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

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    U.S. Presidential Election Day Voting And Results Coverage

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    GWEN IFILL: As you just heard, the Supreme Court’s rulings continue to resonate on any number of critical issues. And as the midterm elections approach, we turn our attention tonight to one decision that could have immediate impact.

    In the nearly-a-year since the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, five states have tightened access to voting. From Texas to Virginia, state and local governments have taken steps to require voter identification, eliminate same-day registration, and to limit voting hours and locations.

    The Obama administration is now pushing back, launching its own investigations into polling place complaints. The president himself has led the charge, speaking earlier this month in New York.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: But the stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago.

    GWEN IFILL: Former President Bill Clinton suggested the Supreme Court decision was a setback for civil rights during a speech at the LBJ Library two days earlier.

    FMR. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: And all of a sudden, there are all new barriers to voting to make it harder to vote. Is this what Martin Luther King gave his life for? Is this what Lyndon Johnson employed his legendary skills for?

    GWEN IFILL: Eleven states now have strict voter I.D. laws on the books, while seven others are working to loosen restrictions.

    Officials in the affected states long argued that Justice Department scrutiny is no longer needed and a bigger threat is posed by people who abuse the franchise by voting under duplicate names or at incorrect locations.

    Part of the backdrop in Senate the debate, who votes. Non-whites make up 37 percent of the U.S. population. But, in 2012, they made up just 28 percent of the electorate. The percentage was even lower, 23 percent, during the 2010 midterm elections. That’s the year Republicans took back control of the House.

    We take a closer look now at a state where the fight over voting laws has been gathering steam, North Carolina.

    Joining me are Republican State Representative David Lewis and Kareem Crayton, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    So, since the Supreme Court, Professor Crayton, ruled last June, how have things changed in your home state?

    KAREEM CRAYTON, University of North Carolina School of Law: Well, a number of things happened fairly quickly after the court adopted its decision.

    One thing was, an omnibus voting bill was adopted that essentially undid a lot of the progress that North Carolina had made over the last basically decade or so in making voting more accessible and easier for citizens to cast their ballots. And the omnibus bill did, among other things, it rolled back same-day registration. It limited the number of days that one could access early voting.

    And most significant in what is in courts right now being litigated is the effort to impose new requirements on voter I.D.s.

    GWEN IFILL: Representative Lewis, as someone who presumably voted for that legislation, explain why.

    DAVID LEWIS, R, North Carolina State Representative: Well, thank you so much for the chance to be with you.

    And as I have said repeatedly during the debate, it has been our goal to make sure that every person who is eligible to vote is fully able to vote, and encouraged to do so.

    We felt like that there were some additional procedures, some commonsense things that needed to be passed to improve the overall integrity of the process, to make sure that everyone who wanted to vote was able to vote and that those votes cumulatively would determine who wins and who loses elections.

    GWEN IFILL: As you probably are aware, President Obama and Attorney General Holder and even former President Clinton spoke in the last couple of weeks saying this was a setback for voting rights. What is your response to them?

    DAVID LEWIS: I would have to respectfully disagree.

    As I have said all along, it is our intent that everyone who is eligible to vote be able to go to the ballot box and exercise their sacred right to participate. But it’s important to point out that if we don’t have logical safeguards — the professor pointed out in his opening remarks that we no longer have same-day registration.

    Well, the reason we don’t is because there was no way to have enough time to do the mail verification process to make sure that someone who registers and voted on the same day is, in fact, entitled to vote. So the election would be over, the election results would be in, and then we find out that perhaps this person shouldn’t have been able to vote at all.

    So I would respectfully say that I think a lot of the noise out of the left right now on voting rights is more of a political issue meant to energize their base and to agitate, maybe even to scare some folks. Certainly, it has been our intent, as we have said all along, that everyone who is entitled to vote gets to do so.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, let me ask Professor Crayton to respond. There is a lot there to respond to. Take your pick.

    KAREEM CRAYTON: Well, I think, to begin with, I think everyone who is entitled to vote is every citizen in the state of North Carolina. It’s an entitlement to have the right to vote. And it shouldn’t be limited, except in circumstances it seems to me — and I think the court decisions have supported this view — unless there are really significant issues or rationales on the other side.

    And I think the problem really that is reflected in the legislature’s omnibus bill is, some of it doesn’t really fit the evidence that is on the record as to what the problem is they’re trying to solve. There’s not really a great deal of evidence at all of the kind of corruption or fraud that seemingly is motivating the legislature.

    But I think the other thing about common sense that the representative raises, I think everybody likes to encourage decisions that are reflecting commonsense values. But when a voter I.D. bill, for example, says we want you to show valid photo I.D. that they don’t permit, say, at the University of North Carolina, where I work, a student who has voter I.D. that shows his picture and who he is, that is not permitted to be used in the voting polls, it seems to be not really reflective of the common sense that I think most North Carolinians sort of expect.

    GWEN IFILL: So what do you think is the motivating force behind these laws?

    KAREEM CRAYTON: Well, some of it, of course, is, as, you know, I think most people recognize, the Republicans have taken over the legislature.

    And, you know, just as Democrats do in some case, they want to have structural options that make it more likely that their voters come out and others that don’t. But I think the other element of this that is troubling, more troubling to me, frankly, is that when there is evidence that there are disparate levels of access to the ballot by having some of these rules in place, particularly disparate levels with respect to race, where African-Americans are less likely to be able to get access to the ballot because they have used early voting in the past, when you put bills into place that make that less available, it creates problems that I think require greater attention.

    And the Voting Rights Act made legislatures pay closer attention to it. Without having Section 5 review in place, we now have to litigate in order to get that attention.

    GWEN IFILL: Representative Lewis, that is a lot on your plate now. He talked about race. He talked about fairness. He talked about partisanship. How much do any of those things play a role in this debate?

    DAVID LEWIS: Well, as the professor knows, why, yes, citizenship is the threshold that must be met in order to be able to vote.

    So the courts have ruled that things like requiring voter registration are in no way an impediment to being able to exercise that right. And, as far as the number of days that are allowed for early voting, I would encourage the professor and all of your viewers to look across the country at the average number of days, and you will find that most states across the country have eight days. North Carolina has 10.

    We also passed language in the legislation that said we have the same number of hours in which that the voters could go to the polls and exercise their right. The thoughts were exactly like in my own home county, that more one-stop sites would be opened up in order to meet that, so that the person who wakes up early in the morning and gets their kids ready for school and goes to work and works all day and picks the kids up from day care has just enough time to get home and prepare the meal.

    GWEN IFILL: But let me ask you this.

    Is it fixing a problem — that you have evidence that fixed a problem that existed?

    DAVID LEWIS: Well, we definitely have evidence, as I said, that folks that — some folks that registered to vote on the same day were never able to be verified.

    We don’t know if they were actually eligible to vote or not. We think it does make sense to present a photo I.D., that the photo matches the name to say who you say you are. The professor referenced student I.D.s  Doesn’t it not make sense that if are you going attest, as the constitution of North Carolina calls for, that you are a resident of the state, that you would have taken time to have gone to the DMV and to get your driver’s license or to get your non-operator’s license, if this is truly your home, if this is the home in which are you going to exercise that precious right to vote, certainly being able to obtain an I.D. at no direct cost to you can’t be considered an impediment to voting.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, this sounds like this is an issue that the administration is certainly not going to give up on.

    And we’re going to — the Supreme Court may have just started this argument.

    Kareem Crayton from the University of North Carolina and David Lewis with the North Carolina House of Representatives, thank you very much.

    DAVID LEWIS: Thank you.

    The post Was the Supreme Court ruling a setback for voting rights? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A ship floats amongst a sea of spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon oilspill disaster. Photo by Flickr user kris krüg

    A ship floats amongst a sea of spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon oilspill disaster. Photo by Flickr user kris krüg

    Four years since the largest offshore oil spill in American history, British Petroleum is largely discontinuing funds for determining the extent of the damage.

    On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and spilling 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, the company has paid more than $1 billion into the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, a multiagency governmental research program intended to determine the extent of BP’s legal obligation.

    Recently, however, BP has expressed concerns over the lack of transparency in the research process they are financing, and now is refusing to pay the Financial Times reports that it has refused to pay $148m toward additional research, including research for the recovery of the coastal wetlands.

    The revelations came just after the National Wildlife Federation released a report linking the spill to high rates of death and disease among local dolphin and sea turtle population, a report BP called “political advocacy – not science”

    The post Four years after oil spill, BP refusing funds for research appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Referee Zach Clayton counts to nine over Rubin (Hurricane) C

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: remembering a fighter whose battle for justice became his touchstone.

    And back to Jeff for that.


    MAN: There’s round two.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Middleweight prizefighter Rubin Carter knocked out 19 opponents in the early 1960s, earning the nickname Hurricane.

    But his boxing career came to an abrupt end in 1967, when an all-white jury in New Jersey convicted him of a triple murder in a Paterson bar.  Nineteen years after his imprisonment, a federal judge dismissed the charges and freed Carter, citing a racist prosecution.

    RUBIN CARTER: They sentenced me to a life of living death, and there was no other way to describe the nature of a prison. Prison destroys everything that is valuable in a human being. It destroys family. It destroyed mine. It destroys one’s dignity.

    JEFFREY BROWN: While in prison, Carter became a symbol of racial injustice, his story made famous by a 1975 Bob Dylan song.

    BOB DYLAN, Musician (singing): Here comes the story of the Hurricane, the man the authorities came to blame for something that he never done.

    DENZEL WASHINGTON, Actor: We don’t even know what enemies we have out there in the state. We got to take it out of New Jersey.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And his fight for freedom was introduced to a new generation by the 1999 film “The Hurricane,” starring Denzel Washington as Carter.

    DENZEL WASHINGTON: You said it yourself. You said, if we take the new evidence before the federal judge, he’s got to look at it before he throws it out, right? I believe that, once he looks at it, he will have seen the truth. Having seen the truth, he can’t turn his back on me.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In his later years, Carter founded an organization, Innocence International, to help prisoners it considered wrongly convicted.

    He wrote a recent op-ed in The New York Daily News on behalf of one such prisoner.

    Of his own life, he wrote there: “If I find a heaven after this life, I will be quite surprised. In my own years on this planet, though, I lived in hell for the first 49 years, and have been in heaven for the past 28 years.”

