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

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    Photo by Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

    Photo by Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The agency that failed to secure data on millions of federal workers is now being criticized by its own independent watchdog over a plan to modernize its aging computer networks.

    In a “flash audit,” issued Wednesday, the inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management raised “serious concerns” about a proposed $91 million computer overhaul, saying it had not followed management guidelines and granted a no-bid contract with a single vendor.

    Office spokesman Samuel Schumach said he was looking into the matter and did not have an immediate response.

    Office director Katherine Archuleta_a former school teacher who worked on President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign— told Congress this week that her agency’s computer systems were so old they needed an immediate modernization. The antiquated computer architecture, she asserted, was one reason hackers were able to infiltrate the system and make off with sensitive data on millions of federal workers and security clearance holders.

    Inspector General Patrick McFarland said in a report circulated to Congress that he agreed in principle with the idea, but he noted that agency leaders launched the project with crucial questions unanswered, including how much it would cost. He questioned the $91 million estimate by the agency.

    “We have serious concerns regarding OPM’s management of this project,” McFarland wrote in the audit, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. “The project is already underway and the agency has committed substantial funding, but it has not yet addressed several critical project-management requirements.”

    He said there was “a high risk that this project will fail to meet the objectives of providing a secure operating environment for OPM systems and applications.”

    McFarland’s office had warned for years that OPM’s computer network security was woefully lacking, and his deputy, Michael Esser, told a House oversight committee Tuesday that those failures contributed to the cyberbreach.

    Now, the inspector general is saying, the proposed solution could also be a disaster.

    “In our opinion, the project management approach for this major infrastructure overhaul is entirely inadequate and introduces a very high risk of project failure,” McFarland wrote.

    Many critical agency applications run on OPM’s aging mainframe computers, he wrote, including those that process payments for federal retirees, reimburse health insurance companies for claims and manage background investigations.

    “These applications are based on legacy technology and will need to be completely renovated to be compatible with OPM’s proposed new IT architecture.” A much smaller migration of a single system cost $30 million and took two years to complete, he wrote.

    OPM estimates that its proposed overhaul will take 18 to 24 months to complete, he wrote. “We believe this is overly optimistic and that the agency is highly unlikely to meet this target.”

    McFarland wrote that OPM officials “informed us that the urgent and compelling nature of the situation required immediate action, and this is the reason that some of the required project management activities were not completed.”

    He agrees that urgent action was needed, he wrote, but that was not a justification for cutting corners over the life of the project.

    “The other phases of the project are clearly going to require long-term effort, and, to be successful, will require the disciplined processes associated with proper system development project management,” he wrote.

    The post Government audit raises ‘serious concerns’ over proposed federal cybersecurity measures appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    12-year-old Nodwin, (11 when this photo was taken) is among tens of thousands of child migrants waiting in the U.S. for their cases to be heard in immigration court.  Image by P.J. Tobia

    12-year-old Nodwin, (11 when this photo was taken) is among tens of thousands of child migrants waiting in the U.S. for their cases to be heard in immigration court. Image by P.J. Tobia

    This time last year, we reported on the surge of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. from Central America. We took a close look at why the kids are coming and what happens to them once they arrive, along with the U.S. government’s scramble to handle the flood of child migrants.

    In the story, we featured an 11-year-old boy named Nodwin, who traveled from Honduras to the U.S. border almost entirely by himself and nearly drowned while crossing the Rio Grande River in an inflatable raft. He was reunited with his parents and now lives with them in Northern Virginia.

    For this week’s Shortwave podcast, we check back in one year later on Nodwin’s case. By the time Nodwin, now 12, gets a hearing, he’ll have spent a third of his life in immigration limbo. His is one of 70,000 unaccompanied child migrant cases awaiting resolution in immigration courts.

    The post Last year’s child migrant crisis is this year’s immigration court backlog appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Kennewick Man. Sculpted bust by StudioEIS, based on forensic facial reconstruction by sculptor Amanda Danning. Photo by Brittney Tatchell/Smithsonian Institution

    The Kennewick Man. Sculpted bust by StudioEIS, based on forensic facial reconstruction by sculptor Amanda Danning. Photo
    by Brittney Tatchell/Smithsonian Institution

    The Kennewick Man, once described as North America’s most important skeleton, has finally found its kin. New DNA evidence says this fossil is most closely related to modern-day Native Americans, closing the loop door on a 20-year debate that has caused legal battles between scientists and tribes.

    The 8,500-year-old remains of The Ancient One, as the skeleton is sometimes called, were found July 1996 by two college students wading through a shallow section of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Wash. After the discovery, a local group of Native American tribes tried to have the skeleton buried under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which permits such action if Native American human remains are found on federal land or if familial ties to a tribe can be established. Scientists, however, cried foul and filed an injunction to keep the Kennewick man out of the ground. Led by Doug Owsley, a physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, they argued that the shape of the skeleton’s skull more closely matched Polynesians or the Ainu, an indigenous group from northern Japan. And it didn’t stop there.

    “Some other people argued that [Kennewick man] has Caucus traits, so he could be related to Europeans,” said geneticist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, during a press briefing on Wednesday. Willerslev led the new study published today in Nature.

    For this research, Willerslev and his colleagues extracted DNA from 200 milligrams of tissue in the skeleton’s hand — that’s approximately seven thousandths of an ounce of biological material. Back in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, other scientists tried to collect genetic material from The Ancient One, but they all failed.

    DNA work at the GeoGenetics lab where the Kennewick Man's genome was sequenced. The lab is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the University of Copenhagen. Photo by Mikal Schlosser

    DNA work at the GeoGenetics lab where the Kennewick Man’s genome was sequenced. The lab is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the University of Copenhagen. Photo by Mikal Schlosser

    “Technology since then has improved quite a lot. That’s really the main driver. We can now get information out of shorter pieces of DNA, and given the very degraded DNA in the Kennewick man, that’s absolutely key in addressing these questions,” said co-author and geneticist Morten Rasmussen of the University of Copenhagen. Because of the DNA damage, the team could only obtain one full copy of the genome — that’s known as 1X coverage. In the early days of DNA sequencing, scientists aimed for 7X or 8X coverage to feel confident about the validity of a mammalian genome, but recent work by Willerslev’s team shows that human ancestries can be traced with as little 10 percent of a genome.

    The team isolated the full genome of the Kennewick man and compared it to DNA sequences from across the globe, including those from ethnic groups like the Ainu and Polynesians. They also looked at Kennewick man’s relationship to the Native American Colville tribe, whose members were involved in the legal battle. Members of this tribe submitted DNA samples as part of the study. The investigation wasn’t funded by any tribes or American groups, rather it received sponsorship from two European organizations: the Danish National Research Foundation and the Lundbeck Foundation.

    The researchers found that Native Americans are the closest relatives of the Kennewick man. As far as they can tell, he isn’t a direct ancestor of the Colville tribe, but rather, the Colville and Kennewick Man’s families diverged from a common ancestor about 600 to 700 years prior to the Kennewick man’s death.

    Because very few Native American families have been sequenced, it may be impossible to trace the skeleton to a specific tribe, Willerslev said, but “we can conclude that he’s most closely related to contemporary Native Americans.”

    The geneticists also partnered with a group of anthropologists to investigate why the Kennewick man was originally mistaken for Ainu and Polynesian.

    The team of anthropologists concludes that you can’t actually associate an individual to a certain population if you only have a single individual from a certain time in a certain spot, Willerslev said.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintain legal custody of Kennewick Man’s skeleton, which is housed in private storage at the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington, and according to Science Magazine, they will now explore whether or not to return the remains to Native American tribes.

    Next week, PBS will explores Humankind’s First Arrivals and the Kennewick man as part of a five-part series called FIRST PEOPLES

    The post Geneticists crack the 20-year mystery of the Kennewick Man skeleton appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, beginning at 7 a.m. EDT Friday. PBS host and CBS News anchor Charlie Rose will moderate the discussion, which PBS NewsHour will live stream in the player above.

