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

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    newswrap

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    GWEN IFILL: The Cleveland Police Department today released surveillance video of the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old-boy by one of its officers. It showed Tamir Rice brandishing what looked like a gun on a playground. The two police officers who responded to the scene on Saturday say they ordered him to raise his hands three times before he was shot. There was no audio on the tape. It was later determined the boy was carrying a pellet gun. The police department released the video after the victim’s family gave approval.

    EDWARD TOMBA, Cleveland Deputy Police Chief: This is not an effort to common rate. It’s not an effort to show the public that anybody did anything wrong. This is an obvious tragic event where a young member of our community lost their life. We have got two officers that were out there protecting the public that just had to, you know, do something that nobody wants to do.

    GWEN IFILL: Both officers who responded to the incident are now on administrative leave and an investigation is ongoing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Obama administration announced new steps to curb emissions of ozone, which leads to smog pollution. The proposed regulation lowers the permissible threshold to a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion, at a cost to businesses of between $4 billion and $15 billion. Environmentalists and public health advocates praised the move. Manufacturers and the fossil fuel industry called it too expensive.

    GWEN IFILL: Police in Hong Kong launched a major crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations today, arresting 150 people. Among those detained were student protest leaders. Police also cleared metal barricades and tents in one of the largest protest zones.

    And there were clashes. Hundreds of riot police scuffled with demonstrators calling for free elections. The rallies have paralyzed the area for two months.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Yemen, U.S. commandos helped security forces in a rescue mission to free eight hostages who were held by al-Qaida militants in a cave. The New York Times first reported the story, and said about two dozen American special operations forces were involved. A member of Yemen’s special forces who took part in the raid said the U.S. participated because an American and British citizen were thought to be in the cave as well. They were moved out before the operation.

    GWEN IFILL: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a stent implanted in her heart this morning to clear a blocked artery. A court spokeswoman said Ginsburg went to a Washington hospital last night after feeling some discomfort during an exercise session with her personal trainer. The 81-year-old is also a colorectal and pancreatic cancer survivor. She’s expected to be released in the next 48 hours, and back at work Monday to hear oral arguments.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: American consumers are more upbeat about their financial well-being heading into the holiday shopping season. A University of Michigan index showed consumer sentiment rose to its highest level since 2007.

    That optimism prevailed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 12 points to close above 17827. The Nasdaq rose 29 points to close at 4787. The S&P 500 was up more than five points to close above 2072.

    The post News Wrap: Cleveland police release video showing fatal shooting of 12-year-old appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Anger over Monday’s grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown continued to reverberate today. Protests continued across the country and in the Saint Louis area, where, this afternoon, 100 additional officers were called in to protect City Hall.

    PROTESTERS: This is what democracy looks like.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The day of demonstrations started peacefully in Saint Louis, but once protesters turned their sights on City Hall’s entrance, riot police swarmed in.

    PROTESTER: Who is this for?

    PROTESTERS: Mike Brown!

    PROTESTER: Who is this for?

    PROTESTERS: Me!

    PROTESTER: Who is this for?

    PROTESTERS: You!

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Still, in San Diego and other cities, protests remained largely calm, as did gatherings in New York City and Washington, D.C., last night.

    WOMAN: It’s not just an individualized incident. This happens every 28 hours. A black person is killed by police every 28 hours in America.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But in, Oakland, California, police made several arrests after protesters blocked highways and vandalized squad cars and local businesses.

    MAN: Standing in the street is subject to arrest. You need to disperse now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And back in Ferguson, protesters returned to the riot-scarred streets. The demonstrations were far lass destructive than Monday evening, thanks largely to hundreds of additional National Guard troops deployed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Officers still used tear gas and pepper spray to counter volleys from some.

    JON BELMAR, Chief, St. Louis County Police Department: Rocks, bottles, a socket extension, it looks like broken tent poles that were hurled at the officers.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:
    Protesters also set a police car on fire and smashed windows at city hall.

    MAN: It was like watching a movie. So it’s just a dangerous situation, man. Try to stay out the way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This as more details emerged of the shooting that started it all.

    DARREN WILSON: There’s not a cop out there who goes out there and they’re like, you know, I’m going to use my gun today. No one wants to.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Officer Wilson told his side of the story to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos yesterday.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You described Michael Brown, when you saw him in that moment in the car, as a demon. Do you know where that word came from?

    DARREN WILSON: It was just such a high level of intensity and aggression and anger.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re positive you would have that exact same reaction if he were white?

    DARREN WILSON: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In an interview today with PBS’ Charlie Rose, Michael Brown’s parents reflected on their loss.

    CHARLIE ROSE: To lose your son that way and to know that his body lay there for four hours on the street, what’s at the core here?

    LESLEY MCSPADDEN, Brown’s mother: We deserve equal amount of respect, and we’re not getting it.

    CHARLIE ROSE: How can you become whole again?

    MICHAEL BROWN SR., Brown’s father: That was my first, spent a lot of time together. It just — just broke me. It broke me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Brown family could still file a wrongful death suit against Wilson.

    We will talk further about how this incident is exacerbating the racial divide in this country just after the rest of today’s headlines.

    The post More officers called in to guard St. Louis City Hall as protests continue – Part 1 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama spent a quiet Thanksgiving at the White House where the belly-stuffing menu featured all the holiday’s basics.

    There was thyme-roasted turkey and honey-baked ham, cornbread stuffing and oyster stuffing, braised winter greens and macaroni and cheese. Don’t forget the green bean casserole, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls.

    If there was room for dessert, the Obamas had their pick from among six pies: banana cream, coconut cream, pumpkin, apple, pecan and cherry.

    The president prefers pumpkin.

    “The proper way to eat your pie is you should have just a little whipped cream on top,” he told ABC’s Robin Roberts during a pre-Thanksgiving pie-tasting with Michelle Obama in the White House kitchen.

    “We go all out on pies. We don’t play with pie,” he said, leading the first lady to respond: “I mean, this is why you work out every day.”

    During their conversation with Roberts, set to air Thursday night as part of a special, “Thank You, America,” the president joked that his wife “never lets me share dessert.”

    “‘Cause he eats it like that,” Mrs. Obama said. “Look, the crust is gone. Everything that makes a pie delicious is gone in his one bite!”

    The president said in his weekly radio and Internet address that the first family planned to spend the day with friends and family — catching up, eating good food and watching some football.

    He said Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday “because, more than any other, it is uniquely American.”

    The post First family Thanksgiving includes oyster stuffing, six kinds of pie appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Flickr user Pete D.

    Photo by Flickr user Pete D.

    No, this isn’t a story about how the cost of your Thanksgiving dinner went up this year. It didn’t.

    Unless, of course, you decided to upgrade from a Butterball turkey, at supermarket prices, to a free range turkey, like the ones raised at the Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Sterling, Connecticut. They sell for $4.49 a pound.

    A family business, the farm makes 50 percent of its money in just one short week of the year. And as Paul Solman reported Wednesday, there’s internal dispute — like in any business — about what direction they should be going in. Expand to hopefully make more money, as farmer Rick Hermonot is pushing for? Or keep it manageable? “Money isn’t everything,” says Elena Hermonot, who runs the business with her husband.

    Money wasn’t everything to the Native Americans who dined with the pilgrims 393 years ago either. Last year, Making Sen$e went back to 1621, to the very first Thanksgiving.

    Paul Solman reported from the Wampanoag Homesite at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he sipped venison stew from Native Americans and inspected three-penny knives with British merchants eager to barter for deer pelts to sell in London.

    What emerged from Paul’s time travel was a distinctinction between two models of economic exchange. On the one hand, the settlers traded to profit so that they could pay back their investors, and hopefully, reinvest in Plymouth. But the native people didn’t have the same concept of property ownership as the settlers. “You weren’t trying to make a profit or look better than anybody else. If you took more than everybody else, people in the community wouldn’t have liked that,” said Tim Turner, of Plimoth Plantation. The native people saw exchange more akin to gift-giving.

    “Indian giver.” That expression — and its pejorative connotation that someone gave a gift they want back — always intrigued Lewis Hyde, author of the 1983 classic “The Gift.” Researching his book, however, he discovered it meant much more than that. “The key difference between gift exchange and commercial exchange is the gift exchange sets up a connection,” he told Paul. “Particularly if I feel grateful for the gift you have given me, I may want to do something in return. And this begins to set up a relationship between you and me.”

    Hyde, who accompanied Paul to Plimoth Plantation last year, on what was the 30th anniversary of the publication of his book, expanded upon his thesis on the Making Sen$e page last Thanksgiving.

    ***

    As a gift to our readers on this Thanksgiving, check out NewsHour’s Facebook page to see Paul Solman get up close and personal with some fowl friends. Find more of our content on Making Sen$e’s Facebook page.

