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

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    U.S. Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTS1TKA

    U.S. Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina September 18, 2015. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says Islam is antithetical to the Constitution, and he doesn’t believe that a Muslim should be elected president.

    Carson, a devout Christian, says a president’s faith should matter to voters if it runs counter to the values and principles of America.

    Responding to a question during an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he described the Islamic faith as inconsistent with the Constitution.

    “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson said. “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

    He did not specify in what way Islam ran counter to constitutional principles.

    Carson’s comments drew strong criticism from the country’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    “To me this really means he is not qualified to be president of the United States,” said the group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.”

    Hooper said the Constitution expressly forbids religious tests for those seeking public office and called for the repudiation of “these un-American comments.”

    In a separate appearance on NBC, one of Carson’s rivals for the GOP nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was asked whether he would have a problem with a Muslim in the White House. “The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigors, and people will look at everything. But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

    Carson’s comments came amid lingering fallout over Republican Donald Trump’s refusal last week to take issue with a man during a campaign event who wrongly called President Barack Obama a Muslim and said Muslims are “a problem in this country.”

    Also speaking on NBC on Sunday, Trump said that a Muslim in the White House is “something that could happen… Some people have said it already happened, frankly.”

    In multiple interviews Sunday, Trump tried to draw a distinction between all American Muslims and extremist Muslims in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    “I have friends that are Muslims they’re great people, amazing people,” Trump said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    “You have extremists Muslims that are in a class by themselves,” Trump added. “It’s a problem in this country it’s a problem throughout this world….You do have a problem with radical Muslims.”

    GOP candidates have since been split over whether to criticize Trump, who has been a vocal skeptic of Obama’s birthplace and faith. Obama is Christian.

    In the NBC interview, Carson said he believes that Obama was born in the U.S. and is Christian, saying he has “no reason to doubt” what the president says.

    Carson also made a distinction when it came to electing Muslims to Congress, calling it a “different story” from the presidency that “depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says.”

    Congress has one Muslim member, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota.

    “If there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them,” Carson said.

    Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

    The post GOP candidate Carson: Muslim shouldn’t be elected president appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JEFFERSON NARCISO: I dream that everything is good. That my mother buys her house, that my sisters and brother have the things they want. I dream about becoming a soccer player, about finishing school.

    TAMARA TUNIE: Five-year-old Jefferson Narciso is absorbed in the important activities of childhood…but his mother, Leslie, has a lot on her mind.

    LESLIE NARCISO: I worry a lot, because sometimes he disappears. He goes upstairs to play with his kite, and if I don’t go up and grab him, he never comes home.

    TAMARA TUNIE: Raising four young children alone in Rocinha, Rio’s biggest favela, or slum, Leslie has cause to worry.

    Drug dealing is a daily reality, which Leslie worries could derail her children from the right path.

    Leslie’s low income qualifies her for an innovative program called Bolsa Familia. It provides families with a monthly stipend as long as children stay in school.

    It’s paid off for the country – 95 percent of Brazilian children – enter primary school – and it’s paid off for Jefferson too.

    LESLIE NARCISO: What did you do in school today?


    LESLIE NARCISO: A drawing and what else? Did you dance in school? No?

    LESLIE NARCISO: I want them to try the things that I never did in life…have the freedom I didn’t have. I want them to play because I couldn’t play. I want them to enjoy, to play, to study.

    JEFFERSON NARCISO: When I’m going to school, sometimes there are gunshots, so I hide in a shack or I stop in some other place.

    TAMARA TUNIE: In Rocinha, violence between gangs, police, and paramilitary groups has been escalating.

    JEFFERSON NARCISO: When I see the police I get a little scared because they could shoot at a drug dealer, and a stray bullet could come at me.

    ELIANE SOARES: School is a second home for the kids; for some it’s a first. Here they can count on learning and affection.

    It’s a refuge for them, so they can feel connected to a moment of peace and pleasure.

    On the first day of school, this little boy, Jefferson, looked at me, a new teacher, a little scared and shy.

    ELIANE SOARES: Generally the kids are very hyper and never stop. But Jefferson is different. He sits in his little spot and waits for my orders.

    ELIANE SOARES: Is it sweet, salty or bitter?


    ELIANE SOARES: What I find interesting is that he already knows how to read. Generally this doesn’t happen. Most of the kids aren’t reading fluently.

    TAMARA TUNIE: Three years later, Jefferson is doing well at school but as he gets older, the dangers of Rocinha worry his mother Leslie even more.

    LESLIE NARCISO: Like any mother, it scares me that my children are growing up and living in this kind of world.

    I’m afraid that my daughter will become a whore and that my son will become a drug dealer when he grows up.

    We live in a slum, so we see these things all the time. Jefferson has a friend three years older than him who is now a drug dealer.

    So I say to him, “If you choose to follow his path, you’ll have two options – death or prison.”

    TAMARA TUNIE: To keep Jefferson off the streets, his mother has enrolled him in a church-run afterschool program for underprivileged kids, located outside of Rocinha, in one of downtown Rio’s more affluent neighborhoods.

    MARIA JOSE DE FERREIRA: I think he gets what I do, what I teach him and he finishes everything really fast!

    He’s no slacker. It’s very rewarding. It’s very emotional for me.

    JEFFERSON NARCISO: When I grow up, I’ll go to school to be a math teacher. When I finish my studies, I’ll become a soccer player.

    TAMARA TUNIE: But suddenly there is a major setback. The school administration, which skipped Jefferson a grade, has now decided to hold him back a year.

    The principal fears he’s not mature enough for the influences he’ll encounter in middle school.

    MARCIA HELENA FIGUEIREDO DE BARROS: He’s really smart and responsible, but I think it’s going to be harmful putting Jefferson, so young, around children so much older than him. That’s when they usually drop out.

    JEFFERSON NARCISO: My grades are good. I studied a lot. It really makes me sad.

    Everybody graduated except me. I just watched it.

    TAMARA TUNIE: It’s Christmas 2014, and over the past five years Jefferson has stayed in school. Now he’s in 10th grade and is looking at life with surprising realism.

    JEFFERSON NARCISO: I’ve changed a lot. I used to dream about being a soccer player.

    Now I’m more concerned about helping my mother than playing soccer.

    TAMARA TUNIE: After many years, his mother Leslie has made the decision to move out of the Rocinha favela to a safer neighborhood.

    LESLIE NARCISO: The drug dealing drove me out of Rocinha.

    I’m living, at my brother’s house in Piabeta.

    TAMARA TUNIE: She enrolled Jefferson into a better school, but the classes were harder, and he started in the middle of the year. Jefferson couldn’t keep up and now has to repeat 10th grade.

    JEFFERSON NARCISO: At first, I was upset that I failed but now I’ve accepted it and I’ll try to pass next year.

    TAMARA TUNIE: But even if he does pass, Jefferson will join the military for a year, as Brazilian men are required to do at age 18.

    Jefferson would then have two years of high school left, if he went back.

    Despite the enormous progress Brazil has made over the past 20 years, one third of Brazil’s secondary school students do not graduate.

    JEFFERSON NARCISO: In the future, I want to give my mother a house, to live with my siblings, to be a good person, and I hope to continue on this track.

    I plan to go to college one day. My future is not guaranteed. But the only way to guarantee my future is by going to school.

    The post Shadowed by fear and violence: One student’s story from a Rio slum appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) walks on the apron after arriving at Berlin Tegel Airport September 20, 2015, ahead of a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier about the ongoing crisis in Syria. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool - RTS1ZO3

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives is shown on September 20 ahead of a meeting with the German foreign minister. Kerry said that the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees next year and the total will rise to 100,000 in 2017. Photo by Evan Vucci/Pool/Reuters

    BERLIN — The United States is seeking to ease the Syrian refugee crisis by significantly increasing the number of worldwide refugees it takes in over the next two years, though not by nearly the amount many activists and former officials have urged.

    The U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year, up from 70,000, and that total would rise to 100,000 in 2017, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Berlin to meet with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss the mass migration of Syrians fleeing their civil war.

    Many, though not all, of the additional refugees would be Syrian, American officials have said. Others would come from strife-torn areas of Africa. The White House had previously announced it intended to take in 10,000 additional Syrian refugees over the next year.

    The migrants would be referred by the U.N. refugee agency, screened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and resettled around the U.S.

    “This step is in keeping with America’s best tradition as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope,” Kerry told reporters after the meeting with his German counterpart. Kerry also met with some refugee families on the wooded, lakeside resort-style campus of the foreign ministry’s education center outside Berlin.

    Congressional approval is not required for the expansion of resettlement slots, though Congress would have to appropriate money to pay for the additional effort. Some Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns that Islamic State militants could seek to slip into Europe or the U.S. posing as migrants.

    In 2011, two Kentucky residents who had been resettled as Iraqi refugees were accused of being al-Qaida members. They were convicted of terrorism charges after their fingerprints were linked to roadside bombs in Iraq. That led to a cumbersome reinvestigation process and new steps to screen refugees, a process that has been criticized as slow and bureaucratic.

