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- 07/30/15--15:25: _Do labor-saving rob...
- 07/30/15--15:30: _Rebel commander say...
- 07/30/15--15:35: _Cincinnati police c...
- 07/30/15--15:40: _Will debris help na...
- 07/30/15--15:45: _Debris may be first...
- 07/30/15--15:50: _News Wrap: CDC find...
- 07/31/15--06:19: _China and U.S.: Wha...
- 07/31/15--10:21: _Obama to extend col...
- 07/31/15--10:57: _This is the trigger...
- 07/31/15--11:12: _Sour economy threat...
- 07/31/15--12:02: _Watch: 1000 musicia...
- 07/31/15--12:34: _First-ever Ebola va...
- 07/31/15--12:52: _8 things you didn’t...
- 07/31/15--15:20: _When high-minded po...
- 07/31/15--15:20: _Dozens of Hillary C...
- 07/31/15--15:25: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 07/31/15--15:30: _How many ballistic ...
- 07/31/15--15:35: _Kids with disabilit...
- 07/31/15--15:40: _Can higher ed keep ...
- 07/31/15--15:45: _How long-lasting is...
- 07/30/15--15:25: Do labor-saving robots spell doom for American workers?
- 07/30/15--15:35: Cincinnati police chief: Body cameras should be required equipment
- 07/30/15--15:40: Will debris help narrow search for MH370?
- 07/30/15--15:45: Debris may be first trace of missing Malaysian plane
- 07/30/15--15:50: News Wrap: CDC finds 1 in 5 adults in U.S. has a disability
- 07/31/15--06:19: China and U.S.: What might have been 70 years after V-J Day
- 07/31/15--10:21: Obama to extend college aid grants to some prison inmates
- 07/31/15--10:57: This is the trigger that could launch a nuclear war
- 07/31/15--11:12: Sour economy threatens the American Dream
- 07/31/15--12:34: First-ever Ebola vaccine shows ‘promise’ — now what?
- 07/31/15--12:52: 8 things you didn’t know about humidity
- 07/31/15--15:20: When high-minded politicos Buckley and Vidal took the low road
- 07/31/15--15:20: Dozens of Hillary Clinton’s emails censored for security reasons
- 07/31/15--15:30: How many ballistic missile submarines does the U.S. really need?
- 07/31/15--15:40: Can higher ed keep inmates from returning to prison after release?
- 07/31/15--15:45: How long-lasting is promising Ebola vaccine protection?
GWEN IFILL: We have shown you before the rising role that automation and robots play in some parts of the work force.
Tonight, we have a more sobering and perhaps somewhat eerier picture of how those trends are gathering force more quickly than anticipated.
Economics correspondent Paul Solman looks at the promise and perils of the rise of the robot, part of our weekly series Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the NewsHour.
PAUL SOLMAN: The 11th hole at Stanford University. Chad Gray’s an OK golfer, but his caddy is really hard to beat.
CHAD GRAY, CaddyTrek: It’s going to go wherever you want it go. Follows you like a puppy dog.
PAUL SOLMAN: Meet the robot CaddyTrek.
CHAD GRAY: It has two ultrasound bars that send a signal back to the remote that’s on my back pocket here.
JERRY KAPLAN, Author, “Humans Need Not Apply”: It’s an incredibly simple piece of technology.
PAUL SOLMAN: But the implications for America’s caddies, and millions of other workers, are ominous, says computer scientist and serial entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan. Kaplan has his own labor-saving schlepper, an R2-D2 designed to make local deliveries.
This is the Stanford Jackrabbot.
PAUL SOLMAN: Jackrabbot?
JERRY KAPLAN: Yes.
PAUL SOLMAN: As in robot?
JERRY KAPLAN: That’s right. It’s like a jackrabbit, but it’s a robot. It’s designed to operate in socially appropriate ways in pedestrian spaces.
PAUL SOLMAN: Jack looks harmless enough. But he, like CaddyTrek, is the shape of things to come.
JERRY KAPLAN: We’re about to see a significant increase in the acceleration in the rate of automation.
PAUL SOLMAN: And the age-old fear of displaced workers, says Kaplan, is finally, irrevocably upon us.
JERRY KAPLAN: What happens to people who simply can’t acquire or don’t have the skills that are going to be needed in the new economy?
PAUL SOLMAN: Well, what is going to happen to them?
JERRY KAPLAN: We’re going to see much worse income inequality. And unless we take some humanitarian actions, the truth is, they’re going to starve and live in poverty and then die.
PAUL SOLMAN: Kaplan offers that grim prognosis in a new book, “Humans Need Not Apply.” He knows, of course, that automation has been replacing labor for 200 years or more, for decades, eliminating relatively high-paying factory jobs in America, and that new jobs have more than kept pace, but not anymore, he says.
You’re the guy from the same-day delivery piece.
Now, by pure chance, a case in point happened to notice Jackrabbot being put through his paces. We’d met Mike Cannon a few months earlier when shooting him delivering packages for Google Express.
MIKE CANNON, Google Express: So, I’m delivering DNA samples to all of the various labs on campus.
PAUL SOLMAN: And you were just watching us shoot.
MIKE CANNON: And it caught my attention. I thought, that’s my replacement.
COMPUTER VOICE: Hi I’m OSHbot.
PAUL SOLMAN: At a hardware store in Silicon Valley, OSHbot.
COMPUTER VOICE: Sure. Follow me.
PAUL SOLMAN: Are you serious?
PAUL SOLMAN: A joint venture between the Lowe’s chain of stores and a startup called Fellow Robots. Without ever needing a coffee or bathroom break, its voice recognition software, fluent in multiple languages, and laser sensor safety technology can do a better job than many of America’s five million or so retail workers.
JERRY KAPLAN: Maybe 50 percent of the retail clerks could be replaced by this kind of technology. And, of course, this is just the beginning.
PAUL SOLMAN: Now OSHbot’s inventor, Marco Mascorro, disputes that his baby would put anyone out of work.
So you don’t see OSHbot replacing people?
MARCO MASCORRO, OSHbot Inventor: No, I don’t think so. I think this is really a tool that helps people find things in a store with very specific information.
PAUL SOLMAN: And if you think, well, OSHbot still seems a bit clunky as a replacement for humans…
MAN: After you, Kema.
COMPUTER VOICE: Thank you.
PAUL SOLMAN: … in downtown Palo Alto, Suitable Technology’s Beam telepresence robot sells itself, with no humans on site at all.
WOMAN: Hi, guys. How’s it going?
MAN: Good, how are you?
MAN: Hey, how are you?
WOMAN: Beam is a smart presence system, so it allows us to beam in anywhere in the world where we have a Wi-Fi connection and maneuver this device on our keyboards here.
PAUL SOLMAN: Turn around, would you? Do a 360 for me.
JERRY KAPLAN: The problem in retail is staffing. You have people standing around in the stores often just waiting for people to come in.
PAUL SOLMAN: Right.
JERRY KAPLAN: And then you have got customers at other times that are waiting and can’t get help.
PAUL SOLMAN: And already, says Taylor Sewitt, beaming in from Upstate New York:
MAN: We have had a couple of banks actually start to use them, where, if all of a sudden a secondary location gets swamped, you could have a couple of tellers from the first location actually beam into that second location, and now you have instantly doubled the staff, without actually doubling the staff and hiring twice as many people.
PAUL SOLMAN: Kema Johnson was in Utah.
WOMAN: And sit here in the desert, where I want to live, but I can still work in California.
PAUL SOLMAN: Is there any sensitivity on your part about replacing people?
MAN: Well, I don’t think it’s as much as replacing people. We definitely want to stay away from automation, because somebody needs to be on Beam at all times.
PAUL SOLMAN: What do you mean it’s not automation? You’re the personification of automation.
MAN: Ultimately, for us, we’d like to give more jobs to people that they wouldn’t normally be able to have or do, like myself and Kema.
PAUL SOLMAN: But if you’re in Utah and you are servicing lots of customers in maybe multiple stores, right?
JERRY KAPLAN: Correct.
PAUL SOLMAN: You are replacing the jobs of people who would be in the stores themselves. Isn’t that just obvious?
WOMAN: Well, a person still needs to operate the device. We’re not robotic, so to speak.
PAUL SOLMAN: Are they being defensive about not replacing jobs?
JERRY KAPLAN: Because you’re talking to two people that have jobs. The one you’re not interviewing is the person who didn’t get a job working in this store here locally.
PAUL SOLMAN: I was also not interviewing the heads of companies that provide robots at local hotels, robots that can thin out lettuce crops.
JERRY KAPLAN: The reaction people have here seems to be similar to, if you called up a tobacco company and said, I would like to do a story on smoking and health.
PAUL SOLMAN: So when you called up companies for this shoot to appear on the PBS NewsHour, they said, not if it’s about displacing labor?
JERRY KAPLAN: I found the doors would immediately slam shut: Oh, no, we make people more productive. Well, making people more productive puts other people out of work.
PAUL SOLMAN: Now, in fairness, not everyone in the Valley was afraid to admit that robots are labor-saving devices.
Are you OK with the fact that this is going to replace thousands, maybe tens of thousands of caddies?
CHAD GRAY: Absolutely. And this technology can be applied to other types of jobs as well, porters, bellhops, stockroom clerks, anywhere where heavy lifting is involved.
PAUL SOLMAN: Of course, new jobs are being created in Silicon Valley. That’s why entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa confidently told us this in 2012.
VIVEK WADHWA, Wadhwa.com: The convergence of these technologies will create jobs in areas we can’t even think of.
PAUL SOLMAN: But these days, Wadhwa is singing a different, dolorous tune.
VIVEK WADHWA: Technology’s moving faster than anyone believes. And it is going to disrupt industries and create unemployment on a scale that we haven’t imagined before.
PAUL SOLMAN: Why did you used to think it wasn’t going to be a problem?
VIVEK WADHWA: Because I believed what people of Silicon Valley do, that technology will make everything all right. I have had debates with a who’s-who of Silicon Valley, and I sit back and think, these people live in their own world, that they don’t know poverty, they don’t know despair. They don’t know what the impact of unemployment is.
JERRY KAPLAN: People in the Silicon Valley believe that what we’re doing is God’s work, and we are making the world a better place.
PAUL SOLMAN: Around the corner from Stanford’s Robotics Lab, the university’s world class art museum provided a last symbolic stop.
JERRY KAPLAN: Here we are in paradise, but we’re standing in front of Rodin’s “The Gates of Hell.”
PAUL SOLMAN: So, in your dystopia, there are millions of Americans who literally are out of luck and are facing a grim future, because they simply don’t have the skills to sell in the new economy.
JERRY KAPLAN: I think that’s true. Here’s the good news. The U.S. economy has doubled, reliably, about every 40 years for several hundred years now. So, when you look out 40 years from now, we’re going to have twice as much wealth as we have today. The question is, who’s going to get that wealth? Is it going to be concentrated in the hands of an elite, or is it going to be distributed more widely?
PAUL SOLMAN: Good question.
This is economics correspondent Paul Solman, reporting, in as human a way as is still possible, for the PBS NewsHour from Silicon Valley.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, the Pentagon has denied reports that al-Qaida linked fighters have abducted several U.S.-trained Syrian rebels outside of Aleppo, Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that the men were taken by members of the al-Nusra Front.
In May, the U.S. military launched a program to train up to 5,000 so-called moderate rebels per year. So far, they’re nowhere near that number.
Special correspondent Jane Ferguson caught up with one of the few fighters who has been trained by the U.S. in Southern Turkey.
JANE FERGUSON: In the world outside Syria, Mohammed seems nervous. He has good reason. As a Free Syrian Army commander, he and his men are waiting to see if foreign intervention will change the direction of the war. He says he has already been trained by Americans.
MOHAMMED, Free Syrian Army Commander (through interpreter): In the beginning, they asked for our three names, our first name, our surname, and father’s name. We gave our names and pictures. There were about 100 of us. They took us to the camp. They trained us for 50 days in working with guns. The training was very good. They taught us how to use some of the weapons we weren’t familiar with, advanced weaponry, like rockets.
JANE FERGUSON: Mohammed says he has seen and spoken with Americans inside Syria who were coordinating airstrikes.
MOHAMMED (through interpreter): They were telling us, these are the lines which you shouldn’t cross, or the airstrikes will hit you.
JANE FERGUSON: Now a new deal between Turkey and the U.S. could push the Islamic State away from Turkey’s border. American airstrikes against ISIS will now be launched from Turkish soil, the idea being, if ISIS pulls back, fighters like Mohammed could then move in.
