Articles on this Page
- 10/02/14--15:35: _AP History class st...
- 10/02/14--15:40: _Should Justice Gins...
- 10/02/14--15:45: _Justices add cases ...
- 10/02/14--15:50: _News Wrap: Hong Kon...
- 10/02/14--18:45: _NBC News freelance ...
- 10/02/14--21:17: _Obama vows to act o...
- 10/03/14--12:58: _Quiz: Do you know w...
- 10/03/14--13:26: _Islamic State milit...
- 10/03/14--14:32: _How worried should ...
- 10/03/14--14:33: _U.S. military build...
- 10/03/14--14:47: _Diminished sense of...
- 10/03/14--15:10: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 10/03/14--15:15: _Philadelphia school...
- 10/03/14--15:17: _A doctor’s argument...
- 10/03/14--15:20: _Broad-based jobs gr...
- 10/03/14--15:25: _Why is Turkey reluc...
- 10/03/14--15:36: _Critic of online he...
- 10/03/14--15:40: _Are Ebola screening...
- 10/03/14--15:45: _Hospital’s handling...
- 10/03/14--15:50: _News Wrap: Violence...
- 10/02/14--18:45: NBC News freelance journalist tests positive for Ebola
- 10/02/14--21:17: Obama vows to act on immigration reform by end of year
- 10/03/14--12:58: Quiz: Do you know what these patented inventions do?
- 10/03/14--14:32: How worried should Americans be about Ebola?
- 10/03/14--14:33: U.S. military building Ebola labs, treatment centers in Liberia
- 10/03/14--14:47: Diminished sense of smell may indicate imminent death, study finds
- 10/03/14--15:10: Shields and Brooks on Secret Service failures, Ebola readiness
- 10/03/14--15:15: Philadelphia schools crippled by budget crisis
- 10/03/14--15:17: A doctor’s argument against living longer
- 10/03/14--15:25: Why is Turkey reluctant to fight the Islamic State?
- 10/03/14--15:40: Are Ebola screening measures ineffective? – Part 2
- 10/03/14--15:45: Hospital’s handling of Ebola patient raises questions – Part 1
Nationally, some standards have already changed. But in recent weeks, Colorado has been the central focus, as the local school board responded with its own plan, and students and teachers are pushing back.
Hari Sreenivasan has the story.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The conflict over curriculum that’s sparked nearly two weeks of protests has now come to a head. It’s the prime topic at tonight’s school board meeting in Jefferson County, Colorado, just outside Denver.
Board president Ken Witt:
KEN WITT, President, Jefferson County Board of Education: I hope we come to a — to good dialogue and get to a good plan for how to execute the board’s obligation to oversee curriculum and to make certain that we’re doing the right thing for our students to ensure that we’re offering balanced, thorough curriculum and that we’re fulfilling our responsibility as a board.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The battle began when the College Board set out new national standards for Advanced Placement U.S. history courses. They’re used by college-bound students to earn college credits. But a number of conservatives argued the standards depict the United States in a negative light and distort key events.
In Jefferson County, the school board’s conservative majority called for naming a committee to make changes. One member offered a plan that said classroom materials should — quote — “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.”
At the same time, it said the course shouldn’t “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”
That language set off waves of students leaving class to march with signs and flags.
SCOTT ROMANO, Student: If we allow them to censor AP U.S., what’s going the stop them from censoring other classes? And that — and I feel that it’s our duty or our right as Americans to learn our full history, because it’s from that full history that we can grow into a better country. And we have to learn from those dark pasts in our history. And that’s what creates a better country. And that’s what we all need the learn from.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The board’s majority has reacted by dropping the most contentious language in its proposal.
Again, board president Witt:
KEN WITT: I think the issue needs to be that we’re having balanced, thorough curriculum, not any particular viewpoint on bias. We want to make sure that we’re eliminating bias. There’s never a desire on anyone’s part that I’m aware of for there to be censorship or bias in our curriculum.
HARI SREENIVASAN: But the revisions in the proposal have failed to douse the firestorm. Some students say they simply don’t trust the board members.
BETHANY KEUPP, Student: In the months that I have been following this board, they have never given the community the whole truth, and so I’m not going to believe that, because they changed the petition, they are listening to the community now and, all of a sudden, they are going to let us be involved. I still think their original intentions are still there.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Teachers who’ve joined the protest have also used it to voice concerns over a merit-based compensation package. They consider it unfair.
Similar fights are playing out elsewhere, especially in Texas and South Carolina, as the College Board’s U.S. history guidelines generate national debate.
Back in Jefferson County, the protesters have picked up support from the College Board. The group warns any school that omits essential concepts in its courses will lose its Advanced Placement designation.
The post AP History class standards spark fight over patriotism and censorship appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
When they are appointed to the Supreme Court, it’s a job for life. But should it be? Some are posing that question now being about the oldest sitting justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Jeffrey Brown picks it up from there.
JEFFREY BROWN: And I’m joined by legal experts and court watchers Erwin Chemerinsky, who wrote an essay in Political magazine calling for Justice Ginsburg to step down. He’s the dean of U.C. Irvine School of Law and author of “The Case Against the Supreme Court.” And Jeffrey Rosen, whose interview with Justice Ginsburg just appeared in “The New Republic,” where he’s legal affairs editor. Rosen is also the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center.
Well, Erwin Chemerinsky, summarize the case for Justice Ginsburg stepping down for us.
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY, University of California-Irvine: In March of this year, I wrote an op-ed in The L.A. Times urging Justice Ginsburg to step down at the end of the term, which was this past July.
I said that’s the only way she could be sure that someone with her views and values would take her place on the court. If the Republicans take the Senate in November, President Obama’s ability to picks a successor would be greatly constrained. If a Republican wins the presidency in 2016, a conservative would then be taking her place.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, Jeffrey Rosen, it’s a kind of political strategy motive, I guess. What’s your response?
JEFFREY ROSEN, George Washington University: Well, I asked Justice Ginsburg what her response was to the calls that she resign, and she said she responded to academics who called for her resignation, who better than I could get through the Senate right now?
And I think her position is basically, justices in the past have resigned either because of ill health, like Justices Marshall and Brennan, or because they literally wanted to go hiking, like Justices Souter and O’Connor, who Justice Ginsburg talked about. And she feels and the interview confirmed that she’s at the height of her power. She’s writing opinions faster than anyone else.
She’s become a fiery voice and leader for the liberal opposition. And she feels that, given that fact, there is no need for her to resign.
JEFFREY BROWN: And, Erwin Chemerinsky, you’re not making that argument in any way, are you, that she’s impaired in any way?
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY: Of course not.
This isn’t about her ability to be a terrific justice. This is the question of, how long is it likely she will stay on the court and who will replace her? She’s 81 years old. If the Republicans take the Senate, if a Republican is elected in 2016 — it’s highly unlikely that a Democratic president will be able to pick a progressive for her seat.
JEFFREY BROWN: Is it a good idea for justices to be watching the midterm elections, who controls the Senate? Do we want them to be doing that?
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY: Of course we do.
And we have got to expect that they will. Justice Ginsburg cares deeply about the issues that come before the court. If she wants somebody with her values and views, or Justice Scalia wants someone with his values and views on the court, it all depends on who is the president and who is controlling the Senate.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so, Jeffrey Rosen, you told us what she said to you. What do you think? I mean, should she be looking at the midterm elections and thinking about the legacy of her point of view?
JEFFREY ROSEN: You know, justices, it’s said, follow the election returns, but I’m not sure it’s the midterms that they actually follow as well.
JEFFREY ROSEN: You know, I’m sure she’s concerned about her legacy. Of course she is. And she must be betting on some level that a Democrat has a good chance of being elected president the next time around.
But, given that bet, I think that it’s perfectly appropriate for her, at the height of her powers, at a time when, more than any other justice, she’s become a galvanizing leader of the liberal opposition, for her to continue the service that she’s doing so ably.
JEFFREY BROWN: Do you think, Jeffrey Rosen, that any particular cases — there’s been talk — for example, gay marriage may get taken up again, something she might care very deeply about. Is that a factor for her perhaps in staying?
JEFFREY ROSEN: She, even more than some of her liberal colleagues, is an uncompromising voice for liberalism on the court.
And we discussed cases in which she wasn’t willing to compromise, such as the recent Hobby Lobby case, where Justices Kagan and Breyer took a separate position. Bush v. Gore also was a case where Justice Ginsburg, unlike some of her colleagues, was unwilling to compromise.
