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

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    DEGREE OF VALUE_Monitor

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: Will college pay off?

    The question may be on the minds of recent high school graduates and their parents.

    Economics correspondent Paul Solman takes a look. It’s part of our weekly segment Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the NewsHour.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Graduation day for the class of 2015 at Philadelphia Academy, a charter school in Northeast Philly.

    MAN: The greatest senior class in Philadelphia Academy history.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    PAUL SOLMAN: Since history here only goes back 12 years, the greatest might actually be a true superlative, but this is also a fairly typical senior class in America these days with about three out of every four grads attending college in the fall. The national average is 66 percent.

    STUDENT: I’m going to Temple University.

    STUDENT: Delaware University.

    STUDENT: Bloomsburg University.

    STUDENT: Community College Philadelphia

    PAUL SOLMAN: And since everyone knows college is crucial for career success, these kids will prosper, right? After all, it was in the 18th century that Benjamin Franklin, who founded the University of Pennsylvania here in Philadelphia, said, an investment in education gives the best returns.

    PETER CAPPELLI, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania: You can do enormously well going to college in the U.S., the right kids going to the right college. And you can do really poorly as well.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Peter Cappelli, a professor at Penn’s Wharton’s Business School, is the author of “Will College Pay Off?” He says that, from a strictly economic point of view, the answer isn’t always yes.

    PETER CAPPELLI: The average American family now pays seven times as much as the average European family to send their kid to college. Seven times is a lot. You have about a quarter of colleges in the U.S., the degrees from that college earned a negative rate of return. That is, you’re never going to make back the money that you spent going to college in the first place.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, Cappelli answers his own question, will college pay off, with a very big, it depends. First, what college and how much does it cost?

    JAMES SMITH, Student: I’m going college at Penn State University, main campus.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Did James Smith, class salutatorian, consider a pricier private school like Penn, where tuition and fees approach $50,000 a year?

    JAMES SMITH: I would love to attend an Ivy League college, but I rather think financial — the financial situation wasn’t good for us. And so Penn State was the best option for me.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Where in-state tuition is $17,000, but, says Cappelli:

    PETER CAPPELLI: You’re likely to be able to get much better financial aid at elite schools. If you’re making less than $100,000 as a family, you tend not to pay much of anything in tuition costs anyway.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, it’s cheaper than going to a state school?

    PETER CAPPELLI: So, it’s cheaper than going to a state school.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And even private schools less elite than Ivy League Penn offer sweet deals.

    PETER CAPPELLI: One of the things that is new about financial aid is the rise of these merit-based scholarships, which many people my age really didn’t experience. And these are basically schools giving you a discount if they really want you to come.

    PAUL SOLMAN: To boost their SAT school average, for example.

    PETER CAPPELLI: Right. And that’s why they do it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: To move up in the various college rankings. By contrast, kids attending cash-strapped state schools have to rely on loans.

    Dave Worrell, heading to the public Kutztown University, is one of triplets.

    DAVE WORRELL: It’s going to be a lot to have to pay back. But it’s worth it, it’s worth it.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Or is it? Especially since federally unsubsidized loans accumulate interest from day one, and odds are that a four-year degree will take longer than four years to finish.

    PETER CAPPELLI: The completion rates at a school like ours here at Penn, in — 98 percent in four years. Across the U.S., the completion rate is only 40 percent in four years and only 60 percent in six years. If you think it may take your kid six years to graduate, that rate of return goes way down.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So price tag and completion rate are factors in whether college will pay off. But so’s the job you get with that college degree, and certainly you have gotten this message by now.

    PETER CAPPELLI: The college grads have half the unemployment of high school grads, that’s true, but it doesn’t mean that those college grads are getting jobs that require college-level skills. You could make more than a high school grad, and still not make enough money to pay off your education, right?

    PAUL SOLMAN: But not all college grads have to settle for high school-level jobs. What about the STEM fields, science, technology, engineering, math?

    PETER CAPPELLI: The job market for science majors has never been particularly good, for math majors, never been all that great either.

    The jobs that paid pretty well were the engineering jobs. But it’s not the same engineering field every year that’s hot.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Take the hottest, highest paying job for the last few years, petroleum engineering. The field had been dead, but with the fracking boom, lots of students poured into the major.

    And now?

    PETER CAPPELLI: Flood of kids are coming out, and oil prices down, and exploration down, and that market is just about to collapse.

    So one of the things about these technical fields is if you hit them right, it’s likely that you will do terrifically well. But if you hit them wrong, you could be waiting tables. And many of these jobs that pay well initially, engineering in particular, and in I.T. especially, don’t seem to last very long.

    In those fields, the employers can come back to campus every couple of years and get new engineering graduates and new I.T. people who have the latest courses and the latest skills, and it makes those jobs a little more disposable.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Finally, says Cappelli, most employers care much less about your degree than your work experience.

    PETER CAPPELLI: Employers don’t seem all that interested in what you actually learned in the classroom. The number one thing they want out of kids who have just graduated from college is work experience.

    TOMMY TURKO: I hope to get into UPenn, University of Pennsylvania.

    PAUL SOLMAN: With a 4.0 GPA, rising junior Tommy Turko has a good shot at getting into Penn, and, as one of nine kids — his sister Angel was graduating this day — he might even score major financial aid. What will he major in?

    STUDENT: Whatever makes me the most money.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But as his friend reminded us:

    JOSEPH FLYNN, Certified Electrician: I am Joseph Flynn, certified electrician.

    PAUL SOLMAN: College isn’t just about career prep, nor is it the only path to economic success.

    JOSEPH FLYNN: College, it wasn’t for me. So I thought 12-month program, being active, working with my hands, and I’m doing pretty good.

    (CROSSTALK)

    TOMMY TURKO: Making money.

    JOSEPH FLYNN: Making good money. So, it worked out. It worked out good.

    PAUL SOLMAN: This is economics correspondent Paul Solman, reporting for the PBS NewsHour from Philadelphia.

    The post Why getting a college degree doesn’t always pay off appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HOUSE RULES  monitor family housing

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    GWEN IFILL: The Obama administration this week announced plans to step up scrutiny under the 1968 Fair Housing Act that the Supreme Court upheld at the end of its term. The new rules require cities and towns to document patterns of racial bias in their neighborhoods, and publicly report the results every three to five years.

    The communities would then set and track goals to reduce segregation. In extreme cases, the Department of Housing and Urban Development could withhold federal funding.

    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro made the announcement in Chicago yesterday, and he joins me now.

    Explain to me, Mr. Secretary, what is the connection between this and the Supreme Court ruling?

    JULIAN CASTRO, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Well, the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the use of disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act was also a very significant development.

    The relationship is that America has always prided itself on being the undisputed land of opportunity, and one of our challenges is, how do we ensure that that remains true in this 21st century?

    With housing, we know that where you live matters, and we want to make sure nobody’s destiny is determined by their zip code, so that people have fair housing opportunity. The disparate impact case was about ensuring that you didn’t absolutely have to show intention. You could just show a disparate impact in order to bring a claim under the Fair Housing Act.

    What we unveiled yesterday was something called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. That’s a rule that basically guides cities as they think about how to ensure that there is good, fair housing opportunities throughout their community. It really is a — this is a collaborative tool that will help communities plan better and connect housing opportunity to things like where a library’s located, where a school is located, where’s the nearest bus stop or train stop, so that folks can access jobs and education.

    GWEN IFILL: So, how do you measure that? How do you decide which cities are — where discrimination — or segregation patterns are caused by discrimination or are the cities or the urban areas where it’s just caused by choice?

    JULIAN CASTRO: Well, one of the things that we do is not just work with cities that have had deep patterns of racial segregation, but we work with all cities that get Community Development Block grant money, for instance.

    So, we’re looking, more than anything else, for cities that are making best efforts to ensure that everybody in their community has a fair shot at opportunity.

    GWEN IFILL: Give me an example of a city and of a fix under these rules that you’re talking about.

    JULIAN CASTRO: Yes.

    Yesterday, we were in Chicago, and I stood with Mayor Emanuel to make this announcement about the Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing rule. And what they did there at a place called Park Boulevard is not just create a housing community that’s going to ensure that more folks have good, decent housing, but connect that to a place for folks to recreate, a recreation center, connect it to transit options so that folks can get to jobs.

    We will know when cities are making progress when they put all those components together, when they put housing together with better educational opportunities, better transit options so people can get to jobs, better infrastructure investment.

    GWEN IFILL: Flip side of this, social engineering, critics say. They say this is another example of executive overreach, that it’s the Obama administration trying to engineer outcome.

    JULIAN CASTRO: It’s without merit.

    The fact is that we’re collaborating with communities. We’re not dictating to communities what they have to do.

    GWEN IFILL: Except that you say you’re going to withhold federal funding. Isn’t that kind of a stick with the carrot?

    JULIAN CASTRO: Enforcement is a last resort.

    The fact is that enforcement has always been one tool, always a last resort. Every single year, we have enforcement situations. We’re approaching this, this rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, in the spirit of collaboration.

    And the fact is that the vast majority of communities out there know that they have challenges with respect to trying to create more opportunity for people of modest means, and they want to do the right thing, and HUD stands ready to help them do the right thing.

    GWEN IFILL: And yet some housing advocates say this is like slow motion change. As you pointed out, the enforcement mechanisms have been in place before.

    And you’re asking for cities, or municipalities or communities to account for their own behavior every three to five years. That’s not immediate.

    JULIAN CASTRO: It’s correct to say that this is not going to be an overnight change.

    However, we really are in it for the long haul, and these communities will now be required to put together a plan on how they’re making efforts to affirmatively furthering fair housing every five years, when they submit what’s known as their consolidated plan.

    We’re confident that, over the long haul, that’s going to mean that more families have good housing opportunities, both because these opportunities invest in older, distressed neighborhoods, and they’re smarter about how they use their housing choice vouchers to help communities — help families that want to move to areas of higher opportunity to be able to do that.

    GWEN IFILL: If a community does this, to demonstrate this, they have to show that, for instance, they have made an investment in an underserved community by doing what, by giving tax breaks to developers? How?

    JULIAN CASTRO: It might be one of several things.

    It might be demonstrating that with respect to housing choice vouchers they’re ensuring that families who have a voucher can move to different parts of the community, that affordable housing is being developed in different parts of the community. It may be showing that their community development block grant, or CDBG money, is going to reinvest, revitalize older distressed parts of the community, that they’re conscious about access to transportation options or libraries.

    So it’s not any one thing. It’s a number of decisions that demonstrate that these cities understand how to expand opportunity for people who are low-income, folks of modest means.

    GWEN IFILL: When it comes to enforcement, how much federal money hangs in the balance?

    JULIAN CASTRO: Well, that depends on the community.

    Different communities receive different amounts of HUD assistance. But, again, this is a last-resort option. There are instances — and we’re not afraid to enforce when we need to, but we want to do every single thing that we can to collaborate with communities, to work with them and follow the lead of local leaders who want to put better policies in place to ensure that people who are low-income in this 21st century can make it if they’re willing to work hard.

