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

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    newswrap

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The president’s remarks about the threat posed by the terrorist group known as the Islamic State prompted pushback in Washington today. At the same time, the group’s war for dominance in the Middle East threatened to spill over another border.

    Turkish tanks took up positions along the border today overlooking the besieged Syrian town of Kobani, where Islamic State forces are battling Kurdish fighters. Stray mortar shells landed inside Turkey, as thousands of Syrian Kurds escaped into that country.

    MAN (through interpreter): We fled from cruelty. The dogs of the Islamic State went into our village and destroyed our farming lands. Now we cross to Turkey. I hope Turkey will accept us. Otherwise, we will seek shelter from the Arabs.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. airstrikes hit Islamic State positions near Kobani over the weekend and again overnight.

    President Obama offered his explanation for the militants’ rapid advance in his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As for Syria, Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem addressed the U.N. General Assembly today and hinted at Assad regime supports for the airstrikes against Islamic State and other militants.

    WALID AL-MOALLEM, Syrian Foreign Minister (through interpreter): We believe that priority should be given to work on the concerted efforts of the international community to combat the terrorism of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qaida affiliates.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The al-Qaida-backed al-Nusra Front has fought the Syrian government and been at odds with Islamic State since it broke with al-Qaida last year. But now that both factions are being hit by airstrikes, al-Nusra’s leader warned on Sunday of retaliation against Western targets.

     ABU MOHAMMED AL-GOLANI, Al-Nusra (through interpreter): Muslims will not stand idly by and watch Muslims be bombed and killed in their countries while you are safe in yours. The price of war will not be paid by your leaders alone. You will pay the biggest price.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Despite such warnings, the White House gave no sign today of easing off the air campaign.

    We will delve deeper into what U.S. intelligence knew, and what it should have known, about the Islamic State challenge later in the program.

    Afghanistan inaugurated a new president today for the first time in a decade. Ashraf Ghani will head the new power-sharing government, succeeding Hamid Karzai. Ghani was sworn in at a ceremony in Kabul. He, in turn, swore in presidential rival Abdullah Abdullah as his chief executive. Ghani also made a new appeal for peace.

    PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI, Afghanistan (through interpreter): Fighting is not the solution to the political differences. We proved that political differences can be solved through political negotiations. Therefore, I call upon the oppositions of the government, especially the Taliban and others, to join political talks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Inauguration Day ceremony was marred by a suicide attack in Kabul minutes before Ghani was sworn in. It left seven people dead and blew out windows at a checkpoint near the city’s airport. Security forces flooded the scene. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

    New fighting erupted in part of Eastern Ukraine today, as rebels backed by Russia shelled Ukrainian troops at Donetsk. Officials said 12 people were killed, including seven Ukrainian soldiers, in the worst cease-fire violations in more than a week. Meanwhile, Russia warned that it will retaliate if the European Union or Ukraine pushes ahead with a free trade agreement.

    The prime minister of Israel painted Islamic State and the Palestinian group Hamas today as part of the same threat to humanity. Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the United Nations General Assembly and criticized leaders who praise attacks on Islamic State fighters, but condemn Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza. He called them branches of the same poisonous tree.

    BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel: As Hamas’ charter makes clear, Hamas’ immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas. And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Netanyahu also likened militant Islam to Nazism. And he blasted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for accusing Israel of carrying out — quote — “a war of genocide” in Gaza.

    California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law requiring colleges to define when someone consents to sex. The statute is the first in the nation and it calls for — quote — “an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement.”  It also mandates faculty training in handling complaints, plus student access to counseling and care. Opponents had argued it’s not the state’s business to define sexual consent.

    The nation’s leading pediatricians group recommended today that sexually active teenage girls use long-acting birth control. The American Academy of Pediatrics called for greater use of IUDs or hormonal implants to reduce pregnancy rates. The group still recommends condoms as well, both for birth control and to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

    Bank customers are shelling out more on fees than they were year ago. The Web site Bankrate.com reports that charges for using out-of-network ATMs jumped 5 percent, to a record $4.35 per transaction. Average overdraft fees were nearly $33. Banks have raised those fees to make up for federally imposed curbs on other fees.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 42 points to close at 17,071. The Nasdaq fell six points to close below 4,506. And the S&P 500 slipped five to finish under 1,978.

    The post News Wrap: Kabul suicide attack darkens Afghan presidential inauguration appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    impossiblechoice

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally tonight to California.

    We have partnered with inewsource, a San Diego-based journalism nonprofit, to take us inside special nursing home units where thousands of people live on life support. The state spends millions of dollars on this type of care designed to preserve life at all costs. Families often have high hopes for their loved ones to recover, but few ever will.

    Inewsource reporter Joanne Faryon reports on the impossible choice facing those families: when to let go.

    STEVE SIMMONS: Your husband. Your husband. You know me. You know me.

    JOANNE FARYON: Steve Simmons spends most evenings by his wife’s bedside.

    STEVE SIMMONS: Does that hurt? Does that hurt your ear?

    JOANNE FARYON: Rafaela Simmons is severely brain injured.

    STEVE SIMMONS: Squeeze my hand. Squeeze my hand if you love me.

    JOANNE FARYON: She has a feeding tube in her abdomen, a tracheotomy tube in her throat. She is unable to walk or talk or respond to the world around her.

    STEVE SIMMONS: Squeeze my hand. Squeeze my hand.

    JOANNE FARYON: She has lived in this nursing home for the past four years.

    STEVE SIMMONS: You can do it. Squeeze my hand.

    JOANNE FARYON: Rafaela is one of the 4,000 people living in units like this in California. On the books, they’re called subacute units, but among some doctors, they’re known as vent farms, because so many of the people who live here need ventilators just to breathe.

    The average age of these residents is 56. But there are units devoted just to children. They’re the end of the line, the place people go once medicine has saved them, but where there is little hope for recovery.

    Ed Kirkpatrick is the director of the Villa Coronado Nursing Home in San Diego County.

    ED KIRKPATRICK, Director, Villa Coronado Nursing Home: The drive in the system is to be able to repair and fix anything. And that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. We want that to happen. At what point, though, does it become futile?

    JOANNE FARYON: The Villa Coronado subacute unit is one the largest in California. Most of the 62 men and women here don’t react to people or stimuli, touch, sound, smell. They have not tasted food in years. Some have had strokes, others traumatic brain injuries, falls and fights, car and motorcycle crashes.

    STEVE SIMMONS: It was a beautiful day in February. It happened on Valentine’s Day 2010. And I loved riding my motorcycle.

    JOANNE FARYON: Steve wasn’t going very fast that Sunday morning. Rafaela was on the back of his bike when they were hit by a car. She was thrown.

    STEVE SIMMONS: But I don’t know how high she went. I don’t know at what angle she came down. My friend saw, but I told him, don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear.

    JOANNE FARYON: Like everyone on this unit, Rafaela needs constant care. She is turned to avoid bed sores. Her tubes are cleaned and flushed, and there is this, the routine suctioning. People with tracheotomies are unable to cough up mucus that gets trapped in their lungs.

    Dr. Ken Warm is Rafaela’s doctor.

    DR. KEN WARM, Villa Coronado Nursing Home: I feel it every time I see it, how frightening it would be to have a tube in my lungs, somebody is doing that to me, and I can’t move my arms to push it away. Reflecting on that can be horrifying.

    JOANNE FARYON: This level of care is expensive. It can range from about $500 a day to as much as $900, depending on the nursing home. Medi-Cal, a state program for the poor and disabled, pays for most of it, more than $630 million last year. That’s almost double over the past decade.

    The state of California established these units back in 1983 to save money. Keeping people on ventilators and feeding tubes is even more expensive in an intensive care unit than in a nursing home.

    Joan Teno is a professor at the Brown Medical School. She is an expert on medical care for the dying.

    DR. JOAN TENO, Brown Medical School: I was kind of shocked. I started looking at it and I thought, this is like a Robin Cook book. It’s like a vent farm.

    JOANNE FARYON: Robin Cook wrote “Coma,” a medical thriller about brain-dead patients being kept alive.

    Teno says the financial incentives in the medical system are aligned with doing more at the end of life, procedures and hospitalizations, rather than letting go.

    DR. JOAN TENO: We pay for another day in the ICU. We don’t pay for a physician to sit down and have that really difficult conversation with that family about, what would your mother want under these circumstances?

    JOANNE FARYON: Those conversations were politically dubbed as death panels in 2009 during the debate over the Affordable Care Act.

    Under the original health care proposal, doctors would have been paid to have end-of-life conversations with their patients. That provision was eventually removed from the health care bill. According to a recent Pew Research study, 66 percent of Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors should allow patients to die; 31 percent believe they should do everything medically possible to save lives in all cases.

    ED KIRKPATRICK: I have heard that so many times in my career, do everything, do everything. OK, we will.

    JOANNE FARYON: Often, people are making those decisions under duress, or they’re making it for someone who doesn’t have an advanced directive, a document stating their medical wishes.

    After the accident, Rafaela spent nearly a month in an ICU teetering between life and death. Doctors told Steve his wife would probably never recover and offered hospice. But a neurologist who was consulting on the case told Steve, Rafaela was a fighter.

    STEVE SIMMONS: He — he gave me a little bit of hope. He gave us hope.

    JOANNE FARYON: In California, a patient or their next of Ukrainian can stop treatment or disconnect life support at any time. They can even withhold food and water. But deciding whether a life is worth living, and making that decision for someone else, a parent or even a child, can be agonizing.

    WOMAN: Maria would throw them deliberately at their feet, so they would break.

    JOANNE FARYON: Some people on this ward have a progressive illness, like Maria Curcio. She was born with severe cerebral palsy.

    Nancy Curcio is Maria’s mother.

    NANCY CURCIO: She has the feeding tube, urostomy tube and the trach.

    JOANNE FARYON: Maria is 54 years old. She has lived in this nursing home room for 10 years. She has kidney problems, respiratory failure, and a right hip so badly contracted, it required surgeons to cut through bone for relief. She has never walked or talked.

    NANCY CURCIO: It’s getting harder and harder because, basically, if I was in that condition, I would give it up.

    JOANNE FARYON: Nancy has had to make life-and-death decisions for her daughter from the time she was born. Doctors sent her home to die because she couldn’t suck from a bottle. Nancy fed her drop by drop. Ten years ago, Maria needed emergency surgery.