And I think she believes, as the senior associate justice responsible for assigning the dissenting opinions, that she has a unique ability and she’s doing it very well to convince all of the liberals to converge around a single dissent, and I think that she believes that she more than anyone else who could get confirmed right now, as she said, really can defend liberal values better than anyone else.
JEFFREY BROWN: Erwin Chemerinsky, it sort of raises an old question in part, which is, should there be term limits or age limits for Supreme Court justices?
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY: I do believe there should be term limits for Supreme Court justices.
It’s one of the things that I argue for in my new book. Life expectancies thankfully are much longer today than they were in 1787, when the Constitution was written. Clarence Thomas was 43 years old when he was confirmed for the Supreme Court in 1991. If he remains until he’s 90, the age which Justice Stevens stepped down, he will be a Supreme Court justice for 47 years.
Elena Kagan, John Roberts were each 50 when they were confirmed for the court. If they stay until they’re 90, they will be there for 40 years. That’s just too much power for one person to exercise for too long a period of time.
JEFFREY BROWN: Jeffrey Rosen, what do you think? Does the system need changing?
JEFFREY ROSEN: There’s a decent argument for term limits. Erwin has just made it very well. But it would require a constitutional amendment. And, in practice, that’s just not going to pass.
I guess the argument against term limits is that justices can really mature and change. One thing that emerged in our interview, I asked her, when you were appointed, Justice Ginsburg, people thought you were an incrementalist, or a minimalist, or a judge’s judge. And, all of a sudden, now you’re on fire. You have found your voice. You’re the leader of the opposition.
And I feel, as a longtime observer and friend of Justice Ginsburg, that she has found her voice, that she’s gained the confidence to really not only be a legal technician, but a powerful voice for liberal constitutional ideals, that she’s grown on the job, and she’s inspiring young women especially all over the world. She’s become an Internet sensation.
She’s loving the fact that she’s inspiring people. And it’s a testament to growth and the maturity and the virtues of really learning how to do the job and gain…
JEFFREY BROWN: All right.
Jeffrey Rosen, Erwin Chemerinsky, thank you both very much.
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY: Thank you.
JEFFREY ROSEN: Thank you.
The post Should Justice Ginsburg retire? Debating term limits for the Supreme Court appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
It’s also possible that the court will hear a potentially landmark case on same-sex marriage.
To walk us through it all, we are joined now, as we so often are, by Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal.
MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: Hi, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, a busy day at the court. You were there. Tell us what happened.
MARCIA COYLE: Well, the justices today added 11 cases to the 37 they have already agreed to decide in the new term, which, as you said, opens next week.
Those 11 cases are important and interesting in a sense because they are culled from hundreds of petitions that are filed with the court during the summer months. And, as you also pointed out, there was high anticipation today that the justices might do something on seven same-sex marriage petitions from five states that are waiting. They did nothing, but that take — take nothing from that. They may act later in the term.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we did hear though about a couple of cases. One was a closely watched Arizona congressional redistricting…
MARCIA COYLE: That’s right.
In 2000, Arizona voters approved an amendment to their constitution that creates an independent bipartisan commission to handle congressional redistricting, the redrawing of districts following the last census. It was an attempt to depoliticize redistricting.
The Arizona legislature has challenged that, claiming that that takes away power that’s granted to them to do redistricting under the elections clause of the U.S. Constitution.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, now another case they say they are going to take up and hear arguments on comes from Florida having to do with political contributions.
MARCIA COYLE: This was very interesting. The court for a number of terms now has been deregulating money in campaigns. This involves judicial candidates.
Something like 30 states have codes of judicial conduct that include rules that bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting — solicitating — soliciting — I’m sorry — campaign contributions. A former judicial candidate has challenged that on — under First Amendment grounds, and so the justices will take a look at whether this is censoring speech that is at the core of the First Amendment.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And we know one of the others was Texas and it was housing discrimination.
MARCIA COYLE: Yes.
This involves whether you can bring claims under the federal Fair Housing Act, discrimination claims, without proving intentional discrimination. That sounds odd, but intentional discrimination is very difficult to prove today, and the courts have recognized under a number of laws certain types of claims can be proven with statistics, showing that a federal rule or a regulation has a disproportionate impact on minorities.
This case involves the federal Fair Housing Act, and the justices have to decide if that type of a claim, what we call disparate impact claim, can be brought under this particular law.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I know you’re going to be watching all of these cases when they come up starting next week.
MARCIA COYLE: Could be another blockbuster. We will have to wait and see.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right. We’re getting the popcorn out.
MARCIA COYLE: OK. Sounds good.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marcia Coyle, thank you.
MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, Judy.
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GWEN IFILL: The leader of Hong Kong’s government defied calls that he step down today and he put protesters on notice to stay away from key sites. But the pro-democracy crowds showed no sign they’d be cowed.
Lucy Watson of Independent Television News spent the day among the protesters, and filed this report.
LUCY WATSON: There were moments of action and confusion, with emotions overrunning. How could they keep these streets under their control? It’s authority vs. youth, weapons against toys. And the tension is mounting.
MAN: The atmosphere is a bit more tense, because we have observed that the government tried to move in some weapons or some tear gas into the headquarters.
LUCY WATSON: But Napo Wong is here to keep the peace, yet isn’t fearful of what this could bring.
NAPO WONG: After the first tear gas shoot us, I think the people, they are not afraid anymore. And — but they feel very angry, I think angry, more than afraid.
LUCY WATSON: The number of protesters camping out here is growing by the minute in a face-off with police, and that’s because this government building is the office of the chief executive of Hong Kong, and what they don’t want is for him to be able to come here to work tomorrow, because the man from the glass tower, C.Y. Leung, still won’t resign.
He does say he’s now willing to talk. Yet, if protesters invade this building, the consequences will be serious and they will respond.
GWEN IFILL: For a closer look at what’s driving these young people to the streets, we turn to Demetri Sevastopulo, South China correspondent for The Financial Times. He’s in Hong Kong, and I spoke to him a short time ago by Skype.
Demetri Sevastopulo, thank you for joining us.
Can you tell us how these incredible protests that we have seen spring up, these hundreds of thousands of people in the street? How do they spring up so quickly and so aggressively?
DEMETRI SEVASTOPULO, Financial Times: Well, students started boycotting classes and protesting last week, and at the end of the week, on Friday, a couple hundred students stormed an area outside one of the main government buildings in Hong Kong.
A bunch of them were arrested, and that caused sympathy for the student movement and the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. On Sunday morning, a group called Occupy Central decided to launch a civil disobedience campaign, piggybacking on the back of the students’ success in generating sympathy.
And then, over the past five days, you have had massive outpourings of support and huge numbers of people on the streets of Hong Kong doing what’s been an incredibly peaceful protest. It’s really been an amazing situation here.
GWEN IFILL: It is a different kind of protest, no question. But what are they protesting? Are they protesting Beijing’s strong hand when it comes to voting?
DEMETRI SEVASTOPULO: At the moment, they’re protesting two things. The first thing is, Beijing wants to implement universal suffrage, which everybody wants in Hong Kong.
People at the moment cannot vote for their chief executive or top political leader. But Beijing has implemented tough restrictions, which mean that the public will have no role in nominating the candidates. And, secondly, it’s very difficult for anyone who is a critic of Beijing to get on the ballot.
So the people say there’s no point having universal suffrage if you’re not given a genuine choice. The second thing they’re fighting for at the moment is the resignation of the chief executive, C.Y. Leung. He’s come under huge pressure, particularly since Sunday, when he ordered the police to fire tear gas at peaceful demonstrators.
That’s really changed the dynamic. And so now, unless he goes, I think the students are not going to be satisfied.
GWEN IFILL: Beijing is now talking about unimaginable consequences when it takes — comes to pushing become on these kinds of protests. Do we know what that means?
DEMETRI SEVASTOPULO: Well, Beijing has since said that they think Hong Kong can manage this and that police in Hong Kong can handle the situation.
But, at the end of the day, if the Hong Kong police are unable to manage the protest, if they got so out of control that it was very difficult for them, it is conceivable that China might decide to send in PLA soldiers. I think it’s very unlikely, but you can’t rule it out completely.
GWEN IFILL: They’re talking about opening talks. What kind of talks are we talking about?
DEMETRI SEVASTOPULO: Well, the chief executive faced a midnight deadline for his resignation. The students said, if he didn’t do that today, that they would storm government buildings and occupy government buildings.
As a way to try and ease the tensions, he gave some crowd. He said, we will have talks with the students, but he also said he wouldn’t resign. So the talks is a way for the different groups, the protesters, the students, Occupy Central to sit down with the government and see if they can reach some kind of a compromise.