    Rubin Carter died from prostate cancer at his home in Toronto. He was 76 years old.

    Selwyn Raab was an investigative reporter for The New York Times who covered Rubin Carter for 30 years. His reporting in the 1970s helped eventually prove Carter’s innocence.

    Well, thanks for joining me.

    Take us back to that moment first in the 1960s. How did this become such a major cause that engaged so many people?

    SELWYN RAAB, The New York Times: The importance of Rubin Carter’s case is that it spotlighted how extensive racial prejudice was in the criminal justice system.

    And it occurred at a time when there was widespread civil unrest in — throughout the nation. And this case didn’t occur in the bastions of the South, where there were all this anti-integration fights. It occurred presumably and supposedly in the liberal part of the North, in New Jersey, just a short hop over the George Washington Bridge and a suburb of New York.

    So that attracted a lot of attention. Furthermore, Carter, because of his celebrity as a well-known boxer who almost won the middleweight championship, he attracted a lot of attention, the attention from other boxers like Muhammad Ali, a lot of show business people like Bob Dylan. So you just couldn’t bury this case.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You met him back then. Tell us a little about him during that time and what happened when he was convicted.

    SELWYN RAAB: Well, even though he had this reputation of being a ferocious boxer and a radical militant, he was a very soft-spoken, well-thought, well-articulated, charismatic character.

    And there was never a sign of bitterness out of him, even though all of the trouble that he had gone through and the idea that he had been sentenced to life imprisonment — very well-spoken, very well-read, self-educated, somebody who knew what he wanted to do and how to accomplish it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And he set his own terms in prison, didn’t he, the way he served his time?

    SELWYN RAAB: Yes, the first thing he said to me was, “They can imprison my body, but they will never imprison my mind.”

    And he felt, if he had ever agreed or comport — and comported with the institutional regulations, that would be evidence of his guilt. So what he did was, he stayed by himself most of the time, reading and thinking. And at the same time, he would not eat in the prison lunchrooms.

    He had small band of supporters who brought him in canned food and soup, and he had an electric coil. And he would never comply. They asked him to teach boxing. They asked him to participate in boxing matches. And to that — to him, that would have been an indication that he was guilty. And so he never did that. He was always his own man.

    JEFFREY BROWN: There are a lot of complications to this story that we can’t walk all through the details.

    But just remind us. The federal judge, when he threw this out, what was he saying, in essence, that had happened in the prosecution?

    SELWYN RAAB: Well, the federal judge said, in effect, that Rubin Carter and his co-defendant, John Artis, the forgotten man in this story, had been framed not once, but twice.

    At both trials, at the two trials that he underwent, the first trial there was a lily-white jury, and there was racial prejudice in there, and it was perjury by the two main witnesses against Carter and Artis.

    At the second trial, they introduced a racial motive without any evidence. And they also withheld again important evidence that would have cleared Carter and Artis about the main witness against them. So both times, he was confronted by this kind of situation where prosecutors would go to almost any length to convict him.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, very briefly, we mentioned that right up to the end, he had founded an organization. So he stayed with this issue until the end.

    SELWYN RAAB: Yes, he never forgot the other people who were in prison.

    So that was really this calling for the rest of his life after he got out of prison. And he dedicated himself to that. So it is another example of how he was forthright and he wasn’t totally selfish. And he was always worried, always talking about the other inmates, who he knew there were many of him who had been convicted wrongly.

    Now, of course, there are plenty of people who say they have been railroaded. Carter knew about that, but he made sure that he wasn’t going to be railroaded.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Selwyn Raab on the life of Rubin Carter, thanks so much.

    SELWYN RAAB: My pleasure.

    Note: Due to web restrictions, this video has been edited.

    The post Remembering Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, prizefighter who fought for his and others’ freedom appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    It was more or less muscle memory: put in a fresh pair of double-A batteries, slide in the square, gray cartridge of your favorite game into the open slot, then flip on the little power switch on the top.

    The original North American box of the Game Boy. Photo by Flickr user Michel Ngilen

    The original North American box of the Game Boy. Photo by Flickr user Michel Ngilen

    Then, it was time to smile as the red light fired up on the left side of the green-tinted LCD screen as the word “Nintendo” descended from the top of the screen and stopped in place with a quick two-tone musical cue.

    Now, it was game time — from the comfort of anywhere you wanted to play.

    The Game Boy, Nintendo’s portable video game console, celebrated 25 years Monday. The handheld originally launched in Japan on April 21, 1989, selling out its initial run of 300,000 units in the first two weeks. Four months later, when the Game Boy was released in North America at the price of $89.99, 40,000 units flew off the shelves in its first day.

    A 1989 U.S. commercial for the Game Boy

    The success of the Game Boy ultimately led to a family of successors. A more compact version of the console, the Game Boy Pocket, launched in 1996. The Game Boy Color, a new version of the console featured a color screen, was released in 1998. In 2001, the Game Boy entered a new iteration as the Game Boy Advance made its debut, offering more powerful hardware, with different versions of the Advance arriving in 2003 and 2005.

    The numerous iterations of the Game Boy over the years. Photo by Flickr user walknboston

    The numerous iterations of the Game Boy over the years. Photo by Flickr user walknboston

    The Game Boy line officially was discontinued by Nintendo in 2008 with the launch of their DS portable console line, but its impact on video game history is unmistakable. Since 1989, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold over 118 million units worldwide. In 2009, the console was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

    So, anybody up for a round of Tetris?

    The post Nintendo’s Game Boy turns 25 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Avoid getting caught in an exit interview, advises headhunter Nick Corcodilos. Photo by Dave and Les Jacobs/Getty Images.

    Avoid getting caught in an exit interview, advises headhunter Nick Corcodilos. Photo by Dave and Les Jacobs/Getty Images.

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

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

    Question: I’m being shrunk (I mean “downsized”) at the end of the month. I have an exit interview scheduled before then. Any recommendations on what to say and what not to say during the interview? What’s the purpose of the exit interview in this situation anyway? I worry that there may be a risk in agreeing to this meeting.

    Nick Corcodilos: Shrunk, downsized, booted, fired, let go… the euphemisms are incredible. But your instinct is correct: Doing an exit interview is risky.

    Let’s address your second question first, because it’s important to understand an employer’s motivations. The purpose of the exit interview is twofold. (I’m sure some HR experts could come up with more). On the surface, it’s to help a genuinely caring company learn from a departing employee’s experience. You must decide how caring your company is.

    Two, it’s to protect the company from legal repercussions after you depart. That’s why they usually ask you to sign the exit interview notes. By gathering comments from you — especially the obligatory positive comments — the employer creates a record that it can use if, for some reason, you turn around and sue. Yes, that’s a cynical view, but you need to consider it. I think every company conducts exit interviews mainly for this reason — even if they really care about your experience as an employee. You must judge your employer’s motives for yourself.

    My objective is to keep you out of trouble; not to help you be your old employer’s good buddy. Some may take issue with this, but my advice is to be polite, say as little as possible, and get it over with quickly. In fact, if you can manage it, avoid the exit interview altogether.

    There is no upside for you in doing an exit interview. (I’ve polled many HR folks and none has ever been able to cite a clear benefit to the departing employee.) But there’s a big potential risk if you say something that bothers the interviewer. For example, you could wind up hurting your chance of getting good references in the future if you criticize the company or your boss. Or, let’s say you speak very positively, and then your boss (who isn’t so positive) gives you a bad reference that costs you a job. If you take legal action, the company could use the written exit interview report to show what a great relationship you had. Do these scenarios seem extreme? I’ve seen both happen — not many times, but how much of a risk do you want to take?

    So, don’t complain, don’t explain. You’re not going to help the company fix its problems or faults at this juncture. You’re not going to improve your relationship — it’s too late. If what you think really mattered, the company would have asked your opinion long ago, while you were an employee and when management could have used your comments for your benefit.

    Here’s the bottom line: It’s a little late to be talking about your employment experience. If you want to offer your boss advice, do it privately and off the record — and certainly not in writing.

    I think there’s no benefit in consenting to an exit interview. But use your judgment. Certainly don’t use the exit interview to vent. Invest your effort instead in “Starting a Job on The Right Foot.”

    Dear Readers: Have you ever done an exit interview, or refused to do one? What was your experience?

    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: What’s the risk of doing an exit interview? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republicans Curt Clawson, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and state Rep. Paige Kreegel are vying for a chance to compete for Florida's 19th congressional district left vacant by Rep. Trey Radel.

    Republicans Curt Clawson, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and state Rep. Paige Kreegel are vying for a chance to compete for Florida’s 19th congressional district left vacant by Rep. Trey Radel.

    Today in the Morning Line:

    The Morning Line

    • Nasty Florida special election highlights super PAC, personal money
    • Obama Asia trip complicated by other events
    • Biden in Ukraine
    • Checking in with the Kentucky Senate primary

    Radel replacement — establishment vs. personal wealth: Voters in southwest Florida’s 19th congressional district head to the polls Tuesday to elect candidates to replace resigned Republican Rep. Trey Radel. Radel, the freshman member who was caught buying cocaine in Washington, D.C., the first member of Congress to hold that dubious distinction. The primary, which will likely decide Radel’s replacement because of its heavy Republican tilt, has been called one of the nastiest in the region’s history and has been marred by negative advertising, according to the Naples Daily News. With a whopping $4 million spent on TV ads, the race between state establishment candidates and a moneyed outsider is also shining a light on the shadowy world of super PACs.

    The favorite appears to be Curt Clawson, a former auto executive, with state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto second. Clawson has spent almost $3 million of his own money on the race, but super PACs have spent about $2 million supporting Benacquisto and state Rep. Paige Kreegel. Benacquisto has benefited from $667,000 from the patriotic-sounding Liberty and Leadership Fund. Another group, Values Are Vital, has spent $1.3 million for Kreegel. Benacquisto denies any connection to Liberty and Leadership, but as National Journal reports, “it has the same address as her own PAC, Alliance For a Strong Economy.” And Clawson accused Kreegel of illegally coordinating with Values Are Vital, run by a close Kreegel friend, an allegation Kreegel denies and for which Clawson provided no evidence. Neither PAC has spent any money in any other race in the country. It’s something to watch — whether these kinds of candidate-specific PACs crop up, particularly in primaries, as ways around fundraising limits. There hasn’t been a lot of good polling in this race, but two automated polls put Clawson ahead, one by double-digits and an earlier one showing him up by mid-single digits. Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee have endorsed Benacquisto. Clawson is backed by Tea Party Express and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Polls close at 7 p.m. EDT.