    NANCY CURCIO: One doctor stopped me in the hall and said, Mrs. Curcio, we cannot do the surgery unless we do a trach.

    And I had seconds to make up my mind. And then I looked down at Maria, and she’s looking at me like, hey, what are you thinking about? I don’t want to die. This is me.

    JOANNE FARYON: There are times when Maria smiles and she looks more like the happy little girl in so many of the Curcio family photos than the middle-aged woman she now is, or she tries to spell out the word “Mom.”

    NANCY CURCIO: M. Thank you very much.

    JOANNE FARYON: For Nancy, these are signs her daughter wants to live.

    NANCY CURCIO: I cannot pull the plug on somebody like that who expresses the fact that they’re not ready to give it up.

    JOANNE FARYON: Dr. Warm has done a lot of reading about grief since he started working at Villa Coronado, trying to understand why some people are unable to let go. He believes they grieve in the same way as someone in search of a missing person.

    DR. KEN WARM, Villa Coronado: Here, they sit with the moral obligation to bring their family member back. And though I might say the hope of their return is extremely low, they can’t let go of that extremely low probability.

    JOANNE FARYON: For Steve Simmons, its been a four-year vigil that at times has driven him to the brink, like when his wife’s feeding tube was clogged for the fifth time,and staff had to put a tube down her nose to feed her. He couldn’t bear to watch.

    STEVE SIMMONS: And I said, one of these days, one of these days — it was terrible what I said — one of these days, I’m going to bring a shotgun in here.

    And what I really meant is, I meant that, you know what? I’m going to come in here and blow my brains out in front of all of you, because I can’t — I can’t endure any more of this.

    JOANNE FARYON: Rafaela has made small improvements in the past year. She is able to sometimes squeeze Steve’s hand or grasp a ball.

    Dr. Warm continues to tell Steve that Rafaela has little chance of recovering. But, to Steve, these small gestures are affirmation he’s made the right decision to keep his wife alive.

    STEVE SIMMONS: I really believe that if — that if my wife could answer, do you want to stay alive, or do you want to die, I believe that she would say that she would want to stay alive. I would — I believe that.

    JOANNE FARYON: What would you want if it was you?

    STEVE SIMMONS: Oh, if it were me, I would want to go. I would want to go. I wish it were me. I wish it were me. Yes. Yes. I wish it were me. Yes. Yes. I asked for that so many times.

     

    The post When to let go? Families of patients on life support face painful choice appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel greets supporters on the campaign trail. Photo by Paul Boger/Mississippi Public Broadcasting

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the battle for control of the United States Senate, this summer’s primary contest in Mississippi exposed deep divisions in the Republican Party that still haven’t been reconciled.

    Jeffrey Hess of Mississippi Public Broadcasting has our report.

    CHRIS MCDANIEL, (R) Mississippi State Senator:  The Republican primary was won very Republican voters.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    JEFFREY HESS: Forty-two-year-old state Senator Chris McDaniel is the energetic young face of Mississippi’s Tea Party. The Sarah Palin-backed McDaniel came within a few thousand votes of beating six-term incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in a June primary and subsequent run-off by riding a wave of anti-Washington, anti-incumbent anger.

    McDaniel claims election fraud helped Cochran win and is challenging the results in court. According to McDaniel, Democrats voted in their own primary and then illegally crossed over and voted in the Republican run-off, which is a violation of state law.

    McDaniel blames the state’s Republican establishment and the Cochran campaign for attempting to stop the Tea Party in its tracks.

    CHRIS MCDANIEL: They were willing to sacrifice a friend for power. And they would say and do anything they had to do to do that. And they did. That’s problematic, but not just for me, because when they called me those nasty names, when they called me a racist, which is not true, when they said I was going to cut off funding for historically black colleges and universities, which is not true, when they said I was going to end welfare and suppress voting rights, which is all not true, they were likewise saying it about 187,000 conservatives.

    JEFFREY HESS: The contentious primary here in Mississippi was the most high-profile example of the primary battles that have taken place across the country between the Tea Party and establishment wings of the Republican Party. In 2010, the Republicans rode a wave of Tea Party support to retake the House. But many Republicans with ties in Washington believed that the Tea Party cost them seats in the Senate.

    And the Senate up for grabs again this year, they were determined not to let that happen again, and they spent millions to make sure of it. But staunch McDaniel and Tea Party supporters aren’t giving up the fight.

    DON HARTNESS: It split — this race split the Republican Party in half basically is what it did. So, you have got — basically, I told a guy the other day — there’s a McDaniel sticker still on my car. I said, pretend that’s my name on there and everything that happened to Chris happened to me.

    JEFFREY HESS: Mississippi Tea Party chair Laura Van Overschelde says they are unlikely to endorse or campaign for Senator Cochran in the general election against his Democratic opponent.

    LAURA VAN OVERSCHELDE, Chair, Mississippi Tea Party: We endorsed Chris McDaniel because he has — he holds those truths that we should have a limited government, we should have fiscal responsibility and we should have free markets in this country. And Thad Cochran has not shown us by his voting record that he endorses any of those.

    JEFFREY HESS: Repairing the rift between active Tea Party supporters and more mainstream Republicans is the challenge facing Mississippi’s GOP chair, Joe Nosef, who says it is time to move into general election mode.

    JOE NOSEF, Chair, Mississippi Republican Party: You can’t continue to move the bar every time a different election comes up and create a litmus test for what you call a real Republican. I asked somebody the other day, I just said, my only — as we were parting, I just said to him, my only hope is that you wouldn’t vote against your own best interest in an effort to try to get somebody back that ran an ad you didn’t like.

    JEFFREY HESS: The Republican nominee will face off against Democrat Travis Childers, a former congressman from the state’s First District.

    Polls in the state have repeatedly shown Cochran with roughly a 15-point lead. Cochran won by almost 25 points in his reelection six years ago.

    D’Andra Orey, a political science professor at Jackson State University, says it would be a long shot for Childers to beat either Republican, but that Tea Party supporters do have a choice to make.

    D’ANDRA OREY, Jackson State University: The Tea Party electorate can do one of two things. They can get out their vote, so that the Democrat doesn’t win, because that is a very, very plausible case if they don’t get out the vote. Or they can stay home and show, in their opinion, how much power they have. And so the question is one of those two being the answers. I just don’t know because I don’t know what they will do.

    JEFFREY HESS: Cochran would be a strong favorite to retain his seat in November, in part because of his broad appeal. In fact, in his primary, he was able to turn out black voters by reminding them of his record of bringing back funding to the state and warning about what McDaniel would cut.

    Former Governor Haley Barbour’s nephew was one of the orchestrators of that strategy, which enraged Tea Party activists. Barbour himself, who is often cited with creating the Republican infrastructure in the state, feels confident that Tea Party supporters will remember that they are Republicans at heart.

    FORMER GOV. HALEY BARBOUR, R-Miss.: Anytime you have a vigorously contested primary, some people are going to get their feelings hurt. Some people are going to pick up their marbles and go home. But most people come back because of what they believe in. The Obama administration has followed policies so far to the left and so antagonistic to what Republicans, whether they are Tea Party Republicans or been Republicans for 50 years, those Obama policies are so bad, that people are not going to stay home.

    JEFFREY HESS: Democratic candidate Childers says he doesn’t think that the intense Republican primary will have an effect on the November general election. He says he is not concerned that his affiliation with the Democratic Party will drag him down.

    FORMER REP. TRAVIS CHILDERS, D-Miss.: People are far less concerned about party, Jeffrey, in the state of Mississippi. They are more concerned about who is going to work for them and who is going to stand up for them, who is going to stand up for Mississippi and who is going to stand up to Washington, D.C.

    JEFFREY HESS: But time is running out. The party and the Cochran campaign need to shift into general election mode to remind their voters that there is still a race to be run in November. Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell says they are moving on, confident that their primary run-off victory will stand.

    JORDAN RUSSELL, Thad Cochran Campaign Spokesman: No. I mean, we are campaigning. We’re out there. I think we have been in 42 counties over the past couple of weeks. We are moving forward. The campaign itself and Senator Cochran are not focused on the challenge, the legal challenge. We are focused on November, focused on making sure people understand the difference between Senator Cochran and his challenger. And the court case will play out as it plays out.

    JEFFREY HESS: The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear McDaniel’s appeal to a lower court’s decision to throw out his challenge to the run-off results. In the meantime, ballots are being printed that list Senator Thad Cochran as the Republican nominee to be the U.S. senator from Mississippi.

     

    The post Tea party Senate challenge in Mississippi shows rift in the GOP appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Joshua Bell And Jeremy Denk In Concert

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Did you hear the one about the famous violinist who played in a subway station, and no one noticed? Well, it was a different story today, and Jeffrey Brown was there.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It was a sight that almost no one watched as it happened, but gained much attention afterwards: a superstar of the classical music world, Joshua Bell, playing in a metro station in Washington D.C. in 2007, largely ignored by a few thousand commuters on their way to work. An article by Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post about the event, or nonevent, won a Pulitzer Prize.

    Now 46, Joshua Bell has been performing in the world’s greatest halls since he was a teenager. And he’s recorded more than 40 albums, including a brand-new one of compositions by Bach. But something about the subway performance captured the imagination of many, and apparently of Bell himself, because there he was earlier today at Washington’s Union Station metro.

    This time, though, the performance had been publicized. Bell brought along a group of young musicians he’s been working with for an HBO master class program. And with word out that this was no mere busker asking for a few dollars, a crowd was on hand.

    Bell joined us to talk soon after.

    So, it was better this time?

    (LAUGHTER)

    JOSHUA BELL, Violinist: Yes, a lot better this time.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A lot better?

    JOSHUA BELL: Yes, this was fun.

    I actually enjoyed it. I didn’t enjoy it the first time around that much, but it was — although I was amused the first time around.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, wait a minute. Why did you not enjoy it?

    JOSHUA BELL: Music, really, you need the give and take from the audience and the feeling of attention. And it’s not about me.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Which you were not getting.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JOSHUA BELL: It’s not about me. It’s not about my — attention to me. It’s about the music itself.

    Part of the reason why I accepted to come here, by the invitation of Union Station, is that they said, this time, we’re going to ask — tell people about it…

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    JOSHUA BELL: … spread the word, and, hopefully, you will get a captive audience.

    And I said, you know, this is precisely what the whole original experiment, which wasn’t scientific in any way, that’s really what it was about.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It all kind of raises the question of how classical music could should or could be presented, right? Should it be done in different venues? Should you try out different things? Should you reach people in different ways?

