Articles on this Page
- 10/01/15--11:41: _10 dead in southwes...
- 10/01/15--14:25: _Making use of empty...
- 10/01/15--14:48: _Psychological studi...
- 10/01/15--15:25: _Why growing lettuce...
- 10/01/15--15:30: _A decade after Prop...
- 10/01/15--15:35: _Bipartisan reform b...
- 10/01/15--15:40: _U.S., Russian offic...
- 10/01/15--15:45: _News Wrap: Afghan g...
- 10/01/15--15:50: _Mass shooting shock...
- 10/01/15--16:56: _Visibly upset, Pres...
- 10/01/15--17:46: _Military transport ...
- 10/02/15--06:40: _What we know – and ...
- 10/02/15--12:59: _What ‘The Martian’ ...
- 10/02/15--13:29: _Obama says he won’t...
- 10/02/15--13:32: _Dispiriting job gro...
- 10/02/15--13:36: _I was a refugee. I’...
- 10/02/15--14:07: _Photos: Children ar...
- 10/02/15--14:26: _More than one mass ...
- 10/02/15--15:15: _Seeing need, Clevel...
- 10/02/15--15:20: _Seeking her kitchen...
- 10/01/15--11:41: 10 dead in southwest Oregon college shooting, including gunman
- 10/01/15--14:25: Making use of empty space, urban farming becomes a business
- 10/01/15--14:48: Psychological studies can’t always be reproduced, and that’s OK
- 10/01/15--15:25: Why growing lettuce in New York City is a growing business
- 10/01/15--15:35: Bipartisan reform bill aims to fix minimum mandatory sentences
- 10/01/15--15:40: U.S., Russian officials tackle technical details of Syrian strikes
- 10/01/15--15:45: News Wrap: Afghan government claims Kunduz control regained
- 10/01/15--15:50: Mass shooting shocks Oregon community college
- 10/02/15--06:40: What we know – and don’t know – about the Oregon shooting
- 10/02/15--12:59: What ‘The Martian’ can teach us about the weather on Mars
- 10/02/15--13:29: Obama says he won’t sign any temporary funding bills
- 10/02/15--13:32: Dispiriting job growth in September jobs report
- 10/02/15--13:36: I was a refugee. I’m haunted by today’s images of child refugees
- 10/02/15--14:07: Photos: Children are most vulnerable in the refugee crisis
- 10/02/15--14:26: More than one mass shooting happens per day in the U.S., data shows
- 10/02/15--15:15: Seeing need, Cleveland program trains steelworkers of tomorrow
A gunman opened fire on Umpqua Community College in southwest Oregon on Thursday, killing nine and injuring an additional seven, according to the Associated Press. The shooter, who has been identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, died after exchanging gunfire with police.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the names of those killed would not be released until Friday and refrained from revealing any information about the shooter.
“I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act,” Hanlin said.
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Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin confirmed on Thursday that 10 people, including the gunman, had been killed in a deadly mass shooting at Umpqua Community College.
The New York Times reports that violence was concentrated in a public speaking class in a humanities building and that people fled in panic as shots rang out. The shooting occurred just four days into the school year.
Law enforcement officials said the gunman had three weapons, “at least one of them a long gun and the other ones handguns,” according to the Times.
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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon State Superintendent Rich Evans held a press conference earlier on the shooting at Umpqua Community College.
PBS NewsHour’s Cat Wise, on the scene in Roseburg, Oregon, spoke to Sarah Cobb, a 17-year-old student who said she was in the classroom adjacent to the shooting. She described hearing a loud bang next door, like the sound of a book dropping on the floor, she said.
Her teacher approached a closed door connecting the two classrooms and called out: “Are you OK?” At that point, they heard shots fired, and she and her class quickly left the building. Cobb and her classmates gathered at the student center before they were bussed out by officials.
In another classroom, Cassandra Welding “heard a popping noise, almost like a balloon popping,” she told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I knew something wasn’t right and so I get down.”
She said the students in her classroom locked the doors, turned off the lights and hid under tables and chairs. “We called 911 and called our parents, our loved ones. … We didn’t know what was going to happen, if those were our last words or not.”
Hannah Miles, 19, said she and other students hid in the back room of a bookshop. “No one really was sure what was going on,” she said, according to the BBC. “The next thing we knew, there were three or four more gun shots and everybody just looked at each other and we knew.”
“We are a community college in the best sense of the word,” said Rita Cavin, Umpqua Community College’s interim president, reported The Oregonian. “Things like this last forever. It’s an emotional scar for the college.”
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Authorities responded to the scene after first receiving a call at 10:38 a.m.
President Barack Obama addressed the shooting in a press conference Thursday evening.
“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these mass shootings every few months,” the president said.
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President Barack Obama addressed today’s deadly mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Umpqua Community College is located near Roseburg, Oregon, about 180 miles south of Portland, Oregon. The school has enrolled about 3,300 full-time students and another 16,000 part-time students.
Federal agents dispatched bomb-sniffing units to the campus.
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Students and staff were bussed to the Douglas County Fairgrounds, where Red Cross is treating them. As they departed campus, authorities searched their bags, according to News-Review photojournalist Michael Sullivan.
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Reactions to the shooting emerged on social media, from Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden.
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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered state flags to fly at half-staff.
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You can see updates from her and other officials, journalists and people on the ground by following the list below.
The post 10 dead in southwest Oregon college shooting, including gunman appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Editor’s Note: In our latest Making Sense segment, economics correspondent Paul Solman explores the business of urban farming. Paul spoke with Viraj Puri, the CEO of the urban agriculture start-up Gotham Greens. On a rooftop above a Whole Foods in Brooklyn, Puri spoke about urban agriculture’s efficient use of space, buying local produce, and whether urban agriculture could solve the growing global food crisis.
The following conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity and length. For more on the topic, tune into tonight’s Making Sense, which runs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour.
— Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor
Viraj Puri: The produce that is grown here is partially sold to the Whole Foods downstairs, to other Whole Foods across the New York City area and to restaurants.
In our controlled growing environment, we’re able to grow a head of lettuce in about 30 days from seed to harvest – about half the amount of time it would take in conventional, soil-based farming.
This greenhouse that we’re standing in is about 20,000 square feet so about half an acre, yet the yield we achieve is about those of a 20-acre farm. It’s about 20 times more efficient per unit area.
Paul Solman: Could you do this through vertical farming? In other words, level by level?
Viraj Puri: It could be done level by level. The big challenge is lighting. Plants need light to grow – it’s what aids photosynthesis. By stacking plants on top of plants, you need levels of artificial lighting between them, which is extremely energy intensive, and currently, it has not been proven to be economical. However, a lot of advancements are being made in terms of energy efficient lighting, such as LED lighting, but it’s not quite being done on a commercial level yet.
Paul Solman: But these lights above us are quite energy intensive, aren’t they?
Viraj Puri: Yes, they do use more energy than conventional lights. They’re particularly well suited to growing crops. We use this as supplemental lighting, and there is a very big difference between supplemental lighting and artificial lighting. We use these lights a couple of hours a day for about six months of the year as opposed to completely indoor stacked farming that requires lights 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Paul Solman: I hope you’ll forgive me for saying this, but why Brooklyn, New York? Why did you pick Brooklyn, NY as the place for the sun to shine?
Viraj Puri: Brooklyn is a special place, and we’re seeing so much innovation. It’s on the cutting edge of science, media, art, fashion and food. We have this growing urban population that increasingly cares about where they get their food, how it’s grown, who the people are growing it, whether it is close enough to them and what it really represents.
This food is not superior just because it is grown closer to them, but because of the effort that our growers put into making sure it very nutritious and tasty. Being fresher, it’s going to be more nutritious. So our proximity to our customers enables us to get our product to them within 24 hours of harvest. More conventionally grown salad greens come from as far away as California, Arizona or Mexico. Often the leafy greens that we buy at a supermarket or eat at a restaurant is a week old before we get it, which really compromises the flavor and the nutrition, and it has a carbon impact from shipping that product over long distances.
Paul Solman: And it’s closer to the consumer. In my reporting I’ve found that people want to be localvores, so they really want farm-to-table or in this case, farm-to-supermarket.
Viraj Puri: Locavorism is a growing trend, and I believe it’s not just because people want food that’s grown closer to them — that’s a big part of it — but it’s what that represents. It represents spending dollars closer to home, it represents artisanal, small batch, craft manufacturing, not large, anonymous agribusiness.
Paul Solman: If they wanted to, people could simply go upstairs from the Whole Foods and see where the food comes from.
Viraj Puri: Especially in this location, people can literally come and see where the food is grown and then buy it on the supermarket shelves downstairs. This particular facility in partnership with Whole Foods and Gotham Greens is very symbolic of the locavore movement.
Paul Solman: Is this organic, and if it isn’t, what is organic anyway?
Viraj Puri: Here at Gotham Greens we employ hydroponic techniques, so it’s not technically certified organic according to USDA standards. When the USDA developed standards for organic agriculture, it was intended to be primarily a soil-protection rating system. In hydroponics we don’t really use any soil, and we’re eliminating any sort of run-off from agriculture to the groundwater and into the soil, so it’s sort of a moot point. The current USDA standards are not really applicable to hydroponics, but that being said, at Gotham Greens, all of our produces is pesticide free, which is extremely important to us.