    NewsHour still image.

    NewsHour still image.

    The post The economics of Thanksgiving from 1621 to 2014 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Afghan security officials inspect the site of a suicide bomb attack on a British embassy vehicle on November 27, 2014 in Kabul, Afghanistan. According to Afghan authorities, at least five civilians and a foreigner were killed and more than 30 others were wounded in the incident. Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Afghan security officials inspect the site of a suicide bomb attack on a British embassy vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    A suicide bomber attacked a British embassy vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday morning, killing five and injuring more than 30. Later that day, a second attack on a foreign compound by two suicide bombers left two more foreigners injured.

    While no British diplomats were on board the vehicle in the earlier bombing, one British citizen and four Afghan civilians were killed. In the later attack, bombers targeted a compound housing the International Relief and Development, an American-based organization located in an upscale area home to many other foreign organizations. An hour-long gun fight between Afghan security forces and gunmen that flooded the area followed the attack, leaving two of the gunmen dead and two foreigners injured, according to Reuters.

    The bombings are the most recent in a series of attacks on foreigners, the Washington Post said, as international troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

    The Taliban has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attacks in addition to others in recent weeks, including one earlier this week that killed two American soldiers in a similar fashion. All of the recent attacks have been in Kabul, the country’s capital.

    The post Two Taliban attacks in Kabul leave five dead, many more injured appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    What are people thankful for this Thanksgiving? A wide variety of things, according to Facebook.

    The Facebook Data Science team compiled “anonymized, aggregate data” from the status updates of users in the United States — drawing from entries that participated in a status challenge asking friends and families to share what they are most thankful for.


    • In the data gathered — listed overall and by gender — it appears people were most thankful for other people. Looking at the data as a whole, overall users listed they were thankful for were “friends,” followed by “family” at number two, and “friends and family” at number four. “Health” and “job” rounded out the top five.
    • Image by Facebook Data Science

      Image by Facebook Data Science

  • When broken down by gender, Facebook discovered that 90 percent of users who participated in the challenge identified as female. Categories of people (colored as blue in the charts) again shined through as the object of thanks in status updates. Despite the overall female skew of the data, the team clarified that it was “unlikely that women are actually more grateful than men.”
  • Image by Facebook Data Science

    Image by Facebook Data Science

  • While the female-focused data proved to be a close contest for a winner, data collected from users identifying as male turned out to be a landslide. A large majority of men listed they were grateful for their wives more than anything else.
  • Image by Facebook Data Science

    Image by Facebook Data Science

  • The data team also broke down the results by state, showing what the majority of users in each state said they were most thankful for. While several states were thankful for things such as sunsets, electricity, God and rain, social media also made a strong showing, with YouTube winning the hearts of Californians and Virginians.
  • Image by Facebook Data Science

    Image by Facebook Data Science

    The post Hawaiians thankful for rainbows, men most thankful for their wives, according to Facebook appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    This Thanksgiving Day, you might stuff your face with turkey and pumpkin pie or curl up on the couch to watch football. Every family has their own tradition, but what are American lawmakers up to this turkey day?

    Some volunteer in their communities…

    Or abroad with the troops.

    Some fry their bird…

    Or just spend time with their family.

    Others play games…

    Or burn calories…

    Or go fishing.

    And some reminisce about bygone turkey days…

    The post How are politicians spending their Thanksgiving? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    fishtale

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now a story that comes to us via our network of Student Reporting Labs around the country.

    Meri DeMarois of the University of Montana and her mentor, Anna Rau of Montana PBS, look at the dangers of illegal fish dumping in that region’s rivers and what is being done to protect Montana’s celebrated fishing traditions.

    CAREY SCHMIDT, Fisherman: Montana’s a special place with these rivers. Trout fishing is part of our heritage, and especially, you know, native trout, like the Westslope cutthroat or the Yellowstone cutthroat or bull trout. I think catching those fish is just really special. It really connects you to the river and to the — to, you know, a part of Montana’s past.

    MERI DEMAROIS, University of Montana: Carey Schmidt began fishing in Montana as a child. Today, he is a busy lawyer and father, but he tries to get on the river as much as possible to enjoy native fish species.

    CAREY SCHMIDT: I think trout are just a really charismatic species that people want to come to Montana to catch. If they don’t find trout, they’re not going to come here.

    MERI DEMAROIS: Schmidt has reason to be concerned, because, beneath the surface, there’s more going on that could affect fishing in the state. People are illegally dumping new fish species like northern pike, walleye, and lake trout into Montana’s waters.

    BRUCE FARLING, Executive Director, Montana Trout Unlimited: Now, what’s happening now, with the illegal introductions, is we have people who aren’t professional biologists. We have people who are going out there at night, thinking they know better.

    MERI DEMAROIS: Bruce Farling is the executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited, a nonprofit conservation organization. He says professional biologists introduce fish that will hopefully restore and maintain ecosystems, while bucket biologists are dumping in species they would like to fish for.

    BRUCE FARLING: Those are professional fishery biologists, and so they understand the biological implications of putting something in a particular place.

    There are certain laws they have to follow. They just don’t do it at 2:00 in the morning, when it’s dark, with a bucket, and not tell anybody.

    LISA EBY, University of Montana: It’s not good for maintaining sort of species diversity. It can have impacts on the whole aquatic ecosystem.

    MERI DEMAROIS: University of Montana associate professor of wildlife biology Lisa Eby uses the example of lake trout that were illegally dumped into Yellowstone Lake in the nineties. The new fish ate the native cutthroat trout. Yellowstone Park managers discovered a precipitous drop in the number of spawning native cutthroats from 18,000 in 1998 to just 241 in 2008.

    LISA EBY: The fact that the cutthroat populations are very low now, that they don’t move upstream to spawn, it’s changed the distribution of osprey and other fish-eating birds. It’s changed the distribution of how and where grizzly bears can feed in the system. So, certainly, you can have a lot of effects of just a single introduction.

    BRUCE FARLING: This, in my view, is one of the most serious problems we have in the state of Montana right now from a fisheries perspective, and how fisheries relate to our economy.

     

    MERI DEMAROIS: According to Farling, recreational angling in Montana generates about $300 million per year. Anglers spend about $40 million annually on gear.

    BRUCE FARLING: There’s more anglers per capita in Montana than any other state in the country. I mean, it’s what we do here.

    MERI DEMAROIS: Farling and Montana Trout Unlimited are hoping a $10,000 reward will snag some of these culprits. They would also like to see stiffer penalties, because, oftentimes, the damage is permanent.

    PAT SAFFEL, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: You got to be really lucky to get it early enough to do anything about it. And quite often, by the time we learn about it, it’s too late.

    MERI DEMAROIS: Fish, Wildlife and Parks Regional Fisheries manager Pat Saffel says they have been doing all they can to prevent illegal introductions, including boat check stations to make sure people aren’t bringing in any invasive organisms, and educating the public about the issue.

    Eby says there are ways to try and get rid of invasive species.

    LISA EBY: There’s a lot of eradication, whether it’s chemical or mechanical or physical removal of fish, but it’s always very difficult.

    MERI DEMAROIS: It’s not just Montana and its trout, though. Eby says invasive species of all kinds are a very large problem across the globe, whether the introduction is accidental or on purpose.

    LISA EBY: So, I would argue, from disease, to mussels, to fish, to plants, it’s something that every state in every country is dealing with.

    BRUCE FARLING: We have looked at a little bit what is occurring in other places. And it’s a really hard thing to get a handle on, and everybody is essentially scrambling the way we are here.

    MERI DEMAROIS: Farling believes it’s important to look for solutions, so the fishing tradition can continue to be passed down from one generation to another.

    BRUCE FARLING: They show up one day and those trout that they caught from when they were kids have been eaten, or, you know, some other species that they have always had expectations would be there are gone because of essentially vandalism in a lot of way. People are doing it illegally.

    CAREY SCHMIDT: You know, it makes me sad. You know, obviously, I would like to, you know, share experiences, you know, with my kids. And having those shared experiences talking about trout, it’s important. I want them to be able to go to some of the places that I have fished.

    MERI DEMAROIS: This has been Meri DeMarois reporting for the “PBS NewsHour” and Montana PBS.

    The post Stopping illegal fish dumping in Montana before it’s too late appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    capitol

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It turns out that data may also have a role to play in politics.

    As everyone knows, Republicans and Democrats are as far apart as ever these days, especially after this month’s midterm elections.  But some are trying to change that.  A bipartisan group of authors has written a new book, “Money ball for Government,” a data-driven approach to policy-making endorsed by key players on both sides of the aisle, including two current U.S. senators, former White House staffers and policy experts.