    Even if the U.S. took in 30,000 Syrians over the next two years – an unlikely outcome, given that only 1,500 have been admitted since the start of the war – that number would pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands that Germany is expected to accept, or the 800,000 Vietnamese that the U.S. resettled in the years after the Vietnam war.

    A letter made public last week and signed by several former Obama administration officials urged the U.S. government to accept 100,000 Syrian migrants, and to put in place special rules to speed the resettlement process.

    In Washington, Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a television interview that the U.S. “has to do more and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people we would take in, looking to really emphasis some of those who are most vulnerable.”

    Conditions in Syria have been growing increasingly dire as the civil war grinds on, and as many as 9 million people have been displaced, including more than 4 million who have fled the country, according to the United Nations.

    “Current efforts are not adequate,” according to the letter, signed by Michelle Flournoy, a former senior U.S. defense official who once was Obama’s choice for Pentagon chief, and Harold Koh, the former State Department legal adviser. “Humanitarian aid has fallen short in the face of unspeakable suffering.”

    A U.S. acceptance of 100,000 Syrians, the letter said, “would send a powerful signal to governments in Europe and the Middle East about their obligation to do more.”

    Kerry did not address why the U.S. proposal is well short of what the former officials advocated, but in London on Saturday, he said the migrant crisis must be solved by ending Syria’s civil war and replacing President Bashar Assad.

    Kerry on made clear Saturday the U.S. was willing to negotiate the terms of Assad’s exit with Russia, which is backing his government with a recent military buildup. The Russians brought in fighter jets and surface to air missiles that could threaten American plans, much to the dismay of American officials.

    Critics have accused the Obama administration of passivity in the face of Russian aggression.

    After holding out hope Saturday that Russia could help the U.S. fight the Islamic State, Kerry took a somewhat tougher line on Sunday, saying that he and the German foreign minister agreed that “support for the (Syrian) regime by Russia, or by any other country, risks exacerbating the conflict and only hinders future cooperation toward a successful transition.”

    The post U.S. prepared to accept 100,000 refugees in 2017 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    HAVANA, CUBA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Pope Francis performs Mass on September 20, 2015 in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. Pope Francis is on the first full day of his three day visit to Cuba where he will meet President Raul Castro and hold Mass in Revolution Square before travelling to Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and El Cobre then onwards to the United States.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

    Pope Francis performs Mass on September 20, 2015 in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

    Pope Francis began the first full day of his landmark visit to Cuba on Sunday with an outdoor Mass at Revolution Plaza, attended by President Raúl Castro and other leaders.

    Catholics by the tens of thousands — some of whom had been waiting since the early morning — packed Havana’s Revolution Square and watched Francis arrive in his familiar open-air popemobile to see the service.

    “Whatever wishes to be great must serve others, not be served by others,” Francis said during his homily.

    He arrived in Havana on Saturday and encouraged Cuba and the United States to deepen relations. “I urge political leaders to persevere on this path and to develop all its potentialities … as an example of reconciliation for the entire world,” he said.

    Next, he’ll travel to Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and El Cobre in Cuba, and then onward to a multi-city tour of the U.S., where he’ll meet with President Barack Obama and plans to address both Congress and the United Nations.

    Pope Francis gives mass at Revolution Square in Havana, on September 20, 2015. Photo credit should read Yamil Lage/Getty Images.

    Pope Francis gives mass at Revolution Square in Havana, on September 20, 2015. Photo credit should read Yamil Lage/Getty Images

    HAVANA, CUBA - SEPTEMBER 20: People wave Cuban and Papal flags as Pope Francis passes by as he arrives to perform Mass on September 20, 2015 in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. Pope Francis is on the first full day of his three day visit to Cuba where he will meet President Raul Castro and hold Mass in Revolution Square before travelling to Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and El Cobre then onwards to the United States.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

    People wave Cuban and Papal flags as Pope Francis passes by as he arrives to perform Mass on September 20, 2015 in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

    Pope Francis kisses a girl as he arrives at Revolution Square in Havana on September 20, 2015. Pope Francis will give mass on Revolution Square, the biggest event of his trip to Cuba, with nearly a million people expected to attend. The pontiff's eight-day tour will also take him to the United States.   AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO ARANGUA        (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Pope Francis kisses a girl as he arrives at Revolution Square in Havana on September 20, 2015. Photo by Rodrigo Arangua/Getty Images

    HAVANA, CUBA - SEPTEMBER 20:  People look on as Pope Francis performs Mass on September 20, 2015 in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. Pope Francis is on the first full day of his three day visit to Cuba where he will meet President Raul Castro and hold Mass in Revolution Square before travelling to Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and El Cobre then onwards to the United States.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

    People look on as Pope Francis performs Mass on September 20, 2015 in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

    Pope Francis is welcomed by Cubans during his journey from Jose Marti airport to the Nunciature in Havana, on September 19, 2015. Pope Francis' plane landed in Havana on Saturday at the start of a nine-day tour of Cuba and the United States whose recent diplomatic detente he helped broker. REUTERS/Adalberto Roque/Pool??      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTS1XND

    Pope Francis is welcomed by Cubans during his journey from Jose Marti airport to the Nunciature in Havana, on September 19, 2015. Photo by Adalberto Roque/Reuters

    The post Pope Francis holds mass in landmark visit to Cuba appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    WASHINGTON — Two Americans held in war-torn Yemen were released and sent to Oman, the White House said Sunday.

    A statement from the National Security Council did not identify the Americans or detail the circumstances of their captivity or their release.

    But a spokesman for a New Orleans-based logistics company, Transoceanic Development, confirmed that employee Scott Darden, 45, was freed. Darden was helping to deliver aid throughout the region for Transoceanic and relief organizations among its clients, according to spokesman Ken Luce.

    The White House said it had “worked tirelessly to secure the release” of the Americans since they were taken earlier this year.

    “This outcome underscores that we have been and will continue to be tireless in pursuing the release of all Americans detained abroad unjustly, including those who remain in the region,” the statement said.

    Luce said Darden was held since March, had worked for the company for a little less than a year, and that his wife and son live in Dubai.

    The company’s CEO, Gregory Rusovich, said in a statement, “We cannot begin to express the sense of joy and relief we feel with Scott’s release. He has been safely evacuated and will be reunited with his family very soon.”

    The U.S. thanks the government of Oman for helping secure the release of the Americans.

    The war in Yemen has pitted Shiite Houthi rebels and forces fighting for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against fighters loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists. The conflict escalated in March as a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition launched airstrikes against the Houthis.

    Associated Press writer Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans contributed to this report.

    The post White House: 2 Americans held in Yemen have been released appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    DES MOINES, IA-SEPTEMBER 19: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition 15th Annual Family Banquet andPresidential Forum held at the Iowa State fairgrounds on September 19, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Eight of the Republican candidates including Trump are expected to attend the event. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

    GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Iowa State fairgrounds on September 19, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. On Saturday, Trump offered life advice to students at Urbandale High School. Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images

    URBANDALE, Iowa — Donald Trump’s advice for high school students in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, is uncharacteristically wholesome: Avoid alcohol and drugs as well as cigarettes.

    The billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate is also encouraging the teens to follow their hearts and do something they love, even if it means making less money.

    “You represent so much. You represent the future. You represent something very important,” he said.

    Trump offered his views Saturday night in the parking lot of Urbandale High School as he addressed a group of students dressed in sparkly mini dresses and suspenders and bowties ahead of their fall homecoming dance. A social media campaign brought him to the celebration and hundreds of students, parents and others turned out to hear him.

    “If you can stay away from the alcohol and stay away from the drugs, it’s a big, big barrier that you won’t have to work out. And it’s so important,” he said.

    It was a rare moment of humility for the often-caustic billionaire, who is better known for firing competitors on his reality TV show and lobbing insults at his opponents in the GOP field than offering the secrets of his success to teens.

    “You have to go and follow what you love, you have to do it,” he said. “And you just have to follow your heart and you’ll be successful. And it may not be pure monetary success, because I know people that are the wealthiest people in the world and they’re not happy.”

    Even he seemed caught off-guard by his presence, noting at one point that he could be in New York, “on Fifth Avenue, this beautiful apartment, watching whatever,” but instead was appearing there, free of charge.

    At one point Trump appeared to go overboard with his praise. “Oh, they’re so young. Look at them. So young and beautiful and attractive,” he remarked, drawing some nervous laughs.

    In a question-and-answer session, Trump was asked by a student whether he would consider appointing Muslim-Americans to his Cabinet if elected. “Absolutely,” he said, “no problem with that.”

    While some students confessed that they would have preferred to host Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, many said they were thrilled to have a leading presidential candidate visit their school – especially a celebrity like Trump.

