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

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    shieldsgerson

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: And to the analysis of Shields and Gerson. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson.

    The first topic is going to be a total shocker, gay marriage. We have talked about it a little bit. The country struggled with it for quite some time.

    Does legal acceptance mean cultural acceptance?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. That was the shortest answer…

    MARK SHIELDS: No, I really — I really do think this has been moving.

    Unlike Roe v. Wade, where, quite frankly, 40 years later, opinions are still frozen, as it was moving toward a legislative solution, which is always the ideal in a democracy, that you can do it by popular vote and so forth, I don’t think there’s any question that the momentum behind the support for same-sex marriage, for equity was just exponential.

    It went from 40 percent just five-and-a-half years ago of Americans to 60 percent now, 70 percent of men under the age of 49 — 49 — 18 to 49, 70 percent of women. It’s just — it’s incredible. So, I think that this just accelerates it and seals it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Michael Gerson, we heard someone from the Heritage Foundation earlier on in the program say that this conversation is not over, that this could be long-lasting.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Well, I think I agree with Mark on this. This has moved unbelievably swiftly.

    Seven years ago this summer in August, the current president of the United States said that he believed that marriage was a sacred woman of a man — a sacred union of a man and woman, seven years ago. That viewpoint has now been declared illegal as a basis for law in all 50 states, in seven years. I don’t know any precedent for that. That’s pretty extraordinary.

    If you step back a little bit, there are some broad cultural reasons for this, not just the court. But there’s really the strategy of coming out, in which more Americans now know people who are gay, which I think has changed and humanized this debate in many ways, change in sexual mores that you see in Hollywood and other places that have taken place over the last few decades, and a change in strategy in the courts, really going — wanting to join a bourgeois institution, marriage, and making a conservative argument to people like Andrew Sullivan and Jon Rauch, making conservative arguments for stability and commitment.

    This was an argument that appealed to Middle America. And it is the argument that won in this court today.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, I might have misattributed. It might have been Alliance for Freedom, not Heritage Foundation.

    But none of this happens in a vacuum. We’re in a presidential cycle. And there, as expected, responses. The ever growing group of presidential candidates for 2016 also reacted to today’s decision. Each of the four Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, praised the ruling.

    But, for the Republicans, it’s a very different story. Some, like Jeb Bush, said they were opposed, thought the decision best left to states and called for religious liberty. Others, like Scott Walker, called for a new constitutional amendment to oppose it.

    In a statement, he said: “Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage. The only alternative left is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.”

    Some, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, called it the new law of the land. He said: “While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

    MARK SHIELDS: The court this week did a — beyond the wisdom or courage or vision of its decisions, did an enormous political favor in two instances to Republicans.

    It — they kept the Republicans off the hook on this issue. This had been a central plank of the Republican platform, support for one man — marriage being between one man and one woman. I mean, this was Republican solid creed.

    And if this is to become — if Scott Walker’s position prevails, and he makes that and his supporters and other Republicans make it a litmus test issue in the nominating process of 2016, whoever the Republican nominee who emerges from that will be hurt and damaged in the general election of 2016 for having had to satisfy the — this litmus test.

    I just think — I think the same thing is true on health care, which I assume we will get to, that they let the Republicans — great relief that they don’t have to have on their hands that all of a sudden six million or seven million Americans are stripped of their health care.

    But I don’t think there’s any question politically.

    MICHAEL GERSON: I agree that, if that litmus test is employed here, that that’s of political detriment.

    But I think that Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush both came out with probably the more sustainable political position, to say they disagreed with the decision, but it’s the law of the land and now we need to move on to protect religious liberty, a real set of issues that surround the institutional religious liberty in the aftermath of this court decision.

    I think that’s the sustainable decision, the one that the nominee is likely to have. But Walker has taken a different way. It’s analogous to the debate on abortion, where people supported a constitutional amendment that was never going to happen. It became like a salute, like a meaningless gesture. And I think that’s true in this case as well.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, shifting gears to the Confederate Flag, since we spoke last week, really, the topic was about the tragedy.

    Now, throughout this week, we see retailers making shifts, states taking this emblem off the flag. What does this moment mean for the country?

    MARK SHIELDS: For the country, first of all, I was absolutely wrong a week ago, when I thought that — Judy asked about the flag, and I didn’t see it emerging as an issue.

    I think two things happened. I think the example that we saw by the surviving members of the family of those who were slaughtered in Emanuel AME Church, the dignity, the forgiveness that they demonstrated — we don’t have forgiveness much in our society. We don’t have it in Washington, D.C. We don’t have it on Wall Street. We don’t have it in faculty clubs of universities.

    Forgiveness is a rare and — valued, but increasingly rare commodity. These people showed — I think they set aside almost a political earthquake by their demonstration. And Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, I thought, showed enormous courage and leadership.

    And what we have seen is the dominoes fallen since, I mean, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia. It’s a remarkable, remarkable response. And I — unplanned and unorganized and spontaneous, but totally genuine, and I think sparked by the families of the survivors.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Nikki Haley didn’t have this position just a few years ago. So, is this an opportunity for Republicans to change their minds?

    MICHAEL GERSON: Well, I think this is their opportunity in many ways.

    I could not agree with Mark more. But this is a group of people in Charleston and the families and a church that surrounded this group of people that have raised the standards and ideals of everyone around them through their conduct.

    You had politicians in — Republican politicians in South Carolina and other places. You could just see it in their mind, they were saying, you know, I’m a Christian. This is a horrible symbol of exclusion and violence. I should have known better over the years.

    And when Nikki Haley gave people an opening, when she opened the door to do this, a lot of Republicans walked through. They had been clearly uncomfortable for this for years. It had only — it had been an issue because of South Carolina’s position in the primary season, where all these candidates had to come through and say things they didn’t want to say, probably for the most part, as John McCain eventually said.

    But this gave, I think, an opportunity for Republicans to get out from under a burden that they didn’t really want.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Yes.

    And just off camera, when we were talking, this — also the moment that we saw with Obama singing “Amazing Grace” or just delivering this eulogy, you were both commenting on it. And I wanted to share that with the audience too. But there is still this opportunity for a president to do something that no one else can.

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, Michael knows far better personally than I do, but the president, at times of tragedy — and this is a time of national tragedy — is the comforter in chief.

    And words, presidential words at a time like this, whether it’s the Challenger tragedy and Ronald Reagan, or after Oklahoma City with Bill Clinton, the president, I thought, stepped up and spoke to and for the nation today.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Often, that involves faith, not sectarian faith, but a broad kind of faith that the injustice you see in front of your eyes is not the final word, that there’s actually an order of justice and hope that lies above and beyond the circumstances that you’re seeing.

    And I think that that’s often what a president provides, some vision that, you know, you’re — what you’re seeing in the moment is not final.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Final topic, not a small one, the Affordable Care Act. Could a new president attempt to dismantle this law, or has this finally been settled?

    MARK SHIELDS: I think it has been settled.

    I think now — as I mentioned earlier, I think the Republicans again were given a political lifesaver by the court. Now the Democrats have to make it work. I mean, it’s a serious program with serious problems.

    Too many low-income are happy they are finally covered, but not enough, middle-income or higher-income people into the exchanges. I just — I think it — but I don’t think anybody’s going to run quite bluntly on changing it.

    MICHAEL GERSON: I don’t think the structure here of Obamacare is immortal. But I think the president has succeeded in embedding a series of expectations in our common life, that the government is going to help with preexisting conditions or with affording coverage, insurance coverage.

    If Republicans want to get rid of Obamacare, they will now have to replace that system in some important way.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes.

    MICHAEL GERSON: And that is an accomplishment of the president. You know, he’s forced his opponents that, if they want to get rid of Obamacare, they’re going to need to do something else.

    MARK SHIELDS: And, Hari, I just point, it’s 22 years since Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton introduced health care. And we have been waiting for a Republican plan ever since.

    (CROSSTALK)

    MICHAEL GERSON: There are a couple of good ones out there.

    MARK SHIELDS: But, I mean, there’s nothing that the Republicans have said, this is our plan and we’re…

    (CROSSTALK)

    MICHAEL GERSON: We are not rallied around…

    MARK SHIELDS: No.

    MICHAEL GERSON: But there’s serious policy work being done.

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I’m not questioning that.

    But there’s a difference between concept and reality, and I just haven’t seen — the fact is that Barack Obama put a lot of Democrats at risk and they took great political risk, many cost their own career, to pass this. And I don’t see anything approaching that in the sense of unity on the other side.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is this something that we see on the campaign trail? Is this something that…

    MICHAEL GERSON: Republicans believe that health care is still an advantage for them.

    This is a system where premiums are increasing, where people aren’t all that happy sometimes with their choice of services. So, Republicans believe they still have a good issue here. Obamacare is still not wildly popular in America. But it is going to be difficult to replace this system.

    It’s going to require a mandate, an electoral mandate, a Republican president, a Republican House and Senate, and some serious policy work. That’s a lot to come together.

    MARK SHIELDS: Opposition is waning, public opposition to the Obamacare, Affordable Care Act. I think there’s a growing acceptance. Not by any means it’s reached the sacrosanct level of Medicare or Social Security, but I think it’s becoming, you would have to be able to replace it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right.

    Mark Shields, Michael Gerson, thanks so much for joining us.

    MICHAEL GERSON: Thank you.

     

    The post Shields and Gerson on Supreme Court’s gay marriage and Obamacare decisions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Rev. Clementa Pinckney's daughter Eliana as her mother Jennifer (R) looks on
 after the president eulogized Rev. Pinckney during funeral services
 in Charleston, South Carolina June 26, 2015. Pinckney was among the nine people who died when a gunman opened fire in the mass shooting during bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  - RTX1HZHF

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now to Charleston, South Carolina, and the funeral today of Clementa Pinckney, the preacher politician killed in last week’s mass shooting. People came from far and wide and the service — for the service — and the president delivered an impassioned eulogy.