    Obama goes to Asia: After stopping Tuesday in Oso, Wash., where 41 people were killed in a massive landslide last month, President Obama will continue on to Asia for a weeklong, four-country swing through Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. The trip comes as the president attempts to finalize an expansive new free-trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. When it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the president faces hurdles at home and abroad. Action on the trade pact has stalled in Congress due to opposition from Democratic lawmakers, who contend the deal would result in lost jobs for American workers. Politico notes that the U.S. and Japan are “locked in a tough negotiation over longtime Japanese barriers to U.S. agriculture and automotive exports.” Beyond the trade agreement the president also faces questions about his commitment to putting a greater diplomatic focus on Asia. The New York Times’ David Sanger and Mark Landler write that the “rebalancing” effort has been sidetracked by crises elsewhere around the globe.

    Biden in Ukraine: While Mr. Obama heads abroad, tensions are running high in Ukraine. Vice President Joe Biden is there to show support for the Kiev government, saying the U.S. would help it in the face of “humiliating threats” from Russia. That comes, as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Ukraine of violating the terms of the fragile peace deal, raising fears that Russia could go further. “Steps are being taken, above all by those who seized power in Kiev, not only that do not fulfill, but that crudely violate the Geneva agreement,” Lavrov said. Biden also warned Ukraine needs to fight corruption, noting the problem of Ukraine being tied to Russia economically for oil and raising the stakes for the May 25 election, saying it “may be the most important election in Ukrainian history.”

    McConnell looks strong for primary home stretch: For all that’s been made of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s primary challenge in Kentucky, he’s hitting the home stretch with under a month to go before the primary, in what appears to be pretty good shape. A poll out last month had him up nearly 40 points over conservative challenger Matt Bevin. McConnell outraised Bevin by a lot last quarter ($6.4 million to $514,000) and had a lot more cash on hand ($10.4 million to $455,000). Bevin lost his top spokeswoman, which is never a good sign. And McConnell’s up with an ad for the final month of the primary. There’s a reason he’s smiling. McConnell still appears to be in a tough race for the fall, with polls showing him essentially tied with Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. But Democrats hoping McConnell would be hobbled by a tough primary look like they will be disappointed.

    Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1970, the United States observed the first Earth Day. President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency later that year. Who did Nixon appoint as the first director?
    Be the first to Tweet us the correct answer @NewsHour, @rachelwellford, @DomenicoPBS, and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. No one guessed Yesterday’s trivia correctly. The answer was: 9 vice presidents.


    • Sounds like a big deal… National Journal: “The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that could shape the future of television and even the Internet.”

    • Neil Eggleston will replace Kathryn Ruemmler as the new White House counsel.

    • Sam Stein of the Huffington Post reports that Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., wants the White House to support his effort to bring back earmarks.

    • Tribune’s David Lauter writes that Mr. Obama’s approval ratings have improved as the “health care drag eases.” His numbers do appear to have leveled off slightly, but they still are middling in the low to mid 40s.

    • Voters in Alaska will get a chance to vote on a minimum-wage increase and the legalization of marijuana this November.

    • FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten writes that Democrats shouldn’t get too comfortable with the party’s Electoral College advantage in recent cycles.

    • Rep. Tom Cotton highlights his military service in his latest positive spot in the Arkansas senate race. It’s likely the first ad featuring a drill sergeant.

    • The Democratic Governors Association has donated $500,000 — the largest contribution — to Charlie Crist’s political committee, proving, as Marc Cupoto writes in the Tampa Bay Times, that “this is real.”

    • National Journal finds that not a single Republican in Congress has mentioned Earth Day since 2010.

    • Senate Democrats are headed to Silicon Valley this week to raise funds for the midterms.

    • The U.S. Census Bureau is considering dropping some of their questions that some Americans find “nosy”.

    • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been named Father of the Year by the the Father’s Day-Mother’s Day Council — for the entire country.

    • The Republican National Committee is looking to raise some coin off of former President George H.W. Bush’s socks.

    • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.


    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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

    Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Terence Burlij at tburlij-at-newshour-dot-org.

    NewsHour Desk Assistant Chelsea Coatney contributed to this report.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    The post Florida race highlights shadowy role of Super PACs appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Supreme Court will hear a case Tuesday concerning Aereo, Inc., which gives its users streaming access to broadcast television programs through tablets, laptops and phones. Photo by Flickr user chunkysalsa

    The Supreme Court will hear a case Tuesday concerning Aereo, Inc., which gives its users streaming access to broadcast television programs through tablets, laptops and phones. Photo by Flickr user chunkysalsa

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is taking up a dispute between broadcasters and an Internet startup company that has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

    The company is Aereo Inc., and the justices are hearing arguments Tuesday over its service that gives subscribers in 11 U.S. cities access to television programs on their laptop computers, smartphones and other portable devices.

    The broadcasters say Aereo is essentially stealing their programming by taking free television signals from the airwaves and sending them over the Internet without paying redistribution fees. Those fees, increasingly important to the broadcasters, were estimated at $3.3 billion last year.

    The case involving Internet innovation is the latest for justices who sometimes seem to struggle to stay abreast of technological changes.

    Broadcasters including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS sued Aereo for copyright infringement, saying Aereo should pay for redistributing the programming the same way cable and satellite systems do. Some networks have said they will consider abandoning free over-the-air broadcasting if they lose at the Supreme Court.

    Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia recently told The Associated Press that broadcasters can’t stand in the way of innovation, saying, “the Internet is happening to everybody, whether you like it or not.” Aereo, backed by billionaire Barry Diller, plans to more than double the number of cities it serves, although the high court could put a major hurdle in the company’s path if it sides with the broadcasters.

    Aereo’s service starts at $8 a month and is available in New York, Boston, Houston and Atlanta, among others. Subscribers get about two dozen local over-the-air stations, plus the Bloomberg TV financial channel.

    In the New York market, Aereo has a data center in Brooklyn with thousands of dime-size antennas. When a subscriber wants to watch a show live or record it, the company temporarily assigns the customer an antenna and transmits the program over the Internet to the subscriber’s laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device.

    The antenna is only used by one subscriber at a time, and Aereo says that’s much like the situation at home, where a viewer uses a personal antenna to watch over-the-air broadcasts for free.

    The broadcasters and their backers argue that Aereo’s competitive advantage lies not in its product, but in avoiding paying for it.

    The federal appeals court in New York ruled that Aereo did not violate the copyrights of broadcasters with its service, but a similar service has been blocked by judges in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said its ruling stemmed from a 2008 decision in which it held that Cablevision Systems Corp. could offer a remote digital video recording service without paying additional licensing fees to broadcasters because each playback transmission was made to a single subscriber using a single unique copy produced by that subscriber. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal from movie studios, TV networks and cable TV companies.

    In the Aereo case, a dissenting judge said his court’s decision would eviscerate copyright law. Judge Denny Chin called Aereo’s setup a sham and said the individual antennas are a “Rube Goldberg-like contrivance” – an overly complicated device that accomplishes a simple task in a confusing way – that exists for the sole purpose of evading copyright law.

    The case is ABC v. Aereo, 13-461.

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    Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images

    Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images

    Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos stood guard Monday in Mexico City, Mexico at the honoring ceremony for Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hundreds waited outside the Palace of Beautiful Arts in Mexico City to see the urn containing the ashes of “Gabo” and lay flowers in remembrance. Colombia will hold a separate memorial Tuesday.

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez died April 17 at his home in Mexico City at age 87.

    Hari Sreenivasan talked to writer William Kennedy, a long-time acquaintance of Marquez, on April 18′s PBS NewsHour:

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    Ever since the 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park,” the possibility of bringing extinct species back to life has been part of our collective imagination. The film, based on a Michael Crichton novel, was itself inspired by actual scientific breakthroughs in the early 1990s that allowed scientists to use DNA from museum specimens and fossils to recreate the genome — or genetic blueprint — of dead animals. When the film debuted, the science wasn’t advanced enough to bring back extinct species. But today it might well be, and researchers’ growing efforts to recreate extinct species — in labs from California to Australia — have been making headlines.

    It isn’t possible to bring dinosaurs back to life, scientists say, because their DNA is too degraded after millions of years. But work is now under way to bring back more recently extinct species. This includes research at the University of California-Santa Cruz aimed at restoring passenger pigeons, and Harvard scientists’ attempts to bring back the woolly mammoth. KQED Science tackles the research in the half-hour documentary above.

    In the 19th century, passenger pigeons were the most abundant birds in the world. Painting “Distant Thunder,” by Owen Gromme. Courtesy Anne Marie Gromme.

    There are significant practical, ethical, and legal questions yet to be worked out, such as whether de-extincted species would be protected by the Endangered Species Act and whether they could find sufficient habitat in which to thrive. Nevertheless, scientists around the world are moving ahead using three different technologies to try and bring species back.

    Extinction Week logo

    Cloning: In April 1999, scientists in Aragón, Spain, trapped the last remaining Pyrenean ibex, known in Spanish as a “bucardo,” a species of large mountain goat adapted to the snowy Pyrenees, where they traipsed along sharp outcroppings and kept mostly out of sight. Long hunted as a source of protein, by 1989 only four remained, according to Alberto Fernández-Arias, head of Aragón’s Service of Hunting, Fishing and Wetlands, who helped count the animals that year.

    In 1999, Spanish researchers carefully took skin samples from the last remaining goat’s left ear and its abdomen. They named the goat Celia, and fitted her with a radio transmitter before releasing her back into Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park. A few months later, in January 2000, Celia was killed by a falling tree. With the species now extinct, Fernández-Arias, then at the CITA, a public research institute in Aragón, joined researchers from Spain, France, and Belgium to clone the goat in 2002.

    The remains of the last Pyrenean ibex, a female named "Celia," are in a museum in the Spanish town of Torla. Courtesy Government of Aragón.

    The remains of the last Pyrenean ibex, a female named “Celia,” are in a museum in the Spanish town of Torla. Courtesy Government of Aragón.

