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- 03/17/14--15:10: _How will Crimeans w...
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- 03/17/14--15:28: _Pilot’s political v...
- 03/17/14--15:29: _26 countries search...
- 03/17/14--15:35: _For troubled teens,...
- 03/17/14--15:44: _Beyond ‘Black Power...
- 03/17/14--15:58: _In fractured inform...
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- 03/18/14--11:10: _Will the ancient Bu...
- 03/18/14--12:50: _Putin signs treaty ...
- 03/18/14--14:33: _In times of stress,...
- 03/18/14--14:55: _Report: NSA has sys...
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- 03/18/14--15:06: _News Wrap: Relative...
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- 03/18/14--15:23: _Evidence of cosmic ...
- 03/18/14--15:29: _How private tech in...
- 03/17/14--15:10: Insurance marketplace enrollment hits 5 million
- 03/18/14--07:56: Ask the Headhunter: How to handle unprepared interviewers
- 03/18/14--08:28: At least two dead in fiery Seattle news helicopter crash
- 03/18/14--08:57: Immigration activists make stopping deportations main priority
- 03/18/14--11:10: Will the ancient Buddhist temples of Bagan turn into Disney World?
- 03/18/14--12:50: Putin signs treaty to annex Crimea into Russia
- 03/18/14--14:33: In times of stress, men become self-centered, women focus on others
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we take a close look inside Crimea as it moves toward Moscow, and what it means to those who call the Black Sea Peninsula home.Our chief foreign affairs correspondent, Margaret Warner is in Simferopol, and, tonight, she reports on a population facing an uncertain future.
MARGARET WARNER: Crimea’s Parliament convened this morning to endure Sunday’s referendum and formally implied to join Russia.
Like yesterday’s improbable margin of 96.7 percent, today’s move to break away from Ukraine was never in doubt. A delegation was dispatched to Moscow to work out the details. The swift action reflected the jubilation among Crimea’s ethnic Russian majority, thousands of whom partied into the night Sunday. They packed the capital Simferopol’s Lenin Square chanting “Rossiya” under Russian flags whipping in a frigid north wind.
On the streets this morning, we heard much the same.
VLADIMIR PETROVICH (through interpreter): Justice has been restored. We have been returned to our country, and we’re very happy.
MARGARET WARNER: We didn’t hear any sober reflection on the weighty questions of what comes next. Top on that list, what becomes of the Ukrainian territory here? It’s still under the command of the government in Kiev, which has denounced the referendum as illegitimate.
On Saturday, we met Ukrainian Air Force Colonel Yuli Mamchur, a Soviet army veteran and commander of the Belbek air force base 50 miles west of the capital. For three weeks, he and his men have held an uneasy standoff with pro-Russian forces surrounding them and most other military bases. His orders have been to secure his weapons and equipment, but avoid confrontation or bloodshed.
He dismissed warnings from Crimean authorities that, after the vote, Ukrainian forces will have to leave the peninsula or join the new Russian-affiliated Crimean military.
COL. YULI MAMCHUR, Ukrainian Air Force (through interpreter): We receive these kind of ultimatums all the time, but we stand firm by our position. Our superiors should solve this situation.
MARGARET WARNER: Last night, Ukraine’s acting defense minister said he and the Russians had agreed on a truce in Crimea until this Friday. colonel Mamchur conceded he had no idea what to do if pro-Russia forces try to force his unit to disbarred.
Have you received direct orders of what to do in different situations after Sunday?
COL. YULI MAMCHUR (through interpreter): We don’t have any forward-looking recommendations. We just keep calm, carrying on our duties. I have no more concrete instructions.
MARGARET WARNER: Can you imagine joining the Crimean army?
COL. YULI MAMCHUR (through interpreter): We’re true to our oath, but we will fulfill our constitutional duty to the end. There will be no transition to the Crimean army.
MARGARET WARNER: But we heard something quite different yesterday from another Crimean Soviet army veteran. Major Vladimir Kuzmenkov and other members of his paratrooper vets group were standing watch outside a polling place to prevent what he called provocations. I asked him, if Crimea votes to join Russia, who will take charge of securing the peninsula?
MAJ. VLADIMIR KUZMENKOV (RET.), Union of Crimean Paratroopers (through interpreter): We’re not worried about that. We will find a common language with Russian paratroopers who will come here. I don’t think any security issues will arise if and when Crimea separates from Ukraine, because we have a lot of colleagues on the Russian side.
MARGARET WARNER: What will happen to the Ukrainian army here?
MAJ. VLADIMIR KUZMENKOV (through interpreter): My professional opinion is that 80 to 90 percent of the personnel of Ukrainian army in Crimea are native Crimeans, so they will stay to serve here for the Republic of Crimea. If Crimea joins with Russia, they most likely would fall under Russian military command.
MARGARET WARNER: The prospect of full Russian control stirs unease among the Muslim Tatars, descendants of the Ottomans who once ruled here, but have suffered discrimination in Soviet and Russian times. Most boycotted the referendum. And in the garden of the 16th century Tatar palace in Bakhchisaray, geological engineer Marlen Zeytullaev told us some young Tatars will resist the outcome.
MARLEN ZEYTULLAEV, Geological Engineer (through interpreter): I am a Ukrainian. I will fight for this. This is our homeland. And we have nowhere else to go. If needed, we will take up guns. You can’t expect anything good from Russia. If someone is coming to our land with guns, we have no other choice. It is the last resort.
MARGARET WARNER: He believes the Tatars who resist will join the Ukrainian military, not launch a Chechen-style Islamic insurgency against Russia, and he conceded many Tatars will hunker down for now, while others take yet another course.
MARLEN ZEYTULLAEV (through interpreter): The tension is in the air. There’s a rift among the Russian community and the Tatar community, and many people have decided to leave, move to (INAUDIBLE) and other Ukrainian cities.
MARGARET WARNER: Some other Crimeans have already left, pro-Ukrainian activists who found themselves under direct threat in the weeks leading up to the vote.
KATARINA USHAKOVA: We knew that the results of the referendum will be like that when we started our fight.
MARGARET WARNER: Katarina Ushakova has remained, but at an art center last night, she and friends said they felt a deep sense of alienation after the landslide vote to join Russia.
KATARINA USHAKOVA: I was born in Ukraine, and I’m Ukrainian. And you can’t switch, change your citizenship just like that, just say, today, I’m Ukrainian, next day, I’m Russian, and the next day, I may be German, because Germany told me that, if I will join Germany, I will have lots of money and lots of possibilities.
MARGARET WARNER: She vows to stay as long as there are people like her who want to maintain the peninsula’s ties with Ukraine.
KATARINA USHAKOVA: I will stay here and help them. If not, I believe that I would leave, myself, as well, because I have been thinking for a long time that maybe, maybe I will be better if I go to Ukraine.
MARGARET WARNER: But most people we spoke to yesterday believe better days are ahead of them as part of Russia. In the small village of Urazhayone, with its old collective farm granary and a monument to Lenin proclaiming labor is an affair of nobility and heroism, music blared from the polling place in a cultural center and dance hall, complete with a disco ball.
Though the place was nearly empty of voters in the early evening, village council chairwoman Galina Urievna said turnout had been very high.
GALINA URIEVNA, Council Chair, Urazhayone, Crimea (through translator): It’s very important for our community. It brings hope for the future. Finally, what we earn will go to us and not to corrupt politicians somewhere else.
MARGARET WARNER: Grand expectations and a sense of promise for a future that remains uncertain.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I spoke to Margaret a short time ago.
Hello, Margaret. And sorry you are having to talk to us in the rain.
People here in Washington are saying this vote was fraudulent. What are they saying there about that claim?
MARGARET WARNER: Well, Judy, before it started raining, we talked to people on the streets who, one, hadn’t heard of the charge and, two, completely dismissed it, the idea there were inflated vote totals.
They said, oh, you can’t read what you believe — you can’t believe what you read on the Internet. And then, about an hour ago, I talked to the media adviser to Prime Minister Aksyonov, who is one of those hit with sanctions by the Obama administration today. He hadn’t even heard about it.
And he just expressed total confidence that, in the coming days, President Putin and the Russian Duma are going to annex Crimea and it’s going to be a done deal. I think that really reflects the reality here, which is, whatever the international community is saying, the Russians and their supporters have established new facts on the ground and given President Putin a huge card to play here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Margaret, in your report, you show that some people there are not happy with the results of this referendum. Is there a chance there could be violence?
MARGARET WARNER: I would hate to predict, Judy, but I don’t think so at the moment.
As you said, there are two sizable minorities unhappy, the Tatars, who are about 15 percent, the Muslim community here, whose ancestors were deported by Joseph Stalin 70 years ago, but they are known as a very moderate group. Then you also have ethnic Ukrainians and very young people born after Ukraine became an independent country.
They also are unhappy, but both communities seem resigned. Meanwhile, the acting president of Ukraine said about 10 days ago they aren’t sending Ukrainian troops down here to try to take this region back, because they will have no troops to defend Eastern Ukraine, where there’s a serious threat, they believe, from Russia.
And Russia has no incentive to foment disorder here, as they’re accused of doing in Eastern Ukraine. To the contrary, it’s in their interests to have things go smoothly now that they’re fully in charge. So you can never say never, but I don’t see it in the immediate future.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, speaking of Eastern Ukraine, tell us where you’re off to next.
MARGARET WARNER: I am off to Eastern Ukraine, Judy, where there is serious violence between pro-Russian supporters, or Ukrainians, and also it’s alleged by Russians, against pro-Kiev, pro-E.U., pro-Western Ukraine Ukrainians, and people have been killed.
You have had mobs storming prosecutors’ offices, libraries, cultural centers. And I think that is where we are going to see whether this east-west confrontation over Ukraine is going to escalate further or, finally, perhaps through international negotiations, be tamed. So, that’s where I’m headed next.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Margaret Warner, stay dry, but mainly stay safe. Thank you.
MARGARET WARNER: Thank you, Judy.
The post How will Crimeans who oppose Russian annexation respond to referendum outcome? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
More than 5 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s new “marketplaces,” the Obama administration announced Monday.
That means roughly 800,000 people have signed up in March — a quickening pace given that only 4.2 million had enrolled by the end of February. The White House hopes the total will be closer to 6 million by the end of open enrollment March 31 — which is still well below the 7 million they initially projected would be enrolled by this time.