    GWEN IFILL: Housing Secretary Julian Castro, thank you very much.

    JULIAN CASTRO: Thank you.

    The post New rules require cities to fight housing segregation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    COMING DOWN  monitor confederate flag sc statehouse reuters

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    GWEN IFILL: Now, after decades of debate that ended in an emotional late-night session in South Carolina’s state capitol, the Confederate Battle Flag controversy is reaching its end in Columbia, if not in the rest of the nation.

    Correspondent William Brangham has our report.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It was a moment that many, on both sides of the issue, thought would never come: the governor of South Carolina signing a bill to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the state capitol grounds.

    GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), South Carolina: We are a state that believes in tradition. We’re a state that believes in history. We’re a state that believes in respect. So we will bring it down with dignity, and we will make sure that it is put in its rightful place.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Governor Nikki Haley’s actions mean the flag will be lowered tomorrow and taken to a museum for display. All this follows 13 hours of debate in the state House that went into the early hours of this morning. Lawmakers from both sides gave impassioned pleas, many of them, like Representative Jenny Anderson Horne, in favor of bringing down the flag.

    JENNY HORNE (R), South Carolina State Representative: I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful, such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Others, including Representative Eric Bedingfield, objected to its removal.

    ERIC BEDINGFIELD (R), South Carolina State Representative: I understand that there are differing views on what a symbol represents. It grieves me too that some people see that in a hurtful and dishonorable fashion.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ultimately, the measure passed overwhelmingly, just as it had in the state Senate.

    MAN: The polls will close,. The clerk will tabulate. By a vote of 94-20, Senate Bill 897 receives third reading.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That flag was first raised over South Carolina’s capitol dome in 1961, marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. It stayed as a protest against the burgeoning civil rights movement.

    In 2000, state lawmakers moved it to its current spot on the capitol grounds, and the debate simmered on. Then came the massacre at the Charleston church last month. Nine people, including state Senator Clementa Pinckney, were gunned down.

    The accused shooter, Dylann Roof, had regularly posed with Confederate Flags, and police said he told them he hoped to trigger a race war. Within days, Governor Haley called for taking the flag off the state House grounds, and longstanding opposition crumbled.

    The events in South Carolina echoed today in Washington, in Senate Chaplain Barry Black’s morning prayer.

    REAR ADM. BARRY BLACK (RET.), Senate Chaplain: We praise you for the courage of the South Carolina legislature.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But, in the House, Republicans offered an amendment to a funding bill that would’ve allowed the flag to be flown at cemeteries operated by the National Park Service. That move triggered a fierce debate, with a wave of Democrats blasting the idea, like New York’s Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

    REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), New York: What exactly is the tradition of the Confederate Battle Flag that we’re supporting? Is it slavery, rape, kidnap, treason, genocide, or all of the above?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But Steve King, Republican of Iowa, stood to argue that this was an issue of free speech.

    REP. STEVE KING (R), Iowa: We can accept our history, we can be proud of our history, we can unify our country, we can grieve for those who were murdered, and we can preserve our First Amendment rights.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ultimately, House leaders pulled the bill from the floor, with House Speaker John Boehner urging calm.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, Speaker of the House: I actually think it’s time for some adults here in the Congress to actually sit down and have a conversation about how to address this issue. I do not want this to become some political football. It shouldn’t.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered legislation to remove all state flags containing any portion of the Confederate Battle Flag from the House side of the Capitol. Republicans blocked a vote on that measure, and sent it off to committee.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m William Brangham in Washington.

    The post Decades of debate end with S.C. vote to remove Confederate flag appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the big personnel cuts announced today by the U.S. Army.

    It’s the latest in a series of downsizing moves as the Army winds down from two wars, and faces up to budget cuts. Army Brigadier General Randy George today formally announced a reduction of 40,000 soldiers.

    BRIG. GEN. RANDY GEORGE, U.S. Army: The decision to make these reductions wasn’t easy and will affect almost every Army installation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Army’s active-duty troop levels peaked during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As recently as 2012, the service had 570,000 soldiers. The number has since fallen to 490,000, and by 2017, the new cuts will bring the force down to 450,000.

    In addition, 17,000 civilian positions are being eliminated. General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, says he can accept this new level. But another 30,000 troops may be cut if additional budget reductions go forward this fall.

    At a Senate hearing today, Arizona Republican John McCain warned the budget process known as sequestration is driving the Army to ruin.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN Chair, Committee on Armed Services: Unless we change course, eliminate sequestration, and return to strategy-driven defense budgets, I fear our military will confront depleted readiness, chronic modernization problems, and deteriorating morale.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, earlier this week blamed Congress for not allowing changes that would have reduced the need for cuts. The Marine commandant, General Joseph Dunford, nominated to replace him, today had his own dire prediction.

    GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps: Quite honestly, the readiness of the joint force and modernization of the joint force will suffer what I would describe, and without exaggeration, as catastrophic, catastrophic consequences.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A number of congressional delegations are expected to oppose the cuts announced today. But more liberal lawmakers have long favored paring the military in favor of domestic priorities.

    We take a closer look at these cuts with Nancy Youssef. She’s the senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast.

    Nancy, good to have you with us again.

    Why is the Army making these cuts?

    NANCY YOUSSEF, The Daily Beast: Well, the reason they give is budgetary pressures, because I know the budget proposed by Congress, the U.S. Army must come down from 490,000 to 475,000.

    What the Army did was take an additional step further, going with the president’s budget and say that they will cut it to 450,000 the following year. And so their argument is that it’s budgetary.

    But, frankly, one of the other arguments that they’re making is by presenting these numbers now and what it would look like, they’re trying to raise awareness in the communities in which these bases are sitting that these are the kinds of cuts that could be coming their way.

    And so part of it is budgetary and part of it is to sort of raise awareness to the threat to the U.S. Army if sequestration and other budgetary pressures keep sitting on top of the Army, if you will.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re saying these may not all materialize?

    NANCY YOUSSEF: Well, the 475,000 will materialize because that’s both in the congressional and president’s proposed budget. The 450,000 number that is being proposed the following year, that is not set in stone. That is a much more speculative figure, if you will.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So where would these both uniformed and civilian cuts come from? What skills? What kind of people are we talking about?

    NANCY YOUSSEF: Well, the biggest bases that will be affected are Fort Hood, Joint Base Richardson.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Fort Hood is in Texas.

    NANCY YOUSSEF: That’s right, Joint Base Richardson, in Alaska, Schofield Barracks, in Hawaii, and so those areas are infantry and brigade combat teams.

    And so that’s where about 10,000 of those cuts will come, just from those bases alone, and in addition to Fort Benning, and then another 17,000 civilians, which will go across the force. Headquarter brigades, 25 percent of those will be cut. The Army today also talked about cutting military police and other support personnel.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Fort Benning being in Georgia.

    NANCY YOUSSEF: In Georgia.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How does this affect the Army’s ability, the military’s ability to protect U.S. interests? We’re heard what General Dunford just said, nominated to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs. What are the brass saying about how this affects their ability to do their job?

    NANCY YOUSSEF: The Army says that if it goes below 450,000, that it puts the U.S. at significant risk.

    The problem is that they don’t spell out how that risk is different if the U.S. Army is at 490,000 vs. 450,000 vs. 420,000.

    And so that’s the challenge that they face. Now, that said, the numbers that are being put forth are the lowest figures that the Army has ever been at since 1940. On 9/11, for example, the U.S. had an end strength of 480,000 troops. And so these proposed numbers will put it well below those figures.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But you’re saying they’re not spelling out exactly what it could mean. You’re asking these questions, I’m assuming.

    NANCY YOUSSEF: That’s right, because they have to answer what is the threat level if there’s 450,000 troops vs. 475,000 troops?

    And that’s a hard thing to answer, isn’t it, because they’re trying to prepare for several contingencies, as General Dunford spelled out today, threats from Russia, North Korea, China, the Islamic State. So how do you put in quantitative terms a very subjective list of threats, if you will?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Are they saying they are eventually going to answer that question or they don’t think it can be answered?

    NANCY YOUSSEF: They will say it in very general terms because that’s all they can say, that the U.S. faces these kinds of threats, that when you have a lower force structure, that just puts the U.S. at risk because there are fewer people who are prepared should the United States face particularly an imminent threat.

    Realistically, they will probably depend more on the National Guard and Reserve to come up, so that the sort of Army that sits now is prepared for imminent threats, and should there be a long-term threat, the plan, from what we can tell, is to depend more on Guard and Reserve units to come in from after 90 days or 120 days of threat.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: As you just referenced and we heard from Senator John McCain, so much of this, what’s coming in the feature, depends on the so-called sequestration, these across-the-board cuts that happen if Congress and the White House can’t agree on the budget. Where does that stand right now?

    NANCY YOUSSEF: Well, right now, what we’re waiting for is to hear of the sequestration that would happen after these proposed cuts.

    That means right now the proposal is to put the Army at an end strength of 450,000. Should sequestration go through after 2017, 2018, then the proposal is to cut an additional 30,000 troops.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Below the 450,000?

    NANCY YOUSSEF: That’s exactly right, at 420,000, which would be remarkably low relative to previous end strength levels for the U.S. Army.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And hence we heard Senator McCain talking about depleted readiness, deteriorating morale and so on.

    NANCY YOUSSEF: Right.

    And that Army talks about that too, because you have an entire U.S. Army now that is on pins and needles. Will I be cut from my job? Will I be forced out of my job? Will I be forced to move to another unit? There is a certain level of anxiety that comes with a constant threat of budgetary cuts.

    And this is something that the Army has been struggling with for several years now.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, as you say, all this — this announcement puts everyone on notice.

    NANCY YOUSSEF: That’s right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Nancy Youssef, we thank you.

    NANCY YOUSSEF: Thank you.

    The post How do Army troop cuts affect our military effectiveness? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    HACKED office of  personnel management monitor

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    GWEN IFILL: More than 21 million Americans had personal information stolen from government files in a data breach that was six times as large as originally disclosed. The information was hacked from the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, which said today it is highly likely that anyone who went through background checks to apply for a government position since 2000 was affected.

    Joining us to fill in the blanks is Josh Lederman of the Associated Press, who has been covering the story.

    In terms of scope, we know this is huge, but how is it different from the earlier hacks we have heard about, Josh?

    JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press: Well, what we’re finding out now, Gwen, is not only were many more Americans affected than we previously knew, but just what kinds of data.

    We’re talking about very personal data that most people would be very uncomfortable knowing is out there. We’re talking about health histories, their criminal histories, their educational and residency backgrounds, as well as interviews that they conducted with members of OPM, Office of Personnel Management, or other people conducting background checks in the process of applications to get a security clearance.

