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

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    POITICS MONDAY  monitor

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    GWEN IFILL: In an unusual Saturday ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for enforcement of Texas’ voter I.D. law, considered among the strictest in the nation. The action is the latest in a series of pre-election court rulings that have changed polling requirements for voters in 18 states, among them North Carolina.

    Kelley McHenry of public station UNC-TV reports the new regulations have left some voters scratching their heads.

    KELLEY MCHENRY, UNC-TV: At a recent voter education forum in Granville County, it was clear there is much confusion about the state’s new voting law.

    MAN: Where can you get free I.D.s?

    MAN: Something about people — people coming from other precincts to challenge.

    KELLEY MCHENRY: It’s not surprising there’s confusion. Over the last few weeks, there has been a flurry of court appeals and decisions, which first upheld, then reversed, then upheld again the new requirements.

    The new voter law includes a photo I.D. requirement, a ban on same-day registration, no out-of-precinct voting, and a reduction in the number of early voting days. All of the rules took effect this year, with the exception of the photo I.D., which starts in 2016.

    The law was passed in 2013 by a newly elected Republican legislature, and the changes are bitterly dividing voters.

    XAVIER GRANTHAM: I’m very concerned about it. I think the turnout will be even lower. I think folks will be frustrated. They won’t understand. They won’t come to vote.

    JERRY STONE: Well, I think the changes are being made to make the whole voting process more honest and more believable.

    KELLEY MCHENRY: Proponents of the law say the changes were needed to protect against fraud, although even they admit the number of reported fraudulent cases has been low in the past.

    JAY DELANCY, Voter Integrity Project: The vast bulk of them have not voted since before 2003, and they’re on the voter rolls still.

    KELLEY MCHENRY: Jay DeLancy runs the Voter Integrity Project in Raleigh. Its mission? To root out voter fraud. He says the reason there are so few cases is because people aren’t looking for fraud and district attorneys don’t prosecute it.

    JAY DELANCY: I had one DA scoff at me and say, I have got DUIs to prosecute. I don’t have the resources for this.

    KELLEY MCHENRY: The new voting requirements have prompted a public outcry from many groups, including the NAACP, which worries the restrictions will take the state back to an era when segregationist laws known as Jim Crow prevented blacks from voting.

    REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: This fundamental attack on voting rights and implementing of voter suppression bills is the worst thing we have seen since Jim Crow. It has angered so many people, but they are turning their anger into action.

    KELLEY MCHENRY: The NAACP and the Department of Justice are suing the state, arguing that the new voting laws violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That court case is scheduled for next year.

    The NAACP says the new laws are specifically designed to suppress black votes. And it points to studies which show African-Americans are twice as likely to utilize early voting and 50 percent more likely to use same-day registration.

    REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER: We should be looking for more ways for people to vote, not less ways. And what we are finding is all of their claims about fraud are fraudulent themselves.

    KELLEY MCHENRY: The North Carolina voter I.D. law comes on the heels of the Supreme Court decision last year to strike down key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    The Supreme Court lifted federal restrictions over states like North Carolina that had a history of voter suppression.

    Marilyn Avila, one of the sponsors of the new law, says the Supreme Court was right to lift the restrictions. She says the fact that one in five state lawmakers is African-American shows that North Carolina has moved on from its troubled history.

    MARILYN AVILA, (R), State Representative: In the days of Jim Crow, it was, this is the way life is and we don’t know it any differently. We know differently today.

    KELLEY MCHENRY: All of the recent court rulings could spell confusion at the polls in November, although they may encourage some people to get out and vote.

    Kelley McHenry, UNC-TV.

    GWEN IFILL: It’s politics Monday here at the “NewsHour,” and already voting is under way in a handful of states, including in Illinois, where, today, President Obama campaigned for Governor Pat Quinn and cast his hometown ballot.

    For more on how early voting, voter I.D. laws, and final stretch campaigning might determine Election Day outcomes in just a little over two weeks, we are joined by, Stu Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report, and Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today.

    Two weeks out, what is the landscape, Stu?

    STUART ROTHENBERG, The Rothenberg Political Report: I think the trajectory sun changed from a couple months ago. That is, the Republicans have a little breeze at their back. They have a lot of opportunities in Senate races and even House races.

    The governors situation is a bit quirkier, with both sides worrying about incumbents. But right now, the environment certainly favors the Republicans.

    GWEN IFILL: When you see these voter I.D. stories like in North Carolina, and also there are other voter balloting stories around the country, do you think that, in some tight races, Susan, this may have an affect on the outcome?

    SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: You know, I think in most of the places where they are enforcing these new voter I.D. laws, they are not places where they have close races.

    They are enforcing them in Texas. We know that Republicans are in really a good situation with Texas. North Carolina might be the exception that proves the rule. We think that Senate race is going to be close. Even a rather modest effect on the electorate could help determine who wins that race.

    GWEN IFILL: But it’s — it’s certainly — I’m thinking about Colorado. I’m thinking about early voting in Georgia. That perhaps could have some sort of impact on who turns out?

    SUSAN PAGE: Early voting definitely could. If Democrats can use early voting to get some people to vote who might not turn out in a midterm election, who tend to vote Democratic, like African-Americans, like younger people, then that could definitely have an effect on some of these close races.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: So the mail ballot is a big question mark for us in Colorado. How will it effect turnout rates? Will people who ordinarily don’t vote, because it’s so easy to vote, just mail your ballot in, will they participate?

    And this is one of the big, huge problems we have as handicappers and reporters and analysts. It is about — it really is turnout. And, you know, viewers, I’m sure they laugh and, oh, they’re just — what a cop-out. They say it’s about turnout.

    But that’s really important, particularly in these midterm elections, where there is a significant drop in turnout by some significant groups historically, younger voters, Hispanics, Latinos. And we don’t know who is going to vote.

    Plus, Gwen, Democrats are making a major effort in terms of I.D.ing, registering and turning out voters. It was a year ago when I was talking to Democratic strategists. And they said, look at Arkansas. We’re going to register all these new voters and we’re going to turn them out. The Republicans are going to be shocked.

    I have Republicans telling me, just watch our turnout efforts in Colorado, in Iowa. They think they have — if they haven’t equaled what the Democrats have done, at least they’re going to surprise.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, and at the very least, don’t both parties, aren’t they both in search of debating points? Isn’t that what is really happening in a midterm election like this? The Democrats want to debate voter suppression or voter turnout. And the Republicans want to debate the president.

    SUSAN PAGE: I don’t think voter I.D. laws are something that turns the electorate.

    It’s important. It is an important thing. We want people to be able to vote. But if you talk to people about what they care about, they care about the economy and jobs. They care about the threat of ISIS, in the sense that the country is under attack, could have bigger terror threat. They worry about Ebola.

    I think that when you get to things like voter I.D. laws, it’s really — for swing voters, that isn’t something you hear them raising. And it seems to me that voter — identifying voters and turning them out only takes you so far. If the landscape is negative for you, it is going to be uphill. And we have a landscape right now that is pretty friendly to Republicans.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: I agree. I agree completely.

    But I would add that I think you’re right that Democratic strategists and Democratic candidates can go into the minority community, and say, Republicans don’t want you to vote. That is a…

    GWEN IFILL: And are doing that.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Absolutely. And, right, they’re doing that. And that is a way to motivate groups that traditionally fall off in midterm elections.

    GWEN IFILL: An Republicans go to their base and say, we do not trust these Democrats who are voting with the president 99 percent of the time, and, therefore — but that is why I wonder whether that is all to gin up a remarkably unenthusiastic electorate this time.

    SUSAN PAGE: You know, people are unenthusiastic about politics in Washington. But Republicans are pretty ginned up about President Obama.

    And it seems to me Republicans have a much easier tax in getting their people to come out because they’re against — they have been opposed to the president. They thought they should have taken the Senate in — last time around. They really — in two cycles, they have failed in their efforts to win the Senate.

    If they can’t win it this time, under what circumstances could Republicans win control of the Senate?

    GWEN IFILL: What competitive races are most surprising to you at this stage?

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Well, in the Senate, boy, it changes every week.


    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: And this week, what is surprising to me, or the last few weeks, it is the Kansas is in play. Republican Senator Pat Roberts is in serious trouble.

    GWEN IFILL: Susan’s home state.

    SUSAN PAGE: Yes, that’s right.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Then, in a three-way race in South Dakota, the Republicans — Mike Rounds is being widely criticized by Republicans for the race he is running. And the Republicans are worried. They think they will win that state, but they are worried.

    That Georgia has come into play, and I’m still interested very much in Colorado and Iowa, which I think — when we started this cycle, we thought, well, these races are Democrats’ to lose. And they may be doing that. So there are a bunch of races I think are still fascinating.

    GWEN IFILL: Is your map the same?

    SUSAN PAGE: I think it would be — I think it would be very similar.

    You know, I’m also struck by the races in which independent third-party candidates are going to be a factor. You mentioned you have got an independent in Kansas who might win the Senate. In South Dakota, you have somebody who is essentially an independent candidate who might determine the outcome. That could…

    GWEN IFILL: You’re talking about Larry Pressler.

    SUSAN PAGE: That’s right.

    And you know what that says to me? That says to me people usually vote in the two-party system, but they are sick and tired of these two parties and they are willing to entertain people from other places.

    GWEN IFILL: OK, let me put you on the spot and looking at the same question a different way, which is, what is most interesting race or the most consequential race that nobody is paying attention to very much right now that you can go governor, Senate, statehouse?


    SUSAN PAGE: That’s tough.

    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: The most consequential race that nobody is…

    GWEN IFILL: She mentioned — for instance, Susan, you mentioned Maine.

    SUSAN PAGE: Maine, OK.

    GWEN IFILL: Which I don’t hear anybody talking about it.


    SUSAN PAGE: But it’s kind of a — it’s kind of a quirky race.

    On the other hand, the idea that Governor LePage could win a second term, after barely winning a first term and governing in a controversial way, that would be pretty surprising.