    JOSHUA BELL: Well, I think — I’m always interested in reaching people in different ways, not by — not by just standing on a — randomly on a subway platform.

    JEFFREY BROWN: With your case open.

    JOSHUA BELL: With my case open. That’s not really a great way.

    But this is an example of — I think this shows that there is interest in classical music from a wide range of people. This felt — I felt like this — I have to say, I felt like one of the Beatles today. This was great. People…

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, you almost got the hair.

    JOSHUA BELL: I don’t normally get that kind of response, for people grabbing at me in the station. It was so fun for me.

    But I think there’s — we need to experiment with more creative ways of reaching audiences.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What about the idea — and I was thinking of this as they started clapping after the first movement.

    Sometimes, there’s a discussion in classical music circles, you know, should we encourage people to clap?

    JOSHUA BELL: Oh, yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Should it be a less formal experience?

    JOSHUA BELL: Well, first of all, people, if you go back 100 years or 200 years, when the music of Mendelssohn was being performed, people did clap…

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    JOSHUA BELL: … after the first moment.

    When Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony was premiered, after the second movement, they clapped so much that they had the repeat the second movement and do it again. So, there was a different kind of vibe. And so when people today say, you’re not supposed to clap, I actually say it’s — historically, it’s actually incorrect.

    And I enjoy — I enjoy it. When I hear people clapping at the wrong times, I think that’s great. We have got a listener that’s not used to going to — we have got a new listener. And that just — that excites me.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, but you don’t want to discourage that, right? So, do you…

    JOSHUA BELL: So, I don’t.

    I have had conductors, playing with conductors that turn around to the audience and say, don’t clap. And then I will usually turn to the audience and say, come on, do it, do it.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JOSHUA BELL: So…

    JEFFREY BROWN: We often hear about the crisis of classical music, right, about the aging audience, about the…

    JOSHUA BELL: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Do you sense that? Or do you — what do you see?

    JOSHUA BELL: Well, I think people have been talking about the aging audience for 100 years now.

    And they — somehow people keep replacing those older people, because I think the problem is that classical music, so often we come to it late in life, as you’re looking for something, something in music that’s not just about trend — being trendy and what’s popular, but something that’s profoundly affects you.

    And I think great classical music and jazz and other things — but I — there is no reason why we can’t reach younger people. And I’m not pessimistic about it. I think there’s — look at the young people there today. And I see…

    JEFFREY BROWN: There were a lot of them, weren’t there?

    JOSHUA BELL: After every concert, I greet young people in the lobbies. And I see a huge surge of young people playing music.

    So — but I think where we need to work on is getting it, making sure that it’s just part of everyone’s educational diet in the school. Music and art is part of what it means to be a human being, and to make it just an extracurricular thing is sad, because most kids will not get any musical experience if they don’t have it in their school at some point.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And yet that is happening in a lot of places.

    JOSHUA BELL: It’s happening.

    And that’s what I’m — I’m spending a lot of energy trying to encourage change in that way. I’m working with Education Through Music, which is — ETM, which is an organization that puts classical music programs in or just music programs in inner-city schools that have no music programs.

    And I — we have seen incredible — the test scores go up all across the board. Their self-esteem of these kids that have an instrument in their hand and play together, it’s — if you saw that, if anyone saw that, they would think it’s ludicrous ever to cut out music from your school, and I hope people will get that message.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Speaking of young people, you yourself started as such a young person.

    JOSHUA BELL: I did.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You have been at this a long time. Do you feel a pressure to keep, I don’t know, finding in new ways to do new repertoire, new approaches, new venues like this?

    JOSHUA BELL: You know, it’s not a pressure.

    It’s just — for me it’s a — the music world and the things that I want to do are so huge that it’s just — the only thing that makes me sad is that there’s not enough time in my lifetime to do all the things I want to do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Are you done with subway stations for now?

    JOSHUA BELL: I think this is a perfect end to the whole story.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JOSHUA BELL: There have been a lot of chapters that I — were unanticipated. There’s a children’s book about it. There have been sermons from preachers and ministers. And politicians have talked — referenced the — and it’s been kind of fun following the journey, but this I think was a perfect kind of cap, ending to the story.

    And I couldn’t have been more pleased with it.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Joshua Bell, thanks so much.

    JOSHUA BELL: Oh, thank you. Thanks for having me today.

    The post Violinist Joshua Bell turns train station into concert hall to encourage arts education appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Secret Service agents unknowingly let a man with a gun ride in an elevator with President Barack Obama. President Aug. 7 file photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

    Secret Service agents unknowingly let a man with a gun ride in an elevator with President Barack Obama. File photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

    On a day when the Secret Service is being scrutinized for allowing a man with a knife to breach White House security, The Washington Post has reported that the agency allowed an armed man with a criminal record to ride in an elevator with President Barack Obama when he was in Atlanta on Sept. 16.

    According to the newspaper, the security contractor did not comply when Secret Service agents asked him to stop filming the president with his cell phone. Agents then performed a background check on the man and found out that he had a criminal history that included three convictions for assault and battery.

    Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig, whose report over the weekend detailed how the Secret Service botched a response to a man who fired an assault rifle at the White House in 2011, wrote that the agents were surprised to find out that the man was even carrying a gun:

    Agents questioned him, and used a database check to learn of his criminal history.

    When a supervisor from the private security firm approached and learned of the agents’ concern, the contractor was fired on the spot and agreed to turn over his gun — surprising agents, who had not realized he was armed during his encounter with Obama.

    Leonnig’s report states that a Secret Service spokesman will provide a response soon.

    Leonnig also reported today that the Secret Service agent who finally tackled the intruder who penetrated the White House on Sept. 19 was off-duty at the time.

    The post Armed man allowed to ride in an elevator with Obama appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    volcano

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Japan, rescue efforts at the Mount Ontake volcano have been hampered by toxic gases and fears of another eruption.

    On Saturday, more than 250 people were out hiking and enjoying a nice fall day, when a surprise eruption littered the mountain with falling Boulders, thick smoke and piles of ash. At least 36 people were killed. And questions have been raised as to why there wasn’t more warning.

    Here to help us understand what’s happening, our science correspondent Miles O’Brien, and Thomas Wagner of NASA, who is an expert on volcanoes.

    And we welcome you both.

    Miles, to you first.

    Why was it — was this as unexpected as we’re reading?

    MILES O’BRIEN: It was, Judy. This was what’s called a phreatic eruption, which means it was shallow and involved some hot water essentially.

    Steaming water that entered into a crevice and came in contact with magma, which of course is many thousands of degrees, causes like an instantaneous flash like you would have in your oven, and caused that pyroclastic flow to come out.

    This is not the kind of thing that all those sensors which are on that volcano — and Japan has well-sensored volcanoes — this is not the kind of thing that they predict well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Thomas Wagner, when it comes to predictability, they’re not always this unpredictable, are they?

    THOMAS WAGNER, NASA: No. It depends on what’s going on in the volcano.

    Like, in a place like Hawaii, you have got big bodies of magma moving around. They cause the volcano to deform and tilt. But eruptions are difficult things. You can think of a volcano like a big crazy plumbing system in a big old building.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you were talking me that there are many different kinds of volcanoes active right now around the world, but they’re operating at different speeds.

    THOMAS WAGNER: Right.

    And some volcanoes, like the Japanese volcanoes, have a lot of water dissolved in the magma, and they have more explosive eruptions, just like if you shook up a soda and took the top off, whereas that Hawaii, you don’t have a lot of water and you get more lava flows.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Miles, clearly, these deaths, 36 deaths, tragic. But for the volcano itself, how significant an eruption is this?

    MILES O’BRIEN: Well, this is — scientists will be looking very closely at what may lie ahead here.

    If you will hearken back to 1980, Mount Saint Helens, before the huge eruption there, there was a series of these phreatic eruptions, these eruptions involving boiling water. And they were viewed as a precursor to the eruption which we ultimately saw which caused such devastation in that part of the world.

    So volcanoes are in some sense predictable, but in some sense not. You can see a lot of the warning signs. It’s very difficult to know when they’re going to blow. Think of the island of Montserrat. And that island dealt with evacuations. Half the island is now completely evacuated, but it lingered in a state of near eruption for many, many years.

    There were many questions to scientists, saying to them, why can’t you figure this out better?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Thomas Wagner, just continuing with that, is it easy to predict when it settles down by watching it?

    THOMAS WAGNER: No, because you get different kinds of eruptions.

     

    And so like that’s why, in some cases, we look use satellites to look at how a volcano deforms. In other cases, we will actually have people go out and map the old deposits around a volcano to figure out what its history is and where you might be likely to get another eruption.

    And the hazards are different, too. In this case, we had a phreatic eruption. In some cases, a tiny eruption melts snow on top and makes a mud flow. One of those killed 20,000 people in South America in the ’80s. And sometimes you get lava flows. And that’s why it’s important to sort of understand the particular hazards around the volcano you’re on.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Miles, you talked about what scientists learn from this. What are scientists looking at here?

    MILES O’BRIEN: Well, what they’re going to do, and as we — as I mentioned, the Japanese have a well-sensored volcanic system, if you will, as well as great ability to predict earthquakes as well.

    This is a nation that kind of lives on the knife edge when it comes to seismic activity and volcanoes. So they will be looking at those sensors, seeing what was damaged, putting in the types of devices that will allow them to further analyze it.

    At the time of the hike, it was considered safe to be there. It was level one out of a scale of one to five, on the safe end for hikers to be in proximity of that volcano. Perhaps over time, they will not be as generous with that rating, as they consider the possibility that this could be a precursor to something bigger.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, very quickly, Thomas Wagner, here in the U.S., nothing quite like this?

    THOMAS WAGNER: No.

    We have like Mount Rainier. We have all the Cascade Volcanoes. The USGS, though, has a great program monitoring those and studying those. And there are really good maps of the hazards that people should make themselves aware of.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, this is certainly — if you didn’t have a reason to do that before, you do now.

    Thomas Wagner with NASA and our own Miles O’Brien, we thank you.

    THOMAS WAGNER: Thank you.

    MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome, Judy.

     

    The post What made Japan’s deadly volcanic eruption so unpredictable? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    afghanistan

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: So how important is this security agreement?

    Jeffrey Brown explores that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And joining me is Barnett Rubin, former senior adviser to the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the State Department. He’s now director of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.