He was injured in battle and treated in hospital in Turkey, but is eager to get back to the fight.
MOHAMMED (through interpreter): I will return to my country and I will fight there, even if I am to be killed there.
JANE FERGUSON: Refugees living in Turkey could technically move back to the ISIS-free area too. Ali left Aleppo two years ago and now runs a restaurant in Turkey. He would move back to a safe area in Syria if he could.
ALI, Syrian Refugee in Turkey (through interpreter): Of course, of course. This is how every Syrian feels. Our homeland is very precious to us. The minute the war ends, even if all of Turkey belonged to me, I would go back to Syria.
JANE FERGUSON: But not everyone is confident of a return. Some refugees worry about who would replace ISIS if they leave. Just two weeks ago, Nour and her family crossed over to Turkey, fleeing ISIS-held territory. She says simply clearing an area of ISIS wouldn’t be enough to convince her to go back, unless her safety is guaranteed.
NOUR, Syrian Refugee in Turkey (through interpreter): Even apart from ISIS, there are many groups who do bad things. I’m afraid of all those groups. Many people have been killed by them.
JANE FERGUSON: There are also no guarantees people in ISIS-free areas would be safe from Syrian government warplanes.
NOUR (through interpreter): Even if ISIS are pushed out, we still wouldn’t return until the Assad regime is finished, because the Syrian regime bombs us with airstrikes. They kill many of us. We know many who died this way.
JANE FERGUSON: It’s not yet clear what kind of troops would hold the ground in any buffer zone or area that ISIS has been cleared from. Turkey has already said it would not send in ground troops, and it’s unlikely to allow Kurdish rebels to take that territory. With few options left, those who do end up replacing ISIS could be extremist Islamist fighters.
The deal between Turkey and the U.S. to step up airstrikes against ISIS over the border is being heralded as the best hope yet to take territory from the group. Holding on to that land afterwards could be an even greater challenge.
Jane Ferguson, PBS NewsHour, Eastern Turkey.
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GWEN IFILL: This is not the first time the city of Cincinnati has been caught in the crosswinds of an officer-involved shooting. The last time, however, was in 2001. And the city has since been considered an example of how to recover from community unrest.
But after the killing of Samuel Dubose, those lessons may now have to be relearned. Tensing pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Judge Megan Shanahan set his bond at $1 million, and much of the courtroom broke into applause.
WOMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a courtroom. You will conduct yourselves at all times appropriately.
GWEN IFILL: Tensing’s attorney, Stewart Mathews:
STEWART MATHEWS, Lawyer for Ray Tensing: There are two sides to this thing, that the case will ultimately be tried and decided in a courtroom, and that that videotape is subject to more than the interpretation that’s been put out there by the prosecutor.
GWEN IFILL: That videotape is the much-viewed footage from Tensing’s body camera, taped during the July 19 traffic stop that ended with Tensing shooting Dubose in the head, killing him instantly.
Tensing has said he feared for his life, and audio of his initial account was captured after he killed Dubose.
RAY TENSING, University of Cincinnati Police Department: … produce a license. So, that’s when he put it in drive and started taking off. I reached in, and I shot one round at him. He took off on me. I got my hand caught in the car.
GWEN IFILL: Prosecutors have scoffed at that claim, but defense attorney Mathews has pointed out that footage from a second officer’s camera shows Tensing on the ground. Outside the courtroom today, a friend of Samuel Dubose proclaimed, “They can shoot me in my head too if Tensing’s not convicted.”
KIMBERLY THOMAS, Friend of Samuel Dubose: He wasn’t in fear of — you see how humble my brother was? My brother don’t even raise his voice. He panicked when he seen that gun. He got a gun. I got my hands up. And he shot him cold-blooded in the head.
GWEN IFILL: Today’s arraignment follows a peaceful rally in downtown Cincinnati last night. Hundreds took part in the Black Lives Matter protest, chanting slogans like “Hands up, don’t shoot,” a phrase coined nearly a year ago after killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ray Tensing’s next court date is set for August 19.
Joining me now to discuss the fallout from the shooting and indictment is Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. He has been a driving force behind many of the changes that have taken place in that city in the years since another officer-involved shooting triggered five days of riots in 2001.
Welcome, Chief Blackwell.
GWEN IFILL: Between 1999 and 2014, Cincinnati had a drop in officer-involved cases, I think of 69 percent, I saw, of use of force. What’s happened? What changed? Did this bring you backwards?
JEFFREY BLACKWELL, Cincinnati Police Chief: Well, I think what happened — and I wasn’t here. I was in Columbus at the time.
But after the collaborative agreement and the civil unrest in 2001, we changed our strategic and our operational platform, if you will. We signed a historic collaborative agreement that involved the community, clergy, prosecutors, judges and police officers. I don’t think any other city has engaged or encountered this type of document since then.
I think that’s been the driving force to the culture change in Cincinnati policing.
GWEN IFILL: Well, and I want to be clear and fair that the officer involved in this latest shooting is not a city of Cincinnati police officer, but a University of Cincinnati police officer.
But it still must stir you have a lot of bad feelings and familiar old feelings. What has been the community reaction thus far?
JEFFREY BLACKWELL: It has. You’re right, Gwen. It has stirred up those feelings.
And, quite naturally, we were concerned that we would have that sympathetic reflex, just like communities have had or have now after incidents in Baltimore and Cleveland and Ferguson and other cities in our nation. We have seen one egregious act after another, unfortunately, in policing.
And make no mistake about it. We are in the most difficult policing environment in the history of this nation. And 99 percent of the police officers perform admirably. They do a wonderful job every day with compassion and character. But when we make mistakes, they are magnified like never before.
And I am pleased that, when this mistake happened in our city by a university officer here, it was dealt with appropriately and in a timely fashion.
GWEN IFILL: Let me ask you about the appropriateness of how it was dealt with. We know — we saw the video footage. We have heard about the body camera that the officer was wearing.
Did this prove to you that body cameras help to get to some sort of resolution more quickly, or did it prove that body cameras don’t stop this sort of thing from happening?
JEFFREY BLACKWELL: No, I think the first, Gwen. I think it absolutely proves that body cameras should be a required piece of equipment for police officers in this nation.
And we are in the process here at Cincinnati P.D. of trying to implement a body camera platform ourselves. Body cameras help in two aspects. They make the police officer behave more professionally, but they also make the citizen encounter — the citizen behave more appropriately as well.
And then they give us the much-needed evidence that is critical in situations like this. Candidly, I’m not sure that this would have resulted in an indictment had we not had that body camera footage.
GWEN IFILL: You have said in the past, because you have advised other cities in these situations — you have said in the past there is a cultural disconnect and that racism is often at the root of some of these conflicts. Do you think that’s the case here as well?
JEFFREY BLACKWELL: You know, I think it’s a combination of things, Gwen.
I think, first and foremost is that the officer lacked the necessary training from a baseline level, as well as the cultural competency training, to be engaged in urban policing. Our community is very urban. The University of Cincinnati sits in an urban space in our city. And by coming out of the university area and going down into one of our neighborhoods, I think it’s a recipe for disaster when these officers don’t quite understand how we police in the city. And it played out in a very negative way.
GWEN IFILL: The prosecutor said yesterday, among the other things, that this individual perhaps shouldn’t have been a police officer.
JEFFREY BLACKWELL: Well, you know, I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to delve into his personnel file or his background history, but I will say this.
Policing in a big city in this nation is far different than policing on a university campus or in a rural community, especially a city like Cincinnati that understands the proper way to police. We place engagement high on our list over enforcement. We are engaged with our community. We believe in transparency and relationship and truth-telling.
And I remember being with you in Ferguson several months ago, and I said that, when you have community engagement, you get what I call relationship collateral. I think you have seen that play out here in our community since this verdict. We were expecting problems. I think other parts of the nation were looking at Cincinnati, thinking that we would turn into a Baltimore or a Cleveland that have experienced civil unrest.
But we didn’t. We didn’t, and I’m very proud of our city. I’m very proud of the peace that prevailed in Cincinnati last night.
GWEN IFILL: And yet you have said every city is one incident away from a Ferguson or a Baltimore or a Cleveland, but not Cincinnati?
JEFFREY BLACKWELL: You know, I hope not, Gwen. I really do. I was worried. I have to be honest with you. I haven’t slept in a couple of days.
And I do believe that every city, including my city here, is one incident away, if it’s a bad incident and it’s not dealt with appropriately. First and foremost, we hope, in policing, every chief that I know hopes that they’re not sitting here talking to you about a riot in their city based on inappropriate police conduct.
But the other piece that I think the nation is really honed in on is that, if we do have police misconduct, we need to be held accountable for our actions. We have got to stop this shroud of secrecy around policing, and we have got to be truthful in our investigations on police officers.
GWEN IFILL: Cincinnati Chief of Police Jeffrey Blackwell, thank you.
JEFFREY BLACKWELL: Thank you, Gwen.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The discovery of the debris raises many questions. And we look at some of them now with Van Gurley, a retired naval oceanographer whose company, Metron, helped investigators eventually find Air France Flight 447 after it crashed in the ocean off the coast of South America, and Miles O’Brien, our science correspondent, and a pilot himself, who closely watches the world of aviation.
Gentlemen, welcome to you both.
Miles, I’m going to start with you. How definitive then is it that this plane piece comes from that Boeing 777?
MILES O’BRIEN: Judy, I would put it in the high 90 percentile. This is absolutely, definitely a piece of a 777. There’s only one 777 missing in the world, much less the Indian Ocean, and there the piece is.
So what remains to be done is dot the I’s, cross the T’s, get the serial numbers. Every part on an airplane has a serial number and a long pedigree attached to it. It’s a lot of paperwork, so it will take a little bit of time to say absolutely, definitively.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, looking at this — I know you have been watching this story since the news broke last night. Looking at what we know so far, what does it tell you?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, it’s interesting. The way it — the damage pattern presents itself is interesting. A lot of people have been saying, well, perhaps it fell off as the aircraft struck the water.
But I have been talking to some experts who have looked at it and said two things that are interesting. The leading edge is not very damaged at all, and the trailing edge, if you look at it, almost looks like it’s been torn like a piece of paper. That would indicate stress damage.
In other words, it could have been fluttering, and that would suggest that it tore off in flight. So perhaps this aircraft was diving in a spiral at a very high rate of speed, and pieces of it were falling off.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, that’s still speculation at this point?
MILES O’BRIEN: It is, but the damage pattern supports that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Van Gurley, based on what you know from looking for plane parts, knowing about ocean currents, what do we know? What does this tell you, I mean, what was known about where this plane possibly went down and the fact that this may be a part all the way over close to Madagascar?
VAN GURLEY, Former Navy Oceanographer: So, Judy, this begins to answer some of the big W-questions that have been plaguing this since the beginning.
First, what happened to this flight? If this, in fact, is traced back to the Malaysian Air 370 aircraft, this says definitively the plane crashed at sea and it provides the ability for those families to get the closure they have been looking for since this began.
The second question it answered is, where would it have crashed? Now, everybody would love, and I would love to be able to say that we will be able to use some scientific method and say, because we found it here, it must have been here. The science doesn’t really support that type of accuracy.
But what it does tell us, if we look at the ocean currents in the Indian Ocean, is that, if this is, in fact, from MH370, that the plane most likely went down — that the plane definitely went down in the Indian Ocean and most likely in the eastern to southeastern Indian Ocean.
And so that begins to sort of draw circles and narrow down some of the wilder speculation that’s been out there for the last year-and-a-half.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about the barnacles they have shown that are on this so-called flaperon, this part of the wing?
VAN GURLEY: Right.
So, that is very strong evidence that this part has been at sea for quite a while, and it’s not something that was lost off a transport ship last week and just happened to run up, wash up on this beach. For that type of marine growth to accumulate means that the piece has been floating out at sea for a while.
I think the marine biologists, if they get a chance to look at it, can start looking at how much growth is there and then provide a better estimate of how long it must have been at sea for that to have happened.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Miles, what are the questions you and others who look at aviation and aviation safety have going forward? I mean, how much does this narrow our understanding of what could have happened?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, you can learn a lot from the pieces, the wreckage. It can tell a real story for us.
What exactly happened? Did it break up in flight? Was there a fire? Was there some sort of explosion?
The pieces can actually tell you this kind of information. Ultimately, however, the only answers are at the bottom of the sea. And, hopefully, this will help people at least have the confidence to know they’re looking in the right part of the world, that, on that circle that Van was referring to on the map, there is some degree of confidence that they’re looking in that precise place in a — within plus or minus a few miles, whereas there was all this concern that perhaps, after that last communication with the satellite, it might have glided on for some several dozens or even close to 100 miles, making the search much less accurate.
