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- 10/26/14--11:03: _Son: Jeb Bush ‘movi...
- 10/26/14--12:05: _31,000 pounds of ch...
- 10/27/14--06:14: _Watch the most memo...
- 10/27/14--06:16: _Pro-Europe parties ...
- 10/27/14--07:34: _President Dilma Rou...
- 10/27/14--08:30: _Nurse allowed to le...
- 10/27/14--09:35: _Washington school s...
- 10/27/14--09:58: _Winds of change in ...
- 10/27/14--10:17: _Second student dies...
- 10/27/14--11:57: _Deepest state cuts ...
- 10/27/14--12:03: _Courting Republican...
- 10/27/14--13:24: _Weekly Poem: David ...
- 10/27/14--13:30: _When refinancing he...
- 10/27/14--13:35: _Blues man ‘Ironing ...
- 10/27/14--14:22: _Live Election Resul...
- 10/27/14--14:59: _How a student with ...
- 10/27/14--15:12: _5 midterm election ...
- 10/28/14--12:47: _Bringing South Asia...
- 10/28/14--14:19: _Both parties duck i...
- 10/28/14--14:21: _How cocoa traders m...
- 10/26/14--11:03: Son: Jeb Bush ‘moving forward’ on potential 2016 run
- 10/26/14--12:05: 31,000 pounds of chicken products recalled over contamination fears
- 10/27/14--06:14: Watch the most memorable political ads of 2014
- $1 billion on campaign ads
- From health care to immigration to the Islamic State
- The good, the bad and the ugly of 2014 campaign ads
- Be sure to tune into NewsHour’s election coverage this week before our five-and-a-half hours of live Election Night coverage, on air and online starting at 6 p.m. EST, Nov. 4. #pbselection
The latest NBC/Marist polls are out and they’re showing nail biters in most of the top Senate races:
- Colorado: Gardner/Udall 46 percent to 45 percent
- Iowa: Ernst/Braley 49 percent to 46 percent
- Kansas: Orman/Roberts 45 percent to 44 percent
- Arkansas: Cotton/Pryor 45 percent to 43 percent
- North Carolina: Hagan/Tillis 43 percent to 43 percent
Yet another Democratic surrogate is headed to Iowa to help the struggling Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley. Vice President Joe Biden will attend a public rally Monday to show his support for Braley, just a few days before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for two Braley campaign events. First Lady Michelle Obama stumped for Braley earlier last week.
Braley, a former trial lawyer, is in a dead heat race with Republican Joni Ernst, and he is working hard to play up his past blue collar jobs and play down his elitist image.
Ernst has gone from an unknown state senator to potentially the next Republican Senator from Iowa. The Washington Post’s Monica Hesse followed Ernst on her RV tour of Iowa to see how she is playing with Hawkeye voters.
In the second to last Georgia Senate debate, Democrat Michelle Nunn said she’d support a bipartisan gun control bill requiring universal background checks, while Republican David Perdue was pressed about allegations of pay discrimination during his tenure at Dollar General.
In Louisiana, the success of a college football program could affect the outcome of the likely runoff election in the Senate race.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo backtracked on the mandatory quarantine he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Friday for medical workers who have had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa. If they are asymptomatic, they will be allowed to spend their quarantine at home. Mr. Obama met with top advisers Sunday to hash out a nationwide policy for returning medical workers.
The Boston Globe endorsed Republican Charlie Baker over Democrat Martha Coakley for governor this weekend, noting Baker’s departure from the GOP on social issues.
Independent Maine Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, endorsed one of his Republican colleagues, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee Friday. King and Alexander worked together on reform of student loan interest rates.
With advances in data collection, 2014’s canvassing effort is not your mother’s ground game.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett busts out the chain saw in his Halloween-themed ad.
It’s no accident that Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner and Sen. Mark Udall are taking to HGTV and the Food Network.
South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds enjoys a comfortable 9 percentage point lead in the latest Argus Leader/KELO-TV poll Monday. Independent Larry Pressler’s support has dropped to just 13 percent, after trailing Rounds much more closely earlier this month.
Campaigning for Martha Coakley Friday, Hillary Clinton praised Sen. Elizabeth Warren, often cast as a potential 2016 rival.
Clinton also campaigned for Sen. Kay Hagan this weekend in North Carolina, where the name of the former secretary of state’s granddaughter was a big hit.
Both former presidents Bush are the biggest family champions of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush making a bid for the White House. Barbara Bush still isn’t so sure.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is a moderate Republican in a very blue state, and that’s something that has drawn the attention and admiration of fellow GOPers.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is endorsing executive action on immigration policy if Congress does not pass reform soon.
Roll Call breaks down the moments that defined this cycle’s midterm elections.
- 10/27/14--06:16: Pro-Europe parties in the lead in Ukraine’s parliamentary vote
- 10/27/14--07:34: President Dilma Rousseff narrowly wins re-election in Brazil
- 10/27/14--08:30: Nurse allowed to leave New Jersey after Ebola quarantine
- 10/27/14--09:35: Washington school shooting comes as voters decide gun measures
- 10/27/14--09:58: Winds of change in China
- 10/27/14--10:17: Second student dies from Washington school shooting
- 10/27/14--11:57: Deepest state cuts led to highest tuitions for lower-income students
- 10/27/14--12:03: Courting Republicans, Georgia Democrat tries to keep his seat
- 10/27/14--13:24: Weekly Poem: David Roderick ponders the strangeness of the suburbs
- 10/27/14--13:30: When refinancing helps the poor, and everyone else
- 10/27/14--13:35: Blues man ‘Ironing Board Sam’ sings ‘Over the Rainbow’
- 10/27/14--14:22: Live Election Results 2014
- 10/27/14--14:59: How a student with autism taught me to kayak
- Approximately 56 million Americans today have a disability.
- The obesity rate for children with disabilities in the U.S. is 38 percent higher than for children without disabilities. The adult obesity rate is 57 percent higher than for adults without disabilities.
- Adults with disabilities are physically active on a regular basis about half as often as adults without disabilities (12 percent vs. 22 percent).
- Significant disparities (barriers) exist in access to health care, with 29 percent of people with disabilities showing unmet need compared to 12 percent for people without disabilities.
- 10/27/14--15:12: 5 midterm election myths debunked
- 10/28/14--12:47: Bringing South Asian stories to Seattle’s screens
- 10/28/14--14:21: How cocoa traders make money on the Ebola scare
WASHINGTON — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is “moving forward” on a potential 2016 White House run and it appears more likely he will enter the Republican field, according to his son, who’s running for office in Texas.
George P. Bush told ABC’s “This Week” that his father is “still assessing” a presidential bid, but suggested it was more likely that he would seek the White House this time. The ex-governor declined to run for president in 2012 despite encouragement from Republicans.
“I think it’s more than likely that he’s giving this a serious thought and moving – and moving forward,” said the younger Bush, who is running for Texas land commissioner.
Asked if that meant it was “more than likely that he’ll run,” George P. Bush responded: “That he’ll run. If you had asked me a few years back … I would have said it was less likely.”
Jeb Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush, would stand out in what could be a crowded Republican field in 2016.
Bush has headlined fundraisers for Republican candidates and committees and helped campaigns for governor in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, three of the first four states to hold early presidential primaries.
Family considerations could play a factor in his decision.
In an interview with The Associated Press this month, Jeb Bush said his wife, Columba, is “supportive” of a potential presidential campaign and his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, was now “neutral, trending in a different direction.” Barbara Bush declared last year there had been “enough Bushes” in the White House.
“But that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the challenges that this brings,” Jeb Bush told the AP. “This is ultimately my decision with as much consideration as I can to take into account the people that I really love.”
George P. Bush, in the interview aired Sunday, said his family would be “100 percent” behind his father if he decides to run.
The post Son: Jeb Bush ‘moving forward’ on potential 2016 run appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Pennsylvania-based food company Murry’s Inc. recalled on Saturday more than 31,000 pounds of breaded chicken products that were shipped to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reported.