    Thanks for joining us.

    I will start with that very question. How important was it for the U.S. to get this agreement and why?

    BARNETT RUBIN, Former State Department official: It’s important because it allows us to manage the transition toward Afghan self-reliance on security much more effectively.

    Afghan security forces still require a great deal of U.S. assistance and logistics expertise and, above all, I should say, funding, and keeping those forces there makes it much more likely that they will attain all of those.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Given the sensitivities that Margaret Warner just referred to in all of this, remind us exactly what these troops will do. We refer to a training and assistance. What does that mean exactly?

    BARNETT RUBIN: It means that some of them will be working in headquarters. A few of them will be working at division level in the field, though they will not be engaged directly in combat activities.

     

    But there’s a lot more to running an army than fighting. There is record-keeping, logistics, targeting, definition of strategy and so on. Those are all things in which these advisers will help them to maintain and develop their capabilities.

    In addition, it will give us additional eyes on the ground to help us understand the political evolution there as well. Now, it’s — this is not a permanent deployment. President Obama has said that this advisory mission will last at most two years.

    It will have one other mission, which is what they call counterterrorism, but that will be limited to targeting those groups that specifically target the United States, in particular whatever remnants of al-Qaida there may be in Afghanistan. It won’t be part of the effort against the Taliban.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And I wonder now, with a new president, is there a sense that the U.S. has a real and reliable ally in Ashraf Ghani, as opposed to Hamid Karzai?

    BARNETT RUBIN: I think that both Ashraf Ghani and his chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, supported this agreement, and both of them have been quite consistent in their views.

    So I think that they will represent the interests of Afghanistan, which are not always the same as the interests of the United States. But they will be easier and more reliable to deal with.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And I suppose looming question for a lot of people as we watch what goes in Iraq is, what lessons have or should U.S. officials learn from that when they look at our Afghan policy now and develop that?

    BARNETT RUBIN: Well, I think one lesson they should learn is not to compare Iraq and Afghanistan, because, in the past, falsely, the Bush administration drew the conclusion from the rather rapid collapse of the Taliban in Afghanistan that they could have a similarly easy victory in Iraq, and that was totally wrong.

    Iraq is a middle-income country with oil revenue. Afghanistan is an extremely poor country. I think, of course, the general lesson that you should try to maintain stability in your relationships is valid, but it was after all President Maliki in Iraq who refused to sign an agreement such as the one that President Ghani has signed in Afghanistan today.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Barnett Rubin, thank you so much.

    BARNETT RUBIN: Thank you.

     

    The post Understanding the U.S. security agreement with Afghanistan – Part 2 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    afghanistan_peace

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The United States and Afghanistan signed a bilateral security agreement today, which will keep a limited number of American troops in the country. The long-term deal will allow U.S. and NATO soldiers to carry out counterterrorism missions and to support Afghan forces.

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner has the details.

    MARGARET WARNER: The signing ended months of uncertainty over what happens when the U.S.-led international mission officially ends December 31.

    U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham:

    JAMES CUNNINGHAM, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan: The United States values its relationship with Afghanistan and the Afghan people. We are committed to a better future for Afghanistan.

    MARGARET WARNER: More than 2,200 American troops have died in the Afghan war since 2001. At their peak, U.S. forces stood at 100,000 in 2011.

    The new deal will leave 9,800 Americans and about 2,000 other NATO forces there to train and assist Afghan units.

    Newly inaugurated President Ashraf Ghani said today Afghan sovereignty won’t be compromised.

    PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI, Afghanistan (through interpreter):  The international forces are not allowed to enter in our holy sites and our mosques. Integrity of our life and houses will be safe based on our constitutional values.

    MARGARET WARNER: For months, former President Hamid Karzai refused to sign the accord. Both Ghani and his presidential rival, Abdullah Abdullah, supported it, but their drawn-out election dispute prevented its signing.

    During those months of uncertainty, the Taliban stepped up attacks and regained territory in the north and south.

    The post U.S. and Afghanistan sign security agreement as new leadership takes over – Part 1 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Image by Flickr user Don...The UpNorth Memories Guy... Harrison

    Coho salmon are being threatened by illegal water theft by marijuana gardeners. Image by Flickr user Don…The UpNorth Memories Guy… Harrison

    Illegal Marijuana gardeners in northern California and southern Oregon are endangering fish populations by siphoning off millions of gallons of water from rivers each year.

    According to NOAA Fisheries Service, coho salmon (listed as a threatened species since 1997) are in greater jeopardy than ever. The water theft adds to pre-existing pressures on their habitat and breeding grounds from urban development, agriculture, overfishing, logging and dams.

    A recovery plan has been put forth by the federal biologists, who propose calculating the exact impact in terms of quantity of water currently withdrawn, and then intervening to decrease theft.

    Depending on where a marijuana plant is in its life cycle, it can consume between five and 10 gallons of water.

    Marijuana is grown legally for medical purposes in California, yet farms cultivating pot for the black market are widespread. In clearing patches of forests to create covert plantations, they are contributing to water pollution through causing increased runoff. With less tree and bush cover to slow water trickle, fertilizer, pesticides and sediment are spreading to rivers faster than ever.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has an ongoing investigation into rat poison scattered around illegal grow sites.

    Scott Bauer, environmental scientist on the watershed enforcement team of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and lead author of the study, wants to impose fines for illegal water withdrawals.

    “We need regulation that’s going to make sense to the farmers on the ground… that is also going to achieve the public safety and environmental goals that we all share,” he said.

    The post Illegal pot plantations a hazard to California salmon appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    hongkong

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on what provoked these protesters and how mainland China is likely to respond, we turn to Ian Bremmer. He’s the president and founder of Eurasia Group. It’s a political risk, research and consulting company.

    Ian Bremmer, welcome to the program.

    Are these protests unprecedented? Has China ever seen anything like this? And I guess Tiananmen comes to mind.

    IAN BREMMER, Eurasia Group: Yes. I mean, Tiananmen’s the last time we have seen this sort of thing within China itself.

    Certainly, Hong Kong, there has been nothing like this since the handover from Great Britain in 1997. And, most importantly, it is by far the first serious challenge domestically to President Xi Jinping. It really is directly a question of the legitimacy and the support of what’s so far been a very popular, very charismatic and very transformative rule.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, how much of a challenge is it to him and to the regime, the government in Beijing? These students have been there for five days. They don’t show any signs of backing down.

    IAN BREMMER: No.

    And, in fact, tomorrow, as you have heard, you have the National Day. There have been a number of calls for demonstrations in support of the Occupy Central movement, not just in the United States and in the developed countries, but we also see that they’re likely to happen in Macau. They’re going to happen in Taipei and Taiwan.

    And it wouldn’t surprise me at all, despite the fact the Chinese government has really tried the crack down on anyone searching relevant social media terms around the Hong Kong protests within mainland China, to see some forms of sympathy there.

    And that’s one of the reasons why I think Xi Jinping, who has been very willing to engage in policies of economic transformation on the mainland, but has absolutely had no interest in political reform — this is not a Glasnost guy — he’s very unlikely to show any flexibility whatsoever, as is the Hong Kong government in responding to these protests.

    Occupy Central has now become Occupy Hong Kong. As of tomorrow it’s likely to become Occupy larger than that. And if the — if local police, through threat and selective arrests, are unable to disperse these demonstrations, we’re likely to see a very significant violent crackdown.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, what do you mean by that? Because that’s the — that’s the natural question. If these protesters not going away and the government, the central government isn’t going to bend, what does that mean?

    IAN BREMMER: Well, the initial step comes from Hong Kong itself. We have seen the Hong Kong leadership completely refusing to even meet with the leaders of the Occupy Central movement, never mind brook any compromise about what suffrage in selection of a chief executive in Hong Kong might look like in 2017.

    I think the next steps clearly involve the police, who have been relatively quiet over the last couple of days. They can certainly take steps to try to remove who they see as the ringleaders of that movement, and, after they have done that, to try to pressure the broader groups, give them — give them a couple of outs, let them disperse once their leaders have been taken under custody.

    But, again, if we continue to see this type of mobilization among the students that poses a much greater threat to the legitimacy of the Chinese enterprise and to their power, their exertion of power in Hong Kong, I think the response goes beyond just Hong Kong police. Then the People’s Liberation Army does indeed come in. They have garrisons in Hong Kong.

    I suspect they would be used. Certainly, the international community can complain, but there is no potential that sanctions or punishment is going to be exerted against the Chinese government for what they do internally in Hong Kong. This is not like Russia vs. Ukraine.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just very quickly, you mentioned the international community — Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron protesting today. Of course, they previously held Hong Kong. You’re saying there’s nothing anybody on the outside can do?

    IAN BREMMER: Oh, I think that Cameron and Obama will do a great impersonation of Ban Ki-Moon. I think they will express a great deal of concern over what happens for Hong Kong.

    But, if you ask me are we talking about the potential of sanctioning them, I would want to just go back to what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, which is that it’s generally not a good idea to criticize your banker on human rights. It’s going to be very, very difficult for anything more than words in response to what’s happening on the ground in Hong Kong.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ian Bremmer with the Eurasia Group, we thank you.

    IAN BREMMER: My pleasure.

    The post Will Hong Kong’s protests lead to violent crackdown? – Part 2 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    hongkong1

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Protests grew in Hong Kong and brought parts of the city to a standstill for a fifth day. And there was no sign that the pro-democracy student-led demonstrations will stop anytime soon.

    Lucy Watson of Independent Television News has this report from Hong Kong.

    LUCY WATSON: There is little that this huge crowd won’t endure. The umbrella revolution and the fight for freedom is unrelenting. It’s an unprecedented display of defiance, people in every direction taking over a city. There is strength in numbers, but also in individuals. Three days ago, Gary Lee was an ordinary student. Now he’s rousing an historic crowd.

    GARY LEE, Protester Organizer: Everybody put your cell phone lights on, cell phone, the lights on.

    LUCY WATSON: “To fulfill our dream, we will sacrifice everything,” they sing. They want their current leader, C.Y. Leung, to step down and to elect another freely, demands they refuse to give up on.

    GARY LEE: Never see the end. Never see the end, because this fight will — forever.

    LUCY WATSON: This is a powerful body of people with a life of its own, and nobody quite knows what direction it will take next. But the Hong Kong government and Beijing won’t tolerate this mass civil disobedience for long. It’s now a test of nerves.