The PBS NewsHour recently re-capped the types of uninsured Americans the administration is pursuing most fiercely in these final weeks:
Watch the full discussion, or read a transcript of the segment, which originally aired on March 11.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We take a wider look now at the U.S. and Russian response to Crimea with Cliff Kupchan. He’s head of the Russia and Eurasia team at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm. He served in the State Department during the Clinton administration. And Nikolas Gvosdev is professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College. He’s written extensively about Russia.And we welcome you both.
Cliff Kupchan, you have had the vote in Crimea. You have had the reaction from the E.U. and the United States. Where does this crisis stand right now?
CLIFF KUPCHAN, Eurasia Group: It stands at a standoff. The U.S. took dramatically sanctions against Russia today, sanctioning the Russian speaker of the Upper House.
That is really something I never thought I would see. The next shoe to fall is tomorrow, when Vladimir Putin will likely annex or support annexation of Crimea. That, indeed, will lead to stronger sanctions over time from both the U.S. and the E.U. Somebody is going to have to look for an off-ramp here, or we’re going to be back to something not like the Cold War, but something that looks a whole lot like the Cold War.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nikolas Gvosdev, is that what you see, a stair step situation where every day or every so days the tensions are ramped up?
NIKOLAS GVOSDEV, Naval War College: We definitely have a stalemate at this point.
Let me slightly disagree with Cliff. We don’t know what the Russians will do tomorrow. There’s actually several steps they could take. One of course could be whether or not they choose to immediately bring Crimea into the Russian Federation, for which they would have to pass some enabling legislation.
My guess is that they’re going to neither say yes nor no right away, that they’re going to welcome the vote, they’re going to talk about the self-determination of the Crimean people, but that they’re not necessarily going to take the step, the final step of having Crimea completely break off from Ukraine, because, as the report indicated earlier, the ultimate Russian aim in Ukraine is to still get Ukraine federalized and to get a neutral status.
And Crimea is still a pawn in this game. I don’t necessarily think that tomorrow means that we see Crimea automatically entering Russia. My guess is, we’re going to see a welcoming of the Crimean step, but perhaps not final incorporation.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you think about that intermediate scenario and the other issue that Nikolas just raised, and that is Russia — basically, they said to Ukraine today, we want you to think about splitting your country up into autonomous regions.
CLIFF KUPCHAN: Well, first, what I said was that Putin will support annexation of Crimea.
CLIFF KUPCHAN: And where I think Nick and I have the differing view is, I don’t think he’s going to wait very long.
Having met this guy a number of times, I think he thinks of Ukraine, certainly Crimea, as his. He’s going to take it back, and I see no sign of any firebreak in his behavior and I think, within a month, I would bet that Crimea is part of Russia.
Beyond that, Russia, indeed, through a Foreign Ministry statement today, has called for the decentralization of Ukraine. They have asked for Ukraine to become Finlandized, to become more neutral.
On the first, I don’t think that’s going to happen. The E.U. and the Ukrainians are going to agree on defense and security operation on Thursday. So, Putin’s role of Finlandizing, of neutralizing Ukraine, I think that ship has left the station.
On federalization, on decentralization, many Ukrainians, especially protesters in the Maidan Square, the core of Ukrainian protest movement, is going to oppose that, because federalization is codeword for Russian influence in Ukraine. I don’t think those proposals are going to go far at all.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nikolas Gvosdev, where do you come down? The two of you, I see, are — have a different perspective on how quickly Putin is going to move to annex Crimea, but what about this other gesture or statement that Moscow has made toward Ukraine, talking about splitting up into federal regions, and just a different, more neutral posture?
NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I think a lot depends on the strength of the Ukrainian government and what aid that they’re going to receive in the next few days.
Cliff is absolutely right. The federalization of the Ukraine is anathema to the Maidan protesters, but the Maidan protesters are not the only force active in Ukraine.
And I think what the Russians are trying to do, what they demonstrated in Crimea, what they may try to do over the next few days in Eastern Ukraine is essentially to demonstrate that the government in Kiev cannot exercise control over large portions of Ukraine and that if a government in Kiev wants to regain control over the country as a whole, not just over the center and the western parts, where the reach of the government currently exists, that they’re going to have to deal with Russia.
They also want to essentially show up the West, that the West makes a lot of promises, politicians arrive, but that there’s not going to be a lot of concrete aid. And so we do have this element of a game of chicken here where the Russians are essentially testing to see what the mettle of the European Union and the United States is, how far are they really willing to go to challenge Russia’s attempt to rewrite in essence the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the terms under which the Soviet Union dissolved.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What is this all mean, Cliff Kupchan, for whether or not Vladimir Putin will go farther into Ukraine beyond Crimea?
CLIFF KUPCHAN: There’s a real risk that he is not going to feel fed by swallowing Crimea.
This is about Ukraine. This is about the future trajectory of Ukraine. I think Putin’s got a long game and a short game. The long game involves trying to get a friendly president elected in the May presidential elections, seeing if Ukraine can get its economic…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Friendly to him.
CLIFF KUPCHAN: Right, friendly to him, yes.
See if Ukraine can get its house — its economic house together, assuming it won’t, and then come back to Russia sometime next year, that he can just sit back and wait until Ukraine fails. There’s a reasonable chance he might succeed in that.
The short game would to be foment unrest in Eastern Ukraine and use it as an excuse for invasion. And that indeed is very dangerous. And I think there’s a substantial risk that this rather impetuous man could go that route.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So it’s a jump ball?
CLIFF KUPCHAN: Well, I think, on balance, he won’t go in because the bloodshed and because somebody is going to tell him along the line that U.S. sanctions, sanctions like we have got on Iran, could bring his economic house down. And if he gets that message, that’s a real restraint.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Nikolas Gvosdev, what do you see in terms of Putin going into the rest of Ukraine?
NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: This isn’t binary. He doesn’t have to not go in with forces. There’s lots of intermediate ways.
And of course we’re seeing the Russians also reacting to sanctions. They’re looking at what their other options are. It’s not accidental that this week the CEO of Rosneft, the state oil company, is traveling in Asia. They’re looking to try to break free of some of the economic constraints and to see whether they can have new partners.
They’re understanding that they may face some sanctions from the West, so they’re starting to diversify to see whether or not they can make up for that, if in the event Europe and the United States do go further in the sanctions, much further than they decided in what was announced today.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nikolas Gvosdev, Cliff Kupchan, we thank you both. We will keep watching the story.
The post In wake of Crimea’s vote, West struggles to anticipate Putin’s next move appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The latest now on the investigation into Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. There were more questions raised today about the pilot himself after reports confirmed he attended the trial of a leading jailed political opposition figure just hours before the flight.New video also showed the pilot and co-pilot passing through security detectors before they took off.
Lucy Watson of Independent Television News begins our coverage.
LUCY WATSON: Little did they know that such routine movements would be so scrutinized. This is Zaharie Shah, the pilot, and Fariq Abdul Hamid, the co-pilot of MH370.
Mohd Othman has known Captain Zaharie for 40 years, but now his friend’s anti-government views are being cited as a reason why he may have taken control of the flight.
MOHD NASIR OTHMAN, Friend of Pilot: He’s just a normal, typical Malaysian who has his own political beliefs. But to say he’s obsessed, I don’t think so. He’s a professional. He wouldn’t endanger the passengers.
LUCY WATSON: But 10 days on, speculation is great, with the focus on the crew. The airline doesn’t want us to talk to their families. And the families aren’t being given a say.
We have just been escorted out of this hotel by Malaysia Airlines, because this is where the families of the 12 crew members are being held. And they have been here for just over a week and they’re not allowed to talk to the media. Malaysia says the plane was deliberately diverted.
A vast area is now being searched by teams from 26 countries with particular focus on two possible flight paths. The last voice message from the aircraft was from the co-pilot, who said, “All right, good night,” at 1:19 a.m. local time, 12 minutes after tracking systems sent their last transmission before they were disabled.
Since then, these men continue to confront criticism.
Is it not time for the Malaysian government to admit that they have made some mistakes and at least apologize to the families?
DATUK SERI HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, Transport Minister, Malaysia: That’s purely erroneous, because I have also got a lot of feedback that in the circumstances that they are facing, we have been very responsible in our actions.
LUCY WATSON: But actions yet to show results and many questions, with few real answers.
The post Pilot’s political views raise fresh questions in search for missing Malaysian airliner appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Airline officials also today they are no longer certain when a satellite communications system on the plane was disabled. During the weekend, government officials said they believed it was disconnected before the pilots’ final radio contact with air control, raising more suspicions about criminal intent.Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal is covering the investigation, and he joins us again from Los Angeles.
Andy, welcome back to the program.
Give us, right now, the status of this investigation.
ANDY PASZTOR, The Wall Street Journal: The investigation has the — the coverage of this investigation has just been breathless.
There are all sorts of theories, accident theories, sabotage theories, terrorism theories. And you have had news reports all over the place. Some of them show the plane rocketing up to 45,000 feet in altitude, something that a plane this heavy and — this heavy probably couldn’t do so quickly.
And others have the plane going down to 5,000 feet, and diving down to 5,000 feet to avoid radar, which is exactly the sweet spot, in fact, of most military radar. So, I really think we have to take a step back and just say, what do we actually know? I think the facts are that the investigation is going relatively slowly.
There haven’t been any major breaks. The search for the wreckage is extremely difficult over vast areas, even perhaps as much as half of the continental United States. Some of the search areas have underwater topography of 12,000 feet depth. And so it’s extremely difficult to find anything, and even if we find the wreckage in the water, the heavier parts will have gone down to the bottom.
The lighter parts will be moved around by the currents, so the longer it takes, the less likely we are to find everything. So I think the reality is, is that we know a little bit more about the plane’s movements. We don’t really know anything firm either about the motives or even who did it, and it’s really going to be a long slog, I think.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Andy, is the Malaysian government now letting in professional, experienced investigators from other countries to help them?
ANDY PASZTOR: I think they’re getting a little better at accepting and asking for help, but I think there is still a lot of concern and criticism among U.S. aviation experts and U.S. law enforcement officials about the extent of information and the extent of cooperation.
And as you mentioned at the very beginning of the show, even today, after all the criticism and all of the difficulties that the Malays have had in dealing with this unprecedented investigation, the chairman, the CEO of the — the CEO of the Malaysian airline came forward and said — basically contradicted, appeared to contradict what the government has been saying about the timeline on when some satellite signals may have been turned off.
And that is just unheard of in such an investigation. That would be tantamount to the NTSB chairman getting up and describing a specific scenario, and next to him on the podium is the chairman of the airline that had the crash, and the chairman gets up and say, well, that’s not how we think it really happened.
