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

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    GWEN IFILL: And Miles joins me now.

    What is the latest on this feathering device that you talked about in that piece?

    MILES O’BRIEN: Well, the idea with the feathering device is that you should never deploy it going up and you should always deploy it going down.

    So finding a safety system that answers both of those needs has been tricky. They have been tinkering with some ideas on how to go through some various failure scenarios, and looking at ways to potentially unlock it maybe a little sooner. That might have been part of the test in this case. But in any case, when the rocket motor is firing, you don’t want that thing to fold over on itself, which is the ideal reentry configuration.

    GWEN IFILL: You have been all over Twitter today saying, don’t jump too fast to the conclusion that the pilot was in error.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Yes, I think there is a tendency in these cases to impugn deceased pilots.

    And in this case, we don’t know that the pilot did anything wrong. He might have been responding to some sort of anomaly in the engine, which made him think we might need to go into feather mode, or this might have been part of the test to unlock it and see what happens. We don’t really know. This is all what test flying is all about, expanding the envelope, as they say.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, and what NTSB investigations are all about, ultimately.

    So, between this and the accident on a launchpad in Wallops Island, Virginia, last week with another private space company, how much of a blow does this bring to the private space industry?

    MILES O’BRIEN: It’s a one-two blow that the entire industry is reeling over.

    There are a lot of people who care deeply about the idea of making a real business of going to space. And these two incidents, disparate in every way, but yet in the realm of rocket science and commercialization of space, have just really taken the wind out of a lot of people’s sails. I think it will press on, it will move on, but it’s a setback.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, it raises questions about whether a government-sponsored space program is safer.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Well, we had a government-sponsored space program. We lost 114 shuttle astronauts and three Apollo astronauts on the launchpad.

    Space is hard under any circumstance. And it’s difficult to say how much of this really to do with the fact that it’s commercial and how much of it is government. The fact is, though, when you’re trying to make a buck, it’s very difficult to square that with complete safety.

    GWEN IFILL: And we’re talking about the tourism here, largely, not the payload that was going to the space station. But certainly in this case of the Virgin Galactic flight, is it a thrill ride or is it science?

    MILES O’BRIEN: It’s a thrill ride. I mean, let’s face it. That’s what this is all about. This is bragging rights for people who can spend a quarter million dollars for about five minutes of weightlessness.

    GWEN IFILL: A quarter million dollars, that’s how much a ticket costs?

    MILES O’BRIEN: Yes. Yes.

    So, a quarter million dollars for five minutes. That’s $50,000 a minute, and that’s bragging rights you went to space. Could this lead to technologies which might make it possible to fly from New York to Tokyo in a couple of hours? Yes.

    So, it’s worth doing on a technological standpoint, but we’re at the Ford Trimotor days. We’re not at the triple Boeing 777 days. And there will be more casualties along the way.

    GWEN IFILL: And we have Apple, Google and Virgin all involved in this, but might investment now slow?

    MILES O’BRIEN: It could. I think it’s going to have a chilling effect. But the people behind this are true visionaries. They really have drank the space Kool-Aid, if you will.

    And there’s true enthusiasm for pursuing this, so I think it will press on. But maybe it’s a good idea to stop, take an unvarnished look at this, have the NTSB weigh in, and really give us an idea of what’s going on beyond the hangar doors.

    GWEN IFILL: Miles O’Brien, thank you, as always.

    MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome.

    The post Will rocket accidents slow the business of space tourism? – Part 2 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    FINAL FRONTIER monitor space

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    GWEN IFILL: These past few days have been sobering ones for the small but growing industry of commercial spaceflight. A pair of accidents, one of which was deadly, are prompting questions about cost, safety, oversight, and even the wisdom of this shift in space travel.

    “NewsHour” science correspondent Miles O’Brien has the story.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Federal investigators are still combing through wreckage, as well as multiple data and video streams, in the wake of a deadly test flight high over California’s Mojave Desert.

    Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo broke apart in flight on Friday, scattering debris over five miles. Investigators now believe the ship’s feathering system, which rotates the tail boom to create drag and slow descent, deployed early, and apparently without a command from the pilots.

    The National Transportation Safety Board’s chair, Christopher Hart, spoke last night.

    CHRISTOPHER HART, Acting Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board: The spaceship was released normally, and after it was released, shortly after it was released, the rocket engine ignited. About nine seconds after the engine ignited, the telemetry data told us, showed us that the feather parameters changed from lock to unlock.

    MILES O’BRIEN: A two-man crew was on board. The co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, was killed. Pilot Peter Siebold, who parachuted to the ground, is hospitalized with serious injuries, but he’s expected to recover.

    It was the fourth powered flight for SpaceShipTwo, the first using a fuel derived from nylon. But the engine and the fuel and oxidizer tanks show no sign of an explosion. While there is no doubt that feathering during ascent would cause the vehicle to breakup, the NTSB will spend months trying to determine precisely what caused it to happen and what other factors might have contributed.

    CHRISTOPHER HART: We will be looking at training issues. We will be looking at, was there pressure to continue testing? We will be looking at safety culture. We will be looking at the design, the procedure. We have got many, many issues to look into much more extensively before we can determine the cause.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Virgin Galactic says it has more than 700 customers on a waiting list, willing to part with as much as $250,000 for the short suborbital trip to the edge of space.

    Today, the company’s owner, the flamboyant billionaire Richard Branson, denied reports that his company cut corners on safety because of pressure to start paying flights, which he first promised would begin in 2008.

    RICHARD BRANSON, Founder, Virgin Galactic: I find it slightly irresponsible that people who know nothing about what they are saying can be saying things before the NTSB makes their comments.

    MILES O’BRIEN: In a separate interview, Branson told British broadcaster Sky News he’s still optimistic about the future of space tourism and he still says he will be on the first Galactic flight.

    RICHARD BRANSON: We can move forward. But we will not start taking people until we finish a whole mass — massive series of test flights and until myself and my family has gone up and until we feel that we can take — safely say to people we are ready to go.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Friday’s crash came just three days after another big blow to the commercial space industry. An unmanned rocket toting supplies and science to the International Space Station exploded shortly after liftoff at Wallops Island, Virginia. It was owned by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

    The post Investigating crash, NTSB considers safety culture of commercial space flight – Part 1 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo courtesy of Car Talk.

    Tom Magliozzi hosted “Car Talk” with his younger brother, Ray, for 25 years.Photo courtesy of Car Talk.

    Tom Magliozzi, better known as part of “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers” duo on NPR’s popular “Car Talk”, died on Monday due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77 years old.

    Tom and his younger brother Ray hosted “Car Talk” for more than 25 years from WBUR in Boston, Massachusetts. Both MIT graduates, the brothers opened a do-it-yourself garage called Hacker Heaven in Cambridge in 1973.

    Their big break in radio came a few years later when WBUR was putting together a panel of auto mechanics in 1977. The show’s producers called Ray, and he sent his brother Tom in his place. Tom was the only guest to show up. They became regular contributors, and soon got their own show on the station. In 1987, “Car Talk” went national on NPR.

    The show stopped broadcasting new episodes in October 2012 when the brothers decided to retire. At that point, the show was drawing 4 million listeners a week.

    Former WBUR news director and longtime “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman told NPR that the Magliozzi brothers knew what they were talking about when it came to cars, but listeners were drawn to the hosts’ personalities. With thick Boston accents, they answered questions about getting the smell of dead animals out of an engine, weird noises and car malfunctions and posed weekly brain-teasers for their audience. Tom was known for his booming laugh and mischievous, teasing mind, Berman says.

    “I think it has very little to do with cars. It’s the guys’ personalities. And Tom especially — really a genius. With a great, facile mind. And he’s mischievous. He likes to prod people into honesty.”

    The bond between Tom and Ray was genuine, Berman says. Ray was 12 years younger than Tom, and the brothers really loved working together.

    “For Ray, he idolized Tom. This is the guy who introduced him to everything in life, and Tom liked having his little brother around,” Berman told NPR. “He liked the guy. So when they grew up they were really, really great friends.”

    Ray has asked NPR to continue airing archived episodes of the show in his brother’s memory.

    The post Tom Magliozzi, famous voice of NPR’s ‘Car Talk,’ dies at 77 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    UKRAINE DIVIDED   Ukraine rflags with ukraine map monitor

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to a very different election, this one held by pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine. Winners were declared this morning, putting Washington and Moscow at odds once again, and prompting new questions about Ukraine’s ability to remain intact.