    And as China’s President Xi Jinping prepares for the country’s National Day tomorrow, this is a direct challenge to his governance.

    ELIZA LEE, Political Analyst: They were not expecting the Occupy Central movement opposition to become, I mean, what is now a popular uprising. And they worry that people are going to imitate this.

    LUCY WATSON: Threats the Communist Party is unlikely to respond well to. But while there is persistence, there is hope here.

    The post Peaceful protests halt traffic in Hong Kong, test China’s governance – Part 1 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    newswrap

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We begin with breaking news this evening.

    For the first time, Ebola has been diagnosed inside the United States. Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control announced late this afternoon the patient was infected in Liberia and is now in an isolation unit at a Dallas hospital.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. hospitals have treated several other patients who contracted Ebola in West Africa, but were diagnosed before returning home.

    There has been another breech of presidential security, this time in Atlanta. The Washington Post reports that a security guard with a gun got on an elevator with President Obama during his visit two week ago. It turned out the man also had three convictions for assault and battery. A supervisor fired him on the spot, and that’s when agents discovered that he was armed.

    Lawmakers from both parties went after the head of the Secret Service today over security breaches at the White House. Julia Pierson was grilled for three-and-a-half-hours and said she takes full responsibility.

    Pierson had hardly settled into her seat before House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa bore in.

    REP. DARRELL ISSA, Chair, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: This failure has once again tested — has tested the trust of the American people in the Secret Service, a trust we clearly depend on to protect the president.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The failure in question came when Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez jumped the White House fence on September 19 and made it well inside the mansion.

    Today, Pierson, a 30-year Secret Service veteran, issued a mea culpa.

    JULIA PIERSON, Director, Secret Service: It is clear that our security plan wasn’t executed properly. This is unacceptable. And I take full responsibility, and I will make sure that it does not happen again.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What’s publicly known about what happened has changed dramatically in the 11 days since the intrusion. The Secret Service initially said Gonzalez sprinted across the front lawn and past a guard booth and dogs, but was stopped just after entering the North Portico door.

    It’s now known that, in fact, he continued to run through the central hall and into the ornate East Room before he was tackled by an off-duty Secret Service agent, who, it turns out, just happened to be there. The Secret Service has said agents showed tremendous restraint and discipline in apprehending Gonzalez.

    But Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah argued today that’s nothing to be proud of.

    REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) Utah: I want it to be-crystal clear. You make a run and a dash to the White House, we’re going to take you down. I want overwhelming force. Would you disagree with me?

    JULIA PIERSON: I do want all our officers to use appropriate force for someone trying to challenge or breach the White House.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There were also questions about why agents failed to take action after Virginia police found guns and a map with the White House circled in Gonzalez’s car in July.

    Massachusetts Democrat John Tierney:

    REP. JOHN TIERNEY, (D) Massachusetts: You didn’t take any action. You didn’t have him arrested. You didn’t have him continue to be under observation, did you?

    JULIA PIERSON: Mr. Gonzalez at the time denied any interest or any intent to harm anyone. He indicated that his information relative to the map in his car was given to him by another individual who had recommended places in Washington, D.C., to sightsee.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Pierson was also asked to explain revelations in The Washington Post that it took the Secret Service four days to realize a gunman hit the White House seven times back in 2011.

    Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings cited one of several agents who decided against contradicting their bosses’ view that the shots were not directed at the White House.

    REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) Maryland: She didn’t challenge her supervisor, for fear of being criticized, she later told investigators.

    Now, Director Pierson, as a former agent, and as the head of the agency, that has to concern you tremendously; is that right?

    JULIA PIERSON: Yes, sir, it does. It’s unacceptable.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But another Massachusetts Democrat, Stephen Lynch, charged that Pierson’s overall responses were simply evasive.

    REP. STEPHEN LYNCH, (D) Massachusetts: I wish to God you — you protected the White House like you’re protecting your reputation here today.

    JULIA PIERSON: Let me be clear. The United States Secret Service doesn’t take any of these incidents lightly. They are…

    REP. STEPHEN LYNCH: With all due respect, that’s my point. As a casual observer to what has happened here, I don’t think the Secret Service is taking it — their duty to protect the American president and his family at the White House, I don’t think you’re taking it seriously.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Still, the White House said again today the president is confident the Secret Service will implement any reforms need.

    The accused fence-jumper, Omar Gonzalez, was indicted today on federal and state charges.

    President Obama hosted India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, in a bid to repair strains in relations between their nations. The two leaders focused heavily on resolving trade disputes and improving economic ties.

    And the president praised Modi’s policies.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, United States: I have been impressed with the prime minister’s interest in not only addressing the needs of the poorest of the poor in India and revitalizing the economy there, but also his determination to make sure that India is serving as a major power that can help bring about peace and security for the entire world.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Modi was once barred from entering the U.S. after Hindus killed more than 1,000 Muslims in the state where he was governor.

    Across Central Iraq, car bombings and other attacks killed at least 47 people today, most of them Shiites, while, to the West, Iraqi and Syrian Kurds drove Islamic State militants from a key border crossing into Syria, with help from Sunni fighters. In Syria, Kurdish fighters and their allies battled to hold Kobani, near the Turkish border.

    The conflict has sparked an exodus, as the United Nations heard today.

    VALERIE AMOS, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs: Over the past two weeks, ISIL forces have advanced in northern Aleppo and over 160,000 people, mostly women and children, fled into Turkey in just a few days. Their fear was so great that many people crossed heavily mined fields to seek refuge.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today, British jets launched their first attacks against Islamic State targets in Iraq. They joined the latest round of strikes by U.S. jets.

    The world has lost half its wildlife population since 1970, that stark finding today from the World Wildlife Fund. It reported a 52 percent decline, centered in several thousands of species, and it said humans are largely to blame, through fishing, hunting and pollution. Most of the new wildlife losses were in Latin America.

    California will impose the first statewide ban of single-use plastic bags. Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation today. It’s designed to cut down on bags getting into waterways. The ban applies to large grocery stores next year and expands to smaller stores later. More than 100 American cities already have such bans.

    A decision today by the Federal Communications Commission will be welcome news for many sports fans. The FCC voted to drop a decades-old rule that bans showing hometown games on TV if they’re not sellouts. It was meant to protect ticket sales, especially of NFL games, but the FCC found that rule is outdated.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 28 points to close below 17,043. The Nasdaq fell 12 points to close at 4,493. And the S&P 500 slipped 5 to 1,972.

    The post News Wrap: First U.S. Ebola case diagnosed in patient infected in Liberia appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch Tuesday’s CDC news conference discussing the first diagnosed U.S. case of Ebola

    The first ever case of Ebola in the U.S. has been diagnosed in Dallas.

    Centers for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden confirmed the diagnosis in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

    The patient, only identified as a male, traveled from Liberia and arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 20, but did not start showing symptoms until four days later. The patient was later admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Sunday, Sept. 28, and put under isolation and treatment.

    The patient had traveled to Texas to visit family members living in the U.S., Frieden said.

    There was no other information released as to the identity or the status of his conditon, other than that he was critically ill at this point and under intensive care.

    While all other patients treated for Ebola have been sent to Emory University in Atlanta, Frieden said there were no plans to transfer the most-recent patient from the Dallas hospital.

    The CDC, along with Dallas County Health and Human Services, will now follow procedure for contact tracing in order to identify all possible persons who may be at risk for Ebola infection because of direct contact with the Dallas patient.

    Since the patient did not start exhibiting symptoms until four days after flying to the U.S. on a commercial airliner, Frieden said there was “zero risk of transmission on the flight.”

    “Ebola is a scary disease because of the severity of the illness,” Frieden said. “At the same time we are stopping it in its tracks.”

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    A health worker stands on September 7, 2014 at Elwa hospital in Monrovia, LIberia which is run by the non-governmental French organization Doctors without Borders. US President Barack Obama said in an interview aired on September 7 the US military would help in the fight against fast-spreading Ebola in Africa. Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

    A health worker stands on September 7, 2014 at Elwa hospital in Monrovia, LIberia which is run by the non-governmental French organization Doctors without Borders. US President Barack Obama said in an interview aired on September 7 the US military would help in the fight against fast-spreading Ebola in Africa. Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

    U.S. troops arrived in Liberia Monday to begin building a field hospital in the central part of the country following a pledge to send 3,000 soldiers to assist in the ongoing fight against Ebola in West Africa, Reuters reported.

    Major General Darryl Williams told journalists in the Liberian capital of Monrovia that 175 troops had already arrived in Liberia and another 30 had been sent to other affected countries to set up bases from which to coordinate the arrival of additional soldiers and supplies.

    The 25-bed hospital, now under construction, is located in central Liberia and will be used to treat infected health workers. Another 17 Ebola treatment facilities will be set up across Liberia, and military personnel will assist in training local medical staff in coordination with Liberian authorities.

    “The [Armed Forces of Liberia] has a great capability. They are already out there … and helping us, because they have this knowledge of the local area. So we are not doing anything by ourselves,” Williams told reporters Monday.

    Earlier in the month, President Obama made the pledge to send resources and military staff to the region in an effort to strengthen the effort to combat the epidemic.

    The World Health Organization estimates that of the roughly 6,500 people in countries like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone that have been infected with Ebola since the outbreak began, more than 3,000 have died.

    Meanwhile, a report by the Centers for Disease Control announced on Tuesday that no new cases of Ebola have been reported in Senegal or Nigeria since late August. This may mean the outbreak is over in those two countries, even while the number of cases overall has been doubling every week.

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    A colorized, magnified electron microscope image of the Ebola virus growing out of an  infected VERO 46 cell. Image by NIAID

    A colorized, magnified electron microscope image of the Ebola virus growing out of an infected VERO 46 cell. Image by National Institute of Allerfy and Infectious Diseases

    This post was originally published on Aug. 21 and updated on Sep. 30 to reflect the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

    As of Sep. 30, the Ebola virus had killed more than 3,000 people in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, according to the latest numbers released by the World Health Organization.

    As the virus spreads and medical workers feverishly battle to contain it, we wanted to know, how exactly is this virus transmitted from human to human?

    What is Ebola?

    Illustrations by Ruth Tam

    Illustrations by Ruth Tam

    Ebola is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. It comes from an extended family of viruses called Filoviridae, which also include the deadly Marburg virus. It is a swift and effective killer, known to kill up to 90 percent of those it infects. And it is a “hemorrhagic fever virus,” which means it causes fluid to leak from blood vessels, resulting in a dangerously low drop in blood pressure.