    Gwen Fill recently spoke to two of the book’s contributors.  John Bridgeland, he’s a former domestic policy adviser for President George W. Bush, and Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Obama and Clinton.

    GWEN IFILL: Gene Sperling, John Bridgeland, Republican and Democrat sitting next to each other talking about how to fix government.

    One of the interesting things in this book “Moneyball for Government,” John Bridgeland, is you describe as playing tee-ball in a sandlot, that you don’t keep score, you don’t know what inning it is, and everybody gets a trophy.

    JOHN BRIDGELAND, Domestic Policy Adviser for President George W. Bush: Yes.

    GWEN IFILL: How is government policy like that?

    JOHN BRIDGELAND: It’s a remarkable thing, Gwen.  Less than one dollar out of every hundred of federal domestic spending is backed by even the most basic evidence.

    In fact, government managers of programs across the federal government, only 37 percent tell us that they have significant evaluations over the last five years for their programs.  So government is basically flying blind when it comes to government spending.

    And Gene and I and a bipartisan group of domestic, economic and budget policy advisers across three administrations want to bring a culture of evidence-based policy-making to our federal departments and agencies and the Congress.

    GWEN IFILL: Gene, this reminds me of covering the Clinton administration, of which you were a part, and Al Gore was tasked with reinventing government, which seemed like a big thing to bite off.  And now we’re calling to reinvent government again, aren’t we?

    GENE SPERLING, Director of the National Economic Council for Presidents Obama and Clinton: Well, I think there’s a special focus here.

    I think that there’s a lot of different ways to reinvent government and I think there’s focus on being more customer-friendly, customer-oriented.

    But I think what this is trying to say is to create that culture that you are always trying to, when you’re making policy, ask, where is the best evidence, make sure you are doing those evaluations.  Look, most people are doing very good things in public service and programs are doing — a lot of programs are doing very well.  Just because there’s not evidence base doesn’t mean they’re not doing the things.

    But it does mean that we may not be learning the most or doing the most effective things.

    GWEN IFILL: The term Moneyball, we should explain, came from the Michael Lewis book and the movie with Brad Pitt that we remember in which the Oakland A’s remade their team by just looking dispassionately at numbers, and rather than add talent or any kind of the things they couldn’t measure.  Measurables.

    JOHN BRIDGELAND: That’s right.

    GWEN IFILL: But it seems that, in Washington, measurables are used to stop things.  It depends on whose measurable you use.  Right?

    JOHN BRIDGELAND: Yes.

    Actually, Gene makes a really good point.  Out of the new markets initiative in the Clinton administration, they created youth opportunity grants to deal with this highly vulnerable population of 16-to-24-year-olds who cost taxpayers $93 billion if they don’t reconnect to school and employment every year.

    And this program didn’t have any evaluation at the time, and it was a very innovative program.  And in the next few years, it was cut by the Congress, completely eliminated.  And a few years later, there was an independent evaluation showing that it had extraordinary outcomes in boosting employment, reconnection to school and work for the most vulnerable young people on tribal lands, rural areas and in cities.

    So that was a good example of Gene’s point.  We can’t just have an on/off switch.  What we’re trying to do is build an environment of continuous learning, and building up the evidence base, and then to support those efforts that are effective.

    GWEN IFILL: In this political environment, how do you stop everyone from lunging from the off-switch? I have evidence that proves this shouldn’t happen, end of discussion.

    GENE SPERLING: Well, I think that that does happen, and I think that’s unfortunate.

    And I think then, in that case, what’s happening is people are really just staying with an ideological view, and they’re just trying to use a piece of evidence to say, we shouldn’t even make that area a mission of ours.

    I think what people like John and I think is that there’s — there are things that are important things we as a country should be doing on youth poverty, on early childhood, on worker training.  And we’re not looking for an on or off switch to say, if one study doesn’t work, you give up the mission, but to learn.

    And I think the example — you know, my sister is a professor of immunology near Chicago.  When they’re doing experiments, they don’t say, oh, that didn’t work, let’s give up as a country on finding a cure for cancer or for AIDS.  But they learn from it.

    It needs to not be an on and off switch.  It needs be a tool for getting smarter and wiser in things that we should have a shared mission of accomplishing.

    GWEN IFILL: Let me cite a timely example.

    So the Tea Party movement has said they want a more efficient government, which sounds kind of what you’re saying, but their interpretation of efficient might be the government should stay out of immigration reform, for instance.

    JOHN BRIDGELAND: There are examples, like the Even Start Family Literacy Program, that multiple evaluations over time showed actually had no positive effect on the young people they were trying to boost the literacy rates for.

    And so Congress went on to spend more than a billion dollars over the next eight years on this program.  And we think of the opportunity costs and…

    GWEN IFILL: So, sometimes, government should stay out of it?

    JOHN BRIDGELAND: Those funds should have been redirected.  Eventually, the program was eliminated.  It should have been eliminated eight years ago.

    So there are good examples when there are clear — there’s clear evidence that a program should be shut down.  On immigration, I think we’re having, you know, a process debate and a substantive debate.

    And I will leave the process debate aside, but on the substantive side, “Moneyball for Government” would cause us to think about not only how could we secure our border and enforce our immigration laws in a more cost-effective way, but also, how do we bring the millions of people out of the shadows who have been working hard in this country doing jobs that many others wouldn’t do, and been law-abiding, and to do it in a way that brings evidence to what’s the effect on the economy, what’s the effect on local communities, what’s the effect on our culture and our heritage?

    And I think that kind of approach could reinvigorate a debate around the substance on immigration policy.

    GWEN IFILL: You’re very — you’re optimistic that you can talk about the substance, rather than the process, on these — these issues which so tie us up?

    GENE SPERLING: I think evidence is best when, unlike the program he’s talking about, we — if that’s used, that one’s program didn’t work, to say, well, let’s not worry about helping children who are poor, making sure they get a fair start.

    But if it’s used to say, that’s a worthy mission, but there are other interventions that were better, then I think that is the right way to use things.  Where, in the immigration debate, I think it’s been very helpful is, there were a lot of assumptions made that immigrants were going to displace American workers, that immigrants were going to put downward pressure on jobs.

    The overwhelming amount of evidence shows that’s not the case.  But, now, there are a couple of studies that say maybe it does affect people who don’t have a high school education.  Well, that wouldn’t necessarily mean you would be against immigration, but you might say, as you’re doing immigration, that you might want to complement that with increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit or something that might deal with some of the people who are — who might bear some negative consequences.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, at a time when most Americans are pretty pessimistic about what government can and cannot get done, here is an optimistic contribution to the dialogue, “Moneyball for Government.”

    Thank you, Gene Sperling and John Bridgeland.

    JOHN BRIDGELAND: Thank you, Gwen.

    GENE SPERLING: Thank you.

    JOHN BRIDGELAND: Nice to be with you.

    The post Using a numbers-based approach to end political gridlock in ‘Moneyball for Government’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Protesters run from a cloud of tear gas in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo Jim Young / REUTERS

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As we saw earlier in today’s protests around the country, the fallout from the Ferguson decision continues to reverberate.  The shooting, the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and the subsequent protests have all led to difficult discussions in many homes and communities, including among teachers and students in schools.

    Jeffrey Brown talked to two people with advice for how to handle these talks.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Back in August, Marcia Chatelain, a history professor at Georgetown University, started a conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #FergusonSyllabus.  It quickly grew into a way for teachers around the country to share thoughts, resources and strategies to address events in Ferguson in their classrooms.

    In the last few days, that conversation has again taken off, with several thousand contributors.

    Marcia Chatelain joins me now.  And also with us is Liz Collins, one of the teachers who joined in the conversation.  She teaches English at the Washington Latin Public Charter School here in Washington, D.C.

    And welcome to both of you.

    So, Marcia Chatelain, how did this come about? What did you see happening?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN, Georgetown University: Well, I was — like a lot of Americans, I was watching television every day and looking at the unrest in Ferguson unfold.

    And all I could think about were all the kids who weren’t going to be at school on the first day because of what had happened.  And so, initially, I started a conversation on Twitter to get other college professors to dedicate the first day of classes to talking about Ferguson.

    And as I started to communicate with them on Twitter, people all across the country at all grade levels really wanted in on this conversation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: There was a hunger for it.

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: There — absolutely.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    And what — and what kind of conversation among teachers did it lead to?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: Well, initially, the conversation was, what do I teach?

    And then it grew into, what do I say? How do I talk to students about issues that are contentious? How do I make sure that we reduce conflict in the classroom and really focus on what’s important? And so what #FergusonSyllabus has provided is an opportunity for teachers to not feel isolated or alone in this process.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Tell us, Liz Collins, about — before we get into your classroom — about the conversation among teachers who you know how to deal with this.