    I think Gabby Giffords’s seat in Arizona, I’m looking at that one because it has become kind of ground central for the debate over gun control in a state where people own guns and use guns. So, that might be one.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: I will give you two quick ones.

    GWEN IFILL: Oh, I gave you a chance to think about it.


    STUART ROTHENBERG: One is the Kansas governor’s race, where Sam Brownback could possibly lose.

    And I think this reflects a deep division in the Kansas Republican Party that is reflective of the larger Tea Party, libertarian vs. establishment argument in the Republican Party nationally.

    And the second one I would look is the Illinois governor’s race, where Governor Quinn…

    GWEN IFILL: Where the president was today.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Governor Quinn, I mean, two months ago, I would have said he’s toast, put a fork in him, he’s done. And now the race is even. And it is an interesting race in terms of the Republicans are running a very wealthy businessman who is running as a candidate for change and a businessman.

    And the Democrats are just trying to gin up the Democratic vote and turn it out the final few weeks, as they did four years ago.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, and one of the few safe places where the president can go campaign, as he did yesterday in Maryland.

    SUSAN PAGE: Can you believe we’re two weeks out and the president has made just his first campaign appearance…

    GWEN IFILL: It is amazing.

    SUSAN PAGE: … to rally voters?

    GWEN IFILL: Well, we will be watching to see if there’s any more.

    Thank you both very much, Stu Rothenberg, Susan Page.


    The post How voter ID confusion, early voting could affect turnout in November elections appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Syrian Kurds Battle IS To Retain Control Of Kobani

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    GWEN IFILL: And Margaret joins me now.

    Margaret, the U.S. has said it wasn’t going to participate in these air drops. Something changed. What was it?

    MARGARET WARNER: Absolutely. This is a big turnaround.

    First of all, Gwen, this is the first time that the U.S. has directly supplied lethal aid, as they call it, to any Syrian rebel fighters. But, secondly, as you may recall, at the beginning of this operation, the Department of Defense thought this battle over Kobani was really a diversion. They didn’t even like having to do airstrikes. It’s not really essential to the fight against Islamic State.

    But the more that Islamic State poured resources, men, materiel, heavy weapons in there, the more, one, they presented target, and the more they presented it as an important strategic victory as far as they were concerned. And the U.S. suddenly recognized that they could not afford to let Kobani fall, even though they are warning Kobani could fall, because it will just add to this sense of power on I.S.’ part. It’s a recruitment draw.

    GWEN IFILL: Because they had that decided Kobani was important, we had to do something about that.

    MARGARET WARNER: That’s right.

    GWEN IFILL: But what about Turkey?  They also switched positions. They were not going to get involved either.

    MARGARET WARNER: Big switch, big switch.

    First of all, you know, Turkey has been in a position to do a lot to help. They are sitting right there on the border. They have moved tanks right down there. They haven’t even used their artillery to help pummel some of those I.S. positions.

    And, secondly, they have refused to let any Kurdish fighters cross, their own PKK, you know, their own insurgents, or original insurgents, or even civilians who have been dying to cross the line to go help their fellow Kurds. So, in speaking to a senior Turkish official just nine days ago, he said no way, no how either would we allow a corridor, as we showed on the map, in which these Iraqi Kurds, who actually have pretty good relations with Turkey, which I won’t get into why, cross over and come in and help.

    That is a big turnaround.

    GWEN IFILL: I’m also going to ask you about what — how — what caused both of them to change at the same time, because it is interesting to me. There was some tension between the U.S. and Turkey. And they both reversed themselves at the same moment. That can’t be by accident.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, it is not entirely by accident.

    Here’s what I am told. First of all, the U.S. had grown increasingly frustrated with Turkey. Yes, there has been some cooperation. Yes, Turkey is now going to let its property be — its territory be used to train. But, basically, Turkey still hasn’t decided what it’s going to do.

    And so apparently on this phone call on Saturday, when President Obama called President Erdogan, he said, look, we do share the goal of defeating ISIL, as he called it. He says, let me tell you, the fighters in Kobani are running out of time. Their lifeline is running out of time. Their timeline is…

    GWEN IFILL: The president said this to Erdogan?

    MARGARET WARNER: To Erdogan, I am told on good authority.

    And he said, if we — if Kobani falls, it will hand a huge propaganda victory, it will hand a huge momentum to ISIL, and neither of us want that. So let me tell you what we are going to do.

    Now, Erdogan wasn’t pleased with that. You could see that in those frosty comments he made yesterday, which we just ran. But this official said it was a productive conversation, that these two men actually, after some ups and downs over the last few years, have an ability to talk directly. And this official said, I can’t say why Turkey did what it did, but it knew what we were going to do. It criticized what we did, but you noticed we embraced what it did.

    So coordination implies they get together and say, you do this, and I do this. Well, not quite, but…

    GWEN IFILL: A little face-saving going on.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, but also an understanding.

    And once — and once President Obama said, we’re going to do this, then Turkey has been facing international condemnation for doing nothing. They are this powerful NATO army sitting on the border letting these besieged fighters fight it off by themselves.

    And last Thursday — I didn’t realize this until today — they lost a key vote, secret ballot, in the U.S. General Assembly to get one of these coveted seats on the U.N. Security Council. They have been lobbying for three years. They lost it by a 2-1 margin. And a lot of these little countries made clear this is why.

    GWEN IFILL: So Turkey is no longer…

    MARGARET WARNER: So, Turkey had a reason. If at this point, the U.S. was going do something, this is the least bad option for them.

    GWEN IFILL: So, what happens going forward?  We know that the U.S. has stepped up its airstrikes in and around Kobani. Now these airdrops of lethal weapons. Now this cooperation, at least for now with Turkey. Does that continue?  Does that build?  Is that — is that — is there going to be more?

    MARGARET WARNER: Last night, there was late at night a background conference call on the phone, Gwen, with the — some of us reporters, in which basically, a U.S. official said, look, we’re going to do what is necessary.

    I think if you look back to the operation to rescue the Yazidis, remember, on Sinjar Mountain…

    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    MARGARET WARNER: … once you get into doing airdrops, if they say, hey we’re out of materiel again, which the leaders down there are saying, we need — in five days, we will be, I think so.

    But the other thing that is key to remember here is what — the Obama strategy, which he has laid out at West Point and he’s laid out over and over is, we don’t want to be the combat forces any more. We want to empower local forces. Here are the most effective local fighting forces, much more effective than the moderate Syrian rebels at the moment we’re supporting. And they happen to be the Kurds in Kobani.

    And even though the Turks are apoplectic that there’s — there is an alliance between their insurgent Kurds and these Kurds, the fact is, I think this administration is now committed up to a point with airstrikes and airdrops.

    GWEN IFILL: Feels like a minor turning point — maybe a major turning point.

    MARGARET WARNER: I think it could be.

    GWEN IFILL: Yes.

    Margaret Warner, thank you.

    MARGARET WARNER: Thank you, Gwen.

    The post Why U.S. and allies can’t afford to let Kobani fall to Islamic State – Part 2 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: Now the latest on the battle that’s become a flash point in the war with Islamic State forces.

    American airdrops and a Turkish reversal may finally bring relief to a key town in Syria.

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner has that.

    MARGARET WARNER: After weeks fighting off a siege by Islamic State militants, the Syrian Kurds defending the town of Kobani are being reinforced.

    Overnight, the U.S. airdropped pallets of weapons, ammunition and supplies furnished by Kurdish authorities and their Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Then this morning, Turkey, bordering Iraq and Syria, said it would help Iraqi Kurdish fighters travel through Turkey to Kobani to join the fight.

    The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, spoke in Ankara.

    MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, Foreign Minister, Turkey (through interpreter): We are fully cooperating with the coalition with respect to Kobani. We are facilitating the passage of Peshmerga fighters to Kobani.

    MARGARET WARNER: But Turkey continued to say more aid should go to rebel factions trying to oust Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

    MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU (through interpreter): We shouldn’t forget that the only element fighting both against Assad and the ISIS State is the Free Syrian Army. In framing a border strategy, the Free Syrian Army is the group to be supported.

    MARGARET WARNER: Previously, Ankara has insisted it wouldn’t allow men or materiel cross its border to aid Kurds in Kobani. That’s mainly because the Syrian Kurdish fighter group in Kobani, called the PYD, is allied with a Kurdish group in Turkey, the PKK, that waged a bloody 30- year insurgency.

    Just yesterday, after President Obama notified him of the coming U.S. airdrops by phone, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his displeasure clear.

    PRIME MINISTER RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through interpreter): The PYD is, for us, equal to the PKK. It is also a terror organization. It would be wrong for the United States, with whom we are friends and allies in NATO, to talk openly and to expect us to say yes to supplying arms to a terror organization. We can’t say yes to that.

    MARGARET WARNER: The U.S. airdrops also represent a stepped-up American effort to save Kobani, beyond its ongoing campaign of airstrikes against I.S. positions.

    Secretary of State Kerry, in Indonesia today, said it was too important an opportunity to pass up.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: While they are a offshoot group of the folks that the — our friends the Turks oppose, they are valiantly fighting ISIL. And we cannot take our eye off the prize here. It would be irresponsible of us, as well as morally very difficult, to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL, as hard as it is, at this particular moment.

    MARGARET WARNER: He didn’t say if there would be further airdrops, nor when Iraqi Peshmerga fighters might arrive.

    The post U.S. airdrops military aid for Kurds fighting Islamic State in Kobani – Part 1 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: Now: an intimate look at the front lines in the fight to contain Ebola in hard-hit Liberia. An estimated 4,200 people have contracted the virus since the outbreak began; 2,500 people have died.

    In this report produced by The New York Times, video journalist Ben Solomon spends three weeks with an ambulance nurse overwhelmed by an onslaught of patients needing care.

    GORDON KAMARA, Liberian Ambulance Nurse: My name is Gordon Kamara. I’m an ambulance nurse.

    From March until now, I have been fighting these Ebola cases. Our job is to save the people.

    In the morning, we start very fresh. Today is going to be a very busy day, getting — detecting cases from Westpoint. I have assessed cases in Johnsonville, another five cases in Benton. Three cases in Kaba. The calls just keep coming. The calls just keep coming.