So that just shows more confusion and friction and it doesn’t really bode well for the future of this investigation, I would say.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What about this late report about the pilot having been active in opposition politics in Malaysia, having attended the trial of a good friend who was jailed in Malaysia? What’s the significance of that?
ANDY PASZTOR: Very hard to tell at this point. Everybody is chasing it. So are we.
It’s difficult to know what the significance is. What we can know, from the past, in other investigations which included suicides of pilots, where planes crashed because pilots deliberately put them into a dive and killed everybody on board, in those cases, it turned out those pilots didn’t have any special features.
They didn’t have any obvious, clear-cut marks or behaviors that would put them into a category and say that they were clearly having some difficulties or had some extreme feelings or extreme groups that they belonged to.
So I think it’s very hard to tell at this point. It will be a long — it will be certainly part of the investigation. It is part of the investigation. But I think it’s way too early to jump to conclusions. We don’t even know for sure whether these pilots were in the cockpit when all of this happened.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And the search, you have described it as an enormous, a huge area being that is searched. In their cooperation now from all the countries or all the areas where this plane could have possibly gone down?
ANDY PASZTOR: That’s probably one of the good points, the good news in this whole story.
There are 26 countries that are actively working together trying to get to the same goal, and you don’t have that often in any sphere of military or civil cooperation. So that is happening. But the task is absolutely daunting.
If you talk to people about it, they have never even conceived of something like this. And I think your viewers shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that, even if we find the wreck and even if we find the black box, that this is going to be a slam dunk. If we find the black box, if the searchers find the black box and manage to retrieve the information, the flight data recorder will show exactly how this plane behaved, when it climbed, when it dived, how fast it went, when it turned, what automation was on, what the pilots did.
But the cockpit voice recorder only has two hours. It loops on itself. It records over itself. So, it only has two hours of data. It’s very possible, I think, that those two hours will have nothing but switches being flipped, the sound of the airliner going through the air, maybe some engine rumblings, and we won’t really know what happened because there will be no conversation.
That’s the worst-case scenario. I’m not suggesting that’s certain or even very likely, but it’s certainly possible.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Andy Pasztor with The Wall Street Journal, we thank you.
ANDY PASZTOR: Thank you.
The post 26 countries searching for missing airliner face lack of big breaks, vast terrain appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now Jeffrey Brown has the latest report in a series we call “Where Poetry Lives.”
He and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey are exploring poetry in various corners of American life, seeking to connect those trips to aspects of Natasha’s personal experience.
They recently traveled to Seattle to look at a writing program for troubled teens.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY, U.S. Poet Laureate: My brother spent about a year in a work facility.
JEFFREY BROWN: For Natasha Trethewey, our latest trip brought back vivid memories of visiting her brother in jail after his conviction for a drug crime.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: My brother started writing poems in prison. He told me it was about making something out of the bad situation that he was in. To be able to make a poem out of that situation felt like the act of creation that was a triumph over the experience.
JEFFREY BROWN: It was a project aimed at that kind of triumph over difficult experience that we were visiting at the King County Juvenile Detention Center.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: When you see the streets in your mind’s eye, what do you look at?
JUVENILE INMATE: Death, shootings, robberies.
JEFFREY BROWN: The Pongo writing project has been working with troubled teens for nearly two decades, taking their stories and turning them into poetry.
We were allowed to watch on condition we wouldn’t reveal the identities of the young inmates, age 17 and younger, doing time for crimes that include theft, violence and drug offenses.
JUVENILE INMATE: I feel like the boy who cried wolf.
MAN: And why is that?
JUVENILE INMATE: I keep on saying I’m going to better and stay clean and sober, but then the drugs just come back.
MAN: It’s painful, long and dark nights.
JEFFREY BROWN: Pongo volunteers, both seasoned and amateur writers themselves, meet one-on-one with inmates for an hour, asking questions.
WOMAN: Is there something you can sort of think of that that feeling — to describe that feeling?
JUVENILE INMATE: I felt like I was crushed by a boulder.
JEFFREY BROWN: And encouraging them, like this 16-year-old who’d suffered a miscarriage while in prison, to find words, including metaphors, to describe events and feelings.
JUVENILE INMATE: I kind of felt like a plant, a flower, just stuck in a cave.
JEFFREY BROWN: At session’s end, the volunteers type, the inmates add finishing touches. And the teens are given the opportunity to read their work to the group.
JUVENILE INMATE: When I found out I had lost the baby, I felt like I had been crushed by a boulder. It made me think about the father. It made me realize I didn’t want to have a family with someone like him.
RICHARD GOLD, Pongo Teen Writing Project: How did your session go?
JEFFREY BROWN: Pongo was created by Richard Gold 18 years ago after he left a position with Microsoft. Over the years, he’s brought the project to detention centers like this one, as well as a state psychiatric hospital and several centers for homeless youth, reaching more than 7,000 teens.
RICHARD GOLD: The people who have had a lot of problems that these have been — may have suffered betrayal by the people closest to them.
That’s one of these ultimate complexities poetry can capture. I imagine that there are people out there who say that what I do isn’t poetry. I think what I do is the essence of poetry. What so many of us struggle with is the unarticulated emotion in our lives, and that when poetry serves that, it’s doing something essential for the person and for society.
JEFFREY BROWN: Later, the Pongo volunteers print up the poems, and then deliver them to the teens in their cells.
WOMAN: Thanks for writing today. Hope to see you again.
JEFFREY BROWN: A selection of them are eventually published.
LYNN VALDEZ, King County Juvenile Detention Center: That’s going to be the hard part for a kid like that.
JEFFREY BROWN: Warden Lynn Valdez says the entire experience gives teens hope that they can overcome all of the negativity in their lives.
LYNN VALDEZ: They find a sense of relief and accomplishment, a reward of seeing something on paper that will be published.
JEFFREY BROWN: Valdez knows something about overcoming adversity. A former gang member, he spent time on the other side of these bars before turning his life around. He says that, while the teens are initially wary about poetry, they quickly come around.
LYNN VALDEZ: First, there’s a slight hesitation because they’re not sure what they’re doing. But that — once they overcome that part of it, then it becomes a feeling or something they tend to write down. And they — the reward is, I think that they have actually released something that they have repressed inside.
JEFFREY BROWN: And you see that light bulb go off or something?
LYNN VALDEZ: Oh, you can see it. Oh, you can see it. I have been here 25 years, and this program or this group, what it does is give them some sense of good feelings.
JEFFREY BROWN: Pongo has also won over some of those, like juvenile court Judge Barbara Mack, who see and sentence these young people every day.
JUDGE BARBARA MACK, King County Juvenile Court: I see children who come before me every day who aren’t very good at communicating. They have been buffeted by trauma that most people can’t imagine. And they have never really learned how to express themselves. And Pongo gives them the opportunity to do that in a way that’s not threatening.
JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, Natasha, who’s now serving her second year as poet laureate, says she started writing poetry as a way to cope with a traumatic event: the murder of her mother when Natasha was 19.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: And it seemed that poetry was the only thing I could turn to that would help make sense of that enormous loss that I felt. People talk about poetry being therapeutic, and it can be a reductive way of thinking about poetry.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: Because…
JEFFREY BROWN: That’s all it is.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: That’s all it is.
JEFFREY BROWN: To sort of help us feel better or something.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: That’s right. But it’s so much more than that.
Percy Bysshe Shelley said that poems are records of the best and happiest times and the best and happiest minds. And I have read — given readings and people will ask me at the end, do you ever write any happy poems?
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: And I tell them that all of my poems are happy poems, because even if I’m writing about the — what seem to be the most traumatic subjects, the making of the poem is the moment when I am the happiest. So, if that’s therapeutic, so be it.
JEFFREY BROWN: At Seattle’s New Horizons homeless center, young people come for recreation, a hot meal and sessions with the Pongo project. The happiness of making and sharing a poem were on display at a poetry reading we attended, as were the hardships in these lives.
WOMAN: Here comes trouble. I hear that she sleeps in a car. And when she needs a cigarette, she just finds half-smoked ones on the ground
MAN: Why would you make a child carry a child, then break a child, then cruelly take a child’s spirit by leaving that child and only that child behind? Never mind, because the answers won’t make up for the fact that my foundation is cracked.
JEFFREY BROWN: Afterwards, we talked to the young writers who asked that their names not be used.
MAN: I started writing because I didn’t have another way to cope.
JEFFREY BROWN: To cope?
MAN: To cope?
JEFFREY BROWN: With what?
MAN: With life.
I was in foster care for about 10 years, different places, group homes, institutions, et cetera. So, when I wrote, it kind of gave me a release to kind of get everything out. So it wasn’t in the sense that I was trying to be an artist or be creative. It was more of just like this needs to get out now before something happens.
WOMAN: All the things that I wouldn’t say to people regularly, I can write it down and make it sound beautiful.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY: Why does poetry become the place that you can say it?
WOMAN: The things that would normally sound disgusting all of a sudden sound beautiful, like, empowering, I guess? Instead of — instead of feeling ashamed, it’s sort of like you’re getting past that bad stuff.
MAN: Yes, it’s just taking a negative force and then turning it into a positive thing. I can take all of this negative energy I feel inside myself that I would normally bottle up, until eventually it’s going to reach a breaking point, no matter what, in my opinion, and then I just turn it into like literal art.
WOMAN: I looked forward to going to Pongo when I was younger because I could just speak whatever was happening. I was living in group care at the time, so you weren’t allowed to say whatever you want on the floor. Like, you will get sent to your room.
So just to be able to just scream, cry, curse, laugh, chant, whatever I needed to do, and they wrote it all down, and then they give you the power to take out or put it wherever you want. And, like, for me, that was the ultimate empowerment.
RICHARD GOLD: He’s always got my back. I have always got his.
JEFFREY BROWN: Richard Gold says he’s now collecting poems from the project for a new anthology. He’s also just published a book about the Pongo method that he hopes will encourage similar programs to be set up around the country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Listen to some of the heartbreaking and inspiring poems from the Pongo students and read Natasha Trethewey’s personal take from visiting with the teens. That’s on our Poetry page.
The post For troubled teens, making and sharing poetry may be unexpected source of happiness appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: a portrait of a charismatic, but divisive figure who inspired a revolution within the civil rights movement.Gwen Ifill recently recorded this book conversation.
GWEN IFILL: Stokely Carmichael marched with Martin Luther King Jr. He campaigned for voting rights and against the Vietnam War and ultimately devoted himself to a Pan-Africanist movement that linked him to controversial leaders across that continent.