    They also praised their classmates in Anne La Pietra’s Advanced Placement government class for succeeding at getting one of the candidates running for president to appear at their homecoming dance. The students blanketed social media, sent letters and visited campaign offices, La Pietra told The Associated Press, and were shocked when Trump accepted their invitation.

    “It was crazy. We were so excited,” said homecoming queen Elyse Prescott, 18, who wore a tiara. She said the news was even more exciting than finding out she’d been chosen by her classmates.

    La Pietra said that Trump’s appearance taught her students that “government is not just a textbook that we read out of. It’s alive and they can participate.”

    Parents gathered before the speech said they weren’t concerned about Trump saying something that might be inappropriate for high school kids.

    “He’ll fit right in,” joked Deb Miller, 46, a real estate agent from Urbandale with two kids at the school.

    The post Donald Trump offers life advice to Iowa high school students appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 2.28.58 PM

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    SASKIA DE MELKER: When I first met Hameed and Ghoson Yakdi, their family was sleeping on the street near the Hungarian border with Austria, already a month into their journey across Europe.

    They left their besieged hometown of Aleppo, Syria, for Turkey. After days at sea to get to Greece, they traveled thousands of miles by land, often walking, to Austria, where they finally got seats on a bus to Vienna. Their timing was lucky. Two before Germany restricted entries from Austria, the Yakdis were met by Hameed’s brother Mohammed, who already lived in Germany. He drove them the rest of the way to Munich.

    Now a week after their arrival, they are starting to get a taste of what they hope will become their new home.

    HAMEED YAKDI: The way of living in the Middle East is different than that of Europe: the living conditions, family atmosphere, even the roads are different.

    GHOSON YAKDI: I feel safer that we are all family here. One feels safe to meld into the German society.

    SASKIA DE MELKER: Like tens of thousands of other recent refugees, the Yakdis face a challenge that will take much longer than the journey from Syria — applying for asylum and integrating into German society.

    The Yakdis have an advantage — their extended family in Munich has taken them in. Hameed’s brother, Mohammed, came to Germany about two-and-a-half years ago. And their cousin Ruaa came fifteen years ago, as a refugee from Sadaam Hussein’s Iraq. Ruaa remembers the daunting challenge of being thrust into a different society.

    RUAA ADNA SULAIMAN: It’s not easy to leave everything back there. But when you settle down in another country, you find a job, you learn a language, you establish a family, and it becomes your home.

    SASKIA DE MELKER: Ruaa has mastered the German language so well that she now works as a translator. She was granted asylum and her three daughters were born and raised here in Germany.

    RUAA ADNA SULAIMAN: You gain a lot of respect from the people here when you speak their own language.

    SASKIA DE MELKER: Do you feel accepted by Germany?

    RUAA ADNA SULAIMAN: Not all the time. We have our difficulties here. Everybody has his own opinion. I cannot force someone to accept me.

    SASKIA DE MELKER: In recent years, there has been a rise in crimes against immigrants by neo-Nazis in Germany and in the first half of this year there were more than 200 attacks on refugee shelters.

    But the Germans I met said they welcomed new asylum seekers like the Yakdis, while also worrying about long term challenges and the potential for a backlash.

    ROSINA GEIGER: One has to give it time. Prejudices are completely bad. However it plays out, it certainly won’t be easy.

    KORBY MAIER: I believe if many more people come, there will be a point when there’s a revolt in German, but as long as it’s only people who really need asylum, it’s fine. I say, better 1000 refugees than 1 Nazi.

    ZVONIMIR SOMEN: Yes, I think there certainly is a potential risk for Germany. That the extreme right-wing groups might get stronger. But nevertheless when one sees how much aid is offered to the refugees, then you see that there are certainly many people who are really good.

    SASKIA DE MELKER: Since arriving in 2013, Mohammed Yakdi says overall he has had a good experience in Germany. He’s speaking German and has a job as a food delivery truck driver. But at times he can feel the prejudice.

    MOHAMMED YAKDI: I have always always stress. I cannot feel this [is] my home. I need more time.

    SASKIA DE MELKER: For the two youngest members of the Yakdi family — three year old Adam and four year old Faten — assimilation should be easier and quicker. Like the children of all asylum seekers, German law requires they be enrolled in public school as soon as possible.

    HAMEED YAKDI: Now, I don’t think about me, about what I will do. I think about them, about what they will do in the future. I see the other children here, and they go to school, they study, and they have future.

    SASKIA DE MELKER: But even as they try to become part of German society, the Yakdis want their children to know that they will always be Syrian.

    GHOSON YAKDI: I will continue to be consistent reminding them that we are Syrians, there definitely will be part of them from the homeland that they will never forget. So when they grow up, they will live with the German society, but they will remain Syrians.

    The post After long journey to Germany, refugees confront new challenge of integration appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A protester holds a placard as police officers stand guard during a rally against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security bill and his administration in front of the parliament in Tokyo, September 19, 2015. The upper house of Japan's parliament approved security bills on Saturday clearing the way for a policy shift that could allow troops to fight overseas for the first time since 1945, a milestone for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's agenda of loosening the limits of the pacifist constitution on the military. The placard reads, "Don't break (Japan's war-renouncing) Article 9". REUTERS/Issei Kato - RTS1SF2

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR ANCHOR: This weekend, Japan broke with 70 years of post-World War II passivism by giving the green light to its military to deploy troops abroad to help allies fight in the name of “collective self-defense.” No specific deployment is on the table, but the new law removes a limitation on Japanese troops engaging only in self-defense were Japan to be attacked.

    Joining me now to discuss the reasons for and implications of this policy change is Peter Landers, a Tokyo bureau chief for the “Wall Street Journal.” This is a big deal. There were crowds protesting this move for days on the streets of Tokyo.

    PETER LANDERS, TOKYO BUREAU CHIEF, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”: That’s right. For the first time, as you said, Japan may be able to help allies like the United States, even if Japan itself is not attacked. And this, according to these critics, is a violation of Japan’s constitution.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So the concerns are what? That Japan starts to get dragged into being a coalition of the willing in other parts of the world?

    PETER LANDERS: That’s right. If there were a future conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan, perhaps that the U.S. would demand that Japan take part, and Japan would get ensnared in this conflict that has nothing to do with itself. That’s the fear of these critics.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And the prime minister, on the other hand, says look, we’re not in a neighborhood like the United States. We don’t have the nice, huge buffer of Mexico and Canada, friendly countries next door. And there’s also a lot more tension rising now with China.

    PETER LANDERS: That’s right. He says we wouldn’t get involved in a conflict like the one in Iraq. This is really about protecting the peace in the East Asian region where China’s military is growing rapidly. North Korea, of course, has a nuclear threat aimed at Japan. And he says, look, if the U.S. is attacked while it’s trying to help defend Japan, what sense does it make that Japan can’t come to the aid of the U.S.? It’s bartered an alliance. And so that’s why he felt this legislation was really essential to Japan.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And you mention North Korea. I mean, the Korean Peninsula very close by. And that is constantly in a state of escalation, de-escalation.

    PETER LANDERS: That’s right. And he talked about a scenario where perhaps even Japanese citizens could get ensnared in a conflict in the Korean Peninsula, and Japan wouldn’t have the wherewithal to rescue them. So that’s another element of this legislation.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So the United States, the U.K. are on board. They support this. What about reaction from China?

    PETER LANDERS: China is somewhat cautious, of course. They say they don’t trust Japan, given the wartime history. And I think also in China, being anti-Japanese is sort of a rallying cry for the Communist Party, which may not have support in other quarters in China, but certainly can rally the troops and rally the people of China by saying that they will stand up to any kind of Japan’s – any kind of aggressiveness on Japan’s part.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: What’s the future for this law? Does it get challenged in the courts, or do the courts defer to the government on this?

    PETER LANDERS: That’s an interesting question. Yes, I think courts traditionally in Japan have deferred to the government. There probably will be challenges, but the opponents at the moment really lack standing to bring any challenge to the court, because no one has suffered any specific injury from this legislation and probably won’t for awhile unless there’s some conflict in the near future.

    So the more likely path for critics to challenge the law is in elections at the ballot box. And there is an upper house election coming next July, July 2016. And that will be their first chance, I think, to make the argument to the Japanese people that this is a bad law, a dangerous law. And also Prime Minister Abe’s chance to defend it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Peter Landers, Tokyo bureau chief for the “Wall Street Journal,” joining us via Skype today. Thanks so much.

    PETER LANDERS: Thank you.

    The post Japan passes controversial law to nix military limits appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 45th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington September 19, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RTS1XVG

    U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 45th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington September 19, 2015. Photo by Yuri Gripas

    WASHINGTON — To President Barack Obama, women of the civil rights movement were “the thinkers and the doers” whose toil and sacrifice benefited everyone in the country.

    “Women made the movement happen,” he said.

    Obama said black women were the “foot soldiers” who did the behind-the-scenes work of strategizing boycotts and organizing marches while others received the credit.