    Understanding Ebola requires an understanding of viruses and how they work. “Viruses,” science writer Carl Zimmer writes in his book “A Planet of Viruses”, “can replicate themselves, despite their paltry genetic instructions, by hijacking other forms of life. They… inject their genes and proteins into a host cell, which they [manipulate] into producing new copies of the virus. One virus might go into a cell, and within a day, a thousand viruses [come] out.”

    All viruses contain “attachment proteins,” which, as the name suggests, attach to host cells through the cells’ “receptor sites.” This is how they invade healthy human cells.

    EbolaWhile some virus particles are shaped like spheres, the particles that make up Ebola are filament-like in structure, giving them more surface area to potentially attack a greater number of cells. Each Ebola virus particle is covered in a membrane of these attachment proteins, or glycoproteins.

    “[The virus] has a tremendous number of glycoproteins, which can increase its ability to affect cells,” said Richard Cummings, chair of Emory’s Dept. of Biochemistry and director of the National Center for Functional Glycomics. “It’s extremely infectious in that regard.”

    Imagine Ebola’s glycoproteins as giant oak trees with branches and leaves, said Erica Ollmann Saphire, a structural biologist at the Scripps Research Institute. The Ebola virus has its own critical receptor site, which lies beneath these branches and leaves to avoid detection from the immune system. Each glycoprotein can attach itself to a host cell in a number of different ways, but once its branches fasten themselves to a host cell’s molecules, that host cell pulls in the attachment protein, slicing off its leaves and branches and exposing the trunk, the virus’s receptor site.

    “The previously hidden receptor rearranges itself and spring loads like a spear fishing rod,” said Saphire. “It uncoils, springs forward and penetrates the membrane, driving itself into the cytoplasm.”

    science-wednesday

    The cells then internalize the virus, and Ebola’s race against the human immune system begins.

    How Ebola moves from person to person

    Ebola spreads through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or tissue. The virus can be transmitted when an infected person’s vomit, blood or other fluids contact another person’s mouth, eyes or openings in their skin, said Dr. Ameesh Mehta, an infectious disease doctor at Emory University.

    Even after a person has died, the virus persists. In West Africa where funeral rites include washing, touching and kissing corpses by family members, putting the dead to rest can be just as deadly as caring for a living patient.

    “Contact with any aspect of it is considered very dangerous,” Cummings said. “Any physical contact.”

    BloodEbola’s sucker punch is its speed of replication. At the time of death, a patient can have 1 billion copies of the virus in one cubic centimeter of blood. In comparison, HIV, a similar virus, has the same rate at the time of death. But unlike HIV, which only infects two types of immune cells, Ebola first infects white blood cells that disable the body’s ability to destroy foreign substances,  then seizes nearly every cell type.

    “It’s a systemic viral infection throughout your body as opposed to an infection of just your immune system,” Saphire said. “Patients may die before they’re able to mount much of an immune response.”

    This process takes anywhere from two to 21 days (though it’s typically between four to 10 days). When the immune system begins breaking down, the symptoms begin to show.

    Patients experience fevers, headaches and fatigue early on. After the virus overwhelms healthy cells, they burst, causing a chemical release leading to inflammation. Their remains are taken over by other cells, perpetuating the virus. As the symptoms worsen, patients suffer from bloody diarrhea, severe sore throat, jaundice, vomiting or loss of appetite.

    Infected cells that haven’t yet burst carry the virus through the bloodstream to invade different parts of the body like the lymph nodes, spleen and liver. When infected cells attach themselves to the inside of blood vessels, it weakens them, causing fluids to leak. This triggers the uncontrollable bleeding for which Ebola is known, though it only happens for about 50 percent of patients and occurs mostly inside the body.

    In fatal cases, blood pressure plummets after blood vessel damage, and death from shock or multiple organ failure occurs within six to 16 days.

    The path ahead

    Saphire is part of a large, multi-site team made up of 25 laboratories that’s mapping Ebola’s glycoprotein to better understand and defeat the virus. Among the potential strategies they’re studying is an antibody cocktail called ZMapp, an experimental drug that drew media attention after its use on two U.S. aid workers and three Liberian doctors. First developed by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases a decade ago, this “Ebola serum” potentially works to neutralize the virus by preventing its rearrangement and flagging it for destruction by the immune system.

    Clinical trials for ZMapp are set to begin in 2015, but according to Saphire, doses for “experimental compassionate therapy,” treatment provided to critically-ill patients before the drug has been approved, could be ready in three months.

    “The central dogma of molecular biology is that sequence dictates fold, which dictates function,” Saphire said. “But Ebola does more with less. While the human genome has 20,000 kinds of genes, Ebola has seven, and by rearranging its protein structure, it can carry out far more than seven functions.”

    Transformers

    Ebola, Saphire explained, remodels its molecules “like a Transformer: those toys that unfold and refold to change between a robot and a truck,” she said. “We don’t typically expect molecules in biology to do that. We expect proteins to have one particular form – just the robot. If you didn’t know that the Ebola robot would also refold into a truck, you would design all your drugs against the robot structure.”

    In addition, due to its extreme nature, there are far fewer human studies on Ebola than other similar viruses.

    “Ebola patients are often too sick to consent to research,” Mehta said. These cases are occurring in poor environments where it’s hard to collect the samples to really understand the pathogens. But hopefully science catches up with the clinical phenomenon.”

    While the recent outbreak is not expected to reach far beyond West Africa, researchers like science writer Richard Preston fear the beginning of a more deadly and longer-lasting epidemic if the virus finds its way to metropolitan areas like Lagos, Nigeria, which has a population larger than the state of New York.

    Despite Ebola’s pervasive spread, Cummings says the biggest misconceptions are that Ebola is easily transmitted and that the outbreak in West Africa could reach global levels.

    While one should still exercise caution, Cummings says the requirement of transmission of fluids makes the disease more difficult to get if you’re not directly treating patients.

    “It is more controllable than people realize.”

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    Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison

    The FCC is considering banning use of the name “Redskins”from on-air broadcasts. Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison

    In a move that adds to the mounting protests that the ‘Redskins’ team name is disparaging to Native Americans, the Federal Communications Commission announced Tuesday that the agency will consider banning the Washington NFL team name from on-air broadcasts.

    Prompted by a petition from legal activist John Banzhaf III that called for the blocking of renewed federal broadcast licenses to stations that continually used the name, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters the agency will look at Banzhaf’s request and address the issue “on the merits and we’ll be responding accordingly.”

    “There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today,” he added. “And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those.”

    Wheeler’s comments today mirrored his words weeks ago when he told B&C/Multichannel News that “I don’t use the term personally, and I think it is offensive and derogatory.”

    Although Wheeler stops short of saying what the FCC would do, Reuters reports that the agency could deem the word indecent, paving the way for a on-air ban across television and radio.

    In his petition, Banzhaf said the use of the word is “akin to broadcasting obscenity.” In August, CBS Sports’ lead analyst Phil Simms said he was going to avoid using the word in his coverage. Several publications, including the Washington Post, have dropped usage of the word as well.

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in June that the team name and logo was disparaging and canceled its trademark registration. Bob Raskopf, the team’s trademark lawyer, appealed the decision.

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    Secret Service Director Julia Pierson testifies at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the White House perimeter breach on Sept. 30 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigns amid White House security breach. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

    UPDATED at 5:30 p.m. EDT: WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service Director Julia Pierson abruptly resigned Wednesday in the face of multiple revelations of security breaches, bumbling in her agency and rapidly eroding confidence that the president and his family were being kept safe.

    President Barack Obama “concluded new leadership of that agency was required,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

    High-ranking lawmakers from both parties had urged her to step down after her poorly received testimony to Congress a day earlier — and revelation of yet another security problem: Obama had shared an elevator in Atlanta last month with an armed guard who was not authorized to be around him.

    That appeared to be the last straw that crumbled trust in her leadership in the White House. Earnest said Obama and his staff did not learn about that breach until just before it was made public in news reports Tuesday.

    “Today Julia Pierson, the director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. He announced that Joseph Clancy, retired head of the agency’s Presidential Protective Division, would come out of retirement to lead the Secret Service temporarily.

    Taking further steps to restore trust in the beleaguered agency, Johnson also outlined an independent inquiry into the agency’s operations.

    That trust was shaken by a series of failures in the agency’s critical job of protecting the president, including a breach Sept. 19, when a knife-carrying man climbed over the White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue and made it deep into the executive mansion before being stopped.

    Republicans quickly served notice that Pierson’s resignation and the inquiry ordered by Johnson would not end their investigation.

    “The Oversight Committee will continue to examine clear and serious agency failures at the Secret Service,” said the panel’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “Problems at the Secret Service pre-date Ms. Pierson’s tenure as director, and her resignation certainly does not resolve them.”

    Pierson’s permanent replacement will probably face a grueling confirmation process before Congress.

    In an interview with Bloomberg after her resignation was announced, Pierson said, “It’s painful to leave as the agency is reeling from a significant security breach.”

    “Congress has lost confidence in my ability to run the agency,” she said. “The media has made it clear that this is what they expected.”

    “Congress has lost confidence in my ability to run the agency,” she said. “The media has made it clear that this is what they expected.” She said she met Johnson on Wednesday and “after that discussion I felt this was the noble thing to do.” She added that her departure would “take pressure off the organization.”

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a leader of the congressional inquiry, called her resignation “the right thing to do, it had to happen, but there are some systemic challenges that must be addressed.”

    Some revelations came from whistleblowers who contacted Chaffetz, and he suggested more damaging stories may emerge. “Unfortunately there are more out there and we’ll see how that goes,” he said.

    After a congressional hearing Tuesday into the Sept. 19 breach and an earlier one, reports emerged of still another. Earlier in September, Obama had shared an elevator in Atlanta with a private guard who was not authorized to be around him with a gun. That was the first known Secret Service failure to unfold in the presence of the president. The first family was not at the White House when the recent intruder entered.

    The White House learned about the Atlanta episode only about when lawmakers and the public did — when the Washington Examiner and The Washington Post reported it, Earnest said.

    Obama had not been told about it previously, Earnest said. This, despite Pierson’s statement to the committee that she briefs the president “100 percent of the time” about threats to his personal security and those at the White House. She said the only time she had briefed him this year was after the Sept. 19 White House intrusion.