    LIZ COLLINS, Washington Latin Public Charter School: I was really lucky, in that that was organized at my school.  We actually had faculty meetings set up to discuss it, where groups of us talked bout how we felt and about how we were going to teach it.

    Different disciplines had different approaches.  And I started using this #FergusonSyllabus Twitter account to get ideas about what to do in my classroom.  So, I was lucky that, as a faculty, we all shared ideas about what to do and how to approach this.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, first was, how do we feel?

    LIZ COLLINS: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And then, how do we teach it?

    LIZ COLLINS: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And then using the resources, what kind of — what — what unfolded in the classroom? What kinds of things were you able to do?

    LIZ COLLINS: Well, one thing that really interested me from that Twitter account was learning about the Missouri Compromise.  How did that affect what was going on? How did history change the context of what we’re looking at?

    And that was one thing I talked about the American history teacher with.  He gave me some perspective about how to use that in my classroom.  I teach English, so I was focusing primarily on text, on media, on facts and interpretation and how can we discuss these things and determine what the truth is, whatever the truth — if that’s possible to determine, and the different perspectives.  How do the protesters feel? How do the police feel? Just looking at different views in the classroom.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, is that — what other kind of things? That’s history.  That’s contemporary media.  What other kinds of things that were being passed around?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: Well, I think what was most exciting was that teachers in all disciplines wanted in on this conversation.

    And so some science teachers talked about tear gas and the health impacts of using tear gas on citizens.  I heard from a professor of fashion design who wanted to talk about the way that protest styles have influenced the shape of American fashion.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Really?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: Yes.  I heard from music teachers who said, we’re going to spend time looking at the elements of protest music and protest songs for different movements.

    And so I think what was most inspiring about #FergusonSyllabus is that it wasn’t the usual cast of characters who were having a conversation about race and about conflict and about policing, but people across all fields really wanted to engage their students thoughtfully.

    JEFFREY BROWN: You know, Liz Collins, you just said something a minute ago about determining the truth.

    When information is coming at us so quickly, especially in social media, there’s misinformation, right? How do you — how have you dealt with that?

    LIZ COLLINS: That’s so tricky and something that teenagers deal with all the time, because they love Twitter, and Facebook, and Instagram, and the information moves faster than the fact-checking.

    So, I think that’s an important lesson for them to learn across the board.  Just because you’re getting this information, who’s the source? How trustworthy is it? What’s that person or organization’s bias? What do they want you to think and why?

    And I think teaching them to challenge that and think about that goes beyond this issue, but also gives them a lens with which to approach this issue as more and more facts come out.  And every day, we’re learning more and more about what happened and having to sift through all those facts.  And I think teaching that skill is valuable in any subject and easily transferable.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What about, Marcia Chatelain, differences in ages? You have to deal with — teachers obviously have to deal with that, right?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: Right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, how do you deal with age-specific type of lessons?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: So, one of the things that was really important for me to do in this conversation is to say that some information is age-appropriate and also climate-appropriate.

    Every school isn’t the same.  Every school doesn’t want to delve into this issue in the same way.  And so for younger kids, I think we really needed to focus on feelings, what is it like when people are anxious or afraid or scared, and a lot of resources on children’s books that talk about emotions during times that are overwhelming.

    For slightly older kids, I think that the paradigm of fairness, what happens when people feel like something is unfair, what happens when people feel like their rights aren’t being respected, you can engage in that conversation.  And for older kids, I think that this is an amazing civic lesson about the various responsibilities people have in a community and what happens when that trust is broken.

    JEFFREY BROWN: I suppose, in every school, there’s the question of how much do the children already know, how much do we want to bring it into the — it sounds like, in your school, there was no question.  It was brought in as a conversation because it was there.

    LIZ COLLINS: There was no question at our school.

    And I know some schools have been nervous about talking about it, but we have a really strong foundation in talking about justice.  That’s really important at our school.  And we go from five to 12.  So there’s a whole range of different levels.  What do kids know? What can they handle?

    In my own classroom, we started with the KWL chart.  And so every teachers knows.  What do you want to know? What did you know? And then what do you want to learn when we’re done? So, we start with, what do you know? And how do you feel about it? How are you feeling right now?

    And you get a lot of misinformation out there, but you also get their feelings out.  Kids correct each other.  No, I heard that wasn’t true.  No, I don’t know.  And then when you read articles or learn more, they can correct the facts they initially had.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Have parents become part of this as well? What — what do you — what do you see as the role of parents in this, or what do you tell them?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: Well, I would tell parents, talk to your child, but especially listen to your child.  Listen more than talk.

    How do they feel? What do they think is going on? Listen to them as much as you can and get a sense of what they’re seeing and feeling.  In D.C., in our school population, we have a mix of different races.  And some students are taking this more personally than others and feel frightened or upset.

    And I think they need to be heard.  They need a place to express those feelings.  And that should happen at school.  It should also happen at home.  Their parents should give them that audience to talk about any feelings they have about this situation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Just finally, Marcia Chatelain, what — what — what do you — to the extent it’s a teaching moment, to use the cliche, and literally it’s a teaching moment here, what do you want to bring out? What do you hope comes out?

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: I hope what comes out is that nothing bad happens when we’re honest and when we talk to each other.

    Nothing terrible has happened because we have had an open conversation about race and about communities and policing.  And I also want to understand that we keep teaching because Ferguson is continually in the struggle and that, by bringing attention to what’s happening — happening in Ferguson, we give more power to our own communities to make the change that we want to see.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Marcia Chatelain, Liz Collins, thank you both very much.

    LIZ COLLINS: Thank you.

    MARCIA CHATELAIN: Thank you.

     

    The post How teachers can talk to students about Ferguson appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    frontlines

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Taliban carried out a series of attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul today. The insurgents have stepped up violence in recent weeks, as the U.S. continues to draw down its military presence there.

    It started with a Taliban suicide bombing against a British Embassy vehicle, killing five, including a British national. More than 30 people were hurt.

    MAN (through interpreter): People are wounded, even children. Someone’s eye was wounded. Another’s ear was missing. Wounded victims were everywhere.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Then, later in the evening, another explosion. This one targeted the headquarters of an American relief agency. It was followed by more than an hour of heavy gunfire echoing through the usually quiet diplomatic quarter. No one was killed in this second round of fighting, but a third attack, with reports of gunfire and explosions, continued late today.

    All this caps a violent week in Afghanistan. On Monday, two American soldiers were killed when their convoy was bombed by the Taliban. On Sunday, a suicide bomber targeted Afghan police officials at a volleyball tournament in Eastern Afghanistan. Sixty-one were killed, mostly civilians.

    The attacks come as the future U.S. military role in Afghanistan becomes clearer. Also on Sunday, the Parliament approved an agreement with the U.S. and NATO, permitting 12,000 foreign soldiers to stay in the country through next year.

    Parliament member Shukria Barakzai voted for the deal.

    SHUKRIA BARAKZAI, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan: I believe this is very important for the future of Afghanistan. If I want my kids and millions of other children to live in prosperity, we need a strong partnership between Afghanistan and the U.S.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In another move, the new Afghan government will allow U.S. special forces to again assist Afghan security in carrying out controversial nighttime raids.

    Meantime, as their mission continues, U.S. troops were able today to celebrate Thanksgiving.

    SOLDIER: I am definitely going to try to be home next year for Thanksgiving.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It is the 14th Thanksgiving that U.S. soldiers have marked in Afghanistan.

    For more on today’s attacks and other developments, we turn to New York Times correspondent Rod Nordland in Kabul. I spoke to him a short time ago by Skype.

    Rod Nordland, welcome.

    So it’s been a day of attacks by the Taliban, and the latest in a series of attacks that they have been making.

    ROD NORDLAND, The New York Times: That’s right.

    We had four attacks altogether today. Most of them were pretty minor. One was quite serious, killed five people, including a British bodyguard, I think, working for the British Embassy. And the frequency, although they weren’t — they weren’t — most of them weren’t very successful, the frequency of the attacks is something we haven’t seen in Kabul before for quite a long time.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How unusual for them to be going after the diplomatic quarter in Kabul?

    ROD NORDLAND: Pretty unusual. This is a pretty heavily guarded area, although, in the beginning of the year, there were a couple successful attacks here, one horrendous one in which they got into a restaurant only a couple blocks away from today’s attack, not even a couple blocks away, and killed 21 people, many of them foreign aid workers and diplomats.

    And then there was another attack on that same street in which a journalist was assassinated. But it is probably the most heavily guarded part of the city full of diplomats, journalists, aid groups and so on. So it’s quite worrisome.

    And it took a long time to subdue it. It was — it went on pretty much for five hours, three attackers, before they finally caught the last one just about an hour ago, actually.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Rod, we reported on the decision by the new president, President Ghani, to permit U.S. special forces to work with the Afghan forces in nighttime raids. How significant a move is that?