The recalled products are Bell & Evans gluten free chicken breast nuggets (12 ounces) and Bell & Evans gluten free chicken breast (10.5 ounces), a USDA press release said. The chicken products have Aug. 9, 2015, expiration dates.
The chicken is believed to be contaminated with Staphylococcal bacteria, a type of bacteria commonly implicated in foodborne illnesses and Staph infections.
Staphylococcal toxins act fast and can cause illness within 30 minutes of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of Staphylococcal food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea and can develop between one to six hours after the contaminated food has been eaten.
The reported contamination was discovered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture during a retail surveillance and sampling program, according to the press release.
The USDA said there have been no reports of illness since the recall was issued on Saturday.
The post 31,000 pounds of chicken products recalled over contamination fears appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Today in the Morning Line:
More than $1 billion has been spent in this campaign on TV ads. There were several that stood out this year for different reasons — from the issues they brought up to the, sometimes strange, attempts at getting attention. Below, we highlight the best, worst, and most memorable of this campaign:
Health care focus: No single issue saw more money spent on it than health care, and it seemed like every Democrat running was the “deciding vote” on the law. Americans for Prosperity led the charge on anti-health-care law ads, hitting Democrats from Mark Udall in Colorado to Kay Hagan in North Carolina to Mary Landrieu in Louisiana.
Target: Obama: Republicans’ main target this election was President Obama and tying Democrats to him. One in Arkansas, run by American Crossroads, summed up the effort with a little girl on stage at a spelling bee. She’s asked to spell, “Pryor.” She responds, “O-B-A-M-A.” The judges conclude, “Close enough.”
But one took the cake for, maybe the creepiest effort to knock the president and attempt to reach out to women. “In 2008, I fell in love,” a woman says before typing away on a laptop in an ad by the conservative group Americans for Shared Prosperity. She goes on to talk about what a great online profile he had, but then it gets serious. “By 2012, our relationship was in trouble,” she says, “but I stuck with him because he promised he’d be better. He’s great at promises.”
From immigration to IS to both: Every week seemed to bring a new issue to the campaign, and there was a candidate to capitalize on them. Thom Tillis in North Carolina loosely tied Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan to President Obama and the Islamic State by noting she had missed hearings and held a cocktail reception fundraiser. “While ISIS grew, President Obama did nothing,” an announcer says. “Senator Kay Hagan, did cocktails.”
Talk about tenuous ties, Republican David Perdue in Georgia not only tied his Democratic opponent, Michelle Nunn to IS, but also to “amnesty” for illegal immigrants in the same ad. “She’s for amnesty, while terrorism experts say our border breakdown could provide an entry point for groups like ISIS,” an announcer says.
Sharpest attacks: Of course, it wasn’t just Republicans running hotly critical ads. Democrats ran some of the harshest ads of the campaign, be it Mark Begich’s attempt at calling Republican Dan Sullivan soft on sex offenders to Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis using Republican Greg Abbott’s disability against him.
Mr. Nice guy: They weren’t all negative. One by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., running for the Senate, made waves by calling Udall a “nice guy.”
Breakthrough efforts: Others attempted to break through and gain attention with some unique efforts. Some worked, some didn’t. There were animals — from Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst’s pig castrating to Louisiana conservative Rob Maness’ alligator chomp to even monkeys and cocaine.
The Razzie goes to…: Not all of these break-through efforts, however, were well produced or effective. The Razzie for this campaign goes to… “Loan Sharknado” by the Michigan Republican Party.
Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1858, future President Theodore Roosevelt was born. TR is still the youngest person to assume of the office of the presidency; who is the runner up? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to CTBobL (@CTBobL) for guessing Thursday’s trivia: Where did the meeting between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and President Bill Clinton in which they agreed on a peacekeeping plan in Bosnia take place? The answer was: Hyde Park, N.Y.
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) October 27, 2014
Reporting is basically annoying people, professionally.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) October 27, 2014
This is the tent Kaci Hickox is being quarantined in, she spoke with her lawyer through a plastic screen, pic.twitter.com/uj16iEDkmk
— MYLES MILLER (@mylesmill) October 26, 2014
— Niraj Chokshi (@NirajC) October 27, 2014
I might be slightly off but the chances the @SFGiants win control of the Senate are 78.8753% after last night.
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) October 27, 2014
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Two parties considered pro-European were in the lead in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Ukraine, according to partial tallies, the Associated Press reported Monday.
President Petro Poroshenko said he wanted Western-oriented parties to form a coalition to initiate reforms.
With more than half the votes counted, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Popular Front had 21.6 percent of the vote. Poroshenko’s party had 21.5 percent. And the newly formed pro-European Samopomich party appeared to be coming in third with 11 percent of the vote.
The vote replaces a parliament that once had a majority of supporters of former President Viktor Yanukovych, who wanted to deepen ties with Russia over the European Union. He was ousted after massive protests in February.
Efforts to strengthen ties with the European Union still face challenges, including Ukraine’s weakened economy, Russia’s resistance to Kiev’s moves to strengthen those ties, and delicate ceasefire between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
The post Pro-Europe parties in the lead in Ukraine’s parliamentary vote appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Brazilian leftist President Dilma Rousseff barely won re-election over centrist candidate Aecio Neves in Sunday’s election in a country suffering economically.
Rousseff won 51.6 percent of the vote to Neves’ 48.4 percent with more than 99 percent of the votes counted.
In her victory speech, Rousseff spoke of reconciliation and dialogue with the opposition as she tries to restart the economy and battle unemployment, which sparked street demonstrations a year ago.
She said she understood the calls for a more efficient, less corrupt government. “That’s why I want to be a much better president than I have been until now,” she said.
The post President Dilma Rousseff narrowly wins re-election in Brazil appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
A nurse who had been treating Ebola patients in West Africa and was quarantined in New Jersey since Friday was given permission to go back to her home state of Maine on Monday.
Kaci Hickox will travel on a private aircraft — not commercial, according to a statement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office. She would remain in quarantine while in New Jersey, and Maine health authorities can make their own determination on how to treat her, his office said.
Hickox was the first medical worker to undergo New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for those who treated Ebola patients in West Africa.
She refuted Christie’s assessment of her condition, telling CNN by telephone, “I am not, as he said, ‘obviously ill.’ I am completely healthy and with no symptoms.”
She had been staying in a tent set up inside a Newark hospital with a portable toilet but no shower. Meals were brought to her by people dressed in full protective gear.
New Jersey’s Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo both ordered quarantines for people returning from West Africa, after a doctor, Craig Spencer, was diagnosed with Ebola in New York but had traveled on the subway and went bowling before his diagnosis.
Under pressure from the White House and medical officials against a mandatory quarantine, Cuomo said health workers who had contact with Ebola patients but were exhibiting no symptoms could remain at home.
Meanwhile, a 5-year-old boy who returned to New York from the West African country of Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak began, is being monitored for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital Center after he developed a fever.
The family had recently returned from Guinea were immediately ordered quarantined in their apartment, city officials said.
The post Nurse allowed to leave New Jersey after Ebola quarantine appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Editor’s Note: Two opposing gun measures appear on Washington ballots this fall: one to expand background checks on gun purchases, one to limit them. Now, voters will make their decisions with a recent school shooting fresh in their memories. This story first appeared on the NW News Network.
The shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday comes as Washington voters are about to decide two competing gun-related ballot measures.
Next week, two parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook school shooting are scheduled to be in Seattle. They will campaign for Initiative 594 to expand background checks.
The background check campaign put out a statement shortly after the shooting. It said, in part: “While the facts of today’s shooting are still unclear… It is up to all of us to come together and work to reduce gun violence.”
Cheryl Stumbo is the sponsor of Initiative 594 and a shooting survivor. Stumbo acknowledges that most school shooters obtain their guns from home or a relative.
Initiative “594, if and when it passes, is obviously not going to prevent all gun violence in our state, but it is a way for us to do something,” she said.
Stumbo said she’s convinced if Initiative 594 passes it will save some lives.