But I think very few people think that there is going to be any scope to do that.
GWEN IFILL: Demetri Sevastopulo of The Financial Times from Hong Kong by Skype, thanks a lot for joining us.
DEMETRI SEVASTOPULO: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Health officials in Texas now say as many as 100 people may have been exposed to an Ebola patient in Dallas. All had direct or indirect contact with Thomas Duncan after he arrived from Liberia last month.
Meanwhile, some families have begun keeping children out of several schools. Five students who attend those schools were exposed to Duncan.
But superintendent Mike Miles sought to reassure parents today.
MIKE MILES, Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District: We don’t think there’s any virus at any of those buildings, but we will take that off the table. So, we’re doing extra cleaning and disinfecting.
And now we’re — also enrolled the five students into the Homebound program, so that they will get curricular supports and technology supports to continue their education.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Four of Thomas Duncan’s relatives have been ordered to stay in their homes under police guard for 21 days, to see if they show symptoms.
And, in Liberia, authorities announced today they will prosecute Duncan for allegedly lying on a health form that he filled out before leaving the country.
GWEN IFILL: Officials in Saudi Arabia are moving to keep that kingdom Ebola-free, as an estimated two million Muslims stream into Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage. The Saudis have refused to issue visas to anyone from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. And the Health Ministry said today all others are being asked to fill out medical screening cards as they arrive. The hajj lasts five days.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Turkey’s parliament today authorized using military force against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Lawmakers voted to authorize cross-border military incursions. The defense minister also said foreign troops will be allowed to use Turkish territory and military bases in the fight.
ISMET YILMAZ, Turkish Defense Minister (through translator): The existence of Islamist militants in the region 37 kilometers away from the Turkish-Syrian border is an obvious threat against our national security. The Turkish republic will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to fulfill this responsibility.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The vote followed a warning by the Kurdish militant PKK in Turkey. It threatened to abandon peace talks with the Ankara government if fellow Kurds living in Syria are massacred.
GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, President Obama returned his focus to the economy, with the midterm elections a month away. He spoke at Northwestern University and said that, by every economic measure, the country is better off than when he took office. But he acknowledged, that’s not enough.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It is also indisputable that millions of Americans don’t yet feel enough of the benefits of a growing economy where it matters most. And that’s in their own lives.
And these truths aren’t incompatible. Our broader economy in the aggregate has come a long way, but the gains of recovery are not yet broadly shared.
GWEN IFILL: In fact, the president said, income inequality is the worst it’s been in decades and he said, “I find that hard to swallow.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: J.P. Morgan Chase confirmed today that it has had a data breach affecting 76 million households and seven million small businesses. But the bank said there is no evidence that any account information was actually stolen.
And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost three points to close at 16,801; the Nasdaq rose eight to close at 4,430; and the S&P 500 was virtually unchanged at 1,946.
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An American freelance cameraman working in Liberia for NBC News has contracted the Ebola virus and is being flown to the U.S. for treatment, the news network announced Thursday night.
In a letter to staff, NBC News President Deborah Turness said the 33-year-old freelancer had been working in Liberia for three years and joined the NBC News team Tuesday to help cover the Ebola outbreak in Monrovia.
Feeling sick and running a fever, the freelancer quarantined himself until he was tested for Ebola on Thursday at a Medecins Sans Frontieres treatment center. The tests came back positive 12 hours later, NBC reported.
The NBC news team, including Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman, has shown no symptoms of the virus, but will be flown back to the U.S. to be quarantined and closely monitored for 21 days — the incubation period for Ebola.
The freelancer, whose name has been withheld at the request of the family, is the fourth American to be diagnosed with the deadly virus. Earlier this week, Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with the first case of Ebola in the U.S. and is currently being treated at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Turness’ full letter to the staff is below:
As you know, Dr. Nancy Snyderman and our news team are in Liberia covering the Ebola outbreak. One of the members of their crew is an American freelance cameraman who has worked in Liberia for the past three years and has recently been covering the epidemic for US media outlets. On Tuesday he began working with our team. Today, he tested positive for Ebola.
We are doing everything we can to get him the best care possible. He will be flown back to the United States for treatment at a medical center that is equipped to handle Ebola patients. We are consulting with the CDC, Medicins Sans Frontieres and others. And we are working with Dr. Nancy on the ground in Liberia.
We are also taking all possible measures to protect our employees and the general public. The rest of the crew, including Dr. Nancy, are being closely monitored and show no symptoms or warning signs. However, in an abundance of caution, we will fly them back on a private charter flight and then they will place themselves under quarantine in the United States for 21 days – which is at the most conservative end of the spectrum of medical guidance.
We know you share our concern for our colleagues and we will continue to keep you up to date and informed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or David Verdi with any questions.
The post NBC News freelance journalist tests positive for Ebola appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — With frustration mounting, President Barack Obama sought Thursday to quell doubts he’ll use his presidential powers to act on immigration, telling Hispanics and immigration activists it’s “not a question of if but when.”
At the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala, Obama warned activists that his eventual actions will spark intense political opposition that could threaten the durability of what he does. In a partisan pitch a month before Election Day, he urged Hispanics across the U.S. to use their votes to improve prospects in the future for a legislative fix.
“The moment I act — and it will be taking place between the November election and the end of the year — opponents of reform will roll out the same old scare tactics,” Obama said. “When opponents are out there saying who knows what, I’m going to need you to have my back.”
Once hailed as a champion for Hispanic rights, Obama’s relationship with the Hispanic community has become strained since he decided last month to abandon his earlier pledge to act quickly after summer’s end to help some immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Instead, he said he’d wait until after the Nov. 4 elections, exasperating immigration activists who accused the president of putting politics ahead of their families and said they had waited far too long already.
With the elections nearing, Obama sought to parlay impatience into motivation for Hispanic voters to elect politicians who will enact more sweeping reforms to fix the U.S. immigration system. Arguing that no executive action on immigration could be as comprehensive as what Congress could do, he urged Hispanics at the black-tie dinner to go into their communities to ensure voters don’t stay home.
“Yes we can — if we vote,” he said, first in Spanish and then in English, in a twist on his 2008 campaign slogan.
The White House has been coy about what unilateral actions Obama and his administration are considering, and legal experts differ about just how far Obama can go without Congress. Immigration activists are calling for Obama to act aggressively to free a sizeable portion of the 11.5 million immigrants here illegally from fear of deportation.
Such a possibility has incensed Republicans who say Obama’s willingness to ignore existing laws is the key reason they’re reluctant to work with him to pass new ones.
“The president’s promise isn’t about making the best policy or enforcing the law — it’s an admission that his pledge to not uphold the law in the future would be bad for his party now,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
A supportive crowd offered the president a mostly warm reception, although he was briefly interrupted by a heckler who objected to deportations on Obama’s watch and was escorted out of the hall. Outside the convention center, a group of demonstrators gathered in protest of Obama’s delay.
And at the podium, Obama was gently nudged by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who said Hispanics were looking to Obama “for big, bold, unapologetic” relief without delay.
“We need major reforms, we need them now,” he said, “and Mr. President, we need your help.”
The post Obama vows to act on immigration reform by end of year appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
We’ve all been there. You’re watching late-night television infomercials and wonder in your sleepless state how this gadget designed to remove the strain of microwaving food came into existence. Well, you may have the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to thank. In 2013 alone, the office received more than 600,000 applications for patents, both from within the United States and abroad, ranging from machines to plants. The surge in patent applications was the most the office has seen since at least the 1960s, according to its records. Of those, the office granted patents to roughly half of those applications last year. Over time, society has quickly adopted some of these inventions, while others didn’t even make it to the infomercials.
In this quiz, see if you can identify what some devices were designed to do based on renderings submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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Islamic State militants released a video Friday night that purportedly shows the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, the Associated Press reports. This is amid ongoing U.S. airstrikes against the extremist group’s strongholds along the Syria-Iraq border.
Although the AP said it could not immediately verify the authenticity of the video, the manner it was released and shot is similar to previous beheading videos of British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines and American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley. Unlike those past three-minute videos, the latest video is about a minute long, The Atlantic reported.
A 47-year-old taxi driver from England, Henning was kidnapped in December while crossing the Turkish border with an aid convey, CNN reported.The AP reported that the video ended with a threat from the Islamic State to kill a man identified as an American aid worker.
“Obama, you have started your aerial bombardment of Shams, Syria, which keeps on striking our people, so it is only right that we continue to strike the neck of your people,” said a masked, British-accented man, who seems to have appeared in all four beheading videos.
