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

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    Picture of the author Photo provided by Arielle Newton

    Photo provided by Arielle Newton

    hutchins2Editor’s note: The PBS NewsHour will livestream Thursday’s 2015 Hutchins Forum, “Black Millennials: They rock, but can they rule?”

    Watch the live forum here Thursday, August 20 at 5 p.m.

    On paper, I’m a progressive candidate’s ideal. I’m a 23-year-old, black, queer, college-educated woman who is drowning in more than $160,000 of undergraduate student loan debt. I fervently believe in unlimited access to reproductive healthcare, despise corporate welfare, and consider climate change to be the most severe public health issue of our time.

    In the American political landscape, my ideology is best packaged as leftist, and my vote is seemingly guaranteed.

    But I’m also an organizer with Black Lives Matter NYC, and such an affiliation is causing more upset within the electoral establishment than excitement, enthusiasm, or certainty.

    I do not describe myself as a liberal or progressive — rather, I identify as a radical within the spirit of Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Ella Baker, and Ida B. Wells. Within their black liberatory framework, their radicalism centered on examining the root causes of racism and its resulting socioeconomic ills, while denouncing patriarchy as a divisive tool of white supremacist function.

    As a radical, I view the entire system of white supremacy to be both parasitic and adaptive; it’s a robust machine that encroaches upon public consciousness and institutions with such savviness that its depravity is deemed the credible status quo. White supremacy is a claustrophobic daily reality that lives within complicated legislation, multilayered bureaucracy, structural oppression and individual behavior.

    “Given their racist, homophobic, misogynistic platforms, they hate everything about me — from my body to my bank account, because God told them so. ”

    And no presidential contender will say this, let alone enact policies, laws, or other widespread, comprehensive measures to structurally dismantle the deadly system under which we live.

    The presidential slate is underwhelming at best, and terrifying at worst. The Democrat Party candidates are problematic.

    Former Governor Martin O’Malley oversaw rampant militarization of Maryland’s police forces. His racial justice platform calls for body cameras, a stance I am ardently opposed to as these devices — when in the hands of the police — amount to government surveillance, a lack of transparency or accountability, and obscene profit for companies at the taxpayer’s expense. This added to his current non-factor status leads to my disinterest in his candidacy.

    Former Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton represents dynastic politics, and her close ties to the neoliberal financial sector is less than commendable. She is complicit in fueling the war on drugs. In a series of unjust and anti-black schemes, she helped bolster the prison industrial complex, further corrupted the criminal justice system, and intensified cyclical poverty.

    Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the breakout star of the left, is most aligned with my political value system, but his recent fumbles with Black Lives Matter have caused me great pause. Senator Sanders seems ambiguous in his commitment to black lives, and his hesitancy in making racial justice the centerpiece of his campaign is a strategic error that may account for an electoral loss. His colorblind appeal to “economic reform” is significant, but police do not ask for our net worth when they shoot us dead.

    Another stumbling block are his supporters, who are embedded in a white savior ethos that discounts black thought leadership as unintelligent and unworthy. I question his candidacy if these are the people he attracts.

    The crowded Republican field isn’t worth consideration. Given their racist, homophobic, misogynistic platforms, they hate everything about me — from my body to my bank account, because God told them so.

    So as I consider my limited options, the probability of voting grows ever more dim. The decision to not vote is a heavy one; given the historical weight of black liberation in pursuit of the right to vote, I feel a racial obligation in exercising the precious freedom my ancestors fought valiantly to attain.

    But I also know that voting alone does not bring about overarching black freedom. Voting does not ensure our safety, nor does it provide an immediate conduit for black social well being.

    My disillusionment comes with great irony; the nation’s first black president was elected twice because marginalized groups voted in record numbers. Ever since, the racist opposition has (always) been increasingly bloodthirsty in its attempt to disenfranchise black voters; using structural tactics such as gerrymandering and voter identification laws to decrease black voter turnout.

    In 2013, the Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, ruling unconstitutional a key section that required states with established histories of anti-black voter disenfranchisement to receive federal approval before changing electoral procedures.

    Those with felonious histories of incarceration are denied the right to vote in 48 states. It is no coincidence that most of these individuals are black.

    The racist opposition is working hard to stop me from participating in the political system through voting. I do not want to give them the satisfaction of silencing my voice in that way. But, to vote means to uphold a system that is rotten at its core. To vote means to reinforce a white supremacist structure that actively, strategically and relentlessly exploits and exterminates black lives both domestically and globally.

    Voting for an anti-black system will not save my black life. Ironically, voting just might jeopardize it.

    The post I’m a young, black female, and I may not vote in this presidential election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    job interview

    Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

    In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees—just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.