    There are patients all over. The first thing I do, I give them courage. I tell them, “Don’t be afraid.”  They feel fear. I see it in their eyes. I’m tired of seeing people getting sick. I don’t rest, even when I go to bed. Sometimes, I see them in my dreams.

    We have only three treatment centers in Monrovia. It is insufficient.

    I feel hopeless.

    Sometimes, when I sit down and think about it, I think, “Wow, that could be me.

    Any little mistake you make, you’re going to be down with the virus.

    Every morning, I pray. I pray that one day Ebola will go.

    There is no space. The doctor, he can’t take the people because he’s supposed to admit 50 persons, and now he got 85 in there. He’s overloaded.

    She’s very critical. She’s vomiting. She’s weak. If she doesn’t go in, she won’t live.

    There is no hope here.

    Ebola will last for long. In the next three to four months, the Ebola will be worse. I wish I could do more, but it’s not easy.

    GWEN IFILL: The girl who we saw in that piece, who was 17 years old, died at home the next day.


    The post Ambulance nurse confronts death and desperation in the heart of the Ebola epidemic appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: At least 43 people were killed in Iraq today in a new round of suicide and car bombings. The targets were mainly Shiite communities in Baghdad and Karbala. In one of the attacks, the bomber blew himself up as worshipers were leaving a mosque after midday prayers in Central Baghdad. At least 17 people died there. In all, more than 200 Iraqis have been killed in just a week’s time. Islamic State forces have claimed many of the attacks.

    A Libyan militant has pleaded not guilty to U.S. charges stemming from the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Ahmed Abu Khattala entered the plea today in federal court in Washington. He faces an 18-count indictment. If convicted, he could get the death penalty. The Benghazi attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

    In Nigeria, Friday’s announcement of a cease-fire with Boko Haram insurgents appeared increasingly shaky. Fighting continued throughout the weekend, and army officers reported at least 25 militants were killed overnight in Damboa in the country’s northeast. Meanwhile, talks are supposed to resume tomorrow on freeing more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April.

    Indonesia swore in a new leader today. Joko Widodo completed his rise from the slums of Java to become president of the world’s fourth most populous country. The 53-year-old was inaugurated at the presidential palace in Jakarta. He called for unity to achieve economic growth.

    PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO, Indonesia (through interpreter): To the fishermen, the workers, the farmers, the merchants, the meatball soup sellers, the hawkers, the drivers, the academics, the laborers, the soldiers, the police, the entrepreneurs, and the professionals, I say, let us all work hard, together, shoulder to shoulder, because this is an historic moment. We need to move together to work, work and work.

    GWEN IFILL: About 50,000 people attended a street party outside the inauguration, and Widodo rode through it, flashing victory signs and shaking hands with well-wishers.

    There’s word today that dozens of alleged Nazi war criminals and S.S. guards have collected millions of dollars in Social Security benefits since 1979. The Associated Press investigated men who entered the U.S. after World War II, then fled years later. The report said the Justice Department encouraged them to go by using a legal loophole that allowed them keep their benefits. The Social Security administration had no immediate comment.

    It also turns out thousands of federal employees accused of misconduct are earning millions of dollars in paid leave. The Washington Post reports the Government Accountability Office found more than 57,000 workers were kept home for a month or longer and paid $775 million over a three-year period. The workers also kept accruing vacation days and pension earnings.

    Last week’s turmoil on Wall Street gave way to relative calm today. Stocks managed small gains after mostly strong corporate earnings overcame disappointing results from IBM. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 19 points to close at 16,399; the Nasdaq rose 57 points to close at 4,316; and the S&P 500 added 17 to finish at 1,904.

    The post News Wrap: Libyan militant pleads not guilty to Benghazi attack charges appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Texas Department of State Health Services has started monitoring 100 people who were potentially exposed to Ebola. Caption:DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where a patient has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. The patient who had recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia marks the first case of this strain of Ebola that has been diagnosed outside of West Africa. (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)

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    GWEN IFILL: The headlines on Ebola in the U.S. were more hopeful today. They included news that the pool of potential Ebola cases is shrinking.

    JUDGE CLAY JENKINS, Dallas County: It’s somewhat of a happy press conference for us

    GWEN IFILL: After weeks of uncertainty, a bit of relief. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced that 43 people no longer need to be monitored. All had initial contact with Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola at a Dallas hospital. They included several of Duncan’s relatives and his fiancee, all allowed to leave quarantine today.

    JUDGE CLAY JENKINS: There’s zero risk that any of those people who have been marked off the list have Ebola. They were in contact with a person who had Ebola. And the time period for them to get Ebola has lapsed. It is over. So they are — they do not have Ebola.

    GWEN IFILL: Five more people will complete their 21-day monitoring period in coming days; 120 others are still under watch in Texas, including those who cared for Thomas Duncan.

    But a Dallas hospital worker who handled some of his specimens, and then went on a cruise, also tested negative. The ship returned to Texas yesterday. Two infected nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, are still being treated at special facilities in Bethesda, Maryland, and Atlanta.

    In Washington today, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said both had exposed skin, even though they followed existing guidelines.

    DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: So the protocol that was quite successful — it worked very well in Ebola in Africa — the way that was written was a risk for the nurses. And they — they went by the protocol. They got infected. Right now, those protocols are being changed.

    GWEN IFILL: Those new guidelines will be issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Meanwhile, in West Africa, ground zero of the epidemic, Nigeria was declared Ebola-free today by the World Health Organization.

    RUI GAMA VAZ, Country Representative, World Health Organization: This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained. But we must be clear that we have only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.

    GWEN IFILL: Nigeria had 20 Ebola cases in total and eight deaths. There’ve been more than 9,000 cases and 4,500 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

    An American doc who caught Ebola in Sierra Leone and was treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta was declared free of the virus today and released.

    We will turn our focus to the Ebola fight in Liberia right after the news summary.


    The post Dozens cleared from Ebola quarantine in Texas appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Montana’s candidates for U.S. Senate will debate live from Billings at 8 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. MT) tonight. Featuring Rep. Steve Daines (R) and Amanda Curtis (D). Live stream courtesy of MontanaPBS.

    Montana’s candidates for U.S. Senate take to the stage at 8 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. MT) tonight for the first of two back-to-back debates this week.

    Rep. Steve Daines (R) and Amanda Curtis (D) will meet at the Petro Theater at Montana State University’s Billings campus. MontanaPBS co-hosts with the Montana Television Network, the Billings Gazette, Yellowstone Public Radio and MSU-Billings. Jay Kohn, an anchor with the Montana Television Network, moderates.

    Libertarian candidate Roger Roots will not participate in tonight’s event, or in tomorrow’s debate in Sidney, Mont. PBS NewsHour will not be streaming that debate.

    Daines and Curtis are running to fill a seat left open by retiring Sen. John Walsh (D). Walsh had been running for reelection when he dropped out in August, following allegations that he had plagiarized his master’s thesis. The race was already expected to be close, and Curtis, a math teacher and first-term state representative from Butte, was chosen as his replacement less than three months ago.

    What’s more, Curtis has had no access to Walsh’s campaign war chest, per Federal Elections Commissions rules.

    Amanda Curtis (D) and Steve Daines (R) will face off in tonight's debate for Montana's open U.S. Senate Seat. Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

    Amanda Curtis (D) and Steve Daines (R) will face off in tonight’s debate for Montana’s open U.S. Senate Seat. Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

    For this reason, she will have her work cut out for her this evening if she wants to close Daines’ thirteen-point polling lead. She is expected to hone in on her opponent’s voting record on the economy, health care and public land access, an issue uniquely pivotal in the home to Yellowstone National Park.

    Daines has campaigned largely against President Obama’s economic policies, and has painted his opponent as a far-left proponent of Big Government.

    Until last February, Max Baucus (D) had held this Senate seat for more than 35 years. If Daines wins on Nov. 4, he will be the first Republican in a century to inhabit that seat – and could help the Republicans take complete control of the Senate.

    The post WATCH LIVE: Montana’s Senate debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Students from the University of Texas at Austin help plant coconut trees in Markandi, India. Photo courtesy of Nourish International

    Students from the University of Texas at Austin help plant coconut trees in Markandi, India. Photo courtesy of Nourish International

    While studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sindhura Citineni decided she wanted to find a way to give back to her hometown of Hyderabad, India.

    With advice and help from others, she started a group called Hunger Lunch on campus that sold lunches of beans and rice and cornbread to students. She used the proceeds to partner with a nongovernmental organization in India to make a high-protein and calcium-rich drink for children in slum areas.

    The program continued for three years. “But we weren’t there (in the neighborhoods) day-to-day to make sure the same kids were getting the drinks” to enrich their diet. “And the community asked why were those 100 kids getting it while others weren’t,” Citineni said recently by phone.

    “I was naïve,” she readily admits. “Since then, we’ve always partnered with the community and a local nonprofit, because they both are already invested” in the project and will keep it going once the initial funding streams ends.

    Citineni changed the name to Nourish International and developed a model where students come up with their own money-making ventures on campus and choose where their profits go from a database of international projects aimed at alleviating poverty.

    The students can visit the projects in person during their summer breaks. In Peru, for example, they’re building composting latrines. In Uganda, they’re teaching computer skills to locals who can then train others.

    The grassroots organizations that partner with the campuses must be run by locals, in existence for at least two years and in developing nations where more than 50 percent of the community lives on less than $2 per day.

    Since 2003, Nourish International has spread to 60 high school and college campuses and contributed to 113 projects in 28 countries. The group hopes to have a sustainable revenue stream and grow to 100 campuses in three years, said Kelly Leonhardt Phoenix, Nourish International’s executive director.

    “Fundraising isn’t sustainable,” so instead of one-time fundraising events, the organization encourages students to create actual small businesses on campus — and cultivate a community around them — to generate recurring income, said Phoenix.

    For example, on some college campuses that have a Greek system of sororities and fraternities, it’s a tradition in the spring for female students to ask male students to a dance or beach week by giving them decorated coolers filled with snacks and drinks, she said.

