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

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    Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles on stage during a campaign event in Hanover, New Hampshire,  July 3, 2015. In a speech at Dartmouth College on the same day, Clinton told the crowd that she takes a "backseat to no one" when it comes to liberal causes. Photo by Dominick Reuter/Reuters

    Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles on stage during a campaign event in Hanover, New Hampshire, July 3, 2015. In a speech at Dartmouth College on the same day, Clinton told the crowd that she takes a “backseat to no one” when it comes to liberal causes. Photo by Dominick Reuter/Reuters

    HANOVER, N.H. — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she takes a “backseat to no one” on championing liberal causes, presenting herself as a standard-bearer for Democrats as primary challenger Bernie Sanders generates large, energetic crowds.

    Clinton addressed 850 people at an outdoor amphitheater at Dartmouth College, a last-minute venue change made to accommodate a larger audience. Days earlier, Sanders spoke before about 10,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin. The former secretary of state made no mention of Sanders but warned that Republicans would unravel President Barack Obama’s policies if they recaptured the White House, including the repeal of his signature health care overhaul.

    “I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record of standing up and fighting for progressive values,” Clinton said on a sun-dappled kickoff to the Fourth of July weekend in Hanover, New Hampshire, across the Connecticut River from Sanders’ home state of Vermont.

    The Democratic presidential front-runner portrayed herself as a candidate of continuity to Obama and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, praising the Supreme Court’s recent ruling upholding health care subsidies under the overhaul. She said if the nation elected a Republican president, “they will repeal the Affordable Care Act. That is as certain as I can say.”

    She said Obama and her husband had both inherited a series of economic headaches when they entered office and urged voters to elect another Democrat “to continue the policies that actually work for the vast majority of Americans.”

    Clinton said at the end of her husband’s two terms, the economy had generated 22 million jobs, a balanced budget and “a surplus that would have paid off our national debt if it had not been rudely interrupted by the next administration.”

    The former New York senator’s team has been wary of likening her to the equivalent of Obama’s third term but her acclaim for the president’s policies highlighted a string of recent victories by the White House in its defense of the health care law, the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing gay marriage and steady economic numbers.

    In a rare discussion of foreign policy, Clinton spoke supportively of Obama’s efforts to reach an agreement with Iran to curb the country’s nuclear program, talks that she helped set in motion as secretary of state. Previewing next week’s deadline for negotiations, Clinton said she hoped the U.S. would “get a deal that puts a lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program” but said it was “too soon” to know if that was possible.

    Seeking the Democratic nomination, Clinton’s focus has been on economic issues, the driving force behind Sanders’ recent rise in polls. The senator describes himself as a democratic socialist and has won elections in Vermont as an independent. He has drawn large crowds around the country and reported raising $15 million since late April, about one-third of the $45 million Clinton has brought in.

    Sanders said on Friday in an email to supporters that he would release a series of policy proposals in the next few weeks “to address the major issues facing our nation.” The campaign is seeking to ramp up its volunteer base and planning to hold organizing meetings across the nation on July 29.

    Clinton’s allies have sought to lower expectations despite her early command of the primary field. During a stop at an ice cream shop in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Clinton told reporters “I always knew this was going to be competitive” and said she was looking forward to a “great debate.”

    Some of the people who came to see Clinton at Dartmouth said Sanders could ultimately have a positive influence on her in the nation’s first primary state.

    “I think he’s pushing her to address some issues and I think that will be all for the good,” said Sybil Buell, a Norwich, Vermont, resident who attended the Clinton event. Buell said she was “on the fence” over whether to support Clinton or Sanders in the early stages of the campaign.

    “There’s a little feeling of inevitability with her,” said Chuck Manns, of Lebanon, New Hampshire, who backed Clinton in 2008. He said Sanders was a “curiosity right now,” but predicted Clinton’s electability would shine through.

    The post As Sanders draws large crowds, Clinton touts progressive record appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man updates the chalkboard at the Chicago Board of Trade in Chicago, Illinois in this undated handout photo. July 6 will mark the end of more than eight decades of open-outcry grain futures trading at the landmark Chicago Board of Trade Building. Image courtesy of Chicago History Museum, Gordon H. Coster via Reuters

    A man updates the chalkboard at the Chicago Board of Trade in Chicago, Illinois in this undated handout photo. July 6 will mark the end of more than eight decades of open-outcry grain futures trading at the landmark Chicago Board of Trade Building. Image courtesy of Chicago History Museum, Gordon H. Coster via Reuters

    The once lively grains trading pits at the Chicago Board of Trade building will go silent after Monday, as the oldest futures exchange in the United States moves one step closer to strictly electronic trading.

    Several floor traders fought the closure by the CME Group that represents the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Board of Trade, and were able to postpone it from July 2, Reuters reported. The closings – also happening in New York at all CME Group futures pits – are the latest in a trend over the past 15 years that began as electronic trading soared.

    “This is not something that happened over night; it’s been happening for a long time,” Dr. Peter Alonzi, a professor of economics at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois and the former senior manager of the Chicago Board of Trade’s educational programs group in the 1990s, told PBS NewsHour.

    For more than 80 years, Chicago Board of Trade members shouted and flashed hand signals to establish futures contracts – agreements to buy or sell a certain amount of a commodity like wheat, corn or oats at a predetermined price and date – in the pits of the landmark art deco building on LaSalle and Jackson streets.

    “The efficiency, low cost and speed of electronic trading has taken on more and more of the trading volume”

    “The prices discovered through the competitive trading activity in the pits were an integral part of the agricultural industry,” Alonzi said. Later, when they started trading futures on treasury bonds, notes and federal funds, action in the floor pits impacted world financial markets.

    Open outcry has been the main method of trading futures throughout the Chicago Board of Trade’s history and accounted for the majority of trading volume until 2003.

    Passed down over generations of traders, the “craft” – as Alonzi characterized it – has fallen to represent one percent of futures volume for the CME Group, the Associated Press reported. Most futures trading now happens online.

    The S&P 500 futures and options pits in Chicago will remain open. The CME Group plans to sublease the grain room and its 10 octagonal pits, a spokesperson told PBS NewsHour.

    Click through the timeline to learn more about the Chicago Board of Trade and its 167 years of existence.

    The post Most trading pits to close at Chicago Board of Trade as historic craft inches closer to extinction appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to supporters during a back-yard reception in Bedford, New Hampshire, June 30, 2015. Hispanic leaders have urged GOP hopefuls to condemn Trump for remarks he made that characterized Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. Photo by Dominick Reuter/Reuters

    Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to supporters during a back-yard reception in Bedford, New Hampshire, June 30, 2015. Hispanic leaders have urged GOP hopefuls to condemn Trump for remarks he made that characterized Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. Photo by Dominick Reuter/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hispanic leaders are bristling at the largely tepid response by Republican presidential candidates to Donald Trump’s characterization of Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers.

    Several 2016 contenders have brushed off Trump’s comments while others have ignored them. Marco Rubio, a Florida senator who is Hispanic, denounced them as “not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive,” after declining for two weeks to address the matter directly. Another Hispanic in the race, Ted Cruz, said Trump is “terrific,” “brash” and “speaks the truth.”

    It’s an uncomfortable moment for Republicans, who want more votes from the surging Latino population.

    And it could be a costly moment if more candidates don’t go beyond their Donald-will-be-Donald response and condemn him directly, said Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican who leads the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership.

    “The time has come for the candidates to distance themselves from Trump and call his comments what they are: ludicrous, baseless and insulting,” Aguilar said. “Sadly, it hurts the party with Hispanic voters. It’s a level of idiocy I haven’t seen in a long time.”

    So far, Trump has paid less of a political price than a commercial one.

    The leading Hispanic television network, Univision, has backed out of televising the Miss USA pageant, a joint venture between Trump and NBC, which also cut ties with Trump. On Wednesday, the Macy’s department store chain, which carried a Donald Trump menswear line, said it was ending its relationship with him. Other retailers are facing pressure to follow suit.

    On Friday, the NASCAR motorsports series said it will not hold its season-ending awards ceremony at the Trump National Doral Miami. The CEO of a top NASCAR sponsor, Camping World’s Marcus Lemonis, had said he would not participate in the awards ceremony if it were held at a property owned by Trump, whom he criticized for “recent and ongoing blatantly bigoted and racist comments … in regards to immigrants.”

    In his speech last month marking his entry into the Republican race, Trump said Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

    The businessman has refused to back down, although he insists his remarks were misconstrued.

    “My statements have been contorted to seem racist and discriminatory,” he wrote in a message to supporters on Thursday. “What I want is for legal immigrants to not be unfairly punished because others are coming into America illegally, flooding the labor market and not paying taxes.” His original comments, though, did not make a distinction between Mexicans who came to U.S. legally and those here illegally.

    His rhetoric may resonate with some of the Republican Party’s most passionate voters, who have long viewed illegal immigration as one of the nation’s most pressing problems. But the 2016 contest brings opportunity for the party to make inroads with Hispanics, with several Latino candidates and a former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, who has deep Latino ties and speaks Spanish and hasn’t been shy about using it in the campaign.

    Even so, Bush has said little more about Trump’s comments than that they were “wrong.”

    “Maybe we’ll have a chance to have an honest discussion about it onstage,” Bush said last weekend while campaigning in Nevada, referring to Republican presidential debates.

    Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, is paying keen attention to how the candidates respond to Trump’s “xenophobic rhetoric.”

    “We’re listening very, very closely, not just what candidates say but what they don’t say – the sins of commission and the sins of omission,” he said.

    Among 2016 contenders:

    • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called Trump’s comments “wholly inappropriate.” But in a subsequent radio interview, he said Trump is “a really wonderful guy (who’s) always been a good friend.”
    • Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said: “I don’t think Donald Trump’s remarks reflect the Republican Party.”
    • Cruz said he likes Trump and thinks NBC “is engaging in political correctness” in breaking ties with him.
    • Rubio said the next president “needs to be someone who brings Americans together – not someone who continues to divide.”
    • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have been silent.