Last week, FBI Director James Comey said the U.S. believed it had identified the masked militant in the videos. The agency did not reveal the man’s name.
Henning’s wife Barbara released a statement last week, calling for her husband’s release.
“Alan is a peaceful, selfless man who left his family and his job as a taxi driver in the UK to drive in a convoy all the way to Syria with his Muslim colleagues and friends to help those most in need,” the statement read. “I pray that the people holding Alan respond to my messages and contact me before it is too late.”
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How worried should Americans be about Ebola? Not much, says Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, bioethicist, brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and author of a controversial essay in the Atlantic about his decision to avoid life-extending healthcare after he turns 75. After discussing his essay for the PBS NewsHour broadcast, Judy Woodruff asked Dr. Emanuel about the current Ebola situation, and if Americans should be worried for their own safety.
Dr. Emanuel cites the strong health care infrastrure in the United States, and the fact that Nigeria, which is far less prepared to fight infectious disease, has been able to contain the disease, as evidence that an outbreak in the U.S. is extremely unlikely.
WASHINGTON — The military has begun medical testing for Ebola at two new labs in Liberia, and service members are starting to build two treatment centers there for victims of the deadly disease.
Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, said Friday that based on the latest requests from U.S. commanders, up to 4,000 U.S. troops could be deployed to West Africa to provide engineering, logistics, medical and other support to the mission there. That number has been slowly climbing, as military leaders arrive in the Liberian capital of Monrovia and assess the needs of the region.
He said that some testing is already being done at the labs and that the hospital for infected medical personnel being built by the military should be finished by the end of the month.
Kirby said that the service members are not going to treat patients and are not expected to come in contact with anyone who is infected. But he said the military is training the troops about how to avoid getting Ebola, and also setting plans in place to deal with any service member who might get infected.
“We’re going to train them up on what Ebola looks like, feels like, does. While they’re there, they’re going to be constantly monitored on a regular, frequent basis,” Kirby said. “There will be a screening process to make sure that once they’re no longer there, that we’re able to stay in touch with them, make sure that they haven’t … felt or experienced any symptoms.”
He added that troops will also have personal protection equipment if needed and will be trained in how to use it. He said he is unaware of any special staffing or other changes at military hospitals in the United States to prepare them for caring for Ebola patients.
There are about 230 U.S. troops deployed for the Ebola mission now. About two dozen are in Senegal setting up a transportation center and the rest are in Liberia. The Army on Friday said that up to 3,200 soldiers from various units around the country will be going to Liberia, including 1,800 from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who will arrive late this month.
Others from Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are also being deployed, along with support units from Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Fort Eustis, Virginia.
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In the 1939 melodrama “Dark Victory,” Bette Davis plays a socialite with an inoperable brain tumor. At the film’s conclusion, a sudden loss of vision clues Davis’ character in to the fact that the end is near. According to a study published Wednesday in the online journal PLOS ONE, this classic movie would have been more realistic had the protagonist lost her sense of smell.
Olfactory dysfunction, the scientific term for a sub-par sniffer, is a strong indicator of imminent death, researchers found. In a study that began in 2005, scientists subjected 3,005 U.S. adults aged 57-87 to an odor identification test using felt tipped pens. Participants were exposed to an assortment of scents, including peppermint, leather and fish. They were then divided into three groups, based on their ability to correctly identify these scents– those with a normal sense of smell (normosmic), those whose sense of smell was somewhat diminished (hyposmic) and those who correctly identified only one scent or less (anosmic).
Five years later, the researchers caught up with their subjects, and found that 430 of the original participants were now deceased. After adjusting for factors including age and overall health, they concluded that anosmic individuals were four times as likely to have died than their normosmic peers. The mortality rate among the hyposmic group was also higher. “Anosmia was a markedly stronger risk factor than most chronic diseases,” the study even states.
To be clear, the researchers do not believe there is a direct correlation between olfactory dysfunction and death. Rather, a diminished sense of smell may be symptomatic of an overall slowing of cellular regeneration, indicating a decline in the body’s ability to repair itself. The researchers’ conclusion does suggest that scent tests may be a medically valuable tool for monitoring individuals overall health.
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And here to analyze it, as always, are Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
And I have to say first, before I ask you about any so many other stories, that was a really discouraging report on the schools in Philadelphia.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
Well, I’m sure people — spending obviously in places like that is moderately high, but if you have got 62 kids sitting on a window sill, none of us would send our kid if we had a choice to a school like that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s right.
Well, I want to — we were going to talk about unemployment. We’re going to. But this Ebola story, Mark and David, has everybody’s attention. The White House today saying it’s a national security priority as important as any threat we’re facing.
How confident should the American people be that this country is prepared, equipped to deal with this threat?
DAVID BROOKS: Obviously, I’m not a health expert, but I would say people should be reasonably confident.
I only say that because, if you look in Africa, in the countries where it hits, it’s a perfect indicator of the quality of the health care infrastructure system. If you have got countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, there, they have no infrastructure, they have no system in place.
Preexisting Ebola, they just don’t have the doctors, the pharmaceuticals, the beds. And, there, it spread. But if you look at the countries where they actually have got an infrastructure in place and a command-and-control structure like Nigeria and Ivory Coast, they have done a reasonably good job.
And I have to assume that since we have probably one of the best infrastructures in the world, we will not look like Liberia. We will look like Nigeria or better.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s a balancing act, though, isn’t it, for the administration?
MARK SHIELDS: Yes, it is.
The acknowledge it is important. And I just think that the group today was reassuring. I thought it projected competence. Tony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health just is sort of the embodiment of the professional public servant in the best sense.
And I thought what he said was reassuring and confidence-building. And there’s reason to be confident in the health care leadership, I believe.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, at one point, we heard him say, we’re going to have to keep saying these things day after day and make sure everybody understands that.
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, so, again, we want to talk about today’s unemployment numbers.
David, for the first time in — I guess since 2008, the unemployment rate is under 6 percent. The White House is saying over 10 million jobs added under President Obama. He said today job growth on pace for its strongest, I guess, record of growth since the 1990s.
Should he be getting more credit?
DAVID BROOKS: No, not exactly.
DAVID BROOKS: You know, there’s this — I do not think presidents have much to do with the cyclical ups and downs of the economy.
There are extraordinary moments when president do have something to do with it. And the stimulus package, whether you like it or not, clearly had an impact and probably ameliorated the effect of the recession. But I don’t think over the normal course of time, presidents have an immediate effect on month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter or even year-to-year cyclical stuff that goes on.
There’s just so much stuff going on in the economy. First of all, not a lot has happened in Washington to create jobs or destroy jobs. We have sort of been stagnant here legislatively.
Secondly, the thing that the president spoke about so much in his Northwestern University speech was the great surge in the energy sector, the great surge first in the production of natural gas through fracking, and then the manufacturing jobs that’s created.
Well, that’s not been that’s really championed by his administration or Washington in particular. That’s something that just happened and surprised everybody through immense technological advance and our ability to get natural gas and oil out of the ground.
So that’s in the private sector. And so I don’t think this is sort of a Washington-organized thing. We have an economy that functions as an economy.
MARK SHIELDS: The late American Ambassador Dwight Morrow once said, the party that takes credit for the sunshine shouldn’t be surprised when it gets blamed for the rain.
And I think there’s great truth to that in our politics. Anybody who watched Ken Burns’ 14 hours on the Roosevelts would be I think hard-pressed to say that presidents don’t make an enormous business, that without either Theodore or Franklin Roosevelt, this country and this economy would have been meaner, coarser, more oligarchical, less compassionate, and less prosperous society.
From week to week, Barack Obama has been blamed for what he inherited. I think there’s no question. I agree with David completely that the action to confront the economic crisis, the financial crisis that he inherited saved this economy. And the fact that the United States economy has created more jobs than all of Europe and the developed world and Japan since that time is an accomplishment.
But, at the same time, the widely grown prosperity that he cited, the economy growing, is not likely shared. Between 2010 and 2013, 90 percent of Americans saw their actual income go down, the bottom 90 percent.
MARK SHIELDS: The top 10 percent, that was all the growth, Judy.
The median family income is lower by actual dollars than it was in 1989. So this is something that started long before Barack Obama got there. But that’s the reason I think people feel bad. You can look at the big numbers and they look terrific, but when you — when people — Peter Hart, who is a Democratic pollster, compares it to, you have three inches of water in your cellar, and somebody comes along and says, well, look, there’s only an inch-and-a-half there now, so isn’t it better?