    GWEN IFILL: Information, all of the kinds of information that we’re warned to protect with our lives, Social Security numbers, biometric fingerprints.

    JOSH LEDERMAN: That’s right, as well as user names and passwords that a lot of these applicants used as they were trying to get their applications.

    GWEN IFILL: How was this discovered?

    JOSH LEDERMAN: Well, it was discovered by a system that the government had put in place to try and detect breaches just like this one. Unfortunately, that system wasn’t the most modern system and it didn’t detect it until it was quite a bit too late. As the government started looking into it, they realized that the initial breach that they detected was actually much broader and affected many more people than they initially thought.

    GWEN IFILL: At the time, I remember there being speculation about who was behind the breech, who actually was — who the hackers were. Do we have any more indication of who that might have been?

    JOSH LEDERMAN: No new indication from the government.

    Now, many members of Congress, including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and others, have said this was China. There have even been federal agencies that have said, without putting their own names on it, we’re pretty sure this is China.

    However, the White House, the Office of Personal Management today declining to name who was responsible for this, only to say that they believe that these two breaches that we know about were by the same person and that they’re working behind the scenes to do what needs to be done in response to those breaches.

    GWEN IFILL: Now, as you said, the government had put in place a system to try to detect these breaches. How do they — does this system help them figure out a way to prevent them from happening again?

    JOSH LEDERMAN: The problem here I think is that we’re in a bit of race with the hackers.

    So as soon as the government comes up with a new system to detect intrusions, hackers find an even smarter, more complex way around it. The government says that they’re in the process of putting in place government-wide the latest system to detect these intrusions and prevent them from happening.

    But the government is also acknowledging that it’s only a matter of time before the hackers get even better at their game.

    GWEN IFILL: Feels like it’s every other week that we talk about some sort of hacking incident, whether it’s a retail establishment or a bank or a newspaper or in this case the federal government.

    Are these all of a piece? Are they very similar, one after the other?

    JOSH LEDERMAN: There are basic differences between them, but the thing that’s constant is the fact that there is this threat that government and private security officials, cyber-security officials say is going to grow as we head into the future.

    GWEN IFILL: We know that a lot of Republicans, especially leaders, have called for administrator Katherine Archuleta’s resignation. Is her job in danger as a result of this latest disclosure?

    JOSH LEDERMAN: I believe that it is.

    We have to acknowledge she said in a conference call today with reporters she’s not stepping down, she plans to continue doing the work that she’s doing. And she’s confident that her office is doing everything that they need to do.

    However, just in the past few hours, Gwen, we have seen very prominent members of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, Senator John McCain just a few minutes ago, coming out and saying they’re not at all confident in the leadership of the Office of Personnel Management and they think it’s time for a change.

    GWEN IFILL: And that’s how it begins.

    Josh Lederman of the Associated Press, thank you very much.

    JOSH LEDERMAN: Thank you, Gwen.

    The post OPM hack affecting more than 21 million includes sensitive data appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    GWEN IFILL: The latest deadline in the Iran nuclear talks approached today, amid signs of discord. Iran’s state TV said negotiations are deadlocked because the U.S. won’t respect Iranian rights, especially on lifting sanctions.

    Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry talked of real progress, even as he warned the Vienna talks are not open-ended.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever. We also recognize that we shouldn’t get up and leave simply because the clock strikes midnight. And I emphasize, given that the work here is incredibly technical and that the stakes are very, very high, we will not rush and we will not be rushed.

    GWEN IFILL: Tomorrow’s deadline falls on day 14 of the current talks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: World financial markets settled some today after Chinese stocks, with government help, made a comeback, gaining 6 percent in value. That performance initially helped Wall Street rebound, but it gave up most of the gains by day’s end. In the end, the Dow Jones industrial average added 33 points to close near 17550. The Nasdaq rose 12 points, and the S&P 500 was up four.

    GWEN IFILL: The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its forecast for global growth, to 3.3 percent this year. That’s the lowest since 2009. The IMF today blamed economic weakness in the U.S. earlier this year, brought on by winter weather, and disruptions at West Coast ports.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Greece sent a new package of financial reforms to European creditors today, just ahead of a deadline. The proposals are designed to win promises of a new bailout at a last-ditch summit of European leaders on Sunday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel summed up the situation today on a trip to Bosnia.

    CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, Germany: With regard to Sunday evening, it is completely impossible for me to speculate. It will be a decisive meeting, an important one. We must not forget that the Greek people are suffering at the moment. The banks are closed and, as politicians, we all have the duty to make decisions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Greeks especially want debt restructuring, and Germany’s finance minister conceded today that some restructuring may be necessary.

    GWEN IFILL: The wave of refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria now tops four million. United Nations officials reported the new number today. It’s the largest flow of refugees in nearly 25 years. Another 7.5 million people have been forced from their homes, but are still inside Syria.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Bosnia, thousands turned out today to honor newly identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre. Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serbs in 1995. Crowds of mourners gathered today as a large truck arrived with 136 coffins. They’re to be buried on Saturday. That’s the 20th anniversary of Europe’s worst mass killing since World War II.

    GWEN IFILL: The man tapped to be the top American military officer today branded Russia the greatest threat to U.S. security. Marine Commandant Joseph Dunford testified at a Senate hearing on his nomination to chair the Joint Chiefs.

    GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps: In Russia, we have a nuclear power. We have one that not only has the capability to violate the sovereignty of our allies and to do things that are inconsistent with our national interests, but they’re in the process of doing so.

    So, if you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I would have to point to Russia, and if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.

    GWEN IFILL: Dunford also said he believes it would be reasonable to supply lethal arms to Ukraine to battle Russian-backed rebels.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And a planning commission in Washington approved a revised design today for an Eisenhower memorial on the National Mall. It includes columns and a steel mesh tapestry showing the Kansas plains where the future allied commander and president grew up. The Eisenhower family has objected to the design, and Congress has so far balked at paying for the project.

    The post News Wrap: As deadline looms, Kerry says Iran nuclear talks not ‘open-ended’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Confederate battle flags stand next to graves of soldiers in the Confederate section of Arlington National Cemetery. Today, a handful of Southern states  mark Confederate Memorial Day as a state holiday.  Photo by  Wally Gobetz/Flickr.

    Confederate battle flags stand next to graves of soldiers in the Confederate section of Arlington National Cemetery. Today, a handful of Southern states mark Confederate Memorial Day as a state holiday. Photo by Wally Gobetz/Flickr.

    WASHINGTON — The dispute in Congress over the Confederate flag threatened on Friday to upend House Republican plans to move forward on routine spending legislation, amid concerns that Democrats could hijack the bills to debate the flag.

    House Republican aides said that a bill covering general government operations tentatively set for consideration next week would not be considered, after all. That followed an embarrassing incident on Thursday: Republicans had to pull a different bill when conservative Southern members revolted against a last-minute amendment to block display of the flag at federal cemeteries.

    “It was a fast fuse, and I don’t think very many people realized how it would play out,” Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said Friday of the incident. Now, he said, “there’s a number of options that are being considered” for moving forward.

    Adding to the difficult political optics for Republicans, the dispute on Capitol Hill flared just as South Carolina removed its own Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in the wake of the vicious church shooting in Charleston that has sparked a national debate on the topic.

    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a congratulatory statement to South Carolina officials for removing the flag even as his own leadership team was debating how to deal with the spending bills pending in the House. Passing them to fund annual government operations is Congress’ most basic responsibility, yet any one of them could become a vehicle for Democratic mischief.

    And Democrats made clear they had no plans to let up.

    “Of course House Democrats are not going to let this issue go, because it’s the right thing to do,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., who offered the amendment blocking Confederate flags federal cemeteries that caused this week’s fracas.

    Boehner has announced plans for bipartisan talks to resolve the whole matter, and on Friday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was spotted exiting a private meeting with civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., though neither man would comment.

    But most Democrats say they are not interested in such talks.

    “This not a time to create commissions,” Huffman said. “I think the Republicans should just tear off the Band-Aid here and get on with this. A few of their members are going to vote in support of the Confederate battle flag, I think we all know that now, but the overwhelming majority of the House is going to do the right thing.”

    Unlike other legislation brought to the House floor, spending bills typically are considered under terms of debate that allow lawmakers in both parties to offer amendments, many of which seek to block various government policies by cutting off money to carry them out.

    That’s how Huffman’s Confederate flag amendment was written into the National Park Service funding bill, and any number of amendments addressing the flag issue could be drafted to fit other spending bills, as well, regardless of whether they would have a real-world impact.

    The post House Republicans ax spending bill talks over Confederate flag amendments appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    birth control pills

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    WASHINGTON — Hoping to put to rest one of the most difficult disputes over its health care law, the Obama administration Friday unveiled its latest plan to address religious objections to providing free birth control for their female workers.

    The health care law requires most employers to cover birth control as preventive care, at no cost to women. While houses of worship are exempt, the requirement proved controversial with religious nonprofits and private businesses whose owners have deeply held beliefs.

    Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that some private companies can avoid the requirement on religious grounds.

    The rules issued Friday attempt to provide a template for those companies to opt out. However, their female employees could still get free birth control directly from the employer’s insurance company. Neither the women nor the employer would be charged. The administration says any cost is basically a wash for insurers.

    To qualify for the opt-out, companies cannot be publicly traded on stock markets. Also, more than half the ownership must be in the hands of five or fewer individuals. For purposes of meeting the new rule, a family counts as a single individual.

    The administration’s latest effort also attempts to address the objections of some religious nonprofits to an earlier accommodation. That previous plan called for the nonprofit to notify its insurance administrator of its objections to covering birth control. Some nonprofits said that would essentially involve them in arranging the coverage, albeit indirectly.

    Under the latest proposal, the religious nonprofit can notify the federal Health and Human Services department.

    It’s unclear if the new accommodations will resolve the long running dispute.

    However, most employers appear to have complied and moved on.

    In 2013 — the first year that the contraception requirement was fully effective — the share of privately insured women who got birth control pills without a copayment jumped to 56 percent, from 14 percent the year before. That’s according to research from IMS Health, a company that uses pharmacy records to track prescription drug sales. That share was expected to grow.

    The post Obama administration again tries to address religious objections to free employer-provided birth control appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Beer DNA on Display at Oxbow Brewery — A photograph from Dash Masland's art display "Beer DNA," visualizing the DNA of yeast used to brew beer. Photo by Dash Masland

    Dash Masland has a British fungus hanging on her wall. The fungus, framed in a picture, is beer yeast and the main ingredient in the farmhouse-style beer brewed in her Maine-based microbrewery. It is also her muse.

    The marine scientist-turned brewer is fascinated by the yeast that gives each beer its unique flavor, and she has turned the DNA of that yeast into art. Using samples from 16 breweries, she has created 20 different photographs showcasing distinct strains of beer yeast DNA. Each picture represents a sort of genetic fingerprint of a different yeast strain. The colors used are a stylistic interpretation of that brewery’s culture.