    Not since the 2004 re-election campaign of President George W. Bush has a Republican presidential candidate earned as much as 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Mitt Romney got a dismal 27 percent in the 2012 contest against President Barack Obama.

    The post Hispanic leaders urge GOP hopefuls to condemn Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A sprinkler system over-waters grass during an early morning conservation patrol of water use by the City of Sacramento Water Conservation Office in Sacramento, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. California's epic drought, four years old and seemingly endless, is getting on people's nerves. Regulators issued rules last month for cutbacks that Governor Jerry Brown ordered in April, marking the first time all the state's 39 million inhabitants have been forced to conserve. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    VOICE OF SUSANA GARCIA: It’s going to be really hard for the businesses here on Main Street to survive if it doesn’t pick up.

    JOHN LARSON: All along Main Street in Delano, California, businesses can feel it – the drought. At 1111 Main Street, Susana Garcia says, it’s simple.

    SUSANA GARCIA, SHOP OWNER: A lot of people not working. A lot of people only working like a few hours. But they’re not working enough. So they’re not spending money.

    ROMAN BOCANEGRA, BARBER: We need that water so there can be a lot more farm work for everybody, so they can come and shop and do what they got to do here.

    JOHN LARSON: At Chalia’s Barber Shop, at 916 Main, there’s talk of wild bears wandering in from the hills.

    NATSOT LOCAL NEWSCAST: The bear was eventually taken out and put in the back of a wildlife truck.

    LEIAS SERVIN, DELANO RESIDENT: I guess they’re looking for what food there’s no water source so they bears coming into the city.

    JOHN LARSON: Leias Servin worries the drought will cost his parents, who work in the fields and who can’t afford to lose the hours.

    JOHN LARSON: How are they getting by?

    LEIAS SERVIN, DELANO RESIDENT: Well they have, I guess they have to make it work. But it’s hard getting by when they are cutting you short. It’s a couple of paychecks less that you get.

    JOHN LARSON: Delano’s Main Street sits at the southern end of California’s Central Valley, the richest agricultural valley in the world. This valley supplies 25 percent of all the food eaten in the United States. Yet, all around Delano the drought has cost thousands of jobs, especially in the fields. (VINEYARD) This grape vineyard is 23 miles from Delano’s Main Street. Crew boss Sonia Robles – still wearing the protective sun mask she wears in the field – says she’s had to away people looking for work.

    SONIA ROBLES, GRAPE PICKER: I wish we could have work for them, but I mean we couldn’t.

    JOHN LARSON: When the congregation at United First Method Church, just a block off Main Street shared their prayers on Sunday, a 24 year old cowboy offered thi

    MATT HUFF IN CHURCH: We ask Lord that we receive more rain this winter. A lot of good juicy storms, Lord.

    JOHN LARSON: Matt Huff lives on a cattle ranch 16 miles from Delano’s Main Street.

    MATT HUFF: Well I know we need rain, we can’t make it rain ourselves but we can definitely give it to God. It’s all you can do right about now.

    JOHN LARSON: While it may be difficult to appreciate just how much the drought is changing the valley, listen to Matt as he drives out with the evening feed.

    MATT HUFF, RANCH WORKER: I first came here about five years ago and the grass was at least shoulder height. Every year that we’ve had a drought, the fields remain bald, just pure dirt. We used to have dandelions out in the field that were taller than me. That, you can feed a herd of cows with. This, you can’t.

    JOHN LARSON: The herd used to number 200. But when the drought hit, pastures began dying. The ranch owner began buying hay to feed the herd. As the drought continued, the owner was forced to begin selling off the herd you see up ahead. Cow by cow, the herd dwindled to a 100 and then to less than 50.

    He also sold his only bull, and with it much of the herd’s future. But the bigger story, the reason we’ve come to Delano is what’s happening all around the ranch. The California drought has entered its fourth straight year, a drought some fear could become the most costly in the history of the American West.

    JESSE REVILLA, RANCH OWNER: You got good years and bad years. This is what I call worst years. This is really bad.

    JOHN LARSON: Matt’s boss, ranch owner Jesse Revilla, says despite his best efforts, the remaining herd is losing weight, but feeding them is breaking him.

    JOHN LARSON: How long can you keep that up?

    JESSE REVILLA: Well, that means I got to go sell some more cows. I got to sell more cattle so I can buy more hay.

    JOHN LARSON: So the herd keeps getting smaller and smaller?

    JESSE REVILLA: And I’m getting poorer and poorer.

    JOHN LARSON: California reservoirs, once pictures of abundance, are more alarming than reassuring.

    Last year, the hottest ever recorded in California, water levels fell so low that authorities cut off water to most farmers, meaning, farmers had to use well water, or lose everything.

    JOHN LARSON: If you didn’t have a well, what would have happened to your trees?

    MARY ANDREAS: Well, they would be half dead by now.

    JOHN LARSON: Two miles from Main Street, Mary Andreas joined hundreds of farmers now drilling for water. Mary grows 84 acres of almonds. Her trees require year round water to stay alive. Six months before her water allotment was cut off, Mary mortgaged her home, plunked down almost 200 thousand dollars to drill a well. It saved her farm.

    JOHN LARSON: How hard was that decision?

    MARY ANDREAS, ALMOND FARMER: It wasn’t hard, because we had already invested so much. We can’t stop now. We don’t know what’s gonna happen next year or the other. But we have to keep going forward. ‘Cause we got everything, our whole life invested in this 84 acres.

    JOHN LARSON: Which is why farmers like Mary who can afford it, are drilling more wells than ever. Drilling crews are arriving from across the West, adding to local drillers—like Matt Hammond—who can’t keep up with the demand.

    JOHN LARSON: If we want drill a well in our farm, how soon could you do it?

    MATT HAMMOND, WATER DRILLER: We’re anywhere from eight months to a year and a half behind.

    JOHN LARSON: But more worrisome is that so much water is being pumped from underground to replace water lost in this drought, that few people believe it can be sustained. Wells are going dry, and drillers are forced to go deeper to find water. This well – located 16 miles from Main Street – is headed down 1,600 feet, 350 feet deeper than the empire state building is high.

    JOHN LARSON: To what extent do you feel like we can only punch so many holes and pull out so much water before we really start seeing huge problems?

    MATT HAMMOND, ARTHUR & ORUM WELL DRILLING: Well, I mean, we’re to that stage right now, I think. Because the deeper you go on some of this, you’re losing out on water quality, too. You’re gonna get down so deep and the water’s gonna start getting salty on you.

    RANDY WELDON WALKING WITH LARSON: So this grove has not water on in a year.

    JOHN LARSON: Randy Weldon is a local grower. He showed us how farmers who could not afford to drill wells helplessly watched their orchards die. These orange trees are dead, and there are thousands just like them not far from Delano’s Main Street.

    RANDY WELDON, ORANGE FARMER: It is heartbreaking. In a lot of cases the farmers have their heart and soul in this land. And it’s like losing a part of your family, you know. And economically it’s disastrous.

    JOHN LARSON: In California water is considered a property right, so farmers are free to drill as much as they want. All they need is a permit. But no one knows how much water farmers are pulling from the underground aquifer. That’s the natural reservoir accumulated over thousands of years from rain and snow. And no one knows how much water is left. If an aquifer is like a savings account, this is a run on the bank.

    JERRY BROWN TV AD: It’s been over 50 years since we built the state water project.

    JOHN LARSON: At the urging of the Governor, Jerry Brown, California voters last year agreed they had to be better prepared for a drought, so they passed a seven-and-a half-billion-dollar bond for building water storage facilities and water recycling projects.

    But the effort to preserve the water supply also means big cuts in consumption.

    In April, Governor Brown imposed new restrictions for California cities, reducing residential water usage by 25 percent.

    At first, farmers, who account for 80 percent of water use in California, were spared those cuts.

    Then last month, the state cut water allotments in northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — driving farmers there to join those in the Central Valley in the race to dredge up more water from the ground.

    This escalating thirst for water has also led to some surprising partnerships. For example, 21 million gallons of water every day flow into the Cawelo Reservoir – water helping save 90 desperate farmers south of Delano. The water comes from of all places…here.

    This is Chevron’s Kern River oil field just 35 miles south of Delano’s Main Street. It’s the third largest oil producing field in the state, more than 70,000 barrels per day. But in the process of retrieving the oil, Chevron pulls up even more water, a lot more.

    The water is used for steam to help recover the oil underground, and then separated from the oil, cleaned and pumped through pipelines to the reservoir and the waiting farmers.

    ABBY AUFFANT, CHEVRON: For every 10 barrels of fluid that we produced from Kern River field, nine of those are water. One barrel of oil to 9 barrels of water. So we’re almost like a water company that happens to skim oil.

    JOHN LARSON: Back on Main Street, the drought can be felt in every lost sale and in every cash register. No one, of course, knows when the drought will end. Only that until it does, life in and around Delano feels harder, further beyond their control than they’d like, and that things they hold dear – here in this rich valley – are suddenly in play.

    MATT HUFF: It’s getting harder and harder to be a rancher. We need the rain, everyone does.

    RANDY WELDON: If we don’t get rain this year we’re in for some really bad times.

    MARY ANDREAS: I guess we’re still here because this is our life and we’re here because we want to keep farming as long as we possibly can.

    The post Will California’s new water restrictions ease its historic drought? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    American statesman, Patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, and signer of the Treaty of Paris, John Jay, circa 1785. From an original engraving by H.B. Hall. Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images

    American statesman, Patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, and signer of the Treaty of Paris, John Jay, circa 1785. From an original engraving by H.B. Hall. Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images

    KATONAH, N.Y. — The inner circle of founders has been set for as long as anyone can remember – Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton and Madison.

    Almost never mentioned is John Jay. Most people know something about him. … But very few know the full breadth of his accomplishments.