    Songs filled the air, as some 6,000 people filled T.D. Arena at the College of Charleston.

    REV. NORVEL GOFF, AME Church: We come at this hour for the home-going celebration of our departed and beloved brother, the Reverend Senator Clementa Pinckney.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Pinckney was both a minister and state senator. And he was one of nine people killed by a white gunman last week at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal.

    State Senator Gerald Malloy served with Pinckney and as his personal lawyer.

    GERALD MALLOY (D), South Carolina State Senator: Senator Pinckney’s last act as a Christian and as a senator was to open his doors to someone who he didn’t know, who he didn’t understand, and who didn’t look like him. So, in the days or weeks ahead, let us not close the doors that Senator Pinckney gave his life for us to open.

    (APPLAUSE)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The funeral also brought a delegation of U.S. congressman to Charleston, along with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Reverends Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and President and Mrs. Obama, plus Vice President Biden.

    The president delivered the main eulogy, praising Pinckney’s life, while decrying racism and gun violence.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Preacher by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23, what a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith.

    And then to lose him at 41, slain in his sanctuary, with eight wonderful members of his flock, a sacred place, this church, not just for blacks, not just for Christians, but for every American who cares about the steady expansion of human rights and human dignity in this country, a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all. That’s what the church meant.

    (APPLAUSE)

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history, but he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act, an act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion, an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.

    Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: God has different ideas.

    Out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we have been blind.

    (APPLAUSE)

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: For too long, for too long, we have been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    BARACK OBAMA: And I’m convinced that, by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions and ways of life that make up this beloved country, by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace.

    (APPLAUSE)

    (PRESIDENT OBAMA AND AUDIENCE SING “AMAZING GRACE”)

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Reverend Pinckney will be laid to rest in Marion, South Carolina. He was 41 years old.

    The post Obama: Out of tragic killing of Rev. Pinckney, we find grace appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Police officers control the crowd (rear) while surrounding a man (front C) suspected to be involved in opening fire on a beachside hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, as a woman reacts(R), June 26, 2015. At least 27 people, including foreign tourists, were killed when at least one gunman opened fire on a Tunisian beachside hotel in the popular resort of Sousse on Friday, an interior ministry spokesman said. Police were still clearing the area around the Imperial Marhaba hotel and the body of one gunman lay at the scene with a Kalashnikov assault rifle after he was shot in an exchange of gunfire, a security source at the scene said. REUTERS/Amine Ben Aziza   TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1HXGI

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    For more on these attacks, I’m joined by Peter Neumann. He’s the founder and director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence.

    Peter, I wonder if you would just give me your initial reaction to these three attacks.

    PETER NEUMANN, Director, International Center for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College: I think it’s horrible. It’s an indication of the Islamic State inspiring terrorist attacks across the world.

    All of these three attacks were quite different in nature and in tactic. But they were appropriate for what the Islamic State is trying to achieve in each of these regions. So, in Europe, we saw a so-called lone wolf attack.

    In Tunisia, where we know a lot of radicals have been active, we saw a coordinated attack. And in Kuwait, we saw sectarian attack, indicating that the Islamic State is continuing to pursue a sort of sectarian conflict in that part of the world.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: From what we know now, three attacks within three hours, do you believe these are connected?

    PETER NEUMANN: They are connected in the sense that the Islamic State is trying to create attacks across the world. I think it is very, very unlikely that there was some guy in Mosul or Raqqa who was coordinating these attacks and who was saying, we do one in France and then, within an hour, we do one in Tunisia.

    I think that’s very unlikely and there’s no evidence for that so far. I think a lot of them might have been thinking about the first year anniversary of the caliphate declaration, which happened almost exactly a year ago. We have a momentum towards new attacks, and that might have happened.

    But in terms of coordination, there’s no evidence for that so far.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, ISIS certainly and very recently called for more attacks like this to happen during Ramadan. Are we likely to expect, should we be expecting more of these to be happening?

    PETER NEUMANN: I think we should.

    One has to be careful with that recent declaration. That recent declaration specifically mentioned countries. Those countries were Saudi. Those countries were Lebanon. None of the countries where attacks happened today were actually mentioned in the call that was issued two or three days ago. And that is another indicator that the Islamic State at a central level didn’t actually know about these attacks happening.

    I think there is a lot of momentum towards new attacks by the Islamic State. The Islamic State clearly wants to hit Western targets because it believes that is part of its strategy of asymmetrical warfare. It believes that, because it is being hit by Americans and by Western countries in its core territory, it has to hit back. And I think we will see more of that for sure.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, in the end, does it really matter if ISIS directed this attack or whether it was inspired by ISIS? I mean, the effect is the same in the end, right?

    PETER NEUMANN: Absolutely.

    And I think that’s what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with a very complicated, complex movement. We are having — in Syria and Iraq, we’re having an entity that is acting like a state, but that state is also having followers across the world who are looking at that state as an inspiration.

    And they are following the advice and the cause given by that movement without it necessarily being coordinated. And it is difficult for us to get our head around, because we’re dealing with something that is simultaneous things at the same time. And we will have to expect more of these attacks in the future.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, you’re describing an enemy that is a many-headed hydra almost. How should — the nations that want to fight this, how should they be going about doing this?

    PETER NEUMANN: I think we need different things in different places.

    I think, in Western Europe, for example, we need a concerted effort that is not only about counterterrorism, that is also about prevention, that is also about deradicalization, interventions, because clearly the security authorities in a lot of European countries cannot deal with the number of cases they have on their desks right now.

    In a country like Tunisia, which has been strongly affected by this, 3,000 Tunisians have gone to Syria and Iraq as foreign fighters. They have an open border with Libya. The Tunisian authorities really are not up to the job. So the international community has to come in with support, capacity-building. The European Union, the Americans have to help the Tunisians get up to the job, so they can protect their own people.

    And regarding the Islamic State, it needs an aggressive policy of containment, which doesn’t mean boots on the ground. That would be exactly what the Islamic State is asking for. They want America to send boots on the ground, back to the future, back to sort of Iraqi-style occupation.

    What you need to do is to keep the Islamic State keep losing and contain it where it is and let it fall on its own promise. And I think that will take some time. It will take strategic patience. It will happen eventually.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Peter Neumann, thank you very much for joining us.

    PETER NEUMANN: Thank you.

     

    The post Terror strikes on three continents, can others be stopped? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Terror Attack monitor france

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: We return now to the deadly attacks in North Africa, in the Middle East and in France today.

    William Brangham recounts a bloody day overseas.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Three attacks, three different continents, dozens dead. It was a day filled with terror, from a beach in Tunisia, to a mosque in Kuwait, to a factory in France.

    The killings in the Tunisian resort of Sousse was the country’s worst terror toll ever. A gunman disguised as a tourist pulled an assault rifle and opened fire on sunbathers at a beachfront hotel.

    MAN (through interpreter): I came this morning to see my friend at his office. They told me to wait outside, that I wasn’t allowed to go in. I went outside and I found gunfire. He kept firing around the beach, then came to the swimming pool.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The dead included Tunisians, Britons, Germans and Belgians. The rampage ended when police killed the gunman. Tunisia has managed a democratic transition since the Arab spring began here several years ago.

    But, today, its president said the attacks were a warning for his nation, one that’s exported more extremist fighters to Iraq and Syria than any other country.

    PRESIDENT BEJI CAID ESSEBSI, Tunisia (through interpreter): We have repeatedly said that Tunisia is in a war against terrorism. This war doesn’t only concern the police or the army that paid the higher price and was often targeted. Today, we are reminded that the Tunisian people as a whole are involved.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Meanwhile, in Kuwait, a suicide bomber unleashed that country’s first domestic terror attack in more than 20 years. It happened at one of the largest Shiite mosques in Kuwait City. Witnesses said worshipers were standing shoulder to shoulder in group prayer when the blast ripped through the mosque.

    ADNAN MOTWA, Kuwaiti National Assembly (through interpreter): I can see that all the Muslims are dying by terrorism. They are not targeting a sect, but all the Arab and Muslim nations. We are not safe anymore, neither in our houses nor in the mosques, and we are calling upon the Islamic countries to fight terrorism.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for this attack. And, in Southern France, the target was a U.S.-owned gas plant, less than a hundred miles from the Swiss border. A man with ties to Islamist radicals rammed a car into gas canisters, setting off an explosion that injured two people.

    Investigators later found at the site the severed head of the man’s employer, along with a flag with Arabic inscriptions. French President Francois Hollande immediately left a summit in Brussels, returned to Paris and raised the threat level in the region to its highest point.

    PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, France (through interpreter): We need to make sure that all verifications can be made, all checks can be carried out, in different sites, at stations, at industrial sites. There can be no doubt about the ability of our country to protect itself and be vigilant.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The suspect was taken into custody, along with his wife and two other people.

    In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said there’s no indication the day’s events were coordinated — quote — “on a tactical level,” but he also said this:

    REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, State Department Spokesman: There is a common thread of terrorism throughout them, clearly. And at the very least, regardless of who claims responsibility for them, certainly, at the very least, they’re a representation of the continued threat of violent extremism.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The three attacks came just days after Islamic State militants urged followers to stage — quote — “calamities for nonbelievers” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

    The post State Dept.: Three attacks share ‘common thread of terror’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Katherine Nicole Struck (holding sign) said she hoped the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision would be the first step in dismantling discrimination. (Photo by Corinne Segal)

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    Now for a broader look at today’s historic decision, and to Jeffrey Brown.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And joining me now to further explore some of the legal and cultural consequences of the ruling, Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organization, Austin Nimocks, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group, Tevin Johnson-Campion, whose fathers, a gay couple in Kentucky, were among the plaintiffs who won in court today, and Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland.

    Let me start with you, Sarah Warbelow.