    And each photograph tells a story of its host brewery. Some breweries reuse yeast for decades, while others buy fresh yeast for each batch, Masland said. Older yeast has had more opportunity to mutate compared to a newly-purchased yeast. In the images, mutated DNA appears blurry and smeared, while the younger DNA looks sharp and crisp. Masland’s collection captures these genetic anomalies.

    “You can see a bit of the story of every brewery in the imagery,” she said.

    “I felt humbled,” he said. “It brought home the fact that my yeast is a living culture and that we are harnessing another organism to produce something that is good.”

    Consider the photograph of the beer yeast DNA from Gritty McDuff’s Brew Co., the second craft brewery in Maine since prohibition. Masland’s photo of Gritty’s yeast DNA has a light gold background with a green smear, likely reflecting the brewery’s older, mutated ringwood yeast. Ed Stebbins, who co-founded the brewery in 1988, says the ringwood ale yeast sample in the image has been used in at least 5,000 batches over the course of 28 years.

    He recalls the first time he saw Masland’s photograph of his brewery’s yeast DNA:

    “I felt humbled,” he said. “It brought home the fact that my yeast is a living culture and that we are harnessing another organism to produce something that is good.”

    Stebbins describes the relationship between a brewer and his yeast as “symbiotic – one cannot survive without the other.”

    “Legend has it that our yeast came from Hull and Yorkshire England and was specifically developed by monks in the year 500 AD,” Stebbins said. Most of Gritty’s brewmasters have been there since its founding.

    description

    Gritty McDuff’s Brew Co. — A photograph from Dash Masland’s art collection “Beer DNA,” visualizing the DNA of yeast used to brew beer. This photo shows DNA from Gritty McDuff Brew Co.’s ringwood yeast. Photo by Dash Masland

    Austin Street Brew Co. -- A photograph from Dash Masland's art collection "Beer DNA," visualizing the DNA of yeast used to brew beer. This photo shows DNA from Austin Street Brew Co.'s yeast blend.

    Austin Street Brew Co. — A photograph from Dash Masland’s art collection “Beer DNA,” visualizing the DNA of yeast used to brew beer. This photo shows DNA from Austin Street Brew Co.’s yeast blend. Photo by Dash Masland

     

    On the other side of the spectrum is the younger Austin Street Brewery. The photograph of its yeast DNA contains distinct orange-yellow splashes against a clean white background. The lack of column-like smears indicates a DNA that is young, with little mutation. Jake Austin, founder of the one-year-old old brewery, calls it “fresh and funky.”

    Starting as a garage hobby, Austin’s ambition to go pro was driven by a desire to experiment with emerging yeast strains. Austin buys his yeasts from The Yeast Bay, a San Diego based company developing experimental yeast blends. “We don’t like to latch on to one strain,” Austin said.

    But let’s back up. Understanding Masland’s images requires some understanding of the brewing process.

    A simplified science of brewing beer

    The basic ingredients used to brew beer are water, grain and yeast.

    The fundamental steps of the brew process are always the same – mill, mash, boil, and ferment. Milling refers to the first phase of the process: soaking, grinding and heating the grains. During the second mash phase, starches are converted into sugars by boiling the crushed grains in water. Filter away those grain remnants, and you are left with a sugary liquid called wort. Once the wort is cool, you add the yeast.

    A photo of Dash Masland in her lab - built from used equipment purchased off ebay. Dash's artistic process requires a common biochemistry technique known as polymerase chain reaction.

    A photo of Dash Masland in her lab, built from used equipment purchased off ebay. Photo by Geoff Masland

    Yeast is a living organism no bigger than a red blood cell. It gobbles up sugar in wort and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide — that’s fermentation. There are more than 500 different yeast strains. The two most common for brewing ales and lagers are Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces uvarum, respectively. Brettanomyces is the wild child in the yeast brewing family. Known as “brett,” this species of yeast is more popular among experimental craft brewers. Each yeast converts different sugars at different rates, contributing to the brew’s flavor.

    Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or ale yeast, is generally a top-fermenting yeast, meaning that the cauldron of wort is exposed to open air. A gurgling cloud bubbles up as the sugars are devoured. The open container allows wild yeasts in the air to enter the fermenting wort. Ales are fermented fairly fast at warmer temperatures. The result – flavorful witbiers, Indian pale ales, oatmeal stouts, barley wines and more.

    Saccharomyces uvarum, or lager yeast, is generally a bottom-fermenting yeast, meaning the closed container forms a yeasty mass at the bottom of the wort pot. Lagers stew for longer and at colder temperatures. The results – crisp pilsners, doppelbocks, oktoberfests, and dunkels.

    Brett is often used in conjunction with other yeasts. Bretts can chew on different sugars than the other strains, resulting in more ‘funky,’ ‘barnyard’ or even sour flavors.

    Visualizing the yeast’s genetic code

    It was an unlikely path that brought Masland to the founding of her own Oxbrow brewery. As a young scientist, she focused on grey and Hawaiian monk seals, and studied the animals’ DNA, which she extracted from their tissue and fecal matter. But a diagnosis of Lyme disease crippled her immune system and derailed her scientific career. It was during her eventual recovery that she opened the small business with her husband and a close friend on their rural property in Maine. She found that she loved running a brewery, but missed the science.

    Oxbow Brew Co. — A photograph from Dash Masland's art collection "Beer DNA," visualizing the DNA of yeast used to brew beer. This photo shows DNA from Oxbow Brewery's house Brettanomyces yeast blend. Photo by Dash Masland

    It was through art that she found a way back to the lab bench.

    The first step of Masland’s artwork requires obtaining a genetic barcode for each individual yeast. This allows her to see the DNA segment under ultraviolet light. To do that, she relies on a biochemistry technique called polymerase chain reaction. Remember, DNA is the double helix structure that serves as the genetic blueprint for all of our cells, and it’s made up of a sequence of molecules called nucleotides. Some portions of DNA are more telling than others. For her artwork, Masland focuses on a specific segment of DNA that can vary among yeast strains — she calls it “a yeast barcode.”

    A photo of Dash Masland's lab - built from used equipment purchased off ebay. Dash's artistic process requires a common biochemistry technique known as polymerase chain reaction.  Photo by Dash Masland

    A photo of Dash Masland’s lab – built from used equipment purchased off ebay. Dash’s artistic process requires a common biochemistry technique known as polymerase chain reaction. Photo by Dash Masland

    Imagine a DNA helix as a zipper, with each metal tick serving as a different nucleotide. When you heat up DNA, the helix unravels into two strips — think of the zipper unzipping — exposing each nucleotide. But Masland is only interested in a few of those exposed nucleotides, and she uses something called a primer — an artificial sequence of DNA — to latch onto them. The primer covers only part of the exposed DNA – a partially zipped-up zipper.

    A protein called Taq DNA polymerase cozies up to the primer and begins pulling nearby floating nucleotides and attaching them to complete the zipping of the zipper, creating a complete double strand of DNA. This newly formed double strand of DNA is now tagged with a primer. In other words, we’ve inserted a barcode. Millions of copies are made — enough for the naked eye to see that barcode.

    Visualizing the yeast DNA requires scanning this barcode. The barcode reacts with a gel so that it fluoresces under UV light.

    “Finding an unusual and beautiful way to bring [the science] back into my life has been one of the most fulfilling things for me ever,” Masland said. “It is incredible. It is finally bringing all the components of my life together.”

    The image she created for her own Oxbow brewery features vibrant, playful colors: pinks, purples and blues, and those colors reflect the character of the brewery, she says. It prides itself on being part of the local art community. Walls on the property are designed with graffiti art. Annual festivals on site foster creativity. Fruit from their garden and well water are used in their brewing process.

    The brewery’s motto fits both the culture of the brewery and its rural origins: “Loud beer from a quiet place.”

    Masland’s collection will be featured at the Summer Session Beer Festival in Portland, Maine on July 25th.

    The post There’s a story living in your beer’s DNA appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A feeding tube and other items used in the forced feeding of detainees is seen at the detainee hospital at Guantanamo Bay. Doctors say that the method of rectal feeding and hydrating described in the Senate's report on the CIA's interrogation practices is not practiced in modern medicine. 2013 file photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    A feeding tube and other items used in the forced feeding of detainees is seen at the detainee hospital at Guantanamo Bay. Doctors say that the method of rectal feeding and hydrating described in the Senate’s report on the CIA’s interrogation practices is not practiced in modern medicine. 2013 file photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Months after ordering the public release of more than two dozen videos that show the force-feeding of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, a federal judge on Friday directed the government to move the process forward by getting eight of the recordings ready by next month.

    The judge in October had directed the Justice Department to publicly release videotapes showing the feeding of Syrian hunger-striking prisoner Abu Wa’el Dhiab. But she said at the time that the tapes would remain sealed until some of the information on them — such as voices and faces of prison workers — could be redacted.

    In a five-page order Friday, she told the government to complete by August 31 the redaction of 8 of 32 videos that are being released. She also ordered redactions by September of a separate compilation, a roughly 75-minute video that was prepared by Dhiab’s attorneys.

    Media organizations including The Associated Press had asked the judge to unseal the videos, saying the public has a significant interest in how the government is treating terror suspects held at the detention facility.

    “We want to get all of the tapes, and we want to get all of them as quickly as we can,” David Schulz, a lawyer for the media groups, said at a hearing Thursday.

    Justice Department lawyers have fought those demands, and in December asked a federal appeals court to overturn Kessler’s decision and to extend the delay in releasing the tapes until the appeal is resolved.

    U.S. officials had argued that the release of the videos would inflame anti-American sentiment, but Kessler has appeared skeptical of that argument. She also criticized the government for what she said has been a monthslong delay in complying with her order and for filing an appeal of her decision that she said was as “frivolous” as she had ever seen.

    “The only thing consistent about the government’s position has been its constant plea for more time,” Kessler wrote.

    She added: “In the months since the court ordered redaction and release of the 32 videotapes, the government has made almost no progress in completing its redactions.”

    The post Federal judge says government must release video of a Guantanamo detainee’s force-feeding appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Southern States Flag

    There were a handful of iterations of the Confederate battle flag, but this version is the most widely used today. Photo by Getty Images

    As the Confederate flag was lowered from outside South Carolina’s statehouse Friday morning, a crowd burst out in cheers, song and chants of “USA! USA!”

    The emotional reactions surrounding the flag are a marker of the its often-controversial legacy and its importance as a symbol of the South — one with roots in design, military history and psychology.

    The flag’s design is no coincidence, according to Ted Kaye, a vexillologist with the Portland Flag Association and member of the design committee for the new flag of Fiji. The Confederacy literally wrote the book on flag design, Kaye said.

    In 1861, the National Flag Committee of the Confederate States of America wrote its official guidelines for flag design:

    A flag should be simple, readily made, and capable of being made up in bunting; it should be different from the flag of any other country, place or people; it should be significant; it should be readily distinguishable at a distance; the colors should be well contrasted and durable; and lastly, and not the least important point, it should be effective and handsome.