    The student volunteers at Nourish International noticed the coolers piling up, and came up with the idea of recycling the coolers and selling them the following spring to students at a cheaper price than if they were new. The students snapped them up, and the Nourish volunteers ended up making thousands of dollars for their projects. The idea, which started on one campus, is now spreading to others.

    “What’s neat about the Nourish students and their ventures is they’re taking a problem in their campus and turning it into a business” to fund their projects, said Phoenix.

    Nourish International is getting more business-like itself. When the students started traveling to other countries to help with the projects, Nourish International worked with them to get travel and medical insurance. The organization is now an approved issuing office of travel insurance and can resell it to other students doing charitable work, said Phoenix.

    The group also has a for-profit arm, called Shop Nourish, which sells jewelry, trinkets and bags made by local artisans. The proceeds help fund the nonprofit branch.

    “Growth is tricky for a nonprofit. It’s harder for us to grow than businesses. We don’t have shareholders or investors, so we’re limited as to how much funding we can get,” Phoenix said. Nourish International is working with students to launch some of their businesses on a larger scale.

    The Nourish chapters contribute a percentage of their earnings through the year back to the headquarters, said Citineni. The money goes toward founding new chapters, scholarships for students to participate in the projects during the summer, and a fund to invest in other chapters’ venture ideas.

    Citineni, now 32, took some time off to take care of a sick family member and complete her pediatric dental residency. She recently moved back to North Carolina with her husband — who she met through Nourish International — and their 8-month-old baby, and says she’s ready to help Nourish International in any capacity it needs.

    But she won’t be taking the reins. One of the things Citineni said she learned through starting Nourish International was that she is more an idea person than a manager. She said she hopes the students can figure out what they’re good at, too, through their volunteer experiences.

    View all of our Social Entrepreneurship profiles and tweet us your suggestions for more groups to cover.

    The post What does it take to grow a nonprofit? Ask Nourish International appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Image by Reuters/Danny Moloshok

    Thirty percent fewer people turnout in midterms than presidential elections, and Democratic base voters tend to be the ones who stay home. Image by Reuters/Danny Moloshok

    The Morning Line

    Today in the Morning Line:

    • Obama calls red-state Democrats “strong allies and supporters”
    • But will Republicans using his lines against him in blue states work?
    • The political communication world is flat

    Obama hands GOP another line: President Obama’s had some difficulty lately walking the line between firing up a complacent base and giving more fodder to Republicans in red states. Acknowledging a “tough map,” the president went on to say on Al Sharpton’s radio show that for “some of the candidates” in those states, “it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout.” And he added this made-for-GOP-TV line: “The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress.” Then he made it sound like there are back-room strategic discussions with these red-state Democrats about how they should campaign. “So this isn’t about my feelings being hurt,” he said. “These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me. I tell them — I said, ‘You do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.’”

    ‘On the ballot’ being used against Democrats in blue states: This came after President Obama said earlier this month that even though he wasn’t on the ballot, his policies were. “I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” That line has now made it into Republican attack ad after ad in red states like Kentucky, Georgia, and Kansas. But, as the Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan points out, it’s even playing in states Obama won like Florida, Minnesota and New Hampshire. Whether that strategy works to expand the playing field for Republicans might be dubious. But Republicans are banking on the fact that midterms are base-voter turnout elections. They have more voters inclined to vote and motivated against the president’s policies than Democrats have the opposite.

    Politicians can’t speak to slices of the electorate in a vacuum anymore: We’ve pointed out over and over again that Democrats have a midterm demographics problem. Thirty percent fewer people turn out in midterms than presidential elections, and Democratic base voters tend to be the ones who make up a big chunk of those who stay home. Democrats need the black voters in the South who approve of the president’s policies and who came out in record numbers for President Obama in two presidential elections in places like North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and Louisiana. So the president, going on Al Sharpton and running radio ads on African American-focused radio, is trying to make the case for why they should get out and vote. But politicians can’t speak to any corner of the electorate anymore without everyone else finding out about it. It’s just not how it works anymore on either side.

    Quote of the day: “Don’t touch my girlfriend, now” — man to President Obama at a polling place in Chicago, where Obama early voted. The president retorted back, while voting, to the man’s girlfriend, “There’s an example of a brother just embarrassing me, just for no reason, whatsoever.” That was before giving her a kiss, “Give me a kiss to give him something to talk about. Now, he’s really jealous.”

    Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1971, President Nixon nominated William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell to the US Supreme Court. Who succeeded Rehnquist and Powell, and who were they nominated by? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to RBDIII (‏@RBDIII) and roy wait ‏(@ind22rxw) for guessing Friday’s trivia: What job did Jefferson Davis hold before becoming the president of the Confederacy? The answer was: U.S. Senator from Mississippi.


    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is campaigning against Scott Brown again, but this time it’s in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts.

    • Republicans, like Brown, are campaigning as anti-amnesty candidates, but this is a position that could end up hurting Republicans more in 2016.

    • Billionaire hedge fund founder and environmentalist Tom Steyer has surpassed Sheldon Adelson as the top super PAC donor.

    • The exodus of people and power from Iowa’s rural towns to its urban centers has left Republican precincts redder and Democratic areas bluer, while its suburbs are a mix. At the same time, the New York Times’ Michael Barbaro notes, rural values “are no longer reflexively Republican,” with farmers both frustrated with and reliant on the government.

    • Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley may be “one of the biggest Democratic disappointments of the cycle,” but the final weeks of this campaign aren’t about Joni Ernst vs. Braley, writes National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher; it’s Ernst vs. the Democratic ground game.

    • Republicans, though, are stepping up their ground game around the country, adapting the tech-driven, get-out-the-vote efforts that Democrats have used in previous cycles.

    • Florida gubernatorial candidates face off in their last debate tonight. CNN has said that Democrat Charlie Crist will not be able to use his fan.

    • Conservative super PACs have caught up to their liberal counterparts, matching their fundraising in the final weeks before Election Day, and are potentially poised to surpass them.

    • Among the campaign committees however, Democrats continue to out-raise Republicans. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $5 million more than the National Republican Congressional Committee in September.

    • With the president’s popularity at an all-time low, he is not attending many campaign rallies, except for in places like Illinois and Maryland where Democrats enjoy a strong base.

    • West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, though, is out campaigning for moderate Democrats, making three stops with North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan Monday. “There’s nothing in these states that [President Obama] can do” to help at-risk Dems, Manchin said.

    • Democrats continue to distance themselves from President Obama this midterm season. In the latest ad for Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, the narrator says, “he took on Obama to fix Alaska’s VA.”

    • The San Diego District Attorney’s office will not press criminal charges in two investigations that have threatened Republican Carl DeMaio’s bid for Democratic Rep. Scott Peters’ seat in California. The FBI, however, may be investigating sexual harassment allegations against DeMaio from a former staffer.

    • Ohio Gov. John Kasich told the AP Monday that a repeal of “Obamacare” was “not gonna happen.” But in a subsequent phone call Monday night, he backtracked, saying he was referring only to the expansion of Medicaid. The rest of the law, he maintained, will and should be repealed.

    • The New York Times points out that although Republicans are asking for flight bans from countries affected by Ebola, there actually aren’t any direct flights to the United States from those countries. Instead, House Republicans and Sen. Mitch McConnell now say they want visas suspended for travelers from those West African countries.

    • Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., has scheduled a hearing on Ebola for two days after the election.

    • The speaker of the Alabama state house, Michael Hubbard, was arrested Monday on 23 felony charges.

    • Although they did not endorse in the Democratic primary, the New York Times has backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo for another term.

    • Apparently Virginia Sen. Mark Warner “is the culinary Cousteau for senators hoping to find new hip places in Washington,” if you believe New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

    • American Bridge goes all Jib Jab on Mitch McConnell with an animated web ad, painting him as a waiter who serves…the Koch Brothers.

    • If you thought that was bad, you haven’t seen the Michigan Republican Party’s “Sharknado” ad attacking Democrat Gary Peters. (H/T: Taegan Goddard.)

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


    For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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

    Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

    Follow the politics team on Twitter:

    The post Democrats are in a box when it comes to President Obama appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A shop of organic cosmetics and soap. Photo by Flickr user rosipaw

    A shop of organic cosmetics and soap. Photo by Flickr user rosipaw

    WASHINGTON — There’s a strict set of standards for organic foods. But the rules are looser for household cleaners, textiles, cosmetics and the organic dry cleaners down the street.

    Wander through the grocery store and check out the shelves where some detergents, hand lotions and clothing proclaim organic bona fides.

    Absent an Agriculture Department seal or certification, there are few ways to tell if those organic claims are bogus.

    A shopper’s only recourse is to do his or her own research.

    “The consumer should not need a law degree to read a label,” says Laura Batcha, president of the Organic Trade Association, the industry’s main trade group. Concerned about the image of organics, the association is pressuring the government to better investigate organic claims on nonfood items.


    According to the Organic Trade Association, sales of those nonfood organic products were about $2.8 billion last year, a small share of the overall organic market but growing rapidly. Among the most popular items: household cleaners, cosmetics, gardening products, clothing, sheets and mattresses.

    USDA doesn’t regulate any of those items, though, unless they’re made entirely from food or agriculture products overseen by its National Organic Program. That’s when they can carry the familiar “USDA organic” seal or other official USDA certification.

    The rules are murkier when the items have ingredients that aren’t regulated by USDA, like chemicals in soaps or makeup. The department doesn’t police the use of the word organic for nonfood items, as it does with food.

    Some examples:

    • Personal care products. Companies can brand any personal care product as organic with little USDA oversight as long as they don’t use the USDA organic seal or certification. Some retailers like Whole Foods Market have stepped in with their own standards requiring organic body care items sold at their stores to be certified. There’s also a private certification called NSF/ANSI 305, but most consumers don’t know to look for that label.
    • Clothing, sheets and mattresses made from organic cotton or other organic fibers. Some items are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, a third-party verification organization that reviews how the products are manufactured. Like body care, most consumers don’t know about it.
    • Gardening products. Some gardening products may be approved by USDA for use in organic agriculture, but not be certified organic themselves.