    A 5-4 vote, bitterly contented, as we just heard, how important, how definitive a legal victory was this?

    SARAH WARBELOW, Legal Director, Human Rights Campaign: This is the end, guaranteeing same-sex couples access to marriage in every corner of this country.

    It’s a critical decision, bringing rights, benefits and obligations that will strengthen families all over the nation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Austin Nimocks, same question to you, is, how do you define the importance of this decision?

    AUSTIN NIMOCKS, Alliance Defending Freedom: Well, the Supreme Court hasn’t historically had the last word on anything in our country’s history. The last word always belongs to the people.

    And the people are going to continue debate this question about marriage long after the Supreme Court’s opinion. We knew it before the fact that it came out, because millions of Americans, tens of millions of Americans still believe deeply that marriage is one man and one woman, that mothers and fathers, men and women, both halves of humanity matter.

    The Supreme Court’s opinion today is not going to take that away. We’re going to continue to debate this. And we saw a constitutional amendment now introduced in Congress. And so this debate is not going away any time soon.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, we’re going to come back to that, to where we go from here.

    But let me come back to you, Tevin Johnson-Campion, an issue that affects you personally. So, give me your personal response to today’s decision.

    TEVIN JOHNSON-CAMPION, Son of Plaintiffs: You know, today’s decision was very reflective on America and how progressive we have come as a nation.

    I feel that, you know, the Supreme Court made the right decision today. My parents have always been seen as second-class citizens, and they have always felt like second-class citizens. And today’s decisions really reflects that they are just like everybody else and that they deserve the same rights and privileges that a married couple gets to have.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And are there immediate consequences for you and your family?

    TEVIN JOHNSON-CAMPION: Immediate consequences, no, but I would like to see a wedding reception, yes.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: Bishop Jackson, for you personally, how do you see today’s decision?

    BISHOP HARRY JACKSON, Hope Christian Church: Well, I was disappointed that 50 million voters’ ideas, concerns were disregarded.

    And my real concern, though, is, where does the line stop where you have an overcompensation and religious suppression begins to happen, meaning that there is pushback? Right now, we wonder, who is going to forced to conduct weddings and these kinds of things and how free will we be?

    In Houston, folks said we want to see the sermons of pastors. If you preached a certain way, we want to come after you. In San Antonio, folks said that there are people who won’t get contracts because you go to a church that preaches about traditional marriage. Therefore, we’re not going to let you have a job or contract or an opportunity.

    So there can be on — follow-on problems that we need to face.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And yet, sitting next to Tevin right now and what he said about his family…

    BISHOP HARRY JACKSON: Very nice man, by the way, young man.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And what’s your — what’s your response to him?

    BISHOP HARRY JACKSON: Well, I don’t totally understand the parallelism, if you will, between the black civil rights movement of the past.

    I think that gays have come a lot further. Old civil rights issue were salaries, opportunity to make money, education, access to public facilities. There’s a litany of five things, places to live, that don’t seem to be the kind of overt discrimination. If anything, in these days, I think gays have a lot of rights. And, again, I’m looking at that from my perspective and the perspective of many in the culture.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Tevin, let me let you respond, Tevin Johnson-Campion.

    TEVIN JOHNSON-CAMPION: You know, I think I have a very good example of gays not having rights.

    My 16-year-old brother, when you turn, you want to go get your driver’s permit. So, one of my dads took him to go get his driver’s permit, and the other one, who is his adoptive father, could not get off work. So my dad takes him to the DMV to get his license. They turn him away, say, you’re not the adoptive parent and you can’t prove you’re the adoptive parent, so he can’t get his license.

    So my brother had to wait six weeks for my other dad, who is his adoptive parent, to get off work to go take him to the DMV. And, you know, it could have just been a simple process where my brother could have been immediately gotten his driver’s permit, but he couldn’t.

    (CROSSTALK)

    BISHOP HARRY JACKSON: That’s not a life-and-death type of situation.

    But I’m concerned that administrativia, if you will, can be overblown. I do believe in human dignity and the importance…

    (CROSSTALK)

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, but let me bring our legal experts back in here.

    Sarah Warbelow, because what about Chief Justice Roberts said today, that — he essentially said, go ahead and celebrate if you want, but do not celebrate the Constitution, because the Constitution wasn’t involved in this decision?

    SARAH WARBELOW: Well, the Constitution absolutely was involved in this decision.

    And the majority opinion made that clear. This is about equal treatment under the law. And there are very real harms that come from people being denied access to marriage. One of the things that has happened all over this country, same-sex couples who end up in the hospital and are unable to make medical decisions for their partner, their spouse, those critical everyday moments that really are life and death.

    And individuals who are LGBT experience employment discrimination, housing discrimination, discrimination in education. It is a systematic problem for the entire community.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, Austin Nimocks, your argument is that this still should be left to lawyers?

    AUSTIN NIMOCKS: Absolutely. If you have a problem with hospital visitation, we don’t have to redefine the entire institution of marriage for the entire country to resolve that problem.

    And we didn’t see equal treatment here. What we saw was five lawyers taking a debate, an earnest debate away from over 300 — millions of Americans. They picked, they sided with one side of a debate. That’s not equal treatment.

    In a democracy, where we have heated ideas and important and impassioned ideas, we respect all the viewpoints and we put them together and we revolve things democratically. We don’t issue equal treatment by taking a debate away from the American people, and a court making law and choosing sides, which is exactly what happened today. The court made a new fundamental right. It chose sides.

    And it took this debate away from millions of Americans who were involved in it. That’s a sad day.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Well, let me — Tevin Johnson-Campion, I want to go back to something you said earlier, because do you see this as the law essentially catching up with the culture?

    TEVIN JOHNSON-CAMPION: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In other words, the — yes.

    TEVIN JOHNSON-CAMPION: It is catching up.

    JEFFREY BROWN: What do you see on your college campus? What do you see around you?

    TEVIN JOHNSON-CAMPION: You know, this day and age, this generation, it is a lot more accepting of people for who they are and what they are.

    And I feel like the Supreme Court’s decision was really looking, I guess, at the future. And, you know, they were making their decision based on where we’re moving and where we’re going towards. And I feel like a lot more people, especially where I go to college, they’re a lot more open and they’re a lot more just accepting of other people. And people aren’t afraid to be themselves.

    And so I feel like the decision today was really sending a message.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, Bishop Jackson, do you also see that cultural shift, what — in your case one you think should be resisted? What do you see happening in our country?

    BISHOP HARRY JACKSON: Well, African-Americans are still pretty much against, the majority, against same-sex marriage, not because I think they are prejudiced against someone, but rather because of the fabric of how people dwell together in marriage or not is waning.

    Cohabitation is a primary way that people live together in America today. Marriage as an institution is becoming more and more devalued. These kinds of decisions cause people to think in different ways about foundational institutions. So, my concern is, America needs a return to family strength and how we get there from here is unclear.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you’re arguing for family strength, right?

    TEVIN JOHNSON-CAMPION: My family has a lot of strength.

    My parents have been together for 24 years. And I have been raised in that household for — I’m 20 years old. I have been raised in that household for 20 years. And it takes a special kind of person to go through what they have gone through as a couple.

    I can recall when I was 10 years old going to my first rally, and they were banning same-sex marriage back in 2004. And here we are, 11 years later, and I get to witness the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality. It’s a powerful thing.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Let me just come back — we just have a minute — to our legal experts about where we’re going here, because, Sarah Warbelow, you said you thought this was the end. Is it really the end of the legal argument? Are there not more fights to be had in the workplace and other areas?

    SARAH WARBELOW: It’s the end for marriage equality.

    But there are so many more issues that need to be addressed for the LGBT community, particularly in employment, housing, education, even access to credit. We don’t have clear, consistent federal law that guarantees the protections that are necessary for people to live their daily lives.

    And the vast majority of the American public supports it. Poll after poll shows 80 percent of Americans supporting nondiscrimination protection. And every day that goes by, more and more Americans support marriage equality as well.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And, Austin Nimocks, where do you see the legal battle going from here?

    AUSTIN NIMOCKS: Well, we’re going to continue to debate marriage and we’re going to talk about rights of conscience for individuals in America who still believe that marriage is one man and one woman and protecting their freedom to believe and act upon those beliefs.

    And Tevin brought a great story today. There are kids who have been raised by same-sex couples who have a different story, like Heather Barwick, who said that she ached for the father she never knew.

    What’s sad about today’s decision is that the Supreme Court decided to go with one set of stories and discount other stories that do matter in our culture. We have Americans who are hurting. And they have stories that need to be heard. The Supreme Court chose, we’re not going to hear them anymore.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, well, I think you all.

    Austin Nimocks, Sarah Warbelow, Tevin Johnson-Campion, Bishop Harry Jackson, thank you so much.

    SARAH WARBELOW: Thank you.

    BISHOP HARRY JACKSON: Thank you for having us.

    The post Historic gay marriage equality ruling sparks celebration, debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Ashby Hardesty (2nd L) and Rodrigo Zamora (C) hold hands as they wait with friends for their wedding ceremony at the New York City clerk's office in Manhattan in New York June 26, 2015. The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, handing a historic triumph to the American gay rights movement. Hardesty and Zamora waited until the Supreme Court decision before getting married to each other. They were engaged two years ago at the Stonewall Inn the last time the U.S. Supreme Court decided on same sex marriage. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTX1HZEL

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Today’s decision on marriage sent waves of reaction across the country, beginning with a large crowd gathered on the Supreme Court steps.

    Political director Lisa Desjardins takes us there.

    LISA DESJARDINS: This is the decision from a very personal view, the view of Tom Fulton and Robert Westover, first hearing word.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    LISA DESJARDINS: Then getting confirmation that the Supreme Court had upheld their 13-year marriage.