Well, you have still got water in your cellar. And that’s the feeling about the economy right now, that people see a greater concentration of wealth and their own situation not improving.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We heard this from Barry Bluestone, the economist Paul Solman talked to.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
And it might be worth teasing out — I think Mark and I agree on this — or maybe disagree less than is obvious — which is that there are structural factors in the economy which the government clearly controls. If the progressive era hadn’t happened, if the New Deal hadn’t happened, clearly, this whole structure of the American economy would be different.
Then there are cyclical factors. And we’re, like, now in a job upsurge, a real job upsurge. And that’s more cyclical. But at some points in American history, it seems the structural factors are more germane, they’re more important, they’re more biting.
In the industrial period, they were deeply biting when industrialization came in. Right now, the wage stagnation, the lack of job security, the widening inequality, those are structural problems that are deeply biting. And you do need government to address that sort of thing. And so it’s worth parsing out these two interconnected parts of the economy, the cyclical piece and the structural piece.
And the hurt right now is because of a bad structure.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But the bottom line is, you may celebrate for a few seconds, but essentially you can’t really be pleased about this, Mark, until the prosperity is more widely distributed.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes.
And I think David makes a good point. But, Judy, after World War II and the golden era of America, 90 percent of the economic growth — 80 — 90 percent of it was shared by wage increases of the workers. Now, that has just ended. That really — it slowed down.
Right now, just one little statistic that absolutely threw me from the Federal Reserve, when Ronald Reagan was president, the great right-winger, the great conservative, the top 3 percent controlled 44 percent of the wealth of the country. In Barack Obama’s second term, a man who has been called a socialist by his critics and his enemies, the top 3 percent control 54 percent of the nation’s wealth.
The other 90 — lower 90 percent have only less than a quarter, when they had a third just 28, 30 years ago. So it is — it is the rich getting richer and everybody else not and being worse off. And so that is what the president is fighting, even with the good news economically.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, if this is socialism, what does capitalism look like?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, this is capitalism when you have got a high technological turnover.
President Obama has been 40 percent on his handling of the economy basically for a year. And that is just stuck there. I should point out, I looked at the French numbers. Hollande, the president of France, he is at like 9 percent. So these structural problems are hitting politicians all across the developed world.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I wanted to ask whether this is going to have any effect on the elections. It sounds like you’re saying it doesn’t help the Democrats.
Health care law celebrated the anniversary of its — of the exchanges being created this week. Is it as big an issue, is it as damaging for Democrats as Republicans said it was? You can roll all this together. And I want to save time for the Secret Service, Mark.
MARK SHIELDS: It’s unpopular.
It has been unpopular since the rollout and all of the problems attendant to it. It has never regained popularity. But those who are against it are against it. And it’s not an organizing principle of the election of 2014, as, for example, opposition to the war of Iraq was in 2006, which generated turnout and resulted in the Democrats winning control of the Congress.
I think the positions are pretty hardened on health care. And I think the problem is, it’s being — the elections are being determined in red states, where health care is even less popular.
DAVID BROOKS: Nationally, at 38 percent approval; 51 percent disapprove.
I happen to think the law is doing better than I thought it would, but, politically, not a winner.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Doing better than you thought it was?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, I think people are enrolled.
And — and I’m not sure if this is because of the law, but costs really are going down. Health care inflation is declining.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Secret Service, a torrent of stories over the last few days about breaches at the White House, over the fence. A man ran all the way into the — deep into the White House, a shooting there we didn’t know about, a man on an elevator with the president. The head of the Secret Service has resigned.
What are we to make of this agency that is supposed to be protecting the most important people in our government? And who’s responsible?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
I first thought it was an overreaction when the guy goes over the fence and gets into the East Room. But what’s bothered me and I think bothered people on Capitol Hill and around town was the horrible management of information afterwards, not confessing, not behaving like a confident, professional agency, but behaving like an incompetent agency where you have got a lot to hide.
And when you behave that way, people are going to begin to doubt you. And that’s more or less what happened.
MARK SHIELDS: On March 30, 1981, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy took a bullet intended for President Ronald Reagan by an assassin.
Secret Service agent Jerry Parr pushed the president in the limousine, ordered to drive to the White House, saved his life. Larry Buendorf put his thumb in a gun aimed at President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. This is the Secret Service that most of us have been privileged to know who have been around this town.
These are heroic people. This sounds like something out of “American Pie” in the behavior or spring break. And the performance was just awful. It was dysfunctional. The idea that the president’s daughter was sitting in the White House by herself and there were nine shots were fired and they didn’t find out about it for four days and didn’t reveal it, that a man convicted of assault is on an elevator with the president packing a weapon, I mean, that’s just dysfunctional.
JUDY WOODRUFF: No wonder both the president and the first lady upset about this.
David Brooks, Mark Shields, we’re never upset with the two of you. We thank you.
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Special correspondent for education John Tulenko of Learning Matters looks at the impact hitting the classroom and what’s being done about it.
JOHN TULENKO: Last month, about 1,000 ninth graders marched to the football field at Northeast High School for a very different kind of kickoff ceremony.
WOMAN: We are doing a mock graduation. It’s an opportunity for our incoming ninth grade class to make a commitment. We want to put the urge in them that they promise they are going to be right back here in June 2018.
JOHN TULENKO: But hanging over this ceremony and the odds students will graduate is a school budget crisis that’s been called the worst in the country. Northeast has 3,000 students and two principals, Sharon McColskey and Linda Carroll.
SHARON MCCOLSKEY, Northeast High: In past years, operating budgets were probably 10 times what ours is right now, if not more.
Just the thought of opening the schools with what we have in the bank, real or in our budget, was really scary.
LINDA CARROLL, Northeast High: You know, we’re hoping that money will be coming, but I don’t know. We don’t have enough to even carry us through the end of this month, actually.
JOHN TULENKO: Since 2011, when the cutting began, Northeast High School’s budget for extracurricular activities has dropped to zero, its budget for books zero, and for supplies to $14,000. That’s roughly $5 per student to last the entire year.
What is that supposed to pay for?
SHARON MCCOLSKEY: Everything that makes the school run, books, supplies, toner, ink, paper.
LINDA CARROLL: Lab equipment, textbooks.
SHARON MCCOLSKEY: Technology.
LINDA CARROLL: Technology.
JOHN TULENKO: So, how do you pay for all that stuff?
LINDA CARROLL: You don’t. You don’t have it. You don’t have it. This is what we’re saying. We can’t because there’s no money to pay for it.
JOHN TULENKO: Across the district, it’s not just paper, textbooks and toner that have been cut.
Jessica Ramos is principal at Stern Elementary.
What have you lost in the school?
JESSICA RAMOS, Stearne Elementary: We have lost a full-time nurse. We used to have two counselors. We now have a point-five. that means the counselor is for two-and-a-half days.
JOHN TULENKO: For how many students?
JESSICA RAMOS: For 578 today.
JOHN TULENKO: That means Ms. Ramos has to wear two hats, school principal and counselor, and on some days even more.
You have to fill in for the nurse?
JESSICA RAMOS: I’m the nurse on Mondays, on Wednesdays, and on Fridays.
JOHN TULENKO: Do you have any medical training?
JESSICA RAMOS: I have no medical training, but I am the nurse three days a week.
JOHN TULENKO: What can’t you do because you’re doing these other jobs?
JESSICA RAMOS: So, what I can’t do is, I can’t get into classes to help teachers really develop their effectiveness. And that’s the heart of this job.
JOHN TULENKO: The story of how Ms. Ramos and other arrived at this point begins in 2009, when the district was whipsawed by a great recession, which created a $120 million budget shortfall, followed by a windfall.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We’re making the largest investment in education in our nation’s history.
JOHN TULENKO: Half-a-billion dollars in federal stimulus money.
MARK KUPERBERG, Economist: We interviewed some administrators. And, you know, they felt for the first time they were able to do the things they always wanted to do.
JOHN TULENKO: To economist Mark Kuperberg, who has chronicled the district’s financial straits, that sudden infusion of federal dollars set the stage for an even greater crisis.
MARK KUPERBERG: They hired teachers. They lowered class size. They put in all — you know, various programs. From their perspective, everything was temporarily pretty good. But it was a little bit Wile E. Coyote moment. Once the stimulus disappeared, they looked down, and there’s nothing but air.
JOHN TULENKO: Short $300 million, Philadelphia schools were blindsided by what happened next.
GOV. TOM CORBETT, (R) Pennsylvania: I will dedicate the next four years to fiscal discipline and a responsible, limit government.