    With the voting results in, rebel election officials asserted that the eastern region known as Donbass is indeed independent of Ukraine.

    ROMAN LYAGIN, Central Election Commission, Donetsk People’s Republic (through interpreter): Kiev must come to terms with the fact that Donbass is no longer a part of Ukraine. It is self-evident. One can, perhaps, disagree with this, but one cannot argue with this. Whether Kiev recognizes the expression of our will, that is their problem.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Sunday’s election followed months of a violent pro-Russian separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine. The breakaway regions consist of the Donetsk People’s Republic, which accounts for about one million people, and the smaller Luhansk, with about half-a-million. Together, they make up 3 percent of Ukraine’s overall population.

    As a result of Sunday’s balloting, Alexander Zakharchenko will head the Donetsk People’s Republic, while Igor Plotnitsky will lead Luhansk. Despite no formal recognition by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials said the new leaders have a mandate to negotiate with the Ukrainian government.

    But officials in Kiev denounced the vote, saying it was in direct violation of a September 5 agreement that the Russians signed.

    The U.S. agreed. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki:

    JEN PSAKI, State Department Spokeswoman: The United States deplores and doesn’t recognize yesterday’s so-called separatist elections in Eastern Ukraine, nor do we recognize any of the leaders chosen in this illegal vote.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Still, the turn of events echoes an earlier territorial loss, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula through a referendum in March. And all the while fighting in the area has raged on, despite the September 5 cease-fire agreement.

    On Saturday, a large convoy of military vehicles was sighted near Donetsk. Kiev said they came from Russia. In addition, Russian fighter jets and larger aircraft have lately been crossing into European airspace without warning.

    NATO’s top commander, General Philip Breedlove, spoke today at the Pentagon.

    GEN. PHILIP BREEDLOVE, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO: What you saw this past week was a larger, more complex formation of aircraft carrying out a little deeper and I would — I would say a little bit more provocative flight path. And so it is a concern.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called a meeting of his top security chiefs tomorrow.

    To discuss what the election means for Ukraine, the U.S. and Russia, joining us are Andrew Weiss. He was director of Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs at the White House National Security Council. He’s now with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. And Stephen Cohen, he is professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and of politics at Princeton University.

    And welcome you both back to the program.

    Andrew Weiss, to you first. So, the leaders of this group, this rebel break-off group, say they are now independent of Ukraine. Are they?

    ANDREW WEISS, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: I think they are stating what we all know, which is that Ukraine has lost — the central government of Ukraine has lost sovereignty and control over this part of its territory. Where it ends up and what happens next is still completely unclear.

    Russia doesn’t seem like it’s about to annex the territory. Kiev doesn’t seem like it’s about to launch a new set of hostilities to try to seize it back.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Stephen Cohen, what does independence mean, then?

    STEPHEN COHEN, New York University: Well, I think you have got to put this in context and understand where we are.

    I think this is a fateful moment, a tipping point even. We’re in a cold war with Russia. The Ukrainian civil war has become a proxy war as well, with the United States and the West supporting the Kiev and now Russians supporting where the Donbass, where these elections were.

    Now, Andrew says he doesn’t think there’s much chance that Kiev will launch a new military assault on the Donbass. I wish I were that confident, because there’s a lot of talk in Kiev and even in Washington that this is what Kiev should do.

    If Kiev does this, then there will be no negotiations. And there will be not only a resumed war, but I think a more dangerous war that might draw in Russia and the United States. So the question is now, will these elections abet negotiations between what you call these breakaway regions and Kiev or not?

    And we don’t know the answer, but I think the answer is not in Ukraine itself. The answer probably is in Washington.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You agree with that, that the actors on the ground there are not who’s going to decide this?

    ANDREW WEISS: I don’t.

    I think this is, at this point, a dynamic which is being led largely by the Russians. The Ukrainians have tried very hard, in the face of the military defeat that they suffered at the end of August, early September, to find a way to kind of get through this situation, to find a way to have a political settlement where they decentralize the authority of the central government in Kiev and provide greater autonomy to the governments of these regional sections of Ukraine, where the Russians have been stirring up, trying to foster an idea that these parts of Ukraine want to separate.

    That’s not the case. What we have seen really is a Ukrainian effort in good faith to have a serious negotiation with the Russians, and the Russians every step of the way since September 5 have basically reneged. And so, at this point, this action yesterday, these pseudo-elections in Eastern Ukraine are just one more illustration that Moscow isn’t serious about a cease-fire. And that’s why the West is reacting so angrily.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Stephen Cohen, it sounds like you’re saying — you’re saying that Washington, though, has more to say about what’s happening here, that it’s not that — it’s not that the separatists haven’t cooperated in Moscow.

    STEPHEN COHEN: Andrew won’t mind if I disagree with him, because we have done so before, and he won’t be surprised.

    But I profoundly disagree that the problem is Russia at the moment. Putin, if we want to personalize this, desperately wants negotiation. He doesn’t want more war in the Donbass. And there are many reasons this is so. The problem is, is that there are war parties or war factions in Kiev, in Washington and in NATO that don’t seem to really want these specified negotiations to take place.

    Now, the elections create, as you pointed out or suggested, a problem. If Kiev doesn’t recognize the people elected yesterday in Donbass, with whom do they intend to negotiate? With whom do they intend to discuss the future of Ukraine? Both Washington and Moscow have made clear that they do not want to be seen as themselves deciding the future of Ukraine.

    So, at the moment, Kiev doesn’t recognize any negotiating partners in the Donbass, and that is a recipe for war.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So — but I hear you saying that you think Ukraine — that Kiev has done everything it could to try to get negotiations?

    ANDREW WEISS: I think that’s the case.

    And, basically, the Ukrainian military had its back broken at the end of August, early September. So the threat that Professor Cohen is bandying that there’s going to be this renewed Ukrainian assault on the Donbass, I think is — is just — it’s just not really there.

    What we have seen is a cease-fire process that from the beginning was very shoddy. We basically set this process up to fail. the Western governments didn’t provide the kind of support that we have seen in the Balkans or other post-conflict areas. And we’re now going into the winter season. And the level of breakdown, the economic collapse, the lack of basic services, the lack of electricity, heating in this part of Ukraine makes it a no-man’s land.

    And that to me is the big problem, is we’re going to have a humanitarian crisis that plays out through this winter. It’s going to be very, very, very problematic for both Russia and the West.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me turn this to Russia, Stephen Cohen, because you said a moment ago that Putin — or you said the Russian leadership, at least a big part of it, wants negotiations.

    How then do you explain the military incursion onto Ukrainian territory, what we just heard General Breedlove from NATO, what he called provocative overflights over Western Europe by the Russians?

    STEPHEN COHEN: I don’t know how to put this gently. And I don’t want to sound disloyal to the people who represent our countries, but we have had quite a few reports, and not only from General Breedlove, but from the Swedish and the British, about so-called Russian incursions that have turned out not to be true.

    And we have heard these for months and months. And now in the last few days, we’re told that the Russians are doing all sorts of provocative military things. Unmentioned is the fact is that NATO is building up its military forces closer and closer to Russia. Do we expect the Russians not to react?

    Can we trust these reports that we constantly get out of Brussels and out of Kiev? I think that these are the utterances of people who want to escalate the crisis. What we need now is the kind of leadership that sees war…


    STEPHEN COHEN: … as so dangerous, in the sense that it might bring in Russia and the United States, that all the energy and all the public statements are directed toward negotiations.

    I simply don’t agree with Andrew that Kiev has made a good-faith effort toward negotiations or even in maintaining the cease-fire.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We hear you.

    You have been vigorously shaking your head no while he’s been talking.

    ANDREW WEISS: The reality is, is, if you look back to the recent months, President Obama said in early September that he was committed and the rest of NATO was committed to the defense of its member states, including the Baltics.

    Russia, day after President Putin — sorry — day after President Obama visited Estonia, snatched an Estonian intelligence officer, hauled him off to try him in Moscow. They’re testing the West. They’re showing that they’re a great power, that they take their role as a great power very seriously. And they’re trying to see if there’s going to be any pushback. So, the idea that the West is goading the Russians I think is misplaced.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We have to leave it there.

    Andrew Weiss and Stephen Cohen, we thank you.