    I know you’ve experienced one of these scenarios:

      • You find a job listed online, fill out the application, and never hear a word back.
      • An employer or recruiter contacts you, asks for loads of information, then never responds.
      • You show up for an interview, only to realize the employer has not read your resume.
      • You do an interview, only to realize the job is not what they said it was when you applied.
      • You accept a job offer, only to learn the job isn’t the job they said they were hiring you for.
      • You go through a long recruiting and interview process, invest a lot of time, but the employer never gets back to you with an answer.

    The leading reason for all these types of job applicant abuse — let’s call it what it is — is that most employers are stupid about recruiting and hiring. They recruit improperly and mindlessly. They use mass solicitation methods that by nature encourage job seekers to play a numbers game and to make applications that are iffy at best — then HR blames the applicant.

    HR’s general hiring strategy is to get as many applicants into the pipeline as possible, and to cull through them later. This creates epic costs for employers, and it’s what gets you rejected out of hand after you’ve invested hours of time filling out forms and going on interviews that you quickly realize aren’t even for the right job. (See “Why employers should pay job applicants.”)

    There’s a simple — but not easy — way to avoid all this stupidity.

    In last week’s column, we discussed how to ask for (and get) a higher job offer. I offered one key suggestion that seemed confusing and counter-productive to some readers. Underlying it is a very important, very fundamental truth in job hunting that has been lost in the miasma of myths about interviews and hiring. Ignorance of this truth is what makes employers stupid about hiring, and it’s what makes you go crazy dealing with employers.

    Here’s what I suggested that a good job candidate should say to the hiring manager:

    “Of course, if I can’t show you why I’m worth more, you shouldn’t offer me the job.”

    Some readers responded that it’s a terrible idea to say something so negative to the manager:

    “What is likely to be the best case scenario from telling [a hiring manager], ‘If I can’t prove this [you shouldn’t hire me]…’? It seems counterintuitive… to direct their attention to a possible reason to dismiss you.”


    “Are you suggesting to the employer that the offer should be withdrawn because you can’t convince the employer to pay you more?”

    I don’t think there’s anything negative about making your job interviews more challenging. By clearly emphasizing the manager’s key need, you set yourself up as the one candidate who can meet it.

    “If I can’t show you how I’ll improve your business with my work, then you shouldn’t hire me.”

    Why would anyone think that’s a risky thing to say to a manager? You must really be able to demonstrate that you can do the job more profitably than expected, or you have no business going on that interview. That’s the fundamental truth of job seeking. It’s become lost in today’s world because employers themselves have forgotten why they are hiring. That’s why readers worry my suggestion is risky.

    Employers really do behave stupidly. They cast about for indirect measures of candidates.

      • Did the applicant pass the employment test?
      • Does she have the right key words?
      • Does she know what animal she wants to be if she could be any animal?
      • Do he have a cool “greatest weakness?”
      • Has he filled out the application correctly?
      • Is he following all the rules of our process?

    I can see you cringing, because you recognize this nonsense every time you apply and get turned down for a job. Employers talk around the issue at hand. Whether an employer acts like it or not, the key metric in any job interview is a direct one: Can the applicant do the work profitably? (See “The Do-It-Yourself Interview (for managers)”.)

    I say most employers are stupid because they never ask this question. That’s why you should raise it yourself. Raise the bar in the interview — for yourself and the manager. If you’re not ready to jump that bar, then why did you go on the interview?

    The job seeker must prove he or she can drop more profit to the employer’s bottom line. That’s the big truth that job seekers, hiring managers and HR have almost totally lost sight of in today’s economy. They’re too busy arguing about “criteria” that have let hiring degenerate into a bureaucratic nightmare that prompts employers to mindlessly abuse countless job applicants — and to complain of a phony “talent shortage.”

    I said that you can save yourself untold time and agony by understanding the key fact that I’ve already repeated so many times. If you pursue only jobs where you can show how you’ll be the profitable hire, you will never get suckered by job postings, recruitment calls and personnel jockeys. Apply only for jobs where you’re able to gather the information you need to do that profit demonstration in an interview.

    You can’t get that information? Then don’t waste your time — unless you want the employer to waste yours.

    (Yes, this means you’ll be applying for very few jobs. Do it right. As a headhunter, employers pay me huge fees to find very few candidates. Why would you invest less to get the right job?)

    If you want employers to stop abusing you, force them to raise their game. Make them ask you the only question that matters. Don’t be afraid of it. And please, do yourself a favor: Be ready to answer that question before you dare apply for a job or go on an interview. (See “What is the single best interview question ever?”)

    Dear Readers: Does this one interview question frighten you?