    TOM FULTON, Husband of Robert Westover: It’s just very, very exciting. And…

    ROBERT WESTOVER, Husband of Tom Fulton: We feel like it’s just a surreal moment. It’s hard to put it into words. I mean, 10 minutes ago, we were second-class citizens. And now we’re equal in the eyes of this nation, this entire nation.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The crowd was largely supporters of same-sex marriage. But the decision was also personal for opponents here, clashing with their faith and values. That included these Nebraskans on a Catholic mission.

    MONICA REESON, Opponent of Gay Marriage: I’m against gay marriage. I am disappointed this happened. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. And I think this will have a detrimental effect to society, and families and everything that we know.

    LISA DESJARDINS: All those gathered, no matter the side they took, were looking to the future and what this ruling will mean for America.

    ROBERT WESTOVER: Our lives have changed forever, and not only have our lives changed forever, but these young gay folks, gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual folks coming up, they are all going to now know what it’s like to be full and inclusive citizens.

    LISA DESJARDINS: As same-sex supporters celebrate, some opponents are now looking away from the court toward a possible constitutional amendment to try and overrule today’s decision.

    Lisa Desjardins, PBS NewsHour.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We go inside the courtroom now. And our guide, as always, is Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal.”

    So, how did we get to this 5-4 decision?

    MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: OK, Hari, first, I would like to say, if people, our listeners and viewers, are really interested, they should read the decisions. They’re easy to read. They’re up on the court’s Web site. And I think people will enjoy reading them.

    I look at Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in basically three parts. First, he acknowledged that the tradition of marriage has been between a man and a woman for a millennia. But he said that the nation’s understanding of marriage has changed, as new generations embrace the development of freedom.

    Then he moved to marriage is a fundamental right of the Constitution. And he said there are basically four principles that show why it’s a fundamental right and where they apply with equal force to same-sex couples.

    First, he said, inherent in the right to marry is the right to personal choice. Decisions about marriage are among the most important, most intimate that an individual can make, regardless of sexual orientation. The right to marriage also includes the right to intimate associations. Back in 2003, the court struck down state anti-sodomy laws, saying that gays and lesbians had a right to enjoy intimate associations.

    The right to marriage protects families and children. It gives them predictability, respectability, stability. Hundreds of thousands of children, Justice Kennedy said, are being raised by gay couples and feel, if their parents want marriage, that their family units are somehow lesser than those of opposite-sex couples.

    And finally, he said, marriage is the keystone to our social order. It comes with benefits and obligations that these couples want. He moved then to the Constitution. The right to marry, the fundamental right is protected by the liberty and equal protection guaranteed under the 14th Amendment. State bans on same-sex treat gay couples unequally. And the states have offered no sufficient justification for that unequal treatment.

    Finally, the Constitution’s fundamental right to marry includes gay couples.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And there’s a section from the majority opinion I want to read here.

    It says: “It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their hope is not to be condemned, to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

    And he also — part of his — he actually quoted sort of the decision from 12 years ago as well.

    MARCIA COYLE: Yes, he did.

    In fact, with Justice Kennedy in particular, dignity and liberty are sort of essential to his jurisprudence. They marked his prior rulings involving gay and lesbian couples, three prior decisions that he wrote. And that’s what he was really relying on here, the dignity that marriage confers.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And there were also four dissents. And that doesn’t happen very often, but the four that didn’t vote for this also individually wrote theirs.

    I want to read something from Scalia’s: “This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied, as it is today, by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the people of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the revolution of 1776, the freedom to govern themselves.”

    MARCIA COYLE: The sort of unifying theme through all four separate dissents was that this is a decision that belongs in the democratic process, not to be made by the courts.

    And Justice Kennedy did address that. Also, the dissents also said that the majority opinion is cutting off a debate that should continue within the American public. Justice Kennedy responded first by saying, this is not a new debate. The nation has been debating this for at least 40 years. There have been countless studies of gay couples’ marriages, court cases, court decisions.

    And he also said, we’re talking about a fundamental right, and we don’t leave to the electorate or to the democratic process the decisions about fundamental rights under the Constitution.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, finally, very briefly, what was it like in the courtroom?

    MARCIA COYLE: No one really expected the decision today.

    The court sort of — it’s not even — I can’t call it a tradition, but it has, in past practice, saved — the biggest decisions have come out on the final day, which is going to be Monday.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Yes.

    MARCIA COYLE: But as soon as Justice Kennedy, with — Chief Justice Roberts announced that Justice Kennedy would have the first opinion, we knew that it was probably going to be same-sex marriage. It was an emotional moment.

    Many of the lawyers in the Supreme Court bar who were sitting there had worked on these cases. They saw where Justice Kennedy was heading. There was tears. After the decision was announced, there were hugs and handshakes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Well, thank you, as always, Marcia Coyle.

    MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, Hari.

    The post Same-sex couples gain equal right to marry appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Gay rights supporters celebrate after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, June 26, 2015. In what's being called a historical, landmark decision, gay marriage will now be legal in all 50 states. Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: It will now be the law everywhere in the United States. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that same-sex couples have the right to marry. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia already recognize that right. Under this decision, the remaining 14 states have to drop their bans on the practice, an outcome that sparked widely varying reactions outside the court.

    JIM OBERGEFELL, Lead Plaintiff: Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts. Our love is equal, that the four words etched onto the front of Supreme Court, equal justice under law, apply to us too.

    JENNIFER MARSHALL, Heritage Foundation: The Supreme Court has imposed same-sex marriage on the nation. And this decision is — they have issued their decision, but it doesn’t end the conversation about what marriage is and why it matters for children, for the future of our society. And we will be continuing to stand for marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and to stand for the freedom to speak and to act consistent with that understanding of marriage.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Several religious organizations also criticized the decision, as did some Republican presidential candidates.

    But, at the White House, President Obama said it’s a day when justice arrives like a thunderbolt.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free. There’s so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every American, but today we can say in no uncertain terms that we have made our union a little more perfect.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: News of the decision set off celebrations by gay marriage advocates in a number of cities. And at least eight states began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We will explore the Supreme Court’s decision in detail after the news summary.

    There’s word police have killed an escaped murderer in Northern New York state after a three week manhunt. It’s widely reported that Richard Matt was shot dead near Malone, not far from the Canadian border. Police are still pursuing David Sweat, who escaped with Matt. Hundreds of officers have been searching for the pair. The hunt intensified in the last few days after they found items that the two men had left behind.

    Terror attacks left a bloody toll around the world today; 37 people died when a gunman opened fire at a beach in Tunisia; 27 more were killed in a suicide bombing in Kuwait. And a lone attacker in France tried to blow up a gas plant. We will have a full report on all of this later in the program.

    In Syria, reports say Islamic State gunmen killed at least 145 civilians in a new round of fighting. A Syrian human rights group says the massacre followed an attack on the Kurdish-held town of Kobani on the Turkish border. Fighting continued there as Kurdish fighters surrounded the ISIS gunmen.

    Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia have staged a new strike on African Union troops. Local officials say the militants exploded a car bomb and stormed a remote base, killing 25 soldiers. Al-Shabaab has vowed to step up attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, now under way.

    And back in this country, Wall Street failed to find much direction. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 56 points to close nearly 17950, but the Nasdaq fell 30 points and the S&P 500 lost less than a point. For the week, all three indexes were down a small fraction.

    The post News Wrap: Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    CHARLESTON, S.C. — After a string of triumphs, President Barack Obama’s eulogy for those killed in a South Carolina church massacre was supposed to bring an extraordinary week to a somber close.

    But something changed.

    Between legislative and legal victories, Obama had spent hours privately grappling with the tragedy in this southern city, where nine people attending Bible study were killed in a racially motivated attack. Their deaths sparked vexing questions about racial divisions, gun violence and the way America grapples with its own difficult history.

    At first, the president had planned to largely focus his remarks on remembering Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the slain pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the eight other victims.

    But that’s not what happened. Maybe Obama was buoyed by a week that brought about the validation of his sweeping health care law, a win on trade and the Supreme Court’s affirmation of gay marriage across the country. Maybe he was driven by the fearlessness he says he now feels as he heads down the final stretch of his presidency.

    As Obama took the stage to address the crowd of more than 5,500 packed into a basketball arena, he did speak movingly about Pinckney, a state lawmaker and popular pastor. Then the president issued a challenge, calling on the nation to not shy away from the “uncomfortable truths” about the racial prejudice that plagues the country.

    He revived his push for gun control legislation, despite staunch opposition in Washington. He called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the grounds of South Carolina’s statehouse, a move that would represent “one step in an honest accounting of America’s history.”

    He taunted the alleged killer of the Charleston churchgoers. While the gunman wanted to incite fear and deepen divisions, Obama noted the unity Charleston has shown in the past week and said: “God works in mysterious ways. God had different ideas.”

    Then Obama sang.

    As Obama neared the close of his 40-minute remarks, he unexpectedly sang out the opening words of the hymn “Amazing Grace.” The crowd of 5,500 leapt to its feet to join the president in song.

    It was a stirring emotional moment for a president who can often seem detached and distant.

    The president has been in this position before, called upon to ease the pain of a community grieving after gun violence. Before Charleston, there were Newtown, Conn., Tucson, Ariz., Fort Hood, Texas, Aurora, Colo., Washington.

    After each incident, the nation’s eyes are sporadically open, Obama said. He challenged the nation to keep itself from slipping back “into a comfortable silence,” saying that doing so would be “a betrayal of everything Rev. Pinckney stood for.”

    Following the service, Obama met privately with families of the victims. The president got to know Pinckney during the 2008 presidential campaign, when he was an early supporter of Obama.

    Aides said Obama wrote much of the eulogy himself. He was still working on the speech Friday morning when his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett called to tell him the Supreme Court had given same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide.

    The court ruling and memorial service capped an extraordinary week for a president seeking to stave off lame-duck status deep in his second term. With the help of Republican lawmakers, he secured a victory on legislation to speed up passage of an Asia-Pacific trade deal, one of his top foreign policy priorities. On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of his signature health care law, all but guaranteeing the law will survive beyond his presidency.