So, I think this helps make the search more accurate and ultimately might get us to some answers.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Van Gurley, what about in terms of parts of the plane that will float, parts that would sink? What do we know about that?
VAN GURLEY: So, again, depending on how the aircraft is constructed, if there’s air voids and pockets, foam inserts, those types of things, then the plane — the parts would tend to stay on the surface for a longer period of time.
So, one of the things that I think I already have read in the reporting that has already started up is, if you find one piece, are there more somewhere in that part of the ocean? Every part moves differently in the ocean currents and the winds. It’s a very complex pattern, so it’s not to say we will find more things on the same beach, but it’s a high indication that the earlier projections that — if things were going to wash up, you kind of wanted to look around Madagascar, around the islands like Reunion and down off the west coast of the southern part of Africa.
So I think a continued search for those regions, looking for more pieces, parts might help to backtrack and make that — refine that, that Miles was talking about, to sort of help narrow the search area, but it is still going to be a very long process.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And so, just quickly, Miles, the next things that have to happen are what, broadening the search in that area?
MILES O’BRIEN: Exactly. Keep plowing through the ocean along that circle that was drawn by that satellite, Inmarsat satellite, that gave them a basic idea, a big swathe of ocean, to be sure, but this helps them have that confidence. And then let’s hope we can find some more debris.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Miles O’Brien, Van Gurley, it’s early, at least at this phase of the story. We thank you both.
VAN GURLEY: Well, thank you.
MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The year-plus mystery over what happened to a missing Malaysian airliner captured headlines again, this time a long way from the search area.
Small waves rolled in along the coast of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, just a day after the world’s attention was brought to debris washed up on shore. It appeared to be part of a plane wing. And now, it’s being sent to a French military lab near Toulouse. That’s where aviation investigators are headed to determine if it’s the first trace of wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Malaysia’s chief of civil aviation:
AZHARUDDIN ABDUL RAHMAN, Director General of Civil Aviation, Malaysia: I’m leading a team to Toulouse tonight to verify and to investigate whether that particular part comes from a Boeing 777 or if it comes from MH370.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s been more than a year since the Boeing 777 disappeared. The plane was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, but then turned south, and vanished from radar somewhere over the Indian Ocean. It was carrying 239 passengers and crew.
Since then, its disappearance has remained a mystery. Despite extensive search efforts, nothing had been found, leaving families to linger in uncertainty and frustration.
DAI SHUQIN, Sister of Missing Passenger (through interpreter): They claim to have found debris of the MH370 on an island? We don’t accept this. We do not believe what they claim. The finding doesn’t constitute anything.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Australia’s deputy prime minister said this new discovery could be a major breakthrough, but added:
WARREN TRUSS, Deputy Prime Minister, Australia: It’s been in the water for a year-and-a-half now and it’s moved, obviously, a considerable distance. So, it won’t be all that helpful in pinpointing precisely where the aircraft might be located. But if this wreckage is linked to MH370, it will certainly confirm that the aircraft has gone into the water in the Indian Ocean area.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It may be more than a week before investigators are able to determine that.
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GWEN IFILL: The Senate sent legislation to the president today authorizing a three-month patch to fund the nation’s highways and transit systems. The Highway Trust Fund was set to run dry on July 31. A bipartisan Senate deal for a six-year funding bill made it through the Senate this morning, but it has little support in the House.
The co-sponsors of that bill were Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe and Democrat Barbara Boxer of California. She laid blame on the House for leaving town without a long-term solution.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), California: They should have stayed another week, because there are several things they could do. One, they can write their own bill. Two, they can take up our bill. And, three, they could do just a very small bill and we can get to conference. I would have preferred that, because I hate the idea of another short-term extension.
GWEN IFILL: This marks the 34th extension Congress has passed since 2009. And it kicks negotiations into the fall. We will have a look at how one state, Oregon, is dealing with the dwindling road funds later in the program tonight.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. economy expanded in the second quarter of this year, boosted by solid consumer spending.
The Commerce Department reported the gross domestic product grew to 2.3 percent annual rate, but Wall Street primarily paid attention to corporate earnings reports today and ended the day mostly flat. The Dow Jones industrial average lost five points to close at 17746. The Nasdaq rose 17 points and the S&P 500 added a fraction of a point.
GWEN IFILL: One out of every five adults in the U.S. has a disability, meaning the total number of Americans living with a disability is 53 million. The new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives a state-by-state look at disability types. Among the findings, the highest percentage of people with disabilities are in the South. Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee ranked highest. And black and Hispanic adults are more likely to have a disability than whites.
JUDY WOODRUFF: “Rolling Stone” magazine’s managing editor is stepping down after 19 years. Will Dana’s departure is the latest fallout from a November 2014 article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. The piece was later retracted and has been widely discredited.
Yesterday, three members of the fraternity at the center of the accusations filed a defamation lawsuit against “Rolling Stone” and the article’s author.
GWEN IFILL: In Afghanistan, the Taliban confirmed the death of their longtime leader, Mullah Omar, and they appointed his successor. Omar’s deputy, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, was elevated to lead the group by the Taliban’s supreme council. But that put a second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban on hold, as they assessed the new leadership.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Hundreds of migrants from the Mediterranean stormed the Channel Tunnel that links France and Britain today. Riot police were deployed to the northern French port town of Calais to secure the passageway. British Prime Minister David Cameron warned his country won’t become a — quote — “safe haven” for migrants.
Cordelia Lynch of Independent Television News has our report.
CORDELIA LYNCH: Crawling through a small hole in a fence, this is how many migrants get around the railside defenses before they make a perilous walk to the Channel Tunnel along the train tracks.
This scene is played out throughout the day, but navigating their way to a better life is fraught with risk. It’s a continuous game of cat and mouse. Many have fled war, but they can’t escape conflict. The migrant problem has been rumbling for 20 years, simmering beneath it, a standoff between both sides of the channel. Some in France believe they’re being asked to do Britain’s dirty work.
It’s beginning to look like a toxic game of political football. The British solution is more fences and more police, and yet still the migrants come. It seems all that’s on offer is a short-term fix for an intractable problem; 120 gendarme and riot police have been sent to the tunnel. But the man coordinating the response believes the answer is political.
MAN (through interpreter): The solution is not a police solution or forces, police or different things, administrative. The solution is political.
CORDELIA LYNCH: But there are clear battle lines being drawn, and it’s claiming lives, 10 since June. Thousands more died just trying to get here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Some 3,000 migrants are believed to be living in a makeshift camp near the Channel Tunnel’s entrance.
GWEN IFILL: The only man sentenced to die for the 1993 bombings in Mumbai, India, was executed by hanging today. Yakub Memon was convicted in 2007 for helping to raise funds to carry out India’s deadliest terror attack; 257 people were killed. The blasts hit the Mumbai Stock Exchange, three hotels, and multiple other sites over a two-hour period. Human rights groups protested the execution. India’s legal system allows capital punishment in the rarest of the rare cases.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A sweltering heat wave had its grip on much of the Middle East today, with temperatures more than 25 degrees above normal. The heat was so extreme, the Iraqi government declared a four-day holiday, beginning today, to keep people indoors as temperatures topped 122 degrees. Some Baghdad residents beat the heat by taking advantage of water misters at local markets, while others took a dip in the Tigris River.
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As the 70th anniversary of V-J Day approaches, the United States and Asia are facing another reminder that history may not repeat itself but often it seems to come around full circle. Seventy years after the end of World War II in Asia, once again the top ranks of the U.S. government and the universe of academia and think tanks are in yet another debate about the future relationship between the United States and China.
While the 1945 surrender of Japan to the allies will be widely observed on Aug. 14-15 in the United States and most of Asia, few Americans remember that soon after, 50,000 U.S. Marines and soldiers were briefly dispatched to China to try to stop the flow of Chinese Communists trying to seize control of the northern parts of the country being evacuated by the defeated Japanese occupiers.
That story and many others in the complicated history of the U.S.-China relationship are fascinatingly spelled out in Richard Bernstein’s book “China 1945”. The former New York Times correspondent and prolific author weaves a tale of many characters but one conclusion: that the United States, for all its singular vast power at the end of World War II, did not have the ability to stop the takeover by Mao Zedong’s Communists.
But as Bernstein pointed out at a recent session at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., his book is not just about history and what might have been. Just as his book is appearing, Americans are not only debating yet again the limits of American power but are engaged in a full-fledged discussion over whether the U.S. and China are heading for a new confrontation.
Indeed it is hard to go to a news website or front page of a newspaper without seeing reports of the rising tensions, whether in the South China Sea, with Japan, in cyberattacks, over the detention of human rights activists, spreading Chinese investment all over the world and China creating financial institutions that could challenge the dominance of the post-World War II economic order created by the U.S.
These examples of real or potential confrontation have produced a set of journalistic and think tank analyses concluding that the relatively benign and expanding relationship between the U.S. and China since President Nixon’s 1972 visit has come to an end. Ending with it is the expectation, which survived seven U.S. administrations, that China would evolve into a more prosperous, open and in the words of former World Bank president Robert Zoellick, “a responsible stakeholder” in the world order. Instead, the growing perception in the West and over much of Asia is of a China more assertive, expanding its military, ready to extend its influence beyond its maritime borders and under President Xi Jinping displaying Mao-like one-man rule and more severely cracking down on any questioning or opposition to the Communist Party’s monopoly of power.
How the United States should respond is subject to much debate, but several analysts have sketched out the various schools of thought that are in play and to some extent competing against each other. Two recent publications, both reaching influential audiences, have described the various policy camps and proposals.
Geoff Dyer, former Beijing bureau chief and now Washington correspondent for the Financial Times, suggested three schools: the get tougher camp; the accommodationists seeing a possible grand bargain between the two powers and a group suggesting a step by step plan of common projects to develop mutual trust.
Aaron Friedberg, a former aide to Vice President Cheney and now at Princeton University, described a policy option pie of six major slices: enhanced engagement, step by step measures especially in arms control, a grand bargain and acknowledgement of spheres of influence, the U.S. pulling back from the Western Pacific and pure containment as the U.S. and its European allies exercised against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Writing in the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ publication Survival, Friedberg comes down for the school he calls “better balancing,” a mix of policies that acknowledges different interests but is based on the reality that the two countries are locked in “a mutually profitable embrace.”
But the reality was a China impoverished after fighting Japanese invaders since 1937 and resuming a parallel civil war between the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, based in Chungking, which was recognized by the Western powers as China’s legitimate government, and the Communist insurgents of Mao and Chou En-Lai in their northern redoubt of Yenan. (The eastern swath of China from Manchuria to Beijing down to Canton and Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese during the war years.)
Ultimately, as Bernstein asserts, there was little the United States could have done differently to produce another result from what occurred by 1949, the Communist victory and takeover of the entire nation. But that outcome did lead to more than 20 years of poisonous American political debate over “who lost China,” as if a country then of 150 million and only 170 years old, even at the zenith of its global power, could control the fate of a distant nation five times the size and a civilization stretching over millennia.
The Chinese protagonists were or would become global figures. Bernstein, like many modern historians, paints a more positive and sympathetic picture of Chiang, who was scorned at the time by many American journalists and officials, even earning the nickname “Peanut” from American commander, Gen. Joseph Stilwell. The Communist leaders are portrayed as consummate seducers, convincing Western interlocutors of their democratic instincts while ruthlessly pursuing the goals of a global revolution in tandem with their Soviet allies.
The American cast of characters, portrayed in exquisite detail, certainly were colorful and diverse and ultimately all failing in their separate ways. Even George Marshall, a towering figure in U.S. history, could not succeed in his ill-fated mission of forging some kind of unity between the Nationalists and Communists.
Harsher judgments are rendered for numerous foreign service officers and journalists effectively seduced by Mao and Chou into believing their democratic bona fides. But as Bernstein argues, such men as John Paton Davies and John Stewart Service, were genuine China experts and American patriots and did not deserved to be treated as near-traitors in the bitter aftermath of the Communist takeover.
The twist of fate is that one of the harshest critics was the ascendant Republican politician Richard Nixon, who as president would create the opening to China. But even that breakthrough occurred because of events beyond American control, a near war in 1969 between China and the Soviet Union and after ruinous communist experiments that took millions of lives in the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.