Paul Solman: And how do you get the power for these lights?
Viraj Puri: We’ve designed all of our greenhouses to be as energy efficient as possible — we have sensors all over the green house that are tracking temperature, CO2, light level, oxygen, etc. All of that information is transmitted to a computer control system that we’ve programmed to turn the equipment on and off to achieve the desired conditions in the greenhouse. In addition to that, we’ve selected high-efficiency equipment to conserve overall energy use. We have shade curtains here that act as thermal blankets in the cooler months that reduce the amount of air that we need to heat. We use advanced glazing materials that help insulating. We also capture waste heat from the building below that reduces our overall heating demand.
Paul Solman: Do you think there is a world food crisis either happening now or in the making?
Viraj Puri: There are several significant issues with our current food system. There’s a tremendous amount of waste, and there is a tremendous amount of resources that go into agriculture. Agriculture is the largest consumer of land on the planet, it’s the largest consumer of fresh water, it’s the leading source of water pollution, and it’s also responsible for about 15 percent of global carbon emissions. While our global food system does feed billions of mouths each day, there are a number of significant challenges, and what we’re beginning to see all around the world are more efforts toward more sustainable forms of agriculture.
Paul Solman: If there’s a world food crisis — either happening or in the making — how much of the problem can be solved by solutions like yours?
Viraj Puri: The global food crisis is complex with a lot of varying factors, and there are differing factors affecting different parts of the world.
I don’t believe that urban agriculture in the developed world will ever produce the majority of the urban population’s nutritional needs, however urban agriculture has a very important role to play. It has community development attributes, and it has pedagogical attributes to our students, teaching them how food is grown and where it comes from. It boosts economic development opportunities and creates urban green space. It can symbolize adaptive reuse of urban space. So urban agriculture has a lot of benefits – feeding populations is one of them – but I don’t believe it’s the primary one.
Paul Solman: What about in the so-called developing world?
Viraj Puri: I believe in the developing world urban agriculture has more of a subsistence nature — people need to farm that food to eat. They don’t have the benefits of going to markets and restaurants to buy their food, they need to grow it themselves, and that’s increasingly happening in inner cities in the United States.
The post Making use of empty space, urban farming becomes a business appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
A large collaborative science initiative called the Reproducibility Project at the University of Virginia recently reran 100 psychology experiments and found that only about one in three studies could be replicated. The results were rapidly disseminated in mainstream and social media with most commentators concluding that psychological science shouldn’t be called a science at all.
Yet, reproducibility failure is common across many scientific disciplines, not just psychological science. For example, the pharmaceutical company Bayer recently reported that it failed to replicate about two-thirds of published studies identifying possible drug targets. During the decade he served as head of global cancer research at the pharmaceutical company Amgen, C. Glenn Begley and his team sought to replicate 53 landmark papers on cancer research published in top journals and conducted by reputable labs. They found that 47 of the 53 could not be replicated.
In 2012, researchers from Nanjing University published a paper on genetics that showed a microRNA in rice could regulate genes in the liver of mice that had eaten the rice. The result was of enormous importance in the field of transgenic crops. But other labs could not replicate the result.
In her recent New York Times essay, Northeastern University psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett describes replication failures in genetics and physics as well as psychological science that led to marked progress in these fields. Nor is replication failure a modern phenomenon. Scientific American blogger Jared Horvath describes three famous replication failure cases from the history of science involving the work of such giants as Galileo, John Dalton and Robert Millikan. Science proceeds by fits and starts, and replication failures don’t necessarily spell doom for a scientific endeavor. Instead, they point to refinements that must be made in theory and methods.
If other sciences also “suffer from a replication crisis,” why then, one wonders, is psychological science singled out for censure? I believe the answer lies in the discomfort we feel from the very idea that the mysteries of human nature can be studied scientifically. In my book, “The Other Side of Psychology,” I drew an analogy between this kind of reaction to psychological science and the reaction Isaac Newton elicited when he used a prism to demonstrate that white light was in fact a spectrum of separable colors. For centuries, people believed that light was the purest of all essences, indivisible and whole. Newton’s scientific demonstration that this “purest of all essences” was in fact a compound of many colors frightened and repulsed many people. The idea that things were not as they seemed, that nature could lie to us and that our powers of perception could be so misled was very threatening, indeed. These concerns seem somewhat reactionary and childish to us now. Yet, while people got used to the idea of scientifically studying light, the idea of scientifically studying the mind was — and frequently still is — met with the same type of skepticism and resistance.
The moral to be drawn from replication failures is that the results of single research papers should not be taken as fact. The very nature of science requires that the confidence we place in our theories and our experimental results should be proportional to the size of the body of evidence upon which they rest. In fact, John Ioannidis, professor of medicine at Stanford, has argued for years that most scientific results are less robust than researchers believe. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Dr. Ioannidis praised this large-scale study on replication and claimed it should have repercussions beyond the field of psychology.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The very term urban farming sounds like a paradox, or a misnomer at the very least. But it is a real business and movement, albeit a small one, that you can find in industrial greenhouses in a number of cities around the country.
Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, headed to Brooklyn, where the practice is growing, to find out more about what’s behind it and whether it can be scaled up.
It’s part of our weekly series Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the NewsHour.
PAUL SOLMAN: On a rooftop in Brooklyn, one fresh answer to an age-old problem: how to feed the world.
VIRAJ PURI, Co-Founder, Gotham Greens: This greenhouse that we’re standing in is 20,000-square feet, so about half of an acre.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, there’s basil over there. Is that basil?
VIRAJ PURI: That’s correct. That’s basil. This is a medley of, a blend of many lettuce varieties.
PAUL SOLMAN: Lettuces, spices, tomatoes, all being grown on a rooftop in Brooklyn by Viraj Puri’s urban ag startup Gotham Greens. Puri says his hydroponic plot produces 20 times the yield per square foot of old-fashioned farmland.
But growing lettuce in New York City?
VIRAJ PURI: Real estate is extremely expensive in New York City. There’s not a lot of arable land. There’s not a lot of open space.
But what we found is that rooftops are a vastly underutilized resource. We found it is an opportunity to monetize rooftops for building owners who weren’t using them for anything.
PAUL SOLMAN: Meanwhile, the demand for fresh fruit that hasn’t had to be shipped from California, Mexico or even further afield is also an opportunity to sell to consumers who want to eat locally, the locavores.
VIRAJ PURI: Locavorism, as it’s known, it’s certainly a growing trend. And I believe it’s not just because people want food that’s grown closer to them. That’s a big part of it, but it’s what that represents. It represents spending dollars closer to home. It represents artisanal, small-batch, craft manufacturing, and not large, anonymous agribusiness.
PAUL SOLMAN: And this urban farm grows produce that doesn’t travel food miles, but merely food footsteps, going farm to shelf at the Whole Foods market downstairs.
The produce is more expensive to grow, given that indoor hydroponics depends on artificial light and must import all its water and nutrients. The pests come of their own volition.
VIRAJ PURI: Despite us being on a rooftop in an urban area, those aphids and thrips make it in here.
PAUL SOLMAN: Aphids and thrips?
VIRAJ PURI: That’s correct, aphids and thrips.
So, we will actually release predator insects in the greenhouse that will prey on the bad insects. And we do that on a weekly basis. We create a little insect warfare here in the greenhouse.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, literally behind me while I’m talking to you, and behind you, for that matter, there’s little predator insects eating little aphids?
VIRAJ PURI: Yes, indeed. They’re amongst our most valuable team members.
PAUL SOLMAN: Meanwhile, across the Hudson River, in de-industrialized Newark, New Jersey, empty buildings are being similarly deployed.
So, this is a farm and there is going to be more acreage soon?
DAVID ROSENBERG, Co-Founder, AeroFarms: So, these systems are 20-feet high. We are now building them that are 36-feet high. This is 80-feet long. So, now imagine these 36-high, 80-feet-long and 35 of these stacks.
PAUL SOLMAN: In an abandoned paint ball and laser tag facility, AeroFarms is cultivating tray upon tray of leafy greens, the equivalent of 10 acres’ worth down on the farm, and is building 70,000 more square feet in Newark and beyond, no sun, no soil, just an occasional beard net if you get too close to the merchandise.
I’m wearing this because we don’t want any mustache hair in the kale.
DAVID ROSENBERG: Yes. It’s just an extra precaution to make sure there’s reduced risk of food contamination. I shaved. If I didn’t shave for 24 hours, I would wear a beard net as well.
PAUL SOLMAN: But if some of the concerns seem trivial, the overall purpose of addressing a world food crisis is obviously not.
And AeroFarms co-founder David Rosenberg warns:
DAVID ROSENBERG: The food crisis is already here. Some people tribute the Arab spring and the catalyst of that to a sharp increase in the price of wheat.
PAUL SOLMAN: How much of a contribution to the solution is farming like yours?
DAVID ROSENBERG: It definitely has a place. Whether it’s 5 percent, 10 percent, 50 percent, it’s hard to say. It depends how fast it’s adopted.
PAUL SOLMAN: Rosenberg intends that to be as fast as possible. And he has sparked interest from investors the world over, including China’s immense sovereign wealth fund and one of Britain’s most prominent investment trusts, both touring AeroFarms the day we were there.
And so those folks are thinking about investing or are going to invest in what you’re doing here and abroad?