    “It encapsulates in one splendid sentence nearly all the basic principles of flag design,” Kaye said.

    Battle Re-Enactments

    A re-creation of the first Confederate flag, called the “Stars and Bars,” appears at a battle re-enactment in Los Angeles. Photo by Getty Images

    In 1861, a contest called on designers to create the Confederacy’s national flag. The winning design, dubbed the “Stars and Bars,” had three horizontal stripes, two red and one white, and a blue box containing white stars in the upper lefthand corner. That flag caused confusion on the battlefield for its close resemblance to the Union flag, Kaye said.

    The runner-up in the contest was a square flag known as the Confederacy battle flag, which showed a blue cross and white stars against a red background, and was entirely bordered in white. The Confederacy placed this design in the upper lefthand corner of a white flag and adopted it as the new official flag in 1863; it draped the casket of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson. But it looked too much like a flag of surrender, so the Confederacy added a vertical red bar on the righthand side, adopting a third national flag in 1865.

    Meanwhile, the longest-lasting symbol of the Confederacy originated in the docked ships of a limited Confederate navy, Kaye said. Confederate ships at port frequently hung a naval jack that consisted of the battle flag without the white border.

    Surprisingly, this is the one that stuck, Kaye said.

    “Now it has become the symbol of racism. Since America cannot deal with the underlying sources of continued racism, it has chosen to deal with the symbol.” — scholar David Levi Strauss
    “It’s amusing to flag folks to see people [fly] a rectangular version of the Confederate battle flag without a white outline and say, ‘This is the Confederate flag, I honor my heritage, this is the one that I fly,’ when really, it’s an obscure, second-tier flag associated with the Confederacy,” he said.

    The flag employs many of Kaye’s elements for good flag design: it’s simple, uses 2-3 colors, contains no letter or seals, is meaningful — employing images or colors that relate to what it symbolizes — and is distinctive from other flags.

    Flag design can speak powerfully to a nation’s relationship to another nation, Kaye said. The flag of Liberia, adopted in 1847 after ex-U.S. slaves founded the nation, closely resembles the American flag, showing the link between the two countries. “The connection between the Liberian flag and the U.S. flag is a purposeful one,” he said.

    Flag of Liberia

    By design, the flag of Liberia, which declared independence in 1847, closely resembles elements from the U.S. flag. Photo by Getty Images

    In many ways, the Confederate battle flag parallels the American flag, Kaye said. Both use the same colors and rely on the same geometric elements. The Confederate battle flag contains 13 stars, the same number of stars in the first U.S. national flag.

    This manipulation of the design elements that form the American flag is part of what makes the Confederate flag so powerful, according to Claire Potter, co-director of The Humanities Action Lab at The New School. “It takes all the symbolism of the American national flag and reconfigures it,” she said. “Those who choose to hang the Confederate flag don’t actually have to give up their identity as Americans. They’re reconfiguring their identity as Americans.”

    Modern use of the flag began with a shift in the Democratic Party, when the States’ Rights Democratic Party, commonly called the Dixiecrats, separated from the former in protest of its support for the civil rights movement, Kaye said. It was also used by several hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, forming a close association between the flag and opposition to desegregation, Kaye said. In 1961, South Carolina raised the flag on the grounds of its state Capitol to commemorate 100 years since the beginning of the Civil War.

    The flag has appeared widely throughout popular Southern culture, offending many who say the link between the Confederate flag and a legacy of racial hatred is inextricable. Georgetown University law professor Paul Butler said the flag cannot be dissociated from racism.

    “The only reason that we debate here whether Confederate iconography should be displayed is that racism has warped our sense of reality,” he said. “Some symbols are too strong to extrapolate.”

    In spite of its history, affinity and familiarity cause many people to describe their attachment to the flag in terms of their heritage, Kaye said. “The problem is, when you fly a flag, no one knows which meaning you’re attributing to it,” he said.

    David Levi Strauss, chair of the MFA program in art criticism and writing at the School of Visual Arts, said via email that the flag’s meaning has shifted throughout the years, but the causes of racial strife remain.

    “In the case of the Confederate Flag, it became the symbol of the Old South for many who saluted it ‘with affection, reverence, and undying remembrance,’” he wrote. “Now it has become the symbol of racism. Since America cannot deal with the underlying sources of continued racism, it has chosen to deal with the symbol.”

    The post What the Confederate flag’s design says about its legacy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    We caught up with Aziz Ansari in Washington, D.C. while he was promoting his new book, “Modern Romance: An Investigation.” A native of Columbia, S.C., Ansari shared his take on the Confederate flag, which came down for good on the grounds of the South Carolina state Capitol today.

    Ansari has an idea of how South Carolina could replace the Confederate flag, and it’s pretty unique. We doubt it would pass muster in the state government, but watch and see what you think of his plan.

    The post Aziz Ansari wants to replace the Confederate flag … with this appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Rodrigo Zamora (L) and Ashby Hardesty exit the New York City clerks office after their wedding in Manhattan in New York June 26, 2015. Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Editor’s Note: Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that gay marriage is a constitutional right, gay couples can expect some key changes to their personal finances.

    Before this decision, being gay and living in a state where same-sex marriage was illegal meant not being to able to get an employers’ spousal health insurance, Social Security spousal benefits or tax breaks awarded to married couples. Over a lifetime, that could mean a loss of as much as $500,000.

    Economics correspondent Paul Solman spoke with accountant and lawyer Janis Cowhey, who is also co-leader of Marcum LLP’s Modern Family and LGBT Practice Group, about changes for gay couples in taxes and employment and Social Security benefits.

    Watch last Thursday’s Making Sen$e segment for more on the subject. The following text has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

    Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor

    [Watch Video]

    Janis Cowhey: We have a wedding industry that’s about to boom, because now same-sex couples can get married in all 50 states. So there will be weddings, there will be honeymoons, there will be planning. There’s a whole new wedding industry that will grow around this. It will be a boost for the economy.

    Are you married? Are you getting married? You will need to talk to your accountants about your tax planning and possibly amend past tax returns. You will need to speak to your lawyer about what your estate planning documents look like and what you want them to look like. There’s a lot to think about.

    Paul Solman: What will happen to employer benefits?

    Janis Cowhey: Many companies right now offer domestic partner benefits. Will those continue? I don’t know, but each company will be reviewing their policy. A lot of companies that offered domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples are now taking the position that because you now have the right to get married, you need to get married to get these benefits. Check with your company to understand what they allow. You’ll need to give your company your marriage certificate, so they will give you some of the benefits you’re entitled to — maybe life insurance, dental, or vision.

    Paul Solman: How will taxes change for newly married gay couples?

    Janis Cowhey: From a tax perspective, the main thing same-sex couples will see is a simplification of their tax compliance. No longer will they need to worry about filing differently at the federal level as opposed to the state level, or filing as married at the federal level and single at the state level. Even if you were living in a state — say, New York — that recognized your marriage, you could have had income from one of those 13 states that didn’t recognize your marriage. And it was very inefficient and expensive to do your tax returns. You need to do your due diligence. Look at your W-2’s. For a lot of unmarried couples, if they include their partner on their health insurance, that’s included back on their income. Not every employer has kept up with that. So there are still a lot of people who are paying income taxes on their spouse’s health insurance that shouldn’t be.

    When looking at deductions, you now get to look at the family as a whole as opposed to who paid the real-estate bill or who paid the mortgage interest. You still need to be cognizant of what’s being included as income on your W-2. Is your legally married spouse’s income or your spouse’s health insurance still included in your income? It should no longer be under any circumstances.

    Paul Solman: OK, so how about Social Security? What will happen there?

    Janis Cowhey: Even though the federal government said two years ago in United States v. Windsor that same-sex couples are recognized at the federal level, there were still some agencies — Social Security is one of them — that, administratively, their guidelines could not recognize some same-sex couples. It was based on where you lived. Even if you were legally married, if you did not live in a state that recognized your marriage, you could not apply for Social Security on your spouse’s record.

    Before, we had to plan, and you had to make sure you applied for Social Security while you lived in a state that recognized your marriage. June’s Supreme Court decision will open the door. Every married couple will be entitled to apply for their spouse’s Social Security. If your spouse has passed away and you would bring home more on a monthly basis on their record than on yours, you can now do that.

    Paul Solman: Is there anything else you would advise same-sex couples to do?

    Janis Cowhey: One important thing for same-sex couples is to carry their documents on a flash drive. It’s what I’ve been recommending to my clients for many years whether they’re married or not, because if there’s a situation where someone is hurt or in the hospital, you’re not always recognized as the next of kin. So carry your living will, your healthcare proxy and your power of attorney on a flash drive, and you’ll never have to worry about that.

    The post For gay couples, first comes the wedding and then a chat with your accountant appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    edible altar

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: A new documentary takes an intimate look at the life and death of Amy Winehouse.

    Jeffrey Brown has the story.

    JEFFREY BROWN: July 23, 2011, Amy Winehouse, the British mega pop star, was found dead from alcohol poisoning in her London home. She was 27 years old. Four years earlier, she’d released her multi-platinum album, “Back to Black,” including the hit song “Rehab.”

    Her music was one window into her life. It told of addictions to drugs and alcohol and troubled relationships, much of which played out in public in front of cameras, lots of them. But now the new documentary “Amy” uses cameras in another way, home movies, behind-the-scenes videos, phone footage and more, to build what director Asif Kapadia told me is a more complete portrait of the artist.

    ASIF KAPADIA, Director, “Amy”: And my aim was to try to humanize her, as much as possible.

    She didn’t have a very good rep, particularly here in the U.S. People knew her songs, but the word that comes up the most in interviews is train wreck, which is not a nice way to sum up a young girl.

    So, really, my aim overall for the film was to humanize her, to show you how brilliant she was, and for you to kind of fall in love her. When you fall in love with her, then you feel very different when you see the archive footage of the paparazzi and her being hounded.

    And then the idea was to make people slightly uncomfortable. And a lot of people have said they feel a bit angry by the end, because then you realize there was kind of a very special soul there.

    MAN: How big do you think you are going to be?

    AMY WINEHOUSE, Musician: I don’t. I don’t, because my music is not on that scale. My music is not on that scale. Sometimes, I wish it was. But I don’t think I’m going to be at all fine with — I don’t think I could handle it. I would probably go mad. Do you know what I mean? I would go mad.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Kapadia gained access to footage from Winehouse’s family, friends and record company and made what he calls a mosaic. We rarely see the faces of those talking. What we do see in every possible light is Amy herself.

    AMY WINEHOUSE: I wouldn’t write unless it was directly personal to me, just because I wouldn’t be able to tell the story right.

    ASIF KAPADIA: I find her face and her eyes so expressive. But you just see the way they change gradually over time, her hair, her body shape, all of that.