JOHN TULENKO: In 2011, a new governor, Tom Corbett, a conservative Republican faced with his own state budget deficit, refused to make up for the loss stimulus money, and in fact cut hundreds of millions in education funds statewide. The Philadelphia School District slashed its work force by 17 percent and borrowed some $400 million.
MARK KUPERBERG: You can’t use one-time money for ongoing expenses. It’s fraught with danger, because if you use that money to finance ongoing expenditures, once that money is gone, you still have the ongoing expenditures, but there’s no longer a pot of gold to fund it.
JOHN TULENKO: Has this district borrowed irresponsibly?
WILLIAM HITE, Superintendent, Philadelphia Schools: Oh, no question, no question about it.
JOHN TULENKO: William Hite, Philadelphia’s current superintendent of schools, took over in 2012 and continued to cut expenses, closing some two dozen schools and eliminating some 5,000 jobs.
WILLIAM HITE: You cut some of the assistant principals, some of the counselors, some of the individuals who are in the cafeteria or in hallways. And we try to make those cuts first as far away from schools as possible, but our largest group of employees are individuals who are working in schools.
JOHN TULENKO: Schools like Northeast High School, which in the last three years has been forced to let go of 12 teachers. The result? Larger class sizes overall, between 35 and 40 students, and in some cases more. This is ninth grade biology, packed wall to wall with 62 students.
I have never seen a class like this before. So how do you get a seat?
STUDENT: I have to find like a stairwell that will lead to this class fast. And, like, it kind of gets hard, because there’s, like, over, like, 3,000 kids in this school.
JOHN TULENKO: I want to know, how does this make you feel?
STUDENT: It makes me feel annoyed. It slows down the class and what we can learn. And it makes it harder to pay attention when you can’t even get a desk to sit in.
JOHN TULENKO: Nicole Evans is the teacher.
It looks hard.
NICOLE EVANS, Northeast High: It is. It is. I tried to do a lab with them, and it was extremely difficult because there’s so many of them wanted help and they were not sure of what to do. And you can’t give your attention to 30 pair of students.
JOHN TULENKO: Despite all the cutbacks, Philadelphia still faces an $81 million budget shortfall, a deficit for which the district is often blamed.
MARK KUPERBERG: What you hear is, it’s Philadelphia’s problem. They spend too much money. They have a strong teachers union. The teachers’ salaries are too high. They need to get their act together. That’s the problem.
What we concluded is, on the expenditure side, they’re not out of line at all. In fact, they’re low. It’s the revenue side. We have a state that’s relatively miserly in terms of the amount of money it gives to any of the school districts. It’s like the ninth lowest state.
JOHN TULENKO: Recently, after 11 months of wrangling, state lawmakers passed a cigarette tax they expect will close the gap and stave off another round of layoffs this fall. But it restores none of the cuts at schools like Northeast High.
In the current “Atlantic” magazine, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel argues that the quality of human life begins to drop off by age 75, enough, he says, that he will opt out of medical treatments and let nature take its course.
A trained oncologist, Dr. Emanuel is chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and a former Obama administration policy adviser. He is also older brother to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel. I sat down with him earlier today.
Dr. Zeke Emanuel, thank you for talking with us.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, University of Pennsylvania: It’s my great pleasure.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you have created quite a stir: “Why I Want to Die at 75.”
Why 75? Why not 85? Why not 70?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Well, first of all, let’s clarify, I expect to be alive at 75, and I’m not going to kill myself. I don’t believe in legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide, but I am going to stop medical treatments.
And I look at 75, when I look at all the data on physical disability, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, loss of creativity, slowing down of the mind and the body, and 75 seems like that, albeit somewhat arbitrary, moment where you get the maximum chance you’re still going to be vital and alive and vigorous.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So it’s kind of arbitrary.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: I say that, yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you talk about something you call the American immortal. Who is this being?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: My brother. The American immortal are people who want to put off death as long as possible, want to live as long as possible, get every day out of it. They take all these — they change their diet. They exercise like mad. They take protein concoctions and all sorts of other supplements.
And it’s almost a religion for them to live as long as possible. And I think they — in their mind, they will be as vital as they are when they’re, say, 50 all the way to the end. But, of course, we all do deteriorate, we all do slow down, we all do get disabilities.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You looked at a lot of research for what you have written, and you talk about how, as you age, you really don’t get healthy. No matter how hard you try, a lot of things creep up on you.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Yes, so there’s a theory which was developed in the early 1980s at Stanford, of course, that there will be a compression of morbidity.
So, as we age, as we get older, we are actually going to become healthier, that the falling apart, the disabilities, the dementia, they’re going to become ever smaller parts of life. And that was a very, very compelling theory, and a lot of people grabbed on to it.
Turns out that’s not true. The data are that, as we age, we have actually added more years of disability, so there’s not a compression of morbidity. There’s actually been an expansion, and that I think is — it’s somewhat distracting for people to realize, yes, we will live longer, but we will also live with more functional limitations, less able to move around, more mental limitations, more psychological depression, and other mental problems.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You put — you’re pretty critical in this piece, Zeke Emanuel, of slowing down, of living a quieter life, of spending time smelling the roses.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You talk about riding a bicycle and making poetry as if it’s just, you know, a throwaway. What’s wrong with having that quiet phase of life after a certain point?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: I do — I mean, that is part of my view, that, you know, we’re on the earth for a very short period of time, no matter what we do. Even if we’re an American immortal, it’s not going to be for centuries.
And we have to get the best out of it and also get the most out of our life. It’s a privilege, obviously, slowing down and being a little sort of self-indulgent. I don’t find that as meaningful to me. And I find it a little sort of focused on me, instead of focused on what I can contribute and what I can do for bettering the world and bettering, you know, my family and my community.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re kind of saying unless you’re contributing actively every minute of every day, practically, then really there’s not much point in living?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Well, first of all, that’s my personal philosophy. And I do believe that contributing can happen in a number of different ways.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You know there’s a lot of pushback from people who point to all the people we know of who are very contributing well beyond 75.
I just look — you look at anywhere you turn. I mean, in the world of entertainment, it’s so easy, the Jack Nicholsons, the Willie Nelsons, the Sidney Poitiers. I mean, Betty White is 91, I.M. Pei. Queen Elizabeth is 88. Jimmy Carter just turned 90.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: So, that’s almost everyone’s first reaction is to begin listing lots and lots of people who are over 75 and still creative, productive and engaged. And of course there are going to be people.
It’s a bell-shaped curve and it’s some-shaped curve, there are going to be outliers, people over 75. But let’s remember we live in a country of 300 million people. In the developed world, Western world, there may be a billion people. Giving me a list of 20, 30, even thousands of people who are creative after 75, you have to understand those are very select outliers.
They are not the common thing. And I believe that we shouldn’t — we can’t live our life as if we’re going to be a very rare outlier. Odds are, you won’t be an outlier, and I tend to go with the odds. I’m a sort of — I live life by, you know, what does the data show? And that’s most likely to happen.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What does your family think about this? You have how many daughters?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: I have three daughters.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Three daughters. Don’t you want to see your grandchildren grow up?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Absolutely. And I want…
JUDY WOODRUFF: But you have put kind of a limit on it, haven’t you?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Well, I am very, very committed to seeing my grandchildren.
And what I really, really care about is how they remember me. And I want them to remember me vital, doing crazy things with the kids on the swings and the slides and the playgrounds, maybe taking them on trips and, you know, kayaking around the Everglades or in Alaska. I don’t want them to remember me as frail or demented or repeating myself. I would think that would actually be a tragedy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But isn’t there something, some value in the — just being there for family, whether you’re 75, 85, 95, and your family is around you, and isn’t there some personal value…
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Connection?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Connection.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Look, I think there is a very important connection, and — but I think if you’re just confined to a chair or you’re demented or you’re sort of just very slow, it may not be as meaningful as we try to project.
JUDY WOODRUFF: One last thing. You said you have heard from doctors, medical professionals. You have heard from a lot of people who are very critical of what you have written. What are doctors saying?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Well, I have heard from hundreds, if not thousands of people now. One category is people who violently disagree with me and think I’m crazy, one category of people who do agree with me and think I have got it exactly right.
And that, about half of those people are in the health professions. They’re doctors, they’re nurses, they work at health insurance companies, they work at home health care agencies. And they almost uniformly — I have been racking my brain to think of one who’s a health professional who doesn’t agree with me. They almost uniformly say, yes, you’re absolutely right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, by the way, you also say in this piece at the end you reserve the right to change your mind.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Look, by 75, it really is a complete life. You will have grown up. You will have picked a career, worked hard in the career, had kids, raised them, had grandchildren. What more could you ask? That’s a very rich, rich life.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But it’s a number that could change, right? In 100 years, it could be 85 or 95.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: I know there are many people who think that will be true.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re going to continue this conversation online.