    The post WATCH LIVE: Charlie Rose with Russia’s Vladimir Putin appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Rev. Clementa Pinckney was one of the nine people killed in Wednesday night’s shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

    Pinckney was 41, and a father of two. He began preaching at age 13, and was appointed as pastor at 18. In 1996, he was elected to South Carolina’s state Senate, and not too long ago, he pushed for legislation to require police officers to wear body cameras.

    In the 2012 documentary, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,” Pinckney was asked why black political participation mattered.

    “We don’t have the privilege to say our vote doesn’t count,” Pinckney said, “because history tells us differently.”

    You can watch the full clip above.

    The post Video: Slain Rev. Clementa Pinckney from PBS documentary ‘The African Americans’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Pope Francis made an unprecedented call to action to tackle climate change today. He issued the first encyclical dedicated solely to the environment, calling it one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.

    It was the kickoff of an effort to spread the message to the faithful and others in months to come.

    Pope Francis issued a nearly 200-page document casting climate change as a moral issue, not simply a political or economic debate.

    Lead climate researchers joined in the formal release at the Vatican.

    JOHN SCHELLNHUBER, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research: I think the encyclical, by listening to the science and to reflecting to the science, is bringing together two big messages. One message comes from reasoning, from ingenuity, from technological progress. The other comes from faith, moral, ethical values, Christianity, but they combine into one message.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: That message, to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, is: Global warming is mostly manmade. It comes heavily from burning fossil fuel. And it disproportionally harms the poor.

    In the encyclical, the pontiff warns: “The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes.”

    Rich countries must act immediately, Francis says, to cut consumption of fossil fuels and help poor nations create sustainable development.

    But Cardinal Peter Turkson, who helped pen the first draft, acknowledged today it’s a tough sell.

    CARDINAL PETER TURKSON, President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (through translator): There are discussions on environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a consensus. The church doesn’t claim to settle scientific questions or to replace politics, but, quoting Pope Francis, I encourage an honest and open debate, so that particular interests or ideologies do not jeopardize the common good.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: To promote that debate, Catholics around the world were able to view the announcement via live-stream from the Vatican.

    But the papal document also drew criticism. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who’s Catholic, said yesterday in Iowa: “I go to church to have my faith nourished, to have my faith challenged. I don’t go to mass for economic policy or for things in politics.”

    And the Senate’s leading climate change skeptic, Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, dismissed what he called the pope’s philosophy on global warming.

    Even so, supporters are hoping the encyclical will push the United Nations Climate Summit to reach agreement later this year.

    President Obama said he admired the pope’s decision to issue today’s historic call with his — quote — “full moral authority.”

    But in the U.S. Senate, Republicans voted against funding several administration initiatives on curbing climate change and clean water rules.

    This morning, I spoke with the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, about the pope’s encyclical. We met at the National Press Club.

    Your Eminence, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, thank you for speaking with us.

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL, Archbishop of Washington: Judy, it’s a pleasure to be here.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why did Pope Francis want to devote an entire encyclical to the environment, to climate change?

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: What he is doing, I believe, is calling all of us to recognize that there are serious problems.

    There are serious problems that have to do with the environment, that have to do with the way in which we live and consume. And he’s asking all of us to take a look at the world around us, and what do we have to do to see that our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have the benefits of this magnificent creation that we enjoy.

    And so he’s giving this call to everybody, participate in a discussion on how do we best serve one another in our home, which is this planet. I think the starting point is the recognition the Earth is our common home. This is where we all live.

    How does he see the connection between caring for the Earth and caring for the people who are alive today and generations to come and the focus on the poor?

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: He says, in any discussion, whether you’re talking about the biodiversity, whether you’re talking about the pollution of water, whether you’re talking about deforestation, you need to start with the person, the human person.

    And the goal of everything that we have is the flourishing of human life. So we start there, and then we say that has to take place in the context of a sustainable development of the resources that are available to us, while protecting the planet.

    So you have these three elements, the person, the planet, and reasonable, sustainable development.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It is not unprecedented for a pope to be taking a bold stand on an issue, a controversial issue. He is taking this further, father, though, than his predecessors, in Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, in saying there’s an urgency here. How unprecedented is that?

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: Judy, I think what we’re seeing in this encyclical is a recognition that there’s — there’s a time element involved, but the urgency is to get the discussion going.

    The urgency is to recognize — and he begins the encyclical by listing all of these things that we all recognize are damaging the Earth. The deforestation is one example. The lack of sufficient water, the lack of clean water, all of these things are facts.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How did he satisfy himself that the science is settled on whether humans are causing climate change? As you know, there’s still argument out there about that.

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: Yes, I don’t see any declarations affirming any particular theory about any type of scientific understanding of what’s happening.

    He’s just pointing to the fact that it’s there, that these things are clearly happening around us. And what he’s saying is, shouldn’t the starting point be with all of this not so much trying to fuss over this piece or that piece, but all of that together calls us to work together with a sense of urgency to make sure that the environment is preserved?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In effect, he’s calling on political leaders, he’s calling on captains of industry to change the direction they’re going in, to make a dramatic change — changes, in effect.

    How much power does the pope have, does he believe, do you believe, to get that kind of dramatic change to take place?

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: Well, I think what our Holy Father is asking — and that’s why he’s not imposing anything. He’s not saying what the solutions are, but he is lifting up, we have problems, folks, and we need all of us to try to resolve these problems.

    What he brings is the moral dimension. It’s not any longer, what can we do, the question now is, what should we do, what ought we to do when we’re dealing with this environment, when we’re dealing with this good Earth?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There is pushback already from climate change skeptics, from political conservatives.

    Just yesterday, one of the candidates for president for the Republican nomination, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is Roman Catholic, said, “I respect the pope, but I think it’s better to solve this problem in the political realm.” He said, “Religion is about making us better as people and less about things in the political realm.”

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: I don’t think the pope is saying to politicians, here is what you must do. Here is the answer.

    But what he is saying is, as spiritual leader, as a religious leader, I’m calling — together with other religious leaders, I’m calling everyone to look at the problems and begin to come up with some solutions.

    He’s not saying to politicians, this is what your public policy or your political platform should be. And he’s not saying to people involved in the world of industry, the world of development, this is what you must do.

    But he is saying, in light of all the problems that there are, and even if you might prioritize them differently, we all recognize we have to work together to resolve these problems.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But it sounds as if Governor Bush and others are saying, we’re not going to listen to the pope on this issue.

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: Well, I wonder if, as time goes on and more people begin to look more deeply into this and hear what the pope is saying, there will be a stronger sense, a realization of what he’s actually asking.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How is the pope, how are you, as a leader in the Catholic Church, going to follow up on this? What is the plan to move this forward, beyond today’s announcement?

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: Judy, that’s a very, very important question.
    What we’re going to have to do is, using today, using the announcement of the encyclical as a starting point, we’re going to have to devote a lot of energy to education, and even getting the issue out into the public. What we’re going to be doing in this archdiocese, for example, we’re going to spend a lot of time getting this message out, pulling apart, unpacking this encyclical, and helping our people understand better what it’s saying.

    But this is a long-term project. But everything in the church is long-term.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Long-term, and yet the pope is trying to influence what comes out of the climate change summit this winter in Paris.

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: It’s — it’s true. There are some short-term measures, but the church doesn’t see her teaching in those terms.

    She sees her teaching as formative of conscience that will be ultimately directive, long-term-wise, of a better world.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Your Eminence, we thank you very much.

    CARDINAL DONALD WUERL: Judy, it’s been a pleasure to be here with you. Thank you. God bless you.

    The post Do Catholics have a religious duty to protect the Earth? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    GWEN IFILL: After months of review, NBC News announced today that longtime anchorman Brian Williams will not be returning as anchor of the network’s nightly news program. He will, however, stay with NBC and join its cable outlet, MSNBC, as a breaking news anchor.

    Lester Holt, William’s temporary replacement, will now officially get the job as anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”

    Williams was suspended after the discovery that he fabricated a story about coming under fire on a helicopter during the Iraq War. But there was more.

    Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: An internal NBC review also found Williams made a number of inaccurate statements about his experience reporting in the field. The network is calling the move to MSNBC a chance for Williams to earn back everyone’s trust.