    “Most people know something about him. … But very few know the full breadth of his accomplishments. Most are very surprised by what they learn,” explains Heather Iannucci, director of the John Jay Homestead in this Hudson River town, where the July Fourth celebration will include a reading of the Declaration of Independence, music and tours of the stately, shingled house where the country’s first chief justice lived his final years.

    As more of his papers have become available in the past decade, Jay’s admirers, ranging from specialists to such popular historians as Joseph Ellis and Walter Isaacson, have been arguing that a founder they believe underrated deserves a closer look – for achievements that extend to virtually every branch of government, on the state, federal and international level.

    Jay was one of three contributors to the Federalist Papers, which helped define American government. He was president of the wartime Continental Congress, then served as secretary of foreign affairs, precursor to secretary of state, after the Revolutionary War ended. He was an essential diplomat whose peace negotiations with England, leading to the Treaty of Paris, vastly expanded U.S. territory.

    For his accomplishments heading a network of informants during the revolution, actions that helped inspire James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Spy,” the CIA’s website calls Jay “the first national-level American counterintelligence chief.” He also helped write the New York Constitution, was a founder of the New York Manumission Society and as governor signed legislation that phased out slavery in the state. (Jay himself owned slaves.)

    The founders bickered colorfully among themselves, but they agreed on the virtues of Jay. Noting his centrality in the talks with England, John Adams praised him as “of more importance than any of the rest of us.” Alexander Hamilton turned to Jay first when conceiving the Federalist Papers, and George Washington thought so much of him that when he was forming his original Cabinet, he offered the first position – any position – to Jay, who chose the Supreme Court.

    “He’s been hiding in plain sight for all this time,” says Ellis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who features Jay in his current best-seller, “The Quartet,” in which he places Jay among four founders who made the U.S. Constitution possible. “We can argue about who can be on top of the list of most important founders until the cows come home, but it’s clear he should be part of the list.”

    Jay was a leading nationalist, eager to unify the former colonies, but he has become a regional hero. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is based in Manhattan. Some students at his alma mater, Columbia University (then King’s College), live in John Jay Hall, and various prizes are handed out by Columbia at the annual John Jay Awards dinner. Some visitors to the homestead arrive from the nearby John Jay High School.

    But recognition doesn’t approach that of Washington and other peers. Few Jay biographies have been published, and none close to the prominence of Ron Chernow’s Hamilton and Washington books or David McCullough’s “John Adams.” The Library of America has issued editions of the writings of several founders but has no plans for a dedicated book on Jay. In 2005, Walter Stahr’s “John Jay: Founding Father” received praise from Chernow and Isaacson among others, but he struggled to find a publisher and ended up with the London-based Hambledon Continuum.

    “I signed with a British publisher, for a book about a major founding American father,” Stahr wryly observed.

    Ellis acknowledged his own slighting of Jay. In his Pulitzer-winning “Founding Brothers,” a million-seller published in 2000, Ellis does not include Jay among the eight “most prominent political leaders in the early republic,” an omission Stahr points out in his biography. “If I knew what I know now when I wrote `Founding Brothers,’ Jay would have been one of the players,” Ellis now says.

    Jay supporters believe his relative anonymity is mostly a story of paperwork and personality.

    The balding, gray-eyed Jay lived quietly and died quietly, not on a battlefield or in a duel with Aaron Burr, but in his library, at age 83. He was not a humorist like Franklin, or intemperate like Hamilton, but dependable and unusually honorable.

    Historian Gordon Wood pointed out that when Jay was New York’s governor, he refused to endorse Hamilton’s scheme in 1800 to manipulate the state’s electoral laws during a close presidential campaign and deny the White House to Jefferson, their political rival. That was Jay’s “finest moment,” Wood told The Associated Press in an email.

    In Stacy Schiff’s biography of Franklin in Paris, “The Great Improvisation,” she noted that Jay never tried to compete with or undermine Franklin while both were diplomats abroad and was willing to endure financial and physical hardship on behalf of independence. That included spending “30 murderous months on the periphery of the Spanish court,” waiting in vain for $5 million in promised aid, Schiff wrote in an email.

    Jay, she said, “never seems to lose his cool, or his dignity.”

    The scarcity of documents has plagued Jay historians. Over the past 60 years, the papers of Washington, Jefferson and others have been duly compiled and made widely available. Jay’s papers have been long delayed, with Stahr and others blaming the late Columbia University professor Richard Morris, who for decades had control of the material.

    “When Lynne Cheney decided she was going to tackle James Madison, she had a tremendous amount of stuff to work with,” says Stahr, referring to Cheney’s Madison biography that came out in 2014. “When I tackled John Jay, it was hard.”

    Morris died in 1989, with only two of four planned Jay volumes completed, and for years the project was idle. New funding revived it in 2004, around the time Stahr was finishing his book. And a team of editors at Columbia led by Elizabeth M. Nuxoll is scheduled to have a seven-volume set completed and released by 2020. The fourth volume is out in November.

    Ellis, who drew extensively on Jay’s papers for his current book, believes they will establish him not only as a statesman but also as a prose stylist. The letters between Jay and his wife, Sarah Livingston Jay, rank closely with the correspondence of John and Abigail Adams, Ellis says, likening the Jays to the acknowledged first couple among the founders.

    “There’s a level of candor and intimacy and sharing of private thoughts that most 18th-century marriages didn’t have,” Ellis says of the Jays.

    A merchant’s son, John Jay was born in New York in 1745 and grew up comfortably on an estate in Rye, about 25 miles north of the city. He had planned a career in law and, like Franklin, was a moderate in the early years of the revolution, believing that differences with the British could be negotiated. The British use of military power to enforce order changed his mind.

    Luck, timing and politics may have harmed his legacy. He was in New York at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, and Stahr said it was unclear whether he would have endorsed the document or was still hesitating to break with England. He wrote only five of the 85 Federalist Papers essays, published in 1787-88, because he fell ill.

    His greatest controversy involves a document that bears his name. In 1794, more than a decade after the Treaty of Paris, then-Chief Justice Jay was asked by Washington to return to London and prevent what the president and others feared was imminent war. The final agreement, the Jay Treaty, maintained peace but was criticized for being too favorable to the British. Jay, already suspected as pro-British by the rival Republican Party, was burned in effigy in several cities. Scholars still debate whether Jay got the best terms possible.

    From the mid-1770s to the early 1800s, he was rarely out of public life and could have stayed longer. Late in John Adams’ administration, which ended in 1801, he wanted Jay to return as U.S. chief justice. Jay, who had left that position in 1795 to become New York’s governor, declined, and the job went to the man who shaped the modern court, John Marshall.

    Like a proper gentleman of his time, Jay settled peacefully in the country, having long dreamed of retirement with Sarah. In an early letter to his wife, dated July 21, 1776, when his work on behalf of independence had kept them apart, he expressed “a kind of Confidence or Pre Sentiment that we shall yet enjoy many good Days together, and I indulge myself in imaginary Scenes of Happiness which I expect in a few Years to be realized.

    “If it be a Delusion, it is a pleasing one, and therefore I embrace it,” he added. “Should it like a Bubble vanish into Air, Resignation will blunt the Edge of Disappointment, and a firm Persuasion of after Bliss give me Consolation.”

    But Sarah fell ill and died, in 1802, within months of their move. Devastated at first but sustained by his religion, Jay looked after his farm, advocated for education for blacks and became president of the American Bible Society. As his health faded, he asked that instead of a high-priced funeral his family find “one poor widow or orphan” and donate $200. Jay died on May 16, 1829.

    “Unlike John Adams, who spent a lot of time defending his place in history, Jay does not spend a lot of time on that,” Stahr says. “He answers letters as they arrive, but doesn’t seek out writing engagements. The War of 1812 (between the U.S. and Britain) is very worrisome because he devoted a lot of his time to avoiding that. And he worried about the emerging tensions between North and South.

    “In the end, he’s more worried about America than he is about John Jay.”

    This report was written by Hillel Italie of the Associated Press.

    The post What you should know about forgotten founding father John Jay appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    There’s a new top dog in town.

    In a gut-wrenching upset, Matt “Megatoad” Stonie defeated eight-time reigning hot-dog eating champ Joey “Jaws” Chestnut the 2015 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, an event as American as, er, hot dogs, held every Fourth of July on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

    Stonie, 23, won this year’s title by polishing off 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Chestnut, 31, who holds the contest’s current record of 69 hot dogs, ate only 60.

    In the women’s contest, Miki Sudo reigned supreme by consuming 38 hot dogs.

    Thousands of people descend on Coney Island every year to witness the event, which has taken place at Nathan’s Famous Corporation’s original and best-known restaurant since 1972.

    Matt Stonie (R) is crowned winner of the annual Fourth of July 2015 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Stonie defeated 8 time champion Joey Chestnut 62-60, according to local media. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTX1J0GO

    Matt Stonie (R) is crowned winner of the annual Fourth of July 2015 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters.

    Matt Stonie consumes hot dogs during the annual Fourth of July 2015 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Stonie defeated 8 time champion Joey Chestnut 62-60, according to local media. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTX1J0HF

    Matt Stonie consumes hot dogs during the annual Fourth of July 2015 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Photo by Andrew Kellly/Reuters.

    Miki Sudo, winner of Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in the Women's division, eats a hot dog during the competition in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Sudo finished with a total of 38 hot dogs consumed in ten minutes. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTX1J065

    Miki Sudo, winner of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in the Women’s division, eats a hot dog during the competition in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters.

    NEW YORK, NY - JULY 4: Fans gather at The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York, on July 4, 2015. The contest is an annual Fourth of July tradition. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

    Fans gather at The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York, on July 4, 2015. Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images.

    Kevin McDonald of Jackson, New Jersey prepares sausages for Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. McDonald has been cooking the sausages for the contest since 1997 and averages 2,600 sausages cooked per year. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTX1IZYL

    Kevin McDonald of Jackson, New Jersey, prepares sausages for Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. McDonald has been cooking the sausages for the contest since 1997 and averages 2,600 sausages cooked per year. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters.