    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “How Can I Change Careers?”, “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

    Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

    The post Ask the Headhunter: How to put an end to stupid job interviews appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Jenna Tokeshi, a senior studies at the UCLA campus on May 14, 2015 as California students at the University of California are getting a two-year reprieve from threatened tuition increases as a result of a large infusion of new state funds to the 10-campus university system in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed spending plan. Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

    Jenna Tokeshi, a senior, studies at the UCLA campus on May 14, 2015. Tuition and fees at the 10-campus University of California system have nearly doubled in less than 10 years. Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

    BERKELEY, Calif. — An incoming sophomore at the University of California Riverside, Samantha Yazzie frets about the $20,000 she had to borrow — not for tuition, but for housing during her freshman year alone.

    “I worry about paying it back,” Yazzie said.

    In the seven years since prices started rising dramatically at California’s public universities, this state has swum against the tide by trying to ensure — more than most others — that its poorest residents can still afford to go to college.

    It provides a comparatively large amount of financial aid, while its University of California system campuses offer discounts to lower-income students using, in part, money that comes in from their higher-paying out-of-state and international classmates.

    graduation-gapBut California’s attempts to keep college affordable mask the reality that the poorest students still struggle more than ever to cover its costs. Even here, rising prices have led three-quarters of the lowest-income UC students to take out loans, often for costs other than tuition — a significantly higher proportion than other income groups. A UC education now eats up nearly two-thirds of the discretionary income of families making $30,000 per year or less, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

    “Clearly something is going awry,” said Debbie Cochrane, the institute’s research director.

    Related: New policies close off opportunities to college applicants in need of extra help

    The net price of college — after financial aid and discounts are subtracted — is rising much faster for lower-income students than for their higher-income counterparts, an analysis by the Hechinger Report and Dallas Morning News revealed.

    One reason for the inequity is the increase in merit-based rather than need-based scholarships, a system that disproportionately benefits higher-income students with college-educated parents as states and colleges try to keep those students from going elsewhere. Studies have shown many of those affluent students who receive merit aid are not actually high achievers.

    The kind of income redistribution practiced by California, where higher-income students essentially subsidize lower-income students by paying full price, has been outright banned in some other states, said Sandy Baum, a professor of higher education administration at George Washington University and an expert on college affordability.

    States including Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina, Baum said, now base most financial aid on test scores and grades rather than income, favoring students from well-funded suburban high schools, while New Hampshire and Iowa offer little or no aid at all for public university students.

    Related: States moving college scholarship money away from the poor, to the wealthy and middle class

    “They’re not doing anything to help low-income students,” Baum said. “I would say California is on the list of better states.”

    Yet even though most financial aid there continues to be based on need, low-income students in California are still having trouble keeping up with tuition and fees that, at the 10-campus University of California system, have nearly doubled in less than 10 years, to $13,300. Total costs now average $34,500 a year before financial aid, and that includes living expenses that are higher than in most other states.

    The tuition increases have not affected UC enrollment; the system continues to see a record number of applications.

    The flagship, research-oriented, 240,000-student UC system is at the top of the California higher-education hierarchy. Then there’s the teaching-centric California State University and its 23 campuses, where prices for the 460,000 students are significantly lower than at UC. The state’s 113 community colleges serve more than two million students for an even lower price, and fees are waived for low-income students.

    Related: Nonprofits step in to help students that colleges allow to ‘slip through the cracks’

    Anecdotal evidence suggests the higher prices are persuading at least some high-performing students to forgo the UC system in favor of those other, cheaper options, which also have fewer resources to devote to them; the California State system spends less than half as much per student, and the community colleges less than a quarter, than the UC campuses do, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.

    Katherine Heater, a second-generation UC Berkeley alumna, has a 16-year-old son now considering his options.

    “He’s thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll get a job and work for a while. Maybe I’ll go to junior college,’” said Heater, an adjunct harpsichord instructor at UC Berkeley. “That’s really different from when I was growing up.”

    This year, in a deal between Governor Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano, the former Arizona governor and U.S. homeland security director, the university system agreed to freeze tuition for two years in return for more state money.

    But most agree it’s only a matter of time before prices rise again.

    Related: Colleges give drifting students maps to help them find their way to graduation

    The annual “political lottery” — the university bargaining with state officials over money and funding — can’t be sustained, said John Wilton, Berkeley’s vice chancellor for administration and finance.

    Stopping the universities from raising tuition may be attractive to politicians and students, Wilton said, but it also may have a side effect: lowering the quality of education.

    “We have a real problem,” he said. “If you can’t raise tuition at Berkeley, you drive the best public university in the world into the ground. You need to evolve with the reality of the situation.”

    This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about higher education.

    PBS NewsHour coverage of higher education is supported by the Lumina Foundation and American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    The post Low-income students struggle to pay for college, even in a state that still provides help appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Typhoons Goni and Atsani. Photo by earth.nullschool.net

    Typhoons Goni and Atsani. Photo by earth.nullschool.net

    Two typhoons are chugging toward Southeast Asia, and though their final course isn’t set, one could skim Taiwan or the northern Philippines with super typhoon force by the end of the week.