    Two views on the wisdom of this decision.

    Andrew Heyward is the former president of CBS News. Mark Feldstein is a professor at the University of Maryland College of Journalism. He’s a former investigative correspondent for ABC and CNN, even worked at NBC.

    So, Andrew Heyward, I want to start with you.

    It seems that this was a practical decision, more so than a principled one. If Brian Williams can be trusted, why not give him his job back? If he can’t be trusted, doesn’t this create sort of a double standard? Is MSNBC just a little lower than NBC?

    ANDREW HEYWARD, Former CBS News President: Well, I don’t think there’s a double standard for accuracy.

    The audience, the viewer has the right to expect accuracy from a reporter reporting from a mudslide in Marin County, just as from the anchor of an evening newscast.

    I do think there’s a hierarchy in the television news world, and the evening news or the nightly news has traditionally been the so-called flagship program. And with the slight exception of ABC now, traditionally, the anchor of that program has been the so-called face of the network.

    So, I think, in this case, Brian is paying a price for severe errors in judgment. I don’t think that anybody’s going to hold him to a different standard for accuracy, and I think the viewers will understand exactly what’s going on and will not think that somehow they’re being given some kind of second-class citizen as a journalist.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mark Feldstein, can Williams regain his credibility as the face of breaking news, as NBC would like him to be?

    MARK FELDSTEIN, Professor, University of Maryland College of Journalism: I don’t know. We will see. I’m skeptical.

    You know, if you don’t tell the truth, whether it’s on the air or on your newscast, or an entertainment show, and you do it 10 or 11 times, which is what’s been reported, I think there’s a cloud that’s going to hang over him.

    And it was breaking news where he got himself into trouble in the first place, telling some of these exaggerations. You know, as a journalism professor, I try to teach my students that the most important thing is the truth, is accuracy. And the trouble is, this sends a message that, no, really, fame matters more, slickness matters more, being cozy with your bosses matters more. And that’s troubling.

    ANDREW HEYWARD: I would respectfully disagree with that.

    I don’t think this is about coziness with the bosses. I think this was a business decision that the chairman of the NBC News group, Andy Lack, and his boss, Steve Burke, head of NBC Universal, made in a businesslike way.

    Yes, it’s a practical decision, but I actually don’t think that Brian is going to — well, the viewers will get to ultimately decide whether he can regain his credibility, but just a slight correction. No one is alleging that he distorted his breaking news reporting. Most of these sins were well after the fact on talk shows.

    Again, I don’t want to split hairs. These were very bad errors in judgment. But the one thing we can be pretty darn sure of is, Brian Williams is never going to exaggerate his exploits again.

    MARK FELDSTEIN: Well, we don’t know this. You know, you’re taking the network’s word for it. They have kept their report secret. They have not revealed it to the public.

    The investigation was held in secret by internal employees who once answered to Brian Williams. The fact that they’re not releasing this report, frankly, is suspect, and it raises suspicions that NBC would never accept from a politician or corporation it were investigating.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Mark Feldstein, how does this play into the role of the anchor changing? It’s certainly different than it was 25 years ago.

    MARK FELDSTEIN: Well, that’s true.

    I mean, one of the dirty little secrets of television news is that, in many respects, the famous anchors are glorified announcers, present company excepted here. PBS is smaller staff, and not commercial.

    But most of the journalistic news gathering is done off camera by producers who are much lower paid. And there’s this sort of Potemkin village that the public sees that suggests that these faces are the real news gathering arm.

    Maybe if NBC were to cop to that, and we went to a sort of postmodern anchor, a younger, savvier, hipper audience might kind of get that.


    ANDREW HEYWARD: I think that Mark is on to something, that the pretense and the phony omniscience of television news has to either wither away or be stripped away for the next generation to accept it.

    But I think, ironically, Brian — this may seem counterintuitive — is a good person to do that. And cable is an environment where he’s going to have a chance to do much more extemporaneous reporting, especially if he’s doing live or breaking events.

    I think where the so-called Potemkin village breaks down is when you’re covering a live breaking event. That’s a very high level of skill. Yes, it’s collaborative, but trust me — and I know Mark, also — we have both worked with lots of network anchors. They are very, very talented people, and certainly Brian Williams among them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right.

    Andrew Heyward and Mark Feldstein, thanks so much.

    MARK FELDSTEIN: You bet.

    The post Despite lies, Brian Williams will still report breaking news appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Jim Obergefell walks out of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 18, 2015.  A ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, and whether the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law covers a right to same-sex marriage; and, if not, whether states that ban same-sex marriages must recognize those performed elsewhere, is expected from the Court by month's end. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTX1H67D

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Today at the Supreme Court, two significant rulings on the First Amendment.

    The court ruled 5-4 that the Texas state government has the right to not issue Confederate Flag license plates. And, in a unanimous decision, the court said the sign ordinance in the town of Gilbert, Arizona, was too restrictive of a local church.

    For more on these cases, as always, is Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal.”


    MARCIA COYLE, “The National Law Journal”: Hi, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Welcome.

    MARCIA COYLE: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let’s take this Texas license plate case.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: This was a case that was brought on behalf of the Confederate — Sons of Confederate Veterans.

    MARCIA COYLE: Right.

    They wanted to have a specialty license plate that included the Confederate Battle Flag. The state of Texas turned them down. They had a number of public comments finding that display offensive.

    The Supreme Court today ruled that Texas didn’t violate the First Amendment rights of this organization. Justice Breyer wrote the opinion. He said that this is not private speech protected by the First Amendment. What appears on your license plate is government speech. Government has traditionally used license plates to convey messages. It uses license plates for identification and registration of drivers, and the state ultimately has the authority to decide what goes on the license plate.

    He asked, why would this organization prefer its message on a license plate, instead of maybe a bumper sticker next to the license plate? And he said, perhaps it’s because they want the message to appear to be the official message of the state.

    But, just as the state can’t compel a private party to convey a state message that it disagrees with, he said, the Sons of Confederate Veterans can’t compel the state to convey a message with which it disagrees.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the dissenters, among other things, argued that these license plates are — can issue a private — that they are privately owned, privately controlled.

    MARCIA COYLE: Justice Alito wrote the dissent, and he said, this is private speech protected by the First Amendment.


    MARCIA COYLE: And Texas’ denial of the display was blatant viewpoint discrimination. He said, how could any reasonable person looking at a display plate that says “Rather Be Golfing” think that was the official message of the state?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How common, Marcia, for Justice Clarence Thomas to vote with the four liberal justices?

    MARCIA COYLE: I wouldn’t say it’s common, but I would also say it’s not unusual to see crossovers between the left and the right sides of the bench.

    And I think it’s a reminder to us that these are not monolithic blocs on the court, and there are certain issues where they do disagree even within their particular ideological groupings.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And interesting, this, of course, had to do with the Confederate Flag.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, let’s talk about the Arizona decision. This was a case about regulating road signs and involved a church and where it wanted to put a directional sign.

    MARCIA COYLE: Right. Right.

    Gilbert, Arizona, had a sign code, and it categorized signs as ideological, political, and directional. The Good News Community Church need directional signs because it didn’t have a permanent home. It had to tell people where it was meeting each week. They ran afoul of the time limits on temporary directional signs.

    They sued the town, saying that their First Amendment speech rights were being violated. And today, in a unanimous decision, Justice Thomas, he wrote that the town did violate the First Amendment rights of this church.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, some of the dissenters, at least one of them, pointed out that their concern is that this could have wider repercussions, that this could affect what many cities do around the country.

    MARCIA COYLE: Right.

    The reason for that is, Justice Thomas applied the Constitution’s toughest test for constitutionality to this town’s sign code. He said that the code was content-based, and it had to survive strict scrutiny. That is, the town could only keep its code if it could justify it as serving a compelling government interest and it was narrowly tailored to do that. And he said that the code was hopelessly underinclusive.

    Justice Kagan, as you just noted…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Not a dissenter. I misspoke. She was expressing concern about this.


    MARCIA COYLE: Exactly.