DAVID ROSENBERG: Correct.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, are there going to be facilities like this in China? Are there already?
DAVID ROSENBERG: Eventually, the vision is to build these farms all over China.
PAUL SOLMAN: And what’s the key to the technology? At AeroFarms’ R&D facility, a former disco, marketing director Marc Oshima explains.
MARC OSHIMA, Co-Founder, AeroFarms: AeroFarms, aero meaning growing with aeroponics or misting the roots with nutrients. It’s much more efficient than hydroponics. It’s much more effective in terms of delivering the nutrients and less water.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, the little roots are like hanging in the air, as opposed to in the soil.
MARC OSHIMA: What makes us unique is our growing medium. We actually have a patent around our growing medium, which is cloth.
PAUL SOLMAN: And the cloth is made of what?
MARC OSHIMA: Our proprietary growing cloth is made out of 100 percent recycled plastic. Each one of our growing cloths is made out of 26 bottles that we’re taking out of the waste stream.
PAUL SOLMAN: And this is known about vertical farming, or verticulture.
MARC OSHIMA: When we think about vertical farming, we think about how many vertical beds of growing can we get in any kind of space. It’s about that productivity per square foot. We’re growing a wide range of different leafy greens, red komatsuna. We have the green arugula. We have Pak Choi. We have Ruby Streaks mustard greens.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, you just…
MARC OSHIMA: Enjoy it. That’s one of the great things, ready to eat here.
PAUL SOLMAN: Yes, kind of mustardy. And the arugula? This isn’t your own proprietary arugula, is it?
MARC OSHIMA: It’s our proprietary growing algorithm, our recipe on dialing in on that flavor.
PAUL SOLMAN: And speaking of growing, like AeroFarms, Gotham Greens is as well.
It’s now running two other urban farms in New York, including a brand-new rooftop greenhouse in Queens three times the size of the one above Whole Foods, and they will soon be opening a rooftop in Chicago.
But there is a limit to how big you can be. Right? I mean, you can’t become the next Cargill or General Mills or something, right?
VIRAJ PURI: Perhaps one day. The sky is the limit when it comes to agriculture.
PAUL SOLMAN: But hold on says, agricultural economist Jerry Nelson, there is a global food crisis in the making, he thinks, but as things stand, the world won’t be fed by hydroponics alone.
GERALD NELSON, University of Illinois: You are going to have some expenses that you don’t have when you’re growing vegetables in the countryside.
You want to go to grow lights, then you have got big expenses for electricity, you have got to have clean water. And if you’re talking about doing this in Delhi or Nairobi, the question is, where are you going to get the right amount of clean water?
PAUL SOLMAN: So, no, indoor farming may not be the answer to the world’s food needs, but it’s doing good and growing business in urban America.
This is economics correspondent Paul Solman, now trying to eat all the local leafy greens I can find when not reporting for the PBS NewsHour.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Ten years ago this week, a Danish newspaper set off a firestorm when it published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, sparking violent protests, which claimed the lives of hundreds of people.
One decade later, those involved in the heart of the crisis now need lifelong protection.
Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant has been out to see some of them, and, tonight, he explores the changing landscape of speech in Europe as it adjusts to an ever-changing population.
And an editor’s note: We will not air the cartoons. It is our policy not to show images of the Prophet Mohammed, because doing so is offensive to some viewers.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Kurt Westergaard is one of the most despised people on the planet. His house in Central Denmark is now a fortress, after a man from Somalia broke in five years ago and tried to kill him.
KURT WESTERGAARD, Retired Cartoonist, Jyllands Posten: I have nothing to apologize for. So, I will never give an apology. I think it would be a loss of professional self-respect if I should give an apology.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Westergaard is concerned that his concept of free expression is seriously under threat.
KURT WESTERGAARD: Well, I think I still have a basic feeling of anger. I worked as a Danish cartoonist according to Danish traditions. I had done nothing wrong. I think it’s a cartoonist’s, a satirist’s job to criticize those in power.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Demonstrations and riots broke out across the Muslim world in 2006 as word of the cartoons spread. Turkey was at the forefront of protests in which more than 200 people were killed worldwide.
In Afghanistan and elsewhere over the course of the past decade, there have been dire warnings about the consequences of insulting the most important figure in the Muslim religion. In Denmark, some members of the Muslim minority have occasionally taken to the streets. This demonstration was by the radical Hizb ut Tahrir Islamist group.
MAN: And we will never compromise for this issue. And, yes, they can then call us uncivilized because we have this stand. Because we can’t accept their so-called freedom of speech, they call us uncivilized.
MALCOLM BRABANT: A Copenhagen’s most influential mosque, Imran Shah, spokesman for the Islamic Society, reiterates the red line that will not be crossed.
IMRAN SHAH, Islamic Society of Denmark: The very notion of connecting bombs with the religion of Islam, with the very acknowledgment of Islam, where you propose that there is no God but God and the last messenger of God sent to this earth was the Prophet Mohammed, connect that with a bomb, that’s a very immature and uncivilized way of starting a debate and discussion.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Do you consider that Muslims have won because there are some people who say that newspapers and all other forms of media are now self-censoring, because they are too afraid to publish images like those Mohammed cartoons?
IMRAN SHAH: There’s no winners or losers in this. The simple thing is to respect each other and not to force people to accept to be dishonored, ridiculed and so on and so forth.
MALCOLM BRABANT: But one of Denmark’s most prominent free speech advocates, Jacob Mchangama, worries that the West is now abiding by Islamic blasphemy rules.
JACOB MCHANGAMA, Free Speech Activist: Basically, we have a situation where we have a jihadist veto which is being respected, however grudgingly, by journalists and editors, which I think is sad. But at least some have come around to admitting that they are acting out of fear, and not out of respect or tolerance.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Another key figure in the cartoon story living life in the shadows is Flemming Rose, the culture editor who commissioned the 12 drawings. He will spend the rest of his life under guard. There were watchful eyes present when we met in Copenhagen’s main park.
FLEMMING ROSE, Former Culture Editor, Jyllands Posten: I think free speech is in bad standing. I don’t think that the key threat comes from Islamists. But I think the key challenge to free speech comes within our own culture, that too many people don’t believe in the value of free speech.
In order to save the social peace in a multireligious and multicultural and multiethnic society, Muslims need to work out, you know, a new concept of blasphemy and apostasy. For too many Muslims, it’s OK to commit violence when nonbelievers or Muslims commit blasphemy.
MALCOLM BRABANT: I took a train from Denmark to Sweden to meet artist Lars Vilks, who was the target of a terrorist attack in Copenhagen in February. He’s been living in various safe houses after drawing the prophet as a dog.
Protection officers drove me to a secret rendezvous in an armored car. A guard remained in the police interview room, as Vilks outlined his refusal to compromise.
LARS VILKS, Artist: The best medicine to settle the whole thing is actually to create an inflation, more — more prophet pictures. I mean, in the end, you should actually see that it’s just pictures. And there is pictures everywhere, and then the end the whole thing would just fade away.
MALCOLM BRABANT: The new works of art Vilks produces are a symbol of his defiance and unwavering sense of humor.
LARS VILKS: Now I have been specialized in making personal copies of well-known masterpieces and adding the dog, but very small, and you can’t really see it.
Yes, this is a dog-free picture. I’m also — it’s also possible to get such a thing. And anyone actually who wants to make an exhibition, I can also provide them with absolutely dog-free pictures, not even a small one.
MALCOLM BRABANT: A stark contrast to Vilks’ confrontational stance could be seen at Copenhagen’s welcome refugees rally, which opposed the Danish government’s anti-migrant policy; 30,000 people turned out to offer a warm embrace to those flocking to Europe, many of whom are Muslim.
This great movement of refugees and migrants is perhaps one of the biggest historical events in Europe in the 21st century. And it looks like it’s going to continue for some time to come. And one of the big questions that people are asking is whether or not the newcomers have to accept Western values and Western culture in return for sanctuary, or does Europe have to adapt its traditions in order to accommodate the newcomers? At the heart of this debate is free expression.
Karolina Dam abhors extreme Islam. Her teenaged son, who had learning difficulties, was radicalized after becoming a Muslim. He joined Islamic State and was killed earlier this year on the Syrian Turkey border. But like Uzma Ahmed, an equality activist in one of Copenhagen’s most diverse neighborhoods, she wants less confrontation.
KAROLINA DAM, Mother of Slain ISIS Fighter: I think respect for another human being should be before anything else. We don’t — we don’t fight about paintings of Jesus, or Christ, or anything else, Buddha or anything else. But that’s because it’s not — it’s not a problem.
But, for Muslims, it’s a problem. Why keep on pushing it? Why keep on poking them in the eye?
UZMA AHMED, Community Activist: We don’t need to have a — talk about a huge cultural clash here, because it’s about rights and it’s about equality. But it’s not given right now, because freedom of speech is for the very privileged.
I see that we have given up our freedom of speech and solidarity in society to the few who want to use freedom of speech to mock and scorn minorities.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Flemming Rose has also has been giving great thought to what changes he believes are necessary to deal with Europe’s growing diversity.
FLEMMING ROSE: To me, somebody who is concerned with freedom, the question is, how are we going to be able to preserve fundamental liberties like freedom of expression and freedom of religion, which also implies the right to say no to religion, in a society that is going more and more — growing more and more diverse?