    The man accused of running into the White House on Sept. 19, Omar J. Gonzalez, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a brief appearance in federal court. He is accused of unlawfully entering a restricted building while carrying a deadly weapon, which is a federal charge, and two violations of District of Columbia law — carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or business and unlawful possession of ammunition.

    Wearing a standard prison-issue orange jump suit, Gonzalez sat attentively at the defense table but did not address the court as his lawyer entered the plea.

    As for Pierson, support for the Secret Service director unraveled quickly after her defensive testimony Tuesday, which left key questions unanswered.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, were both to issue public calls for her resignation on Wednesday afternoon, their offices said.

    Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, top Democrat on the committee, said in multiple interviews Wednesday that Pierson was no longer the best person to lead the Secret Service.

    “There has to be accountability when that is not the case,” added House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who also backed calls for an independent investigation.

    Pierson is the latest administration official to leave in the midst of controversy. Others include:

    • Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned last May, taking the blame for what he decried as a “lack of integrity” in the sprawling health care system for the nation’s military veterans.
    • Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services as the “Obamacare” insurance marketplace failed spectacularly in its launch, stayed on to oversee repairs before Obama accepted her resignation months later.

    Associated Press writers Erica Werner, Josh Lederman and Calvin Woodward contributed.

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    edhirsch1

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Last night, we shared a story about painful choices facing families with loved ones on life support.

    Tonight: another look at dealing with loss, as a father copes with the death of his son through poetry.

    Jeffrey Brown is back with that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Gabriel Hirsch was a high-spirited, restless, and often reckless child and young man who suffered from a variety of developmental disorders and bounced through different doctors and schools.

    Still, his boundless energy drew others to him, and he lived a volatile, but full life, until he died in 2011 at age 22 of cardiac arrest after taking a party drug.

    EDWARD HIRSCH, Author “Gabriel: A Poem”: I became desperate that I would forget things.

    JEFFREY BROWN: His father is Edward Hirsch, a highly acclaimed poet who has now written something unlike anything he has done before, a book-length elegy for his son titled “Gabriel.”

    EDWARD HIRSCH: “Unbolt he doors. Fling open the gates. Here he comes, chaotic wind of the gods. He was trouble, but he was our trouble.”

    JEFFREY BROWN: Edward Hirsch and I talked recently at a park near his home in Brooklyn, New York, and I asked first what drove him to write the book.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: I suppose, in some ways, it began to feel inevitable to me, because I just didn’t know what else to do with myself. And I was overwhelmed by grief.

    And at a certain point, I thought, what am I going to do with my grief? And so writing poetry seemed something I could do. I found a comfort in trying to solve some poetic problems, because there were human ones I just couldn’t solve.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Edward Hirsch has a very prominent day job as president of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, a post he’s held for 11 years, after several decades in academia.

    It was months after his son’s death, he says, before he could go back to work, and poetry came later still.

    There’s a passage here that struck me midway in where you say, “Lord of misadventure” — you’re speaking of Gabriel — “I’m scared of rounding him up and turning him into a story.”

    EDWARD HIRSCH: Part of the book is a kind of picaresque novel about the adventures of Gabriel, about what Gabriel was doing. And in telling his…

    JEFFREY BROWN: And there are a lot of adventures.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: And there are a lot of adventures. And many of them made me laugh.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: And that was one of the joys of writing the book.

    But I was aware that when I was telling his story, as I had become his inadvertent biographer, that I was — by its very nature, you have to choose things. You have to summarize. You have to make decisions about narrative.

    And I suddenly realized, I’m turning my son into a story. I just didn’t want to simplify him. I didn’t want to sum him up. I wanted to try to be true to the full complications of the way he was as a person.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In “Gabriel” the book, each page is a separate poem. Hirsch writes of his son’s trials and loves, of his own guilt at not helping enough, even of the medications Gabriel took as he and his parents sought help.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: You have all these medications which were — which have these names. And I had just never seen the names of these medications in a poem.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: So you have to figure out how do you — how do you do it and how do you make…

    JEFFREY BROWN: And they’re real. They played a real part in his life, your life.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: They were crucial.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But how do you make them — turn them into a poem?

    EDWARD HIRSCH: And how do you turn them into a lyric poem in particular?

    I’m just desperate for Gabriel to come through as a person. Of course it’s not the person. It’s my poem. It’s my representation. But I’m desperate for people to have a feeling for what he was like. And that energy, that impulsiveness, which was so exciting and erratic is part of what I’m trying to capture in my poem.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And of course the elegy as a poetic form has a long, long history. Right?

    EDWARD HIRSCH: The elegy has been going as long as there has been poetry.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: It’s one of the root impulses of poetry, the lamentation for the fact that we die and the people we love die. And there’s something unacceptable about it. And we have to try to come to terms with that.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But it sounds as though you also didn’t want — I think you used the word consolation. You didn’t want the consolation that a poem can bring or a kind of — I don’t know if closure is the right word. What did you want?

    EDWARD HIRSCH: Despite the consolations of writing poetry, and despite the joys of writing poetry, the poem is not the person, and you would really prefer to have the person back, and that there’s a sense of a limitation of what art can do.

    I mean, I believe in poetry. And I have spent most of my life advocating for poetry, but I’m aware of what poetry can and can’t do, and there are some things it just can’t do.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Like?

    EDWARD HIRSCH: It can’t give me my son back. And it can’t give us the people back. It can give us some representation of them. It can do something. It does something better than almost anything else in the world can do, but it’s not life.

    And it’s in relationship to life. And there are some things it just can’t — it can’t give you.

    “I didn’t know the work of mourning is like carrying a bag of cement up a mountain at night.”

    JEFFREY BROWN: Near the end of the poem, Hirsch writes of his realization of just how much grief is shared by people around him, everyone, he writes, bearing such a heavy load.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: “Look closely and you will see almost everyone carrying bags Of cement on their shoulders. That’s why it takes courage to get out of bed in the morning and climb into the day.”

    But when you get to be a certain age, you start looking around and you realize that everyone is suffering some kind of a grief. And if you — if you don’t see it there, it’s only because you don’t know them very well. And people carry — that’s why I call it their invisible bags of cement.

    But a lot of people feel that they’re carrying huge weights, and they’re hiding it. And I think it’s important in my poem that I acknowledge that, I recognize it. The poem tries to reach out and open out to these people to a recognition that I’m not the only one carrying around the bag of cement. A lot of people are carrying it, in fact, almost everyone.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, the book is “Gabriel: A Poem.”

    Ed Hirsch, thank you so much.

    EDWARD HIRSCH: Thank you.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can hear Edward Hirsch and read more excerpts from his work “Gabriel: A Poem” on our Arts page at NewsHour.PBS.org.

     

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    buddycianci

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: They say that the third time is the charm, and that’s what voters are being asked to consider in Providence, Rhode Island, as the twice former mayor runs again, despite his two previous felony convictions and a prison term.

    The “NewsHour”‘s Domenico Montanaro takes us there with this report.

    VINCENT “BUDDY” CIANCI, Independent Mayoral Candidate: How you doing?

    MAN: How are you, Buddy?

    BUDDY CIANCI: Good. Nice to see you.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: In Providence, the improbable. Former Mayor Vincent Buddy Cianci, whose previous two reigns were each cut short by felony convictions, is running again.

    WOMAN: We hope you win again.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: To the shock of his detractors.

    WOMAN: I think it’s an embarrassing disgrace.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: The delight of his supporters.

    MAN: The perfect candidate to bring Providence back to where it needs to be.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: The amazement of nearly everyone.

    MAN: Some of this stuff is kind of like out of “Alice in Wonderland.”

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: He’s leading in the polls.

    MAUREEN MOAKLEY, University of Rhode Island: He’s not only back. He’s not only running. But he may indeed win.

    MIKE STANTON, Author, “The Prince of Providence: The Rise and Fall of Buddy Cianci”: Absolutely, he could win.

    BUDDY CIANCI: Look it, I have been there, done it, bought the T-shirt. I know how to fix the problems in this city, and that’s why we’re ahead in the polls.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Cianci was once America’s longest-serving mayor, holding office 22 years in all. His first go-round started in 1974, when he ran as a Republican on an anti-corruption platform.

    NARRATOR: Cianci is so incorruptible, he headed up the anti-corruption strike force in this state.

    MIKE STANTON: He really does embody the best and worst of American politics throughout his long and checkered career.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Mike Stanton, now a professor at the University of Connecticut, is a former Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist for The Providence Journal.

    MIKE STANTON: He was like a breath of fresh air to a city that was really dying after the 1960s and the flight to the suburbs, and he became a great cheerleader.

    I mean, Gerald Ford had him speak at the Republican National Convention. And, at the same time, there were nearly two dozen people arrested or convicted in his first administration involving kickbacks for street paving and snowplowing and other municipal contracts.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: But it was his personal life that did him in, in 1984, when he had his police bodyguard bring him the man he thought was having an affair with his estranged wife.

    MIKE STANTON: Buddy, you know, slapped him and punched him and threw a drink in his face.

    WOMAN: The facts show the defendant threw an ashtray at him.

    MIKE STANTON: And he had a lit cigarette, and he kind of tried to jab it in the man’s eye. He ultimately pleaded guilty as he was about to go to trial. And he resigned his office. And we thought that would be the end of the Buddy story.

    BUDDY CIANCI: How are you? How are you? How are you?

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: But, by 1990, Buddy was back, winning a three-way race as an independent by just a few hundred votes. And Providence was on the cusp of a renaissance, a record that Cianci is running on today.

    NARRATOR: This was the city of Providence. Then a new mayor was elected, and that mayor’s leadership changed everything.

    BUDDY CIANCI: We built the skating rink across the street. We did the zoo, built the mall, moved the rivers. This city was one of the five best cities to live in, according to “Money” magazine. It was one of the five renaissance cities, according to USA Today.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: But Scott MacKay, former chief political columnist for “The Providence Journal,” now political analyst for Rhode Island Public Radio, says Cianci doesn’t deserve as much credit as he claims.

    SCOTT MACKAY, Rhode Island Public Radio: You know, this — this whole revival of downtown Providence was something that took about 25 years, a whole bunch of different folks governors, mayors, senators. But Cianci happened to be in office at the apex of all of this, and he was just brilliant at taking credit.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: MacKay’s co-panelist, political science professor, Maureen Moakley, takes a more generous view of Cianci’s roles.