    She said that this code was so unconstitutional, it could have failed under lesser scrutiny, but because Justice Thomas applied the toughest scrutiny, she felt that many reasonable sign codes will be challenged and may also be struck down. And she said the Supreme Court itself may become a supreme board of sign review as those cases get to it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, language we’re going to remember.

    Marcia Coyle, and big decisions to come from this court in the weeks to come.

    MARCIA COYLE: Yes. We — I think we have about 11 left, same-sex marriage, major challenge to a health care law. The court will meet again Monday.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Marcia Coyle, we thank you.

    MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure.

    The post Supreme Court renders decisions on First Amendment appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Opened last year, The Cuban Art Factory is a former cooking oil plant that's been converted into a massive nightlife venue, with multiple art galleries, live music spaces, bars and a dance club. Just next door, in the smokestack, is a restaurant, The Cocinero, with a great open air lounge. Taken together, they’re a one-stop shop for food, music, art and drinks. Photo by Frank Carlson

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And to Cuba.

    Tonight, Jeffrey Brown visits the Havana Biennial art show to report on Cuba’s booming art market, as well as the very real limits on free expression that remain in the socialist country.

    It’s another installment in our series this week, The Cuban Evolution.

    JEFFREY BROWN: On a recent fine evening in Havana, one could follow the yellow brick road leading into the sea, hopscotch through an American flag made of giant pickup sticks, enter a translucent cube and look out at a blue world — all part of a grand festival, the Havana Biennial.

    There is art all along Havana’s famous Malecon and throughout the city right now. Art, in fact, is one of the ways this isolated island has chosen to show itself to the world, and the world is paying attention.

    This is the city’s 12th Biennial, but it’s the first since the U.S. and Cuba announced efforts to normalize diplomatic relations — everywhere you looked, in various corners of the city, work by artists from some 42 countries, some of it fairly traditional, some of it not, like this tropical ice skating rink.

    Why is the Biennial so important here? What does it mean?

    Margarita Sanchez is one of the Biennial curators.

    MARGARITA SANCHEZ, Curator, Havana Biennial: In Cuba, culture is very important. We live and work and express out our home, in the street, maybe because of the weather. We don’t know. Because we are Cubans, we are very expressive.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, increasingly, very prominent on the international art scene. At the Biennial, more than 250 Cuban artists exhibited works in a historic 16th century fortress on a bluff above Havana.

    Tony Rubenstein, an American with a new guide book on Cuban contemporary art, says demand for this work is high.

    TONY RUBENSTEIN, Author of Art Guide Book: The art market right now is exploding, especially on the very, very top end. There are artists here who are already in the Tate Modern, that are already in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And when there is established here a museum of contemporary art, those artists, the value of their works will explode.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Howard Farber is one of the top collectors.

    At the Biennial, he sponsored a gala affair to announce the first International Cuban Art Awards.

    HOWARD FARBER, Art Collector: Our mission has been to spread the word on how great the art scene is in Cuba.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Farber began buying Cuban art in earnest, and bulk, in the last decade, after making millions on the sale of his contemporary Chinese art collection in 2007.

    Is part of the attraction for you, as a collector, the forbidden?

    I guess so. I never really thought about it before, but I like to collect and go where people haven’t gone before.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a paradox in this home of the socialist revolution, big money flowing from outside to artists inside. Indeed, artists here are positively entrepreneurial.

    Adrian Fernandez and his partners were able to create this upscale studio after new laws made it possible to buy and sell property. They now sell their work directly to consumers, mostly abroad, avoiding government-run galleries and reaping their own profits.

    ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: We deal directly with the people that reach us here. We connect directly.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, indeed, he and his friends were receiving American visitors by the busload during the Biennial.

    In another part of town, an even more unexpected scene, the Beverly Hills Women’s Club, talking money and monopoly art at the home of one of Cuba’s most prominent artists.

    KADIR LOPEZ, Artist: I mix it all with the Coca-Cola signs.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Kadir Lopez takes old signs from American companies that were active here before the revolution, and superimposes images and photographs on top of them.

    KADIR LOPEZ: I like to put some kind of metaphors in between.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a layering of times and messages, working through metaphor, he says, not overt politics, that can be read a variety of ways.

    But what about the seeming contradiction of making art in a socialist country for Americans from Beverly Hills?

    KADIR LOPEZ: I put X-amount of energy in a canvas or on a piece of metal on a sculpture or an installation. That energy could have a value market.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, it does.

    KADIR LOPEZ: A person comes and says, here, here is my energy, X-amount of money that I’m willing to trade for you, if you give me that. So that’s how I balance that.


    JEFFREY BROWN: But isn’t that — isn’t that capitalism?

    KADIR LOPEZ: Yes, it could be capitalistic or not. I have no idea, and I’m not thinking about it. I know there’s something good come from my art.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Call it what you will. Clearly, things are changing here. But some things remain, casting a shadow over the Biennial.

    TANIA BRUGUERA, Artist: I have been accused by the government to incite people to be delinquent, that I incite people to do public disturbances.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In the 2009 Biennial, Tania Bruguera presented a piece of performance art in which Cubans were invited to speak their minds. When she tried to stage it again in December, in response to the announcement of a reopening of diplomatic relations with the U.S., she was stopped and detained, her passport taken.

    Were you trying to provoke a response?

    TANIA BRUGUERA: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

    I think I believed that it was a historical moment, and that art has a role to play during historical moments. People were in shock. Why? Because it is an announcement that puts into reflection, into doubt, and to rethink what it means to be Cuban, what it means to be revolutionary. I think it was a historical moment because it was a moment of identity crisis for the revolution.

    JEFFREY BROWN: She says fellow Cuban artists practice a form of self- censorship.

    TANIA BRUGUERA: It’s kind of sad when you have to conform it to just a little moment of complicity, instead of being able to say, hey, this is what I think, and involve everybody else in that conversation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Bruguera says she’s been told she can leave Cuba, but only if she never returns, a deal she’s refused. In the meantime, she awaits possible prosecution.

    The Havana Biennial, minus Tania Bruguera, will be on display until June 22.

    From Cuba, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

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    Working Overtime monitor

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    GWEN IFILL: This month, the administration is expected to revamp workplace rules that would make millions more workers eligible for overtime pay.

    Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports. It’s part of our weekly segment, Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the “NewsHour.”

    ACTOR: Time to make the donuts.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Fred the Baker…

    ACTOR: Time to make the donuts.

    PAUL SOLMAN: … icon for the freshness of Dunkin’ Donuts more than 30 years ago.

    ACTOR: We make them at least twice every day.

    ACTOR: Time to make the donuts.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Fred was a fiction, but the reality of one Dunkin’ Donuts worker looked a lot like the ads.

    GASSAN MARZUQ, Former Dunkin’ Donuts Manager: I’m working 75 hours a week or 80 hours a week.

    PAUL SOLMAN: For years, Gassan Marzuq worked Fred-like hours as a salaried manager at this outlet outside Boston. Problem is, he never saw one cent in overtime.

    GASSAN MARZUQ: If you work 40 hours, or if you work 100 hours, it’s the same pay.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Divide Marzuq’s hours by his barely $800-a-week salary, and, on a per-hour basis:

    GASSAN MARZUQ: I’m making only $9, $10 an hour, which is less — even lower than the regular employees, what they are making.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Under current law, you get time-and-a-half for every hour you work in a week past 40, unless you make more than $23,600 a year and you’re an executive, administrator or professional with advanced knowledge.

    Marzuq’s employer classified him as an executive, even though he very often did the same work as the hourly employees.

    GASSAN MARZUQ: You are serving customers. You are pouring coffee. And you are cleaning. You will clean the bathrooms, clean the parking lot. The title doesn’t mean anything.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The salary threshold under which all employees were paid overtime in 1975, if you figure in inflation, would now be $51,000, compared to today’s actual $23,600, an amount that’s been raised just once in the last 40 years.

    More than 60 percent of salaried employees were eligible for overtime in 1975. Today, less than 10 percent qualify.

    So, last year, President Obama signed a memorandum directing the Department of Labor to update overtime rules to help workers like Marzuq.

    BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: Now, overtime’s a pretty simple idea. If you have to work more, you should get paid more.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Progressive mega-investor Nick Hanauer first made us aware of the overtime issue’s contribution to economic inequality in a post on our Making Sense Web site that drew nearly a million readers.

    NICK HANAUER, Venture Capitalist: The high overtime threshold is indispensable to creating a thriving middle class, because, in the absence if it, an employer like me will pitch a fake title like assistant manager to somebody and work them 60 hours a week, instead of 40, and get 20 hours of work for free.

    SHANNON LISS-RIORDAN, Attorney for Gassan Marzuq: And if these new regulations come out that we’re all hoping will come out, that will help a lot of people going forward.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan argues her client, Gassan Marzuq, should have received overtime and has sued his former employer, which runs 50 Dunkin’ Donuts outlets in Massachusetts.

    SHANNON LISS-RIORDAN: This is common practice in America. Because they put their managers on salary, they can work their managers as many hours as they want.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Consider former Dollar General store manager Dawn Hughey. She was paid $35,000 a year, but regularly worked 60 to 70 hours a week, no overtime.

    DAWN HUGHEY, Former Dollar General Manager: I’m the free help. I could never commit to anything as far as plans with friends or family because my store was always my number one responsibility.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Any day now, the administration is expected to redefine which workers are exempt and hike the threshold. Labor advocates say, if it’s boosted to $51,000 a year, more than six million workers would automatically qualify for overtime pay, but, say employers:

    DAVID FRENCH, National Retail Federation: We don’t think very many more people are going to get overtime as a result of this rule.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Fact is, says David French of the National Retail Federation, his industry simply can’t afford the estimated $9.5 billion a year it would cost to pay overtime to every worker making up to $51,000 a year.

    DAVID FRENCH: Instead of providing overtime for millions more workers, employers are going to make rational choices, and they’re going to spread the same amount of money across a slightly larger pool of hourly and part-time workers.

    PAUL SOLMAN: In other words, no more behind-the-counter executives.

    At White Castle, famous for its square Sliders, Vice President Jamie Richardson thinks the company’s almost 400 salaried general managers will be given lower benefits or switched to hourly jobs. That, he says, would stifle career advancement.

    JAMIE RICHARDSON, Vice President, White Castle System, Inc.: It would take opportunity away from literally hundreds of people who worked so hard to get to that point. Our general managers take tremendous pride in being considered salaried. That’s a big accomplishment.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Overtime activist Nick Hanauer’s response?

    NICK HANAUER: A company has a certain amount of responsibility to hand out. And people are not going to have less responsibility because they don’t have fake titles anymore. It’s just not true.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But what about the argument that employers are simply not going to have managers anymore like this, because they can’t afford to, and so everybody will be an hourly employee?

    NICK HANAUER: It’s certainly likely that most employers won’t pay people time-and-a-half. That’s very expensive.

    And what employers are likely to do is simply add workers to their payrolls, which lowers the unemployment rate, and drives up wages, which is the source of the problem.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Whatever the changes, though, they will be too late for Gassan Marzuq.

    GASSAN MARZUQ: I never had the time to enjoy my kids’ childhood, to be with them, because I dedicated my life to work at Dunkin’ Donuts.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Parent-teacher conferences, did you go to them?


    PAUL SOLMAN: Sports activities?


    PAUL SOLMAN: Graduation of your kids?

    GASSAN MARZUQ: I missed graduations.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Because you were working?

    Marzuq emigrated to America from Kuwait, shooting for the American dream. But, given the toll the job took, why did he put up with it?

    Suppose you had said, no, I’m only going to work 40 hours; I’m sorry; I can’t work anymore; you’re not paying me for that?

    GASSAN MARZUQ: Be terminated. If you don’t like it, you will leave. But what are you going to do? I’m not an educated person. I don’t have a degree.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And so, these days, Gassan Marzuq pumps gas, a part-time job, no overtime here either.

    This is economics correspondent Paul Solman, reporting for the “PBS NewsHour” from Boston.

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    Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 6.14.34 PM

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other developments: President Obama’s trade agenda got a reprieve, after Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives blocked it last week. Today, Republicans pushed through fast track negotiating authority, clearing the way for an Asian free trade deal. The bill now goes to the Senate — still to come, votes on helping workers who lose their jobs to overseas competition.

    GWEN IFILL: Wall Street rallied today, on hopes that the Federal Reserve may wait just a while longer before raising interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 180 points to close at 18115. The Nasdaq rose 68 points, and the S&P 500 added 20.

    Leaders of the Eurozone countries have called an emergency summit for Monday on their deadlock with Greece. Finance ministers met in Luxembourg today, as Greece faced a looming deadline to make a huge loan repayment, or default. The Eurogroup chair warned of too little progress.

    JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM, President, Eurogroup: As of today, it is still possible to find an agreement, and extend the current program before the end of the month. But the ball is clearly in the Greek court to seize that last opportunity.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, to meet with President Vladimir Putin. There’s widespread speculation that Tsipras is now seeking rescue loans from the Kremlin.

    GWEN IFILL: The number of refugees fleeing war and persecution worldwide has reached an all-time high. The U.N. Refugee Agency reported today that nearly 60 million people were displaced from their homes last year. The largest single group, 11.6 million, came from Syria.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Hong Kong, the governing council balked today at giving China’s central government veto power over candidates for chief executive of the city. It was a victory for activists who staged long-running protests last year. Today, pro-Beijing lawmakers walked out before the vote, leaving opponents of the election plan in control. Officials in Beijing criticized the outcome.

    GWEN IFILL: And back in this country, gender equality is coming to the $10 bill. The U.S. Treasury secretary announced today the redesigned version will feature a yet-to-be-named woman. It will be unveiled in 2020, marking 100 years since women gained the right to vote.

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    Mourners hug after praying outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015, a day after a mass shooting left nine dead during a bible study at the church.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX1H60G

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    GWEN IFILL: We now return to the struggle for understanding in Charleston, as the city mourns nine people killed in a historic black church last night.

    For more on today’s developments, we turn to South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, whose district includes parts of Charleston, and Heidi Beirich, who directs the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project in Montgomery, Alabama.

    Thank you both for joining us.

    Congressman Clyburn, how is Charleston coping with this?

    REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), South Carolina: Well, Charleston is coping very well.

    I think that the law enforcement people here, the mayor have both struck the right tone. I think that the quick apprehension of the suspect in this case is serving this overall process very well.

    But the facts still remains that people are wanting some answers to the question of why. Why did this happen? Was he acting alone? How did this church, the most historic African-American church in Charleston, in South Carolina, for that matter, in the entire South, why did he pick this church?

    Is he a part of something else beyond him? I think, when we get the answers to these questions, this community will know better how to respond.

    GWEN IFILL: You, yourself, I believe, are a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Congressman, and you knew Reverend Pinckney.

    How would you describe the personal scope of this loss?

    REP. JAMES CLYBURN: Well, I think that the church service we had at noon today was probably — I think Bishop Bryant said as well, that it was probably the most diverse group he said that he’s seen in a long, long time.

    I was a part of all these events right here in Charleston during the 1969 hospital strike back during the 70s, and even the 60s, when we were involved in civil rights activities. But never have I seen a sanctuary in any church as representative of the entire community that I — that I see today.

    And so I think this community is galvanizing. It is coalescing. It is coming together in a way that I think will serve great purposes going forward.

    GWEN IFILL: Heidi Beirich, we heard both the Justice Department and the mayor of Charleston today describe this as a hate crime. We could use a few definitions here. What makes it that? What would make it that?

    HEIDI BEIRICH, Southern Poverty Law Center: Well, there are two pieces of evidence related to the shooter that probably make this a hate crime, one, the comments that have been attributed to him about how: “You people are taking over our country. You’re raping our women.”

    Those are racist statements which could indicate motive. The other thing that we found throughout the day today is, this person has been — put on Facebook pages and other places with pictures wearing racist patches, glorifying, for example, the apartheid government in Rhodesia. He also had a license plate that said Confederate States of America.

    The fact that he had these insignia, the fact that he said these things indicates that his motives might be racial.