But, for right now, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, thank you.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Economics correspondent Paul Solman went to the heart of Boston’s Financial District to discuss the numbers with economist Barry Bluestone.
It’s part of Paul’s ongoing reporting Making Sense of financial news.
PAUL SOLMAN: So we’re in Boston’s Financial District, and today’s job report is really good news to the economy at long last.
BARRY BLUESTONE, Northeastern University: Absolutely. We had almost a quarter of a million jobs created in September alone. We have more jobs coming for the last 12 months. As a result, we have no longer the kind of jobless recovery we had in years past. That’s real good news.
PAUL SOLMAN: And financial services, for example, 81,000 jobs, I read this morning, were added just last month.
BARRY BLUESTONE: Well, as a matter of fact, we had growth in almost all sectors, information services, health care, education, construction. Manufacturing’s been growing over the last year, so it’s been a broad-based growth in jobs, and now we have got the numbers to show us that we’re on our way back to a stronger and stronger economy.
PAUL SOLMAN: And are the regional pockets better in one place than in another?
BARRY BLUESTONE: Yes. Well, we have much lower unemployment rates in some areas. New Hampshire is under 4 percent. We still have areas of the Midwest that is over 7 and 8 percent. But those are down from 10, 12, 13 percent in some of those areas. So that’s real improvement.
PAUL SOLMAN: But in my experience with economists, there’s always, on the other hand. Not this time?
BARRY BLUESTONE: No, there is a but here. And that is, while jobs are up, wages haven’t risen at all.
Now, in some sectors, wages are rising. They’re up in information services. They’re up in financial activities. But in other sectors they aren’t keeping up with inflation, in manufacturing, in restaurants, the hospitality industry, in the health care sector.
PAUL SOLMAN: But you’re talking about wages on an annualized basis based on this past month’s numbers, and it’s just one month, right, so how significant can it be?
BARRY BLUESTONE: One month doesn’t tell us very much. We have to have many more months of data.
The fact is, is that over the last five years, wages haven’t been rising for most workers in America.
PAUL SOLMAN: But despite your reservations about wages, these are better numbers today than you expected, right?
BARRY BLUESTONE: Indeed, these are very good numbers. Almost a quarter million jobs in a single month, more than 200,000 a month for the last 12 months, that’s really good.
It’s brought our unemployment rate down below 6 percent. And if we could keep that pace up, we could get down to 5.5, 5.4, 5.3, real, true, full employment within the next year.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: We reported earlier on today’s reported beheading of another hostage by the Islamic State group. This comes as its terrorists continued to advance on and shell the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani, along Syria’s border with Turkey.
The militants’ push is happening despite continued airstrikes by the U.S. and other anti-I.S. Coalition members.
For more, we are joined by our chief foreign affairs correspondent, Margaret Warner.
We did report on this, another terrible murder of a hostage. We have just now seen a statement by the president condemning what’s happened, but he’s also saying these airstrikes will continue. Are they doing any good if these beheadings are also continuing?
MARGARET WARNER: Judy, looking on the situation on the ground both in Iraq and Syria, Iraq, they actually — they started in August. They have actually stopped the ISIS advance, but not rolled them back.
In Syria, obviously, from the beheading video, they’re not cowed. The I.S. people aren’t cowed. And, secondly, this advance continues on this beleaguered Kurdish town of Kobani. And they’re defended only by these Kurdish militiamen, Syrian Kurdish militiamen. They are begging for help on the ground, but for now, as the president statement suggests, the White House remains focused on long-range training of the — quote — “moderate Syrian anti-I.S. fighters” and on touting the building up or beefing up of this coalition.
Today, they just announced that Australia and Denmark were now going to send fighter planes. But the missing piece remains Turkey, the key NATO ally right on the border. And despite a personal phone call from President Obama to President Erdogan just today, they remain the missing piece and reluctant to get engaged.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Why?
MARGARET WARNER: Well, Judy, it’s complicated by two things.
One, President Erdogan’s number one target the last two years has been getting rid of Syrian President Assad. And so he has actually allowed or his government allowed safe passage and safe haven to all kind of anti-Assad fighters, starting with sort of moderate ones, but all the way up to the I.S. types.
And, in fact, a lot of the neighbors are furious about this and say they helped create this mess. But Erdogan, I’m told, while not necessarily — while now himself wary of ISIS or I.S., ISIS, as he calls it, believes that if they weigh in against I.S., that that will only help Assad, because it will create breathing room for his forces.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Because they’re the enemy.
MARGARET WARNER: Because they’re the number one enemy.
And since President Obama refuses to join the civil war against Assad, he’s not going to go there. So, secondly, it has a complicated relationship with their own Kurds, which are an estimated 15 percent of the Turkish population.
They have got a long-running civil war with their militant wing, the so-called PKK. Just yesterday, the jailed leader of the PKK threatened, if you don’t save Kobani, we’re going to cut off peace talks with you. The prime minister today promised they would do what they could to save Kobani, but so far they are not only — they’re keeping PKK fighters from crossing over into Turkey. They’re even stopping with water cannons and tear gas civilians who want to go over…
JUDY WOODRUFF: And just very quickly, no indication this is going to change?
MARGARET WARNER: Well, not for now.
They are absolutely apoplectic about their situation with their own Kurds. The Kurds straddle these four different countries, not only Iraq and Syria, but Turkey and Iran. And the nightmare scenario for the Turks is that the more these Kurdish fighters work together and are emboldened, it will increase pro-independence sentiment for an independent Kurdistan either within one of these countries or perhaps a unified…
JUDY WOODRUFF: And for them, that’s a bigger concern than I.S., the Islamic State?
MARGARET WARNER: Well, apparently. It’s always a moving target, but, yes, for now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Margaret Warner, we thank you, as always.
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Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who was a vocal critic of the botched online rollout of Healthcare.gov, tells Judy Woodruff the next test of the system will be Nov. 15th when the exchanges will be relaunched. Emanuel cited other health care and ecommerce sites that offer consumers a better shopping experience. “They really need to upgrade this to be much more…of a 21st century ecommmerce site,” Emanuel said.
Despite the highly visible problems during the online rollout, the health care law has been big success, Emanuel said, citing cost controls and the number of uninsured who have been enrolled.
“On any measure you pick, the affordable care act has had an important, positive impact on the health care system,” Emanuel said.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: This was a day when even one of the government’s top health officials said there were things that didn’t go the way they should have. We look at those concerns and other moves by the government with Stephen Morrison, the director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
So, Mr. Morrison, let’s talk a little bit about those lessons learned that Anthony Fauci was talking about. We don’t know everything yet about what’s happened in Dallas, but what can we take away from the way that the hospital and the region and the local authorities handled this?
STEPHEN MORRISON, Center for Strategic and International Studies: Well, we know from what you have just reported that there were mishaps in the systems at various points, and there’s a need for a much higher vigilance and training and awareness.
And it — I don’t think, in retrospect, that this is all that surprising that you have a sudden introduction of something as lethal and dangerous as this into an unexpected environment, and then that you have mishaps that happen along the reporting at the desk when he first reports to the Presbyterian hospital, that there’s mishandling of the waste material later when he shows up, that there’s clumsiness in the way the family is — that had been exposed is handled.
I think these are serious lessons, and the systems will have to improve as we get additional cases, which are quite probable.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The government says that they have been trying to prepare people for months, but what does this say about the state of hospital readiness around the United States, sort of until we had this situation happening in Dallas, and now we’re hearing about not quite confirmed cases in other cities?
STEPHEN MORRISON: I wouldn’t draw the conclusion that Presbyterian wasn’t well prepared. They had, themselves, just a week ago gone through an extensive internal training.
They had created an isolation unit within their ICU. They had the systems in place. I don’t think this was a catastrophic failure. I think there were some mishaps along the way, and anxieties at the public level were so high because of the lethality of this and because it was such an alien and frightening event, that — that these mishaps became quite magnified.
And they will have to be handled differently and better into the future.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Partly because of that fear that you’re referencing and the concern that people in the region or in the area have, is containment or isolation even possible?
Because one can understand the families’ concerns, saying, you’re quarantining me inside an apartment that apparently has a deadly virus the whole world is concerned about, and nobody’s even come and changed the sheets yet.
STEPHEN MORRISON: Well, they have moved — they have relocated the family members who were exposed and who were quarantined.