    It’s unknown how those victories and Obama’s pledge to bring his presidency to a fearless finish will shape the closing months of his tenure. But the president summed up the feelings of a weary White House when Jarrett called.

    “It’s been a good week,” Obama declared.

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    origami biobattery

    Engineers at Binghamton University created a paper origami biobattery that gets its charge from a drop of dirty water. Photo by Seokheun “Sean” Choi/Binghamton University

    Two engineers at Binghamton University have developed a collapsible, bacteria-powered battery that uses the ancient Japanese paper folding art of origami, a report in the July issue of Nano Energy announced.

    A drop of bacteria-laden liquid acts as a catalyst to power the paper battery, which folds into a square and costs five cents to make, according to its creator.

    “Our simple and cheap origami biobattery is expected to be used especially in resource limited regions as a power source for other small devices like biosensors,” Seokheun “Sean” Choi, the battery’s creator and a professor at Binghamton, told PBS NewsHour.

    For now, the battery is in the beginning stages of development.

    Biobatteries (also known as microbial fuel cells) that generate electricity with the help of fuels like sugar glucose and even urine have been lauded for their ability to provide portable power sources, according to the November 2013 paper “The Future of Energy Bio Battery,” published in the International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology.

    Choi’s creation could be used together with paper biosensors as part of a low-cost diagnostic device. One potential application of such a device is as a cost-effective disease testing kit for use in parts of the world with scant resources.

    Biobatteries also have renewable and biodegradable components that forego the heavy metals used in traditional batteries, which can be hazardous to human health and the environment. Stormwater and sewer water fuel Choi’s battery.

    Although similar batteries have been written about before in science journals, Shelley D. Minteer, USTAR Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Utah told PBS NewsHour this was the first report of a paper-based battery using an electrode coated in bacteria to power up.

    “It is a creative and interesting design that has broad application for self-powered biosensors,” she said of the new battery created by Choi and his student, Hankeun Lee.

    Origami battery steps. Image by...

    The four steps based on origami principles Choi and Lee used to fold up their biobattery. Image drawn by Jiaqi Zhang

    These compact batteries do have their limitations. Since they are powered by living organisms, they must have the ideal conditions to grow and reproduce those organisms, Minteer said. In addition, the batteries have less energy density than chemical batteries as they become diluted by the water being added to them.

    “These power sources are not going to be good for replacing grid power (not high enough power density),” Minteer said, “but will be ideal for powering biosensors, sensor networks, etc., where replacing batteries is not always feasible or practical.”

    For more than 25 years, scientists have looked beyond the aesthetics of origami and at the math and science behind it to develop solutions to problems in fields like medicine.

    Former physicist Robert Lang created a folding telescope, as well as a heart stent by using the design principles of origami. In 1995, scientists used the method to fold and deploy a solar panel array for a Japanese satellite.

    Most recently, researchers at MIT created a mini origami robot that builds itself, digs, swims, climbs and carries, and then mostly dissolves when it is done.

    The post Engineers create collapsible battery powered with the help of dirty water appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    megan thompson / nhwe

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    MEGAN THOMPSON: It’s snack time at the home of Ruth Fajardo in Norwalk, Connecticut – an hour outside New York City.

    RUTH FAJARDO: How was school?

    KIDS: Good.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Ruth – a 26-year-old immigrant from Honduras – checks in with her four young kids. A normal family scene. But four years ago, the family was in a different place.

    RUTH FAJARDO: Everything was a disaster.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Ruth was a stay-at-home mom, living alone with her kids in public housing. The children’s father, a house painter who supported the family, had gone back to Honduras. One night, while the children were sleeping upstairs, bullets came flying through the windows and front door.

    RUTH FAJARDO: Everything was breaking in the kitchen – the glass and the mirrors and everything. Everything was like a horror movie.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: It was a random, drive-by shooting. Ruth’s children weren’t physically hurt. But her older daughters Andrea and Michele can’t shake the memory.

    MICHELE: Yeah I was scared, I was crying.

    ANDREA: I thought I would die.

    MICHELE: ‘Cuz my mom, she could have gotten shot too. So I was scared that she was going to die.

    ANDREA: And we would go in a foster home.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: That didn’t happen, but Ruth, with no job, no driver’s license and no high school diploma, was scraping by on cash from having sold the two family cars. Ruth moved in with her mother. She and the four kids shared one room.

    RUTH FAJARDO: I was really sad. Having them all together and sleeping on one mattress was messed up. I felt it wasn’t fair.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: She felt like she couldn’t help her kids, including the second-oldest, who was being bullied at school, crying all the time and hiding in the closet. Ruth fell into a deep depression.

    RUTH FAJARDO: Everything stressed me, I get angry easily, so my kids were like that. They were screaming at each other. They were fighting a lot. So, I thought they were being bad kids in that moment. I thought I was transmitting that to them.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: You were transmitting that.

    RUTH FAJARDO: Yes.

    Jack Shonkoff is a pediatrician and director of the Harvard Center on the Developing Child. He says stressful situations provoke a physical response.

    JACK SHONKOFF: Automatically, our heart rate goes up, our blood pressure goes up, stress hormone levels rise in the blood. Our blood sugar goes up. So, it’s the- it’s the biology of the fight or flight response.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Shonkoff says, for children stress is normal and fine in the short- term. But chronic, long-term exposure to stress is something very different. He calls this, “toxic stress.” Shonkoff’s research shows toxic stress can have profound consequences for human bodies and brains – especially in young children.

    JACK SHONKOFF: Toxic stress is creating a different kind of- of chemical environment in the brain that is affecting the development of the brain. Toxic stress can disrupt brain circuits that will basically create a weaker foundation for a lot of circuitry that’s essential for learning, for memory, for solving problems, for following rules, for controlling impulses.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Anyone can experience toxic stress. But Shonkoff says, poverty presents the type of chronic adversity that can cause it. Low-income families are also more likely to live in neighborhoods with high rates of crime, drug abuse, and failing schools. Over the last few years, many other scientists have also found links between growing up poor and differences in cognitive development.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Will all kids who grow up in a high poverty situation experience toxic stress or the long-term effects of toxic stress?

    JACK SHONKOFF: One thing that’s absolutely clear is that not all children growing up in poverty are experiencing toxic stress. Toxic stress has to do with the extent to which adults in a child’s life are buffering that child from the stressors around the family, and building the child’s ability to cope and adapt, which is building resilience. And the most- the most at risk group are parents who themselves grew up in poverty, who are victims of abuse and neglect

    MEGAN THOMPSON: When Ruth was a baby, her mother left for the U.S.

    RUTH FAJARDO: I was 18 month when she left me with my grandma in Honduras.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: She was raised by her grandmother, who was illiterate. Then, she experienced trauma as a young teen.

    RUTH FAJARDO: I was molested, but nobody in my family knew.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: She never got help and struggled after coming to the U.S. Four years ago, isolated and with few resources, she plunged into depression.

    DARCY LOWELL: And we know the impact of depression on young children is devastating.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Darcy Lowell is a pediatrician and founder of Child First, a non-profit group that works with low-income families in Connecticut, and helped Ruth Fajardo. Lowell says low-income moms like Ruth experience depression at rates much higher than the average. And depression can make it harder to provide the nurturing relationship so vital for children’s development.

    DARCY LOWELL: That relationship is the foundation of not just emotional development and mental health. It is the foundation for cognition, for school readiness, for a sense of competence. And that’s what leads to children to be successful in their lives.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Ruth didn’t realize the costs of not interacting with her kids.

    RUTH FAJARDO: When they try to make me read, I just tell them, I don’t like reading. I didn’t pay attention to school work, or checking their backpacks. And my kids always are bugging me – “Let’s go to the park. Let’s go- Let’s go outside.” And I couldn’t because I was feeling down.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Did it seem like your mom was happy or did it seem like your mom used to be sad?

    MICHELE: Sad.

    ANDREA: A little mad.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: So what was that like, how did you guys know that she was sad?

    MICHELE: Her eyes are red. And her face is red.

    ANDREA: And sometimes water is in her eyes.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: And how did that make you guys feel? To see her like that?

    MICHELE: Sad so…

    ANDREA: I felt guilty / because I made my mom feel sad.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Ruth says one day she saw her oldest daughter playing with the other kids – pretending to be Ruth.

    RUTH FAJARDO: She started screaming at them, “Stop fighting. You’re gonna get everything ruined,” and “You’re bad kids,” and stuff like that. And when I saw her being so mean with the other ones, screaming – and that’s when I started looking for help.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Ruth found Child First, which provides home visits and counseling at no cost to a thousand low-income families in Connecticut.

    SARAH RANDON GARCIA: Hi guys!

    MEGAN THOMPSON: A pair of Child First counselors visited Ruth’s family for about two years. A care coordinator found Ruth a Spanish-speaking therapist, who helped diagnose Ruth and get her on medication. She also helped Ruth obtain a driver’s license, clothes and food from local charities, and enrolled her kids in pre-school and summer programs.

    SARAH RANDON GARCIA: How’s she doing? Developmentally, she’s doing ok?

    RUTH FAJARDO: Yes, they did tests at school, and she passed.

    RUTH FAJARDO: Joshua – what happened? You’re mad?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: At the same time, Ruth learned better parenting skills.

    RUTH FAJARDO: Do you want to have your own time?

    MEGAN THOMPSON: The importance of listening to her kids instead of punishing them, talking about their feelings, and modeling good behavior. The kids did activities to help them learn to cooperate more and fight less. And how to better manage their emotions.

    RUTH FAJARDO: This is how he handles now his anger now. He wants to have his time along[alone]. Before, he scream and messed up everything, like fighting.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: A 2011 study compared 78 children in the Child First program to children not in the program. It showed a 68 percent drop in language problems and a 42 percent drop in aggressive behavior. For moms, there was a 64 percent decrease in depression and other mental health problems. But with about a quarter-million children living in low-income families in Connecticut alone, the group struggles to meet the demand for its services …which it estimates [to] cost about $7800 for a family of four.