    “Even if they weren’t allowed to run the civil rights organizations on paper, behind the scenes they were the thinkers and the doers making things happen each and every day, doing the work that no one else wanted to do,” he said in a speech Saturday night at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner.

    But Obama said that while black women and girls have made progress since and are opening more of their own businesses and graduating from high school and college at higher rates, they are still overrepresented in low-paying jobs and underrepresented in management.

    He even invoked his wife, Michelle, as an example of the attitudes about black women that he said persist. The first lady, a lawyer with degrees from two Ivy League universities, has spoken on occasion of being told by her teachers that she was setting her sights too high.

    “Those stereotypes and social pressures, they still affect our girls,” said Obama, the father of two teenage daughters. “So we all have to be louder than the voices that are telling our girls they’re not good enough, that they’ve got to look a certain way or they’ve got to act a certain way or set their goals at a certain level.”

    Obama has had the dinner spotlight to himself during all but one of his nearly seven years in office. But with the campaign to succeed him in full swing, he had some competition for attention at Saturday’s gathering sponsored by a major Democratic Party constituency group.

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the dinner to mingle with the crowd of several thousand. Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a late entry into the Democratic race, attended a caucus prayer breakfast.

    In his remarks, Obama also touched on the issue of criminal justice, promising to work with CBC members and other lawmakers in the months ahead to advance legislation intended to make the system fairer and encourage the use of diversion and prevention programs.

    He also swiped at conservatives who blame him for animosity toward law enforcement officers.

    “I want to repeat because somehow this never shows up on Fox News,” Obama said. “I want to repeat because I’ve said it a lot, unwaveringly, all the time: Our law enforcement officers do outstanding work in an incredibly difficult and dangerous job. They put their lives on the line for our safety. We appreciate them and we love them.”

    Among those honored Saturday night was the late Amelia Boynton Robinson, an organizer of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights to Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1965, and who was badly beaten by police. She celebrated the march’s 50th anniversary earlier this year by crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, while holding hands with Obama.

    Boynton Robinson died late last month at age 104.

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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former CEO Carly Fiorina speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina on September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTS1TQ3

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former CEO Carly Fiorina speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina on September 18, 2015. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. — Former tech CEO Carly Fiorina, hailed for her performance at the second GOP debate, held roughly 1,000 Michigan Republicans in silence, broke them up in laughter and then brought them to their feet in cheers and chants of “Carly, Carly.”

    “I am a fearless fighter. I will not falter. I have been tested and I will fight this fight,” said Fiorina, one of five GOP presidential candidates to address the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday.

    Most of the other Republicans seeking the party’s presidential nomination were pitching their agendas to more than 1,000 party conservatives at an event sponsored by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.

    Businessman Donald Trump, the front-runner in polling, used part of his speech in Iowa to defend himself against critics who said he should have corrected a man at a rally on Friday when he asserted, incorrectly, that President Barack Obama was a Muslim and not an American. Trump said he would have faced criticism if he had jumped in and read aloud tweets he sent in his defense, including one that read: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so.”

    Fiorina, whose physical appearance Trump criticized in an interview, continued her subtle jabs at the television personality and real estate mogul. “Leadership isn’t defined by position, or title, or how big your office is, your airplane, your helicopter, your ego,” she told Michigan Republicans.

    In the historic Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, Fiorina joined former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for the three-day conference that has become a regular stop for GOP presidential candidates and attracted more than 2,300 overall.

    Michigan offers the most delegates of the three primary contests on March 8 and follows closely early nominating races in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Republicans also view Michigan as more competitive for the general election than at any time since 1988, the last time a GOP presidential candidate carried the state.

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker scratched the Michigan event – for the second time – because a charter flight he arranged was grounded in Chicago due to inclement weather, aides said. Walker had accepted an invitation to open the conference as the keynote speaker Friday night with Bush, but canceled due to travel constraints, then rescheduled for Saturday morning.

    “We have moved heaven and earth to get him here,” Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel told those who attended Saturday’s breakfast expecting to hear Walker.

    Walker attended the forum, put on by an evangelical conservative group, in Iowa, where he has seen his lead among likely Republican caucus goers disappear in the past two months. The scheduling wrinkle came as he scaled back his initially ambitious campaign for president to focus on neighboring Iowa, a scramble meant to reassure jittery donors and supporters after a quiet performance in the debate.

    Walker sought to distinguish himself as a proven government reformer by comparing himself to surging rivals such as Fiorina, who was CEO of Hewlett Packard, and Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon.

    “You wouldn’t hire me to be a neurosurgeon … you wouldn’t want to hire me to run HP,” Walker said. “But if you want somebody who’s taken on the Washington-based special interests and won … then I ask for your support, I ask for your vote.”

    Ohio’s Kasich continued the appeal he made during the debate for the government to offer a hand up to people as a way to broaden the party. “When we do better, people who live in the shadows cannot be ignored,” he told Michigan Republicans. “If you’re in a minority community we want you to be lifted, we want you to be part of everything.”

    Before dashing to attend the South Carolina-Georgia college football game in Athens, Georgia, Bush on Friday evening had a message similar to Kasich’s. Bush has begun hitting back aggressively since Trump used a dire description of the state of the country and negative characterizations of Mexican immigrants to win support. Bush said Republicans need to show middle-class voters feeling left behind in by the economy and traditionally Democratic voting groups such as African-Americans that GOP policies benefit them.

    “If we are serious about winning, we need to be on their side and assume that they want to achieve earned success, because they do,” Bush said.

    Saturday evening, Kentucky’s Paul described Republicans such as Jeb Bush as “Democrat light” and said “I couldn’t disagree more” with modest reforms. “I think we can be boldly for what we’re for and get new voters,” Paul said.

    Cruz spoke to a lunchtime audience in Michigan before joining the Iowa group as its final speaker. In his evening remarks, he criticized Republican congressional leaders, saying they were not doing enough to defund Planned Parenthood and that they were “trying to pound all of us into submission.”

    He added: “If conservatives unite, this primary is over. What Washington wants, what the Washington establishment wants, is to divide us.”

    South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former New York Gov. George Pataki also spoke at the Iowa forum.

    Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey in Iowa and David Eggert in Michigan contributed to this report.

    The post Fiorina promises a fight for GOP nomination appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Artist Alex Katz paints at his New York City studio. Photo by PBS NewsHour

    At an age when some artists might hang up their paintbrushes for good, Alex Katz is churning out new work. “I’m really cooking. I don’t think I ever painted more than I’m painting in the last year or so.”

    “I’m really cooking,” Katz told PBS NewsHour in an interview at his Maine summer retreat. “I don’t think I ever painted more than I’m painting in the last year or so.”

    “You never know what’s going to happen when you start on a canvas,” he said. “I love the adventure.”

    Today, the 88-year-old artist said he still paints seven days a week. When I offered that many people his age might slow down, he had a ready reply: “Well, I ain’t most people,” he said.

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    Katz’s stature has soared over a six-decade career in which he has outlived many of his early contemporaries, including Jackson Pollack, William De Koenig and Robert Rauschenberg.

    This year, his work has been the subject of two museum retrospectives.


    Katz’s work was on display at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art earlier this summer. Photo courtesy High Museum of Art

    The first, “This Is Now,” at the High Museum in Atlanta displayed 40 of his distinctive portraits and large landscapes — beaming with bright colors, clean lines, monochromatic backgrounds and billboard-sized optimism. The High exhibit closed on Sept. 6 and travels next to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain.

    The second, “Brand New and Terrific,” at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, features 69 early Katz works from the 1950s. The Colby exhibit remains on display through November.


    Katz’s work on display at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. Photo by PBS NewsHour

    “He has been one of the most important representational painters,” Colby College Museum of Art curator Diana Tuite said in an interview. “He has really transcended any art movement and continues to really be influential for young painters today.”

    Since the 1950s, Katz has straddled two homes – in New York City, where he grew up and still lives nine months of the year, and in the coastal Maine town of Lincolnville, where he has spent his summers since 1954.

    A decade ago, Katz built himself a sun-filled studio in the woods overlooking a pond, where he swims daily during the summer. His subject matter can be found outside his windows.

    “I like the light,” Katz said. “The further north you get, the less white light you have and the more color, and I thought the color around here, you know, is just really marvelous, and that was a big reason for coming here.”

    Alex Katz. White Roses 9, 2012. Oil on linen, 108 x 216 inches. Photography by Paul Takeuchi. 15-Alex-Katzs-White-Roses-from-2014-showsn-at-the-High-Museum-exhibit-This-Is-Now-earlier-this-year-©Alex-Katz-Licensed-by-VAGA-New-York-NY.jpg

    White Roses 9, 2012. Oil on linen, 108 x 216 inches. ©Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

    Katz started coming to Maine in 1949. At the time, he was an undergraduate scholarship student at the prestigious Cooper Union School of Art in Manhattan.

    He took summer classes at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Madison, Maine. There he shifted his style from painting from photographs to painting from direct observation.

    “I have a lot of training.  I’m not high natural talent,” Katz said.