    ROD NORDLAND: I think it’s very significant.

    It changes a couple years of a contentious issue between the United States and its Afghan allies. President Karzai was very opposed to it. A lot of those attacks took place long after he ordered them to stop taking place. And it was just a huge bone of contention between the two countries. The Taliban are very concerned about it.

    It’s — according to the Americans, it’s the most effective weapon they have against Taliban leadership, hunting them down in their homes at night, when they’re most vulnerable. It also has led to some — some really serious accidents and mishaps that have had a lot of blowback publicly.

    And Karzai responded to that, and President Ghani seems to be more concerned about restoring a tool that’s very effective.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Rod, we also reported on, just in the last few days, the decision by the Obama administration to allow a larger — to have a larger number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan into 2015. How much difference is that expected to make?

    ROD NORDLAND: They’re still pretty small numbers that we’re talking about. Still, nobody thinks it’s going to be more than 12,500, including European and NATO troops, 9,800 Americans.

    Even if it bumps up a little bit from that, it’s still a pittance really compared to the sort of force levels we saw only two years ago, when there were 100,000 Americans and 140,000 total NATO.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Rod, I don’t know how often you’re able to talk with, spend time with U.S. troops there, but how do you read their mood, their morale these days? Do they feel, you think, they’re accomplishing what they were sent there to accomplish?

    ROD NORDLAND: I think there’s a lot of confusion.

    And, you know, I think a lot of people — a few months ago, we were really in — and even now to some extent — really in the kind of, “let’s get out of here and put this behind us” mode. And you still feel a lot of that.

    And although a lot of the troops that are here now will be gone by the end of the year and they’re very rapidly drawing it down, but there are some whose tours have just begin and will be going into next year. And I think there’s a feeling that this is really kind of America’s forgotten war.

    I feel that way, as a journalist, that it’s kind of the forgotten war, that even though we’re here covering it, people back home are not really that interested anymore. We do it as kind of a duty to keep people kind of informed, but I don’t feel this sort of great overwhelming interest and concern about it that we used to have.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I hear what you’re saying. And on a day when we with turn to the story because of the Taliban attacks in Kabul, that’s what caught everyone’s attention. And, unfortunately, it’s bad any day, but on Thanksgiving Day, it gets our — it certainly gets our attention.

    Rod Nordland reporting for us from Kabul, Afghanistan — Rod, we thank you.

    ROD NORDLAND: Pleasure.

     

    The post What’s behind the Taliban’s latest attacks in Kabul? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    shazammap

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The digital revolution has rocked the music business for more than a decade, changing the way we buy, play and discover new music.

    But it turns out digital technology is leaving an even deeper impression. Increasingly, the data that is created by all of this music streaming, buying and sharing is influencing the music that is being created.

    It’s all the subject of an article in this month’s issue of “The Atlantic.”  And as part of the “NewsHour”‘s partnership with them, we took a closer look.

    I traveled to New York City, which, as loud as ever, is still an important center of the music business.

    Drummer Zach Danziger of the band Mister Barrington has played for some of the greatest names of pop, including U2 and Mariah Carey. He now finds, like many consumers, there is almost too much choice in music.

    ZACH DANZIGER, Professional Drummer: The sheer mass of choices make it hard to actually sometimes dig in and get behind, like, a particular artist, because you’re, like, oh, I like that, but I want to hear these other 50.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Writer Derek Thompson spent the last six months researching the big data behind the music.

    So the title of this piece you have written is “The Shazam Effect.”  What does that mean?

    DEREK THOMPSON, The Atlantic: Shazam is this magical app that allows people to identify just about any song in the world, up to 30 million songs.

    What you do, essentially, you hear a song in a bar, in a restaurant, or on your television, and you pick up your smartphone and you press a button, and within seconds, the phone has identified the piece of music.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: More than 12 years old, this app is ancient in digital terms, predating the smartphone, streaming services and most of online social media. Shazam was somewhat of an accidental pioneer.

    WOMAN: Shazam.

    DEREK THOMPSON: So this tool that we use just to discover new music has become a tool that the music industry uses to shape the future pop music. And so that is the Shazam effect.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The company just celebrated its 15 billionth Shazam.

    I met with its CEO, Rich Riley.

    RICH RILEY, CEO, Shazam: If you were to go talk to a record label, they would say that standard internal procedure is to attach Shazam charts to your proposals, because we can really help them to help show when an artist is connecting with the audience.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re really in a position to predict what’s going to be a hit?

    RICH RILEY: If it moves up the charts, it’s a really strong signal for them that they have got a hit.

    DEREK THOMPSON: What they have been quietly building around the world is this seismograph of public opinion about music, because every single time that somebody in Brooklyn or Atlanta or Hyderabad, India, hears a song they want to know more about, they press the button and they say, “Shazam, tell me what this song is.”

    RICH RILEY: It’s a very strong signal of love and of intent, and of, I want to know what that is.

    DEREK THOMPSON: What that really tells the music industry that here are the songs that people are most interested in.

    RICH RILEY: I’m zooming in to Shazam’s hyper-local charts. And so this is our data showing — it shows where we are, in Midtown Manhattan. When you click on the icon, there’s the Manhattan chart for right now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the process of all the Shazaming, it seems the music we once listened to is now listening to us.

    And you’re saying consumers of music don’t really understand?

    DEREK THOMPSON: They’re not thinking to themselves, this piece of information is going to fly up into the sky, into the cloud and the music industry is going to use it to determine the next big hit.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Alex White is doing just that at his company, Next Big Sound.

    ALEX WHITE, CEO, Next Big Sound: We have built up this enormous data set to understand the trajectory that artists go through from complete obscurity to global superstardom.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The company develops algorithms which literally evaluate every online move fans take, a gold mine for talent scouts and artists themselves.

    ALEX WHITE: Within each site, say Instagram, for instance, there’s eight different metrics that you can track, numbers of photos posted, comments, likes, hearts. So, you should pay more attention to this metric or this source because it’s a strong leading indicator of your sales.

    ZACH DANZIGER: On our little scale, what we’re doing, a similar thing. We look at where people are buying what we’re doing. And it does inform us as to, you know, just what our next moves might be.

    SILVIO PIETROLUONGO, Vice President of Charts & Data Development, Billboard: Never has there been more of a consumer influence in how our charts reflect popular music.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Silvio Pietroluongo is vice president of charts and data development for Billboard, the original top 40 specialists.

    SILVIO PIETROLUONGO: We used to create our charts based on reports that were called in, but it was really just reported information from retailers and radio programmers as to what they claimed were their biggest songs and albums.

    DEREK THOMPSON: The deejays, the record store owners had every reason to lie, it turned out, because the deejays were often being paid by the music industry to pitch newer and newer songs.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In 1991, the Billboard top 100 transitioned from call-in to point-of-sales data.

    DEREK THOMPSON: Almost overnight, hip-hop and country just soared off the charts, and it became very clear that the hit men on the coast trying to predict the future of pop music were missing this urban music and the Southern — the Southern sound.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Another effect of the digital revolution is that an industry once based on turnover has now become more focused on the familiar.

    DEREK THOMPSON: And it’s also made the quality of music, the chord progressions inside of music more derivative. And so the side effect of big data in the music industry has been, I think, to make the product more repetitious.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So how do you explain that, that people want to hear what they already know, rather than having any desire to explore something different?

    DEREK THOMPSON: The evolutionary psychologists’ explanation for this is, if I recognize it, it hasn’t killed me yet. The vast majority of people, what they want from pop culture is comfort food. They want to be relaxed. They want to turn off their brains.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Some believe all this big data is creating pressure that undermines creativity.

    Drummer Zach Danziger isn’t convinced it does.

    ZACH DANZIGER: I don’t buy into the thing that now everything sounds the same, because I think, within any genre, it was always that thing of, I want somebody who sounds like that, get me the next Michael Jackson.

    DEREK THOMPSON: The power of a number one hit has just exploded. The top 1 percent of artists now command 77 percent of all recorded revenue.

    ALEX WHITE: It’s only in the last year or so that major labels have started hiring research guys, someone whose whole job is to identify promising new talent based on data.

    RICH RILEY: What music can do uniquely is cut through the clutter.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Rich Riley is growing Shazam, moving the app into everything from movies to TV shows, even commercials.

    RICH RILEY: We can share with them 100,000 people Shazamed your ad. And people love that music, and this is a chance for you to deepen that engagement with that consumer.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: With their new customizable search tool find, Next Big Sound has come closer than ever to predicting the next big hit.

    ZACH DANZIGER: It’s a credit score for your professional career. Right?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Like credit scores, the new ratings by big data music companies can be painful to hear.