As Bernstein concludes: “A revolutionary China under Mao was destined to single out the United States as an enemy, and to do so for a long interval, until China had exhausted itself in revolutionary fervor and it faced a greater and closer rival and threat to its independence (from the Soviet Union).”
Once again, circumstances have changed, even though China is no longer really revolutionary. It cooperates with a waning Russia to stymie American influence in Asia and elsewhere, but now as the ascendant power, not the supplicant of Moscow.
As Bernstein notes of the U.S. and China: “It is a strange rivalry in its way, because for all these decades (the two nations) would appear to have much more to gain from friendly cooperation than from conflict — gains in trade and investment, cooperation against environmental degradation, terrorism and nuclear proliferation.”
But the pattern of enmity, Bernstein writes, was established in the months surrounding the end of World War II, and all these years later still hovers over China and the United States and even over the rest of Asia.
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WASHINGTON — Some federal and state prisoners could begin receiving student aid to take college courses — while still behind bars — as early as the 2016-2017 school year.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the pilot Pell grant program during a visit Friday to the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, Maryland.
“America is a nation of second chances,” Duncan said. “Giving people who have made mistakes in their lives a chance to get back on track and become contributing members of society is fundamental to who we are — it can also be a cost-saver for taxpayers.”
The administration’s new Second Chance Pell Pilot program would allow, on a temporary basis, federal grants to be used to cover college costs for prisoners for the first time since Congress excluded them from student aid in 1994. It would last three to five years and be open to prisoners who are eligible for release, particularly within the next five years.
Republicans were quick to criticize the program, saying it rewards people who break the law at the expense of hard-working Americans and that the administration doesn’t have authority to act without an OK from Congress.
GOP Rep. Chris Collins of New York introduced legislation to block Pell money from being used in the experimental program, saying it would “put the cost of a free college education for criminals on the backs of the taxpayers.”
A Republican committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said the idea may be worthwhile for some prisoners, “but the administration absolutely does not have the authority to do this without approval from Congress, because the Higher Education Act prohibits prisoners from receiving Pell Grants.” Alexander, chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and an education secretary under President George H.W. Bush, said the administration should focus on existing job training and re-entry programs.
Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell says the ban is over 20 years old, and “we think that a lot has changed” since then. He said the pilot program would help provide data to see if the ban should still stay in place.
Mitchell stressed that program would “not compromise or displace any Pell grant eligibility for any other populations.”
Supporters point to a 2013 Rand study that found incarcerated people who took part in prison education programs were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who didn’t participate in any correctional education. For every dollar invested in correctional education programs, Rand estimates that four to five dollars are saved on three year re-incarceration costs.
Congress passed legislation in 1994 banning government student aid to prisoners in federal or state institutions. But the Education Department says it can set up the temporary pilot program because of the experimental sites section of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It gives federal officials flexibility to test the effectiveness of temporary changes to the way federal student aid is distributed.
The department was not able to provide any estimates on how many prisoners might participate in the pilot Pell program. Mitchell said the costs would be “modest” but he did not provide an estimate on how much the program might cost.
The federal Pell program provided grants ranging from $582 to $5,645 to over 8.6 million students in 2013-2014, according to the department.
The maximum award for the current 2015-2016 school year is $5,775.
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Rarely have Americans seen the inner workings of the Navy submarines that sail the world under the sea, loaded with the most deadly weapons in existence: nuclear arms.
But PBS NewsHour, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, was given a rare look at the Navy’s plan to replace the current generation of nuclear-armed warships.
While reporting aboard the USS Pennsylvania, an Ohio-class submarine armed with up to 24 Trident D-5 nuclear missiles, we witnessed an abbreviated battle drill simulating the launch of one of those missiles.
It’s a precise and efficient operation, and if exercised successfully, could initiate nuclear war.
A detail of the operation that caught our eye was a black joystick-looking device held by Weapons Officer Lt. A.J. Walker. This is the instrument that could ultimately launch the nuclear weapon.
In practice, it’s a key part of the process. In reality, Pennsylvania’s Commander John Cage says he hopes it’s never used.
“Nobody on the boat wants [a launch] to happen, but it’s important that we train for it, because if tasked, we are going to execute that mission.”
Watch the full report from the USS Pennsylvania on tonight’s PBS NewsHour. Read more from the series: How to resupply a nuclear submarine
This report was produced in partnership with The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
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The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.45 percent in the first half of this year according to newly released data. However, this estimate is somewhat misleading, because — let’s not forget — population has been growing in the meantime as well at an annual rate of about 0.75 percent. So this means that on a per capita basis the growth was closer to 0.7 percent, and that’s not a very reassuring result; surely not enough to make itself felt on Main Street.
In any event, such short-term fluctuations are not very meaningful for interpreting what is really going on in the economy. There are obviously too many possibilities for error and random events to sneak in and skew the results in unknown ways. Hence, it is much better to focus on the long-run trends. Former Treasury Secretary and Harvard economist Larry Summers has been doing just that. One of the most prominent of the public intellectuals, he has been arguing for well over a year that we should recognize that the economy has morphed into one that is no longer capable of growing in the way that it did during the second half of the 20th century and that it won’t again unless we happen to be in a financial bubble.
We were growing decently between the mid-1990s and the turn of the century, but, let’s face it, it was essentially a bubble economy that ended in the famous dot-com fiasco and was followed by a short recession in 2001. When the recession was over the economy was bustling once more, but again, it was fueled by unsustainable finance with easy money, loose underwriting standards, irresponsible lending and careless borrowing that — as we well know — ended dreadfully in 2008. And the economy has been sputtering along ever since.
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Crucial to Summers’s argument is the observation that during the years prior to the meltdown of 2008 the economy was by no means overheating as one would expect in a boom. In spite of the easy-money policy of the Federal Reserve, the explosion of debt as people withdrew their savings from their house equity, the trillions of dollars worth of subprime lending, and consumers living in a fantasy world giddy from a false impression of wealth, inflation was moderate and so was wage growth. All of these factors should have fueled aggregate demand. However, as Summers explained, “Capacity utilization wasn’t under any great pressure. Unemployment wasn’t under any remarkably low level. Inflation was entirely quiescent. So somehow, even a great bubble wasn’t enough to produce any excess in aggregate demand.” In short, something had gone wrong.
Summers’s thesis was a “radical manifesto,” according to Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, noting that, “we may be in an economy that needs bubbles just to achieve something near full employment.” In the absence of bubbles the economy will continue to meander along but without any spectacular results of the bygone century. And that is exactly what we had in the first half of 2015.
So we should not focus on the quarterly fluctuations and instead note that it has been fully two decades since the economy grew at a decent clip supported by sustainable finance. That is what secular stagnation looks and feels like.
Summers is not alone: Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon’s research supports his thesis. Gordon’s analysis of the empirical evidence indicates that productivity growth has slowed considerably. He calculates that productivity per worker has been growing at a rate of 0.76 percent per year between 2004 and 2013, which is nearly a third of the 20th century average of about 2 percent per year. As a consequence of this productivity slowdown, he forecasts that the real disposable per capita income of the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution will grow at a negligible rate of 0.2 percent. That is to say, it will be difficult to distinguish it from utter stagnation.
Gordon cites a number of “headwinds” giving rise to this slowdown including an inferior elementary and high school educational system and an extremely skewed distribution of income, which keeps purchasing power out of the hands of those who would like to spend and into the hands of those who have nothing more to spend it on. With such structural problems and slow productivity growth, we should not expect GDP to grow like it did in the prior century.
A corollary of Gordon’s finding is that innovation has run out of steam. No use expecting rapid growth from the kind of innovations that we’ve been getting for the last ten years or so. And there is nothing on the horizon that will likely reverse that pattern. The great innovations associated with discoveries like the steam engines, airplanes, and automobiles are a thing of the past. Many of these breakthroughs brought forth new products and new industries and had substantial impacts on the productivity gains in other sectors, ripping through the economy like a whirlwind.
There are no such low-hanging fruit left anymore. Sure we have some innovation, but the Apple watch will not increase productivity in a meaningful way nor will it create more than a handful of jobs in the U.S. (It’s produced in Asia after all.) The increasingly popular ridesharing/taxi company Uber will grow and profit, but at the expense of low-wage taxi drivers making a meager living. Don’t expect such innovations to bounce the economy out of its slothful mood to flourish.
So although the recession technically ended in June 2009, it sure still feels like recession for a good many of us and for good reason. We are still producing $1 trillion less than what our GDP was projected to be before the recession hit. And we should expect a recession again soon since the average elapsed time between the last three recessions (reckoning from trough to peak) was eight years, but the last one lasted only six years. Given that it has now been six years since the end of the last recession, I’d say it is a fair bet that we ought to start thinking about what we would do if a recession does rear its ugly head.
That will be a challenge, in part, because of ex-Fed chairman Ben Bernanke pumped some $3.6 trillion into the financial sector with little if anything to show for it on Main Street, but it did increase asset prices on Wall Street. Even his successor, Janet Yellen said that asset prices are “quite high.” Unfortunately, Bernanke’s legacy is that the Fed is now out of ammunition if a recession were to strike.
Normally under such circumstances, such as in 2001 and 2008, the Fed would step on the accelerator by lowering interest rates which, in turn, would make auto loans cheaper and mortgages more affordable, and the economy would get back on track. But the interest rate that the Fed charges member banks is already near zero — and has been so for six years — so it cannot get any lower for all practical purposes.
So what are the other options? A fiscal stimulus? The likelihood of this Republican-led Congress voting for such a stimulus is slim to none. When the next recession hits we will likely be floating without a Keynesian rudder — not at all a pleasant prospect.
So what is one to make of the 0.7 percent per capita real GDP growth rate in the first half of 2015? I’d say that this is what secular stagnation looks like. That is what a sour economy looks like. You can forget the annual growth rates of real GDP of 4 percent or above like we were used to in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The last time we had one of those was fifteen years ago and it was accompanied by bubble finance.
Now, one does not have to be a sophisticated statistician to figure out that if during the final three decades of the 20th century, we had real GDP growth rates above 4 percent every other year, but in the first 15 years of the 21st century we had just one single such episode, then the economic processes generating such outcomes must have changed. Such dramatic shift is not likely to have been merely a random occurrence.
Shifting to a per capita basis, note that between 1970 and 2000 the growth rate in real GDP per capita averaged 2.4 percent per year, while even during the run up to the subprime mortgage crisis when consumers were delirious from their capital gains and easy access to loans, growth still slowed to 1.6 percent per year. And even if one leaves the downswing of the Great Recession out of consideration, the growth during the so-called “recovery” was slower still at 1.4 percent per year, just 60 percent of what it was during the three decades of the late 20th century.
In short, as Summers and Gordon argue, the new normal is nowhere near the halcyon days of the late twentieth century. Moreover, the baseline three decades also had its recessions: four to be precise, and in spite of including those in the calculation, baseline growth rates seem head and shoulders above the new normal.
The pundits are claiming that we are recovering, but six years after the end of the last recession, I think we need a new vocabulary to describe the economic situation. The recovery euphemisms won’t do. Krugman’s description of it as a “sour economy” comes close to describing today’s real existing economy. Robert Skidelsky, the foremost authority on Keynes suggests that, “With depressed profit expectations, an economy could remain in a semi-slump for years. There would be alternating periods of recovery and collapse, but this oscillation would occur around an anemic average level of activity.”
In other words, the epoch of the Industrial Revolution that started some quarter of a millennium ago is over. Forget it, today’s economy is an entirely new ballgame. That’s a brutal realization, but the sooner we can get used to it the sooner we can respond to the new challenges in a rational fashion.
We should accept that secular stagnation has become the new normal. We should also ponder the implications of Gordon’s thesis of the productivity slowdown. We need to recognize that we’ve mutated into a new type of economy and come to terms with the slow growth that such an economy is likely to produce. Until we do that, we won’t be able to think creatively about how to respond to the new normal with new ideas. If we cannot bring ourselves to do that the American Dream will remain just a mirage for so many of our compatriots. Waiting for the golden age of the post-World War II 20th century to return, quarter after quarter, makes about as much sense as waiting for Godot.
One thousand singers, drummers and guitarists in Cesena, Italy, gathered in a field to play the Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly,” in a large-scale musical request for the band to come play for them. The project took over a year to organize.
In the video, organizer Fabio Zaffagnini asks Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett to make the trip to Italy for their superfans. “Italy is a country where dreams cannot easily come true,” Zaffagnini said. “But it’s a land of passion and creativity.”
Dave Grohl and the rest of the band accepted the invitation.
The video has been viewed over 6 million times since it was posted to YouTube one day ago.