    13 Alex Kat's 1975 painting, Summer Picnic shows his tranition from figurative pictures to landscapes  (©Alex Katz Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY)

    1975 painting, “Summer Picnic” shows his transition from figurative pictures to landscapes. ©Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

    One thing you learn visiting Katz in his studios is that his paintings are all planned out. When you see a larger painting of his, it has not been improvised. “Everything starts with sketches, studies,” he said.

    Katz transforms these small studies into huge canvas paintings faster than one might expect.

    When I visited him at his Soho studio in New York, I saw in real time how fast he works — layering wet paint and applying different colors while wielding brushes in both hands.

    He completed a 15′ by 11′ painting of trees, which he titled “Cross Light 3,” in 90 minutes.

    “You have to really want it, and you have to go for it,” Katz said.


    Katz adds a finishing touch to a painting he named “Cross Light 3″ in his SoHo studio. Photo by PBS NewsHour

    Initially Katz thought he would never be a full-time painter without the financial support of another job.

    He spent ten years carving frames for a living while painting and living in apartments without heat. In his first gallery shows, nothing sold, except to a few friends, he said.

    “I had five flops in a row,” Katz said with a hearty laugh. But now? “I love sticking it to people who didn’t think I was anything for so many years.”

    Alex Katz, Blue Umbrella #2, 1972. Oil on canvas. 96 x 144 inches. Collection of Peter Blum, NYC  12-Alex-Katzs-1972-Blue-Umbrella-featuring-Ada-shown-at-the-High-Musem-this-year-©Alex-Katz-Licensed-by-VAGA-New-York-NY..jpg

    Blue Umbrella #2, 1972. Oil on canvas. 96 x 144 inches. ©Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

    Given his long summer residency, it’s perhaps no surprise that a Maine museum is the leading repository of his art.

    The Colby museum holds 850 Katz pieces in its permanent collection, including works featuring his longtime muse, Katz’s wife, Ada.

    Across the decades, she has appeared in more than 250 paintings.


    Katz’s latest rendering of his wife Ada, who he has painted more than 250 times. Photo by PBS NewsHour

    “Ada’s like a perfect model. Picasso would have jumped at her,” Katz said of the Spanish artist who depicted a series of his own muses.

    Katz keeps coming back to the one he married 57 years ago, as he described her, with “Miss America measurements.”

    “Ada literally stopped the traffic on Route 1 the first time she came in a bathing suit,” Katz said. “She goes on a beach, guys fall over.”

    Today, in his renderings of Ada, the face is still familiar, but the hair has gone gray. “I think, in a sense, the world caught up with me.”

    As for Katz, he doesn’t mind getting older. He keeps in shape. He keeps working. He accepts commissions, too — with one small caveat: you must already own two of his pieces and agree to pay double his normal price.

    “I feel like I’m 30, 40 years younger than I am,” Katz said. “What’s happening now is that it’s like an explosion of different people are interested in my work than were, like, ten years ago.”

    “I think, in a sense, the world caught up with me,” he said.

    The post Artist Alex Katz not slowing down at 88 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    People look at the results of exit polls on a giant screen as the leader of the conservative New Democracy party Vangelis Meimarakis is interviewed on television after polls closed in a general election in Athens, Greece, September 20, 2015. Meimarakis conceded defeat on Sunday in Greece's national election to his leftist rival, Syriza's Alexis Tsipras.   REUTERS/Paul Hanna - RTS2171

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Greece has completed its third national vote this year. The former prime minister, who stepped down in August, after a dispute over austerity measures to handle Greece’s debt crisis, appears to be back in power.

    “NewsHour” special correspondent Malcolm Brabant joins me now from Athens to discuss the results and ramifications.

    Malcolm, what’s old is new again.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Alexis Tsipras has just been out speaking, saying that he has now got a mandate for four years, that the Greek people are backing him to fight their particular corner.

    Now, he is portraying this as being really quite a substantial victory, but it’s not one, to be perfectly honest. This election has been defined by the apathy of the Greek people. There’s complete despair with politicians and politics, because this is a country which is passionate about politics.

    People are compelled, supposedly, to go to vote. But the most important thing here is that 45 percent of the people didn’t vote today. They’re so completely disillusioned. And when Alexis Tsipras was first elected in January, it was on a wave of hope that he was going to change things.

    But he has disappointed so many people. But he may have got in today with the help of his previous right-wing sort of colleagues to form a majority government, but people — some people who have voted for him have basically said, well, you have put us into a real mess. Now you can finish the job.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Well, there was also concern that he got in on the mandate of standing against the austerity measures, and he capitulated to the rest of Europe

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Well, this is one of the things that is quite droll about the whole of Greece.

    Earlier this evening, you had the defense minister, who is the — the leader of the small right-wing party which is going to be forming a coalition, saying that this is the start of a new beginning; this is a time for Greece to get trust.

    But the fact of the matter is that there’s not a great deal of trust in Alexis Tsipras, because he promised so much, especially to the electorate. And when they voted no in this referendum earlier in the year, in terms of austerity measures, he completely ignored that and capitulated, as some people would say, to the European Union.

    And there was — a taxi driver who brought me here tonight sort of came up with a very instructive quote. He said, “I — you know, I don’t care if we had a socialist or a conservative,” he said, “because, come Monday morning, we won’t have a prime minister. We will have a Dutch person telling us what to do.”

    And that’s the way many Greeks feel, that Tsipras is a prime minister in name only, because his policies are being dictated by the European Union.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, while I still have you, this happens at a time, as you have documented, Greece is on the front lines, in many cases, of this migrant crisis as well.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Well, one of the most interesting things internationally, really, about the — the new government coming back into power is that Tsipras has been talking about tearing down the fence which separates Greece and Turkey.

    Now, that fence is one of the reasons why all of the migrants have been coming across via boat into the islands. Now, he is very much pro-refugee. And he might possibly save all of these migrants from having to come across the waters, if he goes ahead and pulls down that fence.

    Now, he has to get political support to do that, but that is a fairly major thing to look ahead to in the future.

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

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Thank you.

    The post Polls close in Greece election, but more financial instability likely appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican presidential candidates including (left-right) former Sen. Rick Santorum, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pose before the start of the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on Sept. 16, 2015. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Republican presidential candidates pose before the start of the second official Republican presidential candidates debate for the 2016 race on Sept. 16, 2015. But will the behavior of some of the candidates hinder the GOP’s desire to widen appeal? Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Anyone in America can grow up to be president, as the saying goes – unless you happen to be a Muslim, a leading Republican presidential candidate believes.

    It’s possibly one more self-inflicted dent in the party’s professed commitment to broaden its appeal and promote tolerance.

    “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

    For GOP leaders, the 2016 campaign offered a chance at redemption and fresh pitch to minorities, gays, women and others beyond the traditional core supporters.

    After a blistering examination of the 2012 election, a report commissioned by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus concluded that “if our party is not welcoming and inclusive, young people and increasingly other voters will continue to tune us out.”

    But it hasn’t unfolded according to the hierarchy’s hoped-for script, with some high-profile candidates inviting lots of eyebrow-raising. Just in the past few days, their comments have underscored that the problems extend beyond the GOP’s well-documented troubles appealing to Hispanics.

    To be sure, candidates Jeb Bush and others have disavowed some of that rhetoric or tried to stake out more moderate positions. It can be tough, though, to avoid getting drowned out by language sure to stir up people.

    Front-runner Donald Trump declined to correct a town hall participant who wrongly said President Barack Obama was a Muslim. Days later, Carson spoke about Muslims and the presidency – remarks described as “un-American,” by a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper. Hooper said the Constitution expressly bars religious tests for those seeking public office.

    “To me this really means he is not qualified to be president of the United States,” Hooper said. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.”

    Carson found no defender in rival John Kasich. “The most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me,” the Ohio governor told NBC.

    For Trump, the election of a Muslim president was “something that could happen. Would I be comfortable? I don’t know if we have to address it right now.”

    2016 hopeful Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, responded to Obama’s nomination last week of an openly gay man to serve as Army secretary by saying the president “is more interested in appeasing America’s homosexuals than honoring America’s heroes.”

    Kasich told a story last week about a note left for him by a Latina hotel maid. “A lot of them do jobs that they’re willing to do, and that’s why in the hotel you leave a little tip,” Kasich remarked.

    After Trump’s town hall, Bush made clear he would not fuel the conspiracy theories about Obama’s religion. “He is an American, he is a Christian,” the former Florida governor said Friday.

    And an exasperated Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told ABC’s “This Week” that “these issues have been discussed ad nauseam over the last few years. It’s a big waste of time. Barack Obama will not be president in a year and a half. It’s time to start talking about the future of America.”

    Kasich earned applause in the first Republican debate last month when he said that he opposes gay marriage but he accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling making same-sex unions legal across the country.

    “And guess what? I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay,” he added. “Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or I can’t love them.”

    Still, the rhetoric has provided an opening that Democrats are ready to try to exploit.