    MAUREEN MOAKLEY: They may not have been his ideas, but he got it. He He understood that it mattered for the city. And he made — he did everything to make it happen.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yes, says MacKay.

    SCOTT MACKAY:  He probably is the best cheerleader the town ever had. The problem is, he didn’t pay attention to day-to-day running of city hall and the finances. And, you know, there’s a conga line of people who worked for him who ended up being criminals.

    We have got his chief of staff, his top aide, you know taking a grand in a bribe and the FBI taping it, and he didn’t look like a virgin.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: An FBI investigation, dubbed Plunder Dome, culminated in 27 charges of corruption against Cianci. In 2002, he was found guilty on one count of racketeering conspiracy and sentenced to prison.

    How do you reassure voters that there won’t be corruption in a third administration?

    BUDDY CIANCI: Well, you know, what reassurance do people have? No one wants to sit in prison for four-and-a-half years. You have got a lot to think about.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: What did you learn from that time?

    BUDDY CIANCI: Never to come back. And, frankly, I did my time. I did it like a man. I paid the price. And the law says I can run. And I’m running.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: At age 73, he’s doing what might be unthinkable anywhere else, in a bid to burnish a tarnished legacy.

    In the old Italian American neighborhood the Federal Hill, older Italian Americans are closing ranks. Philip Almagno (ph), a former city councilman, was chief of weights and measures in Cianci’s second administration.

    Do you think he should be mayor again?

    MAN: Absolutely.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Anthony Anarino (ph) was Cianci’s tax collector.

    So, what was it like working for Buddy?

    MAN: It was an adventure. He was always on you, made sure everything got done.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Do you think he had his hands clean?

    MAN: Well, number one, they didn’t find nothing on him.

    MAN: They didn’t prove anything.

    MAN: They didn’t prove anything.

    MAN: Not as far as I’m concerned.

    MAN: Yes, me, too.

    MAN: Twenty-nine — 28 charges, and you charge him with one, RICO Act? Give me a break.

    MAN: In my opinion, he shouldn’t have done 30 minutes in jail.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Across town in the city’s posh East Side, the feeling is very different.

    WENDY SCHILLER, Brown University: People are literally terrified that he will win again.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Wendy Schiller teaches political science at Brown.

    WENDY SCHILLER: There’s a real divide between the old-timers who remember the glory days of Buddy Cianci, and the people here who want to look forward to the future and give Providence a new fresh start, a new reputation.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Still, the concerns haven’t stopped Cianci’s momentum.

    BUDDY CIANCI: I feel good.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: The most recent poll has him in the lead, 38-32, over his closest challenger, Democrat Jorge Elorza.

    JORGE ELORZA, Democrat Mayoral Candidate: I’m running for mayor here in Providence.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Elorza, a political novice who grew up in a tough part of the city’s West Side, is a Harvard Law grad and former housing court judge.

    Are you ready for the fight?

    (LAUGHTER)

    JORGE ELORZA: Absolutely. And we will take the fight to him.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: If it wasn’t for Cianci, Elorza would likely be cruising into office.

    JORGE ELORZA: How are you, sir?

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Providence, after all, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since Cianci’s first campaign 40 years ago.

    JORGE ELORZA: Very nice to meet you.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: And the current GOP candidate, Dan Harrop, is polling at just 6 percent.

    DANIEL HARROP, Republican Mayoral Candidate: This is the Buddy Cianci show, featuring Dan Harrop and Jorge Elorza, and that’s what the election is becoming.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Harrop, a psychiatrist, puts Providence voters on the couch.

    DANIEL HARROP: Why are you really considering doing this again? I have often considered this as somewhat like battered spouses, is that they’re fearful of the future, so they stay with the batterer and want to keep with them because at least it’s what they know.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: But Providence is a very different city than the one Cianci led 40 years ago. His Italian American base is shrinking. More than 60 percent of city residents are nonwhite minorities, with Latinos making up the largest group by far.

    It’s a group that Elorza, son of Guatemalan immigrants, is courting. But African-Americans could be a swing group, and Cianci is counting on them.

    MAN: People, so vote for Buddy Cianci to find better jobs and homes for our families.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Despite Cianci being the most recognizable figure in the race, arguably in Providence history, 21 percent in the polls said they hadn’t yet made up their minds, bad news for Buddy, says Wendy Schiller.

    WENDY SCHILLER: He’s a well-known candidate, so if 21 percent are undecided and they know you well, they’re likely leaning in the other direction.

    BUDDY CIANCI: Hi. How you doing?

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: It’s up to Cianci to convince voters beyond his loyal base that he has earned that chance.

    WOMAN: Good luck.

    BUDDY CIANCI: Thanks a lot.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Whether he succeeds could determine how this controversial figure is remembered, as the comeback kid or part of the city’s dark past.

     

    The post Previous terms cut short by convictions, iconic former mayor of Providence runs again appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: If you’re a politician, nothing says you’re thinking about running for president like writing a book. And that’s what brings us to former vice presidential candidate and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.

    Yesterday, Judy Woodruff spoke with the Republican Budget Committee chairman about his new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.”

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Paul Ryan, welcome.

    REP. PAUL RYAN (R), Wisconsin:  Good to be with you, Judy. Thanks for having me this evening.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So we’re talking to you about your book. You make public here more of your personal story than I think we have ever heard from you, in particular about the death of your father when you were a teenager. Why did you decide to share that now?

    REP. PAUL RYAN: Well, I think it’s important that you talk about the tragedies in your life, the things that have happened that form you.

    I thought it was important to explain why I think the way I think, and, more importantly, how some tragedies can hit families and you can bounce back from them. Good things can come from these difficult circumstances and difficult challenges.

    And it was a very formative part might have life. And that’s why I talked about these things, in an effort to try and explain why I think what I think and why I do what I do. And I also wanted to put forward a positive agenda of solutions to show how we can get things right in America, and how our own family needed the safety net, how our community was there for us when we needed it, my mom, and myself, and my grandma, and how important these programs in this kind of a society, a civil society, is to me and how personal it is to me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So you do write — if there’s a personal side of the book, there’s very much a public and a political. You talk about the Republican Party, how it needs to open up.

    But I guess one of the questions to you is, how hard is that to do, when many, certainly Democrats, some independents, see the Republican Party as a party that has at least in the past been perceived as against doing programs for the poor, against expanding Medicaid health benefits?

    How do you see the challenge for the Republican Party?

    REP. PAUL RYAN: I think we do have a challenge. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote this book.

    I think we need to show not just what we’re against, but what we are for and how we are applying critically important principles to the problems of the day to offer better solutions. Here are better ideas for health care retirement security. Here are better ideas for economic growth. Here’s our agenda for getting — helping get people out of poverty, for real welfare reform, to move people from welfare to work, for economic growth, for a stronger foreign policy to make us more safe and more secure.

    I think, just because we don’t like the current policies in place or the track we are on, we should not just simply be an opposition party. We need to be a proposition party, an alternative party:  Here is a better way forward for our country. Here are better solutions. And this shows you the kind of opportunity society we’re trying to create to reignite the engines of economic opportunity, to reconnect people with the America idea, which is this great idea that the condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life, and that we want to have a dynamic society where everybody is involved, where everybody can participate, in an economy of inclusion, so that everybody can reach their potential.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Someone who has looked at your book sent me these statistics just this week, Congressman. That is that corporate earnings — this is since the financial collapse in 2008 — corporate earnings have gone up at an analyzed rate of over 20 percent, while disposable income for the average person has gone up annually at only about 1.4 percent.

    What would you do about that?

    REP. PAUL RYAN: Yes.

    So, the wealthy are doing fine. The wealth effect, with the Federal Reserve and the stock market, they’re doing fine. But this kind of prosperity is not trickling down. So we’re basically seeing what you would call trickle-down economics now, I would argue. We have crony capitalism. We have top-heavy government.

    We don’t have government that is responsive to people’s needs. And we don’t have the kind of organic economic growth you need to get people into the work force. And so I articulate a whole host of ideas, from tax reform, to job training reform, to better poverty-fighting solutions, to try and get people back into the economy, so they can get better take-home pay, better jobs, better opportunity, but, more importantly, get people back out of the doldrums that they’re in.

    Look, Judy, our labor force participation rates, tens of millions of people who are either not working full-time or working part-time or not in school. When you have got almost 20 percent of 21-to-44-year-olds who are not in school or working at all, we have a problem in America today.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    REP. PAUL RYAN: And what I would argue is, we need better, faster economic growth and we need the kind of economic growth that is bottom-up, that actually gets everybody on at least some rung of the economic ladder, so they can start climbing, so we can get the bridge to a better life, which is a better job.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I do want to make time for at least one foreign policy question. And that is, you have said that President Obama was wrong not to negotiate a so-called status of forces agreement in Iraq to leave some U.S. troops there.

    REP. PAUL RYAN: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You have said that that might have helped prevent what has happened with the Islamic State recently.

    So, my question is, are you saying U.S. troops should have stayed in Iraq and would still be there today…

    REP. PAUL RYAN: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: … meaning 10, 11 years in Iraq?

    REP. PAUL RYAN: I do think we should have had a status of forces agreement, where we would have had a footprint of soldiers there embedded with the Iraqis, helping enable the Iraqis, helping make sure that they can keep their military organized and coordinated and help the political coalition stay together.

    And I would argue, because of our precipitous withdrawal, that hurt us and it helped us lose the gains we got. And I think we would have done a far better job, as the military asked at the time, and recommended at the time, we would have done a far better job of keeping the Iraqi military organized and together.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You have said you are thinking about whether to run for president. Mitt Romney, who chose you as his vice presidential running mate, has hinted that he is still thinking about it. You have said just in the last day or so that you wouldn’t run if he ran. Why not?

    REP. PAUL RYAN: Because I think he’d make a great president. I supported him in the last election. I wish that he would have won. I wish that we would have won.

    And I would defer to Mitt, because I think he’s the right time guy for the time. I don’t think he’s going to run. He’s been pretty clear about that. I, for myself, that’s a decision I’m not right now thinking about, because I think we have issues to deal with today. But this is something for 2015. I’m going to make a decision in 2015 about that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Paul Ryan, the book is “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.”

    We thank you.

    REP. PAUL RYAN: Thank you, Judy.

    The post Paul Ryan discusses ‘Way Forward’ on economic opportunity, future of the GOP appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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