But, in most history books, he will be forever remembered as the activists who coined the term black power during years of racial turmoil in the United States.
A new biography, “Stokely: A Life,” tells a more complete story of a man who shaped the contemporary and sometimes conflicted civil rights movement. Its author is Peniel Joseph, professor of history at Tufts university.
Welcome back to the NewsHour, Peniel.
PENIEL JOSEPH, Author, “Stokely: A Life”: Thank you for having me, Gwen.
GWEN IFILL: The cover of your book has a picture of Stokely with fists in the air. That’s the way people think about him. Is there more?
PENIEL JOSEPH: Oh, absolutely.
He was a young black intellectual. He was from Port of Spain, Trinidad. He moves to the Bronx when he was 10 years old. He tests into one of the best public high schools in New York City, Bronx Science, majority white, majority Jewish high school.
He has parents who are hardworking Caribbean immigrants who sort of instill in him a love for social justice and underdogs. When the sit-in movement starts in 1960, he’s a student at Howard University. And at Howard University, he really becomes one of the key activists who’s part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC.
So, even before the black power speech of 1966, Stokely was a day-to-day organizer. He was a student activist. He was in Mississippi, in Alabama, so he’s a very unique individual.
GWEN IFILL: So, define what black power meant to a man raised in the country where he saw black power, teachers, doctors, political leaders all around him, and who grew up in this foment of the ’60s.
PENIEL JOSEPH: Well, black power for Stokely meant political self-determination. It meant that black sharecroppers, people like Fannie Lou Hamer from Mississippi, were going to be political leaders in a new world order.
He talks about in 1966 a new society has to be made in America. And for him, black sharecroppers in places like Alabama, Lowndes County, in Mississippi, in the Delta were the people who were going to lead a new transformation in American society.
GWEN IFILL: We like to put our leaders in boxes. So Malcolm X was here, Martin Luther King Jr. was here. And so where was Stokely Carmichael on that continuum?
PENIEL JOSEPH: I think Stokely is a bridge figure, and I think that Stokely fits in with Dr. King and Malcolm X as one of these key 20th century protean figures who bestrides the world stage, talking about human rights, but also pushing the envelope.
So, I think, when we think about Martin and Malcolm, Carmichael is the bridge figure between civil rights and black power. And he’s the only major black power icon who is also a civil rights activist. So he doesn’t just come into activism in the mid, late ’60s, when things get hot. He actually knew Dr. King. He marched along…
GWEN IFILL: They actually got along pretty well.
PENIEL JOSEPH: They got — they were good friends.
GWEN IFILL: Yes.
PENIEL JOSEPH: Stokely cries when King is assassinated. He considers him a friend, a mentor, older brother, even a father figure.
But Stokely is also mentored by black women like Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer. So he’s this very interesting figure who’s also this critic of the Vietnam War. He’s a critic of economic injustice. So black power only tells a part of the story.
GWEN IFILL: It’s interesting. Even though he was considered to be the most difficult, the most controversial of the three of them in lots of ways, he’s the only — he lived longer than either of them did and he wasn’t assassinated, like the other two.
PENIEL JOSEPH: Yes. Both King and Malcolm died at 39.
Stokely Carmichael, who becomes Kwame Ture, moves to West Africa. He goes to Guinea. And in a way, moving to West Africa, where he is this Pan-Africanist organizer and revolutionary, it dims his star wattage in the United States. Some people say, well, what happened to Stokely Carmichael?
Well, he marries Miriam Makeba, the really beautiful South African singer. He moves to West Africa. He continues to organize, but he is not organizing in the United States.
GWEN IFILL: But there’s a leap in here somewhere, going from being to an organizer in the South to suddenly being almost an expatriate in Guinea.
PENIEL JOSEPH: Well, it’s really based on his political experiences.
He’s organizing black folks in Mississippi in Lowndes County. He becomes this national mobilizer. But I think one of the key things that happens to him is the trip in 1967 around the world. He goes to Cuba, meets up with Fidel Castro, goes to Algeria. But in Africa, he finds his identity. He meets up Kwame Nkrumah, the deposed president of Ghana, and the president of Guinea, and Sekou Toure, the president of Guinea
And he decides on the spot he is going to return to Africa and this is going to be the base for revolution.
GWEN IFILL: Where do the Black Panthers fit in this continuum?
PENIEL JOSEPH: Well, he founds the first Black Panther County in Lowndes County, the Black Panther Party that starts out as a political party and inspires Huey P. Newton Bobby Seale.
He later becomes honorary prime minister of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. And he leads the charge to free Huey P. Newton, the imprisoned minister of the defense of the BPP.
GWEN IFILL: Was there a point in time in which he transferred from being nonviolent, a Dr. King-like figure, to being violent and feeling that that was a legitimate response to injustice?
STOKELY CARMICHAEL, Civil Rights Leader: We must start to turn our backs on this country.
PENIEL JOSEPH: By the same we look at Stokely Carmichael as this black power international figure in 1967-’68, he’s talking about armed rebellion.
STOKELY CARMICHAEL: This country has never cared about black people.
PENIEL JOSEPH: And armed revolution. And it is going to take armed struggle to fulfill this Pan-African revolution.
His earlier incarnation, he believes in nonviolence as a tactic. He’s never a philosophical believer in nonviolence, but he believes it’s a tactic. And for years, he really adopts that discipline of nonviolence.
GWEN IFILL: One of the things we spent a lot time talking about last year around this table and other places was the anniversary of the March on Washington.
PENIEL JOSEPH: Yes.
GWEN IFILL: Was he part of that? He was quoting as calling it a middle-class picnic at one point.
PENIEL JOSEPH: He called it a middle-class picnic did, but he did help organize Mississippi activists who came to the March on Washington because he was working in Mississippi.
And this year is the 50th of the Civil Rights Act and the 50th of Freedom Summer. And Stokely Carmichael was one of the key activists and organizers of Freedom Summer. He was in the Mississippi Delta 2nd Congressional District. And when those three civil rights workers go missing, Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman, Stokely and different activists go looking for them. So he’s a key activist in Freedom Summer.
GWEN IFILL: Stokely Carmichael was nothing if not charismatic and able to lead people with him, but Stokely Carmichael, Kwame Ture, how is he going to be — how should he be remembered?
PENIEL JOSEPH: I think he should be remembered as really one of the watershed figures of 20th century, this activist who believed in human rights, who really, when he was 19 years old, is arrested for the first time, one of over 40 arrests for civil rights demonstrations, puts his life on the line, puts his body on the line to try to achieve citizenship, democracy, human rights for all.
So I think it’s an incredible story about young people who persevere and believe that the United States, and really the world, could be changed.
GWEN IFILL: Certainly an undertold story.
“Stokely: A Life” is the name of the book.
Thank you, Peniel Joseph.
PENIEL JOSEPH: Thank you for having me.
The post Beyond ‘Black Power,’ recounting the under-told story of Stokely Carmichael appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Americans of all ages still pay heed to serious news even as they seek out the lighter stuff, choosing their own way across a media landscape that no longer relies on front pages and evening newscasts to dictate what’s worth knowing, according to a new study from the Media Insight Project.
The findings burst the myth of the media “bubble” — the idea that no one pays attention to anything beyond a limited sphere of interest, like celebrities or college hoops or Facebook posts.
“This idea that somehow we’re all going down narrow paths of interest and that many people are just sort of amusing themselves to death and not interested in the news and the world around them? That is not the case,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, which teamed with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research on the project.
People today are nibbling from a news buffet spread across 24-hour television, websites, radio, newspapers and magazines, and social networks.
Three-fourths of Americans see or hear news daily, including 6 of 10 adults under age 30, the study found. Nearly everyone — about 9 in 10 people — said they enjoy keeping up with the news. And more than 6 in 10 say that wherever they find the news, they prefer it to come directly from a news organization.
The study found relatively few differences by age, political leanings or wealth when it comes to the topics people care about. Traffic and weather are nearly universal interests. Majorities express interest in natural disasters, local news, politics, the economy, crime and foreign coverage.
With so many sources and technologies, 60 percent of Americans say it’s easier to keep up than it was just five years ago.
But at the same time, Jane Hall, an associate professor of journalism at American University, said no one is setting the national news agenda the way The New York Times and network evening news once did.
“I do lament those times in which something could become so important that we all watched,” Hall said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t all engaged now.”
If you’re under 30, the future of news is in your hands, literally.
Three out of 4 young adults who carry cellphones use them to check the news. Most owners of tablet computers also use them to get updates; young people are the ones most likely to have tablets.
But the young think of news differently than previous generations did, said Rachel Davis Mersey, an associate professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Their broader definition includes anything happening right now, whether it’s sports or entertainment or politics.
“We don’t see young people thinking of it as a civic obligation to keep up with news,” Mersey said. “We see young people including news as part of a very complex, very diverse, very large media diet that includes a diversity of sources, a diversity of platforms and really goes 24/7.”
The Media Insight Project study found 20-somethings likelier to follow up when they hear something big is happening.
“They’re the sort of on-demand news generation,” Rosenstiel said.
Americans get that first word an assortment of ways. Traditional news operations still dominate, but word of mouth, email and text messages, Facebook and Twitter, and electronic news alerts also come into play.
Most people say they have more confidence in a story when they get it directly from a news-gathering operation. But their media habit doesn’t include paying for it — only about a fourth have paid subscriptions.
Nine out of 10 watched some type of TV news in the previous week. Newspapers, including online editions, and radio news each reached more than half the country. Online-only news sources such as Yahoo! News and Buzzfeed reached nearly half.
People flit across the news landscape, depending on what they’re seeking, the study found.
Wonder why local newscasts seem fixated on crime, traffic, weather and health warnings? That’s why viewers go there.
Cable TV channels draw the most people looking for foreign news, politics, social issues and business stories.
Readers prefer newspapers — online or in print — for local news, stories about schools and education, and arts and culture coverage. Among news sources, newspapers have the widest range of topics that attract a significant number of people.
Americans most often turn to specialty media these days for their sports, entertainment news, and science and technology coverage. When a natural disaster strikes, they turn on the TV.
“People of all generations are picking and choosing the media that fit their needs at the moment and the story they’re trying to follow,” said Rosenstiel.
“Consumers are becoming more in control,” he said, “and not simply reacting to what is thrown at us.”