    “Of course a Muslim, or any other American citizen, can run for president, end of story.” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who leads the Democratic National Committee. “To think otherwise is not only harmful to our political process, but it elevates and validates discrimination in this country.”

    Steve Schmidt, who served as Republican Sen. John McCain’s top strategist in the 2008 presidential election, said it’s problematic for the GOP to be seen as intolerant, particularly with moderate voters who help sway the general election.

    “Of course it’s worrisome if you have a party that perceived as anti-Latino, anti-Asian, anti-gay, intolerant of Muslims,” Schmidt said.

    Asked specifically about Carson’s comments on NBC, Schmidt said it exposed him as an amateur politician and underscored his “total lack of understanding about the American political system.”

    Kevin Madden, who worked for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, said the GOP field is expanding the base, despite some of the high-profile missteps.

    “There are over a dozen candidates running for president right now who are shaping the profile of the party and for everyone who promotes a view outside the mainstream, there are many more promoting views and policies focused on unifying the country and broadening the party’s appeal,” Madden said.

    The post Will candidates get in the way of GOP’s quest to broaden appeal? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Getty Images

    Photo by Getty Images

    About one quarter of all renters spend at least half of their paychecks just to keep roofs over their heads, and those numbers will only grow in the next 10 years, new research suggests.

    Out of 40 million renters in the United States today, 11.2 million of them are severely burdened by rent, according to a newly released study from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing advocacy group. By 2025, that number could grow to 15 million severely burdened renters nationwide out of a projected total of 48 million, said Christopher Herbert, a housing and urban policy expert and the joint center’s managing director.

    A Key Driver of Worsening Affordability is Falling Incomes Among Renters
    Percent Change in Real Median Value Since 2001
     Renter Housing Costs
     Renter Income

    Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies

    The study explores how much a home costs the average American renter and what factors may make rental housing increasingly unaffordable, he said.

    “Even the best case scenario is one where we have to do better than we currently do to help make ends meet for these households,” Herbert said.

    Here’s why that matters. Herbert said that what economists see today is the unfolding twin legacies of the foreclosure crisis that pushed people out of their homes and the Great Recession that cost people jobs and stunted income growth for those who remained employed. These numbers indicate that an economic recovery is far from over.

    Demographic shifts compound the problem. Aging Baby Boomers often are living on fixed incomes that quickly stretch thin, and the nation’s growing black and Hispanic population disproportionately represent how many people are in poverty today. The study’s authors recommended that all levels of government make affordable rental housing a policy priority.

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    Carly Fiorina, Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, delivers a keynote address at the OpenWorld conference Monday, December 6, 2004, in San Francisco, California. Photographer: Noah Berger/Bloomberg News.

    Carly Fiorina, Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, delivers a keynote address at the OpenWorld conference Monday, December 6, 2004, in San Francisco, California. Photo by Noah Berger/Bloomberg News via Getty Images.

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ten years after GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was unceremoniously fired from her job as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, her tumultuous business career is still the subject of heated discussion.

    Even as she enjoys a surge in momentum after last week’s Republican debate, Fiorina is facing more jibes about her tenure at HP. Rival candidate Donald Trump declared her time there “a disaster,” after Fiorina boasted of HP’s growth and the “tough choices” she made as CEO.

    The truth is, her HP tenure was rocky. “It is pretty hard to find too many people who think she did a great job there,” said journalist Peter Burrows, who wrote “Backfire,” a book about Fiorina’s reign at HP. “Her reputation is definitely tarnished in Silicon Valley.”

    Yet one outspoken Fiorina supporter is venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who clashed with Fiorina when he was on HP’s board but now says it was a mistake to dump her. “I think she is brilliant and has gotten a lot of unwarranted criticism,” Perkins told The Associated Press.

    Some issues the 61-year-old Fiorina has encountered in her career:



    Fiorina likes to say she “doubled the size” of HP while she was CEO from 1999 to 2005. She’s referring to HP’s annual revenue, which rose above $80 billion after Fiorina pushed through a 2002 deal to buy Texas computer-maker Compaq, which had $40 billion in annual sales before the deal.

    HP, however, continued to struggle after the massive acquisition. Profit fell from $3.7 billion in 2000 to a net loss of $900 million in 2002. While profit recovered to $3.5 billion in 2004, the company missed some key earnings projections along the way.

    To be sure, the 2001 dot-com bust hurt many tech companies, including HP. But despite Fiorina’s efforts to cut costs by slashing 30,000 jobs, HP’s stock fell 50 percent, lagging behind rivals IBM and Dell. She was ultimately fired after clashing with directors who pressed her to share authority with subordinates.

    HP’s performance improved under Fiorina’s successor, Mark Hurd. He cut costs further, using the combined clout of HP and Compaq to negotiate lower prices from suppliers and sell businesses a wide range of tech products. While supporters credit Fiorina with the vision to buy Compaq, critics including former Compaq Chairman Ben Rosen said she lacked the skills to make the deal work.

    Today, HP is struggling again after a series of management upheavals and a broad decline in the PC industry. It announced plans last week to cut up to 30,000 more jobs as it prepares to split into two companies.



    Unlike many tech CEOs, Fiorina had a background in business but not engineering. She earned an undergraduate degree in medieval history and philosophy at Stanford, and later acquired master’s degrees in business and management.

    Perkins called her “a terrific communicator” who used charisma and persuasion to close major deals for the company. She also appeared in corporate ads and on magazine covers, while hobnobbing with celebrities.

    “She is an incredible marketer,” Burrows said. “Even back when she was at HP, people there were saying she should seriously think about going into politics.”

    Even so, Fiorina alienated longtime HP employees, who complained she was imperious and harsh. Part of the problem: HP was famous for innovation, but analysts say it had become slow and unfocused in the years before Fiorina.

    “The hardest thing for a chief executive to do is to tell someone that they don’t have a job anymore,” Fiorina said this week on “Fox News Sunday.” ”But when you have a big, bloated bureaucracy that costs too much, that is becoming inept — and by the way, that’s what we have in Washington, D.C. — then there are some jobs that have to go away.”

    Fiorina also antagonized the families of HP’s legendary co-founders. Walter Hewlett, the son of co-founder William Hewlett, waged a bruising, highly publicized proxy battle against the Compaq acquisition. He argued that Fiorina was paying far too much in a deal ultimately valued at $19 billion.

    In the end, Fiorina got the deal approved. But she ultimately lost the support of HP’s board, which grew impatient with her progress.



    As both an outsider and a rare woman CEO, Fiorina may have faced extra resistance in the predominantly male culture at HP in that era. “She broke the glass ceiling, and that was not comfortable,” said former HP executive Chuck House, co-author of the book “The HP Phenomenon.”

    In the presidential campaign, Fiorina has faced Trump’s derisive comments about her looks. And in her 2006 memoir, “Tough Choices,” she recounts incidents from her time as a young executive at AT&T, when others treated her differently or questioned her abilities because of her gender. Fiorina rose from a sales job at AT&T to leading the $3 billion spinoff of Lucent Technologies, where she became a division president.

    Fiorina’s memoir also describes a meeting at Lucent with mostly male sales executives from a newly acquired company, in which she confronted concerns that her own, women-led team wasn’t tough or street smart.

    As Fiorina tells it, she stuffed a pair of her husband’s socks into the front of her slacks that morning. After making a “serious, fact-based” presentation, she stood and removed her jacket, revealing the bulge in her slacks while she declared that her team had the tools — she used a different word — to do the job.

    The room erupted in laughter, she wrote. While a few people thought the gag was crude, Fiorina concluded that “effective communication means speaking in a language people understand. I’d made my point.”

    The post Just how rocky was Fiorina’s tenure as HP’s CEO? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Image courtesy of Kiki Petrosino.

    Image courtesy of Kiki Petrosino.

    Kiki Petrosino’s poetry began as a child in the backseat of her mother’s car.

    Many nights, the family would drive to and from Catonsville Community College near Baltimore to pick up Petrosino’s father, a public school teacher who taught evening classes on the side. And on those trips, Petrosino’s mother would play Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 Countdown and ask her and her sister: What’s happening in this song? How is the person feeling, and what happened to them to make them write the song?

    “I think about that experience when I think about the beginning of my own life as a poet — because poems are songs, the first poems were songs,” she said. “That’s where I’m coming from.”

    Now, Petrosino asks those same questions using poetry to deconstruct memory, time and the changes that have taken place in her life.

    “I think that I’m always contemplating the key question of, can people change? And I really still don’t know the answer,” she said. “Some days I think yes, it seems very apparent to me that people can change and people do change all the time. But on other days, I think no — people are fundamentally who they are and what we perceive as change is just us discovering new things about ourselves and the people around us. It’s a mystery that my poetry helps me investigate.”

    Petrosino grew up in north Baltimore before her family moved 45 minutes away from the city, across the border with Pennsylvania. While working toward a degree from the University of Virginia, she spent a semester in Florence — an experience that she said encouraged her to live in Switzerland after college, teaching English and Italian at The American School in Switzerland.