    There are clear standards for items within the scope of USDA’s regulation, says Miles McEvoy, the head of department’s National Organic Program. “The areas that are outside of our scope could cause some confusion.”


    The Federal Trade Commission normally investigates deceptive claims. But the agency demurred in its “Green Guides” published in 2012, saying enforcement of organic claims on nonfood products could duplicate USDA duties.

    A claim is only deceptive if it misleads consumers, the agency says. So, it will study consumer perceptions of the word organic. But officials weren’t able to say when such a study might begin.

    The Organic Trade Association’s Batcha says the lack of enforcement could erode confidence in the organic industry as a whole. The industry has similarly been fighting overuse of the word “natural,” which has no legal meaning at all.

    Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group that publishes online consumer databases on cosmetics and cleaning, is blunt: “Companies are chasing the consumers and the government is in the rear-view mirror.”


    Some dry cleaners promote “organic” on their windows and in their stores, but there is no legal definition for that practice.

    Mary Scalco, CEO of the industry group Drycleaning and Laundry Institute, said some of those businesses may actually be using petroleum-based solutions, which are not generally perceived as organic by the general public.

    “The difficult part is the scientific meaning of organic and the consumer perception of the word,” she says.

    Scalco says she is telling member companies to make sure their customers know what organic means.

    “Because there is no real regulation on this right now, you want to make sure you don’t mislead the public,” she says.


    So what’s a consumer to do, especially when organic products are often more expensive and the market is continuing to grow?

    Right now, retailers are the first line of defense.

    Four years ago, Whole Foods Market announced strict standards for labeling in the store’s well-stocked cosmetics, home cleaning and clothing aisles. The retailer also requires all products to list ingredients.

    “In areas where there isn’t a government regulation, we have stepped up to create our own,” says Joe Dickson, global quality standards coordinator for the Austin, Texas-based chain.

    David Bronner, the president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, has fought for years to get the USDA to expand its powers on organics to include personal care products. He says Whole Foods’ standards have helped clean up the market, but there are still less scrupulous companies that stretch the meaning of the word organic to include petroleum-based oils and nonorganic palm and coconut oils that make up the base of many personal care products. Some grocery stores, spas and online retailers have no standards at all.

    Bronner advises shoppers to read labels carefully and scan lists of ingredients. If you find several unpronounceable ingredients that sound like chemicals, “it’s probably not organic,” he says.

    The post Why the ‘organic’ label is loosely applied to nonfood items appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius is led to holding cells after he was sentenced at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria October 21, 2014. A South African judge on Tuesday sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison for the negligent killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Themba Hadebe/Pool

    South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius is led to holding cells after he was sentenced at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria October 21, 2014. A South African judge on Tuesday sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison for the negligent killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Themba Hadebe/Pool

    A South African court sentenced native athlete and Olympian Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the shooting death of his girlfriend.

    Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered the sentence Tuesday, saying Pistorius showed “gross negligence” in Reeva Steenkamp’s death, after the double-amputee runner shot her multiple times through the bathroom door in his home, claiming he thought it was an intruder. In the ruling, however, Masipa told the court she was aiming for a balance in her punishment.

    “I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send a wrong message to the community,” Masipa said. “On the other hand, a long sentence would not be appropriate either as it would lack the element of mercy.”

    Pistorius was cleared of murder charges, instead being convicted on the charge of culpable homicide on Sept. 12. Defense lawyers believe the athlete will only serve 10 months of the sentence in prison before fulfilling the rest under house arrest.

    The post Olympian Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison for girlfriend’s death appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Philippine health workers assist a colleague to don a hazmat suit during a media tour displaying the government's measures in preparing against Ebola. Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Philippine health workers assist a colleague to don a hazmat suit during a media tour displaying the government’s measures in preparing against Ebola. Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — People who shared an apartment with the country’s first Ebola patient are emerging from quarantine healthy. And while Thomas Eric Duncan died and two U.S. nurses were infected caring for him, there are successes, too: A nurse infected in Spain has recovered, as have four American aid workers infected in West Africa. Even there, not everyone dies.

    So why do some people escape Ebola, and not others?

    The end of quarantine for 43 people in Dallas who had contact with Duncan “simply supports what most of us who know something about the disease have been saying all along: It’s not that easily spread,” said Dr. Joseph McCormick of the University of Texas School of Public Health. Formerly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, McCormick worked on the first known Ebola outbreak in 1976 and numerous other outbreaks of Ebola and related hemorrhagic viruses.

    Ebola spreads by contact with bodily fluids, such as through a break in the skin or someone with contaminated hands touching the eyes or nose. Once inside the body, Ebola establishes a foothold by targeting the immune system’s first line of defense, essentially disabling its alarms. The virus rapidly reproduces, infecting multiple kinds of cells before the immune system recognizes the threat and starts to fight back.

    Only after enough virus is produced do symptoms appear, starting with fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. And only then is someone contagious.

    It’s not clear why Ebola runs a different course in different people. But how rapidly symptoms appear depends partly on how much virus a patient was initially exposed to, McCormick said.

    The World Health Organization has made clear that there’s far more virus in blood, vomit and feces than in other bodily fluids.

    There is no specific treatment for Ebola but specialists say basic supportive care — providing intravenous fluids and nutrients, and maintaining blood pressure — is crucial to give the body time to fight off the virus.

    Profuse vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration. Worse, in the most severe cases, patients’ blood vessels start to leak, causing blood pressure to drop to dangerous levels and fluid to build up in the lungs.

    “The key issue is balance between keeping their blood pressure up by giving them fluids, and not pushing them into pulmonary edema where they’re literally going to drown,” McCormick said.

    Death usually is due to shock and organ failure.

    “We depend on the body’s defenses to control the virus,” said Dr. Bruce Ribner, who runs the infectious disease unit at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, which successfully treated three aid workers with Ebola and now is treating one of the Dallas nurses.

    “We just have to keep the patient alive long enough in order for the body to control this infection,” he said.

    What about experimental treatments? Doctors at Emory and Nebraska Medical Center, which successfully treated another aid worker and now is treating a video journalist infected in West Africa, say there’s no way to know if those treatments really helped. Options include a plasma transfusion, donated by Ebola survivors who have antibodies in their blood able to fight Ebola, or a handful of experimental drugs that are in short supply.

    But survival also can depend on how rapidly someone gets care. It also may be affected by factors beyond anyone’s control: McCormick’s research suggests it partly depends on how the immune system reacts early on — whether too many white blood cells die before they can fight the virus. Other research has linked genetic immune factors to increased survival.

    The post Why Ebola runs a different course in different people appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Flickr user markgranitz.

    Photo by Flickr user markgranitz.

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

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

    Question: I thought my resume was laid out pretty well, but lately it is not getting the job done, whether I’m using job postings or acting as my own headhunter.

    I’ve tried many of the resume books and services, and in my humble opinion, none has shown me how to make my resume better than it is already. But I know I need help. Can you critique my resume and make suggestions?

    Resumes don’t get the job done because they’re dumb, mute and defenseless.

    Nick Corcodilos: Sorry, I don’t review resumes, so please don’t send yours. But my view of resumes is simple, if contrarian. Resumes don’t get the job done because they’re dumb, mute and defenseless. They’re documents. I don’t believe in them. (See “Resume Blasphemy.”) Your experience is proof that they don’t work. The further evidence is that all those resume books you’ve read don’t have any answers, either. This should lead you to suspect your major premise: that job hunting requires a resume.

    The key to job hunting success is people — meeting them, talking with them, and getting them to recommend you to managers. It is a very active process. Here are the most important things you can do in your job search:

    • Meet people who do the work you want to do. People recommend people they know. Face to face contact is best; telephone is acceptable; and email is better than a resume.
    • Learn what problems a company faces. A job ad doesn’t tell you that. Knowing a manager’s worries is crucial to your success in an interview. Ask your contact to explain it to you.
    • Find out what their day-to-day work is all about. Don’t rely on job descriptions. Like resumes, they are too static. Talking reveals the job and your skills more effectively.
    • Formulate a business plan about how you would do the work profitably. This tells the employer why you are the right candidate, while a resume requires the employer to figure it out. (See “Put A Free Sample In Your Resume.”)
    • Go back to those people and ask them what they think of your plan. Personal advice specific to a job is the best “interview grease” there is.
    • Once you know you can add value to the work they do, ask for an introduction to their bosses. A personal referral almost always yields an interview.

      This process is all about delivering value, not a document or profile or a database record.

      Dear Readers: Do you find that resumes get you in the door? How do they compare to making personal contacts?

      Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “How Can I Change Careers?”, “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

      Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

      Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

      The post Ask the Headhunter: Here’s why your resume isn’t getting traction appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Kansas incumbent Governor Sam Brownback debates Democratic challenger Paul Davis live from Wichita at 1:40 p.m. EDT/12:40 p.m. CDT today. Join PBS NewsHour and KPTS for a special screening of this event, and chat with fellow viewers and the NewsHour politics team, here.

    The last debate of Kansas’ hotly-contested gubernatorial race broadcasts live from Wichita this afternoon.

    Incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback faces off against Democratic challenger Paul Davis on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 1:40 p.m. EDT. The Kansas Association of Broadcasters hosts the lunchtime event as part of their annual meeting.

    Through a partnership between PBS NewsHour and KPTS, the Kansas Public Telecommunications Service, citizens across the country will be able to watch together and share their thoughts in real time in a live, online screening of the event.

    Citizens are invited to share their views in a live chat online with PBS NewsHour’s senior producer Domenico Montanaro and reporter/editor Lisa Desjardins.

    They will be joined by two other journalists who will provide expert analysis throughout the screening, Jim Grawe of KPTS and Stephen Koranda, KPR’s Statehouse Bureau Chief.

    Join the viewing and participate in the conversation live here: http://bit.ly/KansGovDebate.

    Left: Kansas incumbent Governor Sam Brownback. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. Right: Democratic challenger Paul Davis. Photo from Davis campaign.