Initiative 591 is the competing gun rights measure on Washington’s ballot. It would prevent the state from adopting a background check requirement that goes beyond what federal law requires. That campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
The National Rifle Association also held back in contrast to gun control advocates who were vocal in the hours after the Marysville shooting.
The post Washington school shooting comes as voters decide gun measures appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Even in a country and economy as large as China, sometimes the small stuff matters.
After years of protesting against the U.S. Embassy posting Beijing’s horrendous pollution numbers on its website, China now allows emission statistics to go on iPhone apps and for lawsuits to be filed against industrial polluters. Soon, the central government will be issuing monthly unemployment statistics, as Western governments have been doing for decades. And all land transactions, a source of much local friction in recent years, will be audited and available for public scrutiny.
These small straws in the wind, as well as bigger ones, are the evidence behind a new Asia Society Policy Institute study that argues the latest economic reforms, announced at the Communist Party’s Third Plenum last November, are for real and merit the description of game-changer. The report compares the latest reforms, aimed at maintaining China’s economic growth through more market mechanisms, with those initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1992 and another round accompanying China’s 2001 admission to the World Trade Organization.
“China is embracing an advanced economy rule book,” said the report’s principal author Daniel Rosen, a former National Security Council staffer in the Clinton administration. He said China’s President Xi Jinping pushed real reforms in order to keep China’s economy growing at an annual 6 percent rate. A slowdown to 3 percent would be trouble, Rosen added, and a slide to 1 percent growth would create a social and political crisis in a country of 1.4 billion that churns out 7 million new university graduates every year looking for good jobs.
The reform program was announced last year with eight major objectives and already has been translated into hundreds of new regulations and instructions aimed at creating what Rosen called “more of a regulatory state” along the lines of other advanced economies.
But skeptics abound, acknowledged Rosen and Brookings Institution analyst Kenneth Lieberthal at the unveiling of the Asia Society report. Xi has to persuade thousands of lower-level officials as well as bosses of state-owned enterprises, many of whom have become vastly wealthy from current arrangements, to get with the program. So far, a major weapon has been fear, with the unleashing of thousands of anti-corruption investigations run by the party, not through the courts, and which have led to dozens of suicides.
And China confronts real long-term economic minuses, Rosen said, including an aging work force, diminishing returns from massive investments in factories, transportation and public works projects, and a developing air and water environmental crisis in a coal-dependent economy.
Indeed, some less optimistic views about reform and Chinese economic growth were on offer on the Asia Society’s China File website, including a conversation about the study. David Hoffman of the Conference Board China Center said numerous reforms so far, such as the proposed Shanghai Free Trade Zone, exist more on paper than reality. Houze Song of the Paulson Institute warned the reforms might come too slowly for China to confront some current and real economic problems, including a slowing global economy and ever higher corporate and local government debt.
Joined by IBM Vice President Dan Padilla, a former Bush administration official, Rosen and Lieberthal said the projected reforms will force the United States and other competitors and investors to adjust their game plans. But Padilla emphasized the reforms, which he labeled “a decisive break,” are driven by domestic concerns and that Washington should realize, “it is not all about us.”
The changes, aimed at a 2020 goal line, will not be readily visible to President Barack Obama and other Pacific nation leaders arriving in Beijing in early November for the APEC summit. What will be noticeable is a host Chinese president who has consolidated increasing powers in his hands, putting himself in charge of several committees to make sure the reforms get implemented. What Xi and his entourage want to make less visible for the meeting is Beijing’s pollution. Pictures of Beijing marathoners running with masks recently went viral on social media. As during the 2008 Olympics, the city will be partially closed down. Indeed, action on climate change is one potential area of agreement between the U.S. and China, Lieberthal said.
As all the Asia Society meeting participants noted, Xi’s aim is to strengthen, not weaken, one party rule in his country, even if a more market-oriented economy inevitably unleashes forces that diminish government and party power.
And should the Chinese economy successfully make it through this third transformation, what might it look like, with a $14 trillion gross domestic product combined with its national idiosyncrasies?
“Think of Italy with 1.4 billion people,” said Rosen.
Michael D. Mosettig was the PBS NewsHour’s foreign affairs and defense editor from 1985 to 2012. He now watches wonks push policy in Washington’s multitude of think tanks and writes occasional dispatches on what those scholars and wannabe secretaries of state have in mind for Europe, Asia and Latin America.
A 14-year-old girl, injured from Friday’s Washington state school shooting, has died, bringing the death toll to three, including the shooter who died from a self-inflicted wound, the Associated Press reported.
Gia Soriano, who had been in critical condition from head injures, died Sunday night, hospital officials at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett confirmed.
“We are devastated by this senseless tragedy,” Soriano’s family said in a statement, read by Dr. Joanne Roberts at a Sunday news conference. “Gia is our beautiful daughter, and words cannot express how much we will miss her.”
Video by NBC News
Roberts added that the family will donate her organs. “Our daughter was loving, kind and this gift honors her life,” the statement read.
Soriano was one of four injured students in Friday’s shooting after a freshman, identified as Jaylen Fryberg, opened fire on his classmates inside the cafeteria of Maryville-Pilchuck High School, 30 miles north of Seattle.
Three students remain hospitalized with two in critical condition and one in serious condition. Zoe Galasso, 14, was pronounced dead at the scene Friday morning, USA Today reported. The medical examiner has yet to identify Galasso as the victim.
Soriano’s death happened the same day as more than 1,000 parents and students gathered in the school’s gym to collectively grieve and try to understand why Fryberg, who was recently named a homecoming prince, would gun down his fellow classmates.
The post Second student dies from Washington school shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
State funding for higher education isn’t what it used to be. The fact that most public colleges and universities took a significant hit when state revenues fell during the recession is well documented.
Five years into the economic recovery, 31 states have yet to return to funding higher education at the same levels they did in 2007. Even in many states where funding has bounced back, increasing enrollment has kept per-student spending from rising.
A new report from the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress shows that states’ portion of public higher education funding declined from 29.1 percent in 2008 to 22.3 percent in 2012. To make up for that the portion of higher education revenue coming from tuition rose in 47 states through the same period. This trend, too, has been covered extensively.
But the Center for American Progress report also compares what low- and middle-income students are paying in tuition after grants and scholarships are taken into account in states that cut more from higher education budgets to what similar students are paying in states that cut less.
Low- and middle-income students are paying the most to go to college in states that made the deepest cuts. The report doesn’t look at what wealthier students are paying, but other analysis has shown tuition costs rose more for lower-income students than for their higher-income peers from 2008 to 2012.
The report outlines a plan for the federal government to create incentives to draw states into devoting more money to higher education, especially in the form of tuition support for lower-income students. The more conservative thinkers at the American Enterprise Institute have argued that a return to greater state funding won’t solve higher education’s cost problems. Instead they say public colleges and universities should focus on taking greater advantage of technological and other innovation that can bring costs down.
PBS NewsHour coverage of higher education is supported by the Lumina Foundation and American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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Editor’s Note: All election season, Democratic candidates in red states have had to drum up their base while working to appeal to more conservative independent voters. But while national attention has focused on Senate and governor’s races in Arkansas and Louisiana, Kentucky and North Carolina, candidates face this balancing act on the local and district level, too. Sarah McCammon of Georgia Public Broadcasting tells the story of one Deep South Democrat running an especially close reelection campaign.
For Republicans, Democrats in red states seem ripe for the picking in midterm election years, when the GOP usually has an advantage in voter turnout. One of their targets this year is Rep. John Barrow of Georgia, who faces one of the tightest races in the nation.
Barrow, often described as the “last white Democrat in Congress from the Deep South,” is trying to hold onto his seat.
At First African Baptist Church in Dublin, Ga., a bronze plaque beside the front door reminds visitors that this is where a teenage Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his first public speech at age 14.
Pastor Keith Anderson stands behind the pulpit and welcomes Barrow to the service, while making a dig at Washington gridlock.
“I’m glad, Congressman Barrow, that I don’t have to sit in the Senate or in the Congress and the only way my business gets done is if I get the majority to support [it],” Anderson says.