    Her poem “Pastoral” began as a meditation on her time in Europe. “It’s me looking back and thinking, to what extent [am] I the same person that I was at that time and to what extent am I a completely different person?” she said.

    The villanelle form, which employs repetition, was a starting point for the rhythm of the poem, which moves back and forth between variations on similar images and sounds. Serving as an anchor for those images is a question: Where did it start?

    Petrosino is still asking that question herself. “It can have a different answer every time,” she said. “And even though it can be uncertain to have a multitude of answers, I think it’s an authentic response to the question.”

    Hear Petrosino read her poem “Pastoral” or read the text below.


    Where did it start? In a city of gardens & muck.
    When I held someone close, in watery light.
    We drank & I bled all the way home.

    Red-orange light on my legs. Oh, wow
    that blink-blink of bright, that flip of the pulse.
    Where did it start? In the garden, the muck

    where insects jumped in starry arcs. My body
    took shape, then. A greenhouse I entered alone.
    We drank & I bled all the way home.

    I wore so many clothes. Cotton, cotton, wool.
    I burned in my skin like a stone. How, exactly?
    Where did it start? There, in the muck

    no one saw how we blazed into poppies.
    Light raked through our bellies like combs.
    We drank & I bled all the way home.

    Now, I put myself to bed. My dreams
    are coins to dispense as I like. On water. On light.
    In a city of gardens & muck, you can start

    to feel rich. You can start to feel right
    & tumble for years down the hill of your life. You ask
    Where does anything start? In muck. In a garden.
    You drink the drinks & bleed. You’re foam.

    Kiki Petrosino is the author of two books of poetry: Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and Fort Red Border (2009), both from Sarabande Books. Her poems have appeared in “Best American Poetry,” “The New York Times,” “FENCE,” “Gulf Coast,” “Jubilat,” “Tin House” and elsewhere. She is founder and co-editor of “Transom,” an independent on-line poetry journal. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the Creative Writing program.

    The post Poet Kiki Petrosino asks: Can people change? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump decided to do a live Twitter chat from the outlet’s New York City office to reach voters through social media.

    Using the hashtag #AskTrump, some Twitter users, like @MarieLeff, posed serious questions to Trump, which he then answered by video:

    He also entertained more light-hearted questions about whether or not the Dallas Cowboys have a chance at the playoffs, and if Joe Flacco can be considered an elite quarterback. He then fielded questions on Israel, how he would help the homeless, and what he would do to fix the student debt crisis.

    While Trump answered questions, however, a large majority of the Twitterverse used the hashtag to troll Trump as hard as they could. The popular website, Buzzfeed, sent over inane questions:

    Another news/culture website, The Daily Beast, invited Twitter users to spam the hashtag:

    The website then tweeted a series of negative articles on Trump from their archives using the hashtag:

    Since entering the race, Trump has incited controversy with remarks about Mexican immigrants and personal attacks against his opponents, including a negative statement about Carly Fiorina’s face.

    With the hashtag, many Twitter users seemed to feel that Trump gave them the ideal opportunity to let him know what they thought about these actions. As the hashtag trended, they shot the candidate random, sarcastic, and even political questions.

    Trump’s Twitter chat ended at 1:30 p.m., but two hours later, the hashtag was still trending, as users kept letting the Internet know what it really was they wanted to #AskTrump.

    The post Donald Trump held a live Twitter chat. What could possibly go wrong? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Steve Cole/E+ via Getty Images

    Can two divorcees marry and continue to collect Social Security benefits on their ex’s? Photo by Steve Cole/E+ via Getty Images

    File this under you learn something new every day. Credit goes to Jim Blankenship, a financial planner who has a very informative financial blog. Jim somehow discovered deep in the bowels of the Social Security Program Operating Manual System (POMS) that you can get remarried and continue to collect a divorcee spousal benefit, provided you marry someone who is also collecting benefits based on the work record of his or her deceased spouse or of a living or dead ex-spouse (to whom one was married for a decade or more).

    Here’s the provision. If you can benefit from this provision, take it with you to the Social Security office, because they surely will say you’re nuts.

    RS 00202.045 Remarriage of a Divorced Spouse – Policy: The marriage of a divorced spouse will terminate entitlement to such benefits unless the marriage is to an individual entitled to widow(er)’s, mother’s, father’s, CDB, divorced spouse’s, or parents benefits.

    Gay women, listen up. This may be of particular importance to you!

    Women still earn less than men on average in the U.S. Considering that fact, changing attitudes towards homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage, there may be millions of older gay female couples who were previously married to men and who are holding off getting married from fear that they will lose their divorcee benefits. But if both partners are in this boat, this provision means that they can get married and not lose anything. Furthermore, if they haven’t yet filed for their own retirement benefits, they can wait to do that until age 70 when their retirement benefit starts at its highest value. At that point, they will collect what they were collecting from their ex or their own retirement benefit — whichever is larger.

    When your ex dies, you may get a larger Social Security check

    Prior to learning about this provision, I thought that marriage eliminated the ability to collect divorcee spousal benefits. But if you marry someone else who is collecting off of a dead spouse or a living or dead ex-spouse, you can get around these rules. Moreover, if you hitch up in this manner and are taking divorcee spousal benefits, you not only get to keep them, you also get to graduate to even higher divorcee widow(er) benefits when your ex passes away.

    How married couples can use this rule

    If you are married, only you or your spouse can collect full spousal benefits starting at full retirement age and then let their own retirement benefit grow until 70. But if you get divorced after 10 years of marriage, both of you can — starting at your full retirement ages — collect full divorcee spousal benefits on your exs’ work records. I’ve been suggesting, half in jest, that married couples consider getting divorced before reaching full retirement age so they can both collect full divorcee spousal benefits. But this provision suggests that they could get divorced (at least two years before the oldest of you reaches full retirement age), start collecting their full divorcee spousal benefits, and then get remarried immediately and continue to collect full spousal benefits off of each other’s work record.

    Anonymous: I applied for and am now receiving my retirement benefits at age 62. I was married to my second husband at the time. We then separated, and I am now divorced. I spoke to a Social Security representative, Bernice, prior to receiving my first check at which time she told me what my benefit amount would be. During our chat, I had told her that I was married previously, but my first husband was killed in car accident at age 30, and we had no children. She researched and indicated that if one was divorced from her second husband, one could collect on the first husband, and my benefit would increase by approximately $400 per month. I was not divorced from my second husband then, but I am now as of December of 2014. I spoke with another Social Security representative, Troy, back in December 2014 and was told that my first husband did not make enough before he died and that the other Social Security representative gave me the wrong information! What should I do?

    Larry Kotlikoff: Very sorry that you have had this terrible run around with Social Security. I hope you didn’t get divorced on their advice that it would help you financially, only to find out that the original person you spoke with was wrong. But it may be that the second person you spoke with was wrong too. What I tell everyone is not to ask Social Security what they will give you, but to do your own homework and then tell them what they owe you. There is now extremely precise and inexpensive commercial Social Security software, which can be used to calculate what your widow’s benefit is based on your first husband’s work record.

    Social Security is under no obligation to provide you information about your first husband’s work record. They are, however, obligated to provide you with his so-called Primary Insurance Amount. Assuming they have this Primary Insurance Amount correct, which is an important question in itself, the first Social Security representative may have told you about your full divorcee widow’s benefit, not the excess divorcee widow’s benefit. Once you start taking your own retirement benefit, Social Security will only give you a widow’s benefit equal to the amount by which your widow’s benefit exceeds your own retirement benefit. If this excess widow’s benefit is negative — that is, if your widow’s benefit is less than your retirement benefit — your excess widow’s benefit will be set to zero. The bottom line is that the first Social Security representative may have told you something that was literally true about a benefit — your full widow’s benefit — which you aren’t able to collect. She should have told you about your excess widow’s benefit. If, by chance, you are still within one year of having started taking your retirement benefit, you can withdraw it (but you’ll need to pay back every penny of benefits you received in order to do so). In this case, you can collect just your widow’s benefit and wait until 70 to collect your own retirement benefit (when it will start at a 76 percent higher value, and that’s over and above the system’s adjustment for inflation).

    Best of luck.

    Anonymous – Ind.: I live in the state of Indiana and get $1,254 in Social Security Disability. I’m now considering working part-time (20 hours each week). How much am I allowed to make in income each month without decreasing my same Social Security benefits?

    Larry Kotlikoff: ​The quick answer is that you have just nine trial months over a five year period in which you can earn more than $780 per month before losing any benefits. After you have exceeded the nine trial months, you have 36 months during which you can earn up to $1,090 and not lose any benefits. (These $780 and $1,090 are adjusted annually.) Even after the 36 months are up, your benefits do not end as long as don’t earn more than $1,090 per month. Social Security gives you a break for some work-related expenses. They also let you stay on Medicare for free for 93 months, after which you can pay to remain on Medicare. This Social Security website is reasonably clear about these provisions.