The survey was conducted Jan. 9 through Feb. 16, 2014 by NORC at the University of Chicago with funding from the American Press Institute. It involved landline and cellphone interviews in English or Spanish with 1,492 adults nationwide. Results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
The post In fractured information landscape, Americans still choose serious news appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
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: How do you handle interviewers who haven’t read your resume? An interviewer asked if I have done any programming. My resume states that I’m a programmer. Sometimes I’m asked whether I know this software tool or that one. If I did, I would have listed them on my resume! I can learn new tools quickly, but they don’t want to hear it. What’s up with clueless interviewers who ask questions that are answered clearly on my resume, and who want a perfect match of skills? (They drive me crazy!)
Nick Corcodilos: It means that the interviewer either didn’t read your resume, or is at a loss for what to ask. Just the kind of person I’d love to work for — unprepared!
Some managers will argue they are very busy and haven’t time to review your resume carefully before the interview, yet they expect you to be well-prepared. That’s the sign of a lousy manager.
But if I’m the manager, I can’t assume you listed everything on your resume. If I ask questions about your resume, I may be initiating a discussion about a specific detail. “Do you know this tool?” might be just another way of asking, “Tell me about your expertise with this tool,” and that is a legitimate question.
I agree that some employers dismiss quick learners too readily. They aren’t interested in your ability to learn almost anything in a few days given some good manuals and a little peace and quiet. They’re interested in hiring someone who can do the job “yesterday.”
The fundamental problem, of course, is that many managers are not good at assessing a job applicant. Other than ticking off buzz words from your “skill set,” they have no idea how to judge whether you can ride a fast learning curve without falling off.
Many employers complain there’s a “shortage” of qualified technical people, but I believe that’s mostly nonsense. Anyone can hire an employee who can do one particular task today; that is, a person who has been doing exactly that work at his old job. But it takes a good manager to hire and coach a good employee who can master new tasks as they arise. That’s talent.
A good question to ask interviewers is this: “How many of your team members are doing work today that exactly matches the job description they were hired to do originally?”
That will tell you a lot about whether the manager knows how to manage talent rather than just skills.
What all this means is that you, the job applicant, must find subtle ways to commandeer the interview so you can demonstrate that you’re the profitable hire. This article can help you get started: “The Basics: The New Interview.”
The key message in that article is this:
Be ready to do the job. You must take responsibility for being able to solve the employer’s problem in the interview. Do the job. Sound intimidating? Well, if you can’t do it, why bother interviewing for this particular work? You have to be able to do it. You might as well get ready to do the work you’ll have to do daily if you win the job.
If you really want to wow the interviewer without resorting to silly tactics recommended by some of the “experts,” try this: “The Single Best Interview Question… And The Best Answer.” Caution: This is a lot of hard work. But, then again, so is that great job you want, right?
Dear readers: Do interviewers behave like clueless dopes? How do you raise the bar when you interview? And, how do you avoid having your time wasted?
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.
The post Ask the Headhunter: How to handle unprepared interviewers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
At least two people are dead after a news helicopter for Seattle television and radio station KOMO crashed and burned atop several vehicles close to the iconic Space Needle Tuesday morning.
The following comes from an update from KOMO:
Two cars were struck in the crash. One man could be seen running from from one of the cars with his sleeve on fire, and he was extinguished by officers at the scene.
Huge flames and plumes of black smoke poured from the burning wreckage. Fuel gushing from the wreckage caught fire and burned for a block from the crash scene.
It was not immediately clear what happened to the helicopter’s crew.
A live stream of the crash site is available here.
The post At least two dead in fiery Seattle news helicopter crash appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
President Barack Obama’s surprise announcement last week that his administration would change its deportation policy to become more “humane” shows how the immigration battle has narrowed after months of congressional deadlock.
As recently as last year, immigrant rights activists, along with an unusually broad coalition of business, labor and religious groups, were united in their demand that Congress pass a sweeping bill to both remove the threat of deportation from many of the 11 million people here illegally and eventually make them citizens. But now activists first just want to stop deportations.
They have pressured Obama to limit the number of people sent back overseas, which led to his administration’s announcement Thursday of a review of deportation policies after a meeting with the Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Activists also are pushing state legislatures to end participation in a program to help federal immigration authorities deport people and chaining themselves across entrances to local jails or immigration detention centers.
“We need relief and we need it soon,” said Reyna Montoya, 23, of Phoenix, whose father is fighting deportation and who co-wrote an open letter with dozens of other young activists urging immigrant rights groups to stand down on the citizenship issue. “People who are directly affected just want peace. Later on they’ll worry about becoming citizens.”
Immigrant rights groups still want legislation to grant citizenship for many who are in the U.S. without legal permission. But the prioritization of deportation relief shows the desperation felt by immigrant communities as deportations have continued, even as the president and many in Congress say they support changing the law to allow some of those people to stay in the U.S.
It also represents the possible splintering of the diverse coalition that long sought a single remedy to the nation’s immigration problems: one sweeping bill to expand citizenship. And the more aggressive, confrontational tactics also raise the risk of a public backlash.
“One picture of a cop with a bloody nose and it’s all over for these people,” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors greater restrictions on immigration, said of the activists.
The change comes after many expected Congress to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul last year. Republicans have been torn between some in their base who want to step up deportations and others alarmed at how Hispanics, Asians and other fast-growing communities are increasingly leaning Democratic.
The Senate in June passed a bipartisan bill to legalize, and eventually grant citizenship to, many of the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. But the bill died in the Republican-controlled House. Republican leaders there floated a proposal that could stop short of citizenship for many people here illegally. But Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged it stood little chance of passing.
Meanwhile, Obama’s administration is on track to having deported 2 million people during the past six years. Critics say that’s more than President George W. Bush’s administration deported, though some who push for a tougher immigration policy argue the Obama administration’s numbers are inflated.
Obama already has eased some deportations. In 2012, as he was trying to generate enthusiasm among Hispanic voters for his re-election, Obama granted people who were brought to the country illegally as children the right to work in the United States and protection from deportation if they had graduated high school or served in the military. Advocates are pressuring the president to expand that to other people here illegally. The administration has said it cannot make sweeping changes without Congress, and it is unclear what steps it will take after its review is completed to limit deportations.
Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said it’s inevitable that Obama makes changes. “This is a White House that has told the immigrant rights community that they had to build up enforcement massively to create the political climate for comprehensive immigration reform,” Newman said. “Well, that gambit failed.”
Roy Beck of Numbers USA, which pushes for a more restrictive immigration policy, said expanding deportation relief could also fail. “It looks radical,” he said of the notion of sharply limiting removals.
Activists are willing to take that risk and have grown tired of waiting for Washington.
Late last year the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition’s members acknowledged there were no hopes of a big immigration bill anytime soon. They began pushing the local sheriff’s office to end its participation in the Secure Communities program, which checks the immigration status of anyone booked into local jail and refers people here illegally to federal authorities. Last month, six coalition members were arrested after locking themselves together to block entrance to the county jail.
“We decided we needed to change our focus because this is a more winnable campaign,” Executive Director Alejandro Laceres said. Of Congress, he added, “We don’t have the luxury of moving at their pace.”
In Arizona, activists have launched a series of protests, including blocking buses transporting immigrants to courts. “We just realized we are losing too many people in our community,” Carlos Garcia of the group Puente Arizona said in a telephone interview minutes before he was arrested outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix. Worries about whether their tactics could cause a backlash “go out the window,” he added. “Our heads hurt from thinking about the politics around it.”
At the state level, activists have had notable successes. The biggest victory came last year in California when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Trust Act, barring California police from participating in Secure Communities. Immigrant rights groups are trying to replicate that legislation in Illinois and Massachusetts.
Driving the efforts are cases like Abel Bautista’s. He was stopped for traveling 8 miles per hour over the speed limit on a Colorado interstate in 2012 and has been fighting deportation ever since. At first he was not too worried, because he expected an immigration overhaul last year to make the case moot. Now he worries about the lack of legislative action and the trauma inflicted on his three U.S. citizen children as his case drags on.
“We’re just left hanging at loose ends,” Bautista said in an interview, recounting how his children’s performance at school has deteriorated and how they sob when he leaves for court hearings. “If the community unifies and has more demonstrations, maybe they will listen to us.”
The post Immigration activists make stopping deportations main priority appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown is writing from Myanmar (formerly Burma) as part of a new series “Culture at Risk.” Learn more about why Brown is there in his reflections “Is culture at risk in Myanmar?“
Five-thirty in the morning and we are climbing the narrow steps up to the top of Shwesandaw Pagoda in the dark. That, of course, is the point if we’re to be there in time to watch the sun rise over a plain of pagodas and temples that date back a thousand years — Shwesandaw itself was erected in 1057. But, still, dark, barefoot (no shoes allowed on the temples), steep and yours truly is not a fan of great heights. It is, at least, cool. The coolest time of the day, before temperatures on this dry, dusty plain top a hundred degrees.
So, make it to the top, take a breath and look out into the distance: This is Bagan, capital of a powerful kingdom in medieval times with a population that equaled or outstripped European cities. It’s a huge area, stretching some 26 miles from the banks of the Ayeyarwady River and it is filled with more than 2,000 temples, pagodas and other religious shrines. Some are enormous — off in the distance now one is dramatically lit in the darkness. Other large structures are seen as silhouettes slowly coming into the light. These stand out like hilltop fortresses in a variety of elaborate shapes built in different architectural styles over the years, with towers reaching to the sky. Many more are small, some very small, dotting the landscape, again in various shapes and forms — some rather simple bell-shaped domes that seem planted in the ground.Marco Polo, my guidebook tells me, came through here in 1277 and wrote that the towers “make one of the finest sights in the world.” Whether or not he stood on this particular pagoda is not recorded. Nonetheless, many years later one can only agree: they are spectacular and unforgettable. Sunrise will never be the same.