    DARCY LOWELL: When I think about 300 children on the waitlist here in Connecticut and their families, it’s very hard. We’re going for the source of the problem, we’re going for the root of the problem.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Today, Ruth and her family are in a much better place.

    RUTH FAJARDO: Now my depression is practically gone. I feel so better. Now, I’m more empowered, energetic.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Two weeks ago, Ruth graduated high school and was selected to give a speech about overcoming obstacles, her story featured on the local evening news.

    MICHELE: I got an A++!

    MEGAN THOMPSON: Wow! That means you did way awesome.

    MEGAN THOMPSON: She now works two part-time jobs and the children’s father has joined them. Her next goals: college, and then she wants to buy a house. But this family of six lives on about $30,000 a year – still near the federal poverty line – and they still rely on food stamps and Medicaid. But Ruth says, she’s more equipped to handle whatever comes their way.

    RUTH FAJARDO: I can say I’m happy. And, I can tell that I’m transmitting happiness to my kids.

    Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provid​es a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.​

    The post How does the ‘toxic stress’ of poverty hurt the developing brain? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Interns with media organizations run with the decision that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry at the Supreme Court in Washington June 26, 2015. With a 5-4 vote, the court ruled that same-sex marriage will be legal in all 50 states. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Interns with media organizations run with the decision that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry at the Supreme Court in Washington June 26, 2015. With a 5-4 vote, the court ruled that same-sex marriage will be legal in all 50 states. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Meeting on Monday for the final time until the fall, the Supreme Court has three cases remaining to be decided:

    -Lethal injection: Death-row inmates in Oklahoma are objecting to the use of the sedative midazolam in lethal-injection executions after the drug was implicated in several botched executions. Their argument is that the drug does not reliably induce a coma-like sleep that would prevent them from experiencing the searing pain of the paralytic and heart-stopping drugs that follow sedation.

    -Independent redistricting commissions: Roughly a dozen states have adopted independent commissions to reduce partisan politics in drawing congressional districts. The case from Arizona involves a challenge from Republican state lawmakers who complain that they can’t be completely cut out of the process without violating the Constitution.

    -Mercury emissions: Industry groups and Republican-led states assert that environmental regulators overstepped their bounds by coming up with expensive limits on the emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants without taking account of the cost of regulation at the start of the process. The first-ever limits on mercury emissions, more than a decade in the making, began to take effect in April.

    The justices also could say Monday whether they will take on important cases for the term that begins in October on abortion, affirmative action and the power of unions that represent government workers.

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    Looking inside the dome of the National Advanced Driving Simulator -1.  Photo by University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator Source: Drug and Alcohol Dependence doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.06.015

    Looking inside the dome of the National Advanced Driving Simulator -1. Photo by University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator

    Virtual reality is shedding light on the dangers of driving stoned.

    Currently in the U.S., police officers have limited resources to assess just how high a person is when driving under the influence of marijuana. Also unclear is the degree to which driving both drunk and stoned – the most common combination of substances seen among DUI cases — impairs one’s ability to pilot a vehicle.

    Marilyn Huestis, a scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, used the National Advanced Driving Simulator to tackle these issues one virtual road trip at a time.

    The simulator consists of a car surrounded by a dome. Inside the dome is a 360-degree screen displaying the outside virtual world. The dome can tilt and move, mimicking the sensation of accelerating and braking.

    This study was the first to record people’s saliva, blood and breath samples before, during and after driving under the influence. In the U.S., the only way to identify the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in a driver’s body is through blood samples. These samples are typically taken 90 minutes to four hours after being pulled over. However, other countries use saliva samples, which provide more rapid results.

    The team began by asking occasional marijuana and alcohol users to participate in a 45-minute driving simulation. Each participant drove the simulator multiple times under various states of inebriation: sober, after inhaling THC, after drinking alcohol, and under the influence of both THC and alcohol. The route changed each session, but always included interstate driving and city driving at nighttime.

    Among the researcher’s findings: THC impairs the ability to stay within traffic lanes.

    “A concentration of 13.1 nanograms per milliliter THC was an equivalent impairment to that of the illegal limit for alcohol at 0.08 percent at the time of driving,” said Huestis, lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

    To put that in perspective, THC levels peak around 100 to 200 nanograms per milliliter within minutes of inhalation, but drop drastically into the single digits within a couple hours. Because of this plummet, the THC concentration measured while driving is much higher than what you would find in blood drawn hours after being suspected of driving under the influence.

    This study found that the effects of driving both high and drunk were additive, meaning that if you smoke a joint and drink a beer, you are more impaired than if you had only smoked.

    A view from inside the dome of the National Advanced Driving Simulator - 1.  Photo by University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator Source: Drug and Alcohol Dependence doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.06.015

    A view from inside the dome of the National Advanced Driving Simulator – 1. Photo by University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator

    Researchers also studied the effectiveness of roadside exams at detecting THC. In the U.S., if an officer suspects someone is driving while high, they are required by law to take the driver to a hospital to secure a blood sample. However, in Belgium, officers take an oral swab during the arrest that gets tested at the scene and later in a lab. Meanwhile In Germany, if someone tests positive for THC during a roadside saliva test, they have to submit a blood sample to confirm.

    The team found that two saliva tests for THC — Dräger DrugTest® 5000 and Alere DDS2 — were as accurate as blood testing. The saliva tests remained accurate when participants were under the influence of both THC and alcohol.

    A view from the outside of the National Advanced Driving Simulator - 1. The virtual screen and car sit inside the dome. Photo by University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator

    A view from the outside of the National Advanced Driving Simulator – 1. The virtual screen and car sit inside the dome. Photo credit: University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator

    They also found that alcohol increases the body’s ability to absorb THC, meaning that you get more stoned if you smoke while drinking versus if you smoke while sober.

    “When alcohol was present with cannabis, you had a significantly higher of peak THC,” Huestis said.

    Cannabis also slows the rate at which alcohol is metabolized, dulling concentration. If you smoke before you drink, you’ll have to wait longer to sober up.

    The post Virtual reality shows how dangerous it is to drive drunk and stoned appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Freddie Perez of Washington, DC, stands with supporters of the Equal Rights Campaign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2015. The day before the justices handed down the landmark decision allowing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the Court upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to President Obama's signature healthcare law. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Supporters of the Equal Rights Campaign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 25, 2015. The day before the justices handed down the landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, the Court upheld the availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to President Obama’s signature healthcare law. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — For the second time in two days, the Supreme Court struck at the heart of the Republican Party platform.

    Yet the response to Friday’s ruling to give same-sex couples the right to marry was mild in comparison with the outrage that followed the high court’s decision Thursday to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law. Friday’s ruling instead drew tepid responses from several Republicans who, in many cases, would like that issue to fade away.

    The sharp contrast highlights the political challenges for a Republican Party searching for a winning playbook in 2016.

    The GOP’s presidential class is ready to bet big their opposition to Obama’s health care law will resonate with voters. But facing a seismic shift in public opinion on gay marriage, several of the party’s most ambitious appear ready to turn the page on a social issue the GOP used for a generation to motivate its most passionate voters to turn out at the polls.

    Perhaps no Republican presidential candidate better illustrated the contrast than former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was ready with a fiery statement and a video, “This is not the end of the fight,” to decry the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the Affordable Care Act.

    In a fundraising email, Bush warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton would offer “more of the same.” `’That is why I need you to make a one time-emergency contribution of $50, $25 or $10 to my campaign to ensure that NEVER happens.”

    A day later, after the marriage ruling, Bush made no such fundraising pitch, offering only a one-paragraph statement. States should be allowed to make the decision, he said, adding, “I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments.”

    Polls show what’s motivating the temperance of some in the GOP: Americans are now more likely than not to support same-sex marriage, with some surveys showing as many as 6 in 10 in favor. The shift over 10 years has been dramatic. Polling by the Pew Research Center found support for same-sex marriage growing from 36 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in a poll conducted in May.

    While most Republicans remain opposed to same-sex marriage, 59 percent of those between age 18 and 34 supported marriage rights for gay couples in Pew’s most recent poll.

    To be sure, several Republicans running for president condemned the court’s same-sex marriage decision and pledged to continue to fight. “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who entered the race this week.

    “It doesn’t settle anything,” National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said in an interview before the ruling, comparing the gay marriage decision to the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade. “It’s just like Roe. Do you think Roe settled the abortion debate?”

    The anti-gay marriage organization has given each Republican presidential contender two weeks to return a signed pledge that, among other things locks candidates into supporting a constitutional amendment “that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

    Some members of the GOP field signaled their openness to that idea on Friday. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called Friday’s ruling “a grave mistake” and said “the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.”

    Still, several GOP candidates – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Bush among them – have said they would not support such an amendment. Rubio was also among those who tried to stake a middle ground on Friday.

    “While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law,” Rubio said, echoing a statement by Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to enter the 2016 contest in the coming weeks. Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said, “The governor has always believed in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, but our nation’s highest court has spoken and we must respect its decision.”

    Unlike the marriage issue, Republican opposition to health care needs no qualifiers. The first paid advertisement in response to the court’s health care ruling came within an hour from Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit advocacy group founded by billionaire energy executives Charles and David Koch.

    “We’ve been fighting this law for six years, and we’re going to make sure it stays right on the front burner,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “We’ve always known repeal would be a long-term effort. We’ve never counted on the courts to do it for us. This law is fatally flawed and unpopular, so it makes perfect sense for candidates to keep talking about how it’s harming people.”