    The post Ukrainian separatist rebels elect new leaders for breakaway republic appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Campaigns Ahead of Election Day

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    GWEN IFILL: For more on the tightening political races and what to be watching on election night, we are joined by Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Stu Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report, who will be part of our election night team.

    Kentucky’s interesting to watch. But what — where is the momentum in this race tonight, Amy?  What are you watching?

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well, the momentum — and we talked about this the other week — it seems to really be shifting to Republicans, especially in the last week.

    And we’re even seeing some movement now in some of these states like Georgia, where it’s been a very, very tight race, some new polls out suggesting that the Republican, David Perdue, may be opening a bigger lead, maybe even getting closer to 50 percent. That’s the magic number you need to avoid runoff in that state. I still think it’s very close. But you just sort of still see in the polling and in just talking to folks on the ground the feeling is that this momentum really moving now to Republicans.

    GWEN IFILL: What are you watch, Stu?

    STUART ROTHENBERG, The Rothenberg Political Report: I would agree.

    I think Judy’s piece was excellent because it focused on a race where early on it was about a candidate who wanted to nationalize and another candidate who wanted to localize. And the whole Democratic argument about Alison Lundergan Grimes is no legislative record, young, candidate for change, good contrast with an older Washington figure, somebody who is associated with Congress and D.C.

    And for a while, she was running very well, she was running ahead of them. But as voters focused on the general election, they focused on the larger picture, not just the candidates, but what it meant for Kentucky and coal and Barack Obama. And that’s when the race turned.

    GWEN IFILL: OK. So, take that theory and let it play out someplace else, like Kansas, where this is a younger candidate running against an older incumbent, and Pat Roberts isn’t doing nearly as well as Mitch McConnell so far.

    AMY WALTER: True, but it’s a place where it’s about an internal struggle within the Republican Party in that state, as opposed to a choice between a Democrat and a Republican.

    The independent — in fact, the candidate running against Pat Roberts is an independent, so it’s not as quite clear. But he has been shown to try to make that race.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Gwen, you picked the exception that proves the rule.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.


    STUART ROTHENBERG: In that race, the Republican, Pat Roberts, made the race about himself.

    GWEN IFILL: Right.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: McConnell didn’t do that. McConnell kept the focus on the president and linking Grimes and the president.

    In Kentucky, in Kansas, and even earlier in Georgia, David Perdue, the Republican, made the race about himself and now he is trying to turn this around and in the final days, he is saying it’s all about Barack Obama.

    AMY WALTER: Same with North Carolina.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Same with North Carolina.

    AMY WALTER: North Carolina was another place where Democrats tried to nationalize — tried to localize it, did a very good job early on. As the race became focused on the president, the numbers started to shift to the Republicans.

    GWEN IFILL: But in North Carolina, Kay Hagan, at least in these closing days, seems to be solidifying some small lead, no?

    STUART ROTHENBERG: I think Tillis has gained a couple of points.

    The difference — and each one of these states is different. The difference with North Carolina is President Obama won it once, Mitt Romney won it once. It’s a swing state now.

    GWEN IFILL: We could talk the entire time about the Senate. As a matter of fact, I will for one more minute.


    GWEN IFILL: New Hampshire, Colorado, they’re also kind of slippery here at the last minute.

    AMY WALTER: They are. And, again, these are places where the president did well in the past, but the big difference is, this is not a 2012 electorate, not only the same kind of people showing up, but the kinds of people that were supportive of the president in 2012 now have soured on him.

    So there’s no enthusiasm among the Democratic base, even in states where Obama had carried.

    GWEN IFILL: And Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire?

    STUART ROTHENBERG: The race has tightened. I was skeptical about Scott Brown, feeling that his years in the Senate from Massachusetts might be disqualifying or close to disqualifying.

    Apparently, the voters in New Hampshire are not so certain about that. And most of the polls show that he has made up ground. I still think, if I had to put a nickel on the race, I would put it on Shaheen, but it’s become much closer than I expected.

    GWEN IFILL: A lot of those population centers in southern New Hampshire are people who have moved from Massachusetts, so maybe it’s…

    AMY WALTER: That’s right.

    GWEN IFILL: But let’s say in New England for a minute, because the governor’s races there have turned out to be kind of surprising.

    AMY WALTER: They have been.

    And, look, Republicans do well in New England, believe it or not, for governor’s races. Many times, it’s because voters there want to put a check on a Democratic-controlled legislature. And a Republican can help to do that. In this case, too, in a place like Rhode Island, it’s not simply putting a check on a Democratic legislature, but it’s a Democratic base that is split because the Democratic candidate basically ran against labor.

    And in a state where you need labor to come out and vote for you, that could be the deciding factor.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Governor’s races are a lot about local issues, local coalitions, personality.

    And it is remarkable, when you look at Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, states the Republicans are — almost never compete in, in federal races, they’re very competitive. Then you go down to Maryland, and Larry Hogan Jr., the Republican, is competitive. And then you go out West and look at Kansas, a very Republican state which may go Democratic for governor, and Alaska may go Democratic for governor.

    Governor’s races are quirkier. They’re harder for me to predict, because, on Senate races, we look, first of all, at party. You can’t quite look quite as much on party in governor’s races. Party still matters, but not definitively.

    GWEN IFILL: It’s kind of hard to depict House races that tell us anything about more about that district. But are there any in particular that you’re watching?

    AMY WALTER: Well, I think New Hampshire is always a good place to start.

    One, the polls close earlier. But, two, New Hampshire is a state that has in the past really gone with wherever the mood was. And you saw, in 2006, those two congressional seats went to Democrats in that wave; 2010, two seats went to Republicans. Seeing how those states react in this election may tell us what to expect.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Yes, I’m looking at races that have been close the past few cycles, maybe seats that switched back and forth.

    The Nan Hayworth district, Maloney, a Democrat in — north of New York City, which has gone back and forth. See what happens there. There’s a district on Eastern Long Island, Tim Bishop, a Democratic, with a Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin, always a 51-49 race. I wonder if the environment is strong enough for the Republicans this time, so instead of the Democrat getting 51, Zeldin gets 51, races like that.

    GWEN IFILL: Amy used the W-word, wave. Is there going to be a wave election tomorrow night?

    AMY WALTER: So, everyone has a different definition of what a wave is.

    My definition of a wave is seats that go that shouldn’t have gone, right, that it was more than simply a good candidate running a good campaign and at the last minute the race broke for them. It is unexpected candidates winning.

    I don’t have a — I don’t see that coming. If there is a wave, it would be somebody that like Al Franken in Minnesota, Democrat, or Democrat Mark Warner in Virginia loses.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: I will stick with atmospherics and talk about a breeze.


    STUART ROTHENBERG: And I think there’s a pretty good breeze behind the Republicans, but I don’t know how strong it is. Looks pretty good, though.

    GWEN IFILL: Breeze, wave, rising tide lifting boats, we will talk about it all tomorrow night.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.


    GWEN IFILL: We will look for you then.


    AMY WALTER: Thanks.

    The post Will focusing on the president pay off for Republicans? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: On the eve of Election Day 2014, candidates from one end of the country to the other scrambled to reach every voter who could put them over the top. Races for the U.S. Congress and for one-third of the governors, along with thousands of state-level contests, are on the ballot.

    But nowhere is more at stake than in the 36 campaigns for the U.S. Senate, where Republicans have a chance to take the majority away from Democrats.

    One of the most closely watched involves a sitting senator who could get a big promotion if that happens, and if he’s reelected. It’s the Bluegrass State. And it’s where I spent this weekend.

    What I found is, in a year awash in negative campaigns, it doesn’t get much more negative than Kentucky.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R), Kentucky: After six years of this, we have seen the results. This is the slowest recovery after a deep recession since World War II. These people have run this country in the ground, and they need to be stopped.


    ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, Democratic Senate Candidate: We’re tired somebody that is just interested in self-promotion and self-preservation, and stopped being a public servant, when you’re all you’re trying to do is worry about your own job, instead of the jobs here in Kentucky.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s a scorched-earth race, pitting the second most powerful Republican in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, against a hard-charging 35-year-old Democratic challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

    About the only thing both camps agree on is that there’s a lot at stake, but clearly more so for McConnell. With a real chance that Republicans may the majority in the Senate, he stands on the cusp of an even bigger job. It’s a prize many Republicans can already taste.