    To clone the bucardo, the researchers defrosted cells they had obtained from Celia’s skin samples. Using technology developed to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996, they transferred the nucleus from Celia’s cells into cells from domestic goats whose nucleus had been removed (a cell’s nucleus contains its genetic material, in the form of chromosomes). They then stimulated the cells with a jolt of electricity and waited to see which ones grew into embryos. They transferred 154 embryos into surrogate mothers, a cross between domestic and wild goats. A bucardo kid was born in 2003, but died after a few minutes from a lung deformity.

    Fernández-Arias and his collaborators are repeating their attempt this year and he said that if all goes well, a kid, or kids, could be born in August.

    In Australia, researcher Michael Archer is attempting to clone the Tasmanian tiger, also known as a thylacine or Tasmanian wolf. This was a unique carnivore that carried its young in a pouch and was hunted to extinction by 1936. Archer, who is based at the University of New South Wales, is also working to bring back the gastric brooding frog. Discovered in 1972, it turned its stomach into a uterus where it gestated its tadpoles, then birthed the baby frogs through its mouth. (In most frogs, females and males excrete eggs and sperm, and fertilization occurs in the water).

    The extinct gastric brooding frog gave birth through its mouth. Painting by Peter Schouten, courtesy Michael Archer.

    The extinct gastric brooding frog gave birth through its mouth. Painting by Peter Schouten, courtesy Michael Archer.

    “It’s the first time we’ve seen an animal change one organ in the body into another,” said Archer. “The medical world was excited at the frog’s discovery. They wondered, could they use this in human health, not to have babies in our stomachs but to manage gastric secretions in the gut?”

    The frog was extinct by 1983, likely wiped out by chytrid fungus, a disease spread by peoples’ shoes that is decimating frog populations around the world.

    Breeding: In the Netherlands, entrepreneurs at an organization called Rewilding Europe are working to create large wildlife parks in parts of the continent where farmland has been abandoned, such as along Croatian mountain ranges on the Adriatic coast, emptied out during the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia. They envision parks teeming with wildlife like bears and wolves, and the aurochs, the ancestor to all breeds of modern cattle. Aurochs were hunted, domesticated, and bred out of existence by 1627. They would have been the only cattle big enough to put up a fight with predators like wolves, said Ronald Goderie of the Holland-based Taurus Foundation, which is working in close collaboration with the Rewilding Europe project.

    Aurochs, the ancestors of all modern cattle, disappeared from Europe in 1627. Illustration by Marleen Felius, Taurus Foundation.

    Aurochs, the ancestors of all modern cattle, disappeared from Europe in 1627. Illustration by Marleen Felius, Taurus Foundation.

    “They want to create something like the game parks in Africa or the national parks in America that will also realize some economic activity,” said Goderie. The idea would be that visitors could go on a European safari.

    The Taurus Foundation is focused on bringing back the aurochs by working with researchers in Holland, Spain, and Portugal to breed “primitive” types of cattle: breeds that have survived in poorer parts of Europe where modern breeds of cattle aren’t as available. The process of breeding these cattle to make them more like their ancestors is called “back breeding.” The foundation has already produced 150 crossbred cattle, said Goderie.

    A bull called "Manolo Uno" was bred to resemble an aurochs. Courtesy Staffan Widstrand.

    A bull called “Manolo Uno” was bred to resemble an aurochs. Courtesy Staffan Widstrand.

    The first of these crossbred animals, a bull named Manolo Uno, was created by performing in vitro fertilization using eggs from a Maremmana Primitivo cow from the Maremma region of Tuscany, Italy, and sperm from a Pajuna bull, from Andalucía, Spain. Researchers using genetic analysis have traced both breeds back to aurochs. Maremmanas are similar to aurochs in their thick horns, large size, and coloration (black males and brown females). Pajunas have long faces, like their ancestors. And both breeds live in natural herds and can subsist in harsh conditions. To create Manolo Uno, sperm and egg were joined in a lab by Hurkmans ET, a Dutch company, and the resulting fertilized egg was carried by a surrogate dairy cow.

    Genome Editing: At the University of California-Santa Cruz, biologists Ben Novak and Beth Shapiro are piecing together the genome of the extinct passenger pigeon. Three to 5 billion of these pigeons existed in the United States in the 19th century. They are believed to have been the most abundant birds in the world, but they were hunted for food and went extinct in 1914. Novak’s work to bring the bird back is being funded by Revive & Restore, a nonprofit group based in Sausalito, California, co-founded by environmentalist Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, and entrepreneur Ryan Phelan, former CEO of DNA Direct, one of the first companies to offer genetic testing online.

    Passenger pigeon specimens, like this one from the Oakland Museum of California, are all that remains from what was once the most abundant bird in the world. Photo by Arwen Curry, QUEST Northern California.

    Passenger pigeon specimens, like this one from the Oakland Museum of California, are all that remains from what was once the most abundant bird in the world. Photo by Arwen Curry, QUEST Northern California.

    Using DNA extracted from passenger pigeon specimens stored in facilities like Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum, Novak and Shapiro are putting together as much of the passenger pigeon’s genome as possible. Then they’ll compare it to the genome of its closest living relative, the band-tailed pigeon, which is found on the West Coast, in the Southwest, and all the way down to Argentina. By comparing the two genomes, scientists hope to figure out what genes gave the passenger pigeon its physical characteristics, like the long tail and swift wings that allowed it to fly at 60 miles per hour.

    Once researchers have identified these genes and built them in the lab using chemical compounds, they’ll insert them into the band-tailed pigeon’s genome using new genome-editing technology.

    “It’s like very precise scissors that allow you to cut and splice with unprecedented accuracy and ease of use,” said Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church, one of the scientists who pioneered the technology, known as CRISPR, in the past year.

    If revived, woolly mammoths could help keep the permafrost from melting, say scientists. Illustration by Mauricio Antón, courtesy PLoS Biology.

    If revived, woolly mammoths could help keep the permafrost from melting, say scientists. Illustration by Mauricio Antón, courtesy PLoS Biology.

    In his lab, Church is editing elephant cells to try to make those animals more closely resemble woolly mammoths, with a fatty layer and thick fur to better withstand the cold. Teams in Russia and South Korea hope to clone a woolly mammoth using blood found in fossilized remains. And although it may be years before mammoths roam the Earth or passenger pigeons take to the skies, it probably isn’t too early to start considering the implications.

    KQED Science associate producer Arwen Curry contributed to this story.

    This article is reproduced with permission from KQED Science. Find the original story here.

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    (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

    (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

    Updated 10:59 a.m. EDT

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Michigan’s ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.

    The justices said in a 6-2 ruling that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution in 2006 to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions. The justices said that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy said voters chose to eliminate racial preferences, presumably because such a system could give rise to race-based resentment.

    Kennedy said nothing in the Constitution or the court’s prior cases gives judges the authority to undermine the election results.

    “This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it,” Kennedy said.

    In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision tramples on the rights of minorities, even though the amendment was adopted democratically. “But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups,” said Sotomayor, who read her dissent aloud in the courtroom Tuesday. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sided with Sotomayor in dissent.

    At 58 pages, Sotomayor’s dissent was longer than the combined length of the four opinions in support of the outcome.

    Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas agreed with Kennedy.

    Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the case, presumably because she worked on it at an earlier stage while serving in the Justice Department.

    In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the consideration of race among many factors in college admissions in a case from Michigan.

    Three years later, affirmative action opponents persuaded Michigan voters to change the state constitution to outlaw any consideration of race.

    The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the issue was not affirmative action, but the way in which its opponents went about trying to bar it.

    In its 8-7 decision, the appeals court said the provision ran afoul of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment because it presents an extraordinary burden to affirmative action supporters who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign to repeal the constitutional provision.

    Similar voter-approved initiatives banning affirmative action in education are in place in California and Washington state. A few other states have adopted laws or issued executive orders to bar race-conscious admissions policies.

    Black and Latino enrollment at the University of Michigan has dropped since the ban took effect. At California’s top public universities, African-Americans are a smaller share of incoming freshmen, while Latino enrollment is up slightly, but far below the state’s growth in the percentage of Latino high school graduates.

    The case was the court’s second involving affirmative action in as many years. In June, the justices ordered lower courts to take another look at the University of Texas admissions plan in a ruling that could make it harder for public colleges to justify any use of race in admissions.

    The case is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, 12-682.


    In October, Gwen Ifill talked to Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal, Lee Bollinger of Columbia University and Joshua Thompson, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Found about the case on the PBS NewsHour:

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    Several questions asked on the Census Bureau's American Community Survey are under review after complaints about several of the questions. Photo by U.S. Census Bureau

    Several questions asked on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey are under review after complaints about several of the questions. Photo by U.S. Census Bureau

    Does your residence have a flush toilet? The Census wants to know.

    That’s one of the many questions that three million American households have been asked by the Census’ American Community Survey each year. The survey, according to the Census, utilizes answers given each year to update annual demographic, social, economic and housing data that “help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.”

    Public backlash, however, may make the bureau reconsider some of the questions it asks.

    Pew reports that many Americans think that many of the questions, which include inquiries about a household’s plumbing or total income over 12 months, are too personal. Angry recipients of the mandatory survey have complained, and in response the Census bureau is conducting an audit, starting with four of the questions areas: plumbing, commuting, income and disability. Once it determines the value of those questions, it will move on to the remainder.

    After review, any changes to the survey would be implemented by 2016.

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    South Korean rescue members carry the body of a victim recovered from the "Sewol" ferry to an ambulance at a harbour in Jindo on April 22, 2014. Photo by Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

    South Korean rescue members carry the body of a victim recovered from the “Sewol” ferry to an ambulance at a harbour in Jindo on April 22, 2014. Photo by Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

    Confirmed fatalities from the South Korean ferry Sewol have reached 104, officials said Tuesday, with nearly 200 still missing. Since divers found a way to enter the ferry, which sunk off the coast of South Korea April 16, this weekend, the number of bodies recovered has sharply risen.

    Families waiting for the bodies of loved ones on Jindo island — an hour’s boat ride away from the fully submerged ferry — are no longer dreaming of rescues. Instead, they are hoping the missing bodies will be recovered before the ocean damages them further.