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A vaccine for the Ebola virus – the first of its kind in the disease’s 40-year recorded history – shows promise in trials in Guinea, according to a report released Friday in the medical journal Lancet.
“It could be a game-changer, because previously there was nothing against Ebola,” Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general for health systems and innovation at the World Health Organization, told reporters in Geneva. It’s “promising” but results still need to be confirmed by the scientific community, she said.
Doctors Without Borders, which helped run the trials in Guinea, called it a “breakthrough.”
“Too many people have been dying from this extremely deadly disease, and it has been very frustrating for healthcare workers to feel so powerless against it. More data is needed to tell us how efficacious this preventive tool actually is, but this is a unique breakthrough,” the group’s Medical Director Bertrand Draguez said in a statement.
An all-out search for a vaccine was launched after a widespread Ebola outbreak hit West Africa. The disease, which surged in the spring of 2014 primarily in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, has infected about 27,800 people and killed 11,300, according to the World Health Organization’s latest figures.
The new vaccine, called VSV-EBOV, was first discovered by the public health agency of Canada. Drug manufacturer Merck has acquired the rights to develop it.
In trials that started in Guinea in March 2015, the vaccine was tested in “rings” of people in contact with those infected with Ebola, Kieny said.
Some rings of people were vaccinated immediately. Other rings of contacts were vaccinated three weeks later, and the results of both groups were compared.
In the rings that were vaccinated immediately, none of the 2,014 people in the trial developed the disease after 10 days of being vaccinated.
Of the 2,380 people in the control group — those who had the delayed vaccine — 16 developed Ebola.
The vaccine appears to be so effective that WHO is going to stop delaying the vaccinations, as it was doing in the control groups, and will start vaccinating children and young adults in light of the new data, Kieny said.
The vaccine still needs to be registered, which will take a few weeks or months, but the hope is the vaccine will be stockpiled and ready to use the next time there is an Ebola outbreak, she said. “Not if, when, there will be a new outbreak, because there is no doubt there will be new outbreaks.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, describes the significance of the findings on Friday’s PBS NewsHour.
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It’s a T-shirt kind of day in Washington, DC: 85 degrees with 63 percent humidity. We all know those numbers mean hot, but what exactly does that humidity percentage tell us? And why should we care? Below, some facts on humidity, and how it affects our daily lives:
1. Fifty percent humidity is a sponge half full.
Humidity describes the amount of water vapor or water molecules in the air. Weather scientists use the term “relative humidity,” which Joe Sobel, a meteorologist and senior vice president at Accuweather described as “a comparison of the amount of moisture in the air versus the amount of moisture the air could hold.”
Think of the atmosphere as a sponge that can hold a fixed amount of water, let’s say a gallon of water. “If there is no water in the sponge… then the relative humidity would be zero,” Sobel said. Saturate the sponge with half a gallon of water – half of what it is capable of holding – and that relative humidity climbs to 50 percent.
“The amount of moisture that the atmosphere can hold relates directly depends on the temperature,” Sobel said. Think of a rise in temperature like an increase in sponge size. A sponge that is half saturated with water is at 50 percent humidity. Now, increase the size of the sponge without adding more water. The relative humidity decreases because the bigger sponge is capable of taking on more moisture, but the same amount of water remains.
Soaking a sponge with more water than it can hold would cause it to drip. But this dripping doesn’t always symbolize rainfall. The relative humidity measured on the ground (where the sponge is) doesn’t reflect moisture levels miles above in the sky. Rain occurs when the rising air can no longer hold the water droplets that have formed clouds high in the sky. (Clouds can form closer to the ground too — that’s fog). The temperature and atmospheric pressure changes as you ascend into the sky — the air gets colder and thinner. So 100 percent humidity might not mean rain, but it does mean dew.
2. What’s the deal with dew?
Dew occurs when the relative humidity reaches 100 percent.
“Dew point temperature is an absolute measure of the amount of water vapor in the air,” Sobel said. If you have a dew point temperature of 65, that means that the outside temperature must decrease to 65 degrees before dew, or water, will form on your lawn. And if the temperature outside is 65 and the dew point is 65, then the relative humidity is 100 percent.
Dew point temperature is a good indicator of how comfortable or how uncomfortable you might feel, Sobel said. But we don’t hear about it on the Weather Channel. It does, however, get calculated into the “RealFeel” temperature along with other factors like wind, cloud cover and the angle of the sun.
3. Saudi Arabia has the highest recorded dew point temperature.
Humidity comes from water evaporating from lakes and oceans. Warmer water evaporates more quickly – that’s why you find the most humid regions closer to warm bodies of water, like the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and Miami. The highest dew point temperature ever recorded was 95 in July 2003, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. In the US, the midwest and Mississippi have recorded dew point temperatures above 80. For example, Pipestone and St. James, Minnesota reported a humidity reading of 86 in 2005.
Wind can carry moisture in the air pretty far. “We typically get air masses in the summer that originated from the Gulf of Mexico, into the middle Atlantic regions,” Sobel said.
4. New York stinks in the summer, and we can thank humidity for that.
Scientists in this 2008 study confirmed what many city dwellers already know — people are better at detecting smells in a humid environment. In heat and high humidity, there are more water molecules in the air to bind and carry odorous particles into our nose. Trash still smells in the winter, but the cold, dry air limits how far the stench can travel. This may also be what accounts for the dirty dog smell. As water molecules evaporate from soggy dog fur, they carry with them smelly bacteria.
5. Humidity brought us tonal language.
Our vocal cords are comprised of a pair of mucus membranes that stretch across the voice box, or larynx. They vibrate, controlling the air from the lungs that flows by as we speak or sing. The level of moisture in the air affects the elasticity of our vocal cords. Singers can tell you that it is harder to carry a tune in a dry environment.
We’ve known for decades that you are more likely to be on pitch in humid environments. More recently, researchers theorized that speech was one of many human behaviors adapted to fit environment. After looking at more than 3,700 languages, they discovered that tonal languages, like Chinese and Vietnamese, rarely developed in dry climates.
6. Once upon a time, people measured humidity with hair curls.
In 1783, Horace Bénédict de Saussure built the first hygrometer, a device to measure humidity, and he built it with… hair. To understand how it worked, you need to know a thing or two about hair.
A single strand of hair has many layers. The inner layer is filled with proteins called keratins that bind to each other, giving shape to your luscious locks. These proteins bind by forming tough disulfide bonds or weaker hydrogen bonds. You can thank hydrogen bonds for the funny way your hair dries naturally after getting out of the shower. Water molecules (two hydrogens and an oxygen) are soaked up by your hair and act as a bridge linking keratin molecules together in place. These hydrogen bonds keep your hair fixed in shape until you wet it again, allowing new hydrogen bonds to form.
In high humidity, water molecules in the air find their way into straight strands. As hydrogen bonds connect keratin proteins, hair starts to fold back on itself and curl. Frizzy fly aways occur when hair folds back enough to break the cuticle – or the outer layer of hair that looks like dragon scales under a microscope.
The drier the hair, the more likely it is to soak up moisture in the atmosphere. So damaged hair – scorched by curling irons or parched from over shampooing – is often treated with moisturizing salon products.
Enter hygrometer. Saussure attached one end of a 10-inch piece of human hair to a screw. The rest of the strand he maneuvered through a pulley and attached to a weight. As the hair took on moisture, the strand curled and shortened moving the pulley and lifting the weight. Saussure could then calculate how much humidity was in the air based on how much the weight moved. The hair hygrometer can be made more sensitive by dipping the hair in alcohol and removing any oils that might prevent the strand from soaking up moisture.
7. With exercise and humidity — don’t overdew it.
Even professional summer athletes have to adjust for changes in humidity. A baseball pitch can change position by an eighth of an inch for every 20 percent drop in relative humidity. That might seem like a small amount to the average person, but for a major league player, that could be the difference between a fly ball and a grand slam. In 2002, the Colorado Rockies started storing their baseballs in humidors to keep them wetter and bouncier. Homeruns are more frequent at high altitude venues that get little humidity, like Coorers Field. But storing the balls in humidors helped decrease homeruns by roughly 25 percent, said Alan Nathan, a physics professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
An important note about exercising in high humidity: it’s dangerous. “The higher the dew point, the less effectively you are going to cool after exercising,” Sobel said. And if you can’t cool yourself, your body can reach fatal temperatures.
Here’s why. When we exercise in hot temperatures, our bodies sweat to cool down. In dry air, the sweat evaporates quickly. But in humidity, sweat doesn’t evaporate as fast, and your body sweats more in an effort to keep cool. All that sweating dehydrates your body, leading you to overheat.
In the summer, our bodies actually take on extra water weight to account for the extra sweating.
8. Humidity is for the bugs, especially the moths.
When it comes to wet heat in the insect world, it’s the little guy that thrives. Goggy Davidowitz, an entomologist at the University of Arizona explains that smaller bugs are more likely to dehydrate because they have a larger surface area relative to their whole body size. Because most bugs are small, and humidity increases survivorship, insects seek moist climates, Davidowitz said.
Moths make the most of moist climates. Davidowitz’s lab studies hawkmoths (Manduca Sexta). These insects can detect a 4 percent difference in humidity by sensing changes in flower nectar evaporation. Increases in humidity help these moths detect which flowers are high in nectar.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to political commentary still steeped in intellect, but far less civil than Shields and Brooks.
Jeffrey Brown has the story.
MAN: To help us extract meaning from these conventions, two of America’s most eloquent commentators, William Buckley and Gore Vidal.
JEFFREY BROWN: Hard to imagine now, a time before political pundits dominated cable and broadcast news programs.
The documentary “Best of Enemies” pinpoints a key moment of change, when two intellectual giants William F. Buckley on the right, Gore Vidal on the left, attracted a huge national audience with intelligence and wit, but also put-downs and insults.
Filmmakers Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon explored a series of debates the two held during the 1968 political conventions that, for a variety of reasons, would alter the future of political discourse on television.
We spoke recently at the AFI Docs Festival in Washington.
You set this up as both a personal and a kind of national epic. Why do you think it rose to that level?
MORGAN NEVILLE, Director, “Best of Enemies”: Gore Vidal and William Buckley represented the polar opposites of the left and the right at a time when America was kind of coming apart at the seams a little bit. This is 1968. There’s rioting in the streets. And they’re representing those poles there on national TV.
But what I think what makes it such a dramatic story for us is that it was deeply personal. It was under the veneer of politics, but I think they saw in the other person somebody who could detect their own insecurities and expose those to the world.
JEFFREY BROWN: You follow 10 debates, right? It’s like a heavyweight — a heavyweight fight, right? You even have round one, round two, debate one, two, three.
What happened? What did you see happening over the course of the fight, so to speak?
ROBERT GORDON, Director, “Best of Enemies”: It was an ever-growing attack. We saw in the raw footage within like two minutes of the first debate. They — these high-minded guys take the low road. It becomes very personal.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right away.
ROBERT GORDON: Right away.
This big blowup was inevitable, although it’s like a slow fuse. And you don’t get that now. You don’t get that kind of time on TV now to have a slow burn like that. Now you — now it’s like, we’re back, and here’s the fireworks.
JEFFREY BROWN: Over the course of 10 debates, that slow burn morphed into a bitter rivalry that was broadcast to millions.
MORGAN NEVILLE: There were so many nuggets we found. And one of my favorite things was going through Gore’s papers at Harvard and finding the papers he had on his lap with him during the debates, which included pages of scripted insults that he had…
JEFFREY BROWN: Really, scripted insults?
MORGAN NEVILLE: Scripted insults.
JEFFREY BROWN: But he came to — he came to play, so to speak.
MORGAN NEVILLE: He was there with a game plan, and that was the evidence right there.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. And then, of course, it does lead up to this culminating, the most famous moment, where he does get under Buckley’s skin. He calls him a crypto-Nazi. Buckley comes back at him with calling him a queer and threatens to punch him in the mouth.
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR.: Now, listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I’ll sock in your goddamn face, and you will stay plastered.
MORGAN NEVILLE: It was one of those defining moments in television. Of course, there’s rioting in the streets and people are paying attention to that, but most of America is taking this in on television.
And the television audience that night was huge. And this is before YouTube, before people could go back and analyze it. It happened, and then it vanished.
JEFFREY BROWN: You’re making the case that television news, television political discourse was never the same. The two men were actually never the same. Right? They never quite got over this.
MORGAN NEVILLE: And it was something that I think they were regularly asked about for the rest of their lives. It was something that not only did they have this blowup on television. They wrote long pieces in “Esquire” magazine the next year debating, re-debating this. And then they sued each other over those pieces for three years.