    MAN:  That’s why we need to elect Mitch McConnell as the next majority leader of the United States Senate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But there’s a wrinkle. Despite the five terms under his belt, or, for many, because of them, McConnell is not viewed favorably by most Kentucky voters.

    STEPHEN VOSS, University of Kentucky: He’s extremely unpopular.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: University of Kentucky political science professor Stephen Voss says McConnell’s critics are made up of two very different groups.

    STEPHEN VOSS: We have Democrats, we have liberal Democrats. They’re not happy with him for being the Republican leader. But then he has voters on the right who want him obstructing the president, and when he finally stitches together a compromise, they’re angry that he didn’t stick to principles and didn’t hold the line.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Voss says the most conservative voters zero in on his role shaping a last-minute bipartisan budget deal last year. McConnell himself acknowledges his unpopularity.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: You get targeted. If you are the leader of one of the parties — Harry Reid had the same thing in 2010 — if you’re the leader, you get a big race.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Whatever the reason, Kentucky’s only Democratic congressman, John Yarmuth, concedes there’s someone on voters’ minds here this year who’s even more unpopular than McConnell.

    REP. JOHN YARMUTH, (D) Kentucky: Mitch McConnell’s disapproval ratings are extremely high. He’s been upside-down on that for several years. People are not happy with him, they’re not excited by him.

    I think if — I hate to say it, because I support the president, but if it weren’t for President Obama, I think he’d have no chance at all of being reelected. Across Kentucky, there are a lot of people who are irrationally critical of the president.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Irrational or not, the president has been McConnell’s main target, more so than even Grimes.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: Who are these people?  I can tell you the kind of folks they got down at the White House. They’re all a bunch of college professors and community organizers. And they think they are smarter than all the rest of us. And they want to tell us how to live our lives. And starting Tuesday, we’re pushing back against that kind of thing.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: McConnell says a vote for Grimes is a vote to enable the president.

    Senator McConnell is saying the reason people shouldn’t vote for you in Kentucky is because he said you’re going to be a reliable vote for President Obama for the next two years.

    ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES: Well, it’s just another falsehood that Mitch McConnell has put out. It shows he has no record to run on. They know my record. They know my work as an independent problem solver that will put the people of this state first, not the millionaires and billionaires that Mitch McConnell is bought and paid for by.

    Are you all ready to stand up and fight and bring home this victory?


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Grimes, the daughter of a well-known figure in Kentucky politics, has been taken seriously because she raised more money than any Democrat ever has in the state and because she’s been able to remain competitive in the polls. She’s also been helped by longtime family friends, who, unlike the president, are highly popular in Kentucky.

    Both Bill and Hillary Clinton returned to Kentucky in the closing days of the campaign.

    HILLARY CLINTON, Former Secretary of State: Tuesday is your chance to reject the guardians of gridlock.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Prompting McConnell to take a swipe at them as well.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: I was amused, as I’m sure you were, by Hillary Clinton a couple of days ago declaring that businesses don’t create jobs.


    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: Good grief.


    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: Well, I’ll tell you, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between a Clinton Democrat and an Obama Democrat. I can tell you that.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Grimes, who’s refused even to say whether she voted for the president, in our interview avoided mention of Obama and praised the Clintons.

    ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES: They were here because Kentucky is Clinton country, despite what Mitch McConnell might believe. And under President Clinton, we had the largest economic expansion that this nation has ever seen. It was the jobs president coming here to endorse me, the jobs candidate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It may be a preview of coming national Democratic divisions as 2016 draws closer, if a split develops between Clinton Democrats and President Obama. But, for now, Democrats are on the same page, invoking issues like a higher minimum wage.

    HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: And, yes, Alison supports raising the minimum wage to give hardworking Kentuckians a better shot.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Whether it’s enough to push Grimes over the finish line in Kentucky is another matter.

    Some voters are attracted to the idea that McConnell could be moving to a powerful new position.

    Michael Brennan heads a company that makes coal mining machinery.

    MICHAEL BRENNAN: We have a unique opportunity here in the state of Kentucky to have the leader of the Senate, and that doesn’t happen very often. He can do very, very good things for this state as the leader of the Senate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But others, like Estelle Bayer, say they’re tired of having a senator who is known for blocking change, rather than encouraging it.

    ESTELLE BAYER: If you don’t get anything done in 30 years, we don’t need you. We need somebody new and fresh and intelligent, somebody who is willing to work with other people, not just obstruct.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: McConnell and outside groups supporting his campaign have raised and spent a record amount of money, almost $55 million, swamping by better than 2-1 the impressive haul raised by Grimes. In the closing days, his TV spots are visibly outrunning hers.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: Barack Obama will be gone in three years. We’re going to have a future when we get past this administration.

    ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES: I’m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on gun, coal, and the EPA.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Political scientist Stephen Voss says the ads helped bring many Kentucky Republicans who don’t think McConnell is conservative enough back under his tent.

    STEPHEN VOSS: These are people who are mobilized voters, who turn out. So forced to choose, once they show up at the polls, McConnell is ideologically closer to them, far closer, than Grimes could be.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But those who want McConnell to take on President Obama may be surprised to know what he says his priority will be if Republicans do win control of the Senate.

    If the Senate changes hands, and you become majority leader, is it mainly then about overturning the policies of the Obama administration?

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: It’s a combination of things. First of all, we need to look for potential areas of potential agreement. The president, for example, has called for trade agreements. I wish he would send them up. The president has talked about how outrageous it is that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. I agree.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That talk of compromise may appeal to wavering voters in the middle who aren’t yet sold on Grimes. Even Democratic Congressman Yarmuth says she has been hurt by waiting too long to introduce herself to those voters who were open to an alternative to McConnell.

    REP. JOHN YARMUTH: She was faced with the situation of trying to establish a campaign, raise money and do all those things before she could do it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Consequently, the onslaught of McConnell’s negative TV ads have taken a toll with only hours to go before polls open on Election Day.


    The post Poised for a promotion, Kentucky’s McConnell paints Grimes as an Obama supporter appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: American hopes of having moderate rebels in Syria prevail against the Islamic State group have suffered new setbacks. The rebels lost a series of towns over the weekend to yet another group linked to al-Qaida. And, today, fighters from that same militant group massed near a crossing at the Turkish border, threatening to overrun it. The crossing controls a key supply route.

    GWEN IFILL: The Islamic State group kept up a campaign of atrocities against a Sunni tribe in Iraq today. An Iraqi official said 36 men, women and children were lined up and publicly killed in a village in Anbar province. The militants have slain more than 200 people from that tribe since Friday.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s been another large cyber-attack, this one targeting the U.S. government’s top security clearance contractor. The Associated Press reports the breach at USIS went on for months before the company noticed. It compromised the private records of at least 25,000 workers at the Department of Homeland Security.

    GWEN IFILL: Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia will pay a record $100 million penalty to settle claims they inflated gas mileage figures in the U.S. A Justice Department investigation found the companies violated the Clean Air Act.

    Attorney General Eric Holder:

    ERIC HOLDER, Attorney General: Because they used inaccurately low numbers to demonstrate compliance with emissions standards, cherry-picking data, and conducting tests in ways that didn’t reflect good engineering judgment, Hyundai and Kia calculated higher fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions than these vehicles actually have.

    GWEN IFILL: The two companies denied any legal wrongdoing. They said federal rules for gas mileage testing are complex and hard to interpret.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Falling gasoline prices boosted U.S. auto sales last month. Chrysler reported a 22 percent bump for its largest October gains since 2001. Japanese automakers Nissan and Honda reported their best U.S. sales ever for the month. Only Ford had a sales decline, down 2 percent.

    GWEN IFILL: An Oregon woman who sparked new debate over decisions about dying passed away in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend. Twenty-nine-year-old Brittany Maynard ended her life on Saturday, as she had said she wanted to, by taking lethal drugs. She had terminal brain cancer. Maynard had moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state’s death with dignity law.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tom Magliozzi, co-host of NPR’s long-running “Car Talk” show, died today of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. The weekend call-in show was based at WBUR in Boston, combining car repairs with the quick-witted banter of Magliozzi and his younger brother, Ray.

    Here, Tom gives advice on a frequent topic, marriage.

    TOM MAGLIOZZI, Car Talk: I have my own law of marriage, and it is, it is more important to be happy than to be right. Now, you may know that you’re right. I mean, I’m always right. Whenever my wife and I have an argument, I’m always right.