    ZACH DANZIGER: I don’t even want to hear those numbers.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Of course, Taylor Swift comes up in the “Epic” category, but even after 20 years playing with leading musicians, Zach Danziger still rates as “Undiscovered.”

    ZACH DANZIGER: The numbers were always driving the record business, and that won’t change, but, hopefully, creative music-making will have an honesty to it despite all that. And I think we’re still in a very good place with that.

     

     

     

    The post How the music industry uses big data to create the next big hit appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    By Oliver Rossi/Getty Images

    Siblings often disagree on the best approach to caring for aging loved ones. Mapping out a plan at the outset together can help. Photo by Oliver Rossi/Getty Images

    Caring for an aging parent alone is complicated. When your brothers and sisters are also involved, and when care, medical and financial decisions must be arrived at together as a team, caregiving can become even more complex. Your siblings can be enormously helpful and your best support. But in many families, they can also be a source of stress. No two families are ever alike.

    In this column, we’ll talk about how to identify the family dynamics that can impact shared caregiving, ways your siblings can help, how to increase your chances of getting that help, and how to deal with emotions that arise.

    A visit home. Often, around this time of year, adult children returning home for a visit realize for the first time that their parents are far more frail than they expected. Although Mom or Dad always report they are “just fine” when you make those weekly phone calls, during a visit, you realize that this is not the case. Your parents suddenly seem much older, and you see the memory lapses, or shortness of breath, wavering balance, multiple prescription containers, or other signals of waning health.

    Reactions differ among your siblings. Perhaps your sister, who lives two hours away, is angry that her mother is not the source of emotional support she used to be and doesn’t want to accept what she sees; your brother, who lives across the country and only gets home once a year, is stunned by changes he didn’t expect.

    You and your siblings talk in whispers about what should to be done to ensure Mom’s safety and care. There is no money for assisted living, even if your mother would agree to it. Someone needs to step up, to see what can be done, to make decisions, to find some help, or even to live with your Mom to keep her as safe and healthy as possible. And it’s determined, often by default, that one person — perhaps the one who lives the closest, or doesn’t have kids, or is the oldest — will take on the role of primary caregiver.

    Why sibling tensions can surface as parents need care

    People are living longer — but not necessarily in good health. Their adult children may be caring for them for years or even a decade or more. Siblings or step-siblings are coping with a major emotional passage that stirs up childhood feelings and conflicts. But it’s made more challenging when there’s no model for working together as a team to handle the practical, emotional and financial issues that go with caring for someone who is no longer able to be independent. Some families are able to work out differences; many others struggle.

    Consciously or unconsciously, needs arise for love, approval, or being seen as important or competent as a sibling. The disagreements now are over care for your parent: who does or doesn’t do it; how much; who’s in charge. At the same time, your parent is very aware — and most likely not happy — that he or she has become so dependent on you.

    To help your family navigate through this situation, we offer this advice:

    1. Think about, and talk about, family history and dynamics, and how they might affect caregiving. When we get together with our families, many of us tend to slip into our old roles. Maybe one person was the “responsible” one, one was the “social” one, one was the “helpless” one. But do those roles define you today? And more importantly, can you take a fresh look at who your siblings are now in the context of how these roles and assumptions can affect care for your parents?

    2. Consider that care for a parent is a shared responsibility. A key concern is who will be the primary care provider(s) and what support other family members can provide. Since this is a role that can progress to more than a full-time job, this is an important decision. Rather than letting assumptions become default decisions (e.g., Barbara is oldest so she will be in charge, or Max needs a place to stay, so he’ll take care of mom), really consider who is most able, willing, skilled, and emotionally prepared to fill this role. Then consider what other family members can contribute in time or money.

    3. To help reach the goal of effective shared decision-making, hold a family meeting. Family meetings are a way for siblings, parents and other concerned relatives or friends to try to clarify the situation, work out conflicts and set up a care plan that, ideally, all can agree upon. If the meeting is likely to be contentious, or if you want an experienced, objective voice to guide it, involve a facilitator such as a social worker, counselor, geriatric care manager or trusted outside party who will ensure that all participants have a chance to be heard. You may need more than one meeting. And although emotions might run high, it’s possible to conduct a productive meeting by following a few guidelines:

  • Set an agenda for the meeting and keep to it.
  • Focus on the here and now. Try not to bring up past or unrelated issues.
  • Share your feelings with siblings instead of making accusations.
  • Listen and respect the opinions of all participants. Give everyone time to speak.
  • Share all information. If possible, get a professional assessment of your parent’s condition from a doctor, social worker or geriatric care manager and send the report to all participants before the meeting.
  • As time goes by, use email, online care-sharing tools, conference calling and/or in-person family meetings to help keep everyone abreast of care issues and information.

    4. Understand and respect that your brothers and sisters might have different ideas about the care your parent needs. It’s hard to accept that your parent now need your help. Unless there’s a sudden crisis like a stroke, adjusting to this new reality takes time. Some adult children have to work through their denial that anything serious is wrong. Others might feel reluctant to get involved, fearing they are “meddling” in their parent’s life.

    Yet, to the primary caregiver, the person who is present day-to-day, it’s clear that his or her parent is less and less able to handle everyday needs. They see that Mom requires assistance with grocery shopping and cooking, that transportation and bill paying are problems, or advancing memory loss or fading eyesight or painful joints keep her from normal activities. Her needs are evident and most likely will become more intense.

    Working through differences: communication plays a critical role.

  • If you’ve held family meetings, everyone concerned should have a clear idea of the medical status of your parent. Focus on the facts.
  • REALLY listen to what your siblings have to say. Be willing to compromise and to try new solutions, as long as no one’s safety is jeopardized.
  • For the doubters, it may be helpful for them to spend a weekend or even a day as a sole caregiver, to get a first-hand view of the issues.
  • Be straightforward about financial issues. Finances are a key component in long-term caregiving, affecting where your parent lives, whether paid outside help is available, whether placement in a facility is a suitable or desirable option, or whether home care is manageable with family support. Overseeing bill-paying and dealing with Medicare and other health care bills is a job in itself, and can be delegated as such.
  • Let your siblings know that their help is needed and wanted (if, in fact, it is — see below). Be direct and specific about what tasks you need help with. Even if they live far away, siblings can help with finances, can provide virtual companionship to your parent with frequent phone calls and Skype, or can provide occasional respite or substitute care.
  • Keep communication lines open.
  • Tips for gaining the support of your siblings

  • Accept your siblings for who they are. Not everyone thinks, feels or acts the same way, especially when a situation is this emotionally charged. Try to keep your own expectations and expressions of “should” in check, and instead, strive to accept and work with your siblings’ personalities and abilities.
  • Be aware of how you ask for help. If you’re angry and frustrated when you’re talking with your siblings, it will come through in your voice. Their reaction will be defensiveness or anger. Likewise, making siblings feel guilty may lead to resentment and tension that will not be productive in solving the problems at hand.
  • Figure out what you really expect from your siblings. Do you think they should provide more hands-on care? Help with errands? Visits? A day or week of respite? Financial support? Help with decision-making? Analyze whether you’re able to give up control to allow a sibling to help you, or if you’re unconsciously communicating that you don’t trust the care that someone else provides.

    Some caregivers really don’t want help, or can’t rely on help from siblings who are undependable or unavailable. If you’re in this situation, admit it to yourself, accept that you’re on your own, and work to make the care as efficient as possible while still attending to your own health and well-being. If other relatives or friends are willing, ask for help from them or from religious communities your parent might have been involved in. Check for resources in your community. When people offer to help, say yes.

  • If what you really want is recognition and appreciation from your siblings for all that you do, you can ask for that. (You also need to express your own gratitude when you do get some help.)
  • Seek advice from someone outside the family. A mediator, social worker or geriatric care manager may help get past long-standing emotional roadblocks, family competition, controlling behavior, denial, or other issues interfering with successful resolutions.
  • Conflicts over legal, financial and inheritance issues.

    With Durable Powers of Attorney or an Advance Health Care Directive, your parents can designate who will be in charge if they become incapacitated. Sometimes this creates tension among the adult children. If at all possible, this should be discussed at a family meeting and clarified for everyone concerned. An advance directive will outline the types of care that your parent desires at end of life. With this information in writing, a difficult situation is made a little more tolerable.

    Some families compensate the primary caregiver for their work, particularly if he or she has cut back on employment to care for their parent. How much the compensation is and who pays it can be covered in a Personal Care Agreement, which is a written contract. This can be reviewed periodically to ensure it reflects any changes in care.

    If an inheritance is in question, or if someone feels they should get a larger portion of an inheritance because of their caregiving duties or other reasons, this is another source of potential conflict. Be aware that your parent’s will is his or hers to direct as they like, and is not necessarily representative of who was the “good” son or daughter or who did more or less for their parents.