JEFFREY BROWN: Why do you think they couldn’t let it go, personally?
MORGAN NEVILLE: I think Buckley was the one who couldn’t let it go. I think Gore would have just bragged about it at dinner parties the rest of his life, and that would have been it. I think Buckley really felt like he had to answer to himself for something that had happened.
For Buckley, it was trying to explain why he lost his cool, when he was the king of not losing his cool.
ROBERT GORDON: So uncharacteristically lost his cool, because that’s what it was. It was unlike any other moment in his career.
And I think that, by showing that he couldn’t let it go, Gore realized that he could continue to enjoy that moment of victory by bringing it up at every opportunity he was given.
JEFFREY BROWN: The spark between the two heavyweights was a hit with television audiences and a boon for ABC, desperate to stand out from its competitors.
Sensing a good thing, executives there decided that, instead of covering the conventions in full, they could punctuate the coverage with Vidal and Buckley’s political and sometimes personal commentary.
MORGAN NEVILLE: ABC couldn’t afford to do gavel-to-gavel coverage at the conventions, as networks had traditionally had done. And so they came up with what they called unconventional convention coverage, which was a kind of distillation of the conventions’ news with these commentary segments every night, these debates between Vidal and Buckley.
ROBERT GORDON: Ridiculed by the other networks.
MORGAN NEVILLE: And in the aftermath of this, even with the big blowup between Vidal and Buckley and the ratings it got, no network ever again did gavel-to-gavel coverage again, and so it really did establish a new template.
ROBERT GORDON: These guys brought a command of history, of language, of politics, all these things to bear on this conversation, and it produced this massive forest fire. It just wants the flash paper fire. It just wants the flame. It doesn’t care about what’s burning.
JEFFREY BROWN: And you’re saying we’re still living with that today?
ROBERT GORDON: That’s what we — yes. Well, turn on the TV and see.
JEFFREY BROWN: The film “Best of Enemies” can be seen in theaters nationwide.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeffrey Brown.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Fascinating. And we love our Shields and Brooks.
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WASHINGTON — Dozens of emails that traversed Hillary Clinton’s private, unsecure home server contain national security information now deemed too sensitive to make public, according to the latest batch of records released Friday.
In 2,206 pages of emails, the government censored passages to protect national security at least 64 times in 37 messages, including instances when the same information was blacked-out multiple times. Clinton has said she never sent classified information from her private email server, which The Associated Press was first to identify as operating in her home in New York.
The Friday release brings the volume of emails publicly released by the State Department to roughly 12 percent of the 55,000 pages Clinton had turned over to department lawyers earlier this year. That falls short of the 15 percent goal set by a court ruling in May, a lag the State Department attributed to interest by the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community in the possible compromise of classified information.
There were no obviously stunning revelations in the emails released Friday, which reflected the workaday business of government. Some of the documents could reflect favorably on Clinton, such as a message in August 2009 about a 10-year-old old Yemeni girl who had been married and divorced, and had been portrayed as unhappy in a CNN story.
“Is there any way we can help her? Could we get her to the US for counselling and education?” Clinton asked an aide, who began making calls.
Others could be controversial, such as 2009 messages from former national security adviser Sandy Berger about how to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over negotiations with Palestinians.
Some emails show the extent to which her closest aides managed the details of her image. Top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, for example, sent her an early-morning message in August 2009 advising her to “wear a dark color today. Maybe the new dark green suit. Or blue.” Clinton later held a joint news conference with the Jordanian foreign minister. She wore the green suit.
Clinton’s decision not to use a State Department email account has become a political problem for her, as Republicans seize on the disclosures to paint her as untrustworthy and willing to break rules for personal gain.
There is also the matter of the classified information that found its way onto her insecure email system.
Memos sent by the inspector general of the intelligence community alerted the FBI to a potential security violation arising from Clinton’s use of a private server located in her home.
The inspector general said his office has found four emails containing classified information while reviewing a limited sample of 40 of the emails provided by Clinton. Those four messages were not marked as classified but should have been handled as such because they contained classified information at the time they were sent, the inspector general said.
Clinton has repeatedly defended her email usage, saying her private server had “numerous safeguards” and placing responsibility for releasing the documents on the State Department.
“They’re the ones that are bearing the responsibility to sort through these thousands and thousands of emails and determine at what pace they can be released,” she said after meeting with labor leaders Thursday in Maryland. “I really hope that it will be as quickly as possible.”
Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said they were concerned that Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, apparently holds thousands of Clinton’s emails — including some that may contain classified information — on a thumb drive at his Washington office.
Grassley wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey asking him to explain what the FBI is doing to ensure that classified information contained on Kendall’s thumb drive is secured and not further disseminated.
Among Clinton’s exchanges now censored as classified by the State Department was a brief exchange in October 2009 between her and Jeffrey D. Feltman, then Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Clinton emailed Feltman about an “Egyptian proposal” for separate signings of a reconciliation deal with Hamas after the militant organization balked at attending a unity ceremony. Both Clinton’s email and Feltman’s response are marked B-1 for “classified” and completely censored from the email release.
A longer email sent the same day from Clinton to former Sen. George Mitchell, then the special envoy for Middle East Peace, is also censored as classified despite the fact that Clinton did not send the original message on a secure channel. Mitchell later responded to Clinton that “the Egyptian document has been received and is being translated.”
Other now-secret material involved a battle over whom to appoint as the head of the United Nations cultural agency.
The September 2009 issue was over the candidacy of an Egyptian official who had once threatened to burn Israeli books. Abedin on Sept. 22 forwarded to the Secretary of State a chain of emails from department staff summing up the maneuvering over the issue. One sentence in that chain was released redacted, with a code for national security interests as the stated reason.
Previous emails released by the agency revealed that Clinton received information on her private account about the deadly 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that was retroactively classified as “secret” at the request of the FBI.
The emails released Friday raised new questions about Clinton’s stated reason for routing all her work-related emails through a private server. On several occasions, Clinton received messages not only at her home email server — firstname.lastname@example.org — but also on a BlackBerry email account through her cellphone provider.
In March, a Clinton spokesman said the only reason Clinton had her own account is because she “wanted the simplicity of using one device” and “opted to use her personal email account as a matter of convenience.”
There was no indication from emails released so far that Clinton’s home computer system used encryption software that would have protected her communications from the prying eyes of foreign spies, hackers or any other interested parties on the Internet.
Current and former intelligence officials have said they assume the emails were intercepted by foreign intelligence services.
Earlier this year, a district court judge mandated that the agency release batches of Clinton’s private correspondence from her time as secretary of state every 30 days starting June 30.
The regular releases of Clinton’s correspondence all but guarantee a slow drip of revelations from the emails throughout the Democratic presidential primary campaign, complicating her efforts to put the issue to rest. The goal is for the department to publicly unveil all 55,000 pages of her emails by Jan. 29, 2016 — just three days before Iowa caucus-goers cast the first votes in the Democratic primary contest.
Associated Press writers Jack Gillum, Eric Tucker, Stephen Braun, Eileen Sullivan and Matthew Daly in Washington, Nick Riccardi in Denver and Ron DePasquale in New York contributed to this report.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: From the shooting, police shooting in Cincinnati, to rising expectations for the first Republican presidential debate, it’s been a full week.
And it leads us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
So, Mark, this shooting in Cincinnati of a black man by a white policeman, the video released this week, there is no question — there appears to be no question about what happened. Why do these things keep happening?
MARK SHIELDS: I wish I knew, Judy. I mean, I do — I have never heard, quite frankly, a prosecuting attorney, like Joe Deters did, just come right out and say this was essentially murder.
But I have to say, I am encouraged by the use of body cameras. This is — where it’s been tried, where it’s been used, endorsed by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, it has led to the diminution of violence. We learned as kids that character is how we conduct ourselves when nobody else is looking.
This is a great incentive to character. We know it’s not — it’s good for police as well. A bogus charge of sexual harassment against a police officer was totally discredited by the presence of these cameras. But, in answer to your question, I do not have an answer.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s — David, and we don’t know if there is any connection, but we reported earlier tonight the city of Baltimore has had a record number of homicides, gun deaths just in the last month. And yet these incidents continue.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
Well, you know, I suspect — my theory would be that these things have always been happening, and we just haven’t known about it and talked about it, or without the cop cam in this case, we probably wouldn’t know about this at all. It would just be an invisible case for most of us.
And so I’m ambivalent about cop cams, because I think a lot of what police is, they go into homes of people at their most vulnerable moments. I’m a little nervous about the cameras in those circumstances. I’m also a little nervous about the way the camera may interfere with trust, a trusting relationship with a civilian and a police officer.
Nevertheless, in this case, it’s a clear, obvious good thing that we have the cam. We can find out exactly what happened. And it’s very clear. He shot the guy when he was in his car. And so I do think this is a case where finally we have the technology that gives us the information.
As to why the murder rates are rising, my reading of the research on this is that first there’s a lot of gang activity and a lot of it is extremely localized. But if police — we have seen all these cases of police abuse. But the police are there for a reason and they generally do good and they generally prevent crime.
And if the police are being a little less aggressive, sometimes for good reason, it’s not totally surprising you’re going to see an uptick in crime.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
MARK SHIELDS: I think, Judy, cameras, not that they’re a panacea, but I do think they’re going to help restore the relationship and trust in the police.
I think they’re good for the police, quite honestly. And there’s no question that there’s been a breach in the trust between urban — especially urban community, African-American and minority communities and the police in major American cities.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A tough thing to watch this week.
All right, let’s turn to presidential politics.
David, we are six days away now from the first debate. The Republicans are going to meet in Cleveland, I guess 10 of the now 17 Republicans. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore jumped in the race today. What do we expect? This is the first time we are going to see 10 of the 17 together.
DAVID BROOKS: Well, first, what’s Trump? Is this a Donald Trump reality show with nine supporting actors?
That is to me the big story, whether he is able to dominate with his own voice, whether everyone, as they have been doing off camera in the last week, just try to get some publicity for themselves by attacking him, whether he becomes the central figure, or whether they try to ignore him.
I hope they try to ignore him and just let the thing ride itself out. But to me, that’s the — he still remains, perversely, the big issue here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you think is going to happen? What do you expect?
MARK SHIELDS: Here’s what’s going to happen, Judy.
MARK SHIELDS: No, I go back to the Democratic race in 2004, when Howard Dean was the front-runner. And at the first debate, Dick Gephardt, the Democratic challenger who had won Iowa in 1988, took him on directly, to Dean, and said he wasn’t a real Democrat.
And the problem is, when you have got a multicandidate field — and you have got 17, but this time you are going to have 10 on the stage — when A goes after B in a two-person race, then either A pays a price for the charge if it’s true, or B benefits from the charge if in fact it exposes A’s shortcoming.
But when A goes after B and there’s a C, and D and a Q all lined up there, you have no idea who’s going to be the beneficiary. I don’t think there’s any question that there will be an effort to go after Donald Trump. I think…
JUDY WOODRUFF: But why isn’t that — isn’t that just going to make him…
MARK SHIELDS: Well, no, but you have to do it. You have to bring him down to earth.
This is a man who was pro-choice. Now he’s pro-life. He’s for single-payer health insurance. He’s at odds philosophically through his career, his support of Democratic candidates, large checks for Hillary Clinton’s campaigns in the past, explains now that everybody is transactional.
You want to bring him down if you’re his opponent, if you’re charging him. I think Chris Christie will go after him most directly, because Chris Christie had already preordained for himself the role of the no-nonsense, tell it like it is, straight from the shoulder, and Donald Trump has totally preempted that.
But, no, I think it’s going to be fascinating. I think it’s always, Judy — debates are important even this early.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Even this early.
MARK SHIELDS: Even this early.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, what is to stop — Donald Trump has benefited, it seems to me, until now from the attacks. He’s gotten bigger and stronger.
DAVID BROOKS: I agree.
I think the normal logic doesn’t apply to Donald Trump. I think if you go after him, as he’s gone after all these Republicans, all these Republicans have gone after him, and what it illustrates is that there are nine of them or 16 of them and one of him, and that he is the one who stands out.
And a couple of things are happening here. One is, people always like an obnoxious middle-aged guy that tells it like it is. There’s a weakness for that. I built my whole career on that.
DAVID BROOKS: But, second, he’s not like the rest of them. Somebody did a good speech analysis of the opening speeches all the candidates gave, and all the candidates had speeches using the same language, the same clusters of words. They’re all very similar, except for Donald Trump, different verbal style, different arguments, different words.