    GWEN IFILL: Ms. Beirich, are houses of worship typical targets for these kinds of crimes? We can think all the way back to Birmingham at the 16th Street Baptist Church. We can think about the church burnings in the South. And I wonder if that’s a theme or if there is a through-line in all of these.

    HEIDI BEIRICH: We have seen for decades that houses of worship, particularly historically black churches, have been targeted by white supremacists for violence.

    This has been happening for quite a long time. The Law Center, in fact, sued a Klan group in the ’90s for attacking a black church also in South Carolina. And I think the fact that this church was so significant historically may have actually made it more of an object for violence, unfortunately.

    GWEN IFILL: We are shocked when we hear things like this. The assumption, Heidi Beirich, is that this no longer happens. Is the — or at least doesn’t happen in a regular way. Are we mistaken in that?

    HEIDI BEIRICH: That would be a mistaken belief.

    The fact of the matter is that lone wolf terrorist attacks by people who have white supremacist or extreme anti-government beliefs actually happened about every five weeks for the last five years. They haven’t all actually taken place, but there have been attempts. This kind of violence is really out of control, this kind of domestic terrorism.

    And if we just think for a little bit, you will remember the shooting at the Sikh temple by a skinhead in 2012, the shooting a year ago by a white supremacist at a Jewish community facility in Kansas. These kinds of things are happening with frightening regularity.

    GWEN IFILL: So, Congressman Clyburn, what should we, as a people, or maybe even government or not government, do about these things? What happens next?

    REP. JAMES CLYBURN: Well, let me say this about the lone wolf kind of thing.

    This young man may have been acting alone, but what were his motivations? Who or what led to him developing these kind of feelings? He’s got these distinct tattoos. He’s posting things on Facebook. He’s got this Confederate States of America insignia on the front of his automobile.

    These are not lone wolf activities. These are organized activities emanating from somewhere. Now, just because he acted alone in this doesn’t mean that he is not getting his motivation from some other kind of organized effort taking place.

    And that’s why I think we need to get to the bottom of this. Now, it’s one thing to wake up and pick up a book or look at TV and want to go out and emulate something. But it’s something else again to develop a whole philosophy, a whole theory, a whole approach to life by tuning in to these coordinated efforts being put forth out there by hate groups all over the country.

    So, just because you’re acting alone doesn’t mean that you’re not motivated by something broader and higher than you are.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, we will watch this unfold.

    Representative Jim Clyburn and Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, thank you both very much.

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    A rise in violence from terrorism groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, above, and the Islamic State group militants, have contributed to a 35 percent spike in terror attacks between 2013 and 2014, according to new statistics released by the State Department.

    A rise in violence from terrorism groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, above, and the Islamic State group militants, have contributed to a 35 percent spike in terror attacks between 2013 and 2014, according to new statistics released by the State Department.

    WASHINGTON — Extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria unleashed a savage rise in violence between 2013 and 2014, according to new statistics released by the State Department. Attacks largely at the hands of the Islamic State and Boko Haram raised the number of terror acts by more than a third, nearly doubled the number of deaths and nearly tripled the number of kidnappings.

    The figures contained in the department’s annual global terrorism report say that nearly 33,000 people were killed in almost 13,500 terrorist attacks around the world in 2014. That’s up from just over 18,000 deaths in nearly 10,000 attacks in 2013, it said. Twenty-four Americans were killed by extremists in 2014, the report said. Abductions soared from 3,137 in 2013 to 9,428 in 2014, the report said.

    The report attributes the rise in attacks to increased terror activity in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria and the sharp spike in deaths to a growth in exceptionally lethal attacks in those countries and elsewhere. There were 20 attacks that killed more than 100 people each in 2014, compared to just two in 2013, according to the figures that were compiled for the State Department by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.

    Among the 20 mass casualty attacks in 2014 were the December attack by the Pakistani Taliban on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan that killed at least 150 people and the June attack by Islamic State militants on a prison in Mosul, Iraq, in which 670 Shiite prisoners died. At the end of 2014, the prison attack was the deadliest terrorist operation in the world since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the report.

    Terror attacks took place in 95 countries in 2014, but were concentrated in the Mideast, South Asia and west Africa. Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria accounted for more than 60 percent of the attacks and, if Syria is included, roughly 80 percent of the fatalities, the report found.

    The rise in kidnappings is mainly attributable to sharp increases in mass abductions by terrorist groups in Syria, notably the Islamic State and the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front. In Nigeria, Boko Haram was responsible for most, if not all, of the nearly 1,300 abductions in Nigeria in 2014, including several hundred girls from a school in Chibok. By contrast, fewer than 100 terror-related kidnappings were reported in Nigeria in 2013, according to the report.

    The terrorism statistics are an annex to the State Department’s annual “Country Reports on Terrorism,” which is mandated by Congress and surveys terror attacks and trends over the course of the previous calendar year.

    Friday’s reports noted the “unprecedented seizure” of territory in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State in 2014 along with its continued demonstrated ability to recruit foreign fighters to join its cause and the emergence of self-proclaimed affiliates notably in Libya, Egypt and Nigeria. It also pointed out a rise in the number of so-called “lone wolf” attacks in the West and the use of more extreme methods of violence by terrorists to repress and frighten communities under their control.

    At the same time, the reports said regional and international efforts to counter the Islamic State and other groups were starting to make inroads.

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    Environmentalists want the Environmental Protection Agency to set a standard of 10 miles per gallon, up about 40 percent from current levels, as part of a broader effort to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Picture taken April 30, 2015. Photo by Jim Young

    The Environmental Protection Agency proposes new fuel standards for heavy-duty trucks as part of a broader effort to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Picture taken April 30, 2015. Photo by Jim Young

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is issuing new rules intended to improve fuel efficiency for medium and heavy-duty trucks and cut pollution blamed for global warming.

    The proposed standards are expected to lower cardon dioxide emissions by about 1 billion metric tons, cut fuel costs by about $170 billion and reduce oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of vehicles sold under the rule.

    The long-expected rules were announced Friday, one day after Pope Francis issued a teaching document calling for the world to take action to slow climate change.

    Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new rules would help the environment and the economy, as trucks use less fuel and shipping costs go down. He called the rules “good news all around.”

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    Editor’s note: This is the third installment of cartoonist Jack Ohman’s series “The Care Package,” for PBS NewsHour.

    Growing up, Jack Ohman often saw his father with a drink in his hand and little energy to dote over his son. Decades of alcohol consumption left his dad with an entangled series of disabling health problems. In turn, Ohman found himself wrestling with a sense of longing for a childhood filled with “baseball and hotdogs and family outings” that he never enjoyed with his father.

    “Is it payback time, or is it step-up-to-the-plate time? When he got sick, there wasn’t a choice for me,” Ohman said. “I just did what I felt I had to do. I couldn’t walk away.”

    More than anything, Ohman craved “meaningful moments” with his father. He never expected the man to give him an apology for years of hurt brought on by his father’s drinking, but Ohman hoped for just an acknowledgement of what happened.

    “It never came,” he said.









    Look for the final installment in Ohman’s cartoon series about his experience taking care of his father, arriving in July.

    Reporting by Laura Santhanam

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    Marie Goff wipes tears from her eyes during a prayer vigil at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Thursday. Photo by Grace Beahm/Pool/Reuters

    Marie Goff wipes tears from her eyes during a prayer vigil at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, less than a mile from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where a gunman killed nine people Wednesday night. Photo by Grace Beahm/Pool/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Republican presidential contenders on Friday condemned the deadly shootings in South Carolina as an attack on faith, offering deeply personal responses to the murders but no suggestion that they see gun control as part of the answer.

    “The idea that anyone, that any human being, would walk into a church and sit there for an hour and pray with people that he intended to murder, is depraved, it’s unthinkable,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at a gathering of evangelical Christians and GOP hopefuls.

    But he said “laws can’t change” such attacks. “Only the good will and love of the American people can let those folks know that that act is unacceptable, disgraceful. We need to do more to show that we love each other.”