    “At first, I was just very sad, but now it’s like an endless wait,” said Woo Dong-suk, an uncle of one of the students. “It’s been too long already. The bodies must be decayed. The parents’ only wish right now is to find the bodies before they are badly decomposed.”

    Nine crew members, including the ship’s captain plus two more who were arrested Tuesday, now face charges related to the disaster. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has condemned their actions as “akin to murder.”

    One crew member blamed the tilt of the ship for the failure to deploy the lifeboats as the ship was sinking last Wednesday. Crew members attempted to reach them, he said Tuesday. “But we slipped so we could not do that.”

    The captain, Lee Joon-seok, is also under heavy criticism for telling passengers to stay in their rooms while the Sewol sank.

    A series of funerals were held Tuesday for the high school students and a crew member who died in the ferry disaster. Of the more than 300 missing or dead, about 250 are students from a high school in Ansan, just south of Seoul.

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    Photo by Jin Lee/Bloomberg

    Photo by Jin Lee/Bloomberg

    You can already view Netflix on your TV through an internet-connected device, but for some users shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange Is The New Black” will soon be one channel away.

    Netflix has signed a deal with three cable companies that will allow its subscribers to stream videos through its own ‘channel’ launching Monday.

    “If you’re an RCN customer, perhaps in the D.C. area you would pick up your remote control, you could tune to Channel 450, and there you’d find Netflix,” chief marketing officer for Atlantic Broadband David Isenberg told The Washington Post. “You’d select it and that’ll launch the Netflix app. Literally, watching Netflix is as easy a changing the channel.”

    The new service could cover as many as 500,000 of RCN, Grande Communications and Atlantic Broadband’s consumers who have both TiVo boxes and a Netflix subscription. The number of customers reached could grow as subscribers choose to opt in.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

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

    Welcome, gentlemen.

    So, let’s start with the Supreme Court, David, this week upholding the right of Michigan citizens to say you can’t use race as a criteria in figuring out and deciding what students are admitted to the universities and colleges in that state.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: What did you make of that decision? And does it have a larger effect on the access of minorities to getting a higher education?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, first, what was striking about the decision was the personal nature of the fight between Sonia Sotomayor and John Roberts. It was unusual the way they sort of tallied with each other in somewhat personal terms.

    I am biased in favor of courts when they rule in deference to democratic procedures. And that’s more or less what happened. And my view is that when courts, whether you agree with the decision or not, whether it’s Roe v. Wade or this or some of the other cases, they tend to polarize an issue into a black-and-white solution, when democratic processes have the advantage of more flexibility and get some moderate solutions.

    So, I’m glad — I’m guess I’m glad they deferred to the democratic majority. Now, as for the — how it’s going to affect colleges, I do think we are already in an evolution. I think colleges are already moving away from race-based and toward more class-based systems.

    And the second thing they’re doing in particular is they’re recruiting more. And you can recruit. There are lots of places in African-American areas and Latino areas where there are a lot of very smart kids who just don’t apply. They don’t know, they don’t know the process, it doesn’t occur to them. They apply to some other schools.

    And so a school, say, the University of Michigan, can really — and I’m sure they are — much more heavily recruit. I know all the schools I’m affiliated with much more heavily recruiting to get the right kind of diversity you need through a different means. So I do think it’s possible to make up for diversity without some crude formula.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you read it, Mark?

    MARK SHIELDS: I think that the race-based affirmative action, the clock has run, I think, in terms of popular support and obviously in terms of court support.

    I do believe that Richard Kahlenberg, the Century Fund scholar who has argued that it ought based, affirmative action, on class, rather than race, or ethnicity or national origin, I think he is absolutely right.

    And I think this decision really raises his argument, which is if you really want diversity — the president made the case that his daughters, who are educationally advantaged, economically advantaged, certainly don’t — didn’t — would never need race as a consideration in their admissions to a school, and that the economic polarization in the country, the increasing gap between the well-off, and as college has become more expensive, I think the urgency of providing diversity economically, which will, of course, also include both racial and ethnic diversity as well, because they’re disproportionately disadvantaged.

    But I think, to me, is the mission for those who seek a pluralistic society.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You don’t think, David, this sends a signal to minorities, minority kids and their parents that it’s just — it’s harder and might as well not even apply to some of these schools that are tougher to get into?

    DAVID BROOKS: No, it depends on the posture of the schools.

    I don’t think people are going to make a decision on whether I should apply to the University of Michigan or Princeton or Michigan State or Southwest Illinois on the basis of what the Supreme Court says. It’s whether the school itself goes out and makes the effort.

    And so if the schools are heavily recruiting, then that’s a positive signal. Now, the difficulty is, it’s one thing to talk about Princeton and Stanford doing class-based, because they can afford anything. There are a lot — most — 95 percent of the schools in this country cannot afford to do that.

    And so the formula — I think the formula in the future is heavily recruiting in poorer areas and more international kids to pay for them. The international kids pay full freight. And so you can work it out, but it becomes tougher for schools that don’t have the amazing resources.

    MARK SHIELDS: Just one political point, Judy. That is, by a 2-1 margin, voters favor giving advantage, affirmative action for economically deprived, I mean, the child of the single mom who is working two jobs.

    And by a 2-1 margin, they oppose affirmative action based upon race, ethnicity or national origin. So I think, at some point, popular support does become crucial in this argument. And I think, to me, that’s the case to be made for those who favor a pluralistic and giving disadvantaged children an opportunity at higher education is economic-based.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Guns. The governor of Georgia this week signed one of the most expansive gun rights laws in the country.

    Among other places, you can now take a gun in Georgia into a bar, an airport, a church, a school under certain circumstances. David — a church, we say, when the congregation allows it.

    At the same time, the NRA is meeting, kind of celebrating how well it’s done in getting a lot of gun rights laws loosened around the country. What does all this say about the success of the gun rights organizations and, frankly, the inability of the gun control folks to work their will even in the aftermath of Newtown?

    DAVID BROOKS: First, one of the oddities of the NRA position is they want to have a more national system of conceal-carry, which is a total violation of any conservative principle of federalism. It’s an amazing act that…


    DAVID BROOKS: It’s a reminder that whenever we talk about federalism and process, it’s all opportunistic. Nobody actually has principled beliefs about these things.

    It’s not only the NRA. They have a base. It’s very useful to have a base of support that’s spread everywhere and that’s decentralized and passionate, because they come at politicians at every district. And my view is, if you look at the polling, a majority of Americans support tighter gun laws.

    But, if you look at the passion, a majority of passionate people on the NRA side. And then they’re just dispersed. A lot of people who are most passionate about controlling guns are in a few metro areas. And it’s just a huge advantage to be dispersed around the country where you can hit pressure points at a lot of points. NRA takes full advantage of that.

    MARK SHIELDS: CBS/New York Times poll, Judy, do you favor a federal background check on all gun owners, 85-12 in favor of it. Among gun owners, it’s 84-14 in favor of it, among Republicans, 84-13.

    So, it does — it comes down to intensity and it comes down to political experience. Colorado passed, after two terrible tragedies at Aurora and Columbine, the theater and the high school, they passed a gun background check and a limit of 15 rounds to a magazine, 15 rounds to a magazine. That’s what passed. And they had two Democratic senators, including the state Senate president, who was a former police chief, recalled — first time in the history of Colorado they have been recalled from office.

    Another senator facing recall resigned, so that the Democratic Party could fill her position. So, I mean, this sends a ripple effect. David’s point about intensity is the key. I mean, last week, we saw the pipeline decision. There is a majority — not anywhere approaching these numbers — in favor of building the pipeline, but those who are most opposed to the pipeline do so with greater intensity and with bigger checkbooks and with greater political activism and urgency.


    One other point on how NRA has changed Washington. It used to be there were a lot of groups that would compromise. They would say, OK, that’s reasonable. We will accept that, but we won’t go this far. The NRA position is never — has been always no compromise. You want to take away our bazookas? No way. I’m exaggerated a little bit.

    And that model has worked. And, as a result, a lot of other interest groups have now adopted that model. We won’t give you an inch on anything, even no matter how reasonable it may be.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Following the NRA’s success — success.

    DAVID BROOKS: Success under this model.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I don’t know how much guns may or may not be an issue in these races, but there was a poll this week in four Senate races in the South, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Arkansas, that showed the Democrat who was perceived to be in trouble in these races not in as bad shape as people had thought.

    David, is there something — are Democrats — is this a blip, I guess is the question, or might Democrats be in a stronger position when it comes to these Senate races this November?

    DAVID BROOKS: I think two things are true. There are a number of Republicans I have had recently tell me, I wonder if we peaked too soon, that the intensity in health care, some of the other stuff, they were stronger a few months ago than it is. There’s been some movement on the health care law, and so maybe that.

    I still think the fundamental structure of this midterm election is very positive toward Republicans, the president’s unapproval rating. And when people start focusing, I think it is going to be a tough year for Democrats. But you have got some good candidates in some of those states. I think Georgia is one of them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right, and actually not in this poll. But there are…

    DAVID BROOKS: OK, well, but there are some good Democratic candidates.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Michelle Nunn.

    DAVID BROOKS: And — but I guess I’m — I would want to see a bunch more polls, even though it was the sainted New York Times poll, which I…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Which I left out. Thank you.


    MARK SHIELDS: Judy, I dissent.

    I think that it may very well have — start to run its course on this argument on health care. I mean, you can’t say it’s a total failure when you have got millions signing up in the numbers they have. The reality that the preexisting condition and kids staying on to the age of 26 and no caps, a family not going into bankruptcy because of an illness, that’s become a reality.

    And the Republicans have nothing. They really — and so I think the argument, repair, fix, correct, rather than repeal, really is starting to get some traction. I’m not saying it’s a majority position, but it’s taken Democrats out of a defensive crouch, and I think in those states, and I would add that they are — I mean, Mark Pryor, his dad, David, was a successful governor, congressman, senator. He himself has run successfully in a state that has become increasingly Republican.

    Mary Landrieu’s dad was a liberal, known, well-known national mayor of…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Louisiana, right.

    MARK SHIELDS: … of Louisiana — of New Orleans. Her brother’s mayor now. She has won in tough times. Kay Hagan — these are pretty good candidates.

    These are pretty good candidates. And I agree that the overall climate is still favorable to the Republicans in 2014. But I just think the Democrats have kind of gotten themselves up off the canvas.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, one of the things you’re hearing is that these Democrats are running very tough ads against their Republican challengers, and it’s paying off, at least early in this cycle.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And I would pay particular attention to that North Carolina race, that second race.