    But, being the clever fellow that I am, I never try to prove to her that I’m right. And she thinks that I’m a dummy, that I’m always wrong, but she loves me.


    MAN: Well, I will tell you, everybody else thinks you’re a dummy, too. I will let you in on a little secret.


    TOM MAGLIOZZI: But, see, I know — as long as I know that I’m always right, I don’t have to tell her that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Nothing like that show. The brothers retired two years ago, but the show continues in reruns. Tom Magliozzi was 77 years old.

    GWEN IFILL: It’s been more than 13 years since the 9/11 attacks, and, today, the newly built One World Trade Center opened for business. It’s built at the Ground Zero site where the Twin Towers were destroyed. This time lapse shows the new building under construction over eight years, at a cost of nearly $4 billion. At 104 stories, it is the tallest building in the United States.

    Publishing giant Conde Nast was the first tenant to begin moving in today.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street failed to gain any traction after lackluster reports on manufacturing in China and Europe. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 24 points to close at 17,366; the Nasdaq rose eight points to close near 4,639; the S&P 500 lost a fraction, to finish at 2,017.

    And oil prices closed below $79 a barrel in New York. That’s the lowest in two years.

    The post News Wrap: Hyundai, Kia to pay $100 million over inflated gas mileage figures appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    It’s an “unequivocal” fact that the earth is warming. It’s “extremely likely” that humans are the cause. And if humans don’t take action and significantly cut carbon emissions, the Earth could face “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts.”

    That’s according to the most recent “synthesis” report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released Nov. 1. Using the strongest language yet, the report addresses the causes and impacts of climate change.

    Signs of climate change are already visible. Rising sea levels. Severe heat waves. Floods. Storms. Food shortages. Drought.

    “We try to say the clearest things that the science supports,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor at Princeton and one of the report’s lead authors. “We don’t go in there trying to scare people or trying to send messages that are shaky … The science has supported progressively stronger messages.”

    Below are six more quotes about the UN’s climate report:

    “Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in the message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”-UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon

    “The IPCC’s new Synthesis Report is yet another wake-up call to the global community that we must act together swiftly and aggressively in order to stem climate change and avoid its worst impacts.” – John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy

    “Every time the IPCC comes around, we have a crisper more worrisome set of messages about the trends in emissions and impacts of climate change, and then you don’t see much connection between that story and what governments actually do. That’s because it’s not really a scientific problem anymore. Essentially, everything that needs to be done to move the needle is political.” – David Victor, Professor at University of California at San Diego and author of “Global Warming Gridlock”

    “The costs will go up enormously if we keep delaying things. The cost of inaction will be horrendously higher than the cost of action.” – IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri

    “There is no significant man-made global warming now. There hasn’t been any in the past, and there’s no reason to expect any in the future.” – John Coleman, weather forecaster and one of the founders of the Weather Channel told CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

    “The reality of climate change is undeniable, and cannot be simply wished away by politicians who lack the courage to confront the scientific evidence.” – Lord Nicolas Stern, professor at the London School of Economics

    This post was updated on Nov 4.

    The post Six dramatic things said about today’s UN climate report appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    South Dakota polls are closing an hour later than planned. Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund

    South Dakota polls are closing an hour later than planned. Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund

    No results from the much-watched South Dakota U.S. Senate race will be released until an hour after the polls were originally planned to close. South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant tells PBS NewsHour that results will be released starting at 10 p.m. EST (9 p.m. CT) rather than at the state’s poll closing time of 9 p.m. EST (8 p.m. CT) because a polling place in Shannon County opened an hour late this morning.

    State law requires that polling places be open at least 12 hours on Election Day.

    The post South Dakota polls closing an hour later than scheduled appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    For 40 years, New Mexico photographer Robert Christensen has captured portraits of buildings that reflect the rugged and independent spirit of New Mexico. Video produced by Tara Walch and shot by Antony Lostetter, Morgaine Adkins and Jorge Ortiz, of New Mexico PBS’ ¡COLORES!

    For 40 years, New Mexico photographer Robert Christensen has captured portraits of buildings that reflect the rugged and independent spirit of New Mexico.

    “I think these places, as much as anything, reflect the personalities of the people that made them,” he says in the video above.


    “I have photographed an awful lot of buildings and the ones that look back at me, are the ones that are meaningful to me.”

    Regulations are sapping many buildings of their character, he says. But older buildings reflect the history of their towns and the people who live there.

    “If you look at them as a group, there is a consistency of perspective and tonality and all,” he said. “But to me, each building is an individual, and I can remember standing there taking a picture of every one of those…The ones that look back at me are the ones that are meaningful to me.”

    Local Beat is a weekly series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.

    The post In New Mexico, one photographer captures the rugged character of old buildings appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    online-logo-largeNearly $4 billion dollars has been spent on this election — more than any other midterm in history. Here is what you could buy with the amount that was spent for Tuesday’s races.

    The post What could you buy instead of an election? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    online-logo-largeWhile incumbents usually have the advantage in elections, this midterm season has been a boon for Republican challengers. The most competitive Senate races are being run in blue or purple states that voted for Gov. Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.

    The post What makes Mitch McConnell smile? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Fabiola Gianotti and David Kaplan talk at the Large Hadron Collider, where the Higgs particle was discovered in 2012. Photo courtesy "Particle Fever" Bond/360

    Fabiola Gianotti and David Kaplan talk at the Large Hadron Collider, where the Higgs particle was discovered in 2012. Photo courtesy “Particle Fever” Bond/360

    Italian physicist Dr. Fabiola Gianotti will be the first woman to lead the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the international research center that discovered the Higgs boson (also called the “God particle”).

    Gianotti led the ATLAS experiment at CERN to the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, a particle and energy field that is able to convert matter to mass. ATLAS was one of two major teams working on the project. The discovery helps explain the formation of the physical universe, according to Reuters. Scientists analyzed data from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, a machine that cost $6 billion francs to build, to find the particle.

    The CERN’s ruling council, which comprises representatives from 20 member nations, selected Gianotti to lead the institute, which employs 2,400 people and hosts 10,000 visiting scientists each year from over 113 countries. She will begin her role as director-general at CERN in 2016 and will lead the institute for five years.

    Gianotti said she was proud to assume the role.

    “CERN is a centre of scientific excellence and a source of pride and inspiration for physicists from all over the world, a cradle for technology and innovation, and a shining concrete example of scientific cooperation and peace,” she said.

    CERN was founded in 1954 and has been at the forefront of a number of globally important scientific discoveries. British scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN in 1989 as a way to aid information-sharing in the scientific community.

    The post Global physics research giant CERN selects first woman to lead appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    online-logo-largeForty percent of eligible voters vote in the midterm elections, down from 56 percent who vote in presidential elections. Instead of a showdown between two big personalities, voters are presented with more than 500 candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and House. Here are the key differences between the two races and a breakdown of who actually ends up voting.

    The post Why you probably didn’t vote today appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Smoke stacks from the NRG power plant outside of Jewett, Tx.  AP Photo/Nick Simonite

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s look at another set of issues playing a role this cycle: energy and the environment.

    In some cases, the battle is over the regulation of power plants and greenhouse gases. In others, it’s focused on oil and gas development. One analysis found there have been over 125,000 ads on these topics aired in Senate races. And it’s been a core issue in at least seven of those states, including Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Louisiana.

    So, what’s at stake tonight?

    Dan Weiss is the director of campaigns for the League of Conservation Voters. His group has spent $25 million-plus during this election, more than any other environmental group. And Scott Segal, he’s a partner at the firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, which lobbies on behalf of utilities, power plants and other energy companies.

    We welcome both of you.

    Scott Segal, what is it at stake? What energy and environmental policies are on the line in this election?

    SCOTT SEGAL, Bracewell & Giuliani: Well, the president has served notice that he assumes his clean power plan, which is the name for the proposed rule for existing power plants, that that’s a major part of his legacy.

    And, as a result, we — a lot of studying has been done on what those rules would do. They’d cost $47 billion. They don’t do very much to reduce carbon over and above what the power industry has already done by doing some fuel switching to natural gas, so lots of cost, very little benefit.

    That’s a major question. Will the next Senate engage in oversight? Will they legislate regarding this rule? Will they make changes?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you’re saying, if it’s a Republican Senate, they’re more likely to try to…


    SCOTT SEGAL: I think the chances are more likely, because if there is an equitable, more equitable distribution of political leverage, so that the Congress can uniformly speak with the president, that is a recipe for actual negotiation on this complex topic.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see this balance changing, depending on what happens, Dan Weiss?