He just stands out. And as Mark has pointed out on this show a lot, if you have two or three decades of politicians attacking Washington, and he is the ultimate anti-Washington candidate, and they’re all sort of Washington, then attacking him is going to make him look even more exceptional and probably help him, at least in the short-term.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Mark, if Donald Trump is getting bigger on the Republican side, Bernie Sanders continues to draw big crowds on the Democratic side.
There’s some question about whether he’s taking fans away or votes away from Hillary Clinton this early. But how do you explain this appeal of these two outspoken people with very different views, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump? What is out there going on? I saw a quote today from the Democratic pollster Peter Hart, where he said he thinks the American people are — he said a lot of people are scared, and they want somebody who is going to protect them.
MARK SHIELDS: I have great respect for Peter Hart. And I — that may very well explain part of the appeal.
But, to me, the appeal that they have in common is that they are essentially, as David put, out of the mold. Donald Trump is not your typical candidate that people have come to expect. He’s not tailoring his language to the moment.
Bernie Sanders, he is — what you see is what you get. I mean, there are a lot of Democrats who are still, at heart, disappointed that the people that they felt brought the nation to its knees in 2008-2009, Wall Street, the top 1 percent, have skated, they have never been held accountable, they have never gone to the bar of justice, nobody’s paid a price.
Bernie Sanders is the avenging angel. He’s the anti-candidate, Judy, in this sense. There’s no focus groups. He’s spent no money on polling, all right? There’s no pre-tested remarks. He just says exactly what he’s been saying. And I think that has appeal.
And the crowds you mentioned are truly impressive.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Does that explain Bernie Sanders, David?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I think so.
I mean, it’s not what you believe sometimes; it’s how you believe it. And Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have very — little different belief styles. I’m not sure Donald Trump believes in anything, except for his belief system sort of begins and ends with the morning mirror.
DAVID BROOKS: But Sanders actually believes in this.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And he’s intellectually consistent and he’s intellectually rigorous. I don’t agree with it, but it is a coherent belief system.
And, to me, his success is explained by the rapid and almost dam-breaking movement, intellectual movement of the Democratic base on economic issues further to the left. And so what had been an anchor of Democratic centrism, new Democrats, that anchor is gone. People are responding to what they perceive as the issues of the day, inequality, wage stagnation, and they are moving pretty far left very quickly.
And I think they’re — a lot of the Democratic base really intellectually is where Sanders is. And Hillary Clinton is trying to catch up, but, for her, it’s catchup. For him, it’s home base.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re right. We are hearing some of that from Hillary Clinton.
I do want to — in the couple minutes we have left, I want to ask you both about these super PAC — we’re supposed to be hearing tonight, Mark, the first filing — or the filing, fund-raising reports on these super PACs.
In the past, money has not always been determinative. Just because somebody had raised or had a lot of money didn’t always mean they were going to do well.
MARK SHIELDS: Right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But could that change this time? Because some of the super PAC money is just off the charts, hundreds of millions of dollars.
MARK SHIELDS: President John Connally and President Phil Gramm would agree with you that money didn’t deliver the White House to either one of them, even though they were great fund-raisers.
Judy, this is so entirely different. In the past, in order to continue as a candidate, a serious candidate, you had to be in the top three finishes in Iowa. You had to be in the top two out of New Hampshire. All our presidents elected in the past half-century finished either first or second in New Hampshire and in the top three in Iowa.
That changed with the Citizens United, when we gave unlimited amounts of money.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Supreme Court.
MARK SHIELDS: Newt Gingrich finished a bad fourth in Iowa in 2012. He finished a weaker fourth in New Hampshire, but Sheldon Adelson wrote him a $50 million check and he could go to South Carolina and savage Mitt Romney, which he did in half-hour spots.
Now we have got 30 people so far, as of an hour before this show, who had given a million dollars to a PAC; 70 percent of them have given it to Jeb Bush.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David, could money make a difference this time?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, I think it makes a difference in who stays in the race.
So, some of the Republican candidates are pretty poor. And I suspect, even with some super PAC help, they just won’t be able to run a campaign after a little while and so they will drop out. So it helps you stay in the race, like Newt Gingrich did.
But once you’re in the race and you’re in the major leagues, I don’t think it matters, because there is going to be so much money, so much swamping of money, that you’re just making the rubble bounce. And I don’t think the money will give you a huge advantage over the other candidates, because everybody will have plenty of it, and you will be — we will all be bombarded with ads, and they will cease to make a difference after a while.
So, back then, it gets up to the reality of who the candidate is, what they’re saying and how distinct they are.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, the next time we get together, we will be talking about the first Republican debate.
MARK SHIELDS: We will.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David Brooks, Mark Shields, we thank you.
MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: During the 1980s and ’90s, the U.S. Navy built a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines. Their mission? Deter an attack against the United States, and, if that failed, fight a nuclear war.
Those submarines are now approaching the end of their life spans. The Navy plans to build replacements, but there’s growing debate over how many are needed and how to pay for them.
Veteran Pentagon reporter Jamie McIntyre, who is now national security correspondent for Al-Jazeera America, has been on special assignment for the “NewsHour.” His report was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
MAN: Man battle stations, missile. Spin up all missiles.
MAN: Sound the general alarm.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: If America’s strategy of nuclear deterrence ever fails, the beginning of the end might look something like this.
The U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarines are all part of the Ohio class, named for the first submarine of the design, the USS Ohio. They have only one mission: to lurk silently, deep beneath the ocean, ready to rain nuclear devastation on virtually any target anywhere any time on orders of the president.
Submerged just off the coast of Hawaii, the 180-man crew of the USS Pennsylvania demonstrated for the PBS NewsHour an abridged version of what it practices every week the sub is at sea. The submarine’s video screens display only unclassified data.
MAN: We have a verified and correct launch order directing the launch of missiles 7, 3, and 5.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: And the Navy reviewed our footage to ensure nothing was compromised. What we saw was a mock doomsday scenario.
MAN: This is the captain. This is an exercise.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: The launching of three nuclear-tipped missiles, enough to destroy several major cities and kill millions of people.
It’s a drill where there can be no questioning of orders, no consideration of consequences, no second thoughts. Lieutenant A.J. Walker is the triggerman, whose job is to what’s euphemistically termed close the circuit.
This is the missile compartment. It what makes this submarine such a fearsome weapon, 24 missile tubes, each one capable of holding a Trident missile with multiple independently targeted warheads. That means this single ship could deliver massive destructive power to multiple targets around the globe.
To critics back in Washington, that raises an obvious question: If one submarine can bring on Armageddon, how many does the U.S. really need?
Joseph Cirincione is president of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that supports eliminating nuclear weapons.
JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, President, Ploughshares Fund: One sub carries at its minimum the equivalent of 600 Hiroshimas. If they launched those missiles, if they launch those warheads, it would be a destructive event beyond history.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: It’s not just an academic argument. The military commander of America’s nuclear arsenal, Admiral Cecil Haney, wants to upgrade the aging fleet of 14 Ohio class ballistic missile subs in the coming decades by building 12 new next-generation subs.
ADM. CECIL HANEY, U.S. Strategic Commander: Replacing the Ohio class submarine is one of my top priorities.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: Each submarine has a price tag of upwards of $5 billion, although, when you count research and development, the total price climbs to over $100 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR, Commander, U.S. Submarine Forces: However you want to calculate it, this fleet is a bargain.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: Vice Admiral Mike Connor commands the Navy submarine forces. At his headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, he makes the case for an almost one-for-one replacement of the current fleet, arguing the cost is just 1 percent of the overall defense budget, while the benefit is incalculable, measured, he says, in wars that never start.
VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR: The truth is that we use them every day to deter a major power war.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: The ballistic missile submarine is an awesome war machine. At 560 feet, it is as long as the Washington Monument is high, yet nearly invisible to enemy eyes when slinking silently deep beneath the waves, which makes it the most survivable leg of America’s nuclear triad of subs, bombers, and land-based missiles.
VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR: And what would happen if they did attempt a massive strike, no matter how massive that strike was, the submarine force that is at sea would survive and be in a position to retaliate.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: As the U.S. cuts the number of nuclear weapons in the latest round of reductions negotiated with the Russians, submarines will play an outsized role in the deterrence mission, carrying 70 percent of America’s active nuclear arsenal.
Still, critics like Ploughshares’ Joe Cirincione argue building enough new subs to destroy the world a dozen times over is expensive overkill.
JOSEPH CIRINCIONE: If you just need this to be a deterrent force, to respond in case someone is crazy enough to actually attack the United States and thereby deter them from ever doing that, well, you really could be talking about four, five, six nuclear submarines, each of which would have 16 missile tubes, each of which would carry five or six warheads. That’s a lot of nuclear weapons.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: But, as Admiral Connor war-games various worst-case scenarios, involving Russia, China, and North Korea, he insists the psychological calculus of deterrence can’t be reduced to a simple math problem.
VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR: So you think about an intelligent adversary, and our adversaries, in a peer competitor situation, they are intelligent, they are thinking adversaries, you wouldn’t want to have a situation where there is an incentive where they say, you know, if we strike on this day or when this ship is being repaired or when they’re just leaving port and the other one is just coming in, that maybe the balance of force would change in our favor.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: But, ultimately, it could be money, not strategy, that torpedoes the Navy’s pricey plan to design and build a state-of-the-art sub to replace the current 14.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), Connecticut: The cost of that program has been estimated in the range of $100 billion. The Navy has said that it cannot pay for it out of its Navy budget.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: At his Senate hearing to be confirmed as Joint Chiefs chairman, General Joseph Dunford agreed paying for a whole new fleet of subs out of the regular ship building account would bust the Navy’s budget.
GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps: And what I can tell you with a degree of surety is that, were we to fund the Ohio class replacement out of the Department of the Navy, it would have a pretty adverse effect on the rest of the ship building plan, and the estimates are between two-and-a-half and three ships a year.
NORMAN POLMAR, Naval Historian: The cost is — some people would say outrageous. I just say it’s tremendous.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: Naval historian and consultant Norman Polmar says, either way you fund the plan, through the normal budget or a special account, it’s unaffordable, and unworkable.
NORMAN POLMAR: If Congress were to fund the Navy strategic submarines out of a separate fund, tomorrow afternoon, the Air Force would come in and say, hey, Congress has approved a new bomber; we want that funded out of a separate strategic fund.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: Polmar says there are smarter, cheaper ways to buy the same level of nuclear deterrence. Modifying smaller attack submarines already in service, he argues, would allow the Navy to buy fewer of the bigger ballistic missile subs.
NORMAN POLMAR: Today, every attack submarine can carry Tomahawk land attack conventional missiles. Most of our submarines have vertical launch tubes for 12 of these Tomahawk missiles. Those missiles tomorrow or, say, a couple of years could have nuclear warheads.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: But the Navy counters, the smaller attack subs don’t have the endurance of the bigger boomers, and that their cruise missiles don’t have the intercontinental range, nor carry multiple warheads that can destroy different targets.
And advocates for far deeper weapons cuts say the whole debate underscores the folly of expensive new nuclear weapons that would only be used if a war were essentially already lost.
This plaque shows the USS Pennsylvania was launched in April of 1988. That makes it over a quarter-century old. It, like other submarines of its class, was designed for 30 years of service, which means it would have been decommissioned in the next couple of years. But now the Navy says it’s figured out how to keep those submarines running for an extra 12 years.
Commander John Cage is captain of the USS Pennsylvania.
So, you have showed us around your boat. It looks great. Everything looks like it’s spit-polished and shiny. It looks like this boat could go on forever.
CMDR. JOHN CAGE, USS Pennsylvania: She still has a lot of life left in her. But it’s definitely getting on in the years. There’s things that — we have a lot of redundant systems, that I find myself using those redundant systems a little bit more. Certain components will fail. Certain things are just starting to run past their lifetime.
MAN: Dive. Dive.
MAN: All vents open.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: But the sub’s crew is still prepared to make the unthinkable reality.
CMDR. JOHN CAGE: We do think about it. I mean, it’s definitely not something we want to happen. Nobody in the boat wants it to happen.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: How would you handle the crew on the boat after a launch like that, when no one would sort of know what — the fate of the world be hanging in the balance. How do you keep a crew together after…
CMDR. JOHN CAGE: I will tell you, that would be difficult. One of the reasons why we train so frequently, the evolution you saw, we do time and time again, so it becomes something that we can execute immediately and quickly. But after that would be a very difficult time.