    DAVID BROOKS: If you want to know which way the Senate goes, sort of that North Carolina race would be the one.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is Kay Hagan.

    MARK SHIELDS: And they’re following, you will notice, the pattern created by Harry Reid in Nevada, where they advertised in the Republican primary against the leading candidate, hoping to draw the equivalent of Christine O’Donnell or Todd Akin in November.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we — nothing but good examples set here.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you both.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Some four centuries after the death of William Shakespeare, London’s Globe Theatre is launching a plan to take the playwright’s tale of a tormented prince around the world.

    Jeff is back with more on that.

    KENNETH BRANAGH, Actor: To be or not to be.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Famous words, famous play, the most famous playwright in the English language.

    William Shakespeare wrote “Hamlet” in the early 17th century, shortly after his acting company, Lord Chamberlain’s Men, moved into the Globe playhouse. In 1997, a reconstructed theater opened on the Thames River as Shakespeare’s Globe.

    Now the ambitious plan is to take “Hamlet” to every country on Earth over the next two years, a project that began in London on Wednesday, Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

    I talked earlier today to the Globe’s artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole.

    Thanks for joining us.

    In announcing this, you yourself said it was a — quote — “lunatic idea.” So the first question, of course, why do it?

    DOMINIC DROMGOOLE, Artistic Director, Shakespeare’s Globe: Why not?

    All of the best ideas are a little bit mad. Two years ago, we did a very, very crazy idea, a festival where we invited 37 countries from all across the world to come and do the complete works of Shakespeare, all in their own languages, as a six-week festival. That was crazy enough.

    But we wanted to cap that and we wanted to go a little bit further and to celebrate Shakespeare, celebrate the international reach of Shakespeare, but also to cement a lot of relationships that we had formed when we did that festival and see if we could start a whole lot of new relationships as well.

    And when you come up with the idea that, you know, it’s a bold idea, it’s a stupid idea, it’s a happy idea, and they sort of have their own logic, those ideas.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, I think we’re used to the idea of universal themes in Shakespeare, but what specifically in “Hamlet” do you think speaks to everyone? What do you want it to say all over the world?

    DOMINIC DROMGOOLE: Well, the great thing about “Hamlet” is that it’s always challenging.

    Hamlet says that time is out of joint, and he’s a man who’s got a sensibility that doesn’t fit in his own age. He’s troubled by a sense of modernity in an age that doesn’t particularly understand him. And that makes sense everywhere. That makes sense in England at the moment, where a lot of people, whether they’re young or old or whoever they are, feel a sense of dissatisfaction, a sense of discontent, a sense that they don’t understand the world around them.

    This is true in America, I’m sure, and it’s true in a lot of different places that are in a very different historical moment and in a very different political situation.

    So “Hamlet” is always challenging, it’s always provoking, it’s always troubling, but it can also inspire, and it can also console. So it’s a sort of gloriously variable, protean play that can cope with a whole collection of different situations. And it’s beautiful and it’s a great story.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The themes may be universal, but the language isn’t, the setting of the play isn’t, the politics of these countries are different. Have you thought about how you overcome those challenges?

    DOMINIC DROMGOOLE: Yes, it’s challenges that we faced when we did this festival a couple of years ago. We had a lot of hot issues to handle. We had a lot of objections to us bringing a lot of the different countries.

    There was one group of people that objected to us bringing Israel. Another group of people objected to us bringing Palestine. And we were determined that we would have both of those countries within our festival.

    And it’s that spirit of inclusion, rather than exclusion, that we’re following with this. We don’t want to sort of start saying, you qualify for Shakespeare, you qualify for “Hamlet,” you don’t, because we don’t feel we have the right to do that. I think that every country in the world, every group of people in the world has an equal right to “Hamlet.”

    And I think “Hamlet” can be of equal benefit for all of them. So there will be challenges, but, you know, we like challenges. You can’t be put off by those things. You have got to be inspired by those things.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, going to every country means going into some different places, of course, Syria, the Central African Republic, and many others.

    What about the physical challenge of performing in such situations?

    DOMINIC DROMGOOLE: Well, we have got to be very careful.

    We have got to be sensible. And we’re not doing it out of a spirit of recklessness. But I think that, you know, if we can get into every place, if we can find a way, whether it’s through dealing with NGOs, whether it’s through going to refugee camps, or whatever it is, we do want to get in every country, because we want to celebrate the ability of everybody to enjoy this fantastic and beautiful play.

    JEFFREY BROWN: I understand you’re going to Ukraine at a particularly important moment. Tell us about that.


    No, I think we’re going to be in Kiev in four or five weeks’ time, just the night before the election. We will be playing in a theater, and we’re also going to try and do a short show in Maidan Square, where a lot of the protesting was going on. And it will be thrilling. That’s when theater is at its most exciting and best, when it can talk to a people who are in a very current and very live political moment. So it will be a real privilege.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, this is a two-year project.

    DOMINIC DROMGOOLE: Two years, yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You have got the actors, the crew, the money to pull this off?

    DOMINIC DROMGOOLE: Yes. No, we have already started. We have done two shows, one at Middle Temple Hall. We have done one at the Globe itself. On Sunday, we get on a boat and we sail off to Holland, which is our first stop.

    No, I mean, we could always do with more money. There’s a Kickstarter campaign that we’re running, if anybody wants to help us along the way, but we’re comfortable we’re going to be able to manage it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Dominic Dromgoole is the artistic director of the Globe Theatre in London.

    Thanks so much, and good luck.

    DOMINIC DROMGOOLE: Pleasure. Thank you very much.

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    Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images.

    Credit Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — A White House review of how the government and private sector use large sets of data has found that such information could be used to discriminate against Americans on issues such as housing and employment even as it makes their lives easier in many ways.

    “Big data” is everywhere.

    It allows mapping apps to ping cellphones anonymously and determine, in real time, what roads are the most congested. But it also can be used to target economically vulnerable people.

    Federal laws have not kept up with the rapid development of technology in a way that would shield people from discrimination.

    The review, expected to be released within the next week, is the Obama administration’s first attempt at addressing the vast landscape of challenges, beyond national security and consumer privacy, posed by technological advancements.

    President Barack Obama requested the review in January, when he called for changes to some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs that amass large amounts of data belonging to Americans and foreigners.

    The technology that enabled those programs also enables others used in the government and the private sector. The White House separately has reviewed the NSA programs and proposed changes to rein in the massive collection of Americans’ phone records and emails.

    “It was a moment to step back and say, `Does this change our basic framework or our look at the way we’re dealing with records and privacy,’” Obama’s counselor, John Podesta, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

    “With the rapidity of the way technology changes, it’s going to be hard to imagine what it’s going to look like a generation from now. But at least we can look out over the horizon and say, `Here are the trends. What do we anticipate the likely policy issues that it raises?’”

    Podesta led the 90-day review, along with some of Obama’s economic and science advisers. The goal, Podesta said, was to assess whether current laws and policies about privacy are sufficient.

    But an unexpected concern emerged during White House officials’ meetings with business leaders and privacy advocates: how big data could be used to target consumers and lead to discriminatory practices.

    Civil rights leaders, for example, raised in discussions with the White House the issue of employers who use data to map where job applicants live and then rate them based on that, particularly in low-paying service jobs.

    “While big data is revolutionizing commerce and government for the better, it is also supercharging the potential for discrimination,” said Wade Henderson, president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

    Some employers might worry that if an applicant lives far enough away from a job, he or she may not stay in the position for long. As more jobs move out of the city and into the suburbs, this could create a hiring system based on class.

    “You’re essentially being dinged for a job for really arbitrary characteristics,” said Chris Calabrese, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. “Use of this data has a real impact on peoples’ lives.”

    The civil rights advocates could not offer specific examples of such injustices, but instead talked about how the data could be used in a discriminatory way.

    Federal employment laws don’t address this nuanced tactic, Calabrese said. Similarly, anti-discrimination laws for housing make it illegal to target customers based on credit reports. But the laws don’t address the use of other data points that could group people into clusters based on information gleaned from social media.

    For instance, companies sell data amassed from social media sites that clumps people into clusters, such as the “Ethnic Second-City Struggler” category. A bank could target people who posted something on social media about losing a job as a likely candidate for a high-interest loan. The idea is that a person who lost a job may be behind on mortgage payments and might be open to a high-interest loan to help get out of a bind, Calabrese said.

    “You are individually targeted for a loan based on inclusion on one of these lists and get a high interest rate. That is in spite of the fact that if you walked in off the street you might qualify for a lower rate. You never know that you are being targeted individually since you just click on an ad on the side of a website,” Calabrese explained. “That is the discrimination.”

    Jennifer Barrett Glasglow, chief privacy officer for data broker Acxiom, said her company in Little Rock, Ark., screens clients before selling them data to help ensure that the data will be used appropriately and not for discriminatory reasons.

    She also said a discriminatory offer can be made without Acxiom data.

    “We’ve got to be careful that we don’t go after the data itself,” she said.

    Glasglow said the “Ethnic Second-City Struggler” category can be very effective for reaching communities in need, such as for advertising a sale or an offer that provides more affordable services. Glasglow said consumers can report what they believe to be unfair practices to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    “Let’s go after the people engaged in bad practices,” she said.

    The concept of putting people into categories, or “segmenting,” for marketing purposes is not new, said Eric Siegel, an expert in predictive analytics, which is the art of determining what to do with data on behaviors ranging from shopping habits to criminal activity.

    Few dispute that there are lots of good reasons to use big data.

    “There’s been a push by the administration to say that these are important tools, and the ability to apply analytics to that data is important for a whole range of issues from health care to education to public safety,” Podesta said.

    It can help communities be more efficient.

    A New York data-analysis operation under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed the city to pinpoint properties with a higher risk of deadly fires by analyzing fire department data in conjunction with data on illegal housing complaints and foreclosures.

    The federal government recently announced an initiative to provide private companies and local governments with better access to climate data. This data could help communities and developers decide where not to build based on predictions about sea levels.

    Political campaigns, particularly the 2012 presidential campaign, rely on large data sets to target specific donors who might be able to deliver the most cash. Those kinds of analyses led to a multibillion-dollar haul in contributions, the most expensive White House run in history.