    DAN WEISS, League of Conservation Voters: Well, first, Senator McConnell has already said that if he is the majority leader, he will use the budget process to try and stop EPA’s clean power plan, the first rules ever to reduce pollution from power plants.

    It’s important to remember that Scott, last time he was here, was against reducing mercury and lead poison from power plant. So, of course he’s against reducing carbon pollution too.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re here to talk about what is going to happen with policy.

    DAN WEISS: What McConnell has said is, he will use the budget process.

    What that means is, he will stick a rider into a must-pass spending bill that the president will have to either sign or veto, and if he vetoes it, it will lead to a shutdown of whatever government agencies are part of that spending bill. What McConnell made clear is he will seek a confrontation with the president over whether or not we’re going to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And if that happens, who wins?

    SCOTT SEGAL: Well, of course, I don’t see it that way.

    The way I see it is this. This is one of the few opportunities for both parties, for the leadership in the United States and for the president of the United States to act like adults over an issue as important as global climate change. And if they come together and they actually negotiate on the topic, there are changes that can be made to the president’s proposal that make it less costly, but do not reduce the benefits that are attributable to it.

    Why wouldn’t anyone want to do that? Right now, we have gridlock. With more equitable distribution of political authority, we can negotiate, and I think that’s important.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, in fact, Dan Weiss, today, the president’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, said that look for the president in the next two years to exercise more executive action when it comes to dealing with climate change. So, what do you look for, again, whether it is a Democratic, still Democratic-controlled Senate, Republican House, of course, or whether the Senate goes Republican? What do you look for?

    DAN WEISS: Well, the most important thing is that the president is enforcing existing laws passed by Congress, interpreted by the courts that would require him to reduce carbon pollution, not only from power plants. He’s going to be doing it from heavy trucks as well by making the — go further on a gallon of gasoline.

    All of the steps we need to take to reduce climate change can happen over the next few years through the president enforcing the law. Congress…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Even with a Republican — even if the Senate flips to Republican?

    DAN WEISS: That’s right. That’s right.

    The other avenue that we have is going to be in the states, where a number of states have taken — states have taken leadership to reduce their carbon pollution. And with some luck tonight, and we win some seats in Oregon and Washington at the state level, we could have even more leadership from those in other states.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see that?

    SCOTT SEGAL: Well, actually, the states is where a lot of these battles are going on.

    And what I will tell you is the rules as currently proposed by this administration, which represent an unprecedented power grab by the federal government, mix up and scramble exactly what the state authorities have been so far. They are topsy-turvy. And, frankly, the governor’s races will be just as important to determine whether we can even implement these rules.

    Look, we talk about an unprecedented use of executive authority. And then Dan wonders why the appropriations process, which is the only constitutional power that could possibly combat that, is in play? The answer is obvious.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But I hear both of you saying that a lot of the action is going to be heading to the states anyway, no matter what happens in Washington.

    DAN WEISS: That’s right.

    SCOTT SEGAL: That’s right.

    DAN WEISS: And it’s important to note that, today, President George W. Bush’s EPA administrator, Christie Todd Whitman, endorsed the president’s clean power plan.

    Why? Because it’s a flexible mechanism — flexible mechanism that allows states to set up plans that make sense for them to reduce their carbon pollution. It’s not a power grab. What the president is doing is enforcing the law as interpreted — excuse me — as interpreted by the Supreme Court.


    SCOTT SEGAL: I think Dan needs to read that rule a little bit more carefully.

    It is an unprecedented extension of federal authority into areas that the EPA, the administrators from — from Christie Todd Whitman to the present have never had that type of authority and that type of power. It goes down to the very appliances in our homes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just very quickly to both of you.

    Scott Segal, this report that came out in the last day or so, another global group warning about the dire consequences of climate change. Just quickly, what do you see as an appropriate action on the part of an administration, whether there’s a Republican Senate or a Democratic-controlled Senate?

    SCOTT SEGAL: Well, we believe that there are several important parts that I think there would be consensus and support.

    Improving energy efficiency is one of those. And having the Environmental Protection Agency not sue power plants that are attempting to make improvements in energy efficiency, that’s a good start.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what would you add or subtract?

    DAN WEISS: Well, it’s very important to note that the alarm bells keep ringing louder and louder.

    What we’d like to see is the Republican Party, which had a lot of climate action people in it through 2008 — Obama and McCain’s climate plans were very similar — stop being a climate science denial party and deny that there’s a consensus that humans are responsible for climate change. They are that today, and that’s unfortunate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We are going to have to leave it there.

    Gentlemen, we thank you for coming in on election night, both Scott Segal and Dan Weiss. We thank you both.

    DAN WEISS: Thank you for having me.

    SCOTT SEGAL: Thanks.

    The post How will environmental policy change under the next Congress? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Immigration reform groups march outside the White House calling on President Obama for immigration reform and to stop deportations on July 16. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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    GWEN IFILL: Tonight’s outcomes could broaden the definition of winner and loser. There are also major issues hanging in the balance. Tonight, we look at prospects for two of them, first, immigration.

    Joining us are two activists intimately on both sides of the issue of who gets to come to the U.S., who gets to stay and who gets sent back.

    Brad Botwin is director of Help Save Maryland, a group that wants to tighten the nation’s borders. And Cristina Jimenez is co-founder of United We Dream, which works on behalf of undocumented immigrants.

    Welcome to you both.

    Ms. Jimenez, the movement on immigration reform has basically ground to a halt in Congress and at the White House. What would this election do to change that?

    CRISTINA JIMENEZ, United We Dream: Well, I think that what’s going to be critical here is that whatever the outcomes are for these elections will have a lot of impact for 2016.

    So the question is, would Democrats and the president continue to deport people? Will the president take administrative or executive action on immigration, as he promised on June 30, and/or will the Republicans continue to promote the mass deportation agenda, as they did with Mitt Romney and have continued to do so?

    GWEN IFILL: Brad Botwin, is it a mass deportation agenda we’re talking about?

    BRAD BOTWIN, Help Save Maryland: I don’t believe so.

    I think, tonight, we will see the Senate flip to Republican, which is actually a good thing for the immigration issue, because you will have a more logical approach. I think the president and the Democrats in the Senate tried to do effectively another Obamacare for immigration, just a mass bill.

    With the Republicans in charge of the Senate and the House, I think you will get a step-by-step process, and this will mean, first off, border security. Let’s turn off the leaks. Let’s seal the border. Internal security. And, eventually, over time, after this happens, I think we can get to groups that are pushing, these so-called dreamers and others.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, let’s take it one step at a time. Do you both agree that comprehensive immigration as a result of tonight’s election results is off the table?

    CRISTINA JIMENEZ: What I think is urgent for the immigration communities is that the president has made a promise to address immigration, because what we saw in 2013 and even this year is that Republicans were unwilling to work on an immigration reform bill that was passed by the Senate.

    And, very clearly, Speaker Boehner said that they won’t move forward on immigration. And what we have rather seen is Republicans time after time voting to defund programs like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, for example.

    GWEN IFILL: Except that a lot of people on your side of the issue are disappointed in the president, too, for not acting.


    It has been a big disappointment that he actually chose and made a political calculation, thinking that he would rather protect some of the Senate races and the folks running for the Senate races, instead of taking action on immigration, as he had promised.

    And I think that based on the outcomes of tonight, we will see whether the White House made a good decision or a decision that actually demobilized voters.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, let me ask Mr. Botwin about this idea of executive action, the president stepping in and overruling Congress essentially on some of these issues.

    BRAD BOTWIN: Bring it on, Mr. President. Bring it on.

    I think this year, with the Central American tidal wave coming in, the so-called children and their families just walking across the border, destroyed the thoughts of having a secure border, absolutely destroyed it. And Democrats and Republicans came forward and said, enough of this nonsense. We need to do something comprehensive, but we need to do it in steps.

    So, again, the Obamacare analogy I think is just perfect. Don’t blow the whole thing up. Let’s stop the problem of people just wandering in. And, you know, immigrants don’t decide who comes here. The American people decide who can come here and how many can come here.

    GWEN IFILL: Cristina Jimenez, you are an undocumented immigrant yourself. Why don’t you respond to that?