    Typhoon Goni is leading the way, as the pair moves northwest across the central Pacific. Goni skated between Saipan and Guam last weekend, dumping 10 inches on the latter and leading to flash flood warnings. At that point, Goni’s gales clocked at 58 mph — just shy of what would be considered a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic ocean. Then within a matter of six hours, Goni’s strength boomed — with Category 4 winds topping 135 mph — as the storm crept steadily toward Taiwan.

    As of yesterday, the second storm — Typhoon Atsani — was 1,000 miles east of Goni, but turning toward Japan. NASA Goddard reported that as of this morning, Typhoon Atsani had winds near the Category 4 range.

    NASA-JAXA's GPM satellite saw rainfall south of the storm's center of circulation was falling at a rate of over 90 mm (3.5 inches) per hour and cloud tops to heights of 16.8 km (10.4 miles). Animation by SSAI/NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce

    NASA-JAXA’s GPM satellite saw rainfall south of the storm’s center of circulation was falling at a rate of over 3.5 inches per hour and cloud tops to heights of 10.4 miles. Animation by SSAI/NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce

    Both storms are gaining strength, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that the twins will reach super typhoon status — with winds in excess of 150 mph — by Thursday.

    Typhoons Goni and Atsani. Image by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Typhoons Goni and Atsani. Image by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    “The last time there were two super typhoons in the Pacific at the same time was in October 1997, when Super Typhoons Ivan and Joan overlapped. Not coincidentally, 1997 was also the strongest El Niño on record…,” wrote Angela Fritz for the Washington Post. Warmer waters mean bigger storms.

    At this stage, it’s uncertain when, where and if the storms will hit land. AccuWeather meteorologist Anthony Sagliani expects Goni to swing through the corridor between Taiwan and Japan this weekend and into next week, potentially hitting Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and the Korean Peninsula. Less than two weeks ago, Taiwan was battered by the strongest storm that our planet has experienced this year, Super Typhoon Soudelor.

    Atsani might strike mainland Japan within the same timeframe, which could be life-threatening, or it could pass through the open waters to the east, dousing the island nation with heavy rain and strong waves.

    The post Twin typhoons march toward Southeast Asia and Japan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    pork chops

    Watch Video

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    A student and instructor work in the Learning Commons at Volunteer State Community College in Gallitin, Tennessee, where students take learning support classes that have replaced remedial courses on the campus. Photo courtesy of Volunteer State Community College.

    A student and instructor work in the Learning Commons at Volunteer State Community College in Gallitin, Tennessee, where students take learning support classes that have replaced remedial courses on the campus. Photo courtesy of Volunteer State Community College.

    When classes start at Tennessee’s community colleges next week, the path to a degree or certificate will have a new starting point.

    More than 70 percent of the state’s students starting a two-year degree program have test scores showing they aren’t ready for college-level math or English courses. In past years, those students started college in remedial classes, where the goal is to build the basic skills students need in credit bearing classes that will count toward a degree.

    Starting this fall, students will no longer have the option of taking a traditional remedial class, which normally take a full semester and cost as much as a college-level course without earning the student any college credits.

    graduation-gapInstead, students will take regular introductory math and English courses. If their ACT scores would have placed them in a remedial class in the past, they’ll also have to enroll in a “learning support” class focused on strengthening students’ basic academic skills.

    Traditional remedial classes can send a devastating message to new college students, especially if they’re the first in their family to pursue a degree, said Tristan Denley, vice president of academic affairs for the Tennessee Board of Regents.

    “It’s often perceived that they thought they enrolled in college, but they’re not ready for college,” Denley said. “Many of those students, deep down, might not have been sure they were college material themselves, before you know it it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    The approach, known as co-requisite remediation, is catching on across the country in states like Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Minnesota.

    Denley said Tennessee already has years of data showing the change is working for students.

    The co-requisite experiment started five years ago with the state’s four-year colleges. At Austin Peay State University, the percentage of students needing remediation who went on to pass an introductory statistics course rose from 8 to 65 percent, for quantitative reasoning the pass rate rose from 11 to 78 percent and in English it went from 49 to 70 percent. Under the new model, the passing students completed the college-level courses in one semester instead of two. Nine of the state’s community colleges piloted co-requisite classes last year and saw similar results, Denley said.

    “It’s a national phenomenon that there are many more students who simply don’t complete remediation than there are who fail it,” Denley said. Even if they do complete the course, “there’s attrition, life happens, people don’t always complete an entire sequence of classes.”

    The state is betting that this and other reforms can boost graduation rates as a statewide program called the Tennessee Promise is drawing hundreds more freshmen to community college campuses this fall. The program guarantees two free years of community college to high school grads who have met criteria like maintaining a C average, performing eight hours of community service and filling out the federal application for student aid.

    One argument against the the program has been the community colleges’ low graduation rates. In 2013, just over 13 percent of full-time students completed a degree or certificate at the schools, the system’s highest completion rate since 2006.