    Nuala O’Connor, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said there needs to be more transparency in how companies are using this data, and that means updating some laws.

    One is the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act of 1986. Podesta said he will recommend an update to that law, which governs how the government can access private communications for law enforcement purposes. This is something privacy advocates and some members of Congress have long sought.

    “There are certainly gaps in the law,” O’Connor said, speaking broadly. “The technology is outpacing regulatory and legislative change.”

    Associated Press writer Jack Gillum contributed to this report.

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    Screenshot 2014-04-10 11.11.01

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    OPERATOR: 911, What’s your emergency?

    CALLER: I’d like to report a robbery.

    AMANDA PIKE: This may look like a typical satellite map, but you’re actually watching a crime unfold.

    CALLER: He just snatched my mom’s chain away from her and just ran off.

    AMANDA PIKE: A robbery on a residential street in Compton, California. On the left a man is about to steal a necklace from a woman on the sidewalk.

    DOUG IKETANI: Yeah, I remember this call. It was basically your typical middle-aged woman walking down the street with a friend of hers having a conversation, a young male approaches her, he reaches out, grabs her chain off her neck, runs down the street and disappears.

    AMANDA PIKE: Doug Iketani is a sergeant with the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

    DOUG IKETANI: In traditional policing, we won’t be able to solve these types of crimes. 99 percent of the time we’re not going to find anybody.

    AMANDA PIKE: But the Sheriff’s department wasn’t just relying on traditional policing. For almost two weeks in 2012, it watched Compton from the sky, testing a new technology called wide area surveillance — unbeknownst to residents on the ground.

    DOUG IKETANI: The system was kinda kept confidential from everybody in the public. A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the big brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we, basically, kept it pretty “hush, hush.”

    AMANDA PIKE: The array of cameras on the aircraft that flew over Compton can record high-resolution images of a 25-square mile area for up to six hours. It can track every person and vehicle on the ground, beaming back the pictures in real time.

    It’s city-wide surveillance on an unprecedented scale.

    ROSS MCNUTT: What we essentially do is a live version of google earth only with a full TIVO capability, it allows us to rewind time and go back and see events that we didn’t know occurred at the time they occurred.

    AMANDA PIKE: Ross McNutt is the President of Dayton, Ohio-based persistent surveillance systems, the company that ran the test in compton.

    McNutt developed a similar system in the Air Force that was used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    ROSS MCNUTT: It was at the height of the IED problem. And our objective was to be able to follow the bombers from where the bomb went off back to the house where they were building the bombs and be able to use that.

    Towards the end of the time when the system was deployed we looked at it and said, hey, there’s some real law enforcement applications to this.

    AMANDA PIKE: McNutt redesigned the original system to make it affordable for local law enforcement.

    He has tested the technology in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Dayton, where he says it provided police with useful leads on shootings, armed robberies, and narcotics cases.

    The LA county sheriff’s department chose Compton as a test site, because it’s a compact city with a high crime rate.

    ROSS MCNUTT: We literally watched all of Compton during the time that we’re flying anywhere within that whole area, we can zoom down live or after the fact to resolutions just barely to be able to follow people.

    DOUG IKETANI: My first initial thought was like “Oh, big brother – we’re going to have a camera flying over us.”

    But with the wide-area surveillance, you would have the ability to solve a lot of the unsolvable crimes with no witnesses, no videotaped surveillance, no fingerprints.

    AMANDA PIKE:  From a mobile command center, McNutt monitored 911 calls – like the robbery call you heard earlier.

    ROSS MCNUTT: There had been a rash of crimes in Compton with people getting necklaces snatched. so the LA Sheriff’s Department asked us to investigate this.

    DOUG IKETANI (in car): This is where the robbery occurred he’s just walking down the street she thinks he’s just a regular pedestrian, doesn’t notice anything about him. Grabs the necklace off of her neck, runs down the street.

    ROSS MCNUTT: We went to the address and we watched it and what we saw was somebody getting out of a car here. And then the person walks down the street here, while the car circles around to the other side of the block. And what you have is a person walking down the road there and in just a moment here is where the necklace is stolen. Right there. And then the person is going to run off quickly to get into the car, back into the car that was driven around the block and we can follow that person off.

    AMANDA PIKE:  The system doesn’t have the resolution to identify license plates or people. A person is just a pixel. Analysts track the car and rely on cameras at traffic lights or gas stations to capture a close-up image.

    In this case, the suspects eventually drove out of camera range without being identified. But Iketani says the experiment still gave police some valuable leads.

    DOUG IKETANI (in car): Now we know that that car was involved. so that way our deputies can start monitoring those streets and maybe they’ll see that car driving by with the two bad guys in there and maybe we can stop them and arrest them.

    AMANDA PIKE:  So far, no police department has purchased the system which McNutt says costs under $4 million — less than one police helicopter.

    Iketani says the technology doesn’t provide the kind of detailed images that would hold up in court.

    DOUG IKETANI: It was a great experiment, but in the end, the resolution just wasn’t there for us to use it on a day-to-day basis.

    AMANDA PIKE:  While some officers say the resolution isn’t sharp enough, privacy advocates worry that wide area surveillance is already too powerful.

    JENNIFER LYNCH: i think it’s a huge concern. I think it’s another example of technology advancing and completely outpacing the development of the law.

    AMANDA PIKE: Jennifer Lynch is an attorney with the electronic frontier foundation, a civil liberties organization based in san francisco.

    JENNIFER LYNCH: If you ask law enforcement if what they’re doing is legal, they will say we have no expectation of privacy in public, as we travel around in public but the ability to backtrack through time to map a car going from one location to another is completely different because with surveillance camera that can capture 25 square miles, it’s capturing a lot of people’s activity who aren’t doing anything wrong, who are innocent citizens. That’s a problem.

    AMANDA PIKE: McNutt believes that persistent surveillance could lead to a lasting drop in crime, but acknowledges privacy concerns.

    ROSS MCNUTT: There is a trade off between security and some aspects of privacy. By the fact that we’re actually able to provide useful information about multiple crimes per mission and contribute to solving everything from murders to- in the case you saw- a necklace snatch, that allows us to provide more security with less loss of privacy than any of the other options that are out there.

    DOUG IKETANI: I’m sure that people once they find out that this experiment went on they might be a little upset but knowing that we can’t see into their bedroom windows, we can’t see into their pools, we can’t see into their showers, you know, I’m sure they’ll be ok with it.

    With the amount of technology out in today’s age, with cameras on ATMs, every 7/11, every supermarket, pretty much every light pole, all the license plate cameras, the red light cameras, people have just gotten used to being watched, for the most part.

    AMANDA PIKE: For now, deputies are back to patrolling the streets of Compton from the ground.

    DOUG IKETANI: We’re sticking with our traditional policing techniques and tactics- just boots in the ground- driving around the neighborhoods, stopping the bad guys and waving on the good folks.

    AMANDA PIKE:  In the meantime, McNutt continues to pitch his technology to police departments across the country. In a few years he hopes to double the system’s range, to watch over larger cities like San Francisco or Washington DC with wide-area surveillance.



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    WASHINGTON — The once and perhaps future presidential candidate Rick Santorum has lots of policy ideas for fellow Republicans seeking public office.

    TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum gestures as he walks on stage during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on stage at the Republican National Convention in August, 2012. Santorum has said he is undecided as to whether he will run for president in the upcoming election cycle. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    He’s just not sure he’ll be one of those hopefuls ever again.

    “Yeah, I don’t know if I can do this. It’s just tough,” Santorum said about another White House run.

    The former Pennsylvania senator tells The Associated Press in an interview that he isn’t ruling out a 2016 candidacy.

    But, he says, there are plenty of reasons why he wouldn’t do it.

    He is enjoying a second career as a movie studio executive. His daughter’s health remains a concern.

    And, Santorum writes in a new book, he can help shape his party’s future from offstage.

    In the interview, Santorum said the GOP will struggle to win races unless candidates came up with policies that help working Americans.

    Victories will be tough, he said, unless elected officials stop being obstructionists.

    Santorum said the libertarian streak running through his party distorts the definition of freedom, and that politicians wrongly look to President Ronald Reagan’s policies to address today’s challenges.

    Then there’s Santorum’s slap at Republicans who demonize social welfare programs.

    “Do Republicans really care less about the person at the bottom of the ladder than Democrats do? To be painfully honest, I would have to say in some ways `yes,’” Santorum writes in his book, “Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works.”

    The tough talk raises questions about Santorum’s viability in what could be a crowded 2016 primary field.

    Also, he’s not rushing to camp out in early nominating Iowa or New Hampshire again.

    “A while. A year at least, probably,” he said of his timeline to decide on a 2016 bid.

    Santorum ran an upstart campaign in 2012, surviving long enough to be Mitt Romney’s last remaining rival. He struggled to raise money or support among establishment-minded Republicans, but his socially conservative profile drew enough backing for Santorum to pick up victories in 11 states.

    Even in victory, his disorganized campaign cost him, including failing to qualify for the ballot in Virginia.

    “We cannot run the campaign we ran last time if we run this time,” Santorum said.

    How Republicans win is the focus of Santorum’s latest book, to be released Monday.

    Santorum offers ideas on energy, education, the economy and health care. It comes across as part think tank policy paper, part campaign playbook and part communications advice on how to connect with working-class voters.

    For instance, Republicans should not focus exclusively on business leaders and “job creators” and should speak to employees, Santorum said.

    Anxiety among those voters remains high, and Republicans have for too long talked to the top earners and not the workers.

    “A rising tide lifts all boats – unless your boat has a hole in it. A lot of Americans, we’ve got holes in our boats,” Santorum said. “Millions and millions of Americans (are) out there who want good lives but have holes in their boats. … They just see the water level going up and their boat sinking.”

    That’s why, he argues, candidates need to put forward policies to help those voters.

    “I’m looking at 2014 and I’m thinking the Republican Party is heading toward No-ville, which is `we’re against this, we’re against that, we’re against this.’ We’re not painting a positive vision for America,” Santorum said in the interview.

    After the 2012 campaign, he signed on as CEO of EchoLight Studies, which produces movies rooted in faith and family.

    “I saw an opportunity to do something in the space where we need to have movies that have a faith message in them that are better than the movies that have been done,” Santorum said.