    Hot dogs are seen on the stage before Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTX1IZXT

    Hot dogs are seen on the stage before Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters.

    Bob Spam of Bellmore, New York eats a hot dog before the commencement of Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTX1IZXX

    Bob Spam of Bellmore, New York eats a hot dog before the commencement of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2015. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

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    Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, waves from the top of a tractor before participating in the Independence Day parade in Amherst, New Hampshire July 4, 2015. New Hampshire is home of the nation's first presidential nominating primary. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl - RTX1J0KE

    Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, waves from the top of a tractor before participating in the Independence Day parade in Amherst, New Hampshire July 4, 2015. New Hampshire is home of the nation’s first presidential nominating primary. Photo by Gretchen Ertl/Reuters

    Alongside the patriotic music and waving flags Saturday in parades across Iowa and New Hampshire were clear reminders of a presidential race coming up next year: Red balloons promoting “Jeb! 2016,” a tractor draped in a Rick Perry banner and dutiful volunteers holding signs and chanting for their chosen candidates.

    Marching in Fourth of July parades in these early voting states has become a tradition for politicians seeking the White House, giving them a chance to boost their name recognition and glad-hand with voters.

    Former Govs. Jeb Bush of Florida, Rick Perry of Texas and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island as well as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham worked the crowd in Amherst, while Hillary Rodham Clinton marched in a parade in New Hampshire’s North Country. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spent the holiday in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley met voters in Iowa.

    Graham and Perry brought the energy to Amherst, running through the streets waving, shouting jokes and posing for photos.

    “Sorry the government’s so screwed up!” Graham shouted to the crowd numerous times, often followed by an apology to any children in the crowd about the future of Social Security.

    The former governor and current senator shook hands in the street, prompting jokes of a Perry-Graham presidential ticket. Later, Perry snapped a cell phone picture of Graham with two voters outside their home.

    Chafee, meanwhile, walked the route with just a few aides and no large signs bearing his name – nothing to indicate he’s vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    Bush took a more methodical approach, shaking so many hands that his team had to nearly run down an entire street to catch up with the procession. His campaign handed out red “Jeb! 2016″ balloons along the entire parade route.

    “There’s nothing behind us – other than Hillary,” Bush joked to a voter who chided him for holding up the parade. While Clinton campaigned elsewhere, a team of her supporters marched right behind Bush’s, their blue signs in sharp contrast with his red.

    With his son George P. Bush, Texas’s land commissioner, by his side, Bush picked up a number of small children, posed for selfies and thanked voters who said they’ve been longtime fans of the Bushs. One of those voters wore a shirt that said “Bush Hat Trick.”

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he got clear instructions on how to behave in an Iowa parade – no throwing things to the crowd.

    Jindal walked in a July Fourth parade in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale. Accompanied by his wife, Jindal was the only Republican presidential candidate there, though other contenders had representatives there.

    Jindal said he was cautioned that Iowa and Louisiana parades are different.

    “We’re used to throwing things in Louisiana parades. We’re told that’s not allowed here,” he said.

    Jindal said that one of the first time the family went to Disney World, the children were upset because Mickey Mouse didn’t throw them anything.

    “In Louisiana every single parade, not just Mardi Gras, you’re supposed to throw things,” the governor said.

    Jindal kicked off the parade shaking hands and posing for selfies. He was scheduled to appear at another parade in the area later in the day. He has been campaigning in the kickoff caucus state since Tuesday.

    This report was written by Kathleen Ronayne of the Associated Press.

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    Supporters of Greece and of the 'NO' campaign applaud a speaker at the 'Greek solidarity festival' in Trafalgar Square, London, Britain, July 4, 2015.  The event was held in support of the people of Greece and the cancellation of debt, ahead of their referendum on Sunday. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls - RTX1J052

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: PBS NewsHour special correspondent Malcolm Brabant has been covering the latest developments and joins me now from Athens.

    You’ve been reporting on this for the past several weeks for us and other places. You’ve been talking to people on the street. The polls say that this vote is incredibly close. What’s the feeling that you get on the street?

    MALCOLM BRABANT, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It’s impossible to tell which way this vote is going to go because it’s a hugely difficult and complex vote for people to make. The question on the ballot paper is, is something that would probably baffle economic students.

    So, for ordinary people leaving out of the country, miles from Athens, it’s a very difficult choice.

    But basically, it distills down to whether or not you want to vote for more of the same, which is increased austerity, which may be more severe that has been going on for the past five years, or something that is a step into the unknown, because nobody really knows what is going to happen if the country votes no.

    The government here is basically saying that they’re going to have a better — better terms possibly with the creditors. But that’s something that really s undecided.

    And so, this is the most difficult question in Greece’s modern history.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s been a week since the banks have been closed, since money has been rationed, what are the impacts that you see? Are there shortages of goods in stores now due to import restrictions?

    MALCOLM BRABANT: No. We’re not seeing shortages yet, but that’s certainly something that people are talking about in the future. There are concerns that people just won’t get the goods that they want to.

    The problem is that everybody now wants cash and — because cash is in short supply. And so, suppliers aren’t giving materials to shops without getting cash. Customers are reluctant to part with their cash.

    And so, the actual liquidity of the whole country is shrinking, and that makes the difficult for the society to survive.

    The ironic thing is what the creditors really wanted to have is a sort of a modern society, financial society with credit and with money sort of going backwards and forwards electronically. But we’re going backwards in that respect. It’s going back to the 1980s.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what are the possibilities on Monday in either way that the vote turns out? Do the central bankers, when they meet, could they approve bail-out funding if the yes side wins, or could they say, you’re out of the Eurozone if the no side wins?

    MALCOLM BRABANT: I don’t think so it’s going to happen as quickly as that. I mean, this has been a much slower slide than people had imagined.

    People would have thought that after the default that there would have been sort of Armageddon and that simply hasn’t happened. The slide downwards has been sort of fairly gentle.

    But the problem is, that the money is running out of the banks here. And the big question is, if there is a no vote, will the banks actually dry out because the European Central Bank may feel compelled not to give the banks here anymore — more money at all.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And what about the social tension regardless of which way the vote goes?

    MALCOLM BRABANT: It is really sort of quite intense because the country is completely divided. People are talking about this being the levels of hatred that might exist after this, is being something as deep as those that happened during the civil war which started 70 years ago.

    This is a country which always had this tendency to turn on itself and to fight to itself. It’s got kind of a self destructed past in a way.

    People here have always fought against each other. And after the civil war ended in 1950, it took about 30 years for the country to be almost unified.

    And so, those are the kind of tensions that we’re talking about. They’re really immense. Although if you were to look around the city tonight, you would you say that it was relaxed. But there’s an awful lot of tension under the surface.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Malcolm Brabant joining us from Athens, Greece, tonight — thanks so much.

    The post How is Greece likely to vote in austerity referendum? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Spectators watch the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks explode over the East River in New York, July 4, 2014. New studies show that fireworks may adversely affect peoples' health because of the high levels of pollutants they release into the air. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    Spectators watch rockets from the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show explode over the East River in New York, July 4, 2014. New studies show that fireworks may adversely affect peoples’ health because of the high levels of pollutants they release into the air. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    An average of 230 Americans end up in the emergency room every day in the month around July 4 because of firework-related injuries, but pyrotechnic mishaps are not the only potential setback of this Fourth of July tradition.

    A new study published this week in the journal Atmospheric Environment found that fireworks release high levels of pollution into the sky on July 4 and 5.

    “When people think of air pollution, they think of other kinds of things—smoke stacks, automobile exhaust pipes, construction sites,” study author Dian J. Seidel told TIME. “I don’t think most people think of fireworks.”

    As a national average, culled from 315 different testing sites, Independence Day fireworks introduce 42 percent more pollutants into the air than are found on a normal day.

    Part of that increase is a spike in emissions of perchlorate, a chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency says may “disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones needed for normal growth and development.”

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    Erin Brady poses with Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, at a news conference after being crowned Miss USA 2013 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013. NBC dropped its contract with Trump and will no longer air the Miss USA pageant after Trump's recent comments regarding Mexican immigrants that are being described as 'bigoted' and 'racist.' Photo by Steve Marcus

    Erin Brady poses with Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, at a news conference after being crowned Miss USA 2013 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013. NBC dropped its contract with Trump and will no longer air the Miss USA pageant after Trump’s recent comments regarding Mexican immigrants that are being described as ‘bigoted’ and ‘racist.’ Photo by Steve Marcus

    LOS ANGELES — The Miss USA pageant, left without a TV home following blowback against co-owner Donald Trump over his comments on Mexican immigrants, has been rescued by the Reelz channel.

    Reelz CEO Stan E. Hubbard said in a statement Thursday that the cable and satellite channel acquired the rights because of a belief that the pageant and the women who compete in it “are an integral part of American tradition.”

    “As one of only a few independent networks, we decided to exercise our own voice and committed ourselves to bringing this pageant to American viewers everywhere,” Hubbard said.

    While Reelz, which reaches 70 million homes, said it considered the interests of Miss USA contestants, the host city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and viewers in making its decision, it made no mention of Trump or the hot water he’s found himself in since he announced his presidential bid in June.

    In an interview, Hubbard said the pageant is the issue, not Trump. He said the billionaire won’t make any money off the telecast.

    “I completely understand why millions of people were offended by what Donald Trump said. I think his comments were incredibly insensitive and wrong. I disagree with them completely and totally,” Hubbard said, adding, “I also believe this pageant is as nonpolitical” as an event can be.

    In his June presidential campaign announcement, Trump said that some Mexican immigrants to the U.S. bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists. NBC, Trump’s partner in the Miss USA pageant, cited his comments when it cut business ties with him and dropped its pageant telecast.

    That left Miss USA adrift and created an opening for Reelz.

    Hubbard said the license fee negotiated with the pageant was well below market value for such events and so small that it “won’t put even a dent in the production costs” shouldered by the pageant. He declined to specify the amount.