    Sharing care among siblings is a reality that millions of Americans manage on a daily basis. By taking steps to foster positive communication and support one another as much as possible, the challenging role of providing care for elderly parents can be a fulfilling, rewarding experience, which ultimately can bring siblings closer together.


    More Information & Resources

    Eldercare Locator
    Locate Area Agencies on Aging and other resources
    (800) 677-1116
    www.eldercare.gov

    National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers
    3275 West Ina Road, Ste. 130
    Tucson, AZ 85741
    (520) 881-8008
    www.caremanager.org

    Lotsa Helping Hands
    A website to help you create, organize and stay in touch with your family, friends and care community.
    www.lotsahelpinghands.com

    Residential Care Search
    Listings by geographic area:
    directory.caregiver.org


    Long-Term Care Options Explored on PBS NewsHour:


    More Helpful Publications from Family Caregiver Alliance:


    About Family Caregiver Alliance

    Family Caregiver Alliance
    National Center on Caregiving
    785 Market Street, Suite 750
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 434-3388
    (800) 445-8106
    Website: www.caregiver.org
    E-mail: info@caregiver.org

    Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) offers an extensive online library of free educational materials for caregivers. The publications, webinars and videos offer families the kind of straightforward, practical help they need as they care for relatives with chronic or disabling health conditions.

    Family Care Navigator is FCA’s online directory of resources for caregivers in all 50 states. It includes information on government health and disability programs, legal resources, disease-specific organizations and more.

    The post A sibling’s guide to caring for aging parents appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Friends walk through a shopping area of Shanghai, China, on Nov. 22. Photo by Larisa Epatko

    Friends walk through a shopping area of Shanghai, China, on Nov. 22. Photo by Larisa Epatko

    If the gluttony of Black Friday spending in the United States makes you blue, China’s Singles’ Day might help put things in perspective.

    Singles’ Day, an pseudo-holiday in China on Nov. 11 (the date is composed of all single digit 1′s), was adopted in 2009 by Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, to celebrate the young and cash-flush.

    Like Black Friday held the day after Thanksgiving and its younger sibling Cyber Monday, businesses in China promote sales on Nov. 11 in the hopes of skyrocketing purchasing.

    The shopping spree day in China not only surpasses U.S. spending on Black Friday, it crushes it like the well-chiseled heel of a Jimmy Choo pump.

    This year, Singles Day yielded $9 billion in sales for Alibaba alone in the nation of 1.3 billion people, whereas Black Friday online purchases totaled $1.2 billion in the United States last year.

    The bargain blowout in China posed a problem for shipping all of the 278 million orders. Even with round-the-clock deliveries, some shoppers had to wait more than a week for their items.

    But still, the deep discounts and convenience of the packages arriving at your door — even if it was a few days longer than usual — attracted at least two students at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

    May Wang, 24, and Christine Wu, 21, said they indulged but were a little more practical-minded than their friends.

    Wu said she purchased some needed clothes. “I didn’t represent much of my classmates,” she said. “They bought some things they didn’t need, because there is this atmosphere that if my friends and parents bought something and I didn’t, I’d be left out.”

    Wang said she ordered some food staples for her mother. “I knew she would need to buy the food anyway, so I got it for her at a lower price.”

    Nothing for herself? “I did buy some cosmetics,” she said.

    This report was produced from a trip to China arranged by the National Press Foundation.

    Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect a corrected version of 2013 Black Friday sales figures.

    The post Black Friday is no match for China’s Singles’ Day appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Editor’s Note: If it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, it’s time for shopping in America.

    But the long lines, congested parking lots and aggressive bargain-hunters that we’ve come to associate with Black Friday, and now even Thanksgiving Day, don’t necessarily reflect what spending a Friday at the mall was intended to be.

    The enclosed mall, a one-stop shopping destination, may have evolved as a matter of suburban convenience, but early indoor malls in America were actually built with the idea of bringing European urbanity to America’s heartland. Austrian-born architect Victor Gruen designed America’s first indoor mall — the Southdale Mall — in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. With multiple levels of inward-facing stores sandwiched between competing department stores, it looks like any of the other indoor shopping malls in operation in America today.

    As Paul Solman reports on the NewsHour Friday, many indoor malls have closed and stand boarded up and abandoned, relics of a bygone “happy go-spending world.” NewsHour Weekend associate producer Tracy Wholf traveled back to that world when she visited the Southdale Mall earlier this year. Watch her report on the history of indoor malls, and Gruen’s philosophy in particular, above.

    – Simone Pathe, Making Sen$e Editor

    The post What did the shopping mall look like in 1956? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The President's daughter, Sasha Obama, holds back the family dog, Sunny, as the White House Christmas Tree is delivered to the White House Friday. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

    The President’s daughter, Sasha Obama, holds back the family dog, Sunny, as the White House Christmas Tree is delivered to the White House Friday. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — The White House Christmas tree has arrived.

    A horse-drawn wagon hauled it up the driveway to the North Portico on Friday morning.

    First lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and family dogs Bo and Sunny inspected the tree. They circled the wagon, smelled it and conferred with each other before the first lady said “We’re taking the tree.”

    The 20-foot white fir comes from a Pennsylvania tree farm.

    The tree will be trimmed in the Blue Room, where it will stand as the main attraction throughout the White House holiday season.

    The post Official Christmas tree arrives at White House appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

    That slow climb up the roller coaster tracks creates its own sense of dread. Photo by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

    Amusement parks used to scare the heck out of me. I worried I would get separated from my family. I worried my brother would not share a bite of his delicious funnel cake. I thought the teacups ride would make me nauseous — usually because of the funnel cake.

    Roller coasters were the worst.

    It took me some years to realize what I dreaded was not the steep drops and the sudden turns. It was the inevitability — the slow chug-a-lug to the top of the ride, knowing all along what was to come next — and that it could not be avoided.

    It is that same sense of inescapable dread that consumes me as often as I watch the slow buildup to predictable outcomes.

    By the time St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury’s decision not to indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who killed Michael Brown, the writing had long been on the wall. A state of emergency had been declared. Pastors and parents had called for peace. Legal experts had explained the jurors’ choices.

    It had gone on for 107 days.

    The buildup — that slow climb up the roller coaster tracks — had created its own sense of dread.

    So by the time Brown’s mother burst into tears and the city caught on fire, my stomach was already tight. No matter the outcome, there was sure to be tragedy all around.
    Fear of the inevitable — or exhaustion brought about by the certainty of it — takes a psychic toll in less tragic circumstances too.

    Political campaigns, for instance, can be an inexorable slog, even when you are convinced the outcome matters. But that’s easy to miss when all you want to do is watch a game show at the end of the day, and back-to-back campaign season political ads — cynical and ceaseless — ruin your evening.

    For political reporters, hearing a stimulating speech from a gifted candidate is exciting the first time (see roller coaster analogy), but listening to it again and again takes the sparkle out of the thing. I’m looking at you, Barack Obama … John Edwards … Bill Clinton …

    And watching Congress vote dozens of times to repeal this law or pass that bill drains all anticipation, because you know it will never matter to anyone except the people who make the political ads.

    Still and all, I cling to the optimism that allows me to cover the news. By definition, journalists are forced to root for unpredictable outcomes. That means we cover epidemics with the hope of a cure, legislation with the hope that there will be a law,riots with the hope of peace.

    In the meantime, we ride the roller coaster, dreading the slow ride uphill, savoring the peak and hoping for the thrill of accomplishment at the end.

    And give thanks for that.

    The post Gwen’s Take: Why I hate roller coasters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Early this morning, a lone gunman was shot and killed in downtown Austin, Texas, after firing more than 100 shots at government buildings and attempting to set the Mexican Consulate on fire. While the motives are unclear, the white male shooter, likely in his 50s, had a criminal record and a possible anti-government agenda, according to USA Today. The man’s name has not yet been released.

    The gunman began firing shots at the U.S courthouse and Austin Police Headquarters near Sixth Street, a popular area known for its bar scene, around 2 a.m. Friday. While typically well-populated as bars close, the street was relatively quiet from the Thanksgiving holiday and none of the gunman’s more than 100 shots fired hit any bystanders.

    A policeman putting away patrol horses outside the Austin Police Headquarters shot the suspect — while still holding the reins of the two horses — 10 minutes after the shooting spree began, although it’s still unclear if it was the policeman’s shot or a self-inflicted shot that killed the suspect.

    While little damage was done to the Mexican Consulate or the federal courthouse, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told the Associated Press that the police headquarters has been “extensively damaged.”