JAMIE MCINTYRE: For this submarine, a successful deployment is one where the only projectiles from the sea are the bottlenose dolphins who playfully surf the sub’s bow as it prepares to dive.
Jamie McIntyre for the PBS NewsHour, aboard the USS Pennsylvania, off the coast of Hawaii.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Online, we have a lot more about nuclear-armed submarines. You can watch extended excerpts of the interviews we featured, and see how submarines get resupplied at sea. All that is on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.
This report was produced in partnership with The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, schools for students with disabilities and behavioral issues in the state of Georgia are under scrutiny.
In a two-year-long investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice found that Georgia is illegally segregating these students. Some of the programs are even housed in dilapidated buildings once used as all-black schools during the Jim Crow era.
Alan Judd is an investigative reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has written about the schools and about the Justice Department’s findings.
Alan Judd, we welcome you.
So, who are these students that the state of Georgia is putting in a separate educational program?
ALAN JUDD, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: At any given time, there may be about 5,000 of them. They are students who have — of varying ages who have behavioral issues, who have mental health issues, who maybe are in the autism spectrum, but they are children who have been deemed difficult to control and difficult to educate by their home schools.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And how is the program for them different from the mainstream general education K-12 opportunity that the state of Georgia offers children?
ALAN JUDD: Well, first of all, many are segregated entirely from the mainstream classes, from their regular education peers.
They often do not have science labs. They don’t have art classes, music classes. They may not have access to a gymnasium. The report by the Justice Department found that at least one school actually has segregated restrooms for these students, they have a separate lunch period, they have a separate entrance to the building from other students, where they actually go through a metal detector, where other students don’t.
Another one of the schools keeps them in the basement all day, so they’re not even allowed to even — to be in the sight of other students.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There are some pretty terrible examples that you have written about, both what’s been going on more recently and then a really horrific thing that happened back about 10 or 11 years ago with a 13-year-old in Georgia.
ALAN JUDD: Right.
Jonathan King was, as you said, who was assigned to one of these schools in Gainesville, Georgia, which is northeast of Atlanta. He had been kept in a seclusion room, which is basically a holding cell. It’s a concrete block room with no windows, no water, no restroom facilities, nothing. He had been kept in there, I think, 15 times in 29 days for an average of 94 minutes at a time in solitary confinement.
He had twice threatened suicide, yet, on one particular day, he was allowed — he was placed in that room and was allowed to keep a small piece of rope that he had — was using to hold up his pants as a belt, and then he promptly hanged himself.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what is the Justice Department saying the state of Georgia has to do?
ALAN JUDD: They’re not giving specific instructions, but they’re expecting a significant reply, I believe, from state officials.
But, mainly, it will be to find ways to desegregate the system. And that may mean closing it down altogether. It may mean mainstreaming more children than they’re doing now. It could mean possibly finding private facilities that would take some of these children and educate them.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Alan Judd, how different is the way Georgia handles these children from most other states?
ALAN JUDD: Well, the trend for the last couple decades or more has been to mainstream children in special education, what we have always called special ed.
Georgia seems to be the only state with its network of what they call psycho-educational schools that are specifically designed for children with behavioral problems, primarily. So, it looks like we’re the only state that still does this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, as I understand it, the state has not yet responded. They say they’re studying what the Justice Department charges.
ALAN JUDD: That’s right. The governor’s office and the state Department of Education have just said they will look at it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s a disturbing piece of reporting, a disturbing report from the Justice Department.
Alan Judd, we thank you.
ALAN JUDD: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Today, the secretary of education and the attorney general of the U.S. proposed a major shift in policy. After a 20-year ban, some federal and state inmates could become eligible for Pell Grant money to take college classes while behind bars.
Our special correspondent for education, John Merrow, reports on an earlier pilot program to create a Prison to College Pipeline.
CRAIG COSTON, Prison to College Participant: Well, I have been in prison since I was 16. I’m 34 now.
WILL TERRY, Prison to College Participant: I have been locked up five years. I have been in this jail three years.
DOMINGO BORGES, Prison to College Participant: I have spent 21 years in prison. I was arrested at the age of 17.
ROWLAND DAVIS, Prison to College Participant: I have been incarcerated 21 years now. I’m 39 years old.
DOMINGO BORGES: I’m in jail for murder.
WILL TERRY: Two of them drug sales and a burglary charge.
ROWLAND DAVIS: For homicide.
CRAIG COSTON: Taking someone’s life.
JOHN MERROW: Many people would say, hey, they did the crime, so let them do the time.
But this woman believes that, if prisoners are going to change their ways, they need an education.
BAZ DREISINGER, Founder, Prison to College Pipeline: We see education as being integral to the reentry process.
JOHN MERROW: And so these men are studying Shakespeare.
ERIN KAPLAN, Teacher, Prison to College Pipeline: Were you able to see some of these themes, motifs, and symbols?
ERIN KAPLAN: OK. Good.
JOHN MERROW: Today, they’re analyzing “Othello” in Erin Kaplan’s introductory English class.
ROWLAND DAVIS: The fact that Othello’s a foreigner and the fact that he’s in a higher office, and has a higher-prestige wife makes him want to do this because he feels that he should have all of this.
MAN: I took it as when he — when the duke made that statement, what he was saying, because they kept describing Othello, especially Iago, and him as a Moor, as being evil, black is devilish, as you know, this thick-lipped person and so on and so forth.
JOHN MERROW: These 12 men are incarcerated at a New York state correctional facility in Otisville.
ERIN KAPLAN: “If it not be for some purpose of import, give it me again. Poor lady, she will run mad when she shall lack it.
JOHN MERROW: This class, and five others like it, are part of a pilot program called the Prison to College Pipeline. To enroll, prisoners must have finished high school, pass a reading and writing assessment, and be eligible for release within five years.
BAZ DREISINGER: We have this idea that, possibly, in the three to five years prior to release, we want to seize on the high expectations, the high hopes, the anticipations of coming home, take advantage of that hope and turn it to education.
JOHN MERROW: Baz Dreisinger founded the program in the fall of 2011 with just 14 students. It’s a collaboration among John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Hostos Community College, and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. The cost, about $3,500 per student, is covered by private and public sources.
It costs New York State about $60,000 to keep a person in prison for one year.
ROWLAND DAVIS: He’s comfortable in military tactics.
ERIN KAPLAN: He’s confident.
ROWLAND DAVIS: You understand?
ERIN KAPLAN: As a warrior.
ROWLAND DAVIS: Exactly.
JOHN MERROW: Educational opportunities behind bars are very rare. Two-thirds of correctional facilities do not offer college courses. Where programs do exist, many are like Baz’s, very small.
Today, of the 1.6 million men and women in prison, only about 35,000 are taking college courses.
DOMINGO BORGES: And it could also be as far as his mentality, his morals and principles, the fact that he’s a general within the army.
JOHN MERROW: For many, this is their first college class.
DOMINGO BORGES: I never actually had the opportunity to take college. I consider myself a good student, always did.
JOHN MERROW: But it’s not their first time in prison.
WILL TERRY: I went out and came — committed a crime and came back.
JOHN MERROW: Will Terry’s experience is typical; 55 percent of prisoners end up back behind bars within five years of their release.
DOMINGO BORGES: And the doubt came from somebody else.
JOHN MERROW: The program gives prisoners the opportunity to develop new identities as students.
DOMINGO BORGES: I have been out of school for a very long time, so becoming a student again is — it has really been quite a ride, but I enjoy it. I like the challenge. It gives you a self-worth that is unspeakable. It’s very nice.
BAZ DREISINGER: The students want to be edited. They want to be taught. They want to double the length of the readings. They want you to critique their papers 10 times over. Part of it is that you have been in an intellectual void for so long, that you’re hungry for this knowledge, and the other part of it is that the stakes are very high, as they see it.
They know that they’re redefining themselves via education and they take it really seriously.
MAN: It’s in Act I, Scene 3 of 781.
ERIN KAPLAN: What line?
JOHN MERROW: Success inside means opportunity outside. Students who do well are guaranteed admission into one the 18 colleges that make up the CUNY system.
BAZ DREISINGER: I like to describe the Prison to College Pipeline as a college and reentry program and a college-as-reentry program. So the program starts inside and completes outside, and I think one of the reasons why that’s so powerful is that you benefit from getting some college education inside, but you also benefit from having a real campus experience and being in a college when you come out.
WILL TERRY: I know how much a support system is important to be able to be afforded an opportunity to go somewhere and meet with people that we already established relationships with, like Baz. They’re not just saying get the hell out. We actually have people that’s out there rooting for us.
JOHN MERROW: But providing prisoners with college opportunities is not a popular idea.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), New York: We don’t we teach college in prison?
JOHN MERROW: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a plan to publicly fund college programs in 10 state prisons. It faced opposition from both parties and was quickly shot down.
Research indicates that prisoners who participate in correctional post-secondary education programs are 51 percent less likely to be reincarcerated. It’s too soon to know if this program will be successful, because only 36 men have participated.
BAZ DREISINGER: It’s hard to talk about numbers and percentages, because the program is so small and we just started.
JOHN MERROW: Seven of these 12 students have been released, and six are already enrolled in college or are applying for admission. Only one is back in prison.
Reporting for the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Merrow in Otisville, New York.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now a potentially exciting development in the search for an Ebola vaccine, and to Hari Sreenivasan.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Results of a clinical trial conducted in the West African country of Guinea and published today in the medical journal “Lancet” found an experimental vaccine was 75 percent to 100 percent effective in blocking new infections of the Ebola virus.
The trial involved more than 7,000 people, over 3,500 of whom were vaccinated. Guinea is one of three West African countries that marked the epicenter of the 2014 Ebola outbreak that killed more than 10,000 people.
For more on efforts to create a vaccine and on this trial, I am joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
So, you have got — there are several different companies and people working on vaccines, including a member of your team, but today we hear words like game-changer, you know, these are significant results. Why was this so important?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, National Institutes of Health: Well, it’s significant because of the outcome of the trial. It showed rather impressive results.
Now, it was done under very difficult circumstances, so that’s really very important. It was done right during the intensity of the outbreak itself. And the data that have been released today show that the results are really quite favorable. There is still a lot of work to be done to determine, in fact, if this protection against Ebola is durable, mainly that it can last for several months, because we certainly would like to have this available for future outbreaks.
And, inevitably, there will be future outbreaks of Ebola. So this is an important step in our armamentarium of preventing Ebola infection, in addition to the public health measures that you do to prevent infection.
HARI SREENIVASAN: But what did they do? How did they figure out that this is effective?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, it was a very interesting design to the study.
It’s called a ring vaccination study, ring meaning you create a ring around an index case of when someone gets infected, and you vaccinate the contacts of that person and the contacts of the contacts. But the thing about the ring study is that it was randomized, so when they identified a case of Ebola, they had two rings, one in which got vaccinated immediately, and one which got vaccinated 21 days afterward.
And then they compared the number of infections in those who were vaccinated immediately vs. those who had a delay of 21 days, and the results were rather impressive, because the number of Ebola infections in the people who were vaccinated immediately was zero, and the number of infections for those who had vaccination on a delayed basis was 17.
Now, relatively speaking, this is an interim analysis of results, but it’s still rather impressive. Now we’re going to have to look at the details of the data to really delve into what it means. But having said that, it’s important that the results came out this way.
HARI SREENIVASAN: This is — you alluded to this earlier. This is in the middle of an epidemic. This isn’t our kind of definition of a gold standard of a clinical trial, where you give some people medicine and some people a placebo, because I would imagine it’s almost unethical to not give someone a medication when you see people dying within days of having the virus.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, I wouldn’t say it’s unethical. But it’s difficult to do in situations like that.
But if you don’t know what works, and you do a controlled trial, then you get informed consent about how you’re going to do the trial, and then it really is quite ethical. So — but I think that this design was an interesting, novel design. It’s fashioned after the design of how we approached smallpox and the elimination of smallpox.
It was a creative design that was done under difficult circumstances.
HARI SREENIVASAN: When people think of vaccines, they also think of things that actually have the virus in it. Did this vaccine have Ebola in it?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: No, it didn’t. It had a protein of Ebola.
So let me explain what it is. A virus was used called vesicular stomatitis virus, which is a virus that infects animals. It rarely infects humans. And what the virus was is, you took one gene of Ebola and inserted it into this other virus, and then injected this other virus into the vaccine recipients.
Once it got in them, it started making the Ebola protein, so none of the individuals got the Ebola virus itself. They got the protein of Ebola that was given to them through this vector or this carrier virus.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health, thanks so much for joining us.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Good to be with you.
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