    “The point is that people who were offended want to make sure he’s (Trump) not going to profit from our decision,” and that won’t happen, Hubbard said.

    Trump declined to comment on the Reelz acquisition.

    The pageant also won’t make money from commercial spots; any revenue will go to Reelz. Hubbard said it will be a scramble to sign advertisers both because of timing and the controversy surrounding the pageant.

    This isn’t the first time Reelz has gone its own way. When the History channel dropped “The Kennedys” miniseries that had been made for it, saying it didn’t fit its brand, Reelz aired it in 2011 and was rewarded with record channel ratings and awards attention.

    Reelz said the Miss USA pageant will be televised July 12, its originally scheduled date on NBC. The pageant will have to scramble after a mass exodus of performers, hosts and judges who cited opposition to Trump’s views as the reason.

    Hubbard said he’s optimistic the telecast will be “loaded with talent and heavy entertainment value,” and said he’d prefer to see a Hispanic host.

    Rapper Flo Rida had been the highest profile performer scheduled for Miss USA, and his representative confirmed Wednesday that he wouldn’t perform. Country singer Craig Wayne Boyd, winner of “The Voice” last year, and pop singer Natalie La Rose also dropped out. There were no more announced performers.

    In a Miss USA news release last month, the judges were listed as HGTV star Jonathan Scott, country singer Jessie James Decker, E! News anchor Terrence Jenkins, TV host and former Miss Universe winner Zuleyka Rivera and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.

    Of that quintet, only Decker’s name was listed as a judge by Miss USA on its website Wednesday. That’s the day Smith dropped out.

    The pageant lost both of its co-hosts, Cheryl Burke of “Dancing With the Stars” and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Jeannie Mai, who hosted a show on the Style Network, was listed as a show host.

    Last week, the hosts of the now-abandoned Univision Spanish-language simulcast, Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fuente, said they wouldn’t take part in it.

    Trump’s campaign comments struck many Latinos as insensitive, and Univision’s decision last week to back out of televising Miss USA and break off its business ties with Trump led to a cascade of others following suit. Trump responded by suing Univision on Tuesday.

    Aside from the pageant world, there has growing fallout on other fronts for the GOP presidential hopeful and businessman.

    On Wednesday, the Macy’s department store chain, which carried a Donald Trump menswear line, said it was “distressed” by Trump’s remarks and was ending its relationship with him.

    Trump said in a statement that he had decided to end his relationship with Macy’s because of pressure on them by outside sources.

    “Both Macy’s and NBC totally caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups who are nothing more than professional agitators,” Trump said.

    Also on Wednesday, New York City officials said they were reviewing the city’s contracts with Trump in light of his comments, and Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement calling them “disgusting and offensive,” adding that “this hateful language has no place in our city.”

    The Trump Organization currently operates several city concessions, including a golf course, ice skating rink and carousel.

    Representatives for Trump did not respond Wednesday to an email seeking comment on the city’s review.

    The PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, USGA and PGA of America also on Wednesday distanced themselves from Trump in a statement and said his remarks were “inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.”

    Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, the nation’s only Latina governor and a rising star in the Republican party, added her voice Wednesday to criticism of the GOP presidential hopeful, denouncing his comments as “horrible.”

    This article was written by Lynn Elber of the Associated Press.

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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (not pictured) at a hotel in Vienna, Austria July 3, 2015. A year and half of nuclear talks between Iran and major powers were creeping towards the finish line on Friday as negotiators wrestled with sticking points including questions about Tehran's past atomic research.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: In Vienna, negotiators are racing to meet a July 7th deadline for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Late last night, Iran’s foreign minister announced that Tehran was ready to strike a deal and that negotiators had, quote, “never been closer to a lasting outcome.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agrees they’re making progress but says there’s still a lot of work to be done.

    Diplomats from the U.S., U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany want Iran to scale back its nuclear program to make sure it cannot build a nuclear weapon. But Iran wants leaders to lift crippling economic sanctions before it makes any changes to its nuclear program, allowing access to U.N. weapons inspectors has also become a major sticking point.

    Bloomberg News reporter Indira Lakshmanan has been covering the story, and she joins me now from Vienna.

    Indira, they say close is only good enough in horseshoes and hand grenades. So, how close are we to reaching a deal here?

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN, BLOOMBERG NEWS REPORTER: Well, yes, that’s exactly right. I mean, you can be close but no cigar, as the old say can goes. And the American delegation has been clear in telling us that while they are closer than they ever have been before, that this still could go up in flames if some very important political decisions are not taken. Of course, what they mean by that is that the Iranians have to make some decisions about giving access and specifically access for the IAEA, which means the U.N. monitors to inspect and meet with people and scientist look at sites where there are suspicions of past military nuclear work on Iran’s part. So, that’s going to be probably the key thing that needs to be worked out for this deal to come together in the coming days.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, there was some progress on that earlier this week. The IAEA announced that by the end of the year, they would actually have a report on this. I mean, that seemed like a step in the right direction, that Iran could understand that, the U.N. could like it, the U.S. could, too.

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Yes. That actually just happened today, Hari. It was really huge news, and that’s IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano who just came back from Tehran two days ago, and he came before reporters today and said that if Tehran cooperates, that they feel that the U.N. could put together its report, address all of the concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work in the past by the end of the year.

    But the key part that have sentence is, “if Tehran cooperates”. So, what our sources tell us is that that right now, the two sides are working on a list. They’re working on putting together a list based on U.S. intelligence and other western intelligence, Israeli intelligence, figuring out who are the important people and what are the important sites, and trying to make sure that Iran agrees that those sites can be investigated, those people can be interviewed.

    So, with these sort of what is known as the additional protocol-plus, plus more access. So, that’s really what they have to get to the bottom. And we haven’t even mentioned this, but sanctions is the other critical piece. For Iran to give all of this access, they want to get sanctions relief on the other end, and that’s the other sticking point particularly in terms of time schedule, how that’s going to work, that they still need to work out and we’re going to be waiting for foreign ministers to come together tomorrow in the building right behind me, the Coburg Palace, where these negotiations are taking place, to make those final decisions.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, speaking of timing, and this is what makes negotiations sticky, both sides want the other side to do their part first.

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Right. Well, we do understand that in the last few days, there has been this critical agreement that they are — there is going to be simultaneity, that while the United States and E.U. preparing the legal steps, the regulatory steps that they need to take to give sanctions relief — on oil sanctions, banking sanctions, unfreezing assets and the rest — that for its part, Iran will be taking all of the steps that it needs to curb its nuclear program.

    So, the working idea is that on the day that the United Nations verifies yes, Iran has taken those steps, that on the very same day, the sanctions would be lifted.

    So, you know, it’s going to be a complicated thing. I think it’s something we could see perhaps by the end of the year. But Americans have told me they think it’s more likely early next year. This really depends out quickly Iran is willing to take those steps that it needs to do to curb its nuclear activity.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, finally, what are the U.S. sources that you’ve spoken to saying about chances of this getting through Congress?

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Yes, I mean, if it was hard to seal this deal here in Vienna, I think it’s going to be really hard to seal this deal on Capitol Hill, to sell it to all of the congressmen who are predisposed against it. I mean, the fact is, it’s not representative of where the American people are. When you look at the polling, most of the polling is very much in favor of the nuclear deal. But on Capitol Hill, there is lot of suspension about this. Also amongst think tanks and public intellectuals, there are a lot of people who are concerned and think that Iran cannot be trusted in any nuclear deal. And part of that is because Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, has raised a lot of his concerns.

    So, I think we’re going to — if this deal happen, they’re going to have a 30-day period during which Congress can review it and can either say yea or nay, and I think those are going to be 30 incredibly, you know, tendentious days to be watching.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Indira Lakshmanan joining us from Vienna of Bloomberg News — thanks so much.

    INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Thanks.

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    A replica of the Hermione, the 18th century ship that brought French General Lafayette to America, sails the waters off New York on July 4, 2015, leading a flotilla marking the US Independence Day. The faithful reproduction of the majestic French frigate glided past New York's famed Verrazano bridge, State of Liberty and Manhattan skyline, where it was joined by scores of other boats and ships. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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    ADAM HODGES-LECLAIR: The word that Lafayette is bringing with him as that ambassador basically is that an army will be arriving, an expedition of five thousand soldiers and critically a navy as well.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Adam Hodges-LeClair is re-enacting the role of Marquis de Lafayette, the famed Frenchman who lobbied King Louis the sixteenth to support America in the Revolutionary War.

    France provided much needed naval power to help turn the tide in defeating the British- it was the French navy that helped ensure the British surrender at Yorktown.

    ADAM HODGES-LECLAIR: We declared our independence in 1776 but four years later the war was really uncertain, the French had come and supported us and they were giving arms and equipment but naval support was critical.

    So a ship like this arriving with a fleet coming after it carrying Lafayette again symbolically bringing that message of support was a real game changer

    HARI SREENIVASAN: This 21 million dollar ship which set sail from France in April will make a dozen stops along the east coast. At each city, sightseers can see the ship’s 32 cannons, hemp ropes coated in tar and ship’s bell- and interact with a crew dressed in period costumes.

    All to find out what seafaring life in the 18th century was like.

    The Hermione left New York this morning, on its way out, it passed by another French contribution to the U.S. — the Statue of Liberty.

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    U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (C) greets attendees as he arrives to speak at the Tea Party Patriots "Exempt America from Obamacare" rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington in this September 10, 2013 file photo. Cruz's presidential campaign reported on Sunday that he has raised more than $14 million in donations since officially launching his bid just over three months ago. Jonathan Ernst/Files/Reuters

    U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) greets attendees as he arrives to speak at the Tea Party Patriots “Exempt America from Obamacare” rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington in this September 10, 2013 file photo. Cruz’s presidential campaign reported on Sunday that he has raised more than $14 million in donations since officially launching his bid just over three months ago. Jonathan Ernst/Files/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign has raised more than $14 million since the Texas senator launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination just over three months ago, his campaign said Sunday.