    For me, this is more cinematic. This is a more of a theatrical experience, where you just spend two hours with the lead person, the lead character who is in front of you, and not so much worrying about who’s talking, because they’re giving you an opinion. And you’re — really, the audience has to piece together everything that is going on and form their own opinion.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Winehouse grew up in North London listening to jazz singers, and then created her own sound and phenomenon through a powerful voice, raw lyrics, and sheer force of a personality that is sometimes frightened, sometimes funny and often ferocious.

    (SINGING)

    AMY WINEHOUSE: Oh, it’s a bit upsetting at the end, isn’t it?

    ASIF KAPADIA: She’s just a natural artist. She picks up a guitar, goes up on the stage, sings and blows you away.

    So, really, the biggest revelation for me was to understand her personality, to understand that these songs were personal, and they’re like pages from her diary. And there’s problems with addiction and the relationships and the choices that she made and people around her made.

    Then you follow it through and you realize, actually, enough of the issues are already there, but they’re just about under control. When you become mega-famous and suddenly the paparazzi are after you, it all got a bit out of control. Suddenly, she had become a global star. And it was something that she was a bit fearful of right from a young age.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But if the intimacy of the camera draws us in, the vulture-like pursuit and glare of constant cameras, including those of the paparazzi, repel us.

    MAN: Amy Winehouse is back in rehab.

    JEFFREY BROWN: As we watch Winehouse’s life unravel.

    ASIF KAPADIA:
    The idea is to kind of make that feel as visceral as possible, for us, the audience, to be in the middle of it.

    I mean, literally, we are one of the camerapeople in the middle of it hounding Amy. There’s a recurring theme too in the film on a kind of aesthetic side, which is that we, the audience, become the person holding the camera.

    It starts off kind of innocent. She’s always performing in a way for the camera. Later on, it becomes more and more aggressive and more and more painful. And I guess we, the audience, were the people watching these videos. We’re clicking on those YouTube videos of her giving bad performances, where somebody is buying those tabloid newspapers. The feeling was, the intention was to make the audience slightly complicit, to make us wonder about how much did we play a part in her downturn.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Also called into question, the role of some of those closest to Winehouse. Her family, after working with the filmmaker, disassociated itself from the movie, saying it was — quote — “both misleading and contained some basic untruths.”

    Asif Kapadia says this:

    ASIF KAPADIA: The aim was never to point a finger in a particular direction or apportion blame, but the whole thing became very muddy and cloudy and messy.

    Most of the people who have seen the film who were on the inner circle, who were there, even if they don’t come out of it well, have all said the film is honest. And, most importantly, the person who comes out of it best is Amy. And I guess that is what I was hoping to achieve.

    AMY WINEHOUSE: I’m not a girl trying to be a star. I’m just a girl that sings.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The documentary “Amy” opens today in theaters across the nation.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeffrey Brown.

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    Serena Williams of the U.S.A. reacts during her match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 9, 2015.                                     REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth - RTX1JR3W

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to Wimbledon, where Serena Williams reigns on.

    Tomorrow morning, the tennis great will attempt another Serena Slam, holding all four Grand Slam titles at once. She won the U.S. Open last year, and has since won the Australian and French opens. She pulled off the same feat 12 years ago.

    At 33 years old, Serena is seeded number one and she faces 21-year-old Garbine Muguruza from Spain in the finals.

    We are going to look at this latest run and the remarkable career of this woman with Tom Perrotta. He’s a sports correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and he’s editor-at-large for “Tennis” magazine.

    Tom Perrotta, welcome.

    You wrote, I think it was back in November, about how Serena Williams then, you said, had the right to be acclaimed the best of all time. That was eight months ago. So now it’s even more so, right?

    TOM PERROTTA, Sports Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal: It is even more so. It’s pretty amazing what she’s doing, especially at this age. She’s won seven Grand Slam titles in her 30s. It’s really unprecedented.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you explain it?

    TOM PERROTTA: It’s amazing, like her resurgence.

    She’s really improved her fitness and her speed and her game a lot in the last few years. She hired a new coach and has really taken off. The thing that’s really the most amazing about her is the drive that she has at this age. I think most players, when they get into their 30s, a lot of times, they burn out.

    And I think a lot expected Serena Williams to burn out much earlier than this, because she won when she was so young. It’s been against the narrative that everyone really expected that she’s been this good for this long.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What’s different about her game today than 12 years ago, when she pulled off this remarkable feat of all four at one time?

    TOM PERROTTA: Much better at defense, much steadier, better rallies, really more reliable and confident in rallies.

    And all the other stuff is still there, the killer instinct and all that. The biggest thing that separates her from everybody else and always has for her whole career is her serve. Her serve is better than anybody else on the tour by far. She can ace people seemingly whenever she needs it. It’s an amazing weapon, really probably the best serve that the women’s game has ever seen.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What does she face tomorrow in this young 21-year-old opponent?

    TOM PERROTTA: On paper, it’s a big mismatch.

    This is her first Grand Slam final and she’s only won one tournament in her life, but she’s a very good player and she played fearlessly at Wimbledon so far. She’s 6-feet tall. She hits very hard. She moves well. She has a very good serve herself. And she really has nothing to lose out there.

    And she sounds confident. And she was an admirer of Serena Williams when she was a kid too, and pretty similar games. And she also beat her once at the French Open a few years ago, actually gave Serena her worst ever loss in a Grand Slam. She knows that she can do it. This is a much different setting, a much bigger stage, but she has the game to do it. It’s a matter of whether she will get nervous or not.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, as you said, she’s beaten her before.

    How significant in tennis history would it be if Serena Williams were to pull this off tomorrow and win, again, four Grand Slams at one time in one year?

    TOM PERROTTA: It would be the second time she’s done it, which is really remarkable.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    TOM PERROTTA: If she went on to win the U.S. Open, she would be the first person since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four in one year.

    And she is only two Grand Slam titles between Graf right now for most in the Open era. Serena has 20. Graf has 22. And Serena already has the longest span in that period since 1968. Between her first Grand Slam title and her latest one, it’s almost 16 years. And if she wins Wimbledon, it will be the longest in the history of the sport. It’s really remarkable.

    Nobody has been this good for this long in tennis.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, just quickly, we don’t want to completely ignore the men. Roger Federer had a remarkable performance today. He’s the same age as Serena Williams, 33. How do you explain that?

    TOM PERROTTA: Federer is — yes, he’s the player that time forgot. It’s pretty amazing.

    Andy Roddick is here as a commentator for the BBC. And some of us were talking to him after the match. And Roddick is a year younger than Federer. And he’s already retired. He was out practicing at Wimbledon today and he rolled his ankle and hurt his foot. He was playing with a junior player.

    And Federer never seems to get hurt. He’s incredibly light on his feet. His technique is beautiful. That has really helped him a lot, also a great serve, and continues to have a lot of fun out there. And he will be playing Novak Djokovic, who is the number one player in the world. They played in the final last year. Djokovic won in five sets. It was a very, very good match. And they have had a great rivalry. Federer leads 20-19. It’s very close.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tom Perrotta with The Wall Street Journal, we thank you.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And to the analysis of Brooks and Dionne. That’s New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. Mark Shields is away.

    Welcome to you both.

    E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let’s pick up this conversation about immigration. We have just heard this rational — David, this rational discussion about immigration.

    But what Donald Trump has been saying and doubling down on has really started a firestorm. What does that do to the national — our nation’s ability to get its hands around this issue?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, it might be — what Trump said is the dictionary definition of xenophobia, nativism.

    He had a factually inaccurate statement that generalized about a whole group of people, inaccurately, in a slurring manner. We have got a parking lot right out here at the NewsHour where we brought a bunch of immigrants. And when you pull up, they’re not trying to rape you. They’re not trying to sell drugs. They’re trying to paint your backyard — or back porch.

    And that’s statistically what the immigrant population is. They’re here to work. And it’s what most people’s common experience of immigrants, undocumented or not. And so that’s the reality. As Marc said, the useful thing about what’s happened is that we have seen this fissure in the Republican Party, where Jeb Bush came out very strongly against Trump, saying he takes it personally, Rubio again very strongly.

    It has brought them out. It has brought their ire out, a little passion in rebutting Trump. Ted Cruz, a little more disgraceful, more or less saying he raises good issues and things like that. So we have begun to see a split. The party now has to confront this. And I think most of the leading candidates have, to my mind, come out on the right side.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So it’s been helpful in understanding where the Republicans stand on this issue, E.J.?

    E.J. DIONNE: Well, I think if you ask most Republicans, Republican consultants, they would love to say to Donald Trump, you’re fired, and have him walk away, because this has been terrible for the Republican Party’s image.

    I mean, David is right about Bush and Rubio to some degree pushing back, but they were very slow to push back. And a lot of Republicans have been very cautious in dealing with Trump. And I think Latino voters, but immigrant voters of all kinds are going to remember that caution.

    And I think what Trump did this summer is going to last. Usually, it’s 16 months until the election, a lot of things will happen, but the nature of his words, using the word rapists, are so powerful, that I…

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And murder.

    E.J. DIONNE: And murder — that I don’t think there is any political eraser that’s going to get rid of them completely.

    This is the last thing Republicans needed right now.

    DAVID BROOKS: I should say, he was only a Republican since last week. He’s in a sui generis position of being a political freak.

    E.J. DIONNE: No, I think it is going to be…

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean Trump. You’re talking about Trump.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes.

    E.J. DIONNE: If Trump ever gets serious, I think the attacks on him for where he was on any number of issues, including now he thinks Hillary Clinton is the worst secretary of state in history — he used to say he loved Hillary Clinton, thought she would be a much stronger candidate than President Obama.

    Now, that’s a sin in the Republican Party, to have said something nice about Hillary Clinton.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, you don’t think the delay, the fact that it took some of the other candidates some time to come forward with their statement, makes a difference?

    DAVID BROOKS: No. It was a matter of days or even hours. They had to formulate things.

    What matters is that whether the Republican Party rediscovers where George W. Bush was on immigration, where John McCain was on immigration, where a lot of — where Bob Dole — where a lot of previous nominees have been.

    And the party has wandered into an anti-immigration or an anti-immigration reform direction as a result of the rise of the talk radio part of the party. But that part of the party is waning, frankly, and I think it will be very possible for Jeb Bush or Rubio, whoever the nominee is, to be where McCain was and to be where George W. Bush was.

    Those are not ancient history of the Republican Party. The party will rediscover that moment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So you’re saying that maybe he’s doing a favor to some of these other Republicans?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, it’s hard to give him credit for doing a favor, but the people who did the favor were Bush and Rubio and the party members who did the right thing.

    E.J. DIONNE: I think, if they come out strong, he will have done them a perverse kind of favor.

    And I think the reason this is so harmful to Republicans is not just Latinos. Mitt Romney was beaten by Barack Obama among Asian-Americans voted by 3-1 in the last election. Asian-Americans voted 55 percent for the first President Bush.