    Left: Kansas incumbent Governor Sam Brownback. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. Right: Democratic challenger Paul Davis. Photo from Davis campaign.

    Incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback’s is running a surprisingly challenging re-election bid in deep-red Kansas. Critics on both the left and the right have attacked his tax cut programs, saying they led to budget shortages that impacted schools and roads.

    NewsHour Weekend reported in September that 100 Republican lawmakers endorsed Gov. Brownback’s opponent, Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, in light of this policy. Watch that report below:

    At today’s debate, Gov. Brownback will have to assure voters that his tax “experiment,” as he has called it, will yield fruit in due time. Davis will have to convince moderate Republicans that he is the man to balance the budget.

    At a debate yesterday, same-sex marriage took center stage, with the social conservative Governor vowing to defend Kansas’ ban against court challenges. Education funding has also been a sticking point during this campaign, and will likely come into play today as the two candidates hammer home their messages in the final two weeks till Election Day.

    Join the NewsHour team in watching this debate play out live, at http://bit.ly/KansGovDebate.

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    The logo of Honda Motor Co and an airbag logo are seen on a steering wheel of a car displayed at the company's showroom in Tokyo. Yuya Shino/Reuters

    The logo of Honda Motor Co and an airbag logo are seen on a steering wheel of a car displayed at the company’s showroom in Tokyo. Yuya Shino/Reuters

    The U.S. government recently issued an immediate recall for more than 4.7 million vehicles that were installed with defective airbags. However, the consumer website that lists vehicle identification numbers included in the recall did not appear to be working on Tuesday.

    On Monday, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration urged U.S. owners to look up their vehicle identification number to see if their car or truck was featured in the recall.

    According to the recall, the airbags contained a potentially fatal flaw and were made by Takata, a Japanese automobile parts manufacturer. Once deployed, the faulty airbags have released metal shrapnel during crashes that has led to the deaths of at least four people, CBS News reported.

    The affected automobiles include several models of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, BMW and General Motors and were sold within the United States. The NHTSA recall alert noted that consumers in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii needed to be particularly aware of the risks with these airbags.

    NHTSA included the following vehicles in this recall:

    Toyota: 778,177 total number of potentially affected vehicles
    2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
    2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
    2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
    2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
    2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
    2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

    Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
    2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
    2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
    2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
    2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
    2003 – 2011 Honda Element
    2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
    2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
    2006 – Honda Ridgeline
    2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
    2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL

    Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
    2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
    2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
    2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
    2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
    2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
    2003 – Infiniti FX

    Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
    2003 – 2004 Mazda6
    2004 – Mazda RX-8

    BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
    2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
    2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
    2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
    2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
    2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
    2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

    General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
    2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
    2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
    2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
    2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
    2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
    2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
    2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
    2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
    2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
    2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
    2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
    2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
    2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

    The government urged consumers to check its vehicle identification number reference website to see if their automobiles were included in the recall. However, on Tuesday, the website appeared to not being working. It is part of the SaferCar.gov website and is operated by NHTSA.

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    GWEN IFILL: Now to an update on the Ebola crisis.

    As more potentially infected individuals have emerged from quarantine and treatment in the U.S., in recent days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new set of protocols designed to reduce risk for health care workers. And the Department of Homeland Security announced today it will allow travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to enter the country only through five airports equipped for additional screening.

    This evening, I spoke with Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC.

    Dr. Frieden, thank you for joining us again.

    We have had some interesting news the past few days, the news of the end of the Ebola epidemic in Nigeria at least, the release of people from quarantine in Dallas, and just this afternoon we were hearing the upgraded condition of one of the nurses who was infected in Dallas.

    Now I’m wondering whether it’s too soon to be getting optimistic about the course of this infection.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: We have to keep our guard up.

    There are still thousands of cases in West Africa. The epidemic is still increasing in Sierra Leone and parts of Guinea. And there’s — there’s no time for complacency. We absolutely need to keep our guard up.

    GWEN IFILL: Can we talk about the new protocols you announced last night about — for health care workers and what difference they will make?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: What we’re doing is being more protective, adding a margin of safety, and doing that in three fundamental ways, first, ensuring that health care workers know what to do to put on and take of protective gear, so there’s training and practice over and over again, so that it’s done well.

    Second, the gear that we’re recommending now has no skin exposed to have that extra margin of safety. And, third, a trained observer watches and checks off each and every step putting on and taking off the gear. That’s critically important to protect health care workers, because even a single infection is one infection too many.

    GWEN IFILL: But these protocols are voluntary, are they not?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: We find that the hospital generally follows CDC guideline. CDC is not a regulatory agency, but other parts of the federal government and states can impose regulations.

    GWEN IFILL: Do these hospitals where this training is going to take effect, do they have even enough beds, enough isolation units for people?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: The physical space is not the hardest part, though there are hard parts about that, because you need an anteroom or separate area to put on and take off the protective gear.

    And it doesn’t require special rooms. What it does require is special training, special equipment for protection and rigorous monitoring and oversight. This, we found in Africa and here. You need someone there full-time watching and checking to make sure that there are no missteps.

    GWEN IFILL: But you don’t need to have isolation areas, isolated rooms, isolated beds?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: You do need a separate area to take care of patients with Ebola.

    And there are a lot of complicated aspects of creating that. You need a clean area and a dirty area. You need an anteroom. You need a separate place for putting on and taking off the protective gear. With this new guideline, it becomes much more challenging and it requires a much more specialized approach for hospitals.

    But every hospital, every emergency department in the country needs to think Ebola. For anyone with fever or other signs of infection, ask about travel history. Have you been to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone in the past 21 days? And if they have, stop, isolate, assess, call for help.

    GWEN IFILL: You talk about travel experience. Today, we heard from the Department of Homeland Security that they’re going to limit the egress, I guess, the entrance to the United States to five airports from any of these three affected countries.

    That would affect maybe nine people a day? What effect does that have?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: That’s actually very helpful for us, because at CDC what we have done is, working closely with Homeland Security and Border Protection, we’re at each of these five airports with a team 24/7.

    And what we do is ensure that every person coming in, they’re initially screened by customs. And if they either have a fever or they have had contact with Ebola, they have come to us for tertiary screening. If we find anyone who has any symptoms — and we know we will pick up people with flu or cold or people who vomited on the plane because they felt bad. But if there’s any suspicion of Ebola, then we will take them to a hospital that’s prepared to deal with Ebola.

    GWEN IFILL: There’s been much conversation here in Washington about the appointment of what some people call an Ebola czar, what the White House calls an Ebola coordinator.

    Two questions. Is that something which is needed? Is that helpful to you? And why aren’t you the Ebola czar?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: I’m delighted that there’s an Ebola coordinator.

    I’m looking forward to his visit to Atlanta next week. I have spoken with him already. And it’s really important that we have coordination across the whole government. We can do the public health part at CDC, but there are so many aspects of this response that require a whole-of-government approach for accountability, coordination, liaison functions, troubleshooting.

    There’s been — everyone has been doing their part, but a coordinator allows us to do that more efficiently and effectively.

    GWEN IFILL: And, finally, I want to ask you about the way the public has been reacting to all of this. There’s a Gallup poll which says it’s among the top 10 issues Americans worry about.

    And there’s a Pew poll that shows 41 percent say they worry that they or someone they know, some family member will be infected. Do they have reason to worry?

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: You know, it’s hard to gauge risk sometimes, but, realistically, if you’re a health care worker caring for one of the two patients with Ebola being cared for, three patients with Ebola being cared for in the U.S. today, you should be very careful.

    If you are an emergency room doctor or nurse treating people with fever, you should think about Ebola. But, for everyone else, the risk of Ebola is really extraordinarily remote. But we can’t let our guard down. As long as the outbreak continues in Africa, the risk of another traveler coming in of someone, responder going and back and getting it is there.

    So it won’t be zero until we stop the outbreak at the source in Africa.

    GWEN IFILL: Thomas Frieden, executive director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thank you very much for joining us again.

    DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: Thank you.

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    Step Forward MAN PARALYZED walik monitor

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    GWEN IFILL: A man paralyzed from the chest down is now able to walk again, thanks to a pioneering transplant using cells from his nose. The 38-year-old was treated by surgeons in Poland and is the first known patient to ever recover from a complete severing of the spinal nerves.

    Alex Thomson of Independent Television News has the story.

    ALEX THOMSON: Seeing is believing. Two years on from surgery in Poland, Darek Fidyka is walking. His spinal cord severed in a knife attack, he had been paralyzed from the arms down. The London medical team behind this breakthrough say just one man. But the implications, if they can replicate it, are huge for all mankind.

    GEOFFREY RAISMAN, University College London: I still think, myself, that this is a bigger thing than landing a man on the moon. Gradually, he could move his thigh. Now he can move his knee. It’s not great movement, but, to him, it’s — it’s being reborn.

    ALEX THOMSON: Darek was paralyzed from the chest down by a knife attack in 2010. A Polish team working with Professor Raisman took cells from the top of Darek’s nasal cavity. These olfactory ensheathing cells help us smell. When they’re damaged in the nose, they’re replaced by new nerve fibers within the nasal cavity.

    The team hoped that the cell would do the same when transplanted into the spine. So, they injected strips of cells into an 8-millimeter gap in Darek’s spine with strips of implanted ankle issue to bridge the gap. These slowly restored the nerve fiber, closing the gap, allowing the brain signals to get through again.

    GEOFFREY RAISMAN: What we have found could be of enormous benefit to mankind. But it will only be so if we can carry out the next steps and prove it, and if we can take this initial observation and turn it into something that will work for everyone. So I’m not looking back at where we have got to. I’m a — at what lies ahead.

    ALEX THOMSON: The 11-year road to discovery began on a beach in Sydney, Australia, in 2003 and an-18-year old on his gap year paralyzed in a diving accident.

    His father vowed then he would walk again. And from that day, David Nicholls has been searching for a breakthrough for his son, Daniel. Now he believes three medical firsts have been achieved.

    DAVID NICHOLLS, Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation: Nobody in the chronic state of paralysis. This — Darek, the patient, is paralyzed for 15 months, flatlined, so no movement, no sensation. And that has been reversed. And it’s evidentially reversed.