And the county judge, Mr. Jenkins, apologized for the way that was handled. And as we get into cases where there has been an importation of someone contagious with Ebola who exposes others, I would expect you’re going to see much more rapid and humane procedures in place. This was a moment of pretty intensive learning this week.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And one of the things that people are also talking about is trying to contain it at the source.
STEPHEN MORRISON: Right.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The Pentagon is going to increase the number of troops that — going there, but, of course, we have politicians and others that were saying, let’s figure out how to change that policy on creating some sort of a flight ban.
Is that — is this a policy that should be looked at again?
STEPHEN MORRISON: This is a very difficult issue.
What we saw with Duncan coming here was that the screening procedures are not all that effective if you were unsymptomatic and you don’t personally and voluntarily disclose.
So what do you do under those instances? You cannot insist upon prior vaccination, because there is no vaccine. There is no rapid test. The only thing that you can begin to consider is a 21-day quarantine period for people coming out of the worst affected areas, and how you would implement that has yet to be really considered.
But that really, I think, is the only option at this moment that could be considered. And I want to add here, the humanitarian workers who are coming in, both those that are nationals and getting trained up and providing care and treatment in exile, the external expatriate folks, when they are removed because of exposure, they go through a 21-day quarantine period coming out of the region. There’s already practices in place around that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Stephen Morrison, thanks so much for your time.
STEPHEN MORRISON: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Even as top administration officials were answering questions at the White House about the federal response to Ebola, much of this day’s attention was focused on the latest developments in Texas.
Hari Sreenivasan has the story.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A hazardous materials team arrived this morning at the Dallas apartment complex where Thomas Duncan stayed before being hospitalized on Sunday. They collected anything contaminated, including a car that they covered with a giant plastic bag.
The Dallas fire marshal said four of Duncan’s relatives are being moved from the apartment complex to new accommodations. They have been quarantined under armed guard after they refused to remain inside voluntarily.
SALLY NURAN, Property Manager: Nobody is supposed to go inside the apartment. They are in their apartment. They cannot come out. They are not even allowed to come on the porch.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county’s top administrator, voiced concern for the family’s plight and apologized for the delay in removing the soiled items. Meanwhile, Texas health officials said they have narrowed the group being monitored to 50 people who had direct or indirect contact with Duncan.
Crews have also cleaned schools attended by five students who were exposed to Duncan. But some parents say they’re far from reassured.
CANDIS HOLT, Parent: And then we just got letters in the kids’ backpack yesterday saying that they had it basically under control. But I feel otherwise, because if you really had it under control, the kids wouldn’t have came to school in the first place, but you will never know.
HARI SREENIVASAN: As for Duncan himself, questions continue to swirl over the handling his case. He managed to fly out of Liberia last month after having contact with an Ebola patient. He showed no symptoms at the time. But after falling ill in Dallas, he was initially turned away by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The hospital blames a flaw in its electronic records system. Duncan was admitted on Sunday, but even then, his nephew complained that Duncan was mishandled.
At the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he agrees.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: The idea that this person went to an emergency room and they didn’t flag that he had recently been in Liberia and thus immediately put him in isolation was unfortunate that that missed. That happens. I think the important thing is to have that as a lesson learned to look forward.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Infected hospital waste has also become an issue. Dallas officials announced today a disposal company is now in place.
This was a day when even one of the government’s top health officials said there were things that didn’t go the way they should have.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The Obama administration stepped up its response to Ebola today, hoping to ease concerns about it spreading in the United States. That came with one case diagnosed in Dallas and a confirmed death toll in West Africa that now tops 3,400.
President Obama’s team came to the White House Briefing Room after a week of growing questions about whether and how Ebola can be stopped.
Lisa Monaco is assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.
LISA MONACO, Chief White House Counterterrorism Adviser: Every Ebola outbreak over the past 40 years has been stopped. We know how to do this, and we will do it again. With America’s leadership, I am confident and President Obama is confident that this epidemic will also be stopped.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top epidemiologist, acknowledged there may be more cases in the United States, but he said it’s not a cause for panic.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: We’re having the press conference because we need to get information out because there is a lot of fear. And the reason there’s a lot of fear is that there are many things when you have outbreaks. It’s the unknown. It’s the cataclysmic nature of it.
Namely, it’s acute, it kills in a high percentage and it kills quickly. That in and of itself almost intuitively makes people frightened. The other thing that makes people frightened, can this happen to me without my even knowing it, without my having any behavioral change at all?
And that’s the kind of thing we have to keep over and over again emphasizing. We respect your concern, we understand your concern, but the evidence base tells us that that is not going to happen.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The officials played down any need for a complete ban on travelers from affected nations in West Africa. They said screening efforts there are working.
LISA MONACO: As measures being taken to screen individuals who are departing from the affected countries — and we have spoken to that — CDC professors actually have provided the assistance and the training and the advice to airport officials in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and as a results of those measures and those screening steps that have been undertaken, many, many people, dozens of people, have actually been stopped from traveling. So, we see those issues, those steps actually being effective
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today, the Pentagon upped the number of U.S. troops it’s sending to West Africa to as many as 4,000.
We will return to the case of the Liberian man hospitalized in Dallas and fears of additional cases after the news summary.
Islamic State militants claimed late today they have carried out yet another beheading, of a fourth Western hostage. They released a video today, apparently showing the murder of Alan Henning. He’s a British aid worker who was taken captive last December in Syria. He would be the second British hostage killed, along with two American reporters.
Job creation in the U.S. jumped in September, making the employment picture the brightest it’s been in six years. The Labor Department reported today that employers added a net 248,000 workers. And the jobless rate dropped below 6 percent for the first time since mid-2008.
President Obama welcomed the news this afternoon at a steel plant in Princeton, Indiana.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This progress that we have been making, it’s been hard. It goes in fits and starts. It’s not always been perfectly smooth or as fast as we want, but it is real and it is steady and it is happening.
And it’s making a difference in economies all across the country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Our Paul Solman explores what these numbers reveal about the true health of our economy later in the program.
The jobs numbers went down well on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 208 points to close at 17,009. The Nasdaq rose 45 points to close at 4,475. And the S&P 500 added 21 to finish near 1,968. For the week, all three indexes lost a fraction of 1 percent.
Violence erupted today in Hong Kong, where protesters demanding more democracy have taken to the streets and tied up parts of the city since Sunday.
Lucy Watson of Independent Television News reports again from Hong Kong.
LUCY WATSON: It was a tinderbox in the heart of the Hong Kong’s shopping area. The youth who crave democracy were confronted with fury from others in this city who want their streets back.
“Our cops are world-class,” she says, “but when they fired tear gas at the students, they didn’t use enough.”
“Clear out, clear out,” yelled the people against the pro-democracy movement, as they tore down the tent. And one by one, they disappeared.
This was the people against the people, face to face, while police tried to maintain order.
PAUL RENOUF, Police Officer: Obviously, it would be good if everyone calmed down, but both have very strong views. So, it’s very difficult for us.
LUCY WATSON: The leader of Hong Kong has described this as anarchy and blamed the students, but they nervously held their line all day and night surrounding the last structure standing.
Throughout the day, these skirmishes have been escalating, because the people on this side want to get to business. And that means taking this tent down.
“Hold the fort,” the students shout, “hold the fort,” because they believe this violence was engineered by the government and police should be held responsible. The so-called umbrella revolution is under pressure and their peaceful plans in chaos.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A main student group behind the protest movement said later that it’s pulling out of planned talks with Hong Kong’s government.
Back in this country, an update on a story we brought you last night. Students and parents in suburban Denver say they will resume protests against new standards for some U.S. history classes. Conservatives on the Jefferson County School Board refused last night to cancel plans to review the curriculum. They want the material to promote — quote — “patriotism and respect for authority.” Students said it amounts to censorship.
STUDENT: We came to these conclusions on our own, and we have 40,000 people across the country who sided with us in saying that this is wrong for Jefferson County. This is wrong for us as students. This is wrong for American history.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The school board’s conservatives denied that it’s about censorship. And they said they’re looking for compromise.
JULIE WILLIAMS, Jefferson County Board of Education: I have a great hope that our conversation this evening will bring this board together and have us work on a great proposal that assures our community that all classes are taught with balance, that we oppose all censorship. We want increased transparency, increased accountability, and increased community engagement.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The school board compromised somewhat and voted to add students and parents to the review committees.
It’s supposed to be fall, but you wouldn’t know it in Southern California. A heat wave kicked regional temperatures near or above 100 degrees again today. Los Angeles County has opened dozens of cooling centers. And some school districts sent students home early to beat the heat.
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