    At home, 5-year-old daughter Bella keeps Santorum busy. She has a genetic disorder, Trisomy 18, which causes brain, heart and internal organ developmental abnormalities. Almost all children die within the first year of life.

    Bella turns 6 in May and the senator is at work on a book about his daughter. Her difficult nights have sometimes kept Santorum at her bedside.

    Santorum said family issues would drive his decision to run or not, and Bella would be a key factor.

    His other six other children, Santorum said, are “all very open to dad doing this again.”

    But Santorum isn’t rushing into anything. A primary might feature the libertarian wing of the party, led in part by two prominent tea partyers, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas.

    “There’s a strain within the Republican Party now that smacks of the no-government conservatism,” Santorum said. “That wasn’t Ronald Regan. It wasn’t Teddy Roosevelt. It wasn’t Abraham Lincoln. It wasn’t any Republican that I’m aware of. It wasn’t Calvin Coolidge. And yet there seems to be this creation of this strain of conservatism that has no basis in conservatism.”

    Santorum said Republicans should respect Reagan, but he doubted the former president would offer the same policies today that he did during the 1970s and 1980s.

    Santorum also includes plenty of incendiary rhetoric in his book that he acknowledges could haunt him should he run again.

    In addition to the sentence about Republicans and social safety nets, Santorum writes that poor voters “took their lie about sex without consequences as gospel” and calls climate change a “hyped-up crisis.”

    Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter.

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    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — President Barack Obama is hopscotching through China’s neighborhood with a carefully calibrated message for Beijing, trying both to counter and court.

    US President Barack Obama (C) inspects the Royal Malay Regiment Guard of Honour during a welcoming ceremony at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur on April 26, 2014.  Obama arrived in Malaysia for a visit aimed at energising relations with the predominantly Muslim nation and re-focusing an Asian tour repeatedly distracted by foreign-policy crises elsewhere.       AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN        (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama attends a welcoming ceremony at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur on April 26. During his visit to Asia, Obama has signaled that American military power can blunt Chinese aggression in the region. Credit: Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images

    During visits to U.S. allies, Obama has signaled that American military power can blunt Chinese aggression in the Asia-Pacific region, even as he urges Beijing to use its growing clout to help resolve international disputes with Russia and North Korea.

    The dual tracks underscore Beijing’s outsized importance to Obama’s four-country swing through Asia, even though China is absent from his itinerary.

    The president opened a long-awaited visit to Malaysia on Saturday, following stops in Japan and South Korea, and ahead of a visit to the Philippines.

    Obama’s trip comes at a tense time for the region, where China’s aggressive stance in territorial disputes has its smaller neighbors on edge.

    There also are continued questions about the White House’s commitment to a greater U.S. focus on Asia. In an affirmation, Obama is expected to sign a security agreement with the Philippines clearing the way for an increased American troop presence there.

    In Tokyo, Obama asserted that a treaty obligating the U.S. to defend Japan would apply if Beijing makes a move on a string of islands in the East China Sea that Japan administers but China also claims.

    Yet at times, the president has tempered his tough talk in an attempt to avoid antagonizing Beijing.

    To the chagrin of the Japanese, Obama said the U.S. would not pick sides in the sovereignty claims at the heart of the region’s territorial disputes. He repeatedly declared that the U.S. is not asking Asian allies to choose between a relationship with Washington and Beijing.

    “I think there’s enormous opportunities for trade, development, working on common issues like climate change with China,” Obama said during a news conference in Tokyo. “But what we’ve also emphasized – and I will continue to emphasize throughout this trip – is that all of us have responsibilities to help maintain basic rules of the road and an international order.”

    U.S. officials see Russia’s provocations in Ukraine and North Korea’s nuclear threats as tests of China’s willingness to take on more responsibility in enforcing global norms.

    Cut off from most of the world economy, North Korea is deeply dependent on Chinese trade and assistance, giving Beijing enormous leverage. The U.S. and its allies, including South Korea, have pressed China to wield that influence more aggressively with the North, which is threatening to launch a fourth nuclear test.

    “China’s influence in North Korea is indeed huge,” South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Friday during Obama’s visit to Seoul.

    Beijing has a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and has supported some efforts to penalize North Korea, but has not taken sweeping unilateral actions to choke off the North’s economy.

    As with North Korea, the crisis in Ukraine has again put Obama in the position of asking China to prioritize international order over its own close relationship with Moscow.

    China and Russia frequently join forces as a counterweight to the West. But in the face of Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, the Obama administration has sought to temper Beijing’s support for Putin by appealing to China’s traditional aversion to foreign meddling in domestic affairs.

    The White House has little expectation that China will fully abandon the Kremlin and join with Western nations in levying sanctions on Russia. U.S. officials are hoping China will at least avoid making overt gestures of support for Russia’s actions, and were heartened when China abstained in a Security Council vote condemning Moscow.

    Analysts say Obama can maintain a China policy that both looks to Beijing for help while also trying to counter its rise, but only if the dividing line between those positions remains clear.

    “If you are consistent, they’ll be willing to have you push them occasionally on things that are sensitive or where there are areas of dispute,” Chris Johnson, a China scholar at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of Beijing’s leaders. “It’s where you’re not consistent and they’re not sure what you’re going to do next that causes them a great amount of consternation.”

    China will factor into Obama’s meetings in Southeast Asia, given that Beijing has territorial disputes with both Malaysia and the Philippines. Obama had planned to visit both countries in October, but canceled the trip due to a government shutdown in Washington.

    Obama’s visit to Malaysia is the first by an American president since Lyndon B. Johnson traveled here more than four decades ago. Obama was feted by Malaysia’s royal family at a state dinner Saturday night and had meetings planned Sunday with the prime minister and young Southeast Asian leaders.

    Absent from Obama’s schedule in Malaysia: a meeting with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who presents the most potent political threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak amid a decline in Najib’s popular support over the past two elections.

    The U.S. spurned calls from human rights groups for the president himself to meet with the 66-year-old former deputy prime minister, but was instead sending Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser and former U.N. ambassador, to see with him.

    Anwar recently was convicted for the second time on sodomy charges that the U.S. and international human rights groups deem politically motivated. Anwar is appealing, and could be forced to give up his seat in parliament and go to prison if he loses.

    Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

    The post In Asia, Obama carefully calibrates message to Beijing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    ALISON STEWART:  Major Silicon Valley tech companies including Apple, Adobe, Google and Intel have settled a huge class action lawsuit alleging they colluded not to go after each others’ employees, effectively holding down salaries. The settlement reportedly was for about $325 million. For more about this, we are joined by Arik Hesseldahl. He’s a senior editor at Re/code.

    So that’s the headline, Arik.

    Let’s get into the nitty gritty details. How many workers are we talking about? What did they allege these companies did? Did one CEO call up another and say don’t hire my guy?

    ARIK HESSELDAHL: Yeah, what we’re talking about is about 64,000 people who joined the class in this lawsuit, and it was the companies that you mentioned, and what we’re talking about is essentially an unwritten agreement, kind of a quiet understanding between Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt when he was CEO of Google and Paul Otellini when he was CEO of Intel and some of the others. And engineers are essentially the key people in a lot of these things. And you know the job competition is very fierce. And so there were especially colorful emails that had emerged as evidence in the trial, and I think the companies didn’t want to see those emails exposed. I mean they’ve been exposed, but there would have been a lot more, I think, information, a lot more disclosures that would have been just as colorful.

    ALISON STEWART:  Is that why this was settled?

    ARIK HESSELDAHL:  I think so. I think this is being described as kind of a bargain. The plaintiffs were seeking three billion dollars and had they prevailed it would have allowed trouble damages so that would have made it nine billion dollars. It’s money that those companies could afford. They all collectively have more than 200 billion dollars in cash on their balance sheets, but you know you don’t want to have to pay that kind of money. So, but I was surprised by the amount. I mean it actually works out to just a few thousand dollars per employee. The lawyers will take a cut, about nine million for their expenses and fees. And then the lead plaintiffs will probably make, get back some larger payments, but you know most of the people who are members of the class will, a few thousand dollars.

    ALISON STEWART:  But it isn’t kind of a principal of the thing? You have very, very talented people in the tech center who want to be paid for their talent. And essentially what these companies allegedly did was saying we’re not necessarily going to pay you for your talent.

    ARIK HESSELDAHL:  Exactly. What it ultimately did, these companies are always first to talk about how quickly they want to work in an unfettered marketplace and not have any extra regulation holding them down, and yet, you know, through this kind of, the evidence that’s been shown so far at least showed that they colluded to not extend that same courtesy to their own employees. And the long-term effect was that it had the effect of holding down their salaries. And so, that is now, now the Justice Department was the one that first brought this to light. They brought an investigation in 2009, and they settled in 2010. So these companies have been arguing, have been operating under sort of a – I wouldn’t call it a consent degree, but it’s kind of an agreement without any financial penalties that they would not do this. There’s no poaching policy is enforced. It expires in 2015, but what I think it’s going to mean is that there may be some, may be some higher wages. I mean it’s much more free work place, move between work places for these employees.

    ALISON STEWART:  This comes at an interesting time for Silicon Valley which has experienced a bit of a backlash. We’ve heard about the protests in front of the busses that ferry people to the various campuses of these big companies, reports about people having their 1500-hundred dollar Google Glasses ripped off of their faces, Smart Cars being overturned in California. It’s what Wired magazine, an op-ed, I’m going to read this headline to you: “Silicon Valley Needs to Lose the Arrogance or Risk Destruction.” Overstated or is it really a problem?

    ARIK HESSELDAHL:  There is a social moment. There is a big political moment. Sensitivities are very high. And I think that’s another reason why these companies would probably rather settle and put this case to rest, and write a relatively small check. The appearances in light of this social and political moment that’s occurring right now. The optics would have just been absolutely devastating. The fact that, you know, that they had this unwritten agreement to basically hold down salaries.

    ALISON STEWART:  When the CEOs are making so much money. And the companies are making so much money.

    ARIK HESSELDAHL:  Precisely. Precisely.

    ALISON STEWART:  Arik Hesseldahl from Re/Code. Thanks so much.

    ARIK HESSELDAHL:  You bet.

    The post Tech companies settle wages lawsuit for $325 million appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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