    “So you’re taking and putting money into an 87 percent failure program,” said Rep Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), one of the state’s few outspoken critics of the free tuition guarantee.

    But, graduation rates ticked up in 2014 at more than half of Tennessee community college campuses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Leaders point to the co-requisite approach and other reforms as the reason.

    But Hunter Boylan, director of the National Center for Developmental Education at Appalachian State University, cautions there isn’t enough data to abandon the other ways colleges have been preparing students for credit-bearing classes just yet.

    “I don’t have a problem with the co-requisite model as one of many things that will probably work,” Boylan said. “Unfortunately what’s being done in Tennessee and other places is that they’re taking a model that failed because it was a one-size-fits-all model and replacing it with another one-size-fits-all model.”

    Boylan said it’s unclear whether learning support classes work for students who have a lot of catching up to do or who have no family members with prior college experience.

    “It’s ironic that people are saying ‘we’re doing this in the service of getting more low-income students through college,’ but the research doesn’t currently say that it gets more minority and low-income students through college,” he said. “More student pass the courses, but we haven’t taken a good look at who those students are and who they aren’t.”

    Tennessee is looking at who does and doesn’t pass the courses, Denley said.

    “It isn’t the case that a student who has an 18 on the ACT (a score of 19 is considered college-ready) passes the class at the same rate as a student who has a 12 or 13,” Denley said. “What is surprising is that still more than half of students who had a 13 are passing the credit bearing class. It’s a night and day comparison with what was happening before.”

    Denley said the state’s data didn’t show significantly different pass rates for students based on age, race or gender either.

    Another argument for Boylan’s “wait and see” attitude is that this fall every student needing remediation on every campus will be using the learning support program — not just students in pilot courses.

    “Generally for pilots, they take some of their best instructors who engage in innovation and support those instructors in their program and often the results are successful,” he said. Sustaining the success across an entire system isn’t always as easy.

    Denley pointed out that Tennessee’s colleges and universities have been tweaking the co-requisite program since it started. He said they’ll be watching to see where it’s working best and then spread that news across the system.

    PBS NewsHour coverage of higher education is supported by the Lumina Foundation and American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    The post Tennessee scraps classes standing between less-prepared students and college credit appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, USA. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, USA. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    According to health department officials in California, a second visitor to Yosemite National Park has been diagnosed with what is believed to be the human plague. The unnamed tourist from Georgia visited Yosemite and the Sierra National Forrest in early August.

    Health officials say the patient returned home, felt ill and sought medical treatment after recalling warnings about the plague posted at the park.

    It’s the second related case this summer after a child from Los Angeles, contracted the disease in mid-July while staying with her family at Yosemite’s Crane Flat campground. The child is now recovering.

    The case prompted authorities to close the area and spray for fleas, which can transmit the disease from an infected or dead animal to a human. It was reopened last week. Rodents confirmed to have carried plague have since been found in Tuolumne Meadows campground, and that section is now closed until Friday while it’s being treated with insecticide.

    Unlike the “Black Death” that killed millions of people in Europe in the 14th century, humans rarely contract the disease, with cases more often being reported in squirrels and chipmunks in the western United States.

    According to Dr. Danielle Buttke of the National Park Service, most human cases of plague are bubonic, or caused by a flea bite, which causes the nearest lymph node to swell because it’s infected.

    In humans, the plague can feel like the flu. Symptoms also include fever, headache, chills and weakness.

    Health authorities say the risk to human health remains low, and it’s improbable that either of the people who have tested positive for the disease could have transmitted it to anyone else.

    “It’s not contagious unless you develop pulmonary symptoms. That is at the end stage of the disease. Neither were at that stage [when they were tested] so they were not contagious,” said Buttke.

    The disease can be treated with antibiotics if detected quickly.

    The post Second person contracts plague after visiting Yosemite National Park appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A tall ship sails during the Sail-In Parade marking the beginning of the Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival on August 19, 2015. Photo by Cris Toala Olivares/Reuters

    A tall ship sails during the Sail-In Parade marking the beginning of the Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival on August 19, 2015. Photo by Cris Toala Olivares/Reuters

    From 19th century Dutch vessels to the largest sailing wooden ship in the world, historic boats charmed thousands of visitors at the North Sea Canal in and around IJhaven in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Wednesday.

    Every five years, as many as 600 ships navigate around the canal for a five-day festival in order to showcase and celebrate Netherland’s history of seafaring and ports. The event, called SAIL Amsterdam, started in 1975 and boasts of being Netherland’s largest public event and the world’s largest free nautical event.