So, these clashes are inevitable. Unfortunately, most European politicians believe that, in order to keep the social peace, we need to restrict freedom. I think it’s the other way around.
MALCOLM BRABANT: In the run-up to the anniversary, the overriding image of Islam in Denmark has been one of generosity, as young Muslims led efforts to help migrants seeking sanctuary in Scandinavia.
At Copenhagen Central Station, they have been providing nourishment and fresh clothing to new arrivals.
IMRAN SHAH: Everybody who comes to these countries, they have a duty to abide by the law and abide by the rules. To have the discussion about freedom of speech, we’re not here to suspend freedom of speech, but we’re here to discuss how to use it.
Now, if you want to start a debate or dialogue or critical discussion about religion, then let’s do that on a platform of respect and honor, instead of ridiculing or marginalizing an already marginalized minority within these societies.
KURT WESTERGAARD: I hope that these people, they would respect the Danish democracy. If they do that, they would be well-accepted and integrated.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Now 80 years old, Westergaard will end his days under guard. How will history regard him, as a principled fighter for traditional Western values, or a man out of synch with the new realities of a changing Europe?
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Malcolm Brabant in Copenhagen.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we turn to this country’s mass incarceration problem, and our ongoing series Broken Justice on efforts to reform it.
In a rare moment of bipartisan unity on Capitol Hill today, Republicans and Democrats together unveiled joint legislation to cut down the number of people locked up in federal prisons, half of whom are drug offenders.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced the deal, flanked by top senators in both parties.
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), Iowa: We are here today because of a lot of hard work and a strong desire by those of us here to make the Senate work. This is truly a landmark piece of legislation. It’s the biggest criminal justice reform in a generation. It’s a product of a very thoughtful bipartisan deliberation by the Congress.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The deal was years in the making. If passed, it would end the so-called three strikes rule for life sentences for nonviolent offenders, expand mandatory minimum sentences for some terrorism-related crimes, allow for more education and jobs programs inside prison, and limit solitary confinement for juveniles.
We’re joined now by two of the main architects of the bill, Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah.
And we welcome you both.
Senator Lee, to you first.
What are the most important ways you would say this legislation changes our criminal justice system?
SEN. MIKE LEE (R), Utah: You know, I look forward to passing this legislation because it fixes some problems with our minimum mandatory sentencing system.
We have got some of our sentences — some of the sentences prescribed by federal law are plainly excessive in relation to the severity of the crime. This is resulting in our putting away a lot of people, a lot of sons, and fathers, and uncles and nephews and brothers, away for years, sometimes decades at a time, for offenses that, in many cases, don’t warrant that kind of lengthy incarceration.
This doesn’t eliminate minimum mandatory sentences, but it does reform them in a very necessary and long overdue way.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Booker, what would you add to that? What are the most important changes here? And I know that you have for a long time been involved on dealing with what we call the front end of the criminal justice system.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), New Jersey: Right.
Well, look, first of all, the great thing about this legislation is, it’s recognized by people on all parts of the political spectrum how our broken our system is, when we have had, since 1980, an 800 percent increase in our federal prison population.
So this really begins to unwind that in a pretty significant way, returning a lot of discretion to judges, making sure that we unwind some of those aspects of mandatory minimums that you talked about.
But even as exciting is what happens to folks that are already behind the bar, their ability to, through good behavior, through engaging in programs and education, to really earn time down and be released.
In addition to that, just very expensive things. People don’t realize how expensive it is to hold elderly people who have been on these 40-, 50-year sentences and now are very old or very ill, the expense of the taxpayer. This is saying, wait, these folks pose very little risk. It’s something called compassionate release.
And then, for me, just as this moral nation that we are, to have the aspects of this for juveniles, from the solitary confinement provision, to the understanding that if you do something dumb in your teenage years, by the time you’re Mike and my’s age decades later, it shouldn’t be still limiting your economic potential, as we know it does, because people have to confess that for job interviews. It affects your ability to get loans and all of that.
So, in its totality, this comprehensive bill is going to be steps in the right direction after years of going the wrong way with criminal justice.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Lee, is there one part of this that you think is going to particularly make a big difference?
SEN. MIKE LEE: I think one of the parts that a lot of people are celebrating is the fact that we make retroactive a law passed that was several years ago by Congress, one reducing the disparity — the crack to powder cocaine disparity from 100-1 down to 18-1. We make that retroactive.
That coupled with the expansion of the existing safety valve provision and the creation of a new safety valve provision will give more judges more discretion in more cases. Where the criminal penalty attached to a particular crime seems excessive, the judge will have some discretion, in the case of nonviolent drug felonies.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Lee, just staying with you, I know that members of both political parties have come together on this, but this is at the very time when a number of the Republican candidates for president are talking about getting the tougher on crime.
I’m thinking particularly of Donald Trump. How do you explain that?
SEN. MIKE LEE: Well, this bill is tough on crime. It’s tough on crime by getting smarter on crime. And this is one of the reasons why I’m so pleased that we’re able to join hands together, as Republicans and Democrats.
This is a very bipartisan piece of legislation. We recognize this is one of these issues, Judy, that’s neither Republican nor Democratic, it’s liberal nor conservative. This is simply an American issue. We can get better at fighting crime when we devote our resources in a way that makes them more effective and efficient.
SEN. CORY BOOKER: And let me just add to that, I watched the debates. I saw Rand Paul and Chris Christie and others talk about treatment, talk about sentencing reform, bail reform.
This is nothing new. And Republicans actually, if you look at the governors, Republican governors, have been leading in some ways, Republican governor of Georgia, for example, doing a lot of things already that we’re now doing in this legislation.
So, this is not a Republican or Democratic issue. I’m sorry. My allies on this have been everybody from the Koch brothers to Grover Norquist. This has really been a remarkable coming together of right or left to end things that are absurd.
If you just heard what Mike Lee said about this idea that you could have done the crack vs. powder cocaine sentencing — those rules were changed, so people that were violating those laws could be in and out, but because they violated them recently, they’re in and out, but somebody who violated them a while ago was still sitting in prison.
So, the absurdities in the system that are costing taxpayers a quarter-of-a-trillion dollars a year paying for a broken system, when we know, both of us know we need to make those investments in law enforcement, in counterterrorism, in building roads and bridges.
This is a time — a bill that can be celebrated from all sectors of our society, whether you’re a liberal or conservative. This is a time for celebrating smart government that’s going to be making sure we keep us safer. And everybody up there, I think, that spoke today talked about this is a bill that is going to make us safer as a country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Lee, we know that, even though — if this bill passes, it only is going to affect 10 percent of individuals in prison, the 10 percent who are in federal prison. You still have another two million individuals who are in state prisons and jails. What about them?
SEN. MIKE LEE: OK, so, Judy, this is part of an effort that’s being replicated in many states across the country.
There are a lot of states, including my own state of Utah, that are experimenting with criminal justice reforms. This is part of that same trend. And so we expect this will be replicated in many states, according to the different needs of each state in their own system.
And while it’s true that this represents only a portion of the federal inmates, to those inmates that are affected by this, this is going to make a big difference. It will make all the difference in the world to them, to their families and to their communities, especially for those who will be able to rejoin their communities and start contributing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, Senator Booker even though you have clearly got, as we said, bipartisan support, isn’t this still going to be tough going into an election year to get this passed?
SEN. CORY BOOKER: Well, I think that we have real great allies. We have the Democratic whip and the Republican whip. We have the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. And we really have a Congress now controlled in both houses by Republicans that want to show that they can get things done.
And with this kind of leadership in the Republican Party on this team, I think this is something that has a better chance than many of the efforts that are going on in Congress right now. And, again, it’s not novel. There’s a lot of these innovations going on in states ranging from Texas to Mississippi to New Jersey to California, so I think that gives us a greater degree of hope.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Cory Booker, Senator Mike Lee, gentlemen, we thank you both.
SEN. CORY BOOKER: Thank you very much.
SEN. MIKE LEE: Thank you, Judy.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Russia continued airstrikes throughout Western Syria today, targeting what it said were Islamic State and other terrorist targets.
Meantime, the United States continued its campaign in Syria’s skies, and began talks to lessen the chances of further conflict, in what is becoming a crowded airspace.
Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner begins our coverage.
MARGARET WARNER: This was just east of Damascus today, moments after an apparent Russian airstrike on the village of Deir al-Asafir. It was one of the sites across Western Syria that was hit on day two of the Russian bombardment.
There were more strikes to the north, near Turkey, in Idlib province, where al-Qaida’s Syrian branch, the al-Nusra Front, is dominant. And in Homs, a building housing displaced Syrians was struck.
MAN (through interpreter): We were sitting here on the steps, and suddenly we heard a noise and the rocket fell here. Once it fell, children were on the floor. It was a mess.
MARGARET WARNER: That desperate scene found its exact opposite in the relative calm of a marketplace in old Damascus, under firm control of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
VARYJ GERUN JIAN, Damascus Resident (through interpreter): This is a very positive step, and Russia became the best solution for the crisis that we are living in.
MARGARET WARNER: As Russian military video showed strikes across the country, a colonel speaking from Syria maintained they targeted the Islamic State.
COL. IGOR KLIMOV, Russian Army (through interpreter): The Russian aviation group carried out the first precision strikes on eight sites of the international terrorist organization Islamic State. All targets have been destroyed.