Even if Congress seems ineffective, Anderson assures his congregation, there is power in prayer to get things done.
Barrow tells the audience of about 60 people that even in Washington, he gets things done; he ticks off efforts to bring jobs to Georgia by promoting nuclear energy and expanding the Port of Savannah.
Barrow is comfortable here, among traditionally Democratic African-American voters. He describes himself as a Democrat in the tradition of his father, a judge known for helping to keep public schools open after desegregation. Barrow needs African-Americans to turn out on Election Day — they make up more than a third of his district. But they’re not enough to put him over the top.
University of Georgia political scientist Chuck Bullock says that’s why Barrow spends a lot of time trying to persuade white Republicans in his district that he represents them.
“They see John Barrow and they go, ‘Oh, wait a minute, yeah I’m a Republican but this guy Barrow, yeah he’s pretty good,’” Bullock says. “He’s been to our festival, I’ve met him. He came to our high school graduation. I’m going to make an exception.”
At the Huddle House diner in tiny East Dublin, Ga., Barrow stops for a bite to eat in between church services. He chats with Jack and Dianne Conley, a white couple in their 60s. They say they normally vote Republican, but they tell Barrow – who’s endorsed by the NRA – that they like his conservative positions on issues like gun rights.
“Thank you,” Barrow says. “I take my Constitution neat; I don’t water it down.”
Barrow isn’t just running against his Republican challenger, Rick Allen. In this conservative district, he has to distance himself from the national Democratic Party and the president. In this TV ad, he refers to an old political joke that says if you want a friend in Washington, you should get a dog.
“Well, I wouldn’t wish Washington on a dog,” Barrow says, tossing a ball to a yellow lab.
Along with his homespun language and folksy demeanor, Barrow repeatedly portrays himself as an independent voice who has opposed President Obama on issues including health reform. Another ad touts his voting record, saying he has sided with House Republicans more than half the time.
But Barrow is up against a well-funded Republican effort to replace him with one of their own. The conservative American Future Fund, an outside group backed by the Koch Brothers, has put nearly $1 million dollars behind Barrow’s Republican challenger. In ads and on the stump, Allen tries to paint Barrow as “two-faced” and a rubber stamp for Obama administration policies.
But Democrats are hitting back with big money of their own – including more than $130,000 on a new ad this week. They’re trying to keep Barrow in place, and dash Republican hopes that this will be the year Georgia’s 12th Congressional district turns from blue to red.
Reprinted with permission. A version of this story also appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition.
The post Courting Republicans, Georgia Democrat tries to keep his seat appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
David Roderick spent a year traveling abroad, in search of poetic inspiration. In Japan, he wrote prose poems, a form he hadn’t previously explored. In Ireland, he became “enamored” with composing ballads, and in Italy, he used art as inspiration for his verse.
The recipient of the 2007-2008 Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship wasn’t allowed to return stateside until the year was completed, stretching his comfort zone.
“I was trying to live more at the ends of my nerves and trying to experience the sensations of different flavors and textures and rhythms of traffic and customs,” Roderick told Art Beat.
His adventures — both geographical and compositional — laid the groundwork for his new collection, “The Americans,” even though much of his work from that time didn’t make it into the book.
In turned out that traveling around the world helped hone his perception of more familiar territory: the suburbs.
“They didn’t seem humdrum or dull any more, they seemed more strange, and even on the one hand, almost magical, because they are so calm and peaceful and beautiful and green,” said Roderick. “And on the other hand, a little strangely dull or almost sleepy, like there wasn’t enough action, there wasn’t enough life for me.”
Roderick grew up in the suburbs, but left for college and then moved to San Francisco. His later transition back to suburban life as an adult “sparked memories of my own personal past, but it’s also stimulated new feelings about my sense of self, my sense of neighborhood and community, my sense of the country, too.”
It also inspired his latest book, which meditates on some of those dichotomies: urban and suburban, being American but trying to view it from the outside.
The title comes from another famous creative journey that benefited from an outsider’s perspective. Swiss photographer Robert Frank traveled across the United States with his family for two years in the late 1950s. He distilled 28,000 photographs into an 83-image exhibition and subsequent book titled “The Americans.”
Roderick features other outsiders who have tried to define American culture, like Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political scientist known for his text, “Democracy in America.” He also writes about significant, recent American events, like the 2008 and 2012 political campaigns, as well as national political gridlock. In particular, Roderick contemplates repercussions of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
“Probably like a lot of us, I’m still sort of in a daze about the last 14 years and where that event has taken us…For me, a lot of what happens in this book comes out of 9/11 and certainly a poem like “Build Your Dream Home Here” is trying to speak to that historical moment and the aftermath in a fairly compressed amount of space.”
Listen to David Roderick read “Build Your Dream Home Here” from his newest book, “The Americans.”
Build Your Dream Home Here
First the towers
fell, then the Dow. A few years later,
while she was still recovering
from the blind fumbling accounts
of people crushed to dust—
her nights chocked with emergencies,
smoke, the newsfeed the taped
and sniffed envelopes, the falling—
that’s when they’d built the place,
a roomy number bricked back
from the corner. A bank offered
low interest, veterans no down.
In every closet they’d make love.
They’d space out bushes, lay toast
and coffee on the porch.
for a while, their screened-in story,
where a half-deflated soccer ball
wedged the door. Drunk on lilac,
they cheered whenever a bee seemed
to veer off course.
Now boxes packed
with their belongings cover the lawn.
She checks the buttons on her blouse
and worries about her husband’s
smoking. Will the lilacs survive?
Will their mild, wilting odor still lure
the bees? In some parts of the world,
the wood of the lilac is carved
into knife handles or flutes. Līlek
from the Arabic, meaning “slightly blue.”
The poem connects an idyllic vision of the American dream to a real global tragedy. He says when you are in the suburbs, “it’s hard to feel connected to events that are happening halfway across the country or halfway across the world.” But trying to feel connected while he was abroad gave him the distance to write new clarity.
“Growing up here inside of it, you tend to take it for granted and assume circumstances are similar elsewhere. So the travel is important to shake yourself out of that certainty, especially or an artist or a writer.”
“Build Your Dream Home Here” from “The Americans,” by David Roderick, © 2014. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.
The post Weekly Poem: David Roderick ponders the strangeness of the suburbs appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
For 29 years now, Paul Solman’s reports on the NewsHour have been trying to make sense of economic news and research for a general audience. Since 2007, our Making Sen$e page has striven to do the same, turning to leading academics and thinkers in the fields of business and economics to help explain what’s interesting and relevant about their work. That includes reports and interviews with economists affiliated with the esteemed National Bureau of Economic Research.
Founded in 1920, NBER is a private nonprofit research organization devoted to objective study of the American economy in all its dazzling diversity, combining data with rigorous analysis to describe and explain the material world in which we live long before data analytics became fashionable. “Why Some Women Try to Have It All: New Research on Like Mother Like Daughter” and “Why Does the First Child Get the Gold? An Economics Answer” have been among our most popular posts on Making Sen$e, both of them largely based on NBER research. We thought our readership might benefit from a closer relationship.
Each month, the NBER Digest summarizes several recent NBER working papers. These papers have not been peer-reviewed, but are circulated by their authors for comment and discussion. With the NBER’s blessing, Making Sen$e is pleased to begin featuring these summaries regularly on our page.
Today’s digest comes from the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Matt Nesvisky.
– Simone Pathe, Making Sen$e Editor
In “House Price Gains and U.S. Household Spending from 2002 to 2006” (NBER Working Paper No. 20152), Atif Mian and Amir Sufi find that rising housing values promote spending, especially for low-income households, if refinancing provides “cash on hand.” They also find that this spending has a significant impact on GDP.
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The study finds that between 2002 and 2006, if one zip code experienced a rate of house price growth that was 20 percentage points greater than another, then it would also, on average, experience an annual rate of mortgage refinancing, with some cash withdrawn from the home, about 3 percent higher than the lower-appreciation zip code.