A “spectacular scene” but also quite a “scene” in itself. Look around you; this is one of the few pagodas that people are still allowed to climb so we’re not alone, not by a long shot, even at this hour. Perhaps 200 others are on the pagoda now, at different levels, speaking many languages, having arrived by buses, cars, some on bicycles rented out by local hotels. In fact, it’s rather crowded. Very polite — we’re all aware of the special experience we’re sharing — but there’s jockeying for positions closest to the edge and the unimpeded view. My cameraman Marc, a big fellow on a mission, is a clear winner and I hover just behind him. Some young fellows — Scandinavians? — climb up on the tower above us. At one point later we see a young woman perched precariously alone on a high stone wall, waving a towel and yelling — to the ancient kings? Another group begins to sing the theme song from “Lion King” and who can blame them? This is one of those “circle of life” “beginning of the world” moments. But the singing dissolves after a few lines. I want to think that, for this moment, reality and not Disney has won out.Will “Disney” win in the end? Some scholars worry that Bagan will be turned into a kind of theme park. Or that it will be “loved to death,” as has been the fate of some other great archaeological sites. Those concerns are being raised as this country begins, however tentatively, to open up. Bagan is clearly being discovered and the crowds are coming. It’s not hard to imagine, standing here, a day when there will be traffic jams on the roads and on the pagodas themselves. Managing change means many things here in Myanmar, certainly political reform and equity for ethnic groups top the list. But here in Bagan is another challenge.
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Video by the Associated Press
Russian President Vladimir Putin, alongside several Crimean officials, signed a treaty Tuesday to incorporate the Ukraine region of Crimea into Russia days after a referendum overwhelmingly approved the annexation.
Putin, in a live 40-minute televised speech, reaffirmed Russia’s connection to the region. “In the hearts and minds of people, Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia. This commitment, based on truth and justice, was firm, was passed from generation to generation.”
The president described the new Ukrainian government as driven by radical “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites,” but argued that he had no interest in invading further regions of Ukraine. Relations with “the brotherly Ukrainian people,” he said, remain “important and crucial” to Russia. Putin did, however, compare Crimea’s secession to Ukraine’s own secession from the Soviet Union in 1991.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in Poland, called Russia’s annexation a “land grab,” despite Russia’s attempts to argue otherwise. “But the world has seen through Russia’s actions and has rejected the flawed logic behind those actions.” Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague called the move “regrettable,” saying that Putin had chosen “the route of isolation” and denied the citizens of Russia partnership with the international community.
Dimitri Simes, president and CEO of the Center for the National Interest, said the Obama administration has been counter-productive in its handling of Russia’s moves in the Crimea by issuing provocative ultimatums to Russia from a position of weakness: not being prepared to use force if needed.
“This is President Putin’s fault, but the administration has contributed to this crisis,” said Simes. Now, the administration should make clear to Putin that the United States is not going to accept that Crimea is part of Russia, and that it takes seriously Putin’s statements that he has no plans to invade Eastern Ukraine, he said.
Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, however, said the Obama administration has acted in step with the Europeans and presumably helped push along the united European response.
“It acted quickly to recognize the new Ukrainian government and give it imprimatur of a Washington visit,” she said. The United States has imposed sanctions, which are modestly significant, and leaves room for escalation if necessary, she added.
A new study reveals how men and women react differently to stress. The paper, to be published in the May issue of the journal Psychoneuroendicrinology, claims that in times of stress male subjects become more egocentric and less able to properly respond to social situations. Women react in exactly the opposite fashion, becoming more “prosocial,” and able to relate to others in times of stress.
The function of stress may have a positive function because it enables individuals to recruit additional resources when taxed. And there are two ways to cope: either by becoming self-centered, or by seeking external support. “Our starting hypothesis was that stressed individuals tend to become more egocentric. Taking a self-centred perspective in fact reduces the emotional/cognitive load. We therefore expected that in the experimental conditions people would be less empathic” said Claus Lamm, from the University of Vienna and one of the authors of the study.
The study’s lead author, Giorgia Silani of the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, said that the findings help to explain stress at the psychosocial level.
“There’s a subtle boundary between the ability to identify with others and take on their perspective — and therefore be empathic — and the inability to distinguish between self and other, thus acting egocentrically” said Silani. “To be truly empathic and behave prosocially it’s important to maintain the ability to distinguish between self and other, and stress appears to play an important role in this.”
On a physiological level, the gender difference might be accounted for by the oxytocin system. Oxytocin is a hormone connected with social behaviors — it’s been called the “love hormone” and the “trust hormone” — and, according to Silani, a previous study found that in conditions of stress women had higher physiological levels of oxytocin than men.
Silani said that additional research will be required to fully gauge the effects of stress on both sexes in social constructs.
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Every telephone call made in a foreign country can be recorded and replayed by the National Security Agency through their voice interception program, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden state that the surveillance technology, named MYSTIC, can record every phone call that occurs in the country where it is deployed. Users of the system are able to browse through billions of phone calls and hear voices from any call within a month of its occurrence, before they are overwritten with new recordings.
The Post said they are withholding details about which countries the program has been used at the request of U.S. officials. The article states that while analysts only listen to “a fraction of 1 percent of the calls,” they send “millions of voice clippings” each month for processing.
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GWEN IFILL: The annexation of Crimea by Russia became all but final today, after a signing ceremony and a fiery speech in Moscow.
Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner, traveling in Ukraine, reports on the day’s developments.
MARGARET WARNER: With a stroke of his pen, Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed a treaty, adding Crimea to the map of Russia. It followed an emotional address, as a defiant Putin told his Parliament he acted legally to right a historical wrong.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia. Both time and circumstances could not erase it. Dramatic changes that our country went through in the 20th century could not erase it either.
MARGARET WARNER: Putin dismissed Western claims that Crimea’s referendum Sunday, to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, was illegitimate. He also rejected any suggestion that Russia means to seize other parts of Ukraine.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN (through interpreter): Do not believe those who try to scare you about Russia. Who is shouting that Crimea will be followed by other regions? We do not want the division of Ukraine. We do not need it.
MARGARET WARNER: It was only two weeks ago that Putin made similar comments, denying any plans to take over Crimea. Today’s speech was watched with great interest in the Crimean capital, Simferopol.
Immediately afterward, workmen removed all references to Ukraine from the part of the parliament building.
We were on the street there sampling opinion.
GALINA BURAVLYOVA, (through interpreter): We are incredibly grateful that this day of victory has arrived, and we have been freed from occupation. Now we are citizens of our own country, Russia.
MARGARET WARNER: Most Crimeans seemed overjoyed by Putin’s swift move to join this peninsula with Russia. In reacting to what may prove to be the most significant speech by a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War, they cheered his declaration that Moscow would move to defend ethnic Russians elsewhere.
In Kiev, the Putin speech sparked a decidedly different reaction from the new president of Ukraine.
OLEKSANDR TURCHYNOV, Acting President, Ukraine (through interpreter): I would like to remind you of the history: World War II started with the annexation of the territory of other countries by fascist Germany. Today, the president of Russia, Mr. Putin, who likes to talk about fascism, is copying the fascists of the last century.
MARGARET WARNER: Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops moved toward Crimea, where a military spokesman said a service member had been killed when armed men stormed a Ukrainian military base.
But in a televised speech, Ukraine’s interim prime minister sought to reassure the Kremlin that his country will not join NATO.
ARSENIY YATSENYUK, Acting Prime Minister, Ukraine (through interpreter): Despite Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, I will do everything possible to uphold peace and build relations of partnership. The question of joining NATO is not on the agenda.
The country will be defended by a strong, modern Ukrainian army.
MARGARET WARNER: Russia’s actions drew new condemnation from the West. Vice President Joe Biden met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw.
VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: Russia has offered a variety of arguments to justify what is nothing more than a land grab, including what was said today. But the world has seen through, has seen through Russia’s action, and has rejected the logic, the flawed logic, behind those actions.
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GWEN IFILL: The Obama administration has suspended Syrian diplomatic operations in the United States. Today’s announcement essentially closes the Syrian Embassy in Washington, plus consular offices in Troy, Mich., and Houston, Texas. Syrian diplomats and staff have until the end of the month to leave the country. The U.S. closed its embassy in Damascus in 2012.
Iran and six world powers resumed talks today on reining in Iran’s nuclear program, but with decidedly different goals. Iran’s foreign minister said the Vienna talks were merely an exchange of ideas. A top European
Union official said the focus was the nitty-gritty of a deal with the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia. Their hope is to reach a comprehensive agreement by late July.
In Afghanistan, at least 17 people died in a suicide bombing. The attacker blew himself up at a checkpoint in a northern province. More than two dozen people were wounded. It’s the latest in a series of attacks ahead of next month’s presidential election.
There was another twist today in the story of that missing Malaysian jetliner. But it brought investigators no closer to knowing what had happened. That, in turn, produced heated new demands for answers now from China.
We have this report narrated by Tom Clarke of Independent Television News.
TOM CLARKE: This morning, in a Beijing hotel, officials met with families of some of the 227 missing passengers on board flight MH370, and they watched their agony of waiting turn to anger.
Ms. Liu from Hebei province has lost her cousin. Her sign delivered a new message to investigators, “Hunger Strike in Protest. Tell the truth. Return our relatives.”
The families’ frustration stems from the fact that 11 days on, the official story has never stayed the same. Originally, the plane’s last known location was given as the South China Sea. But after initially denying it, the authorities confirmed military radar picked the plane up hundreds miles to the west in the Andaman Sea.
Early on, suggestions pilot and crew were not suspects. Now they’re amongst the prime suspects. More than a week after it supposedly disappeared without trace after takeoff, it emerged the plane in fact flew on for seven hours.
The search area now covers more than two million square nautical miles, an area larger than Australia. The control of information could be crucial, not just for families, but for the investigation itself.
DAVID GLEAVE, Aviation Safety Researcher: The question is, some of the information, is it being politically filtered? Are people not giving it out? Are people denying that it’s theirs because they are worried about losing their jobs and other things like that?
TOM CLARKE: Today, we learned Thai military radar saw the plane at the time it disappeared, but they waited 10 days to share the information.
And in the Maldives, eyewitnesses reported seeing a passenger jet fly flow over the island six hours after MH370 disappeared.
GWEN IFILL: The government of Thailand lifted a state of emergency today, now that violence in Bangkok has abated. The decree was imposed two months ago in the face of mass protests demanding the prime minister resign. Last month, a Thai court struck down several parts of the decree.
U.S. authorities say they have broken up a child pornography ring that preyed on hundreds of children in this country and overseas. They announced 14 arrests today. The ring allegedly enticed 250 boys, and a few girls, to post images that were used on a subscription-based Web site.
The secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, says it’s one of the largest such operations ever.
JEH JOHNSON, Secretary of Homeland Security: The site had more than 27,000 members involved in producing and distributing child pornography on a massive scale. The majority of the victims of these heinous crimes were between the ages of 13 and 15, with two victims under the age of 3.
GWEN IFILL: The investigation is continuing, with more arrests expected.
Black firefighters in New York City have reached a settlement over racial discrimination. The announcement today said some 1,500 minority candidates will be eligible for back pay totaling $98 million. They took entrance exams that were found to be biased. The New York Fire Department is 85 percent white.