MARGARET WARNER: But one rebel group backed by the CIA said its fighters had been hit. And at a special Pentagon briefing, Colonel Steve Warren, speaking from Baghdad, dismissed the Russians’ claims.
COL. STEVE WARREN, U.S. Army: Well, what I’ll tell you is, the Russians were very clear publicly that they were going to strike ISIL. I’m not going to get into exactly who they hit, but we don’t believe that they struck ISIL targets. So, that’s a problem. Right? I mean, the Russians have said that they are going to do one thing, and here they are doing something different than that.
SERGEI LAVROV, Foreign Minister, Russia: If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it’s a terrorist, right?
MARGARET WARNER: In turn, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, at the United Nations appeared to acknowledge the attacks are not limited to the Islamic State.
SERGEI LAVROV: We always were saying that we are going to fight ISIL and other terrorist groups. This is the same — the same position which the Americans are taking. This is basically our position as well. We see eye to eye with the coalition on this one.
MARGARET WARNER: In fact, Russian and American military officials spoke by teleconference today for the first time since the Russian airstrikes began, in a bid to deconflict the airspace over Syria.
With both Russian and American fighter jets active there, a Pentagon spokesman said they need to avoid miscalculation. And amid the focus on the air war, Reuters reported Iran has now sent ground troops into Syria to bolster Assad.
Meanwhile, Moscow said it would consider airstrikes in Iraq as well.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told the NewsHour Wednesday that he’d welcome Russian involvement, if needed, to beat back the Islamic State.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And Margaret joins me now.
Margaret, you have been reporting on this all day long. What have you learned about what happened during this teleconference between U.S. and Russian officials?
MARGARET WARNER: Well, I think the most important thing, Judy, this went about an hour. The two teams were, as I said, by teleconference led by someone from the Defense Department and someone from the Joint Chiefs and their counterparts on the other side, but that it was highly technical.
And they described it as cordial, professional, but highly technical. And I mean issues as tiny — focused on pilot safety. So, for example, if one aircraft spots another, a Russian and American, how do they communicate? Who talks first? What language do they use? What frequency do they use? I mean, it was really technical stuff like that.
The U.S. did make its case about, you should be focusing on ISIS targets, not on, you know, moderates or whatever, but there was no response on that level. It was really, really technical. And when — each side presented proposals to the other and they agreed they would go consult their bosses and hopefully talk again.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we keep hearing this term deconfliction. What does that really mean?
MARGARET WARNER: I was told by one retired general today that that’s not even really a military term.
On its simplest level, it means, obviously, how do you prevent an accidental confrontation? So, it would be issues such as what they were discussing today. But at a deeper level, deconfliction means, how do we — let’s say we have an agreement that you bomb your bad guys, we bomb our bad guys, we’re not under one command, but there is something cooperative there and we have a channel of communication?
The problem in Syria is — and there have been cases like that — the problem in Syria is that if on the list of the Russian bad guys, that is, are moderate opposition rebels that we have trained and supported or maybe even armed, then what do we do? And that — the talks today didn’t get to that level, but that’s going to be really the nub of the problem.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So the U.S. has said, I think, pretty consistently over the last day or so, that they — that the Russians are hitting these moderate anti-Assad rebel groups. How do they know that’s happening?
MARGARET WARNER: That’s a very interesting question, Judy, because, at first, it seemed all very clear, but apparently it isn’t entirely clear that they were.
It’s clear they weren’t hitting in areas dominated by the Islamic State. This is definitely an area that’s been dominated by the so-called Free Syrian Army and the moderate rebels. But we had an interesting text message conversation today by an activist outside the city of Homs, who said that actually today it was mostly civilians that were killed.
And he gave terrible, terrible stories of hitting a bread line with all these people killed. Some of it, we put in our piece, but…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
MARGARET WARNER: … that in fact — and so, when the Pentagon is being careful, they say, look, we can’t do damage assessment on the ground. We don’t have eyes and ears on the ground. And that’s why they’re being careful in saying that the targets were the moderate opposition.
But it clearly wasn’t ISIS.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Very — in just a matter of a few seconds, what do you look for next?
MARGARET WARNER: I’m told that, in fact, there are going to be another round of talks — that was late today — and that, in the meantime, I think it’s going to get more dangerous out there, if the Russians keep up this pace of bombing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Grim.
Margaret Warner, we thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And in other news today, the government of Afghanistan claimed today that security forces have regained control of the city of Kunduz from the Taliban.
They said they recaptured the center of the embattled northern city after a six-hour assault overnight. After daybreak, Afghan security forces could be seen patrolling the streets. They hunted for retreating Taliban fighters, as fighting continued in places.
But President Ashraf Ghani claimed victory.
PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI,Afghanistan (through interpreter): We praise the security officials of our country for their tireless efforts leading the war from 10:00 p.m. last night until the early morning, and during the rest of the day, they managed to successfully launch operations. The good news is that we didn’t have anyone martyred.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The NATO coalition confirmed that U.S. special forces fought alongside Afghan groups in the battle, returning fire in self-defense.
The United Nations Refugee Agency now says it expects 1.4 million migrants and refugees to arrive in Europe this year and next, up sharply from an estimate just a month ago. That report today came as new waves of people, mainly Syrians, kept pouring into Serbia and Croatia, aiming to move on to Western Europe. They face the prospect of worsening weather with the onset of fall.
Closer to home, Hurricane Joaquin raked the Central Bahamas today, and forecasters said it’s now extremely dangerous. Sustained winds reached 130 miles an hour, and could get even stronger. The storm’s future course was being closely watched, as late projections showed that it is more likely to track away from the U.S. mainland next week.
In the meantime, people up and down the East Coast were urged to get ready. Disaster officials warned people against waiting to see exactly where John Kerry is headed.
CRAIG FUGATE, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency: We can’t always tell where these storms are going to go. And if you’re waiting until the last minute, it may be too late. We have got time. This storm is down in the Bahamas. It’s not going to come out of there quickly. So if you’re from the Carolinas through the New England states, if you didn’t get ready for hurricane season, this is your time. This is October 1. Get ready.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The states of Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia declared emergencies today, in advance of the storm.
The U.S. House of Representatives has set the stage for a possible veto showdown with President Obama over defense spending. Republicans today passed a bill authorizing $612 billion. It gives the president much of what he wants by padding a war-fighting account. The White House says that that would break through defense spending caps. The Senate gets the bill next week.
In New York City, the police department today unveiled new rules on the use of force after a highly critical report. The city’s inspector general found the NYPD has no clear-cut guidelines for officers on using force. And he said, too often, the department doesn’t discipline those who go too far.
Under the new guidelines, officials said today, police will have to document every time they use force, even in brief encounters.
WILLIAM BRATTON, New York City Police Commissioner: I speak to the issue of the sanctity of human life. We are one of the few in government that have the power, the authority to take a life, to take people into custody, to deprive them of their liberty. So, that sanctity of life, that respect for life has to be paramount.
JUDY WOODRUFF: New York police have come under scrutiny in the choke hold death of Eric Garner in 2014. More recently, a policeman roughed up former tennis star James Blake after mistaking him for a criminal suspect.
In economic news, auto sales in the U.S. showed double-digit gains in September. Ford led the way with a 23 percent jump. But Volkswagen sales were stagnant, amid a scandal over cheating on pollution tests.
And on Wall Street, stocks were mixed as investors awaited tomorrow’s jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 12 points to close near 16270. The Nasdaq rose nearly seven points, and the S&P 500 added three.
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WASHINGTON — A visibly frustrated President Barack Obama said Thursday that thoughts and prayers are no longer enough as Americans respond to another deadly school shooting, and he challenged voters wanting to deal with the problem to vote for elected officials who will do something.
Obama addressed the nation from the White House after 13 people were killed by a 20-year-old gunman at Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon. As he noted, he’s done this before. Mass shootings have become embedded in the arc of Obama’s presidency. He’s traveled to Aurora, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona; Charleston, South Carolina, and numerous other cities to mourn victims of gun violence.
Obama, with some anger in his voice, said the nation has become numb to such shootings and the response has become routine. He called for changes in the nation’s gun laws, though it’s unclear at this stage whether the changes often proposed would have prevented Thursday’s massacre.
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The White House’s failed push for gun control legislation after the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, shooting — in which 20 children and six adults were killed at an elementary school — deeply frustrated Obama. With little change in Washington’s political dynamic, he hasn’t made a concerted effort to renew the gun control effort. In responding to Thursday’s shooting, Obama asked how anyone with a straight face can make the argument that more guns will make people safer.
“I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws and to save lives and to let young people grow up, and that will require a change of politics on this issue,” Obama said.
Obama said there is a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in the U.S.
“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances,” Obama said. “But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say.”
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WASHINGTON — Eleven people, including six U.S. service members, were killed early Friday when a U.S. Air Force C-130J transport plane crashed in Afghanistan.
The plane crashed at Jalalabad Airfield in eastern Afghanistan at about midnight local time.
A spokesman for the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan said six U.S. service members who comprised the plane’s crew died, along with five civilian passengers.
The U.S. military said the cause of the crash was under investigation.
There are about 1,000 coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan, including U.S. and Polish forces, as well as about 40,000 Afghan troops, according to NATO.
The U.S. has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan, although the numbers are expected to go down a bit by the end of the year.