    The post Austin shooter killed by police targeted government buildings, Mexican consulate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Alan Turing and colleagues working on the Ferranti Mark I Computer, 1951. Photo by SSPL/Getty Images

    Alan Turing and colleagues working on the Ferranti Mark I Computer, 1951. Photo by SSPL/Getty Images

    An English mathematician, logician and cryptographer, Alan Turing was responsible for breaking the Nazi Enigma code during World War II. His work gave the Allies the edge they needed to win the war in Europe, and led to the creation of the computer. On the PBS NewsHour tonight, Jeffrey Brown interviews Benedict Cumberbatch about his role as Turing in “The Imitation Game.”

    Turing took his own life in 1954, two years after being outed as gay. Homosexuality was still a crime in Great Britain at the time, and Turing was convicted of “indecency.” He died from eating an apple laced with cyanide. He was only 41 years old.

    At the time of his death, the public had no idea what he had contributed to the war effort. Sixty years later, Queen Elizabeth II officially pardoned Turing.

    Andrew Hodges, a mathematician at the Mathematical Institute at Oxford University, wrote the biography “Alan Turing: The Enigma”, which inspired the film. We spoke with Hodges this week about some things many people don’t know about Turing.

    Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

    Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

    1. He was an Olympic-level runner

    He participated in a few sports, such as rowing, but he loved running. Turing had “a bit of a ‘smelly trainers’ aspect” to his personality,” Hodges said. To work it into his day, he often ran to the places he needed to go. He used to run the 10 miles between the two places where he did most of his work, the National Physical Laboratory and the electronics building on Dollis Hill, beating colleagues who took public transportation to the office.

    He joined running clubs, becoming a competitive amateur and winning several races. In 1948, his best marathon time was 2 hours 46 minutes 3 seconds — only 11 minutes slower than the Olympic winning time that year.

    When one of his running club members asked why he trained so vehemently, he replied, “I have such a stressful job that the only way I can get it out of my mind is by running hard.”

    2. He embodied some values of the Hippie movement

    “He was a hippie before his time,” Hodges said. “He was very casual in those days, and thought very scruffy.” Had he lived a few decades later, he would have worn t-shirts and jeans every day, Hodges added.

    It wasn’t uncommon to see Turing dressed rather shabbily, with bitten nails and without a tie, he said. With his youthful face, he was often mistaken for an undergraduate even in his 30s.

    He also shared the left-leaning views of many of his Kings College compatriots, who included economists John Maynard Keynes and Arthur Cecil Pigou. Though Turing joined the Anti-War Movement in 1933, he never got deeply involved in politics. But watching Hitler’s rise to power in the late 1930s scared him, Hodges said, and it spurred his interest in cryptography, which would later help Great Britain in the war.

    3. He got bad grades and frustrated his teachers

    Science was a considered a second-class pursuit in English public schools in the 1920s, Hodges said. Turing’s passion for science embarrassed his mother, who had hoped he would study the classics, which was the most acceptable pursuit for gentlemen.

    But he got bad to mediocre grades in school, followed by many complaints from his teachers. His English teacher wrote:

    “I can forgive his writing, though it is the worst I have ever seen, and I try to view tolerantly his unswerving inexactitude and slipshod, dirty, work, inconsistent though such inexactitude is in a utilitarian; but I cannot forgive the stupidity of his attitude towards sane discussion on the New Testament.”

    His math and science grades weren’t much better. He was nearly stopped from taking the national School Certificate exams on the subject, for fear he would fail.

    Pilot ACE, 1950, is one of Britain's earliest stored program computers and the oldest complete general purpose electronic computer. It was based on plans for a larger computer (the ACE) designed by the mathematician Alan Turing between 1945 and 1947. Photo by SSPL/Getty Images

    Pilot ACE, 1950, is one of Britain’s earliest stored program computers and the oldest complete general purpose electronic computer. It was based on plans for a larger computer (the ACE) designed by the mathematician Alan Turing between 1945 and 1947. Photo by SSPL/Getty Images

    4. The father of the computer also dabbled in physics, biology, chemistry and neurology

    Turing’s most notable work today is as a computer scientist. In 1936, he developed the idea for the Universal Turing Machine, the basis for the first computer. And he developed a test for artificial intelligence in 1950, which is still used today.

    But he also studied physics, especially as a young man. He read Einstein’s theory of relativity as a teenager, and immediately filled a notebook with his own thoughts and ideas on the subject. He dabbled in quantum mechanics, a new field at the time, as well as biology, chemistry and neurology after the war. Much of this work was related to creating machines that could learn and “think”, but some of it came out of simple curiosity about the world.

    5. He developed a new field of biology out of his fascination with daisies

    Even as a child, Turing saw life through the eyes of a scientist, Hodges said. There is a famous sketch of Turing as a boy “watching the daisies grow” while the other children play field hockey. That sketch would foreshadow Turing’s ground-breaking work in 1952 on morphogenesis, which became a completely new field of mathematical biology. It was a mathematical explanation of how things grow — a great mystery to science, Hodges explained. His work on the subject has been cited more than 8,000 times.

    The subject of one of his seminal papers on the topic was called “Outline of the Development of the Daisy.”

    Sculpture of Alan Turing in slate at Bletchley Park. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Jon Callas

    Sculpture of Alan Turing in slate at Bletchley Park. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Jon Callas

    6. He stuttered when talking

    It is true that he had a bit of a stammer, something dramatic portrayals of Turing have exaggerated, Hodges said. He “took his time finding the right words,” he explained. In his biography he notes that a BBC radio producer had called Turing a very difficult person to interview for that reason.

    7. He didn’t keep his sexuality a secret among friends

    The laws at the time prevented Turing from being openly gay, but he never kept his sexuality secret either. He was open with his social circles at Kings College in Cambridge, which was “an oasis of acceptance” at the time, Hodges said. Many people would have clung to that oasis, he said, but Turing branched out to continue his work.

    In 1952, he was arrested and charged with “indecency” after a brief relationship with another man. Defiant, he did not deny the charges.

    “When he was arrested, the first thing he said was he thought that this shouldn’t be against the law,” Hodges said. “He gave a statement that was unapologetic, that detailed what had happened.”

    8. He refused to let a punishment of chemical castration stop him from working

    The punishment for homosexuality was chemical castration, a series of hormone injections that left Turing impotent. It also caused gynecomastia, giving him breasts. But Turing refused to let the treatment sway him from his work, keeping up his lively spirit.

    “He dealt with it with as much humor and defiance as you could muster,” Hodges said. “To his close friends, it was obvious it was traumatic. But in no way did he just succumb and decline. He really fought back … by insisting on continuing work as if nothing had happened.”

    He openly talked about the trial, even in the “macho environment” of the computer lab. He mocked the law’s absurdity. In defiance, he traveled abroad to Norway and the Mediterranean, where the gay rights movements were budding.

    Homosexuality was considered a security risk at the time, and the conviction cost Turing his security clearance. That was a harsh blow, and Hodges believes that when he was restricted from leaving the country anymore, it ultimately led Turing to suicide.

    “After he’d been revealed as gay in 1952, he couldn’t do any more secret work,” Hodges said. “It would have been hard to accept that he was not trusted.”

    The post 8 things you didn’t know about Alan Turing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Detainees in the compliant camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Photo by Larisa Epatko

    Detainees in the compliant camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Photo by Larisa Epatko

    The United Nations criticized the United States over issues of torture, police malpractice and immigrant detention in a report issued today.

    After reviewing the recent use of history of torture in the United States, the United Nations Committee Against Torture expressed concern that the United States has not gone far enough in the “absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment” of detainees, held both domestically and abroad within detention centers at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Bagram, Afghanistan. The committee chastised the use of “indefinite detention without charge or trial” as well as “prolonged mental harm” on detainees because it is more difficult to monitor and measure than physical abuse and “undermines” international agreements and standards about how nations are suppose to hold prisoners.

    Furthermore, the committee demanded more transparency over the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of extraordinary rendition, secret detainment and enhanced interrogation techniques between 2001 and 2008 that “involved numerous human rights violations, including torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance of persons suspected of involvement in terrorism-related crimes” and had remained largely classified.

    The report also called into question the expanded use of “prison-like detention facilities, county jails and private prisons” for undocumented immigrants, saying that intake procedures often fail people who enter the United States seeking asylum. The committee recommended greater oversight and review over existing practices as well as working with communities to develop options for immigration detention, along with “progressively eliminating (family detention) completely.”

    Within the U.S. prison system, the committee said it was seriously concerned over incidents of sexual violence among inmates and prison staff, police brutality and the use of Tasers.

    The American Civil Liberties Union echoed the United Nations’ condemnation of torture.

    “The Obama administration needs to match its rhetoric with actions by supporting full accountability for torture,” said American Civil Liberties Union Human Rights Program Director Jamil Dakwar in a statement released today.

    The post UN condemns U.S. over torture, immigrant detainment and police malpractice appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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