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he was in a hotel just a block away from the church attack Wednesday night. He’d come to campaign but canceled his appearances.

    “This was an evil act of aggression,” he told the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual meeting. “This had a big impact on me.

    “In times like these,” Bush continued, “all of us must come together and at least reflect on this, and fortify our strength, and love of Christ, and love of God, to be able to continue to go forth.”

    Police have arrested 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof in the shooting deaths of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Officials consider the murders a racially motivated hate crime. The victims were black; the suspect, white.

    Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a favorite of some conservatives in the Republican race and the only black candidate in the field, said: “These things hit so close to home, and if we don’t pay close attention to the hatred and division that’s going on in our nation, this is just a harbinger of what we can expect.”

    He said he had spoken to one of the victims just weeks earlier, referring to Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s senior pastor and a state senator.

    Bush, Christie and Carson were the first of nearly a dozen White House hopefuls addressing the three-day conference. The Faith and Freedom Coalition is led by Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, who continues to wield great sway in national politics.

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    Divorce is a terribly difficult financial decision to confront. Photo by Getty Images

    Divorce is a terribly difficult financial decision to confront. Economist Laurence Kotlikoff provides some advice. Photo by Getty Images

    Economist Laurence Kotlikoff, well known for his Ask Larry Social Security column and his best seller, “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security Benefits” (co-authored by our Paul Solman and Philip Moeller), advises people on their divorce settlements. For today’s column, he provides some advice on the finances of divorce.

    Economists, as the old adage goes, know the price of everything but the value of nothing. There’s a reason. Economists spend years in a very special boot camp, called economics graduate school, where they have their hearts drained and their heads drilled. When it’s over they can think about any issue, including divorce, in purely objective terms with not a shred of emotion. So whether it’s buying kidneys, selling newborn babies, valuing sex “workers,” or leaving one’s spouse, economists have their pencils sharpened, their equations ready, and their hearts hardened.

    “Objective divorce” is a phrase that would bat not a single eye in an economics seminar, but could well lead you, my un-brainwashed readers, to leave off the word oxy and just shout moron! So it is with some trepidation that I venture to talk about divorce purely on objective economics grounds.

    I’m doing so because divorce is a terribly difficult financial decision that confronts huge numbers of you. Some 5,000 former U.S. lovebirds call it quits each day—one pair every 20 seconds.

    So will your marriage make it for as long as you both shall live? The chances exceed 50-50, but not by much. What about second marriages? Sorry, they collapse at an even higher clip.

    But what’s a fair deal? If we’re married for only ten minutes, fair surely means simply parting ways. But what about marriages that last a long time? In this case, fair may mean dividing assets and income so that each spouse has the same living standard (spending power) going forward.

    This particular solution—equalizing the two spouses’ living standards—falls out of the economics math under some pretty general conditions, provided we view divorce as an insurance arrangement; that is, as a means by which each spouse insures the other against their long-term marriage breaking up.

    Obviously, divorce means maintaining two residences and foregoing all the other economies of shared living (the fact that two can live more cheaply than one). So when I say a fair divorce to a long-term marriage entails the same living standard, I really mean the same reduced living standard. Interestingly, state alimony guidelines, where they exist, tend to produce more equal living standard outcomes the longer the marriage.

    Clearly, other issues, like how much the two spouses work and who keeps the house enter into the fairness equation. But economists can make reasonable dollar adjustments for these factors.

    The interesting question is how to calculate what’s needed to achieve living standard equality or some differential that both spouses feel is fair. The answer is via financial software that directly calculates your post-divorce living standard, taking into account all relevant factors, including future taxes and Social Security benefits.

    An example is the ESPlannerBASIC software my company provides as a free public service. While the program is bare bones, anyone running it can get a pretty good sense of the living standard they and their spouse will each experience under any given divorce settlement.

    Take, for example, a childless Massachusetts couple married for 20 years. The husband is 50 and earns $150,000. The wife, 45, earns $30,000. Both will retire at 65. He has a $500,000 401(k), she has a $50,000 IRA, and they jointly own a $400,000 house free and clear. They are cautious investors who expect to earn only 2 percent above inflation. And both think they could make it to 100.

    Here’s my question. If they split the house and the assets, how much will the husband need to pay in alimony for the next 15 years to equalize their living standards going forward?

    The husband thinks it’s $30,000 given the higher taxes he needs to pay. The wife has more years to go and knows she, not he, will pay taxes on the alimony. She’s sure she needs $90,000 a year for 15 years to live as well as him. They are about to pay two high-priced lawyers to duke it out. They needn’t. ESPlannerBASIC suggests $60,000 per year for 15 years is roughly the right figure.

    OK, but what if the husband thinks his living standard should be 30 percent higher because he earns more. And what if his wife disagrees, pointing out that she put him through grad school and sacrificed her own career in the process?

    Well, economics is not going to resolve this fairness dispute. But once the two do agree on a living standard differential, be it zero or positive, they don’t have to fight over what it takes to achieve that differential. Dull, heartless, modern, objective economic software can end that potentially ferocious and outrageously expensive argument in a matter of seconds.

    The post Are you getting a fair divorce? The economist’s take appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Chef Jamie DeRosa, of Miami's Tongue & Cheek restaurant, led a culinary tour to Cuba in May. Photo courtesy of Jamie DeRosa

    Chef Jamie DeRosa, second from left, of Miami’s Tongue & Cheek restaurant, led a culinary tour to Cuba in May. Photo courtesy of Jamie DeRosa

    Chef Jamie DeRosa is no stranger to cooking in foreign places. He’s braised, seared and blanched everywhere from the U.S. to Canada, the U.K. and Beijing. But last month he was able to add a country with more personal significance to that list — Cuba.

    “Living in Miami, it’s a hot topic,” DeRosa said. “I work with Cuban Americans, my grandfather was from Cuba. I have that connection to what has happened over the last 50 years, but it’s just different, you don’t ever get to see the other side. I didn’t have any idea what Cuba would be like and I think the same holds true for the people, I didn’t have an idea what their side was. It was interesting to hear from the other side.”

    DeRosa led a six-day tour exploring Cuba’s culinary culture. As part of that tour the group visited tobacco houses, distilleries, markets, farms and restaurants. What most impressed DeRosa was the almost completely organic and largely local style of farming he saw on the island, which resonated with his own food philosophy, which is to use simple, seasonal foods to create quality dishes.

    “It was good to know that they stayed true to their roots in a time when the way of life was very difficult to them,” he said. “They are very proud to be part of a similar movement of farm-to-table in the U.S.”

    At the end of the tour, DeRosa teamed up with Cuban chef Alain Rivas to present a four-course meal to the group. The first course featured a lobster ceviche with pickled guavas and guava sorbet. For DeRosa, the meal was a special one.

    “I chose that menu because at the restaurant we cooked at, the owner had his own fishing boat, which is pretty rare in Cuba. So I had scheduled to do a ceviche dish and I figured we’d fill it in with whatever fish they caught, and when we went out to the docks they had all this great local lobster. … The guavas were local, something I picked out from the farm, and back to me being the purist, I thought of using that ingredient in the fresh simple manner. I wanted to show the chef that you could take a few simple ingredients and create a great dish from it.”

    Lobster ceviche croppedChef Jamie DeRosa’s Lobster, Guayaba, fresh and pickled

    For the lobster:

    * 2 kilograms lobster, tails only, skewered with sugarcane (keep tails straight)
    * .5 kilogram celery, onion and carrot, diced
    *.25 kilogram limes, cut in half
    * 2 liter water
    * 1 liter coconut milk

    Bring liquid and vegetable mixture to a boil for 15 minutes, chill and pour over lobster tails. Marinate overnight. Strain liquid and reserve.

    For the guava:

    Add 25 grams of soy lecithin to poaching liquid and use hand blender to foam.

    * 1 kilogram guava, peeled and sliced in half
    * 250 milliliters of white vinegar
    * 50 grams of sugar

    Pickle guava with vinegar and sugar and let sit for two hours.

    Use fresh guava and cut in half for plating.