    CRISTINA JIMENEZ: Well, we say to people and what we have been pushing the president to do and Democrats and Republicans to think about is that, as many immigrants have come throughout the history of the United States — my family came from Ecuador when I was 13 years old seeking a better life.

    We were in a situation where we had no food, no money to pay for school. And my parents’ dream was so that I can come here and pursue those dreams, because they know that in this country those dreams could be achievable. And that’s what I did. I’m the first one in my family to graduate from college. I grew up undocumented. And I love this country. For me, this is my country, and…

    GWEN IFILL: Mr. Botwin says it’s not up to you to decide whether it’s your country.

    CRISTINA JIMENEZ: Well, what I say is that I truly believe in the values of this nation, as I learned in school and my families — and family do, too. And we want to be part of the fabric of society.

    GWEN IFILL: Let’s talk about tonight.

    Or go ahead. Go ahead.


    BRAD BOTWIN: I’m second generation legal immigrant. My grandparents came over from Russia. They came legally.

    CRISTINA JIMENEZ: But the system we have now, it is not the same.

    BRAD BOTWIN: The system actually works.

    We have a million immigrants being allowed in and getting green cards every year legally. What we have is Cristina and her organization, which I looked on your Web site — I’m not sure who is funding it — probably La Raza or some other groups like that — but we cannot allow which is pretty much anyone who can walk across the border to come in here.

    GWEN IFILL: Let’s come back full circle.

    BRAD BOTWIN: You will see it in Montgomery County.

    GWEN IFILL: OK. Let’s — Maryland, you’re talking about.


    GWEN IFILL: Let’s come back full circle to tonight.

    Which races are you watching the outcomes of tonight which could tip this debate in your favor or against you, starting with you, Cristina Jimenez?

    CRISTINA JIMENEZ: Well, what we know is that, this year, the map wasn’t good for Democrats or incumbents.

    And the reality is that all Americans are very frustrated with the gridlock in Congress, not only on immigration for the Latino community, and, you know, most Americans actually want a solution on immigration. It’s not only that immigrants want a solution on immigration.

    So, from our perspective, it’s going to be important to look at places like Colorado, like the governor’s race in Florida, and it will be critical to see whether the decision of the president to delay executive action on immigration is going to have an impact on the number of Latinos that will turn out to vote, and that the actions that will be taken by the president will be meaningful for 2016.

    GWEN IFILL: Brad Botwin.


    It’s really the president and the Democrat have been kicking this issue down the road.

    GWEN IFILL: Which states?

    BRAD BOTWIN: Same, Colorado, Arkansas. Really, the Senate is going to flip.

    So I can’t think of one Democratic senator who was pushing amnesty as their main objective during this campaign season, not one.

    GWEN IFILL: So, if things turn out the way you hope they will tonight, it’s good news for you…

    BRAD BOTWIN: It’s very good news.

    GWEN IFILL: … no matter which states?

    BRAD BOTWIN: It’s very good news.

    GWEN IFILL: Brad Botwin of Help Save Maryland and Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream, thank you both very much.

    CRISTINA JIMENEZ: Thank you.

    BRAD BOTWIN: Thanks.

    The post What the election means for the future of immigration reform appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, younger voters made a big difference for, as you know, President Obama in his two elections, but like most others, their numbers drop in midterms.

    That made us wonder how interested they are this go-round. So, in collaboration with our Student Reporting Lab, we spoke with high school students around the country.

    Our political reporter and editor Lisa Desjardins began the conversation by asking them to look at some of this year’s ads.

    MAN: So go ahead and hit space bar on that.

    STUDENT: All right.

    LISA DESJARDINS: We sat down with teens from our Student Reporting Labs in three states with high-profile Senate contests, Kentucky, Michigan, and Colorado.

    TERRI LYNN LAND, Michigan Senatorial Candidate: I’m Terri Lynn Land.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The idea? To understand how this generation sees campaign ads and politics.

    WOMAN: Think about that for a moment.

    DAEZSA PRICE, Pleasure Ridge Park High School, Kentucky: This has not, like, helped me to choose who I want to vote for at all.

    LISA DESJARDINS: We learned they are not impressed.

    DAEZSA PRICE: Because, like, I don’t know what to believe. It was two completely different facts trying to state the same thing, but they were completely different. It didn’t make any sense. I don’t know what to believe, what not to believe.

    GEORGIE ABBY, Royal Oak High School, Michigan: I sort of tune out ads that are always about what the other opponent is doing wrong or what the other opponent is saying, because, if you really believe in these things and if you really believe that you can help other people, you should talk about the things that you can do to help other people.

    JAN LEIGHLEY, American University: The argument is that people young people might not be voting as much as older people, but they in fact are engaged and committed and a fine generation politically. It’s just that they’re expressing their politics using different methods or means.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Jan Leighley is a political science professor at American University who specializes in voter turnout and what motivates different groups. She sees a young group right now that cares about issues, but not politics, this when political parties are launching ads, writing blogs, enjoying all manner of methods to get young people in their tents.

    CASEY LINENBERG, Royal Oak High School, Michigan: I get e-mails, probably like five a day from the Democratic Party, trying to get me to participate, when I think a lot of the process is lost in just campaigning. I think it’s based in putting money into ads like this, and just trying to get votes, instead of trying to get policy changed.

    JAN LEIGHLEY: Well, they are coming of age where they see a politics of polarization and personalization, and a lot of big problems, and a perception of gridlock, and the government — the government not doing its job. And they don’t want to engage.

    LISA DESJARDINS: We learned something else, too, about what young people do trust. To use a trendy word, they curate their information. They trust sources they themselves find and know.

    ROBERT WILSON, Royal Oak High School, Michigan: I think campaign ads put this almost like a plastic cover over who they are. You don’t know who they are because they’re — they’re aiming to please. But I think the real way to choose who you vote for is to do your own research. And I think that means going to different news Web sites or magazines or stations, watching them.

    CASEY LINENBERG: I prefer to get a real — real information, not just the biased argument on TV that often seems — you know, everybody is saying what other people are saying is untrue. So then it leads me to not trust anyone. So I prefer to read online or find out from sources I trust.

    LISA DESJARDINS: There is a real sense of the endgame with these young people. Do campaigns mean anything? Their answer seems to be no. Does voting matter?

    KEENAN PENN II, Fraser High School, Michigan: If I’m voting, I’m putting my input into something that could make a difference in my community. There are several things that can change, and I feel like, if I’m trying to put forth an effort to help change those things, something could happen.

    LISA DESJARDINS: So, note to any campaigns which lose with young voters tonight: This group wants facts, and they want results.

    Lisa Desjardins, PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: All over the country, people cast ballots today, potentially shaking things up in Washington and a number of state capitals.

    The voting followed the most expensive midterm campaign in history, with more than $4 billion spent.

    We begin with how Election Day unfolded and what’s at stake. After months of campaign ads, pitched appeals and hundreds of candidates’ debates, Americans headed to the polls today. In some parts of the country, there were long lines. In others, turnout was lighter, as voters breezed in to elect officials for national, state and local offices.

    ELAINE KRAUSE, New Hampshire Voter: I think that this is what it is all about, to be able to vote and have a voice and hopefully select the people that you think are going to represent the state the most appropriately.

    PAUL SMITH, North Carolina Voter: It is really, I think, going to swing things here in North Carolina, as well as across the nation. So I thought of it as a very important election to kind of get out here and make my perspective heard.

    GWEN IFILL: Up for grabs, one-third of the Senate and party control of that chamber, plus all 435 seats in the House, where Republicans are expected to add to their majority.

    Today, Democrats control the Senate with 53 seats, plus two independents who vote with them. Republicans hold 45 seats. But the GOP is hoping to add at least six more tonight and shift the balance of power.

    Senate contenders, incumbents and challengers, Democrats and Republicans, cast their ballots early.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky., Minority Leader: I think we’re going to have a good day here in Kentucky and hopefully around the country.

    SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J.: We need people down in Washington that are going to work together with folks, that are going to bring people together. The partisan gridlock, enough of that.

    GWEN IFILL: In Washington, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the election, no matter its outcome, doesn’t constitute a referendum on President Obama’s job performance.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: No. The fact is, the voters — again, the voters who at least pick up the phone to talk to people who are conducting a poll for CNN indicated that at least a majority of them were not trying to send a message to the president with their vote, that something else was driving their decision.