This effect was seen almost entirely in zip codes where the average 2002 income was less than $50,000 per household. Among zip codes with average income more than $100,000, cash-out refinancing was almost zero.
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This confirms the conventional view that lower cash-on-hand households most commonly tap their home equity when home values rise. But do they also spend that money?
In terms of new car purchases, Mian and Sufi find that the general propensity to spend on new cars is $0.02 per dollar of home-value increase. But this effect is $0.03 for zip codes where households have an average 2002 income of $35,000 or less and zero for households living in zip codes in which the average income is $100,000 or more. The researchers also find evidence that in the years after the housing boom, low-income zip codes customarily experienced a dramatic reduction in both income and auto purchases.
Mian and Sufi say the results illustrate why the level of wealth held by those who experience financial shocks can matter for the economy. They note that the total housing market decline of 2007 to 2009 was similar in magnitude to the crash in equity values in 2001. Yet the macroeconomic effects were very different because most stock market wealth is held by the high end of the wealth-distribution spectrum, where there is a very low marginal propensity to consume.
Similarly, the house price recovery from 2011 onwards did not contribute as much to economic activity as the 2002 to 2006 housing gains. This was likely because the borrowing channel was effectively shut down for those most responsive to house price gains.
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In short, low cash-on-hand households treated the rise in home values as a cash-on-hand shock. On average, homeowners borrowed $0.19 per $1 of home equity gains from 2002 to 2006. Furthermore, households living in low-income zip codes spent this extra cash. Mian and Sufi estimate that, under certain assumptions, rising home values raised aggregate consumer spending by 0.08 percent of GDP in 2003, 0.8 percent in 2004, and 1.3 percent in both 2005 and 2006.
– Matt Nesvisky, National Bureau of Economic Research
The post When refinancing helps the poor, and everyone else appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Blues musician Ironing Board Sam sings his rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”
75-year-old Sammie Moore, aka “Ironing Board Sam,” has been playing and singing the blues for 55 years.
In the 1960s, he appeared regularly on “Night Train,” an early R&B showcase out of Nashville. He also played with an up-and-coming Jimi Hendrix and opened for Aretha Franklin.
But like many R&B acts then, Moore never made it big, playing for decades at small clubs throughout the South and busking on the streets of New Orleans and washing dishes to help pay for food and rent. In 2005, he returned to his native Rock Hill, South Carolina, and some of his fans in New Orleans thought he’d passed away.
We recently met Moore at his home in Hillsborough, North Carolina, as part of a story about the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit that has helped Moore get his musical life back on track — with new albums and tours, including gigs overseas.
The post Blues man ‘Ironing Board Sam’ sings ‘Over the Rainbow’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Watch PBS NewsHour’s live election coverage in the player above. We will live stream results from 6-11:30 p.m. EST Nov. 4.
As control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance, PBS NewsHour is bringing you live results and analysis this Election Day. Beginning at 6 p.m. EST on Nov. 4, co-anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will report on the latest developments as polls begin to close around the country. This broadcast will be updated at 7 p.m. EST and again at 9 p.m. EST. At 11 p.m. EST, a special 30-minute show will wrap up the day’s final results.
Our special coverage will feature guests including columnists Mark Shields and Michael Gerson, political analysts Amy Walter and Stu Rothenberg, and members of PBS NewsHour’s own politics team. PBS NewsHour’s senior correspondent and weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan will join them.
PBS NewsHour will be live streaming continuously from 6-11:30 p.m. EST. In addition to the programming detailed above, the live stream will feature exclusive online election coverage, including an opportunity to have your burning midterm questions answered by Hari and senior politics producer Domenico Montanaro. Domenico and other members of PBS NewsHour’s politics team will also address questions in advance of the election, during a Twitter chat on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 1-2 p.m. EDT.
Visit our Live Election Results page for real-time updates on House, Senate and gubernatorial races around the country, balance of power graphics and more. Our Election Live Blog will feature the latest reports from around the country. Follow @NewsHour and the PBS NewsHour Facebook page for additional real-time coverage.
Daniel Hernandez is a 10th grader with striking eyes, a ready smile and prone to answer questions with a polite “Yes, ma’am.” This young man, who is 16, used to be described as “shy” and knows a lot about kayaking: how to set up the seats, put the oars together and how to get in without flipping it over. He knows how to steer the small vessel right, left, and how to stop.
I, however, have never been kayaking. I’m a novice when it comes to most water sports and probably wouldn’t inspire great confidence in any teacher. But Daniel had confidence. He was proud to share what he knew. Excited really. And he wasn’t alone. Daniel was among several of his classmates from American Senior High School in Miami who volunteered to teach me how to kayak.
All of them are students with autism.
“It’s, like, peace and quiet,” said Daniel. “It makes you feel the wind inside, in your heart here,” he explains with his hand on his chest.
While Daniel helped me get my bearings on the sandy banks of Oleta River State Park on Biscayne Bay, his classmate Demitrius Sesler, 19, was helping one of the less experienced kayakers put the oars together properly. Demetrius, his teachers told me, has become much more confident and more of a leader since these lessons began.
And he isn’t afraid to talk about it with a perfect stranger.
“The real bosses are my teachers, so I was their helper,” he said. “They wanted me and they needed me.”
“Proud,” said Demitrius, with a big smile.
It is not at all unusual to see students with disabilities like Daniel and Demitrius, out of the confines of the classroom and learning to kayak, sail or golf in Miami. Jayne Greenberg, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy, has found many community partners and sought grant funding to help develop a Physical Education program that offers activities all students want to learn, and activities they can do for a lifetime.
“We work with the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Oleta River State Park, Miami Yacht Club, they don’t charge us for their services,” said Greenberg. “We work with ice-skating rinks to do sled hockey … the Miami Heat works with us with their Heat Wheels, there is no charge for services.”
Greenberg, who also serves on the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, and some of her teachers traveled to Washington, D.C., in October to share best practices at a White House Summit and Research Forum on improving health and fitness for Americans with Disabilities.
The South Florida contingent can speak authoritatively on the importance of inclusion, the challenges of helping children with disabilities get moving and how to create a popular and community-supported physical education program that is so popular, there isn’t room right now for all the students who want to participate. And they know why it’s so important.
As kids become ever more sedentary and the rates for childhood obesity inch ever higher, the obesity rate for children with disabilities is 38-percent greater than that of their peers. Inaccessible facilities and equipment are often cited as barriers, but an American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children with Disabilities report from 2008 found that parents and doctors “overestimating the risks or overlooking the benefits of physical activity in children with disabilities” can also be an issue.
That can be true of educators too. It isn’t necessarily easy to teach a group of teenagers with autism a sport of activity, let alone take them a field trips where they are kayaking or sailing in open water by themselves.
“There’s a lot of self-confidence and pride that the students learn because we always teach them what they can’t do: ‘don’t do this or you’re going to get hurt; don’t do this, I’m afraid to let you try it,’” Greenberg said. “We tell the kids, ‘we want you to do this,’ and for the first time they do activities and they feel so good about themselves.”
And teachers, including Annie Perez, the P.E. instructor at American Senior High School, have become quite experienced at helping students with disabilities including autism, learn to kayak and sail safely in Biscayne Bay.
“Rules and discipline, like you would do with a four-year old,” she said. “I’m very strict and hard, and I have fun with them. And I have to be that way … it’s serious. You are out in the ocean and anything can happen.”
There is significantly less danger at the International Links Golf Course, where students from South Miami Senior High practice chipping and putting with the help of the professionals who work there.
Some students, including Marilyn Carrera, are in wheelchairs, some need help putting the ball on the tee (but honestly, who doesn’t sometimes). And despite the nearly constant noise of planes taking off and landing at the very busy Miami International Airport nearby, these kids are focused. And having a great time.
“It’s holistic,” said Alina Marler, a teacher at South Miami Senior High. “It teaches them how to be a person.”
“You could do it in school — I have a golf game in my classroom — but it’s not the same as being out in a golf course where actual golfers play the game,” Marler said. “To them, this is a big deal it. It makes them feel whole. It makes them feel like they can do something that students without disabilities can do.”