President Obama awarded the nation’s highest military honor today to two dozen Army veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. A review found they’d been denied the Medal of Honor because of racial or religious prejudice. Only three of the soldiers are still alive. We will have more on their stories later in the program.
The White House is using a new report on sports injuries to boost enrollment for health care coverage. Nearly two million people sought emergency treatment for such injuries in 2012. White House spokesman Jay
Carney says it’s one more reason to sign up for coverage. So far, more than five million people have done so, but that’s still a million short of the revised goal.
JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: We have a lot of people who signed up, and there are going to be more. I don’t — our goal has always been to get a substantial number, and for it to be demographically and geographically allocated in a way that allows the marketplaces to function effectively. We believe very strongly that we will achieve those goals.
GWEN IFILL: The enrollment deadline is March 31.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 89 points to close at 16,336. The Nasdaq rose 53 points to close at 4,333. And the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 13 points to finish at 1,872.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Russia’s swift claim of Crimea has raised serious questions about the future of the region, Moscow’s next moves, and what else the U.S. and other countries should be doing about it.Tonight, we get three views on those questions from Richard Haass. He’s the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and former director of the policy planning at the State Department during the George W. Bush administration. Jessica Mathews, she’s president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She served at the State Department during the Clinton administration. And Dimitri Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest, a foreign policy think tank, he’s a native of Russia.
And we welcome all three of you.
Dimitri Simes, today was, I think, the most — one of the most passionate, defiant speeches we have heard Vladimir Putin give. What do you think his main message was to his own people and to the West?
DIMITRI SIMES, Center for the National Interest: Well, his message to his own people was that mother Russia has arrived. It cannot be pushed around anymore. It cannot be ignored. Russia is a great power and has to be treated with respect, or else.
But the second message to the West was twofold. First, as far as Crimea is concerned, it’s all over but the music. It is a part of Russia, and this is the way it is going to be. However, Russia doesn’t plan to invade Ukraine, and Russia may be even under some circumstances a part of a constructive solution for Ukraine, a constructive solution where Mr. Putin would have his own agenda.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jessica Mathews, what you take away from what Putin said today?
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: I would agree with part of what Dimitri said.
I don’t take very seriously what he had to say about no further designs on Ukraine, because, two weeks ago, we heard he had no plans to annex Crimea. And in — and if you read it very, very closely, he says, of course, Russia reserves the right to protect Russian citizens.
So there are enough Russians living in Ukraine and elsewhere in the former Soviet empire. So I would call that decidedly a mixed message at the very best.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Richard Haass, what about you? How did you read what — what we heard from Putin?
RICHARD HAASS, Council on Foreign Relations: Not a lot to add, actually, Judy.
The real question for all of us is whether what we’re hearing is one of what you might call a Crimea exceptionalism. He did this in order, say, to compensate for the loss of Kiev. And this was his way of saving face and saving some strategic position.
That’s one — it’s one set of problems that poses to us, mainly the way he went about it. On the other hand, if this presages something more, an effort to rebuild parts of a lost empire, then, obviously, it’s far more worrisome.
We simply don’t know. Interestingly enough, I’m not sure Mr. Putin knows. One always assume that the adversary, the guy across the table has a fully articulated and elaborated game plan. It’s quite possible he’s improvising and making this up as he goes along, and what he does next will depend in part upon what domestic reactions are and obviously, even more, what the international response is.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dimitri Simes, what about that? Could Dimitri — could Vladimir Putin be improvising as he goes along, waiting to see what the reactions are internally and from the West before he decides what to do next?
DIMITRI SIMES: I think that Richard is right.
Jessica just said something very important. Putin promised two weeks ago not to invade Crimea. And then we know they have done that. However, when Putin was promising not to invade Crimea, they were already talking about referendum in Crimea. And there was just one question, an extended autonomy from Ukraine.
And then things happened between Russia and Ukraine, between Russia and the United States, and they have moved the date of referendum forward. And they have added another question, complete independence for Crimea and then joining Russia.
I think that Richard is exactly right. Putin was changing his mind as a confrontation was progressing, as escalation was growing, and as the Kremlin got an impression that they wouldn’t have to pay a very heavy price. But, at the same time, they felt that the United States and the European Union were treating Russia quite provocatively.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jessica Mathews, if Putin, if Russia does stop at Crimea, if they don’t move further, is that something that the West, Europe and the United States can accept, can live with?
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS: We’re going to have to live with it, because Crimea is done. It’s over. It’s not going to be reversed.
And U.S. policy shouldn’t be to roll this back. It — even as we refuse to recognize what has happened, our policy now should be focusing on Eastern Ukraine and the — the unification of a Ukraine as it now exists and on, I think, a new Russia policy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I want to pursue that in just a minute, but let me get Richard Haass’ take on that.
Is — if Russia were to stop with Crimea, can the West live with that?
RICHARD HAASS: Well, we will have to live with it unless such a time as Russia is forced to disgorge it because of some kind of a nationalist reaction.
But I think, for the foreseeable future, this is — this is the new reality. We have got to accept it. And what we want to do then is try to use this in ways that discourage further Russian moves, and this means the kind of thing that Vice President Biden is doing, stepping up, if you will, U.S. support for the neighboring countries that are part of NATO.
It means shoring up Ukraine itself. The rest of Ukraine has a history of political and economic dysfunction. We shouldn’t take its stability for granted. We ought to be opening up our ability to export oil and gas. We ought to dilute the principal lever now of Russian foreign policy, which is the hold it gets, the influence it derives from its energy exports.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Dimitri Simes, if these are the kinds of steps that the U.S. and — and Europe takes, what would the effect be? I mean, what would the Russian reaction be, do you think?
DIMITRI SIMES: Well, I completely agree with Jessica and Richard.
Again, as far as the Crimea is concerned, there’s very little we can do. We can make clear that there will be no Western investment in Crimea. That is up to us.
But, in terms of removing Russian troops, that is not in the cards. What I think we should be doing are two things which are quite unusual for this administration. First, we should think strategically and understand what our objective is. And our objective should be not to allow Russia to invade Ukraine. And, in that regard, I don’t understand…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Any more of Ukraine?
DIMITRI SIMES: Any more of Ukraine, the Ukrainian proper.
I don’t understand why it was necessary for the administration to make clear that they would not be providing weapons to Ukraine, that there would be no security assistance, even if there would be further Russian invasion.
At the same time, I will be talking to the Russians about the possibility of building a new relationship, getting out from this hole to provide Putin an incentive, more pressure and more incentive.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Jessica Mathews, it sounds like what we’re hearing from the administration is more threatening talk, that if you do more of this, we will do X, Y and Z, rather than the kind of openings that we are hearing right now from Richard and Dimitri.
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS: I think we have to be operating on several different levels, some of which appear to be somewhat contradictory.
We have got to impose some costs, even if they’re very, very minor and they leave room for escalation. We have to be talking seriously to the Russians, because, as horrible as what they have done is, it is crucial for us to understand that a spark of this was a terrible European mistake, which the U.S. allowed to happen, which was to make the integration, economic integration agreement an either/or choice.
JUDY WOODRUFF: With — with — you mean with Ukraine?
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS: With the E.U. and Ukraine.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS: And what that said to the Russians was, Ukraine is no longer a bridge between East and West. It’s a beachhead for the West right up against our border. And that, we know, was the Russian red line.
So someone has to be talking at a very — at the most senior level to get at that issue, and to say, we recognize that Ukraine needs to be that bridge. Long-term, strategically, that ought to be our position.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Richard Haass, pick up on that.
RICHARD HAASS: What I think we — I think it’s fair to say that, while the administration has probably done OK in responding to the crisis, it did miss the — it did take its eye off the ball.
And I think one of the real criticisms you can make is that for the last few years, we have allowed ourselves to become strategically obsessed with the wrong part of the world, which is the Middle East. And we have essentially lost our focus both on Asia and to a lesser extent on Europe, and now we’re trying to play catchup.
I would think the most important thing we could do is spend more time in Berlin, talking to the German government, and trying to fashion a really robust response that would basically tell Mr. Putin, here’s the cost, which is limited, you will pay for what you have done, but there will be a dramatically greater cost to be paid economically if you were to go on from here.
And that has got to be a U.S.-German and, through Germany, European response. We can also keep up the diplomatic side. And I take that point. The cliché of the day has become off-ramps. And we — there is an argument to be made that we shouldn’t allow the totality of the U.S.-Russian relationship to be fined — to be defined by Crimea on the chance that Crimea is something of an exception.
So we want to keep open the relationship. In part, we have also, Judy, got to be talking about things like Iran, Syria and North Korea. But, right now, I would really work the U.S.-European account to try to present the Russians with some very stark choices.
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS: Can I just…
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, we hear you. We hear you, all three.
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS: OK.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We’re going to have to come back to this. And I know we will come back to this on many occasions.
JESSICA TUCHMAN MATHEWS: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, for now, we thank you, Jessica Mathews, Dimitri Simes, Richard Haass.
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GWEN IFILL: It’s a mind-boggling concept: Our cosmos expanded from almost nothing to its first huge growth spurt in just a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. And that was after the Big Bang.Scientists said they confirmed that theory by using this telescope at the South Pole to look at the oldest light detectable. The light reveals patterns and skewed light waves, shown here in red and blue, that were created by gravitational ripples during the — this incredible expansion known as cosmic inflation.
Sean Carroll is a physicist, cosmologist and author at the California Institute of Technology, and he joins us now to explain all of this.
And we need your explanation. Start by explaining cosmic inflation. What a term.
SEAN CARROLL, California Institute of Technology: Well, it is.
The term cosmic inflation was coined around 1980, when the ordinary economic inflation was also very much in the news. And it was Alan Guth, who was a young physicist at the time, who came up with the idea that we need to explain certain very basic features of the universe.
For example, it looks similar, it looks smooth all over the place. And so, if in the very earliest moments, the universe went through some enormously fast, super-accelerated expansion, it’s like pulling at the edges of a sheet, and that expansion would actually smooth things out.
GWEN IFILL: How does this compare to the — was it 1998 that — the discovery of dark energy? How does this compare to that?
SEAN CARROLL: Well, it’s very similar.
In both cases, we knew that this was a possibility. In both cases, we were a little bit surprised that it came along the way it did. Dark energy was a — was a game-changer in terms of our understanding of the current look at — of the universe, what it’s made of and so forth.