    GWEN IFILL: In many cases, that something else is the economy, and it’s been a major factor in making many of the 36 governor’s races very close.

    This is also the first election for some states with new voter I.D. rules, and the Department of Justice and various other groups are monitoring for any irregularities, including suppression and voter fraud.

    We will begin our deep dive into the election story in detail after the news summary.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news, there’s new evidence that Islamic State militants tortured and abused Kurdish children in Northern Syria. Human Rights Watch announced the findings today. Some 150 teenage boys were kidnapped near the embattled town of Kobani in May. The report says they were beaten with rubber hoses and electrical cords and forced to watch beheading videos. All of the captives have now either escaped or been released.

    GWEN IFILL: Tensions mounted again today in Ukraine, as the government announced it’s sending more troops to the eastern part of the country. President Petro Poroshenko said the reinforcements will defend key cities against pro-Russian rebels. Both sides agreed to a cease-fire in September, but it’s been violated repeatedly since then.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Mexico, federal police captured a fugitive former mayor who allegedly ordered an attack on student protesters; 43 of them are missing and feared dead. Early this morning, Jose Luis Abarca and his wife were taken by convoy to the Mexican attorney general’s office, after being arrested in Mexico City.

    Officials said they were giving statements. Parents of the missing students have complained of lack of progress in the investigation. But some of them welcomed news of the arrests. And, again, to repeat, Investigators say the mayor was in league with a drug gang whose members killed the students and buried them in mass graves. But, so far, no sign of the bodies has turned up.

    GWEN IFILL: The head of Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency is charging that U.S. social media outlets are command-and-control networks for terror groups. Robert Hannigan made the claim in The Financial Times. He said Islamic State militants use Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp to communicate with relative ease. Hannigan says the tech companies are in denial about the issue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s word from West Africa that thousands of people have broken Ebola quarantines in Sierra Leone to order to find food. Aid organizations warned today that food deliveries are not reaching many of the remote cordoned-off areas. Those left hungry people to search where they can, potentially spreading the virus.

    GWEN IFILL: The World Health Organization urged today that a prescription drug used to fight drug overdoses may be made more widely available. The U.N. agency said Naloxone could prevent more than 20,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone. The drug can counter the effects of heroin and some heavy-duty painkillers in minutes. And it can now be administered as a nasal spray.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson will avoid jail time for using a wooden switch on his 4-year-old son. Peterson pleaded no contest today to a Texas charge of misdemeanor reckless assault. The NFL star initially faced a felony charge, but appeared before a judge in suburban Houston this afternoon and formally accepted the plea deal.

    He spoke outside the courthouse afterwards.

    ADRIAN PETERSON, Minnesota Vikings Player: I truly regret this incident. I stand here and I take full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than any one of you could even imagine. And I’m looking forward to and I’m anxious to continue my relationship with my child. I’m just glad this is over.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Peterson has been on paid leave from the Vikings. There was no immediate word on how the plea deal affects his status.

    GWEN IFILL: A man long sought for pirating material from the music and movie industries was arrested today in Thailand. Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij co-founded the file-sharing Web site The Pirate Bay. He’s already been convicted in Sweden of copyright infringement and sentenced to a year in prison. He and three associates will also have to pay $6.5 million in damages.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Major U.S. banks are joining forces to combat cyber-attacks. The Wall Street Journal reports several cyber-security firms will use money from 16 banks to create faster communication about potential breaches. The move follows attacks last month on computer systems at J.P. Morgan Chase and other institutions.

    GWEN IFILL: The price of oil kept falling around the world today, after Saudi Arabia cut prices for U.S. customers. Oil finished near $77 a barrel in New York trading, putting more pressure on energy stocks and Wall Street in general. The Dow Jones industrial average managed a small gain, up 17 points to close near 17,384, but the Nasdaq fell 15 points to close at 4,623. And the S&P 500 dropped five to finish at 2,012.

    The post News Wrap: Islamic State reportedly kidnapped, tortured dozens of Kurdish boys appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Senate Minority Leader U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds his ballot after voting in the midterm elections at Bellarmine University November 4, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. McConnell is running in a tight race against opponent Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds his ballot after voting in the midterm elections at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, Tuesday. McConnell defeated Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell won a hard-fought sixth term Tuesday, putting him a step closer to his lifelong dream of becoming majority leader and getting the GOP off to a good start in its goal of taking control of the Senate.

    Democrats once had high hopes for challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s young secretary of state. But the hill was too steep in a state President Barack Obama lost by 23 percentage points in 2012.

    McConnell, like Republicans in every competitive state, relentlessly tied his opponent to the president, whose approval ratings have sagged. McConnell’s allies taunted Grimes for refusing to say whether she had voted for Obama.

    If Republicans gain six new seats, McConnell, 72, is positioned to become the Senate’s majority leader. That would give him substantial powers to decide what legislation reaches the floor for votes, and when.

    His supporters eagerly awaited election results in other states, aware that potential runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, and possible slow vote counts in Alaska, could leave the question of Senate control unclear for some time.

    Democrats privately said they hoped to limit their net losses to five seats, which would barely keep them in the majority. But even that would require them to win several races Tuesday where they were struggling.

    The GOP seemed certain to pick up three seats where Democratic senators are retiring: in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana.

    Republicans were bullish in Arkansas, where freshman Rep. Tom Cotton aimed to oust two-term Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. They felt almost as optimistic about ousting Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana – although a Dec. 6 runoff seemed likely. First-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska was another top target.

    Victories in those six states would give Republicans the Senate majority, provided they don’t lose any seats they now hold. Their biggest worries in that regard were in Georgia and Kansas.

    In Georgia, where GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring, Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue were locked in a tight battle.

    In Kansas, three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts was scrambling to fend off independent candidate Greg Orman, who had persuaded the Democrat to leave the race and help him consolidate anti-Roberts sentiment. Orman hasn’t said which party he will caucus with, however, so a Roberts loss doesn’t automatically endanger the GOP’s chances.

    Elsewhere, contests for Democratic-held seats in three closely divided states could prove crucial.

    In North Carolina, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan was facing state House speaker Thom Tillis. The race set records for campaign spending, with airwaves drenched in political ads. Obama carried North Carolina in 2008, and lost it in 2012.

    In Colorado, first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Udall faced a strong challenge from GOP Rep. Cory Gardner. In New Hampshire, Democrats said they believed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen could hold off Republican Scott Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts.

    Few campaigns were as feisty and close as Iowa’s, where longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring.

    Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst was facing Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in a race that featured TV ads about castrating hogs, and a leaked fundraising video from Texas.

    Barring a GOP wave, it’s possible that control of the Senate won’t be known for days or even weeks.

    Slow vote counts in Alaska could make Republican Dan Sullivan’s challenge against Begich too close to call for a while. In Louisiana, many expect a Dec. 6 runoff between Landrieu and GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy. And a Jan. 6 Georgia runoff between Perdue and Nunn also was possible.

    If a runoff — or a vote recount in any closely contested state — will determine which party controls the Senate, the spending and politicking will be extraordinary.

    A Republican takeover of the Senate would be huge politically, but its impact on governing is unclear. Even with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, many of the dynamics that have fed federal gridlock for years would still be present.

    Obama could veto legislation passed by a Republican-controlled Congress. And Senate Democrats, if relegated to the minority, could use the filibuster to thwart scores of GOP initiatives, just as Republicans have done to the Democrats for years.

    A new Republican Senate majority could be short-lived. The 2016 Senate election map heavily favors Democrats, just as this year’s map was ideal for Republicans.

    In 2016, Republicans will be defending seats in seven states that Obama won, and in another three closely divided states. Most of the nine Democrats on the ballot will be solid favorites.

    The post McConnell wins Kentucky as GOP bids for Senate majority appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

    Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

    A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Kansas’ ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the AP reports. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has ordered the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, pending the outcome of a lawsuit seeking to permanently overturn the ban. Crabtree’s ruling will go into effect on Nov. 11. The one-week delay gives the state time to appeal, which Kansas Assistant Attorney General Steve Fabert has said the state will do.

    Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay marriage, clearing the way for the expansion of same-sex unions. The ACLU sued on behalf of two lesbian couples to have Kansas’ ban overturned.

    A statement on the website of the LGBT rights group, the Kansas Equality Coalition read: “This is the victory we’ve been hoping for, but we still have another week, at least, to wait.”

    The post Federal judge rules Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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