KEY FACTS ABOUT AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES
It’s important to point out that the out-of-school activities like kayaking, sailing, and golf often done with the help of community partners, are available to all students – not just those with disabilities and not just those in high school.
But if you’d asked me a few weeks ago if i thought I’d go on my first kayaking trip in wide-open water with a young man with autism, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But Daniel was clearly up to the task. And he taught me much more than just lessons in kayaking.
Political elections create winners, losers and endless speculation about how to predict and interpret the results from all of those votes. The 2014 midterm elections are no different. Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics and professor at the University of Virginia, sheds light on what he sees as midterm myths. One prediction he did offer for the upcoming elections: “The more you look at it, the more you realize that this election will be dramatically over-interpreted, as most midterms are.”
Myth: The midterms serve as a collection of national elections that take the temperature of public opinion.
The energy that a presidential election generates is very different than what nudges voters to the polling stations during a midterm election, Sabato explains. Presidential elections play out on a national stage, drawing out more U.S. voters on average. During a midterm election, nearly 30 percent fewer voters show up to the polls. “This is always presented as a national election,” Sabato said. “It is actually an unrepresentative sampling of state elections.”
Myth: Midterm elections can help us predict future election outcomes.
More often than not, voters may have better luck predicting future elections if they flip a coin rather than use the midterm elections as a divining rod. One need not look further than history to debunk this myth, Sabato says. For example, after the 2010 midterm elections, Sabato said that one person emailed him, saying that “even my dog could beat President Obama in 2012. Millions of Republicans thought that in 2010.” Those predictions, however, did not pan out when Obama was reelected two years later. More often than not, Sabato says, midterms can mislead about the actual outcome or the margin of future races.
Myth: Swing voters make a big difference in midterm election results.
Despite much punditry speculation that swing voters wield immeasurable power at the ballot box, this myth simply does not add up. The reason is that “overwhelmingly, voters are partisan,” Sabato explains, and that partisanship either plays out overtly or is hidden. Sometimes, this partisan behavior is hidden from family, friends or even the supposedly independent voters themselves. “It’s even more true in midterms than presidential (elections),” Sabato said. That is because presidential elections draw out a larger proportion of voters across the nation, while midterm elections often attract dedicated voters who Sabato considers “the most reliable” and “most partisan.”
Myth: This will be an anti-incumbent year.
Sabato scoffs at the notion that the 2014 midterm elections will produce an anti-incumbent year, instead noting that it is “probably an anti-Democrat year.” There is the notion of the six-year itch that history supports. Even when a two-term president receives approval polls of 50 percent or greater, on average that president’s party loses about two Senate seats. While Sabato said that there will be some Republican gubernatorial incumbents who likely will lose, the incumbents who Sabato expects to lose office will be Democratic. “The drift of the year matters more than the incumbency,” he said.
Myth: The president influences the midterm elections.
Does the way a president responds to policy issues and unexpected crises weigh heavily on a midterm election’s results? Sabato doesn’t think so. Whether the issue is Ebola, ISIS or another concern that receives prominent media coverage, Sabato says these issues do not make as much difference as pundits tend to say. “Your partisanship is a perceptual screen that filters opinion,” he said. In other words, Republicans who level political criticism over the U.S. lack of Ebola-based travel restrictions were not going to vote for Democrats anyway.
Editor’s note: Laila Kazmi, a senior producer at KCTS 9, is one of five jury members for the 2014 Seattle South Asian Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 9.
When Rita Meher screened her first short film, she had no idea that it would lead to a career devoted to bringing South Asian stories to the Pacific Northwest. It was 2002 and, as an immigrant from India, she had only been a U.S. citizen for about a year.
”I had never made a film before, didn’t know anything about making films.”
The film, which she screened for a small audience in Seattle, was based on a personal encounter that Meher had in the days after 9/11 attacks.
“I experienced racial slurs, I was told, ‘Go back to your own [expletive] country,’ and there was a beer bottle thrown at my window,” said Meher. “It shook me up and my friend suggested, ‘Why don’t you make a film about it and tell people about it instead of keeping it to yourself?’”
Meher did just that, and she and her friend went on to form an organization called Tasveer, meaning ‘picture’ in Hindi and Urdu.
“We wanted to tell people who we really are, how diverse we are, belonging to different religions, we are Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and more,” says Meher.
Video by Tasveer
The best way they knew to tell the stories of real people was through film.
“Independent films, more often than not, show the reality of life, they show the culture and explore issues in depth.” To Meher, that is a stark contrast to stereotypical images of South Asians often portrayed in Western films or the glitz and glamour shown in mainstream Bollywood films.
Tasveer held its first major Seattle South Asian Film Festival in 2004. Films are selected that explore social issues, whether dealing with women’s rights, religious fundamentalism, LGBT rights, issues of minority rights in South Asian communities or experiences of South Asian Americans.
“Our goal was to show films and have community engagement through discussions after the films.”
In the beginning, people were less understanding, especially other South Asians. “They would ask us, ‘Why do you want to show the bad side of our country?”
Since then, Meher has seen a shift in audience attitudes. “Those questions have now stopped,” she says. “Today, people are more aware and they recognize that it’s not showing the ‘bad side,’ it’s showing and being able to talk about the realities of life.”
The festival has grown and so has Tasveer’s work. For the past nine years, Tasveer has held the annual South Asian Women’s Focus, a festival called Aaina. It is a weekend of poetry, art, film and music by local women artists and writers of South Asian descent. Aaina has become Tasveer’s second signature annual program, allowing women a platform to express themselves in creative ways.
The Women’s Focus is about connecting artists, and the South Asian Film Festival has learned from Aaina’s success. During the film festival, the audience can interact with some of the best-known independent filmmakers from South Asia.
“We just recently began to afford bringing filmmakers from outside the country,’ says Meher excitedly. “Last year was a big year for us. We expanded our festival to 10 days and we brought filmmakers from Pakistan.”
Seattle hosted the U.S. premiere for the film “Zinda Bhaag,” Pakistan’s first official submission to the Academy Awards in 50 years, which tells the story of three young men dealing with the crude realities of life in modern day Lahore, one of Pakistan’s largest cities. The filmmakers chose Seattle because they had heard of Tasveer’s festival.
“The Seattle audience gave them a wonderful reception,” said Meher. ”We screened to a full house.”
This year, the Seattle South Asian Film Festival is screening the largest number of films yet, and hosting 18 filmmakers and producers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
“In previous years, we would receive 20 to 30 films and we would select nine features,” said Meher. This year, the festival had a record 120 submissions, with the festival showing 24 feature films and 17 shorts from nine countries. Highlights for 2014 include India’s “Fandry,” about caste discrimination; Nepal’s “Soongava: Dance of the Orchids,” a forbidden love story between two women; Pakistan’s “Anima State,” about a young man’s experience in the political and social chaos of a Pakistani city; and Sri Lanka’s “With You Without You,” by Prasanna Withanage.
For Meher, Tasveer has been a labor of love from the beginning. The organization is run by a small staff and a group of volunteers. It’s year-round hard work, without any big financial rewards. But, Meher wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Every year, before the festivals, I ask myself, why am I working so hard? Then during the festival, when I see filmmakers coming to me and expressing deep gratitude, I see how engaged and friendly the community is, how dedicated the volunteers are, and the rich and thought provoking programming. That’s when I say, ‘Its all worth it.’ Let’s do it again next year.”
Editor’s Note: Nearly 25 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, making them an increasingly courted voter bloc for both Democrats and Republicans. According to the Pew Research Center, Latinos could have an especially strong impact on races in Colorado. But even in the most contentious races there, candidates are largely staying silent on immigration reform, a motivating political issue to many Latinos, says Katie Kuntz of Rocky Mountain PBS I-News
Latinos account for about 20 percent of Colorado’s population and about 14 percent of its voters. The group presents a major player in the state’s most contentious elections.