    The Stad Amsterdam  clipper, cetner, sails during the Sail-In Parade on August 19, 2015. Photo by Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters

    The Stad Amsterdam clipper, cetner, sails during the Sail-In Parade on August 19, 2015. Photo by Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters

    The clipper Stad Amsterdam, along with other participating tall ships, smaller warships and racing yachts, started the journey Wednesday morning from parts of Germany and western Netherlands to Amsterdam for the an opening parade. According to SAIL Amsterdam, more than 1,000 vessels and 2 million visitors are expected to converge.

    The Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival is held every five years in Amsterdam, Netherlands,. Photo by Cris Toala Olivares/Reuters

    The Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival is held every five years in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Cris Toala Olivares/Reuters

    Sailors stand on the mast of the Guayas, a tall ship from Ecuador, during the Sail-In Parade marking the beginning of the Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival on August 19, 2015. Photo by Paul Vreeker/Reuters

    Sailors stand on the mast of the Guayas, a tall ship from Ecuador, during the Sail-In Parade marking the beginning of the Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival on August 19, 2015. Photo by Paul Vreeker/Reuters

    Poland's Tall ship Dar Mlodziezy is seen during the Sail-In Parade in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Paul Vreeker/Reuters

    Poland’s Tall ship Dar Mlodziezy is seen during the Sail-In Parade in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Paul Vreeker/Reuters

    Tall ships mark the beginning of the Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival on August 19, 2015. Photo by Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters

    Tall ships mark the beginning of the Sail Amsterdam 2015 nautical festival on August 19, 2015. Photo by Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters

    Ecuador's tall ship Guayas is on the left at the Sail-In Parade in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Paul Vreeker

    Ecuador’s tall ship Guayas is on the left at the Sail-In Parade in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Paul Vreeker

    Here's an aerial view of the Sail-In Parade. Photo by Cris Toala Olivares/Reuters

    Here’s an aerial view of the Sail-In Parade. Photo by Cris Toala Olivares/Reuters

    The Stad Amsterdam clipper sails  in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters

    The Stad Amsterdam clipper sails in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters

    The post Photos: Ships, boats and yachts ‘Sail In’ to Amsterdam appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first ever prescription drug to treat women suffering from a lack of sexual desire. The overnight announcement came on the heels of a long and contentious debate on whether to bring the drug to market.

    The small pink pill known as Addyi aims to treat a low or absent desire for sex, medically termed hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD. It’s the most common sexual dysfunction in women.

    CINDY WHITEHEAD, CEO, Sprout Pharmaceuticals: We looked to the evidence, and we listened to patients. And what we know is that one in 10 women suffer from HSDD.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Maker Sprout Pharmaceuticals welcomed FDA approval last night at company offices in Raleigh, North Carolina.

    CINDY WHITEHEAD: And we have always believed that, provided the FDA finds a treatment to be safe and effective, women deserve to make that choice with their health care provider.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For years, Viagra, Cialis and other drugs for men have dominated the market. They increase blood flow and are designed to be taken shortly before sex.

    By contrast, Addyi works by gradually adjusting levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, chemicals that affect sexual desire. It must be taken daily for weeks to see any benefit. And even then, women may see only modest improvement. The newly approved medication will also come with the most serious warning allowed.

    CINDY WHITEHEAD: All drugs have risks, and we want to appropriately inform consumers of risks. So we do have a black box warning. It’s related to low blood pressure and/or fainting with alcohol use.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The FDA twice rejected Addyi in the past, pointing to side effects and marginal effectiveness. But now the female libido pill will hit the market in mid-October.

    The post Promising to stoke female desire, new drug Addyi will come with serious warning appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    john kasich

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    GWEN IFILL: John Kasich, the governor of the politically important state of Ohio, is trying to convince Republicans he can return them to the White House.

    Before becoming governor, Kasich served 18 years in Congress and has been a businessman, author and talk show host.

    Yesterday, at the Home Plate Diner in Des Moines, Iowa, we talked about why he is running.

    So, Governor Kasich, thank you for joining us.

    You ran before, in 1999, for president.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH, Republican Presidential Candidate: Yes. Well, I tried.

    GWEN IFILL: You tried.

    And you dropped out because you said you weren’t ready. What’s different now?

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Oh. Well, I mean, governor of Ohio, it’s a big job and a lot of responsibility. And I’m a little older.

    And I dropped out really back then because I couldn’t raise the money. I mean, ultimately, it gets in some ways to be a money game, not totally, but in some ways. But, you know, I decided — I got in late, and I got in late because I wanted to make sure I really had a chance to win. I’m not doing this on a lark, just to go have fun, although I am having fun.

    I mean, I’m really enjoying myself all over the country. So I’m ready. I mean, I’m ready intellectually, I’m ready emotionally to be able to do this and help fix the country.

    GWEN IFILL: Let’s talk about some of the issues which you would be facing if you were president, among them, immigration.

    There has been a lot of discussion, especially this week, about birthright citizenship. Both Scott Walker and Donald Trump have said that should be revoked. At one point, you had thought that was a good idea.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Yes, actually, I said that.