    The post Supreme Court decisions illustrate GOP’s 2016 campaign challenges appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    For more than half a century, the Confederate battle flag has flown at South Carolina’s Statehouse. But the flagpole on the grounds of the Columbia Capitol building briefly stood unadorned Saturday after an activist climbed it and removed the Confederate emblem.

    Early Saturday morning, a black woman identified as North Carolina activist Bree Newsome, 30, scaled the pole and removed the flag before being arrested by police at the scene.

    Newsome, wearing a helmet and tree climbing equipment, told police officers “I’m prepared to be arrested” as she descended the pole amid cheers from onlookers.

    Around the time of her arrest, Newsome emailed a statement to the media, according to The Associated Press.

    “We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day,” the statement said. “It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”

    Another activist, Jimmy Tyson, 30, was arrested for helping Newsome.

    The South Carolina Department of Public Safety said the two have been charged with defacing a monument, a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to three years — or both — The Guardian reported.

    The presence of the Confederate flag at the Statehouse has become the subject of much debate since the racially-motivated June 17 shootings of nine black parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Photos obtained by the media show the shooter, Dylann Roof, posing with the flag.

    In a Friday eulogy to the victims of the shooting, President Obama said that for many Americans, the flag has been a “reminder of systematic oppression and racial subjugation.”

    Others, including South Carolina Governor Nicki Haley, have called for the flag’s removal from the Capitol grounds.

    Newsome is the western field director for Ignite NC, a North Carolina activist group.

    In a statement on the Ignite NC’s website, the group said, “We call on the governor to pardon Bree Newsome for her courageous actions. Now is not the time to engage in gradual or incremental steps. The soul of this nation cries out for justice and government must hear that call.”

    Activists have begun circulating a petition for Newsome’s release online.

    The flag was replaced within an hour of her arrest on Saturday.

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    Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, gay couples married across the country as LGBTQ pride celebrations took place around the globe on Saturday.

    People take part in the annual Gay Pride homosexual, bisexual and transgender visibility march on June 27, 2015 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU        (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

    People take part in the annual Gay Pride march for gay, bisexual and transgender visibility on June 27, 2015 in Paris. Photo by Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

    A participant takes part in the annual Pride London Parade which highlights issues of the gay, lesbian and transgender community, in London, Britain June 27, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1I1R1

    A participant takes part in the annual Pride London Parade which highlights issues of the gay, lesbian and transgender community in London, June 27, 2015. Photo by Neil Hall/Reuters

    Participants take part in the annual Pride London Parade which highlights issues of the gay, lesbian and transgender community, in London, Britain June 27, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall - RTX1I1VX

    Participants take part in the annual Pride London Parade which highlights issues of the gay, lesbian and transgender community in London, June 27, 2015. Photo by Neil Hall/Reuters

    From Italy to the Philippines, and Germany to the United Kingdom, parades and marches boasted jubilant crowds and the omnipresent rainbow flag — a symbol of the gay rights movement since the 1970s.

    People take part in the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Turin, on June 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

    People take part in the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Turin, Italy on June 27, 2015. Photo by Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

    A member of a Philippines' Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) group takes part in a gay pride parade with more than 1,000 people in Manila, June 27, 2015.    Photo by Janis C. Alano/Reuters

    A member of a Philippines’ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) group takes part in a gay pride parade with more than 1,000 people in Manila, June 27, 2015. Photo by Janis C. Alano/Reuters

    People participate in the annual Christopher Street Day parade, held in celebration and demonstration of the rights of LBGT people, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, June 27, 2015.  Photo by Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

    People participate in the annual Christopher Street Day parade, held in celebration and demonstration of the rights of LBGT people, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, June 27, 2015. Photo by Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

    Stacy Wood, (L) and her wife Michele Barr leave San Francisco City Hall after getting married in San Francisco, California June 26, 2015. Earlier in the day the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law mean that states cannot ban same-sex marriages. With the ruling, gay marriage will become legal in all 50 states. Barr and Wood have been together for almost 29 years. "We didn't realize when we picked this date that it would be such a monumental day for the country," said Barr. "We just thought the Supreme Court wanted to give us a really great wedding gift. Now we just need to know where to send the thank you card." REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1I0FZ

    Stacy Wood, left, and her wife Michele Barr leave San Francisco City Hall after getting married in San Francisco, California June 26, 2015. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

    Michele Barr and Stacy Wood, shown in the photo above, have been together for almost 29 years.

    “We didn’t realize when we picked this date that it would be such a monumental day for the country,” Barr told Reuters. “We just thought the Supreme Court wanted to give us a really great wedding gift. Now we just need to know where to send the thank you card.”

    Aaron Ky-Riesenbach, 12, (R) carries a sign as he stands with his father Larry Riesenbach, 55, at a celebration rally in West Hollywood, California, United States, June 26, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry in a historic triumph for the American gay rights movement. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTX1I0I0

    Aaron Ky-Riesenbach, 12, at right, carries a sign as he stands with his father Larry Riesenbach, 55, at a celebration rally in West Hollywood, California, June 26, 2015. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    A man wears a shirt saying "The Ruth Shall Set You Free," a reference to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as he stands next to a man with a Hillary Clinton shirt at a celebration rally in West Hollywood, California, United States, June 26, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry in a historic triumph for the American gay rights movement. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTX1I0JG

    A man wears a shirt saying “The Ruth Shall Set You Free,” a reference to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as he stands next to a man with a Hillary Clinton shirt at a celebration rally in West Hollywood, California, on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 26: Natalie Novoa (R) wipes the tears off her partner Eddie Daniels' cheeks during their wedding  ceremony at the L.A. County Registrars office on June 26, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. The couple have been together for the past 11 years and have been waiting to wed this auspicious day. In a landmark 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all 50 states.  (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

    Natalie Novoa, right, wipes the tears off her partner Eddie Daniels’ cheeks during their wedding ceremony at the L.A. County Registrars office on June 26, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. The couple have been together for the past 11 years and have been waiting to wed on this auspicious day. Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

    DENVER, CO - JUNE 26: Stephanie Santorico, left, and her wife, Diane Santorico celebrate moments after they married on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol during a rally celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. June 26, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

    Stephanie Santorico, left, and her wife, Diane Santorico, celebrate moments after they married on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol during a rally in Denver celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide on June 26, 2015. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post

    Cherilyn Wilson, 26, (L) and Chelsea Kane, 26, display their fists, with the message "Love Wins" written on them, as they pose at a celebration rally in West Hollywood, California, United States, June 26, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry in a historic triumph for the American gay rights movement. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTX1I0I9

    Cherilyn Wilson, 26, left, and Chelsea Kane, 26, display their fists, with the message “Love Wins” written on them, as they pose at a celebration rally in West Hollywood, California, on June 26, 2015. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

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    The Supreme Court stands in Washington May 18, 2015. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    The Supreme Court stands in Washington May 18, 2015. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court term that is nearing its end shows how silence can signal success.

    With a notable paucity of dissents and not a single word to say about same-sex marriage, health care or housing discrimination, the court’s liberal justices prevailed in almost every important case in recent months.

    “It looks like the ground under First Street is slightly tilted to the left,” said Carrie Severino, a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative commentator, referring to the court’s address.

    The four liberal justices – Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor – were content to sign on to Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion that preserved a key piece of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

    They similarly joined Justice Anthony Kennedy in his clarion-call opinion that gave same-sex couples the right to marry across the country and in another 5-4 ruling that upheld an important tool used by the Obama administration to win hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements of claims of housing discrimination.

    Their conservative colleagues criticized each other – Scalia even asserted in his same-sex marriage dissent that California native Kennedy is not a true Westerner – and thundered on about the unchecked power of unelected, life-tenured judges. But the liberals spoke not a word.

    And there were more victories in cases divided mainly along ideological lines.

    The justices sided with a woman who claimed her employer discriminated against her because she was pregnant. They struck down a provision that would have allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to list Israel as the country of birth on their U.S. passports. They upheld regulations limiting the ability of candidates for elected judgeships to personally solicit campaign contributions. They tossed out a Los Angeles ordinance giving police the right to inspect hotel guest registries at a moment’s notice.

    Early in Roberts’ tenure as chief justice, Breyer let his frustrations show at the end of a conservative-dominated term when he said “so few have so quickly changed so much.”

    This year, Breyer did not dissent from any opinion until mid-June and has so far disagreed with the outcome in only a handful of cases.

    Three cases remain undecided with the court scheduled to meet Monday for the final time until the fall.

    It’s possible that those cases – involving lethal injection, congressional redistricting and environmental regulations – could produce conservative majorities, but that would not alter the overall view of the term.

    Jim DeMint, the president of the Heritage Foundation and a former Republican senator from South Carolina, said in an email to supporters, “Even the Supreme Court, which like the president and the Congress is obliged to uphold the Constitution, has in the span of two days issued rulings on marriage and Obamacare that undermine the rule of law and ignore the Constitution.”

    There’s a game Supreme Court observers play that is best described as, “Whose court is it, anyway?” The answer in recent years: either Roberts’ or Kennedy’s.

    It may be more accurate to say that it’s virtually impossible to get anything done at the Supreme Court without either of those justices on your side.

    It happened just once this term, when Justice Clarence Thomas and the liberal four sustained Texas’ refusal to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag.

    At least since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement in 2006, Kennedy often has been the decisive vote in closely contested cases. In addition to cementing his legacy, 20 years in the making, as the court’s champion of gay rights, Kennedy has sided with the liberals in limiting the application of death sentences and affirming the right of Guantanamo detainees to court hearings.

    His opinion in the housing discrimination case aside, he more typically votes with the conservatives in civil rights cases involving race. Kennedy also was part of conservative majorities in landmark cases in favor of gun rights and striking down campaign finance restrictions.

    Roberts has been on the same side in all these cases, but his single, momentous vote in 2012 to uphold the health care overhaul has altered perceptions of him. That was the first time that Roberts joined with the four liberals in a 5-4 ruling.