Earlier reports indicated 12 people had been killed including 5 U.S. service members.
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Hospital officials say that four of the seven injured shooting victims at Oregon’s Mercy Medical Center are expected to survive after a gunman opened fire during a writing class at Umpqua Community College on Thursday, killing nine people. Three are still hospitalized and in critical condition. The gunman, who was identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, died after a shootout with police.
A motive for the shooter remained unclear. Names of the victims are expected to be released as early as Friday.
A visibly upset Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told reporters in Roseburg, Oregon, Thursday that he wouldn’t confirm the gunman’s identity because it would “glorify” the man’s actions.
“I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act,” he said.
Ian Mercer, father of the gunman, told reporters outside his home in Tarzana, California, late Thursday that he had been talking to the FBI and other authorities about the shooting.
He did not answer questions about the shooting of his son.
“Shocked is all I can say,” the father told reporters. “It’s been a devastating day.”
Local residents gathered at a park in Roseburg for a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting Thursday night. The town previously experienced a school shooting in 2006 when a Roseburg High freshman shot another student four times in the back with a semiautomatic pistol, The Oregonian reported.
According to The New York Times, the Roseburg shooting, added to this year’s list of more than 40 school shootings, was the first “major mass casualty incident at a school this year.”
President Barack Obama expressed frustration when he addressed the Roseburg shooting Thursday, saying the response to such incidents has became routine and that the nation has become numb to gun violence.
The Obama administration proposed changes to gun control legislation after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting in 2012, when 26 people, including 20 children, were gunned down at an elementary school. But efforts stalled in Congress.
“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances,” Mr. Obama said. “But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say.”
First reports of the shooting at Umpqua Community College appeared at 10:38 a.m. Thursday on the fourth day of classes. According to several witness accounts, the shooting took place in Classroom 15 in Snyder Hall.
Armed with several guns, Mercer died after he exchanged gunfire with at least two police officers who responded to the 911 reports within minutes, Hanlin said.
By Thursday afternoon, police officials sealed off Mercer’s apartment complex in the nearby community of Winchester. Bronte Hart, 21, one of Mercer’s neighbors, told the Associated Press that he “seemed really unfriendly.”
Searching for a motive, federal officials said they were examining an online conversation on the anonymous web forum 4chan to determine whether it was was linked to the gunman, according to a New York Times report. In one message thread, a writer said, “Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the Northwest.”
But messages on 4chan have a history of being false and misleading, and the writers are not required to identify themselves. The writer in this case was labeled “Anonymous.”
Hanlin, the most visible law enforcement official in the aftermath of Thursday’s shooting, has opposed changes to state and federal legislation on gun control. In a Jan. 15, 2013 letter he sent to Vice President Joe Biden, Hanlin said he and his deputies would not enforce any new gun-control restrictions “offending the Constitutional rights of my citizens,” Mother Jones reported.
“Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings,” Hanlin wrote.
Rita Cavin, interim UCC President, told the AP that the college has a no guns on campus policy and didn’t employ armed security officers.
However, students are allowed to carry guns on campus if they have the proper permits, CBS reported.
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The most gripping aspect of The Martian movie isn’t the space theatrics or the star-studded cast. It’s the background.
If you’ve seen the movie trailer, then you know Matt Damon plays a fictional character named Mark Watney, a NASA astronaut and botanist on a 30-day mission to Mars, who becomes stranded when a fierce dust storm separates him from his crew.
It’s a man-versus-nature tale, and scientists know a good deal about nature on Mars. NASA scientists, equipped with decades of satellite and rover mission data, consulted on the movie’s stunning depictions of weather and geology on the Red Planet.
Martian author Andy Weir considers those visuals among his favorite parts of the film adaptation.
“You can’t really describe to a reader what a landscape looks like. I mean you can try, but it’s boring. In fact, in my opinion, there’s pretty much nothing less interesting than reading a description of a landscape,” Weir said. “But in the movie, you can really show it. You can say, ‘This is freaking Mars!'”
As I watched Damon/Watney struggle to survive on the desolation of Acidalia Planitia, a 2,000-mile-wide plain on Mars, I was distracted by the wispy clouds floating overhead and the tiny tornadoes swirling behind him.
“We call them dust devils. We see them all the time on various areas on Mars,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA. “They’re much like water spouts on Earth.The heat from the soils and the atmosphere interact, drawing the dust up and creating a swirl.”
Green says these winds have been unintentional helpers in NASA’s rover missions. When they landed more than 10 years ago, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers were designed to last 90 days, because it was predicted that dust would settle on their solar panels.
“But what’s happened is the dust devils sweep the the panels. They’re both in a really nice area with plenty of dust devils.They just charge back up and off they go,” Green said. Opportunity has been kept clean by dust devils for the last 11 years. (Spirit got stuck in a sand trap in 2009, and eventually ran out of power.)
Early in its mission, the Spirit was hit by another aspect of weather featured in The Martian: a gigantic dust storm. These storms feature in the book and movie too, though in this case, the narrative takes some dramatic liberties with the science.
“In reality, a Martian dust storm wouldn’t have enough force to do anything. It could barely knock over a piece of paper because Mars has an extremely thin atmosphere,” Weir said. The winds can be as fast as 120 miles per hour, but the pressure is so low that it isn’t enough to straighten an American flag, according to Green.
Still, the dust storms are somewhat terrifying.
“The dust storms in reality can look as mean as the one in the movie. We’ve seen that from orbit,” Green said. “It’s talcum powder-like dust can reach 30 kilometers [19 miles] in height. It’s a really huge formidable walls of dust coming at you, and when it sweeps over, it just takes out the light.”
Another shocking feature is the lightning. As these dust storms pass by, we can actually see lightning strikes, Green said. But the color of these flashes might be slightly different from what we see on Earth, since the composition of the Martian atmosphere differs from ours.
“They’ll be a combination of what we would normally see as regular lightning and some elements that would be respective of the material that it’s passing through,” Green said.
NASA knows many of these insights because of the Mars Climate Modeling Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. It not only captures satellite observations, but creates global weather maps of Mars, akin to what you might see on a nightly news program.
“In one part of the movie, [the character] Beth Johanssen says, ‘We’re getting a weather forecast, and it’s worse than we predicted earlier.’ That’s exactly right. Windspeed, temperature, all that stuff — we can predict based on real data,” Green said. “On Mars today, we are about where NASA and NOAA were in the 1970s in terms of predicting weather and climate.”
Is Mars the best home for humanity?
I asked both Weir and Green to weigh in on the colonization question. Suppose humans wanted to colonize outside of Mars — where in the Solar System should we go?
Venus would be one option, Weir said, though you couldn’t survive on the surface. The atmospheric pressure on Venus’ surface is nearly 90 times that of Earth, akin to swimming next to a submarine half a mile underwater. You’d be crushed. Plus, the temperature is almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’d be fried.
“But the most habitable location in our Solar System outside of Earth happens to be on Venus about [30 miles] off the surface. The air pressure is 1 atmosphere [matching Earth’s surface], and the temperature is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit,” Weir said. “If you were on an outdoor platform or blimp, you would basically need some goggles and scuba gear, but otherwise, you could stand outside in shorts and a T-shirt…on another planet!!”
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“Anywhere you have water in any form, whether liquid or ice, that’s a tremendous boon to any potential future colonization. But not because humans need water [to live],” Weir said. If you were living in a biosphere, which you’d have to do if colonizing a planet like Venus or Mars, and you had the right water purification technology, you could recycle enough water to survive simply by extracting fluids from your waste and the air you exhale. Such technology is already being used on the International Space Station.
“What’s really awesome about water on a planet is you can make rocket fuel very easily,” Weir said. “You can use electrolysis to separate the hydrogen and oxygen, and then you can burn them together, which is the most efficient chemical propellant.”
Humans could try settling on Earth’s moon, Weir said. It’s much cheaper and easier to reach. Plus, it has giant lava tunnels near the surface where we could build a base that could house the entire city of Philadelphia.
“Those lava tubes would be a great place, because the surrounding geology would protect you from radiation,” Weir said. “It would also regulate the temperature extremes. The moon gets very hot during the day and very cold at night. But inside the lava tube, it would maintain a very constant temperature.”
To be fair, a human hive on Venus or these moons would all require one thing: a massive amount of futuristic technology.
A Mars colony, on the other hand, is feasible within the next couple of decades, Green said.
Consider the resources there. “We can extract oxygen out of the atmosphere. We can extract oxygen and hydrogen out of the water,” Green said. “Underneath a carbon dioxide ice layer, there’s a significant amount of water ice in the polar cap. In addition, the recent discovery [of flowing water] indicates that there is a fair amount of water either in the atmosphere and/or in underground aquifers.”
The saltiness of flowing streams announced on Monday might make this water source as toxic as a Superfund site, but Green said water in an underground aquifer might be cleaner.
No matter the target, a human colony outside of Earth is likely inevitable, Weir said.
“I know that it sounds weird, but it’s the bootstrapping thing that humans do. Humans will go expand and live anywhere. That’s proven just by our history,” he said. “People live in Antarctica. People live in the Sahara. People live out in the ocean. Humans have a natural instinct to expand.”
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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he won’t sign another temporary government funding bill after the current one expires on Dec. 11.