    Look, we have to focus on the biggest issue here, which is, we have to finish the wall and then make it clear, if anybody comes over that wall again, they have got to go back. There should be no debate about that.

    That was one of the things that I think we made a mistake on, Gwen, back in ’86, when we did the Reagan reform on immigration. I also think we need to expand the guest-worker program, so people can come in and go back.

    And then I think, with the 12 million, they’re here. If they have been law-abiding, then I believe they should have a path to legalization. They’re going to have to pay a fine. They’re going to have to wait, but I — look, they have become a very important part of our society. And…

    GWEN IFILL: Path to legalization is something that rubs a lot of Republicans the wrong way.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Well, what do you think we’re going to do, go chasing them down, and put these big lights on top of cars and go into neighborhoods hunting them down?

    That’s not — that’s not what America is. And, look, nobody likes that they broke the law, they ditched the line. I have told my kids, as much as you love Taylor Swift, you don’t ditch the line to get into a concert.

    But many of them are here and they’re hardworking people. They’re law-abiding. They’re God-fearing. They’re family-oriented. I mean, you know, let’s just — but what we have to do is get the wall fixed, so we can end this, we can control our borders. And then we have to make it clear, if you do that again, if you jump it again, you’re going back.

    GWEN IFILL: You have also defended Common Core education reforms and you have defended Medicaid expansion in your state. Let’s talk about them one at a time.


    Well, first of all, I don’t — this Common Core is a label, OK? In my state, we didn’t have high standards for our kids. We lowered the bar — or we had a low bar so they could jump over it, and everybody would feel good.

    Forty percent of our graduates go into colleges and they have to take remedial programs, things they should have learned when they were younger, in high school. I mean, the deal is, we have high standards and the curriculum to meet those high standards is set by local school boards with parental advisory.

    I don’t know how else you would do this. I don’t run the program and we certainly don’t let Washington run it. But I want high standards in Ohio. Now, if some states want to choose to do it another way, that’s up to them. But so Common Core…

    GWEN IFILL: It’s a state-by-state decision?


    But I believe that, look, if I were president, I would want to spend a lot of time going to the legislatures and telling them about best practices, whatever it is, whether it’s about fighting poverty, whether it’s about educating kids. I mean, the states are the laboratories where we can see what works. And I think presidents can have a much better relationship with legislatures.

    GWEN IFILL: What about Medicaid expansion?

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Well, you know, we have controlled the growth of Medicaid.

    In my second budget, the growth was at, I don’t know, like 2.5 percent. Now, here’s what we do. We take the money and we rehab the drug addicted in our prisons and then we hand them off to the local community, and our recidivism rate is 10 percent, maybe the lowest in the country. I mean, it’s up there.

    So we save money from the standpoint of not locking them up. And, secondly, isn’t it great to let people pursue their God-given purpose in life? I mean, that’s what this is about. We can’t turn our back on people who need some help. But, Gwen, in Ohio, our philosophy, I got from my mother. It’s a sin to not help people who need help, but it’s equally a sin to continue to help people who do need to learn how to help themselves.

    GWEN IFILL: Let’s take what your mother said and expand it to foreign policy.


    GWEN IFILL: Is helping people who need help, does that extend to putting boots on the ground in order to fight ISIS?

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Look, ISIS represents another threat, in my opinion, to the principles that we respect in Western civilization.

    Let me say a couple of things. First of all, ISIS or their ilk are liars. They’re murderers. They’re rapists. We saw the articles recently about what they do. And then they argue to people, if you come here, you will be with friends, and you will be part of our family, and then you will find a way to paradise.

    It’s all a lie. It’s all contrived. So, we have got to kill ISIS on the battlefield, and we also have to win the battle of ideas going forward with people — and Western civilization has got to recognize value matters.

    GWEN IFILL: You described the problem very well. So, you think the solution extends to U.S. boots on the ground?

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Oh, well, U.S. boots on the ground, first and foremost, go wipe them out, degrade them, kill them. And I have said that for months. And I would like to go in a coalition. I wouldn’t want to go alone.

    And we have had, Gwen, a deteriorating relationship with our allies. You know, look, I served on Armed Services for 18 years and have stayed in touch with many people in national security. And you think about — I will give you one good example. They kill these people over there in Paris in that magazine. They have a million people at a ceremony mourning the loss of those people, and we don’t send a high-level official? How’s that even possible?

    GWEN IFILL: I want to end this by asking you to take stock of this campaign as it stands today.

    How do you explain the excitement in August — it’s August, early yet — for the Donald Trumps of the world, for the outsiders, for the people who seem like they’re not of Washington?

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Well, yes, I totally understand that, because I think people are frustrated with dysfunction, not just dysfunction in government, but a lot of dysfunction that surrounds them.