    He did so again in the case about judges and campaign contributions. On Thursday, Roberts and Kennedy voted in favor of the nationwide tax-credit subsidies that underpin the health care law.

    “One thing that’s clear about Roberts is that he is very concerned about the court as an institution, its perception and its institutional legitimacy,” said Brianne Gorod, appellate counsel at the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center.

    Roberts, though, was in dissent in the same-sex marriage case and chastised Kennedy for overstepping judicial authority.

    Severino was struck by Roberts’ language. “I found it a little ironic to read some of his criticism in dissent about the court overstepping its authority when I feel like that’s exactly what he was doing the day before,” in the health care case, Severino said.

    Most court watchers are unwilling to read too much into the results of one term because they are so dependent on the mix of cases that are before the justices.

    “It seems fair to say that the court tilted in a more liberal direction this term,” said veteran Supreme Court lawyer Carter Phillips. “Whether that reflects a real shift or just a blip is anybody’s guess.”

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    Interns with media organizations run with the decision upholding the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court has three more decisions to hand down before summer recess, and they are expected Monday. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Joining me now is the chief Washington correspondent for “The National Law Journal,” Marcia Coyle.

    So, Marcia, yesterday, we talked a lot about the impact of the gay marriage ruling. But there are a couple of other big rulings. And we know court rulings at the Supreme Court are small, but the ones that are coming up on Monday are pretty important. Let’s talk a little bit about that.

    MARCIA COYLE, THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Absolutely, Hari.

    There are three cases that are left. There is a very important case involving the environment and the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate mercury emissions from electric power plant. In that case, it’s a question of whether the EPA, the federal agency, should have considered the cost of its regulation before deciding whether to regulate the mercury emissions.

    There’s a second case that’s very important in terms of how states — state legislatures, in particular, reapportion congressional districts. Arizona created an independent commission to do the redrawing of district lines following each census. And it did that because, as we’ve seen all around the country, redistricting has become a very partisan effort in state legislatures.

    The Arizona state legislature challenged the use of an independent commission, claiming that it violated the elections clause in the federal constitution, claims that that clause gives the authority, the right to state legislatures to redraw district lines.

    And, finally, the death penalty, which is never far from the Supreme Court’s docket. This is a case involving lethal injection, and a particular drug, Midazolam, that was used by Oklahoma not too long ago, as a replacement drug for the drug in its three-drug protocol that is usually used to make someone unconscious while the other two drugs are administered.

    Oklahoma used Midazolam, as a substitute, and we saw reports how far the drug really didn’t make someone — make the death row inmate unconscious long enough for the other drugs to be administered. And in some cases, the execution lasted — one execution 20 minutes, in others the inmate was seen to gasp, and in another, the inmate actually talked and said, “This isn’t working.”

    So, a challenge has been brought to the use of that particular drug, and we will get a decision I believe on Monday as to whether that — the use of that drug is cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Looking back at the cases, just the high-profile cases, the Affordable Care Act and the gay marriage case, what was interesting was Chief Justice Roberts in his votes, one direction in one case, and another direction in the other case. He’s really become one of the more surprising justices.

    MARCIA COYLE: If we take away anything from this particular term, it is that even though the court has a five-yesterday conservative majority, those five conservatives are not all the same, just as not all Democrats are the same or all Catholics are the same. They have different approaches to how they interpret statutes, how they read the Constitution. And we saw that play out in the health care case, as well as same-sex marriage.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, while these two cases might be win for liberal thought, liberal ideology, this doesn’t make an entire season or an entire court.

    MARCIA COYLE: No, it doesn’t, Hari, and I think we have to be cautious about labeling the court, OK, so now we’ve had two liberal — huge liberal-leaning decisions. This is a liberal Supreme Court. I really believe that each term tells its own story, depending on the makeup of the cases, the mix of cases, that come to the court and end up on its docket.

    I can remember during the Rehnquist years that there were some terms that were left-leaning, other terms that were right-leaning. This term, the cases that came played out to the left side of the court.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Marcia Coyle from “The National Law Journal” — thanks so much.

    MARCIA COYLE: Oh, my pleasure, Hari. Take care.

    The post After a historic week, what lies ahead for the Supreme Court? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    ISIS arrests

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Monday marks the first full year since ISIS declared the caliphate, an Islamic State, part of the justification for its terror campaign across the Middle East.

    Just this week, ISIS claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in Tunisia and Kuwait, and is suspected of an attack in France.

    The Justice Department has estimated at least 2,700 Westerners have traveled to join ISIS in the fighting in Syria, including some from the U.S.

    Now, a new study from Fordham University Law School shows arrests in the U.S. for allegedly supporting ISIS are growing. Since last March of 2014, federal prosecutors have charged 56 people for supporting ISIS. Law enforcement killed three other suspects.

    Fordham researchers say most of the accused are U.S. citizens. More than 60 percent of those charged are 21 or younger, and more than 80 percent of the cases involved recruitment with social media.

    I’m joined now by the head of that study, the Director of Fordham’s Center on National Security, Karen Greenberg.

    So, first, I want to ask, what do we see about the patterns of these people who have been accused and charged but not yet found guilty?

    KAREN GREENBERG, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: There are basically three categories of individuals being charged — those who want to facilitate and recruit others to join ISIS, those who want to go abroad as foreign fighters to join the caliphate, and those who want to commit some kind of domestic terror attack in the United States.

    And the patterns are largely that these are increasingly young men and women who are drawn to ISIS for a variety of reasons, who are from an exceptionally broad background.

    There’s no way to say a particular ethnic group or national origin or religion or anything initially is what motivates these individuals.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, a lot of these cases have material support as one of the charges that they have. What is material support in this day and age?

    KAREN GREENBERG: Well, material support is a very broad category that is used more and more by law enforcement since 9/11, for if you want to give — it could be anything from money to providing yourself to a foreign cause of a designated foreign terrorist organization.

    And it’s extremely broad, and, therefore, very popular among law enforcement. For some, it’s overly broad.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You know, I don’t have to be an ACLU lawyer to say there’s a shift from reacting to terror attacks to preventing terror attacks encroach on other freedoms of how I want to express myself.

    KAREN GREENBERG: The interesting thing about the ISIS case is, is the question: Are these the same or different from the 550 prior cases of terrorism-related arrests that we saw since 9/11? And to some extent, these feel a little different.

    And you’re right. If it’s about expression, if it’s about doing very little, if it’s about being led by the FBI towards many pieces of the incipient crime, that’s one thing.

    But there does seem to be some kind of new element here, a new feeling and that’s why we did the study.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And one of the new elements was social media. So many of these individuals are lured through social media. I’m wondering, does law enforcement use that same social media to catch them?

    KAREN GREENBERG: Well, that’s what we need to find out more about. They’ve talked about using social media for a counter-narrative.

    They’ve talked about using social media to identify them. And you’ll see that in the complaints they point to Twitter. They point to Facebook.

    They point to a variety of different apps, Instagram, for example, as ways they found these individuals and then were alerted to them and began to track them and follow them.

    So, it’s important both in the recruitment and in the deterring.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Karen Greenberg, Fordham Center on National Security — thanks so much.

    KAREN GREENBERG: Thank you.

    The post Study: Arrests for alleged ISIS supporters on the rise in the U.S. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People line up at an ATM outside a National Bank branch in Athens, Greece early June 27, 2015.  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on bailout demands from foreign creditors on Saturday, rejecting an "ultimatum" from lenders and putting a deal that could determine Greece's future in Europe to a risky popular vote. Photo by Yiannis Panagopoulos/Eurokinissi/Reuters

    People line up at an ATM outside a National Bank branch in Athens, Greece early June 27, 2015. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on bailout demands from foreign creditors on Saturday, rejecting an “ultimatum” from lenders and putting a deal that could determine Greece’s future in Europe to a risky popular vote. Photo by Yiannis Panagopoulos/Eurokinissi/Reuters

    More than one in three ATMs in Greece ran out of cash at some point Saturday as banks struggled to provide enough euro banknotes to keep the machines running while people scrambled to withdraw money.

    The run on ATMs followed Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ call for a referendum on austerity terms demanded by the indebted country’s lenders, throwing debt negotiations into disarray and placing Greece on the verge of default.

    Anxious Greeks withdrew around half a billion Euros, and long lines formed as people waited for technicians to refill the machines — including a roughly 40-person line for an ATM inside the Greek parliament, Reuters reported.

    If Tsipras’ left-wing government fails to reach a deal with eurozone finance ministers to extend an expiring bailout program, the stage is set for Greece to default on a crucial International Monetary Fund payment Tuesday.

    The post One-third of Greek ATMs temporarily run dry after referendum proposal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    In face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states, some parts of the country have not started to issue marriage licenses.

    Hopeful couples have been turned away in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. Officials have said they are waiting for lower courts to officially lift bans on same-sex marriage.

    Jim Hood

    Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said on Friday that the court’s ruling is not immediately effective in the state.

    “It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses, when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order,” he said in a statement. “The 5th Circuit might also choose not to lift the stay and instead issue and order, which could take considerably longer before it becomes effective.”

    Roy Moore

    Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    In Alabama, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has advised county judges to delay issuing the marriage licenses, saying the ruling “destroyed the foundation of our country, which is family.”

    In an interview with the New York Times, Moore said he would continue to push for an amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    Greg Abbott 01

    Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    In Texas, some county clerks did issue licenses, but Governor Greg Abbot said no Texan will be required by the court’s ruling to act “contrary to his or her religious beliefs” when it comes to marriage.

    Bobby Jindal

    Graphic by Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

    Louisiana Governor and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal also came out against the court’s decision, saying that the ruling “tramples” on states’ rights.

    In a statement on his campaign website, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was more staid in his critique of the ruling:

    Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.

    Learn more about how other GOP presidential candidates are reacting to the court’s decision here.

    The post Some areas resist issuing marriage licenses following court’s decision appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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