But while Republicans and Democrats alike are working hard to attract these voters, neither party is pushing the issue that is highly important to many of them: immigration reform.
“Do you hear anyone talking about immigration reform anymore?” asked Floyd Ciruli, Denver pollster and political analyst. “They are targeting things talking directly to Hispanic voters, but there is too much downside on both sides to bring it into the general conversation.”
For Republicans, reaching out to Latino voters has become more prominent in Colorado than before. Unlike election years past, there’s not a lot of railing for or against immigration reform, much less talk of stronger deportation policies.
“I wouldn’t say immigration is taking a back seat, but you can’t paint the picture that it’s the only issue for the Hispanic community,” said Ali Prado, the Hispanic press secretary for the Republican National Party. “It’s an important issue, but the number one issue is the economy, and then education.”
But Latino voters and advocates question that stance.
“I think there is maybe a disconnect because, yes, the economy and education are big issues, but immigration is something we talk to voters about every single day,” said Carla Castedo, Colorado director of Mi Familia Vota, a national, non-partisan get-out-the-vote organization. “Most Latino voters are impacted personally by immigration, whether they personally are immigrants or it’s a family member or a friend.”
In fact, 53 percent of Colorado’s eligible Latino voters are personally acquainted with an undocumented immigrant, according to a poll released Oct. 15 by Latino Decisions.
But even though immigration significantly impacts Colorado voters, the outreach approach for Democrats is much the same as Republicans — and it doesn’t seem to be working very well.
The same Latino Decisions poll showed that 47 percent of Colorado Hispanic voters believe that Democrats are either taking their vote for granted or don’t care about Hispanic voters. The poll also showed that 60 percent of Hispanic voters believed Republicans don’t care about their vote and 17 percent said that Republicans are being outright hostile to Colorado’s Latinos.
“We won’t be ignored by one side and be taken for granted by the other side,” Castedo said. “The fact that immigration reform wasn’t passed really meant a lot, and right now people don’t know where to direct their anger.”
“The lack of action from the president has deflated the hopes of immigration advocates,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions.
In early September, President Obama announced that he would delay any executive action to overhaul the immigration system — backing off a promise he made in June, infuriating immigration supporters and potentially meaning backlash for Democrats.
“I think the implication is that the issue is still controversial, there is no clear winner,” Ciruli said. Even issues related to immigration on the state level, like the non-citizen driver’s license program, remains controversial for both gubernatorial candidates. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the law, but it has been underfunded and difficult to access, critics have charged.
The Republican challenger, Bob Beauprez, has stated that he would repeal the law, an outcome unlikely to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Still, Democrats seem to lean on the fact that in 2012, four out of every five Hispanic voters in Colorado voted for the president.
But presidential elections do not easily predict midterm outcomes.
First, voting drops off in midterm elections. And, according to a recent Rocky Mountain PBS I-News analysis of Census data, Latino voting is more likely to decrease than any other statistically significant group during midterm elections.
The data show that of Colorado’s Latinos who were eligible and registered to vote, more than 90 percent voted in the 2012 presidential election, but only 67 percent voted in the 2010 midterms.
“I don’t think that there is any sign that they are highly motivated this time,” Ciruli said. “The reason they tend to drop off is because well, first, everyone does — everyone votes more in Presidential elections — but Latinos are newer to the community and they are less likely to get into the polling place.”
Latino registration is already lower than other racial groups. Only about 57 percent of Latino citizens registered to vote in the 2012 presidential election, and even fewer, or 47 percent, registered to vote in the 2010 midterms.
Even so, Latinos represent a growing constituency in the state that both parties want to attract.
Right now, Republicans and Democrats report engaging Latinos through direct mail, door-to-door canvassing, events in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, hiring Hispanic advocates, and some candidates are even trying out the language themselves.
Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, for example, includes some of the highest concentrations of Latino voters relative to the rest of the state, and it has a tight race between Republican Representative Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff. Both candidates find it crucial to appeal to Hispanic voters.
“Mike Coffman went out to learn Spanish, and that is something that really resonates with voters,” said GOP press secretary Prado.
Romanoff also speaks Spanish, and he criticizes Coffman’s stance on immigration issues. He is also concerned that the state’s other Democrats are not taking as active an approach on immigration policy.
“I think my campaign is working harder than anybody in the state,” Romanoff said. “We are very intent, not just on winning this race, but really on solving the problems that Congress has neglected, and immigration reform is one of the best examples of that.”
I-News reporter Burt Hubbard contributed to this story.
The post Both parties duck immigration reform in attempts to attract Colorado’s Latino voters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Editor’s Note: Days before Halloween, the candy industry is experiencing an Ebola shock-au-chocolat. For consumers on the streets of New York City, the price of a Kit-Kat has shot up 10 cents, and as Paul Solman reports on the NewsHour below, some parents weren’t above stocking up on Halloween candy last week.
But where is that price shock coming from? The chocolate we buy in stores comes from an integrated supply chain. It starts in West Africa (hence the fears, perhaps over exaggerated, about Ebola), with the actual cocoa farmers. They sell cocoa to large agribusinesses like Cargill and Archers Daniel Midland, which then processed cocoa beans to candy manufacturers like Nestle and Cadbury.
The warehouses of these large companies aren’t necessarily experiencing a cocoa shortage; there’s plenty of the commodity out there, says Manhattan hedge fund manager David Martin. A commodities trader since the 1980s, Martin says that the price of cocoa has been rising and falling as fears about the Ebola outbreak ebb and flow.
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Whenever markets swing, whether it’s the price of cocoa that’s shooting up or the value of stocks dropping, economists ask questions about human psychology. In other words, do human fears drive volatility — what Nobel laureate Bob Shiller wrote about in “Irrational Exuberance”? Or do market fundamentals — a real change in the cocoa supply, for example — move the market? (By the way, hear more from Shiller at the bottom of this post).
In the case of Ebola and chocolate, Martin, as you’ll read below in his edited conversation with Paul, comes down on the side of emotions driving price swings. And although he may see those human fears as irrational, as a commodities trader, he makes money trading these kinds of price spreads.
Watch Paul’s Making Sen$e segment, and in the post below, read more from Martin about how the cocoa industry works and whether Ebola is really posing a threat to the supply of our Halloween candy.
– Simone Pathe, Making Sen$e Editor
Paul Solman: So, a couple months ago, the price of cocoa shoots up –
David Martin: So, you have a long-term growth in demand, first of all, but add to that the fact that the weather may not have been that great for the crop this year. And then you add a scare like Ebola, which may take out the workers, and people start to panic. Now, remember, it’s a luxury item, it’s a candy bar, it’s chocolate, but if you tell people they can’t have it, they freak out, and they’ll pay whatever they have to pay to get it.
Paul Solman: But it’s a little crazy, isn’t it? I mean, Ebola, chocolate? The countries that are affected by Ebola actually aren’t the producers of chocolate, for the most part?
David Martin: That’s true, but to answer that question, I need to explain a little about the dynamics of the market. Basically, you have these countries growing an agricultural commodity — the beans, the cocoa beans — you have large food processors, companies like Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Bunge, buying these beans to process them into chocolate liquor, chocolate cake, chocolate powder, that they then sell to the chocolate manufacturers — company names that most households know, like Nestles or Kraft or Cadbury. Those people buy the processed beans to make the chocolate that we all buy in the store.
If you shut down all commercial activity in a country because the people are paranoid that they’re going to get infected with a virus, and some of the workers actually do become infected, it can cause disruption to this whole chain of events that supply the world with cocoa and chocolate. That’s the problem. That’s also why there’s hysteria when there’s a port closing or a port fire, and they can’t get sugar or coffee beans out of Brazil, and the price shoots up, and then they discover that there’s no damage, and the price comes back down again.
Where Ebola started to spread in countries bordering the Ivory Coast, where most of this cocoa comes from, you see the market shoot way up; it’s panic. Since the beginning of this year, since January, up to November, right now, the price of cocoa is up 20 percent. It went up much higher — to 35, 40 percent before that happened.