    I get the frustration with drugs in the neighborhood or my kids with big college loans can’t find a job. But people don’t want to stay on the pessimist side. They want to believe. They want you to recognize that there is a problem, but then let’s go fix it.

    For me, all the time I have been in government, I have produced results. I mean, think about it. When I left Washington as the chief architect of the budget agreement, we had a $5 trillion surplus. I was involved in welcome reform. I was involved in defense reform.

    And, as governor of Ohio, we have gone from $8 billion in the hole to a $2 billion surplus. We have grown 350,000 jobs. We have cut taxes more than any sitting governor in the country. And guess what? People who’ve lived in the shadows now are getting attention.

    You have got to have solutions, and you have got to show people that you have a record of achievement. People don’t want any more promises. They want to know that it’s going to happen. They want to know that you can deliver the mail.

    GWEN IFILL: Governor John Kasich, thank you very much.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH: Yes. Thanks. Good to see you again. Thank you, Gwen.

    The post John Kasich: Hunting down undocumented immigrants is ‘not what America is’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Firefighters from the Washington National Guard battle the First Creek Fire in Chelan, Washington August 18, 2015. Dozens of wildfires burning across the drought-parched U.S. Northwest on Tuesday have destroyed scores of structures, sparked evacuation orders for thousands of people, and killed at least 27 wild horses.  REUTERS/David Ryder - RTX1OQFV

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    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For more on how fire officials are coping with these many fires, we turn to Ron Dunton. He’s with the Bureau of Land Management. And he is helping coordinate fire response at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

    Ron Dunton, thanks for being here.

    That math that we showed before is pretty staggering. There are so many fires burning out West. How do you compare this to prior fire seasons?

    RON DUNTON, Assistant Director for Fire and Aviation, Bureau of Land Management: This is a big year.

    As mentioned, we haven’t deployed military since 2008, and that’s a good sign that our internal system is being overwhelmed. We’re essentially out of federal firefighting resources. We are having to tap in with regular troops from the United States Army. We’re also bring in Canadian resources and we’re just now reaching out to Australia and New Zealand to bring in fire personnel from those two countries.

    So it’s a very big year. We’re at our — what we refer to as preparedness level five, which is our highest level of national preparedness.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Is that just a function of you have got so many fires burning and you don’t have enough bodies to put on those fires?

    RON DUNTON: That’s pretty much it.

    We’re having to reprioritize working at protecting communities, protecting the public, so that — letting some fires — I won’t say just letting them do go, but less priority on fires that aren’t threatening anything in terms of firefighter or public safety.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: How much of this is because we have more and more people living in more remote areas? I mean, is that a concern for people who have to manage this vast wilderness?

    RON DUNTON: Absolutely.

    A lot of the fires would be much simpler to deal with, other than the fact that people have moved in into what we refer to as the wildland-urban interface. It causes significant difficulties. Again, as I stated earlier, you know, our first priority is our firefighter and the public safety.

    So we have to expend resources helping to evacuate people when we should be fighting the fire, or, in some cases, fires that could be left to burn naturally, we can’t allow that because the communities have spread out.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You mentioned that some of these fires might be left to burn. Is that because you don’t have enough personnel or is that because, as some people have argued, it’s a good idea to burn out this underbrush, to clear out some of that tinder for these fires for the future?

    RON DUNTON: So, there’s no question that fire is beneficial in some ecosystems.

    And where possible, we will allow a fire to run its natural course. But if you have communities and/or houses in the way that have built up, then that becomes impossible. We can also then deal with what we refer to as prescribed fire, where, under certain conditions, we will go light a fire and carefully manage it.

    But in terms of utilizing natural fire, we have to be very careful because of the spread of communities.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, obviously, this drought has caused enormous problems for firefighters like yourself. It obviously makes everything very, very dry out there. But does it cause a problem for you as far as access to water? Do you have enough water that you need to fight the fires with?

    RON DUNTON: Yes, I wouldn’t say water is the issue.

    Drought is certainly a big issue. We have had lots of engines that carry their own water. We have water sources that we can access. So I probably wouldn’t go to water as being a limiting factor to us. But drought stress fuel certainly is causing extreme fire behavior. Extreme fire behavior is becoming the norm.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I understand the forecast doesn’t look great over the next couple of days. Is there any relief in sight as far as you can see?

    RON DUNTON: No. And that’s kind of the bad news that we have.

    We have a wind event coming across the Northwest on Friday, it looks like. We have a lot of fire in the Northwest. So the wind will just continue to push those fires. We see nothing in the way of season-ending event in terms of large-scale moisture moving into the Western United States, more dry weather then the possibility of lightning midweek next week.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Ron Dunton from the Bureau of Land Management, thank you very much. And good luck out there.

    RON DUNTON: Thank you.

    The post Why the U.S. is asking Canada and Australia for firefighting help appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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