    And a lot of that reaction among Asian-Americans is to this xenophobia and a sense of prejudice. They have got to beat that back if they are going to have a chance…

    (CROSSTALK)

    DAVID BROOKS: It should be said, in the last midterms, they did reasonably well among Asian-Americans. So they’re working that and they’re conscious of it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But you don’t see the — you see the Republican Party coming through this, that this is not going to have a lasting — do lasting damage?

    DAVID BROOKS: I have this naive assumption that people are not complete idiots.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: It just want to — just in terms of the issue, I think the merits are on the side of the sort of comprehensive immigration reform George W. Bush championed.

    But just in terms of political survival, if you just say they’re venal and they just want to win elections, it’s not — this is not rocket science here.

    E.J. DIONNE: But I think the catch is that a very substantial part of the Republican coalition and an even a larger part of the Tea Party coalition is very anti-immigrant or very anti-immigration reform.

    So, I don’t think it’s as easy as you’re saying for Republicans to do this, even if it is — and I agree with you on this — in their long-term interest.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, a related issue, and that is the flag, the Confederate Flag.

    It came down today in South Carolina. There was a big celebration. But, meanwhile, yesterday, David, at the Capitol, there was this sudden partisan flare-up over the flag. Why does this issue keep coming up right now?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, I guess, in my view, the reason the flag should come down is just a matter of civic politeness. I have said this before on this program. If a large percentage of your fellow citizens disapprove of something, fine, just be civically polite and accept their offense and say, no, I’m going to respect you.

    In both these issues, there is a large culture war element. What Donald Trump was exploiting was the fact that people like us and people like my newspaper would come down hard on him for saying those things about immigrants. The same with the Confederate Flag. If you can get the East Coast and West Coast establishment and the mainstream media against you, you win points in certain circles.

    And so you want to pick those fights. And so the Confederate Flag has become one of those thumb-in-the-eye issues that people use in order to pick a culture war fight. And it helps you in the Sarah Palin wings. And so I think it’s almost become abstracted. It’s part of the media game that some people play to get attention, to pick fights and to win supports against those who don’t like the mainstream institutions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Does it continue to be a political issue?

    E.J. DIONNE: I think it’s slowly going away.

    The problem with it is, this isn’t simply a culture war issue. People have legitimate disagreements about abortion, for example, and we’re probably going to be arguing about that for a long time. The Confederate Flag really does stand for a regime that endorsed slavery.

    The Confederate Flag didn’t go back up in the South until the 1950s and early one 1960s, very consciously as a symbol of white supremacy and opposition to the civil rights. African-Americans know that.

    And so this isn’t just about cultural politics. This is about racial politics that we have been fighting in our country from the very, very beginning. I think that what you saw in South Carolina was a wonderful human reaction, even on the parts of people who had been for the flag before, saying not only was the death of nine people a horror, but the spirit of forgiveness from their families really moved an entire state, and that’s a big deal.

    But before we pat ourselves on the back too much, we should remember it took nine deaths of good people to bring that flag down. That’s not very heartening.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. But, still, it’s a good day.

    E.J. DIONNE: I agree with that.

    DAVID BROOKS: While we’re upset about the little kerfuffle in Washington, bringing the flag down in South Carolina was a symbol — it’s bizarre to say — but there was a symbol of hostility to the civil rights movement.

    And so that era of hostility to the civil rights movement, even in 2015, it is over with the bringing down of the flag. We will have all these other issues to talk about. But it’s still a remarkable day that it come down to widespread cheers. And so it’s a day…

    (CROSSTALK)

    E.J. DIONNE: No, I don’t want to take away from the good day. I really agree with you on that.

    But we should — the Southern strategy as part of the Republican strategy going back to when the civil rights bill passed, and Lyndon Johnson said we, meaning Democrats, have lost the South for a generation, I mean, it’s all connected to that.

    So, yes, I celebrate. But, again, it still bothers, it sobers me that it took what it took to get this done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about one other thing, and that is the Democratic presidential contest.

    I interviewed Jimmy Carter, former President Jimmy Carter, on this program last night. And among other things, he complimented, David, Bernie Sanders. He said he’s been bolder than Hillary Clinton when it comes to income inequality and other liberal issues.

    How do you see that? We have been talking about this for several weeks now, about how Sanders is drawing bigger crowds. How do you see this dynamic playing out, Bernie Sanders playing to the left of the party and what it’s doing to the Clinton campaign?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, it is and always has been a university crowd left in this country, a progressive element at our many fine universities. And he’s playing to that element.

    But that element is not big. It’s not even big within the Democratic Party. He doesn’t get the working class. He doesn’t get the suburban voter. He doesn’t, by and large, get African-American and Latino voters. So there is a huge ceiling on what he can do.

    And for Hillary Clinton to be fearing him strikes me as wrongheaded. She’s still the overwhelming favorite, no matter how big of crowds he can get in university towns. Second, she has to be aware that she lives in a country where people are quite suspicious of government, more suspicious of government than they are business.

    And, in my view, on substantive grounds aside, just political grounds, if she goes over and seems like a very conventional big government liberal, it is going to be much easier for any Republican to run against her, because this is not a country that is sanguine about government power.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But you’re saying that is maybe where she’s headed. Is that what you see?

    E.J. DIONNE: Well, first of all, Bernie, I have been saying, is like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” except he’s a socialist from Vermont with a Brooklyn accent.

    (LAUGHTER)

    E.J. DIONNE: But there is a kind of authenticity. The guy gets up there and you know he’s saying exactly what he thinks. He’s always said these things. I think that appeals to lots of people.

    And one area I would disagree with David on is that I think he will get working-class votes. There’s a lot of — and he has gotten working-class in Vermont and he will get a lot of union locals, even as national locals — endorse Hillary Clinton.

    I think there is a ceiling. I agree with that. I don’t think he is going to win the nomination, but he could — it’s not inconceivable to me that he could win both in Iowa and New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton got only less than a third of the vote in Iowa the last time she ran.

    And he’s very close to New Hampshire. So, I think those races could be tight. I think, as it goes forward, I think Clinton will still win the nomination. And on the government point…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Even if she were to lose in Iowa and New Hampshire?

    E.J. DIONNE: Yes. I think she would still win the nomination.

    And it’s unlikely she will lose both. I’m just saying that is a possibility we shouldn’t write off. In terms of the government thing, she is going to give a speech on Monday that is a very progressive speech about what government can do for people.

    I think the public’s view is ambivalent. And Stan Greenberg has it right. The voters would like the government to do a lot of stuff. They don’t trust it very much. She has got to solve that riddle.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Quick last word.

    DAVID BROOKS: If she — she’s going to have an early childhood piece in that piece Monday. If she sticks to that, fine. That’s getting people into the marketplace, so they can have an opportunity to compete. If she begins to seem to be meddling in the marketplace and capitalism, I do think people will recoil.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We will all be listening. We have been listening to you both.

    David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, thank you.

    E.J. DIONNE: Thank you so much.

    DAVID BROOKS: Thanks.

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    COURT BATTLE immigration monitor

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn now to immigration. The complex issue has remained frozen in Washington for years, but is quickly heating up outside the capital.

    Our William Brangham unravels the debate.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The firestorm started when in his announcement that he was running for president, Donald Trump turned to the topic of immigration.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Candidate: When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. And they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In the weeks following, major businesses connected to Trump backed away from partnerships and projects with him. They included NBC, Univision, Macy’s, ESPN, and the Professional Golf Association.

    For his part, Trump stood by his comments. But then a tragedy in San Francisco added fuel to the fire; 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed at the end of last month. Undocumented immigrant Juan Lopez-Sanchez confessed to a reporter that he shot her, but said it was an accident.

    All this has just inflamed the debate about immigration in the U.S., whether immigrants are a positive force in the country or whether they should be feared. There are currently more than 41 million immigrants in America. Over 11 million are estimated to be here illegally.

    To help us understand what we know about the nation’s immigrants, legal and illegal, I’m joined by three people who have studied the research.

    Marielena Hincapie is the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, an immigration rights group. Marc Rosenblum is from the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. And Jessica Vaughan is with the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for tougher border security.

    Welcome to all three of you.

    MARC ROSENBLUM, Migration Policy Institute: Thank you.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Marc Rosenblum, why don’t I start with you first?

    Donald Trump is saying that immigrants come to the country and they commit a disproportionate amount of crime. You have looked at this data quite a bit. Is he right?

    MARC ROSENBLUM: You know, it’s a very persistent stereotype, but there’s a lot of research on it, looking at prison populations and looking at city crime rates.

    And what it shows is that immigrants are disproportionately unlikely to be in prison. The prison population doesn’t have a lot of immigrants in it. And when you look at crime rates and correlate them with immigration populations, immigrants are — cities with lots of immigrants don’t have lots of crime.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Sarah (sic) Vaughan, I know you have looked at this data as well. What do you make of this analysis?

    JESSICA VAUGHAN, Center for Immigration Studies: Well, no, we have looked at it very deeply.

    And what the research shows is that there’s no evidence that immigrants are either more or less likely to commit crimes than anyone else in the population. The studies that claim to find that immigrants are somehow more law-abiding than Americans are based on very flawed data, because that doesn’t identify correctly necessarily what someone’s immigration status is.

    What we do know is that there are certain types of crime that are very closely associated with illegal immigration, drug crimes, gang crimes, smuggling, trafficking, identity theft, so that the areas of the country that have those kinds of problems need to have some mechanism for working a good — they have a legitimate public safety reason for working with immigration enforcement.

    But I don’t think that’s really the most relevant policy question for lawmakers here. And that is, we know that some illegal immigrants are here committing crime, so what do we do with those illegal immigrants who are committing crimes? How do we handle that?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Marielena Hincapie, why does this perception persist? I mean, Donald Trump is not the only one that has raised concerns about immigrants and crime.

    Why do you think we keep talking about this?

    MARIELENA HINCAPIE, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center: That’s a great question.

    And I think what we have to remember is what’s at issue here is really that this is about a human tragedy. We are talking about Kate has been murdered in San Francisco, and this is not about immigration, but the perception, the narrative out there really has its basis in the scapegoating, the race, which, often — for example, the Willie Hortons of the world that fuel those myths of whether it’s a black man or a brown man, like this particular defendant.

    And that’s often at the root of this. And it really is about society’s implicit bias and the fact that politicians like Donald Trump are exploiting this particular tragedy in San Francisco to move an anti-immigrant agenda.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Marc Rosenblum, what do you make of that? Is that true? Is this primarily, in your mind, driven by racial animus?

    MARC ROSENBLUM: It’s a persistent stereotype that goes back a hundred years that immigrants commit crimes.

    But I would agree with Marielena that you certainly see politicians and political entrepreneurs sort of exploiting this to connect these incidents to immigration more broadly.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Jessica Vaughan, what do you think about that? Do you think this is racism?

    JESSICA VAUGHAN: No, of course, not.

