world's most sophisticated rockets.
There is a lot of evidence that there was movement underway to repatriate manufacturing to the U.S. from abroad before the 2008 crash. That movement stopped during the Great Recession but has now resumed. American companies, as well as foreign firms, are expanding their manufacturing in the U.S. BMW, for example, is now making all of its SUVs for the world in the U.S.
The Force of Newly Available Energy
The forces animating our return to manufacturing are twofold. First, energy has changed the equation. Chemical companies, in particular, are moving plants to the U.S. from around the world to take advantage of America's cheap natural gas. Whereas it costs about $14 to buy a million BTUs worth of natural gas in Europe and $16 in Japan, in the U.S., the same amount of natural gas costs plus-or-minus $3. Since chemicals like insecticides, plastics, fertilizers, paints, cosmetics and many others, can be manufactured from natural gas, it makes sense to go where the natural gas is cheapest -- the U.S.
In addition, companies that make things, from cars to computers and airplanes, can use cheap American natural gas to heat, cool and run their factories. And, as wages in China and India rise, and since the productivity of the American worker greatly exceeds workers in the emerging market, the United States is now competitively priced as a manufacturing site. Add to that the fact that if you make something in Asia, you still need to ship it to the U.S. in ships that burn expensive diesel fuel, but if you make things in the U.S., you have far less distance to travel to get your goods to customers. By cutting travel time and distance, manufacturers get more flexibility and lower costs.
Our newly available energy supplies are a powerful force for change in areas other than manufacturing too. With massive new sources of natural gas and domestically produced oil available, thanks to fracking technology (a technology perfected in the U.S.), the U.S. has cut its imports of oil dramatically. Whereas the U.S. imported more than 35 percent of the energy in 2005, in the last quarter of 2013, it imported only about 15.5 percent. To put that in context, the U.S. cut its imports of oil during that period by an amount equal to all the oil Japan uses. Japan is the world's third largest economy. The U.S. is once again the world's largest energy producer.
This massive shift in energy production means that a great deal of money -- hundreds of billions of dollars -- that would have been sent overseas to pay for oil will be staying in the U.S. And, a great deal of that money will be invested in new energy infrastructure projects that will create jobs. In addition, since we are using more natural gas and alternative fuels, like solar, wind and biofuels, America's carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to 1993 levels. As more trucks, trains and, in some cases, cars use natural gas instead of oil, not only will we import less fuel, we will substitute an inexpensive fuel for a costly one. That will give the United States a significant edge over its competitors.
I think of the American energy boom this way: Take the world's largest and most sophisticated economy and graft onto it the oil and natural gas riches of Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Russia, and you get an idea of what this transformation will do to the United States.
The Force of Capital
The fourth force that is powering our transformation is the massive amount of capital (money) that is now available for investment. The Great Recession did what recessions usually do. It moved debt from the private side of the balance sheet to the public side. As a result, the government has a lot of debt, as we know too well, but households are in better shape than in decades. Households use a smaller share of their incomes to pay off their credit cards, mortgages and other debts than anytime in the last 35 years, and Americans are saving money at very high rates.
As they pare down their debt, the value of people's 401(k)s and other retirement accounts has recovered since falling during the Great Recession, and home prices are recovering too. Meanwhile, in the midst of the recession, companies took advantage of low interest rates and refinanced their debt on more attractive terms, much of it in the form of securities like bonds, which reduced their debt payments.
I'm not trying to minimize the damage done to the economy by the Great Recession. But I do want to point out that a great deal of the damage from the worst downturn in 70 years has been repaired and people are behaving (at least for now) more frugally than in the past. Because of these changes, American consumers and American households have seen their net worth increase by tens of trillions of dollars.
There is another aspect to this story. Corporations are sitting on a mountain of cash -- between $4 and $5 trillion, a sum greater than the size of the German economy. That money will be invested as soon as companies feel confident about the future. And, while about a quarter to a third of that money is being held offshore by American companies, when (or is it if?) U.S. corporate tax laws are reformed, a great deal of that money will be coming home, looking for opportunities.
In addition to all of the investible capital I already mentioned, there is more than $1 trillion in excess reserve held at the Fed, which banks will soon be lending to clients. Right now, the problem in America is not too little money; it's too much money sitting on the sidelines. As problems go, it's not such a bad one to have.
Whereas some countries might have one or two of these four forces (creativity, manufacturing excellence, abundant energy, large capital reserves) working in their favor, no country but the U.S. has all four forces pushing in the right direction. For the first time since the Great Recession, the economic winds are at our backs.
I'm not suggesting that the U.S. doesn't have problems. We do. But what I am saying is that we now have resources available that we haven't had in decades to fix those problems.
Because of these four, very powerful forces, I am very bullish on the United States over the next decade or more. That future will be built around a prolonged period of new growth. And, while we might like to think of ourselves as the underdogs, forced to play catch up, the fact is the United States is on top and likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.
Poetry is medicine for the soul and maybe also for the body. PBS NewsHour Correspondent Jeffrey Brown and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey recently explored the relationship between language, empathy and healing.
Poetry is just one example of an innovative way health professionals treat the entire body and connect with patients. Fruit and vegetable "prescription" programs that address hunger and food insecurity is another.
Edward Snowden will answer questions in a live chat Thursday afternoon.
Edward Snowden will address the public during a live online chat Thursday on the "Free Snowden" website. Snowden is expected to respond to President Barack Obama's remarks from last week about U.S. surveillance.
Questions can be submitted by using the #AskSnowden hashtag on Twitter, and answers will be posted for an hour beginning at 3 p.m. EST on freesnowden.is.
The live chat comes shortly after the Pew Research Center reported that most young Americans believe Snowden's revelations served the public interest.
Fifty-seven percent of adults ages 18-29 believe that the leaks served the public interest, compared to only 35 percent of adults over 65. On the opposite side of the coin, 35 percent of young adults believe the leaks have harmed the public interest while 53 percent of adults over 65 believe the same.
The 18-29 age range is split, 42 percent to 42 percent, on the question of whether or not the government should pursue a criminal case against Snowden. A majority of all other age groups say that Snowden should be prosecuted.
And a majority believe "Americans shouldn't have to give up privacy and freedom in order to be safe from terrorism," according to Pew and USA TODAY.
In December, Judy Woodruff looked back on the Snowden leaks and the changes to come.