Paul Solman: So what we’re seeing over the course of the year is a rise, you think, due to more demand from China in particular. But then the real spurt comes with the Ebola scare and then that dissipates pretty quickly?
David Martin: The first spike was in March, when the first reports of Ebola started to circulate.
Paul Solman: And then it subsides, and then it looks like people are starting to get worried again.
David Martin: That started in the middle of May. But the other thing you need to remember too is that there’s somewhat of a delay from the news coming out. Remember, this is the price of cocoa in the future. A lot of this cocoa in the early part of the year has already been harvested, it’s already in the warehouses, it’s already being delivered to the companies that are going to manufacture the chocolate.
The future price of cocoa [goes up out of fear] that they can’t get it out of the country because there’s no workers to deliver it. Or because of some sort of other hysteria that I don’t want to buy this bag of raw cocoa beans because it was handled by people that may have the Ebola virus. Doesn’t sound logical, but in a fear situation like that, people aren’t going to touch it.
Paul Solman: How often does something that at least seems pretty irrational drive prices to spurt like that?
David Martin: It doesn’t happen that often. I would say once every four or five years, depending on things like disease scares, like the Ebola virus, like draughts, like port closings or strikes or fires or natural disasters, tsunamis, that sort of thing.
Paul Solman: When was the last time something like this happened in the cocoa market?
David Martin: In 2011, when someone was trying to corner the cocoa market in London. It did drive the price up actually higher than it’s been right now, but generally, when someone tries to corner the market in a commodity, the market finds out about that, and it always ends in tears.
Paul Solman: Chocolate war! So this guy was called Choco-finger, like Goldfinger, and he tried to hoard the cocoa to drive up the price. What happened to him?
David Martin: He blew up; he lost all his money because the exchange started to tell him he had to reduce his position. The market participants got wind of this, and they sold it in front of him, driving the price lower, and I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie “Trading Places” from the 1980s, but it was basically that situation.
Paul Solman: So, are there people who, you think, speculated up at the top there? And have lost their shirts because they thought, “Oh my goodness, cocoa was going to go sky high, because of the Ebola threat?”
David Martin: There are definitely people who bought at the top, and probably got stopped out, meaning they stopped their losses at this point. But, a lot of the people who bought it aren’t necessarily speculators; they’re companies like Nestles or Cadbury or Kraft that need to buy this.
We’re coming into the holiday season, which is a very large consumption period. These are chief financial officers of global companies who actually are buying it because they need to buy it. And if they pay the higher price, they’ll probably pass it on to the consumer at some point.
But there are a lot of smaller manufacturers that don’t have the luxury of giant warehouses and being able to buy a billion dollars worth of cocoa for 10 years out. And they’re more hand-to-mouth, and so they actually are more susceptible to the fluctuations in the market prices. I think the long-term prices will continue to increase, and in any market like this, if I was a buyer, I would wait when the price dips down to buy it. But I think the long-term trend is actually up.
Trading Price Discrepancies
Paul Solman: So how do you make money for yourself and for your investors?
MORE ABOUT ARBITRAGE
David Martin: So we don’t necessarily trade the direction of the overall market, but we trade price discrepancies between the different futures markets — the prices between cocoa or coffee or sugar for delivery in different months. We trade the spreads between prices, more of a spread arbitrage of the different prices.
What that means is that the cocoa price for December may be very high, but for March it may be low. So we’ll sell the expensive month, buy the cheap month, and wait for that relationship to come back into balance, if we think it’s overvalued. So we’re less exposed to these giant spike moves, and we’re looking more to trade the differences in prices, and not exactly whether it’s going up or down.
Paul Solman: But this is how long-term capital management went bust, isn’t it?
David Martin: They had a number of very smart quantitative people on their team, and I think what happened is they got too big, too fast, and got involved in markets that they didn’t really understand. I’ve been following these markets for 25 years. Investors often ask me, “well, how far back have you tested your data?” And I say, I haven’t tested my data, I’ve lived it.
Paul Solman: So you’re pretty confident that you understand when prices get out of whack for one month versus another future delivery, and when it’s reasonable to expect that they’ll come back into alignment.
David Martin: That’s correct, and we trade with a certain risk profile, meaning profit-to-loss ratio. We’re not always right, of course, but, when we are wrong, we get out at a certain price point to stop our losses.
What’s Moving the Market?
Paul Solman: So is this more a story about market fundamentals or about irrational market psychology?
David Martin: I think it’s more about irrational market psychology for the time being. The world is not running out of cocoa right now. But people are panicking. It’s an opportunity for professional traders to take advantage of this rally because it is irrational and emotional. And generally in markets when there’s chaos, the guy who can weave through the market, see what’s happening, make sense of it, and quietly do what he thinks is the right thing and sit back and wait, the chaos does subside. There is order once again, contrary to public belief, and the relationships that we generally follow as professional traders do come back into balance.
Paul Solman: And so, the trader who sold up at $3,400, is that what that is? That’s the person who said this Ebola stuff is crazy, people are overreacting, I’m going to sell at this price and profit thereby.
Martin: That’s correct.
Paul Solman: But where did the fear come from, and why is it, in your view, sort of irrational?
David Martin: So, look at this Centers for Disease Control map of West Africa for a second. The bordering countries, in dark orange, are areas with confirmed and probable cases of the Ebola virus.
A lot of the people who live in these areas come to work in the Ivory Coast to help with the harvest. If they fall ill or die, they can’t come to work. If they do come to work and they’re infected, they infect these people, and then there’s no one left to process the harvest. There’s no one left to pick the beans, deliver them to the port, and make this whole system flow. So the fear is that if you disrupt this commercial activity, this whole supply chain, that’s going to cause the price to skyrocket, because they just can’t get the commodity. It’s simple supply and demand.
And then, what do you say to consumers who go to the grocery store and there’s no chocolate bars on the shelf? Or they can’t buy their hot cocoa? Cocoa’s in a thousand different things that we like to buy in the store. Consumers don’t like that. Add to that the fact that they see the images on the news of people suffering and dying, and everyone just afraid to even go near them; that’s a pretty emotional story, I think.
Paul Solman: So that doesn’t sound like an irrational fear; it sounds perfectly reasonable.
David Martin: Your logic is reasonable, but it’s irrational because there is plenty of cocoa in the supply chain right now, in the pipeline. So, the price skyrocketing like that is irrational, and it is an opportunity for professional traders.
Paul Solman: I was talking to a veteran Harvard Business School professor today, who had been a trader in his youth on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. He said this reminded him of the traders, of which you were one, who used to look outside, see that it was raining, and say, “Ahh, I’m gonna sell, because it’s raining, bad weather, price goes down,” although this was in Minneapolis and had nothing to do with the grain harvest in the United States. That stuff actually happens?
David Martin: Less so, but it has happened a lot in the past. And it is irrational, but again, as a professional trader, we look for opportunities and chaos and hysteria like that as moneymaking opportunities.
Solman: How so? Sounds like a crass question, but how, as a professional trader, do you “play” the Ebola scare?
David Martin: It’s very difficult to sell into a market like that because you can’t really pick a top, but there are strategies to do it on the way up, where you participate in part of that rise without exposing yourself to losing your shirt.
Paul Solman: So you see the fear starting, and you buy cocoa because you figure the price is going up, and then at some point, you go, “Wait a second! I’m going to start to get out now, because it’s got to be the case that people are overreacting, and the price will fall.”
David Martin: That’s correct. And we have a lot of different technical programs that we use to measure that fear, to measure that volatility. When we see enough is enough, we get out, and we let the market calm down before we participate again.
Paul Solman: And this is like what’s been happening in the stock market recently?
David Martin: That’s true. But you have to remember one thing. The stock market has been like that for as long as there’s been a stock market. Price movements in markets in general aren’t about the values of the companies of the stock market. They’re not about the price of cocoa, or the price of coffee. They’re about the study of human behavior and how humans react. And that’s what most technical analysts study. You’re really studying psychology.
Watch 2013 Nobel laureate Robert Shiller explain how psychology affects markets.