    I mean, obviously, it’s not true that immigrants don’t commit crimes. Of course they do. And, again, the issue is how do we handle that fraction of the immigrant population that has been committing crimes and has been contributing to crime rates in our communities?

    The logical answer is, they should be removed. Crime is not a job Americans won’t do. There is no reason to allow people who are here in defiance of our laws to stay here if they are contributing to crime in our communities, and, again, it does exist. It needs to be acknowledged, and law enforcement agencies need to be cooperating to make sure that they are finding those criminal aliens who are preying on people in the communities and deporting them as expeditiously as possible.

    And the problem is, is that there are certain areas, like San Francisco, where political leaders have imposed policies on law enforcement officers to block immigration enforcement. And the people they end up protecting in those cases are actually the criminals, because they’re allowed to stay in the community and continue preying on people there.

    So, again, there is no — if we can’t agree on removing illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, then who can we deport?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Marielena Hincapie, let’s talk a little bit about federal policy.

    As you know, in 2005, the federal government stepped up its enforcement, and instead of just — when they caught people who were coming across the border, instead of just sending them home, they started putting them into the judicial system. And I wonder what’s your take on how that policy has played out? How has the federal government’s role contributed to this?

    MARIELENA HINCAPIE: Yes, I think Jessica is right. The fact is that the administration — and both the Bush administration and most recently the Obama administration have been enforcing laws, they have prioritized people who have committed crimes.

    But, again, that’s not what is at issue here. Why — San Francisco, for example, is not an isolated case. There are over 300 local and city and counties across the countries where law enforcement leaders themselves have decided that they needed to change the policies to restore trust between the communities and the police, so that there was — individuals would serve as witnesses and would report crimes, whether they were committed by another immigrant or by a U.S. citizen, so, again, the fact that we’re suddenly taking this particular individual case in San Francisco and jumping to try to make changes in the federal law, when, in fact, the federal law already exists.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I would like to ask something of all three of you. All three of you care deeply about immigration. You spend a lot of time thinking about it, writing about it, talking about it.

    Does something like what happened with Donald Trump, when he comes out — and regardless of what you think of what he said, does this help us have this debate, or is this toxic to the debate?

    MARC ROSENBLUM: I mean, I think one of the most interesting things about the Donald Trump comments is how it highlights the divide within the Republican Party, and how, you know, Republicans are struggling to respond positively or negatively to him.

    And, ultimately, that’s really going to drive the policy-making agenda, is sort of how that party sorts out its conflict over immigration. So, in that sense — it’s been a little bit productive in that sense, but, you know, it does distract from real — you know, to focus so much on immigrants and crime does distract from the issues that do dominate immigration policy.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Jessica Vaughan, what is your take on that? Do you think this is helping the debate, helping the conversation move forward?

    JESSICA VAUGHAN: Well, the advocates in our country for giving amnesty to illegal aliens and for expanding immigration would like people to believe that everyone who is coming over here is harmless and here for good reasons.

    And what Donald Trump did point out is that, you know, that not all immigrants are here for those reasons, that some of them are committing crimes, and we need to have policies in place that ensure that they are being removed as quickly as possible, and that local jurisdictions are not allowed to obstruct immigration enforcement for political reasons, which leads inevitably to people who should be removed getting released back on to the streets.

    And this is something that Congress needs to address to crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions and make it clear that they’re expected to comply with immigration law and that they may be penalized if they don’t.

    (CROSSTALK)

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Marielena Hincapie, can I get a last take on — you about this?

    MARIELENA HINCAPIE: Sure.

    Yes, Donald Trump, the reason there is such a reaction to Donald Trump’s comments is because, in 2015, in the United States, we are no longer going to accept that level of intolerance in our nation, especially from someone who is trying to become president of the United States.

    So I do think that, as Marc said, it helps the debate, only from the perspective that it helps us to see which politicians really believe in a vision in our country that is inclusive and which ones have an intolerant and racist perspective that basically labels all of us immigrants as criminals.

    And that is definitely not a fact. And the studies show that, in fact, the majority of immigrants are not committing crimes.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, thank you all very much for joining us tonight.

    MARIELENA HINCAPIE: Thank you.

    MARC ROSENBLUM: Thanks.

    The post Truth vs. perception of crime rates for immigrants appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers his speech as he attends a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece, July 10, 2015. Tsipras appealed to his party's lawmakers on Friday to back a tough reforms package after abruptly offering last-minute concessions to try to save the country from financial meltdown.           REUTERS/Christian Hartmann  - RTX1JXVY

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: the drama in Greece heading toward a climax at a Sunday summit of European leaders.

    The Greek prime minister has now offered concessions to creditors, ranging from a higher sales tax, the so-called VAT — VAT — to pension changes. The goal? A new bailout worth nearly $60 billion.

    Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News reports.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: Climbing the steps of Greece’s Parliament today, the members of a government forced into a last-minute climb down. Days ago, they were railing against Greece’s creditors. Today, they were talking up the chances of a new deal with them this weekend.

    OLGA GEROVASILI, Greek Parliament Member (through interpreter): I am certain we will reach an agreement. There was never any doubt. The battle was lengthy and long and will reach its conclusion by taking the steps you already know about.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN: And greeted like a conquering hero, Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, who is now pushing through Parliament the kind of austerity 61 percent of Greek voters rejected last weekend, because money or lack of it talks.

    These banks could be bankrupt by Monday, and so the government, it seems, has blinked. Greece’s proposals are on time and to the kind of budget a wary Eurozone might accept, giving into more austerity, with a standard VAT rate at 23 percent beginning in October, reducing the 30 percent VAT tax break applied to tourism-rich Greek islands, corporation tax rising from 26 percent to 28 percent, as Greece’s creditors demanded, and raising the standard retirement age to 67 over the next seven years.

    But what is Mr. Tsipras hoping to win in return? Well, 53.5 billion euros in loans over three years and, crucially, restructuring the repayment of Greece’s vast debt, though the 13 billion euros in tax rises and spending cuts is at least four billion euros more than the package Greeks on Sunday voted against.

    A new and lasting deal with Greece will depend on the Greeks actually doing what they say they will and not buckling under the weight of more austerity. And Germany will need to agree on some form of debt relief which doesn’t leave German taxpayers feeling shortchanged. But whatever the outcome of this weekend’s talks, Greece is heading for years of economic hardship and the debate over its Eurozone membership is very unlikely to stop.

    No wonder there are protests in Athens tonight by some of those who said no and meant it, though the French, who helped draw up this plan, are perhaps prematurely hailing it as a breakthrough.

    PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, France (through interpreter): Since the program they are presenting is serious and credible, and because they won’t submit it to the Parliament, that shows strength, commitment and indeed courage. So, the discussions now need to start, resume, with the will to conclude.

    JONATHAN RUGMAN:
    Tonight, Greece’s Parliament is set to back its government, and Eurozone finance ministers may do the same tomorrow. And if they do, Greece’s banks could be refinanced and reopen on Monday, though today’s climb-down could leave the pensioners feeling worse off than before.

    The post Greek government blinks with new bailout proposal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) and State Department Chief of Staff Jon Finer (L) meet with members of the U.S. delegation at the garden of the Palais Coburg hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria July 10, 2015. Iran and major powers gave themselves until Monday to reach a nuclear agreement, their third extension in two weeks, as Tehran accused the West of throwing up new stumbling blocks to a deal. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  - RTX1JX4V

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The world’s major powers will continue to negotiate with Iran throughout the weekend, aiming to clinch an agreement that would curb that country’s nuclear program. A number of self-imposed deadlines have come and gone.

    For an update on where things stand, we turn to Michael Gordon of The New York Times, who has been covering the talks in Vienna. I spoke with him a short while ago.

    Michael, welcome.

    It’s late Friday night there, another delay. Where do things stand?

    MICHAEL GORDON, The New York Times: Well, I do have the sense that they’re beginning to close in on the final accord. This is going to be the third weekend that we’re here in Vienna, and I’m positive that Secretary of State John Kerry has never been in one place as long as he’s been here as the secretary of state.

    But there is a sense of progress, and we’re waiting to see if this thing comes together in the next day or two.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it clear what they have made progress on and where the hangups are still?

    MICHAEL GORDON: Well, I think they have made a lot of progress in defining the nuclear provisions of the accord.

    Certainly, we already know that they have decided on the number of centrifuges Iran will be allowed to have. I think they have made progress on what research and development will be allowed on new types of centrifuges. I think there have been some very delicate issues to work out on — in terms of sanctions and the timing of sanctions relief.

    And there was a new one that cropped up this week. Actually, it was an old one that reemerged, and that’s whether to lift the arms embargo on Iran. And that’s been a very contentious issue this past week.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So why is that coming up at the last minute?

    MICHAEL GORDON: Well, it’s something that Americans really thought they had resolved or at least finessed in Lausanne in April, and previous Security Council resolutions at the United Nations banned the import or export of conventional arms and missile technology to Iran.

    And the Iranians had wanted this off, but that’s really a nonstarter in the American political system. I mean, the idea that you’re going to give Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief, so that they can go buy conventional arms that increases their military power in the region is just not going to fly in the American Congress or even among President Obama’s Democratic allies in the Congress.

    And the Americans thought they had that resolved, but it came back this week. And the Iranians had some support really from the Russians and the Chinese, both of whom want to sell them arms.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see that getting resolved?

    MICHAEL GORDON: Well, I really don’t think this is one that the United States can — will give in on, and I think probably the best resolution would be if both sides come to the conclusion that there is a lot more at stake in this agreement.

    This is probably the most important arms agreement in several decades, with all sorts of ramifications for U.S.-Iranian relation, for the region. And I think, in the end, both sides are going to come to the conclusion that that’s too important to risk for the lifting of the arms embargo. I don’t think it will be lifted. I think it will remain a feature of a U.N. resolution and I think the Iranians the Russians just won’t like it and maybe they will sort of agree to disagree. That would be my best guess as to how this comes out.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Michael, you mentioned some disagreement or difference of opinion among the U.S. and its negotiating partners. Is that serious? Is that turning out to be something serious or what? How do you see the group sitting across the table from Iran holding together?

    MICHAEL GORDON: Well, the United States, and particularly Secretary Kerry, have really been in the lead for the last six months, if not longer, and the other five countries involved in the talks with Iran show up at critical junctures.

    And the United States has often said that the Russians have been very cooperative in these talks, that this has been one area of U.S.-Russian relations where things have gone well, unlike Ukraine or Syria or arms control.

    But I think the Russians have been a bit difficult over this past week because of their interest in getting the arms embargo lifted for their own, really, financial reasons. But I think, in the end, if Iran can live with the agreement, the Russians and Chinese will go along, and I don’t really see it as a show-stopper.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Michael Gordon with The New York Times spending one more weekend in Vienna, we thank you.

    MICHAEL GORDON: Thank you.

    The post As Iran talks continue, lifting arms embargo is non-starter for U.S. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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