    The other significant first is nobody has ever reconnected two ends of a broken cord. We have done that. And the third issue is that the patient has been reclassified from completely paralyzed to not incompletely paralyzed. Well, you don’t do that. If you’re complete, it’s finite, it’s over.

    ALEX THOMSON: At London’s Royal National Orthopedic Hospital, caution and excitement evenly balanced at today’s news.

    DR. KIA REZAJOOI, Royal National Orthopedic Hospital: Clearly, it’s exciting if the actual claims are definitive and that these patients are improving neurologically, with functional improvement.

    But this has to be replicated. This to be repeated in multi centers, and it has to be a randomized — high-level evidence, randomized trial.

    ALEX THOMSON: Two-and-a-half million people globally are paralyzed as a result of spinal cord trauma. So, when David Nicholls told his son Daniel suddenly there was hope, it was a game changer.

    Darek Fidyka, though, is one man. They need 10 million pounds now to fund 10 more patients for the treatment. As Professor Raisman put it today, we may possibly be the Wright brothers, but what we want is a 747.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, a prominent observer of American life today takes a look back at his own beginnings.

    Jeffrey Brown has our conversation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Today, Charles Blow has a high-profile perch and international reach as a columnist for The New York Times. He got there by way of the small segregated town of Gibsland, Louisiana, a childhood marked by poverty and a family life that was both sustaining and sometimes violent, including sexual molestation by a cousin, a coming of age into manhood at Grambling University that included both learning and harrowing hazing rites, all of it brought to life in the new memoir “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.”

    Charles Blow joins me now.

    Welcome to you.

    CHARLES BLOW, The New York Times: Thank you for having me.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You have this clear voice now that comes through in your column. But what comes through in the book is a long struggle to get there.

    CHARLES BLOW: Exactly.

    JEFFREY BROWN: I guess to get a sense of yourself?

    CHARLES BLOW: Exactly.

    I think this kind of coming of age is kind of a natural part of what most of us go through. And I just wanted to document mine. You know, there’s part of the writing experience where people say you should write it because you want to read it. And I wanted to read this experience that I had.

    And I thought that it would be helpful too to have other people be able to understand what rural poverty is like, what this kind of quest for manhood and masculinity feel like, what struggle through abuse and trauma.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The rural poverty and the setting feels very much like the old segregated South.

    CHARLES BLOW: The year that I was born was the year that my local school actually integrated. That’s 1970.

    And the town was still relatively segregated and still is to this day in some ways. I mean, the cemetery where many of my relatives are buried, the black race and the white race are still separated by a chain-link fence.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You talk about the identity of masculinity, sexuality played — a core scene which opens the book involves this — the sexual abuse by a cousin and the very real possibility years later that you would kill him for that.

    CHARLES BLOW: Right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Explain how that came to play such a role in your understanding of yourself.

    CHARLES BLOW: Through childhood sexual abuse,, if you don’t deal with it, you push it down, and it comes back out in all of these kind of unpredictable ways.

    And this is one of these very unpredictable, illogical, violent ways that it was expressing itself in my life 13 years after the actual incident. But I think the question you’re asking is about how that impacts identity.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, because that’s what you’re exploring through the whole book here.

    CHARLES BLOW: Right. Right.

    And I think that you have to separate the two things. One is what happens in the mind of a child, which I explore for a very long time in the book.


    CHARLES BLOW: And I think that, for the child, because they are — depending on when the abuse occurs, they’re kind of pre-sexual being at that point. You’re catapulted from this kind of pre-sexual innocence, naivete into a sexual reality, a violent one, a kind of psychically violent, even if not physically violent one, that you’re not really fully capable of understanding or comprehending or putting it into any sort of context.

    And those children can quite naturally and understandably braid together these ideas of identity and attraction and abuse.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Which can become confining, right?

    CHARLES BLOW: Right, and also wrong.

    The science tells us that that’s probably not the way that it works. But it takes a mature mind, help from professionals looking at what the science says, to begin to unbraid that. And some people never get to the point where they unbraid that. In my case, I get to the point where I start to unbraid it as an adult, that how — whatever your attractions are going to be, they’re probably either — you’re probably either predisposed to that or predetermined to do that at birth, and that, yes, a child of sexual abuse has some really horrible side effects that can be undone, but sometimes track you for over a lifetime.

    But identity is not a negative thing. It’s just a different thing.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Well, that’s what I wonder.

    Do you think — and I’m wondering from reading this, was it a question of — because you’re also talking about remaking yourself in some sense from the country boy to a sophisticate, the urban man you are now. Is it a remaking or is a kind of coming to know yourself? How do you see it when you look back now?

    CHARLES BLOW: Well, I think it is — what you have to try to do is to figure out in life what things can and should be changed and what things cannot and shouldn’t be changed, and having the wisdom to be able to separate those two things into separate baskets.

    And, sometimes, we don’t have that wisdom, we don’t have that kind of presence of mind, presence of self to be able to understand that identity in particular. It’s something that is actually beautiful the way it is, doesn’t need to be changed, and no one else could actually change it for you.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Let me ask you, finally, how does all of this factor into the work you do now? Because now you are writing about societal issues, right, and you’re looking at all of these things that shaped you, masculinity, racial issues, that suffuse our society today.

    CHARLES BLOW: The things that I write are things you just mentioned and things that are very close to me because they are part of my life experience.

    In addition to that, the kind of voice and cadence and beat of the writing is informed by the people that I grew up around. When I’m writing, I try to imagine that I’m writing to explain to someone who was a neighbor who — the older gentleman across the street.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You have them in mind?

    CHARLES BLOW: Those are the people who I’m trying to talk to, and because I think that that sound, to me, is most genuine.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right.

    The memoir is “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.”

    Charles Blow, thank you very much.

    CHARLES BLOW: Thank you.

    The post After childhood sexual abuse, Charles Blow explores masculinity in new memoir appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: Behind all the blockbuster success stories out of Silicon Valley, there are scores of ideas that just don’t make it. And some die a pretty slow death.

    Special correspondent Steve Goldbloom has our story.

    ACTOR: We have got a great name, we have got a great team, we have got a great logo, and we have got a great name. Now we just need an idea. Let’s pivot.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: HBO’s comedy “Silicon Valley” lampoons start-up culture in the Bay Area. But for those working in the tech scene, it’s like art imitating life. In other words, people really do talk that way.

    WOMAN: Pivot is a great one.

    NITASHA TIKU, Valleywag: Killing it, crushing it.

    WOMAN: Disrupt is the classic one.

    NITASHA TIKU: Rock stars, ninjas, Jedi.

    GARY KREMEN, CapGain Solutions: Lean in. Bail fast.

    NITASHA TIKU: Growth hacker, which is actually just marketing.

    JACOB MULLINS, Exitround: I think it’s “The Social Network” movie that over-romanticized how easy it is for college students to become a hundred-billion-dollar company.

    ACTOR: Relationship status. Interested in.

    NITASHA TIKU: There is no shortage of messianic language.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Nitasha Tiku is an editor at Valleywag, which is owned by Gawker Media. They’re like the “Us Weekly” of tech. She explains some of the hyperbole behind start-ups.

    NITASHA TIKU: They all want to start a movement. They all want to start a revolution. It’s particularly funny because once one person said they were going to change the world, if you present just like a simple app, what are you going to do next to that?

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: She says it’s no good to have a straightforward idea anymore. It has to be groundbreaking. Entrepreneurs show up here in the Bay Area with dreams of turning their scrappy start-up into the next big thing. But the reality is, most of them don’t work out.

    SAM ALTMAN, Y Combinator: We help very early-stage companies get started.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Sam Altman runs Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley firms that mentors entrepreneurs. It’s called as an incubator, which is basically a camp for start-ups. Altman is like a rock star for young entrepreneurs. A Stanford dropout, he launched an app at age 20 and sold it seven years later for nearly $40 million.

    SAM ALTMAN: The magnitude of problems that can go wrong is one of the surprising things about young start-ups. One day, the product doesn’t work and the next day a patent troll is suing you. The next day, a competitor is taking your users. The day after that, your key employee quits.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Y Combinator helps young start-ups avoid these pitfalls. The program has graduated some heavy hitters too, like Dropbox and Airbnb, both now valued in the billions. But these are the exceptions. A more common path is the one taken by Yin Yin Wu and Cuwen Cao, from the Y Combinator class of 2013. They created a business that was going to be the uber of dry cleaning.

    YIN YIN WU, Entrepreneur: Where you could push a button and we would pick up your laundry, wash, fold and return in the same day. We found that business model didn’t really work.

    CUWEN CAO, Entrepreneur: We were really demoralized. We ask ourselves, is it our problem or is it objectively a market problem?

    YIN YIN WU: We come from a perspective of, oh, we are going to, you know, be really successful if we just work hard. And that’s just not true with start-ups.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Wu and Cao are now developing a phone notification app for Android. They have pivoted. But what if they hadn’t thrown in the towel?

    GARY KREMEN: Not every company dies fast.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Gary Kremen is a veteran entrepreneur and investor in the Valley. Remember that ’90s craze of buying domain names?  Well, Kremen was pretty much ahead of the curve on that. He made an early fortune registering sites like Jobs.com, Auto.com, and Sex.com.

    GARY KREMEN: Entrepreneurs, they don’t like to give up. A company will shrink down when they’re almost out of money to six people, getting Internet from Starbucks and them not even ordering from Starbucks, probably bring in a cup of water there in an old Starbucks cup and keep working on it and working on it. They’re not dead, but they’re not alive, kind of like zombies.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: That’s actually what they’re called here: start-up zombies. A company that’s not succeeding or failing, it’s just burning investors’ money by staying alive. Here’s where Gary Kremen and his partner, Michael McTeigue, come in. They founded the company

    CapGain Solutions, registered privately as Zombie Apocalypse Holdings LLC.

    They buy zombie companies, so that the investor can write off the losses on their tax return. In other words, they kill zombies.

    GARY KREMEN: To make them dead, so you can use the tax losses. You would sell those companies’ interest to us and we would allow you to realize your gains.