    The money comes from more than 120,000 donors who made an average contribution of $81.

    Presidential candidates are required to report detailed fundraising figures though the end of June to the Federal Election Commission by mid-July, but Cruz is among a handful of contenders who have announced overall totals ahead of the disclosure date.

    Republican Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and political novice, will report having raised $8.3 million for his presidential candidacy, his campaign said on Wednesday. On the Democratic side, front runner Hillary Rodham Clinton will report having raised $45 million.

    Cruz was the first major Republican to wade into the GOP primary, which will soon have 16 formally declared candidates. After his March 23 announcement at Liberty University in Virginia, his campaign raised just over $4 million in the final week of that month. Since then, he’s collected another $10 million, his campaign said. Cruz also transferred $250,000 from his Senate campaign to his presidential campaign, according to documents filed with the FEC.

    “The grassroots energy and support we are seeing is overwhelming,” Cruz said in a statement.

    Cruz also will benefit from several super PACs that are supporting him and can raise money without contribution limits. Those groups have previously said they have raised $37 million.

    Presidential campaigns must report their fundraising details to federal regulators by July 15. Outside groups such as super PACs have a later deadline.

    This report was written by Julie Bykowicz of the Associated Press.

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    A photo of the Texas capitol building in Austin. The Texas Legislature moved to bring its stockpile of gold back to Texas from a New York bank.  Photo by Flickr user Nicolas Henderson

    A photo of the Texas capitol building in Austin. The Texas Legislature moved to bring its stockpile of gold back to Texas from a New York bank. Photo by Flickr user Nicolas Henderson

    AUSTIN, Texas — Forget Fort Knox or the Federal Reserve. Texas has decided to start keeping its gold holdings within in its own borders. But what makes sense politically in such a sovereignty-loving place is creating a logistical conundrum.

    Texas is the only state that owns an actual stockpile of gold, according to public sector and financial industry experts – not just gold futures or investment positions, but approximately 5,600 gold bars worth around $650 million. The holdings, stored at a New York bank, for some harken back to century-old fears about the security of currency not backed by shiny bullion.

    The Legislature’s decision this summer to bring its gold cache home was hailed by many conservatives, and even some on the far left, who are suspicious of national government.

    “There will always be the exact same amount of gold in there as the amount that was put in,” no matter what happens to the financial system, said Republican state Rep. Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, a former tea party organizer from the Dallas suburbs who authored the gold bill.

    But for the Texas comptroller’s office, which has to implement the policy, the catch is that the new Texas Bullion Depository exists in name but not reality.

    The law doesn’t say where the depository would be or how it should be built or secured. No funding was provided for those purposes or for leasing space elsewhere. Further complicating matters is a provision allowing ordinary people to check their own gold or silver bullion into the facility.

    “We are honestly at the phase where the questions we are answering are creating more questions that we have to answer,” said Chris Bryan, a comptroller’s office spokesman.

    Charged with figuring everything out is a four-member task force within the comptroller’s office, which recently dispatched an official to a precious metals conference to study up.

    One immediate concern is the possible cost. When Fort Knox was completed in 1936 it cost $560,000 – or roughly $9.2 million in today’s dollars. When Capriglione first introduced his bill in 2013 it had an estimated cost of $23 million.

    But Capriglione now thinks private companies would bid to create a depository in exchange for charging storage and service fees.

    The plan has kicked up chatter outside of Texas that it’s a step toward secession, an idea raised now and then on the state’s farthest political fringe.

    “Just moving it would be pretty expensive and, unless Texas is anticipating withdrawing from the union, which I suspect is some peoples’ want, I don’t see what advantage it is…,” said Edwin Truman, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics who has written about gold and monetary policy. “What are you getting for what you’re paying for?”

    But Capriglione says he’s just convinced that gold is safer, especially close at hand.

    After the bill sailed through the Legislature, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed it and tweeted: “California may be the golden state, but Texans deserve to keep their gold in-state!”

    Texas’ state-owned gold is held by the University of Texas Investment Management Company, the nation’s second largest academic endowment behind Harvard. It began gradually amassing gold futures in 2009 as a hedge against currency weakness in the recession. It eventually transitioned to physical bullion, and by 2011 had $1 billion worth.

    The price of gold has since mostly slumped amid a soaring stock market. Today, the fund’s gold bars represent about 2.5 percent of its $25.4 billion in holdings, said Chief Executive Officer Bruce Zimmerman.

    Asked about the new depository, Zimmerman said, “We don’t do politics. We’re just investors.”

    The Fed declined comment on the new Texas depository, as did HSBC bank, which currently stores the gold bars in an underground vault in Manhattan.

    Stacked together, the state’s gold occupies about 20 square feet. It’s unclear whether repatriating it could be done with an electronic transfer or would require a fleet of planes or armored cars.

    One possible effect of the new depository might be more attention to the idea of returning to the gold standard, long a cause of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul. The Federal Reserve was founded more than a century ago so that the value of the U.S. dollar no longer had to be anchored to gold, and Richard Nixon formally scrapped the gold standard in 1971.

    “I think Texas is once again showing they’re ahead of the curve,” said James Rickards, author of the 2014 book “The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System.” `’They’re not waiting for the disaster, but preparing for it.”

    The post Texas struggles with logistics of housing gold stockpile appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HARI SREENIVASAN: This summer, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, Illinois has dug into its collection of 10 thousand items to show off Native American fashion.

    The exhibition, “Native Haute Couture,” displays examples of late 19th and early 20th century garments and accessories from tribes across the United States and Canada, from the Arctic down to Florida. Phil Ponce, from our Chicago PBS affiliate WTTW, reports.

    PHIL PONCE: From elk teeth and porcupine quills, to woven fabric, beads, and animal hide. For centuries, Native American artisans have made exquisite designs from whatever materials were at hand.

    Most items on view are not every day outfits and jewelry, but were made for special occasions and people of honor.

    JANELLE STANLEY: Mostly the leaders within the communities wore the elaborate garments. You might have been a very higher status member but you had a responsibility to provide for the rest of the community too. We were wanting to highlight native fashion in the sense of before contact, making European contact.

    PHIL PONCE: Native Americans also embraced new crafts from Europe, including metalwork and beads which often replaced the quillwork in their earlier designs.  The designs helped identify the wearer.

    JANELLE STANLEY: Whether that was by a bead design utilized for [a] specific tribe or technique — and definitely symbols, could be a spiritual connection, could also represent clans within the family unit.

    KATHLEEN MCDONALD: A lot of the regional differences between the designs and the types of material being used are shown in what people are choosing to put into the more elaborate outfits and regalia. Those materials are important materials to express their culture locally, but they also sometimes incorporate pieces that express their trade capacity. The ability to bring macaw feathers from South America all the way up to the Plains, to me that’s a very impressive feat to do when you don’t have cars or trains for transit.

    PHIL PONCE: The Mitchell Museum also looks at more contemporary Native American creations.

    Whether modern or traditional, Native designers have kept their cultural identity alive within the world of high fashion.

    The post Celebrating the intricate craftsmanship of Native American art appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    "No" supporters celebrate on a street in central in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. Greeks voted overwhelmingly "No" on Sunday in a historic bailout referendum, partial results showed, defying warnings from across Europe that rejecting new austerity terms for fresh financial aid would set their country on a path out of the euro. REUTERS/Marko Djurica - RTX1J4HW

    “No” supporters celebrate on a street in central in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. Photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters

    Greeks have voted overwhelmingly to reject bailout terms offered by Greece’s international creditors.

    Roughly 61 percent of Greeks who went to the polls voted “No,” according to The Guardian. Nearly 90 percent of votes have been reported.

    French and German leaders called for a European Union summit on Tuesday in order to discuss Greece’s financial crisis, the Associated Press reported.

    Opponents of austerity celebrated the result across Greece Sunday night.

    Greeks turned out to vote Sunday in a referendum that could decide Greece’s future in Europe’s common currency.

    The question to be decided was whether the beleaguered Mediterranean nation should accept the terms of a bailout offered by creditors.

    Anti-austerity 'No' voters celebrate in front of the Greek parliament in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. Greeks voted overwhelmingly "No" on Sunday in a historic bailout referendum, partial results showed, defying warnings from across Europe that rejecting new austerity terms for fresh financial aid would set their country on a path out of the euro.   REUTERS/Marko Djurica  - RTX1J4CI

    Anti-austerity ‘No’ voters celebrate in front of the Greek parliament in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. Photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters

    At the heart of the crisis is a struggle between Greece and its creditors over the country’s massive debts. Greece’s cash-strapped government needs support from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

    But as a condition of a bailout agreement, creditors demand that Greece institute deep budget cuts and structural reforms to put its economy on a tenable long-term course. Such measures are unpopular with Greeks, who have endured years of austerity and are desperate for an end to high unemployment and deep entitlement cuts.

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras licks his ballot envelope before voting at a polling station in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted on Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras licks his ballot envelope before voting at a polling station in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

    A “Yes” vote — an acceptance of bailouts terms — might bring down the government of anti-austerity Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, while a vote to reject bailout terms could lead to Greece’s ejection from Europe’s single currency, an unprecedented move that could endanger Greece’s political and economic stability.

    Since Tsipras rejected the bailout offer eight days ago and put the matter to a referendum, Greece has seen bank shutdowns and runs on ATMs, among other symptoms of financial peril.