He is instead demanding a budget agreement with Republicans controlling Congress that would lift a freeze on the budgets of both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.
Obama said at a White House news conference that he “won’t sign another shortsighted spending bill” and that the U.S. can’t cut its way to prosperity.
Budget talks have just started and are taking place amid considerable turbulence on Capitol Hill. Tea party conservatives have forced out House Speaker John Boehner and are skeptical of a deal to replace tight caps on spending set by a 2011 budget deal.
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September’s job reports numbers are out, and they should certainly temper the enthusiasm last month’s numbers stirred. If you’re willing to believe one month’s numbers, which are extrapolated from a sample of 60,000 households, the U.S. economy added a mere 142,000 jobs in September, after adding an average of 260,000 jobs a month last year and nearly 200,000 a month in 2015, both signs of genuine recovery. Yes, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.1 percent, but only because the workforce shrank by 300,000 or so.
Moreover, we not only added fewer jobs than hoped for, but August’s jobs report numbers were revised downward from 173,000 to 136,000 jobs added, and July’s jobs report numbers were revised downward from 245,000 to 223,000. With a net revision of minus 59,000, September’s 142,000 new jobs dwindle to 83,000 more jobs this month than last.
Worse still, as Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute noted last month, economists expected to see the historically fickle August jobs numbers to be revised upwards by 70,000, not down by nearly as much.
So September’s numbers were disappointing. Economist Justin Wolfers of the Peterson Institute summed it up nicely:
There are 3 independent sources of data in a job report: 1. Payrolls: Disappointing 2. Household survey: Bad 3. Revisions: Downward #ungood
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) October 2, 2015
As for the future, a calculator from the Hamilton Project shows that if the economy continues to add only 167,000 jobs per month, as it now has through the first nine months of the year, the economy won’t recover to pre-recession levels for another two years and four months. If we average only last month’s 142,000 jobs, we won’t see a full recovery until September 2018.
How can we explain these numbers?
Now, as we mentioned earlier, August is a notoriously fickle month due to the end of summer: people returning from vacations, students going back to school, etc. But assuming that the revisions and September’s jobs report are in fact reliable, there are a few possible explanations for what these numbers mean.
The number of people in the labor force — all those considered either employed or unemployed as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — decreased by 350,000 in September. So who dropped out? As we’ve long noted, the best guess is Baby Boomers, 10,000 of whom turn 66 every single day. If all of them called it a career in September and told the surveyor from the BLS that they had now retired, well, there would be 300,000 fewer Americans in the workforce right there. But how plausible is that, given how many Americans are now working beyond traditional retirement age? So there’s something screwy about the seemingly huge drop in the workforce from August to September.
And screwier still is the “fact” that the number of employed, according to the report, also dropped by 236,000. Could it be that 236,000 people were employed two months ago but retired in September? Not likely. So again, let’s not put too much stock in one’s months numbers.
What about earnings?
On the other hand, today’s numbers are all we’ve got — at least for today. And when it comes to earnings, the story they tell only gets worse. Average hourly earnings, after a healthy 9-cent gain in August, fell by a penny in September to land at $25.09. Project that over a year, and you’d be talking no wage increase at all for workers — in an economy that is supposedly growing at 4 percent a year. And thus would inequality grow at a rate to impress even Thomas Piketty. The decrease in average hourly earnings also suggests slack in the labor market, despite the supposedly low unemployment rate. When the market is tight, employers are competing for workers and as Making Sen$e contributor Jared Bernstein points out in the Washington Post, are forced to pay more.
Is there a silver lining in September’s jobs report?
Well, our Solman Scale, aka “U7” — which takes into account part-time workers looking for full-time work, anyone who says they want a job no matter how long it’s been since they last looked, in addition to the officially unemployed — dropped .3 percent to land at 12.18 percent in September, mainly because part-timers looking for full-time work showed a whopping drop. This would suggest that the recovery is continuing — albeit slowly.
And in the land of the Fed, Yellen is vindicated after deciding not to raise the federal interest rate in September. On September 24, the Fed decided to wait for more signs of an improving economy before deciding to raise interest rates.
It's the sort of jobs report that makes you think that Fed did exactly the right thing in resisting calls for a rate rise.
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) October 2, 2015
The labor market retains a fair amount of slack–evidence that the Fed was right not to raise interest rates and should hold the line.
— Elise Gould (@eliselgould) October 2, 2015
The Fed had noted that a interest rate hike in 2015 was still a possibility. That may now be less likely.
We always warn against taking any one month’s numbers too seriously. The warning seems especially applicable this month, given that September’s jobs and wage numbers are so disappointing. “Clearly, September was a bad month,” says Michael Strain of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, but “the recovery is most likely still on track.”
And, tweets Jared Bernstein, the overall trend shows a U.S. economy that continues to recover:
— Jared Bernstein (@econjared) October 2, 2015
Let’s hope he’s right. At the very least, the Pointillist painting he reproduces will be good for your eyes.
I was born in Baghdad. My family was well off and we lived in a nice large home with a beautiful yard. We lived there with my three aunts, grandparents and cousins. The house was so large it fit us all. We even had a small house built in the garden for my aunt and her husband. Then one day I remember being told that I can’t go to school anymore, because we were at war.
I heard about an entire foster home being bombed. They showed it on the news. There were so many children whose lives were lost, souls who had no one to remember them. Were they even real to anyone? Did they exist at all? I remember sobbing as I heard this news. I was 6 years old.
Endless BBC radio news anchor voices still haunt me to this day. We lost our electricity. My family was glued to the radio to hear what was happening: where will they aim at next? How many will be dead? Electricity often goes out at night, to put fear in the heart of the people.
I remember sleeping and hearing bombs and rockets being shot far away, waking up at night and telling my mom I am afraid. She said, don’t worry, they’re not close by, they won’t come near us. She was wrong.
My friend Yassir’s house was bombed. It fell right into their backyard. Baghdad was now officially a target. How can we stay here? Where do we go? My grandpa needed to sort this out, and so we moved into my aunt’s house in our yard. It was new and had a strong foundation. We decided to stay there for the next few days until we figured out where to shelter. People were fleeing, neighbors left. Everything was quiet. Only the sound of air raid sirens and distant rockets, brought us back to our nightmarish reality.
We fled. My mom woke us up that morning at 5 a.m. to travel to the city of Najaf. This was apparently the safest city for now. We had distant relatives there and we stayed at their house. It was winter by then. You see, when you’re young, your concept of time gets distorted. I am not sure how long we stayed in Najaf. But I do remember the horrible conditions we lived in. There was no water or gas, so the heat was scarce in the winter. My grandpa would lug gallons of water with the help of my uncle and bring it to us so we can bathe and use it for food and drinking.
The war tore apart homes, minds and hearts. It took away dreams and realities, and happiness became an afterthought. Iraqis were physically broken, and mentally shaken. The Gulf war shook us to the core, it shook my entire family to the core. We fled, one by one. Until the only people left in our very large house, with a beautiful yard was myself, mom, sister and grandpa.
The Gulf war ended, and after a year we decided to flee Iraq. Iraq was undergoing sanctions, no food or goods could be transported in and out, nor people for that matter. We snuck away one evening, and headed to Jordan. War was over, but the desert between Iraq and Jordan was full of danger. I still remember the navy blue sky with sparkling stars. I looked at them and wondered, how can I feel so scared with those stars above me? And yet I did.
After the Gulf war, there were so many refugees fleeing to Jordan, so there was a lot of discrimination and mistreatment of Iraqi citizens there. Though now it’s totally different as those refugees 20 years ago have built their homes and are raising their families there. My sister and I were not allowed to go to school because we were Iraqi. So we missed out on an entire year of school. We stayed in Jordan for a year, waiting for our sponsorship and paperwork to finish in Canada. My aunt sponsored us to come to Toronto and start a new life.
They say once you’ve settled, and you’re living a good life, you should move on. But can one really move on from such tragic heartbreak? Can one ever move on from displacement, senseless violence, air raid sirens?
When I see images of children refugees now, I feel haunted by them. What haunts me is that these children will grow up and they will be adults who carry on the memories of their reality turned into nightmares. I sob every time I look at them, because even though my nightmare is over, theirs is just beginning. I am heartbroken that they’re suffering and don’t have a home. I am heartbroken that once they reach their new home, if they make it, they might not be welcomed there. And that terrifies me, because feeling like you don’t belong is one of the worst feelings that a human can endure.
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As countries bordering Syria reach capacity, more and more refugees are making the difficult decision to leave for an entirely different continent.
“People are feeling like they’re running out of options to be able to make a life in the bordering countries,” where resources are overstretched and aid organizations are experiencing funding shortfalls, said Holly Frew, emergency communications officer with CARE USA. Frew visited several refugee encampments in Turkey and Jordan in August.
“Most everyone we talked to said they would like to go back to Syria,” she said. But absent that option, those who can scrape together enough money to pay for transportation risk crossing the Mediterranean Sea to enter Greece and then try to go on to Germany where they hope they will be welcome.
Nearly 400,000 migrants have made the treacherous boat ride to Greece since Jan. 1, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Most came from Syria (70 percent), Afghanistan (18 percent) and Iraq (4 percent).
About 1 million of the Syrian refugees who have sought safety in neighboring countries are children, and their lives are upended. “The children who had never missed a day of school are having to work instead so that [their families] can survive and have food on the table,” said Frew.