    MICHAEL MCTEIGUE, CapGain Solutions: We’re like the 1-800-Junk. You have some junk, we will come by, we will get it, we will take it out of your house, and we will try to resell it at a later date for more money than we paid.

    BEN BLACK, Akkadian Ventures: In a state with 53 percent tax rates, that loss is worth a lot of money to me.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Ben Black is a venture capitalist and uses CapGain Solutions.

    BEN BLACK: I turn to Gary and say, here’s the situation. I need you to buy this stock. He buys it. I get my letter, I get my loss.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Another way out of zombie purgatory is to be acquired by a more established firm. That’s what’s called an acqui-hire.

    JACOB MULLINS: An acqui-hire is an exit for a company, primarily for the team just  experience that those people have.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Jacob Mullins runs Exitround.

    JACOB MULLINS: People describe us as either something like an eBay for companies or as like a Match.com or a Tinder for companies.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: As a matchmaker, Mullins has plenty to work with. According to the online tracker CrunchBase, 19,500 companies received venture capital funding last year.

    ELLEN CUSHING, San Francisco Magazine: While it’s clear that we’re in the middle of a boom, some people might call it a bubble. And what that means for start-ups in particular is a lot of V.C.s are willing to fund 10 companies with the idea that one of them is Twitter.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: But that still leaves nine companies that won’t be the next Twitter. Are they doomed to become start-up zombies?  And if we are in a bubble, how much longer can that go on?

    STEVE GERBSMAN, Gerbsman Partners: Every two to three years, there’s an investment cycle.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Steve Gerbsman is a crisis management expert for businesses in need of an exit strategy. His forecast isn’t so bright.

    STEVE GERBSMAN: You had the investment cycle starting in ’11 and ’12. We haven’t had the bust yet, but it’s coming because every two-and-a-half to three years after the investment cycle, our business gets good.

    STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Meanwhile, entrepreneurs will continue to take big swings and a cottage industry of Valley types will be there to profit when they miss. As for zombies, there’s always Halloween.

    For the “NewsHour” in San Francisco, I’m Steve Goldbloom.

    The post When to pull the plug on a dying startup company appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    ROYAL RUN  kansas city royal monitor

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    GWEN IFILL: The World Series gets under way tonight, a matchup of two wild card teams who have made it all the way, the first time that’s happened in more than a decade. Yet it features a perennial contender and a former champion against a team and a city that’s been waiting for a winner for decades.

    MAN: And 29 years of frustration have ended. The Royals are going to the World Series.

    GWEN IFILL: For Kansas City, it’s been a long hard road back since winning the World Series in 1985. The team hadn’t even made the playoffs since then. But in a time when baseball economics make it tougher for smaller market teams to compete, the Royals beat the odds with a mix of speed, timely pitching and stout defense, propelling the team back to Major League Baseball’s biggest stage.

    NED YOST, Kansas City Royals: It’s been a wonderful experience I think not only for our players, but, you know, this is a fan base that has been longing for this for a long, long time.

    GWEN IFILL: The Royals began their playoff run with a 12-inning victory over the Oakland A’s in the wild card game. Then they won seven more in a row, sweeping the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles to capture the American League pennant.

    Tonight, Kansas City hosts San Francisco for game one of the World Series. The Giants also made the playoffs as a wild card, and are playing for their third title in five years.

    There’s nothing like a Cinderella story to capture even the most casual fan’s attention. And for Kansas City, tonight is a fairy tale. But is it good for baseball?

    I’m joined by Mike Pesca, host of Slate’s daily news and discussion podcast “The Gist.”  He’s also a contributor to NPR. And Hampton Stevens, a Kansas City native and writer for “The Atlantic” and “ESPN: The Magazine.”

    This is a wonderful story for you, Hampton Stevens. Is it like Cinderella?

    HAMPTON STEVENS, The Atlantic: It’s an absolutely fairy tale. It’s really been a complete dream and the city is just electric.

    GWEN IFILL: Tell us what the city is like.

    HAMPTON STEVENS: Everyone is wearing blue. The city has gotten like crews from surrounding areas to make sure every median strip is trimmed, Christmas lights everywhere. People are driving crazy like. Just on the way here, you can feel the tension in the traffic. So, it’s pretty electric around here.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, it’s always good to be around a winner.

    But, Mike Pesca, let me ask you about this. As you step back a little bit from the excitement happening right there in Kansas City, is this good for baseball to have a small market team in the World Series?

    MIKE PESCA, National Public Radio: Oh, yes, I think it is.

    And even if they are crashing the party, they’re not some creepy guy skulking in the corner. They’re grabbing all the shrimp with both hands. They’re high-fiving everyone. So, they’re both a party crasher and the life of the party. They’re so compelling. You really want to watch them.

    And I do think it draws in the casual fan. And not to take anything away from the Giants, like, we shouldn’t damn them for their excellence, making three World Series in five years, but when a team hasn’t shown up in all these years, in 29 years, even the person who only casually likes baseball could say, huh, how about that? Let’s give them a chance.

    GWEN IFILL: But isn’t there a possibility, Hampton Stevens, that this may be a competition World Series, probably will be, but that maybe they’re mismatched? You got the big-time San Francisco Giants, won three times in five years, as Mike pointed out, going against someone who hasn’t been going for the big ball in a long time.

    HAMPTON STEVENS: Well, I think they play similar styles of baseball. And I think that will help. It’s that small ball, the bunting, the speed, the defense.

    So, I would say that obviously the Giants have some veteran experience. And that’s going to help them. But it isn’t like the Royals have looked intimated in any of these playoff series. And the Angels certainly have some big boppers. So, I think we will be OK.

    GWEN IFILL: Hampton, I read today that the average price for a playoff ticket is well north of $600. Is this making money for Kansas City or just for the team?

    HAMPTON STEVENS: I think it’s making money for everybody, not that that is the important thing, but this is the kind of exposure that you absolutely just can’t get anywhere else.

    It’s been truly phenomenal for the city, just the kind of recognition that we’re getting across the country. It’s pretty exciting. And people are starting to get clued into what is happening here. We have had a little bit of a renaissance, a cultural renaissance in this town for the last decade or so. And this feels like a culmination of it.

    So, it’s been a thrill.

    GWEN IFILL: Mike Pesca, if I’m airing these games and I’m trying to get eyeballs, I’m not as thrilled about the idea of the underdog in the finals. I kind of want New York. I want the big, big markets. Does that cost them?

    MIKE PESCA: Yes.

    Well, you know, but then again, who aligns themselves and roots for the interests of the networks or Major League Baseball itself? I mean, the thing is, we say that, but — and when the Yankees are in the World Series or the Red Sox in the World Series, it usually draws, but not that great.

    The World Series used to just be so culturally transcendent, and it hasn’t been. And to fall back on, well, you need the big market teams, of course, San Francisco is a huge market. I just think it’s just better to have a team like the Royals, where I could what I out all these reasons why they really shouldn’t be there, and they have been winning all these one-run games, which really is luck.

    I mean, it’s the skill part of luck, but it’s luck. But you add that all up. If they get to a game seven, that’s what really draws ratings, a competitive series that goes long. If they get to game seven, I could really see them being compelling and captivating a lot of people.

    GWEN IFILL: Mike, let me follow up on that. How much does it matter that what we have here is good news at a time when so much of sports is tarnished?

    MIKE PESCA: Well, I think that the people who propagate sports are always going to want to emphasize the good news story.

    And, you know, there are narratives that we could bake into things and that we could read into things and we can assign things. I mean, every team is supposed to be a plucky underdog. And, by the way, the Giants, even though they had the seventh highest payroll in baseball coming in, that doesn’t mean they’re bad people, right?

    Maybe they’re in their own ways plucky underdogs and individuals who have transcended whatever obstacles have been put in their ways. But, yes, it is definitely true, especially since the NFL has become so ascendant. And it just seems that the NFL, which I’m a fan of, is a little bit lifeless and a little bit robotic and definitely with an eye on the bottom line, and can be oppressive.

    Baseball is whimsical, and it can be magical. And as we see with these Kansas City Royals, it can be a little bit something special that’s not as exactly regimented as this great national sport the NFL is.

    GWEN IFILL: Hampton Stevens, how much of the Royals’ excellence is because frankly they were bad for so long and therefore got higher draft picks and were able to rebuild the team? And how much of it is just, it is their turn?

    HAMPTON STEVENS: It’s not that the drastic so much as the decision the franchise made to build through — we can’t — build from within. We can’t really compete with those big market teams because of revenue sharing — or lack thereof — and a bunch of boring stuff like that.

    But what they did with Dayton Moore was really decide to rebuild from the farm system up. And that’s one of the gratifying things about this team is that they are — it’s a lot of locally produced — or the club produced the talent or traded for it.

    There’s not really a lot of free agents that we brought in. And so I think that’s exciting for people as well. Some of these players won a champion in A, AA and AAA together and now they’re up here in the big leagues.

    GWEN IFILL: I’m going to ask you guys one final quick question.

    If your choice is that this is the Midwest vs. the West, urban vs. suburban, winner vs. loser, what is it that is driving any excitement that there is about this game tonight?

    Start with you, Hampton.

    MIKE PESCA: Oh, sorry. I’m sorry.


    Well, for me, it’s certainly Midwestern heartland values against the coastal people. I love San Francisco, of course. It’s a world-class city. But it’s our turn, I think, I hope. And we’re just really excited about the values, self-sacrifice, teamwork, giving up glory for the sake of your teammate, and the kind of things that we want this team to represent. It’s pretty exciting. It’s goodness against — and light…


    GWEN IFILL: Oh, careful.



    MIKE PESCA: Yes, beef vs. tofu.


    GWEN IFILL: OK. I get the — beef vs. tofu, OK. Well, we know which one you’re rooting for.

    Mike Pesca, Hampton Stevens, thank you both very much.

    HAMPTON STEVENS: Thank you so much.

    MIKE PESCA: You’re welcome.

    The post Will the Royals cap their Cinderella story with a fairytale ending? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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