    Referendum campaign posters that read "No" in Greek are seen as people line up at an ATM outside a National Bank branch during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain.   Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters  - RTX1J2LU

    Referendum campaign posters that read “No” in Greek are seen as people line up at an ATM outside a National Bank branch during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

    A Greek Orthodox priest exits a voting booth holding a ballot at a polling station in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted on Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

    A Greek Orthodox priest exits a voting booth holding a ballot at a polling station in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

    NO stickers are placed on a billboard depicting Greek singer and YES supporter Sakis Rouvas in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted on Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

    NO stickers are placed on a billboard depicting Greek singer and YES supporter Sakis Rouvas in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

    A voting official prepares documents before opening a polling station during a referendum in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain.    Photo by Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

    A voting official prepares documents before opening a polling station during a referendum in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is surrounded by media as he leaves a polling station during a referendum in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain.   Photo by Dimitris Michalakis/Reuters

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is surrounded by media as he leaves a polling station during a referendum in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Dimitris Michalakis/Reuters

    A man raises his arms as he leaves a polling booth during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain.    Photo by Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

    A man raises his arms as he leaves a polling booth during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, on July 5, 2015. Greece voted Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the eurozone after seven years of economic pain. Photo by Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

    The post ‘No’ supporters celebrate as Greek voters reject bailout appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    STEPHEN FEE: Every afternoon, at his dining room table, 36-year-old Ronald Lewis does his homework.

    By day, he’s a student — learning to fix heating and air conditioning systems, and he looks after his three kids. He also works the night shift, running high pressure boilers at a chemical plant here in his hometown, Philadelphia.

    RONALD LEWIS: I’m a father. I’m a hard worker. I’m very ambitious.

    STEPHEN FEE: He’s also got a criminal record.

    A decade ago, Lewis had two major run-ins with the law that he says have interfered with his job prospects ever since.

    In August 2004, he was picked up during a drug arrest alongside his brother. Lewis was carrying a 9 millimeter handgun. Days later he was nabbed for stealing a pocketbook from a department store.

    STEPHEN FEE: So what was that like — and what happened at that stage after they arrested you?

    RONALD LEWIS: It was life changing. But it wasn’t a good feeling. It wasn’t a good feeling, because you felt like you disappointed your family, and you disappointed your mother, which is the most important person in my life.

    STEPHEN FEE: On the suggestion of his lawyer, Lewis took a deal. For both cases, he pled guilty to a total of three misdemeanors and was sentenced to five years’ probation. No jail time.

    STEPHEN FEE: At that time, were you worried at all about how this might impact your future?

    RONALD LEWIS: No. Because the lawyer had told me, ‘It’s only a misdemeanor. It’s never gonna hurt you. Don’t even worry about it.’ So no, I really didn’t think that much into it at that point.

    STEPHEN FEE: A short time later, Lewis began looking for new work. He was overjoyed when he got a tentative job offer from a building company.

    RONALD LEWIS: I worked there for about a month, was honest with them.
    Told them, you know, what was on my record. They still hired me. We’re workin’. So I work there about a month. They called me in the office and said, ‘Your record came back. We gotta let you go.’

    STEPHEN FEE: And that was it? Even though you had disclosed everything? You were never dishonest in the hiring process?

    RONALD LEWIS: Never dishonest. Never. They looked so scared of me — it was a shame.

    STEPHEN FEE: What do you mean?

    RONALD LEWIS: When they — we gotta get you out of here. We’ve gotta get you off the premises.

    STEPHEN FEE: Lewis says that scenario played out over and over again — later on, he had two offers that were then revoked. He had promising phone calls with another company that went nowhere. He says the only explanation he received: the existence of crimes in his past. Four of those companies declined to discuss Lewis’ case with us.

    STEPHEN FEE: There are people who are going to watch this, and they’re going to say, ‘You know what? You weren’t a kid. You were 25. You were an adult. You knew what you were doing. And that this is a consequence — this is a consequence of your actions.’

    RONALD LEWIS: If you show me one person that hasn’t made a mistake, then I won’t apply nowhere else.

    STEPHEN FEE: Nine in ten companies in the US conduct background checks, and with rap sheets widely available online, advocates say people with criminal backgrounds — sometimes just an arrest record, no conviction — are being blocked from employment. They say it’s driving a growing number of people into poverty. And that Ronald Lewis’ case is hardly unique.

    SHARON DIETRICH, COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES OF PHILADELPHIA: It’s very common. We see clients come in with variations of his story on a daily basis.

    STEPHEN FEE: Sharon Dietrich is now Ronald Lewis’ lawyer — she didn’t represent him in the original criminal cases. She’s also the litigation director at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.
    She’s been there for nearly thirty years.

    SHARON DIETRICH, COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES OF PHILADELPHIA: We serve the low-income community of Philadelphia, basically unemployed and low-wage workers in Philadelphia. And it’s the single most common reason people come to us for help is because they have a criminal record that has been keeping them from getting a job.

    STEPHEN FEE: Last year, the Wall Street Journal, using data from the University of South Carolina, reported that Americans with a criminal conviction by age 23 have higher unemployment rates, make less money, and are twice as likely to end up in poverty as their peers.

    REBECCA VALLAS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: The reality is that with the rise of technology and really with the proliferation of background checks in this nation in really every walk of life from employment to housing, a criminal record now carries often lifelong barriers to basic building blocks of economic security.

    STEPHEN FEE: Rebecca Vallas is a lawyer and poverty expert at the left-leaning Center for American Progress in Washington. She and Sharon Dietrich, Ronald Lewis’ lawyer, published a report last year linking poverty and criminal backgrounds, especially among black men.

    REBECCA VALLAS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: And so it’s really an incredibly pervasive problem that impacts whole segments of our community. But it — this issue also really disproportionately impacts communities of color.

    STEPHEN FEE: Employers say they aren’t just shutting out everyone with a criminal past — they’re being careful and complying with guidelines from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission meant to give people second chances.

    That’s according to Beth Milito at the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents 350-thousand small businesses.

    A cynical part of me says, ‘Hey, if I sat down and, boy, it looks like someone’s got a criminal record and then I’ve got another candidate who doesn’t, I’m gonna go with the guy who doesn’t have the criminal record,’ right?

    BETH MILITO, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES: Maybe, maybe not. I think it depends on the nature of the job. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance in April of 2012. And it reiterates that where at all possible it’s good for a business to consider three factors– the nature of the crime, the time that’s elapsed since the crime and the nature of the job. And when at all possible to make an individualized assessment. And I think many employers will do that.

    STEPHEN FEE: A hundred cities — including Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Charlotte, and Orlando — along with 18 states now prohibit employers from asking job applicants to check a box admitting if they have a criminal record. Eleven state bans apply only to government agencies. Seven states also prohibit private employers from asking about convictions.

    But Vallas and Dietrich’s report for the Center for American Progress wants to go a step further — and seal low-level, nonviolent criminal offenses that took place more than ten years ago.

    According to Rebecca Vallas, the data show that after a decade, nonviolent offenders are no more likely to commit a crime than anyone else — so their records shouldn’t be part of the hiring process at all.

    REBECCA VALLAS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: We really have policies in place that treat a person as a criminal long– after they really pose any significant risk of ever re-offending. And it really doesn’t make much sense to be shutting someone out of opportunities to access — a job for instance — because of misconceptions about who that person might be and the risk that they might pose to public safety.

    STEPHEN FEE: But Beth Milito at the National Federation of Independent Businesses says employers face major risks, and even potential negligent hiring lawsuits, if a past offender commits a crime on the job. And for small business owners especially, their reputations could be on the line.

    BETH MILITO, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES: Hiring decisions are challenging. And they need this information. They can’t turn a blind eye. Too much is at risk. They can’t turn a blind eye to criminal history. It’d be foolish to. You know, there’s people, property at stake.

    STEPHEN FEE: Someone might be watching this and they say, ‘You know what? I wouldn’t trust you at my business.’ How do you defend yourself to that charge?”

    RONALD LEWIS: What I say to them is it was 2004, and I’m pretty sure if you made a mistake in 2004, you don’t know what your mistake was.
    But mine is documented. So you know what my mistake is. And look at the positive things I’ve done since 2004. So if you’re gonna hang your hat on just 2004, then you probably aren’t the person I wanna work for anyway.

    STEPHEN FEE: Do you think an employer doesn’t have the right to know what happened in your past?

    RONALD LEWIS: Employers should know — should know who they’re hiring.
    It’s fair. You– you should know. But you should also remember that these are lives we’re — these are people’s lives we’re talking about.
    It’s like if almost double jeopardy. Just look at it like this.

    I serve my — I did my probation. No violations. Model citizen. I go to school and try to better myself, and I’m — it’s like every time I apply for a job, I feel like I’m committing a crime all over again.

    STEPHEN FEE: This spring, Lewis finished his training course and is now looking for work. He’s submitted two pardon applications to Pennsylvania to clear his record — and while both have been rejected, he plans on re-submitting them in the near future.

    The post How even misdemeanor violations can have lasting consequences on job prospects appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    University of Missouri students guide a quad-copter drone off the ground at Columbia's Hinkson Field on June 40, 2014. Today the FAA released proposed rules regarding the regulation of commercial drones. Photo by David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images.

    University of Missouri students guide a quad-copter drone off the ground at Columbia’s Hinkson Field on June 40, 2014. Photo by David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images.

    CORDOVA, Md. — Mike Geske wants a drone.

    Watching a flying demonstration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Missouri farmer envisions using an unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor the irrigation pipes on his farm – a job he now pays three men to do.

    “The savings on labor and fuel would just be phenomenal,” Geske says, watching as a small white drone hovers over a nearby corn field and transmits detailed pictures of the growing stalks to an iPad.

    Nearby, farmer Chip Bowling tries his hand at flying one of the drones. Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, says he would like to buy one for his Maryland farm to help him scout out which individual fields need extra spraying.

    Another farmer, Bobby Hutchison, says he is hoping the man he hires weekly to walk his fields and observe his crops gets a drone, to make the process more efficient and accurate.

    “I see it very similar to how I saw the computer when it first started,” says Hutchison, 64. “It was a no-brainer.”

    Farmers are eager for the technology.

    The small, relatively inexpensive vehicles could replace humans in a variety of ways around large farms: transmitting detailed information about crops to combines and sprayers, directing them very precisely to problem spots and cutting down on the amount of water and chemicals that a farmer needs to use in those areas.