    For the chimichurri:

    * equal parts parsley, basil, arugula (set some arugula aside for plating)
    * 50 milliliters of oil
    * 25 milliliters of lime juice

    Blend these ingredients until smooth.

    Add pickle liquid to dress arugula, plus salt and pepper.

    To plate:

    Draw a circle on the plate with chimichurri. Slice medallions of lobster and set along the circle. Add fresh and pickled guayaba (2 pieces of each). Add some of the dressed arugula on the lobster and pour coconut marinade foam over the lobster.

    The post Recipe: Chef Jamie DeRosa’s Lobster and Guayaba, Fresh and Pickled appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    At the start of today’s hearing for Dylann Roof — the 21-year-old man who shot and killed nine people during a bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston — the judge told him that “Charleston is a loving community.”

    Those words were echoed in the messages of victims’ families, who addressed Roof via video chat. These are some of the powerful statements they made:

    “You took someone very important from me…but I forgive you. Have mercy on your soul.”

    “Every fiber in my body hurts, and I’ll never be the same. Tyrone Sanders was my son, Tyrone was my hero. But as we say in bible study, may God have mercy on you.

    “Hate won’t win.”

    “We are the family that love built. We have no room for hate. So we have to forgive.

    Roof’s bail was set at $1 million. He was charged with nine counts of murder. Watch the full hearing here.

    The post Families of Charleston shooting victims say ‘hate won’t win’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    People attend a prayer vigil Thursday at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, less than a mile from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where a gunman killed nine people the night before. Grace Beahm/Pool/Reuters

    People attend a prayer vigil Thursday at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, less than a mile from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where a gunman killed nine people the night before. Grace Beahm/Pool/Reuters

    What can you say? The murder of nine people by a gunman at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Wednesday has left people throughout the country mourning and struggling for answers. Meanwhile, the men and women who lead congregations across the country are finding the words to help their followers grieve.

    We reached out to pastors and community leaders to ask them how they are addressing the tragedy with their community and what they hope people will keep in mind as they process the gruesome event.

    Rev. Bill Lamar, Pastor, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.

    We are not surprised by this act of evil. This is Rosewood, this is the destruction of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, this is the burning of Black Wilmington, North Carolina, this is Emmett Till all over again. We are not surprised. We must remember our history and know that it is not past.

    We must live in the America that is, not the America that will be talked about in a few days on July 4. We must marshal our resources to develop a new narrative in our world and nation. The narrative of redemptive violence is bankrupt. Violence will not beget tranquility. War will not beget peace.

    America is drenched in the blood of those conquered, slaughtered, and enslaved to make this a “great” nation. Are we willing to pay the price to be truly free? Are we willing to redistribute wealth and power? Are we willing to extinguish the flame of white supremacy?

    Bishop Vashti Mackenzie, Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church

    What happened was not an episode from “Law and Order” or “CSI-Miami.” It was an all-too-real-life violent, senseless act that makes us, all of us, sit up straight, and we ask: Why? Why now? What ever possessed the gunman?

    “Today we all stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church…” — Satpal Singh, Founding Trustee, Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations
    The answers may come, played out in a real courtroom where the perpetrator may or may not give us the “why” because he has a right to remain silent. But let’s think about this: We do not have the right to remain silent. Edmund Burke writes that evil triumphs because of the silence of good men — and I’ll add men and women. Martin Luther King Jr. indicated that there comes a time when our silence cooperates with our enemies.

    Now is the time for a prayerful, thoughtful response, not thoughtless reaction. It is time to turn away from the ways that encourage senseless acts. Let us find common ground. Let us dedicate our harvest to a war on starvation; our education to the war on ignorance; our technology to the war on misery; our democracy to the war on oppression. Let’s raise our communities and country as models of service and sacrifice, virtue and victory; and grace and guts, ever deepening our responsibility to our neighbor. In this hour, never let us forget that we must intercede with our words and our deeds.

    Rev. John Foster, Senior Pastor, Big Bethel Church, Atlanta

    My message to the congregation at Big Bethel AME Church is that we live in a world where tragedies happen. The events of the past few days in Charleston demonstrate that we have not met the mark of where God wants us to be.

    Martin Luther King stated, “We have got to learn how to disagree with each other without being violently disagreeable.” The real sin of what occurred in Charleston at Emanuel AME Church is that we still live in a society where violence is chosen as the preferred choice of action. I believe God’s word is still true: “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). God is challenging us to transform our minds by throwing away our legacy addictions to violence.

    Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, Pastor, Alfred Street Baptist Church, Alexandria, Virginia

    I’ll be using Scripture and the word of God to try to answer the question, How do we dare live in a world where evil is so inescapable? I want to shape it by sharing that what happened is a blatant act of evil. When innocent lives are taken on sacred ground, you have to see the demonic element that is involved in that. I hope to lift our members’ eyes above simply demonizing one man and realize there is a pervasive evil in the world. Every day we turn on the news and hear of another shooting — police shooting, gang shooting, ISIS, a lone gunman.

    How do we live in a world where you can neither predict nor prepare, or even sometimes protect yourself from that evil? I’m still wrestling with some of the answers to that, but I know one of them would be that we must choose to be aware, but not to live afraid; that evil wins when we drastically change our lifestyle because we’re afraid.

    Satpal Singh, Founding Trustee, Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations

    When the shooting at Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, occurred, the entire nation and the entire world stood by the Sikhs. Within hours, Sikh organizations received messages of support and solidarity from hundreds of religious, political and social organizations from all around the world. Today we all stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which has become the target of the same hatred and venom that keeps engulfing us again and again in the name of religion, race and a myriad other divisions. We pray for the peace of those who have left us, and for their families. We pray for the peace of mind of the perpetrator of such a hateful act, and for the peace of mind for all those who suffer from hate and prejudice.

    “… We will not operate in fear, but with power and love…” — Rev. Natalie Mitchem, Pastor, Cavalry AME Church
    At the same time, we refuse to succumb to the tactics of the terrorists and the supremacists alike, who either hope to provoke a reaction in kind and start a cycle of back and forth violence, or even fancy initiating a civil war, as Mr. Roof wanted to do. We must strengthen our efforts to combat the hatred as well as the fear evoked by such actions. We all must stand together to fight against such injustice to our African American brothers and sisters as they have been subjected to for centuries, and are being subjected to even this day.

    It is time for all of us to reinvigorate our efforts to banish hatred from our society and to bring harmony among all the sections of our society, irrespective of the divisions that have been created among us. Let this act of hatred strengthen our resolve to spread the message of love and harmony that all our faiths profess. We must all remind ourselves, and our congregations, that blood has no religion. It has no race, no caste, no nationality and no political ideology. And it has no skin color.

    Rev. Natalie Mitchem, Pastor, Cavalry AME Church, Philadelphia

    Our hearts are broken and many may still be asking why this happen in a church. The church is a place where people come for worship, prayer, direction, self-reflection, healing and to sing praises to our Heavenly Father. Today we are reminded that God in Heaven, our Heavenly Father, provides the peace through Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit that surpasses our understanding. God is love, and the Bible urges us to overcome evil with love. Calvary AME Church has security measures in place and we will review our security measures. However, we will not operate in fear, but with power and love, as stated in the Bible.

    Rev. Jonathan Malone, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, East Greenwich, Rhode Island

    I believe that racism is an American problem, that the narrative of us versus them is prevalent in our country’s ethos, and this narrative insidiously seeps into our consciousness, even in our sheltered New England town. Racism is still a real issue and we still have a lot of work to do.

    I call on us all to do the hard work of self-examination. Ask yourself what stories, what narratives have you accepted as true that may have racist undertones. When you see someone who does not look like you, does not dress like you, does not talk like you, what assumptions do you bring up about that person? We all are shaped and informed by our context, and we need to again and again challenge the narrative that we have assumed to be true.

    I ask you to speak out against those small, subtle overtures of racism that you may encounter on a daily basis. The joke that is said in the hall, the comment made only for your ears, the statement about “those people” all are sprouts from the seeds of racism and need to be cut down where and when they happen.

    Contributions have been edited for length and clarity.

    The post What preachers are preparing for their Sunday sermons after the unspeakable event in Charleston appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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