    Cindy – Mukwonago, Wis.: I just became a widow in March of 2015. My husband was 52. He was killed in an industrial accident at his place of employment. I am 57. What is the earliest age I can collect Social Security?

    Larry Kotlikoff: I’m terribly sorry to hear about your husband’s death. If you are disabled, you can collect reduced widow’s benefits right now, but this reduction will go away when you reach full retirement age if you are also entitled to Social Security disability benefits on your own account when your widow’s benefits start. Otherwise, you can begin taking a reduced widow’s benefit starting at 60. At 70, you can then start collecting your own retirement benefit. If it’s larger than your reduced widow’s benefit, you’ll get the larger amount as your total check. If it’s not, the optimal strategy in your case is to wait until early retirement age (62) and take just your own retirement benefit. At full retirement age, you’d take your unreduced widow’s benefit. There is actually a different full retirement age for widows and for retirement benefits, which could matter a bit in your case. Careful software that includes this difference can help you understand which strategy is best. It can also factor in the earnings test in case you are still working.

    Brett – Lugoff, S.C.: There is a 10 year age difference between my wife and me (she is older). She is now 69 and took Social Security when she hit full retirement age. My income was higher, so I would expect my Social Security benefits to be roughly 50 percent higher than hers at full retirement age. What is the best strategy to maximize our benefits? Can I file for spousal benefits at full retirement age and wait to take mine at 70?

    Larry Kotlikoff: ​Your best strategy at this point is to file just for your spousal benefits at FRA (full retirement age) and then take your own retirement benefit at 70. Let your wife know that if you pass away before she does, she’ll be able to collect a higher check in the form of a widow’s benefit based on your work record.

    Philip – Elkhorn, Wis.: My husband is 68, and I’m 67. After reading your book, “Get What’s Yours,” (excellent!) my husband filed for Social Security and suspended. I then applied for spousal benefits. I was found entitled, and I will get my first spousal check the middle of May, plus I’ve already received a lump sum (back) payment of over $8,000. In addition, I received a booklet regarding Social Security Disability Benefits, and I get e-mails from the USDA regarding nutrition info. Are spousal benefits considered disability payments, or has there been some mistake? I applied in a Social Security office and made it clear that I was applying for spousal benefits, not disability benefits. Do I have a problem?

    Larry Kotlikoff: You might check with them, but disability benefits aren’t granted to anyone beyond full retirement age. So they must have sent you the booklet by mistake. Glad the book helped!

    Lynette – Astoria, Ill.: I have been receiving my deceased husband’s disability Social Security check (partial amount). My question is this: He was a vet and was in served during Vietnam. I have been told that there are benefits available to me. If I find out where I can learn more about this and receive this, will it affect my Social Security check? I only get $1058 a month and can’t afford to lose any of that. Thank you for your help.

    Larry Kotlikoff: I am very sorry for your loss, and I know everyone says this, but it’s also very true — I am very grateful for your husband’s service to our country.

    You can receive the larger amount or your ​own retirement benefit and your husband’s check. Both amounts are adjusted through time for inflation. You should check with Social Security whether your check will be larger if you start collecting your own retirement benefit. It may not be larger now, but could be if you start taking it at age 70. At 70, your retirement benefit is 76 percent larger, after inflation, than it is at age 62.

    If you are eligible for VA benefits, those would not affect your Social Security check.

    The post A little known Social Security hack for divorcees looking to remarry appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    MADISON, Wis. — Scott Walker abandoned his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, exiting the race that saw him rise to front-runner and fall to afterthought in a matter of months.

    The Wisconsin governor planned a news conference for Monday evening in Madison, where he was to announce he will be the second major GOP candidate to quit the race.

    “It has been communicated to me that he is getting out of the race,” said Iowa state Sen. Brad Zaun, who endorsed Walker earlier this year. “I’m proud of our efforts in Iowa. And I think he’s an incredible candidate. It’s unfortunate.”

    One of the last Republicans to enter the race, Walker will join former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as one of the first to leave it, having been unable to adjust to the popularity of billionaire businessman Donald Trump or break out in either of GOP’s first two debates.

    He will return to his job in Wisconsin as governor, where his term runs through 2018.

    “I’m not sure what went wrong,” said Iowa state Sen. Mark Costello, who endorsed Walker earlier this year. “I think all the more provocative statements some of the candidates made got them more press.

    “I don’t think he made any really big mistakes,” Costello said, “but people lost enthusiasm.”

    Walker, 47, tried to appeal to religious conservatives, tea party conservatives and the more traditional GOP base. He tried to cast himself as an unintimidated conservative fighter who had a record of victories in a state that hasn’t voted Republican for president since 1984.

    He came to the race having won election in Wisconsin three times in four years, and having gained a national following among donors and conservatives by successfully pushing his state to strip union bargaining rights from its public workers.

    Walker pointed to those Wisconsin wins, in a state that twice voted for Barack Obama as president, as signs that he could successfully advance a conservative agenda as the GOP’s White House nominee.

    He called himself “aggressively normal” and campaigned on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and made a splash in January with a well-received speech before religious conservatives in Iowa.

    Groups backing Walker went on to raise $26 million, tapping wealthy donors whom Walker had cultivated in his years as governor and during his successful effort to win a recall election in 2012.

    But Walker’s fall was dramatic. He was unable to adjust to Trump’s rise and repeatedly had trouble clearly stating his position on several issues.

    He took days to clarify whether he supported ending birthright citizenship. He initially showed interest in building a wall between the U.S. and Canada, only to later laugh it off as ridiculous. Walker also declared he wasn’t a career politician, despite having held public office for 22 straight years.

    After Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina displaced Walker at the top of the polls, Walker took a more aggressive approach, promising to “wreak havoc” on Washington. He vowed to take on unions as president, just as he did as Wisconsin governor, outlawing them for federal government workers and making the entire country right-to-work.

    But the anti-union policy proposal fell flat; announced in the days before the second GOP debate, it wasn’t mentioned at all — by Walker or anyone else — on stage.

    While only Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had more super PAC money available to boost their chances in the original 17-person 2016 Republican field, Walker struggled to generate money for his official campaign.

    He has yet to report fundraising totals to federal regulators, but top fundraisers and donors have said his plummeting poll numbers left them struggling to generate cash.

    Walker called his senior staff to the governor’s mansion in Madison on Monday to review recent polling, in which he was mired at the bottom of the GOP field, and his campaign’s finances.

    “I’m disappointed,” said Stanley Hubbard, a billionaire media mogul from Minneapolis who had backed Walker’s campaign. “He’s a good man and would have been a good president.”

    As word spread of his decision to exit the race, Republican operatives in Iowa working for other campaigns were already making plans to contact state lawmakers who had committed to support Walker.

    The Wisconsin governor had assembled a campaign organization in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties and had a number of state lawmakers committed to him.

    Walker, one of the most divisive political figures in Wisconsin history, will have some work to do repairing his relationship with voters in his home state. His job approval ratings fell dramatically during his presidential run, hitting their lowest mark ever of 39 percent in an August poll conducted by Marquette University.

    Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican and close ally of Walker’s, said he “has an amazing story to tell about Wisconsin and the reforms we put into place.”

    But Vos said he suspects Walker realized he would have had a difficult time taking attention away from other candidates, like Trump, who are “sucking up a lot of the oxygen.”

    The post Watch Live: Scott Walker to drop out of 2016 presidential race appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Before we go tonight: This weekend, I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, to the Circular Congregational Church for a town hall meeting on race.

    We were just blocks away from Emanuel AME Church, where nine black worshipers attending Bible study were gunned down in June. We spoke with local residents and national experts and activists about Greece, recovery, the Confederate Flag, and whether black lives matter.

    In a “PBS NewsHour”/Marist poll conducted last week before the town hall, we found widespread agreement about the scope of the problem; 60 percent of whites and 56 percent of blacks say race relations have gotten worse in the past year. But when we asked if African-Americans and whites have the same job opportunities, for example, 76 percent of black respondents said, no, they don’t, while 52 percent of whites said, yes, they do.

    And when we asked whether the police treat blacks and whites equally, 8 percent of African-Americans said yes, compared to 42 percent of whites.

    At the town hall, I asked Umi Selah, who founded a called the Dream Defenders after Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida in 2012, whether anything has changed.

    UMI SELAH, Dream Defenders: What we have learned in the past year is not that black lives matter, but black deaths matter. That’s the only time people wake up. That’s the only time people react.

    But, in South Carolina and around the country, if the politicians who are touting that black lives matter really care, there would be health care for black families, so they could provide for better qualities of living. There would be quality education in the schools, if you really cared about black lives. There wouldn’t be mass incarceration if you really cared about black lives.

    GWEN IFILL: You can watch “America After Charleston” in full tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on most PBS stations. It will also be streaming live on our home page.

    The post In a turbulent year for race relations, has anything changed? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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