    The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group, says agriculture could account for 80 percent of all commercial drone use.

    Agricultural use of drones is about to take off after being grounded for years by the lack of federal guidelines. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved more than 50 exemptions for farm-related operations since January.

    Companies with those exemptions say business has grown, helped by quick advances in the technology.

    Bret Chilcott of Kansas-based AgEagle, which sells unmanned aerial vehicles and the software to help operate them, says his company took its first orders last year. Now it has a backlog of several hundred orders. He says the technology has transformed the market during that short period.

    “Last year users had to land their aircraft and then take the data to the computer,” he says. “Now the data appears on your iPad or hand-held device a few minutes after flight.”

    That data could be pictures, 3-D images of plants, thermal readings of crops or animals or other observations that a drone could make while in the air. Information that in the past took days to collect – or could not have been collected at all – can be gathered now in minutes or hours and, in some cases, integrated with separate data collected from other high-tech farm machinery.

    Chilcott is optimistic that the technology to scout out problem spots so precisely will be transformative because farmers can limit spraying just to those places.

    “In five years we won’t have to blanket a field with chemicals,” he says.

    Still, most farmers cannot legally fly the vehicles yet.

    The FAA is working on rules that would allow the drones to be used regularly for business while maintaining certain safety and privacy standards. An FAA proposal this year would allow flight of the vehicles as long as they weigh less than 55 pounds, stay within the operator’s sight and fly during the daytime, among other restrictions. Operators would have to pass an FAA test of aeronautical knowledge and a Transportation Security Administration background check.

    Thomas Haun of North Carolina-based PrecisionHawk, another company with an exemption, says it is unclear what the business will look like eventually. Farmers may hire services that have unmanned aerial vehicles or every farm may get its own drone. Most likely, it will be a combination.

    Haun says the proposed rules are appropriate. “It’s pretty spot on for where the technology is right now,” he says.

    Some people have concerns about the guidelines. Pilots of crop dusters and other planes that operate around farms are concerned the rules do not go far enough to ensure safety.

    “We can’t see them,” says Andrew Moore of the National Agricultural Aviation Association. His group advocated for the unmanned vehicles to include tracking systems or lights to help airplanes figure out where they are, but that was not included in the proposal.

    The rules could pose some challenges for the eager farmers, too.

    Geske may not be able to use drones efficiently to monitor all the irrigation pipes on his 2,100 acre Missouri farm if he has to keep them within sight. He’s still interested, though. The men he hires now use a lot of fuel and their trucks tear up his land and roads.

    “You can wait forever on advancing technology,” Geske says.

    The post How drones could replace workers on American farms appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The Spanish Missions, which includes the Alamo, have been awarded world heritage status UNESCO. Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images.

    The Spanish Missions, which includes the Alamo, have been awarded world heritage status UNESCO. Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images.

    Five new sites around the world, including the San Antonio Missions in Texas, were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status on Sunday, officials of the United Nation’s cultural and educational body announced during their annual meeting.

    UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee approved the listing of the five Spanish Roman Catholic structures, which includes the Alamo, that were built in the 18th century in and around what is now San Antonio.

    The UNESCO description calls the missions “an example of the interweaving of Spanish and Coahuiltecan cultures, illustrated by a variety of features, including the decorative elements of churches, which combine Catholic symbols with indigenous designs inspired by nature.”

    The missions were the only site in the U.S. considered for world heritage status during the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany.

    Adding to the 1031 cultural and natural sites already on its list, sites in Norway, Germany, Israel and Scotland were also approved for inscription.

    Inscribed today as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage: Located in a dramatic landscape of mountains, waterfalls and river valleys, the site comprises hydroelectric power plants, transmission lines, factories, transport systems and towns. The complex was established by the Norsk-Hydro Company to manufacture artificial fertilizer from nitrogen in the air. It was built to meet the Western world’s growing demand for agricultural production in the early 20th century. The company towns of Rjukan and Notodden show workers’ accommodation and social institutions linked by rail and ferry to ports where the fertilizer was loaded. The Rjukan-Notodden site manifests an exceptional combination of industrial assets and themes associated to the natural landscape. It stands out as an example of a new global industry in the early 20th century. Http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1486/

    A photo posted by UNESCO (@unesco) on

    Inscribed today as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage: Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus (Germany) — Speicherstadt and the adjacent Kontorhaus district are two densely built urban areas in the centre of the port city of Hamburg. Speicherstadt, originally developed on a group of narrow islands in the Elbe River between 1885 and 1927, was partly rebuilt from 1949 to 1967. It is one of the largest coherent historic ensembles of port warehouses in the world (300,000 m2). It includes 15 very large warehouse blocks as well as six ancillary buildings and a connecting network of short canals. Adjacent to the modernist Chilehaus office building, the Kontorhaus district is an area of over five hectares featuring six very large office complexes built from the 1920s to the 1940s to house port-related businesses. The complex exemplifies the effects of the rapid growth in international trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1467/ © Department for Heritage Preservation Hamburg picture library

    A photo posted by UNESCO (@unesco) on

    Sites must meet 10 criteria to be nominated for world heritage status. The official designation of a site is meant to raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation and conservation. Countries may also received financial assistance for preservation.

    More sites are set to be granted world heritage status during the remainder of UNESCO’s annual meeting, which runs until July 8.

    The post San Antonio Missions among new UNESCO World Heritage Sites appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton walks in the Fourth of July Parade in Gorham, New Hampshire, July 4, 2015. Clinton's campaign has sought out dozens of policy experts to help craft her platform.  Photo by Dominick Reuter/Reuters

    Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton walks in the Fourth of July Parade in Gorham, New Hampshire, July 4, 2015. Photo by Dominick Reuter/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Earlier this year, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign lost count of its experts.

    In the months before she began her second run for the White House, Clinton spent hours quizzing economists, lawyers, educators and activists about everything from executive compensation to the latest research on lead paint.

    By last fall, the number of experts she had interviewed hit two hundred and her team stopped keeping track.

    “It was like I hadn’t left Harvard,” Roland Fryer, an economist at the university, said of his meeting with Clinton to discuss successful charter school practices. “It was like talking to a colleague and debating over a cup of coffee.”

    The Democrat isn’t an incumbent, and even with competition that’s resolute but still far from offering a serious primary challenge, Clinton has a luxury few candidates enjoy: time to hit the books. The results have started to emerge, and Clinton plans to add to them by releasing a new domestic policy proposal nearly every week this summer.

    To be sure, politics are at play as Clinton shapes her agenda. She is sidestepping foreign affairs, which has consumed much of the early debate among Republican White House hopefuls eager to paint the former secretary of state with President Barack Obama’s record on the world stage.

    She is not yet offering specifics on subjects where consensus among Democrats and independent voters will be harder to find: trade, limits on executive pay, regulating the country’s finance industry, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    What Clinton debuts in the coming weeks will form the core platform of her campaign and, should she win the nomination and the presidency, her administration. It’s an agenda Clinton describes as that of a “pragmatic progressive,” centered on families and focused on economic growth, innovation and income inequality.

    Already introduced: proposals for paid family leave, free community college, universal pre-kindergarten, lowering student debt and job retraining. Still to come: ideas about taxes, climate change, education, wages, Wall Street and business regulations, which she’s given the more politically palatable name of “corporate responsibility.”

    “There is genuine curiosity and interest in exploring all of this from Clinton and her team,” said Felicia Wong, head of the liberal Roosevelt Institute, who has urged Clinton to aggressively counter income inequality. “But the details will matter a lot.”

    Most especially to those who wanted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to get into the race and are now packing town halls held by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent running for the Democratic nomination from Clinton’s left.

    Clinton’s challenge is to craft positions that will satisfy that grassroots segment of her party, but won’t also vilify the wealthy – particularly the donors she’ll need to pay for a campaign expected to cost $1 billion.

    So while Clinton consulted progressive champions, including Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz and New School labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci, she’s also talked with Democrats with close ties to Wall Street, such as former Treasury chiefs Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

    It’s a reach-deep approach aimed in part at correcting mistakes made during Clinton’s 2008 campaign, which was criticized by some Democrats for being too insular.

    “In 2008, when we saw each other, she would ask me questions,” said Miami Dade College President Eduardo Patron, an education expert who first met the Clinton in 1980. “This time is more methodical, and that’s very intentional.”

    Aides began pulling together briefing books last year. Her campaign says work by Harvard University sociologist Robert Putnam, the author of a book on childhood poverty and the “opportunity gap,” and Brookings Institution fellow Isabel Sawhill, who studies the decline of marriage and income inequality, particularly influenced Clinton’s early thinking.

    Since then, Clinton’s research has continued in meetings, phone calls and emails with individual and larger groups of unpaid, informal advisers. Some have known the Clintons for decades, while others who are newer to the circle.

    Harvard Professor Raj Chetty, an expert on social mobility, guided Clinton through slides on research into how children in certain areas of the country are more likely than others to get ahead. Heather Boushey, president of the liberal Center for Equitable Growth, provided data on the economic impact of the growing number of female breadwinners.

    Those who have met with Clinton say she often questioned whether their policy ideas can be “scaled up” to a national level and also used the gatherings to run her own ideas past outside experts.

    “It was made clear that we weren’t just going to sit down for an hour,” said Katie Porter, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and expert in consumer bankruptcy. “We were going to think, refine our ideas and have more conversations.”

    The results of the research are evident in the campaign.

    While talking about race relations during a visit to an African-American church in Missouri last month, Clinton detailed the impact of lead paint poisoning on young children. A speech to a Latino organization in Las Vegas earlier this month featured data on how many words children hear by the age of three.

    At stops in New Hampshire, Clinton frequently mentions the average debt burden for students in the state.

    “She can wonk-out for hours,” said Neera Tanden, a former adviser who’s now helping craft campaign policy as president of the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. “She’s one of the few people who talking about policy can get her into the greatest of moods.”

    The post Clinton campaign hits the books to craft policy proposals appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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