And we have been trying to understand the very earliest moments. Before yesterday, the earliest moment in the history of the universe, about which we had data, was one second after the Big Bang. And now, like you said, it’s a trillionth of trillionth of trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.
GWEN IFILL: So, when we think of the universe, we think of something expansive and endless and almost unmeasurable. And you’re saying that what we know about the universe so far is just a speck of that, of what it really is?
SEAN CARROLL: Well, certainly, we only see a certain finite amount of universe. It’s still very big.
We see a part of the universe that has hundreds of billions of galaxies in it. And the amazing thing about the Big Bang model is that, in the far past, 14 billion years ago, all of this stuff was squeezed down to an incredibly tiny distance.
And so what physicists have done is to take the laws of physics, as they understand them, to extrapolate them well beyond anything we had ever seen before, made a prediction, and that prediction came out to be correct. So, we really have a much better idea now than we did a couple of days ago that we’re on the right track when it comes to what was happening right after the Big Bang.
GWEN IFILL: Now, those predictions have always been theories. How do then you go about proving a theory not to be a theory, and is that what we have actually done here? Has it been proven?
SEAN CARROLL: Well, you know, science in some sense never proves anything.
It’s all about gathering evidence, reaching conclusions, because the overwhelming amount of evidence goes for one model, rather than some other model. So, at inflation, you have a well-defined theory of what could have happened right after Big Bang. There are competitors to inflation, but none of them were really quite as well put together as inflation ever was.
And inflation made this very specific prediction that the competitors didn’t really make. So, right now, inflation is way above everything else we know when it comes to understanding the early universe. That’s not to say that, tomorrow, some brilliant young scientists is not going to come up with an even better model.
GWEN IFILL: Why was this experiment done at the South Pole? What is it about the South Pole that lends itself to explorations of space?
SEAN CARROLL: You know, the South Pole is a little bit different than you would think. It’s obviously very cold, like you would think, but it doesn’t snow at the South Pole.
The air is actually very, very dry, and it’s at a very, very high elevation. There’s snow on the ground. And it drifts around a lot, but when you look up into the sky from there, you see the universe very, very clearly. So, even though it’s a tremendous pain to get down there, and once you’re down there, if you’re down there for the winter, you’re not coming back until the winter is over, but it’s a great place to do observational astronomy.
GWEN IFILL: Now, for those of us who think this stuff is really cool, it is very cool, but what is the practical impact for most people when we talk about — when we trumpet such exciting discoveries?
SEAN CARROLL: There is absolutely zero practical impact in the conventional sense.
SEAN CARROLL: Understanding the origin of the universe is not going to cure any disease. It’s not going to build you a better smartphone or anything like that.
What it will do is help us as a species understand our place in the cosmos. So, I personally think that that should affect your everyday life. It helps us really appreciate what the universe is, how it behaves. And that has to feed into how we think about ourselves.
GWEN IFILL: So, it informs the way we see our world and our place in the world, in the larger universe?
SEAN CARROLL: Yes, what separates us from merely existing, surviving from day to day is that we are curious. We are creatures that want to understand.
Like Carl Sagan, whose “Cosmos” is back on TV now with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan once said, we are the universe’s way of thinking about itself. We are a collection of atoms and particles, just like the rest of the universe, but we have the power to theorize, to go out there and collect data, and to understand the context, this wonderful universe that we live in.
GWEN IFILL: It sounds almost theological.
SEAN CARROLL: Well, I think it’s a very similar impulse that drives people to theology and to science. You want to understand the bigger picture.
I think that science is different than theology in many ways, one of which is, you have got to make predictions, and if the predictions don’t come true, we throw away your theory. So, the wonderful thing now is that this extrapolation from Alan Guth and collaborators over 30 years ago, somehow, miraculously seemed to get the right answer, and our ability to comprehend our cosmos has been demonstrated once again.
GWEN IFILL: But it still requires corroboration.
SEAN CARROLL: Oh, absolutely.
You know, this is a result of the specific telescope called the BICEP2 Collaboration. And they’re very, very good. I know a lot of scientists who are on this experiment. And they’re super careful and they try their best. But we’re not going to absolutely believe it until someone else sees exactly the same thing.
The good news is that there’s half-a-dozen experiments that will be checking this result. So, in a year or two, we will know absolutely sure whether or not this is real.
GWEN IFILL: Sean Carroll at Caltech and author of “The Particle at the End of the Universe,” thank you so much.
SEAN CARROLL: My pleasure. Thanks.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The national battle over inequality, the rich vs. the rest of the population, has taken a curious turn in the San Francisco Bay Area, where buses carrying high-tech workers have become a symbol of the divide.NewsHour special correspondent Spencer Michels has our story.
SPENCER MICHELS: Every weekday morning, between 7:30 and 10:00, dozens of big, sleek buses roll down Valencia Street in the heart of San Francisco’s traditionally Latino Mission District and other city thoroughfares.
Using bus stops created for city buses, the private coaches pick up a cargo of workers who for the most part have moved into the city and work 30 or 40 miles south of it at places like Google, Facebook, Apple, eBay and Yahoo! The free buses, generally referred to as Google Buses, are one of the perks for high-tech workers in high demand in Silicon Valley.
When they began rolling six or seven years ago, they were generally praised as an alternative to crowded highways and carbon emissions from cars. But that’s not the issue, says writer Rebecca Solnit, one of the first to charge that the buses were more than a way to get to work.
REBECCA SOLNIT, Writer: They’re unmarked, and with tinted windows, so you don’t know who’s inside. They’re like a cross between a limousine and an armored personnel carrier, cruising around the central city.
SPENCER MICHELS: Critics say the buses are clogging city bus stops. And while the tech companies have recently agreed to pay the city a dollar per bus per stop for their use, the critics say it isn’t enough to make up for the congestion they cause. So feelings are raw.
The buses have sparked a nasty debate that has found its way onto YouTube, with the satirical “Google Bus Song.”
SPENCER MICHELS: Solnit and others say the buses are symbols of the disparity in wealth between the new tech workers and the longtime working-class residents of neighborhoods like the Mission. And, she adds, the influx of techies is gentrifying the city.
REBECCA SOLNIT: Joe Google moves into the apartment from which Jose auto mechanic has been evicted, Jose auto mechanic is now going to move to Vallejo, and have a hellacious commute to the auto body shop in San Francisco. And no luxury bus with tinted windows and Wi-Fi on board is going to pull up at his new home in Vallejo to bring him to the office.
So, what you’re really doing is displacing the more vulnerable people.
SPENCER MICHELS: The buses have inspired a series of protests that, in turn, have sparked a lively debate on the merits of the high-tech boom taking place in the Bay Area, and its effects on residents.
One woman wearing high-tech Google Glass was attacked in a bar after refusing to take them off. Her glass recorded the incident. She said one of her assailants told her, “You guys are killing the city.”
At City Hall, Supervisor Scott Wiener is amazed at the hostility that some San Franciscans have shown to what he sees as an influx of new jobs for the area, workers with money to spend, and new development.
Scott Wiener, San Francisco Board of Supervisors: Most cities would be thrilled to have an industry come in that has good-paying jobs, with good benefits, and workers who are actually paid well.
SPENCER MICHELS: Some San Franciscans say that gentrification is a symptom of a healthy economy, not a war on those without enough money.
Adrian Covert is a policy specialist for the Bay Area Council, a business alliance.
ADRIAN COVERT, Bay Area Council: The Bay Area is adding jobs because it’s a good place to do business, and, at the same time, Silicon Valley has failed to provide enough housing for all its work force. And so you see the work forces spilling over into the surrounding Bay Area.
SPENCER MICHELS: One problem, says Supervisor Wiener, is that cities have made it too tough to develop new housing.
SCOTT WIENER: Average rents are over $3,000 a month. I think it’s very important that we focus on addressing our structural housing problems, which we as a city have created over a period of decades by making it too hard to build housing, and not scapegoat the shuttles for our housing problems.
SPENCER MICHELS: But housing activists say the tech companies are culpable for changing the nature of the city, resulting in the eviction of longtime residents to make way for the young and well-paid.
Erin McElroy organizes for the San Francisco Tenants Union, which put together this rally to halt evictions, which she claims have increased 175 percent in the last year.
ERIN MCELROY, San Francisco Tenants Union: The real issue is gentrification and the systemic displacement of longtime residents in San Francisco, and what’s happening is that people are being displaced by a particular political economy that’s benefiting from the money that tech is bringing into the city.
SPENCER MICHELS: McElroy says that landlords have found a way around city-enacted rent control, using a state law that makes it too easy for landlords to evict low-paying tenants from their apartments.
That, she says, is what is happening to roommates Tom Rapp and Patricia Kerman, who are being forced out of their rent-controlled three-bedroom apartment in an old Mission District building, where their rent is less than $1,000 a month.
PATRICIA KERMAN, San Francisco: What’s really happening is that long-term residents are being thrown out on the street like garbage. And it’s not just me. People who have lived here two, three, four generations, because they didn’t have the money to buy property, they’re victims.
ERIN MCELROY: The city is no longer a place that if you’re poor working-class, even middle class, that you can afford to live in.
SPENCER MICHELS: For some companies in Silicon Valley, the furor over the buses, and their symbolism of the divide between rich and poor, have become an embarrassment of sorts, as they pull up to stops near the high-tech campuses and discharge their computer-carrying cargo of San Francisco residents.
Google declined to comment on the bus controversy and what it may represent, and said that it has discouraged its employees from talking to the media. The company did issue several statements, including one that said it certainly didn’t want to inconvenience San Francisco Bay Area residents.
SPENCER MICHELS: Nearly all employees we asked remained mute, except for one operations worker.
IVAN VAJVOVIC, Google: Not everyone riding the bus is you know, rich. I can guarantee you that. Buses are not the problem, right? I think the jobs are the problem. If people have jobs, if people have opportunity to make their income, you know, they wouldn’t be focused on the buses.
SPENCER MICHELS: As if in answer to all the criticism, in late February, Google announced it was donating $6.8 million over two years to provide free rides for low -income youth on San Francisco city buses. The business council’s Covert praised that move and the Google Buses as well.
ADRIAN COVERT: I think they’re being pretty good community players. I think that Google and other companies have identified a big gap in the Bay Area’s public transportation service, and are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to address that gap by providing these buses.
SPENCER MICHELS: Meanwhile, state lawmakers from San Francisco have introduced bills to reduce evictions. And, as the buses roll on, the city supervisors are debating how to deal with those buses and the issues they raise.
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