Sometimes families are separated along the way. Frew met an English teacher and her husband, an electrician, who were finally reunited after spending three months apart at different refugee camps. He had stayed behind in Syria to defend their home and was injured when it was barrel-bombed. She faced her own harrowing trek with their son, calling it the “journey of death.”
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No matter how you define a mass shooting, one thing is clear: data suggests this brand of violence has grown worse in the United States.
In 2015 alone, there have been 294 shootings that killed or injured 1,464 people, according to Mass Shooting Tracker data, which counts at least four people wounded by gunfire as a mass shooting.
This year, 375 people died this way, according to the data. These shootings occurred at night clubs and children’s birthday parties, when long-time friends watched college football on TV and when churchgoers gathered for a weekly Bible study. These incidents have happened in 45 states and the District of Columbia, and happened at a rate of more than one shooting per day.
And now, the shooting that left 10 people dead, including gunman Chris Harper Mercer, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, adds one more tally to a bleak list of places marked by gun violence.
There’s debate, however, about how to define a mass shooting.
In 2014, a Federal Bureau of Investigations report studied all mass shootings that involved an active shooter, or incidents where a person used firearms to kill or try to kill others “in a confined or populated area.”
Between 2000 and 2013, 486 people died in 160 active shooter incidents nationwide, the FBI report said. That’s about 11 such incidents per year, and the trend only increased over time. Overall, seven out of 10 incidents occurred a business, workplace or school.
And unlike Mass Shooting Tracker data, the FBI’s assessment included incidents where fewer than four people were shot, explained Adam Lankford, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama. However, the FBI data doesn’t include shootings of multiple people that occur in a home or other uncrowded setting.
These definitions shape the problem’s scale and pose a challenge in trying to better understand the factors that produce mass shootings, he said.
“However you talk about the problem, or type of shooter or shooting, that defines your results,” he said.
It’s too soon to know if 2015 will signal a turn in mass shootings, Lankford explained, but looking at more than a decade of data from the FBI, the outlook is grim.
“They found these incidents are clearly on the rise. That’s pretty strong evidence,” he said.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: This Saturday, public TV stations across the country will Air American Graduate Day 2015, a national public media initiative to help communities address the school dropout crisis.
Tonight, a preview from Cleveland about a school-to-work program that leads to work in a local steel plant.
Amy Hansen from WVIZ/PBS ideastream in Cleveland reports.
AMY HANSEN: Like many Midwestern cities, Cleveland was built on a foundation of manufacturing. Today, Cleveland’s largest steel mill is operated by ArcelorMittal, Which continues to employ thousands in the area.
GARY NORGREN, Manager of Raw Materials, ArcelorMittal: ArcelorMittal back in late 2007 was faced with a huge problem. They were worried that the number of skilled craftspeople, electrical/mechanical, who are eligible to retire, were going to leave in the next five years, and we didn’t have the backfill to be prepared for that attrition.
JOHN PAWLOSKI, Electrician, ArcelorMittal: Well, I am 61 years old. And, yes, retirement has come into mind, and a lot of my co-workers are of the same age. We’re all in that same category.
GARY NORGREN: We are projecting at ArcelorMittal to lose over 200 electricians and mechanics per year for the next five years, so when we lose 200 people, it’s imperative that we find either within our current work force people who want to become mechanics or electricians or we go outside the work force.
AMY HANSEN: So, ArcelorMittal reached out to community colleges near their five Midwestern plants to create a program, combining an in-class curriculum with an on-the-job internship that trains locals to become steelworkers for the future.
GARY NORGREN: The overall objective of Steelworker for the Future is to grow students who have an interest in mechanical hands-on type work to enter U.S. manufacturing and basically fill our needs.
KEIHEN KITCHEN, Intern, Steelworker for the Future: Originally, I wanted to be an engineer. And when I started doing more research and taking engineering classes, I realized that the majority of engineers actually are doing designing. They don’t actually get to work too much with their hands.
And I’m the kind of person, I want to do the work with my hands. I want to be a part of what I’m doing. I don’t want to just design it and hand it off to someone else.
AMY HANSEN: After hearing about the Steelworker for the Future program through a friend, 18-year-old Keihen Kitchen enrolled through Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. She is now training to become an electrician.
GARY NORGREN: In high school, many students are pushed towards a four-year degree to become engineers and doctors and lawyers, and the whole need for U.S. manufacturers to have electricians and mechanics has kind of been lost.
KEIHEN KITCHEN: You go into high school and everyone is talking to you about, well, you have got to go to college to be successful and you have to go to a four-year university, you will be nothing without a bachelor’s degree. It really puts so much pressure on your shoulders to do well at everything you do. And in high school, that was a really hard thing to deal with.
Connecting all of the lights together
AMY HANSEN: Hard to deal with because Keihen faced a host of other obstacles outside the classroom.
KEIHEN KITCHEN: I had a mother who was very sick. She was diagnosed with cancer when I was 7 years old. I had a biological father who wasn’t in my life, so my brother and I really had to take care of our mom. She was on disability, so we were really on the low end of poverty. And it makes you scared, you know, what’s going to happen in the future? What about when I’m done with high school?
And I think that’s some questions a lot of people have. And the Steelworker for the Future program really opened up my eyes to a way of going to school where you were going to have a job at the end of the program.
JOHN PAWLOSKI: The motor has a history of lasting five years before it starts — we change it right before that.
KEIHEN KITCHEN: OK.
JOHN PAWLOSKI: I have been down here for 41 years, 38 years as an electrician, done a lot, seen a lot.
Because he said the flames were shooting up and…
KEIHEN KITCHEN: Wow.
JOHN PAWLOSKI: Something different happens every single day.
KEIHEN KITCHEN: My first mentor was John Pawloski. He explained to me step-by-step what he was doing and why he was doing it, which was an amazing experience to really get to take what I’m learning in school and apply it to a real career. This is how I’m going to be using what I’m learning in school.
JOHN PAWLOSKI: This way, I can share my experiences with the new generation. You feel kind of proud.
KEIHEN KITCHEN: I did my first internship this summer, and every day I wish I could be coming back to work here.
So, just hold it down, turn it on and then let it go?
AMY HANSEN: Now back at Cuyahoga Community college, Keihen is even closer to her wish.
KEIHEN KITCHEN: And this is going to be my final semester before I get my associate’s degree. I have been working in customer service, everything from retail to the restaurant business, ever since high school. So, it’s exciting to be looking at a real career where I’m working one full-time job. I’m very excited to start at ArcelorMittal.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The seven-hour American Graduate broadcast can be seen tomorrow, Saturday, October 3, on this and other PBS stations.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: We have all heard about the solace eating comfort food can bring. Well, now a well-known food writer gives her take on the healing powers of cooking.
Jeffrey Brown recently helped Ruth Reichl prepare a meal in her New York City kitchen.
JEFFREY BROWN: Spicy Tuscan kale, pork and tomatillo stew, and, yes, cake that cures everything, just some of the recipes that Ruth Reichl says saved her life and are now collected in her new book, part cookbook, part memoir, titles “My Kitchen Year.”
That year came in 2009, when “Gourmet,” the nation’s oldest food and wine magazine, was suddenly shut down by its publisher, Conde Nast, and Reichl’s 10-year reign as editor abruptly ended. She’d been one of the country’s most prominent food writers since the 1970s, as a critic at The Los Angeles Times and New York Times, and in her bestselling memoirs.
Now suddenly jobless, what to do? She hunkered down, started whipping up recipes, and tweets about them, and gained a large new following. In her New York apartment recently, we talked about life changes and the simple pleasures of cooking.
So, I’m getting the Tuscan kale? That’s what you picked?
RUTH REICHL, Author, “My Kitchen Year”: You are — that’s what I picked. You sound like a vegetable guy to me.
JEFFREY BROWN: OK.
RUTH REICHL: And this is one of my favorite vegetables. I love Tuscan kale. I think it’s beautiful. And it’s kind of emblematic of what I like about vegetables that are seasonal.
This is very easy to work with. I mean, this is like how you — then you just pull it apart with your fingers.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. So, this is an example, and you call this, the subtitle is “Recipes That Saved My Life.”
RUTH REICHL: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a dramatic title there. In what sense did it save your life to come back to the kitchen?
RUTH REICHL: OK. This was a very dramatic time in my life. I was the editor of “Gourmet” magazine. And this venerable institution, I get a call one day, meet with your staff. The boss comes down and says, magazine’s done. It’s dead.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s over.
RUTH REICHL: Pack up your stuff, you’re all going home. I was devastated. I revered this magazine. I have revered it my whole life. I never saw it coming.
JEFFREY BROWN: You had a lot of employees as well.
RUTH REICHL: I had a lot of employees. I had more than 60 people, all of whom lost their jobs. And here was a 69-year institution that closed on my watch.
And I felt like the world’s worst failure.
JEFFREY BROWN: So you wrote about coming back to the kitchen as the place that you retreated to, but a place that you had not been in for a while, because, like most of us, you’re a busy person? What is it?
RUTH REICHL: I had always cooked.
I wrote a cookbook when I was 21, so I started as a cook. I had a restaurant when I was in my 20s. And then I went into the world of journalism. And I would do the kind of cooking that everybody else does. At 7:00, your husband calls and says, when are we going to eat dinner? You put on your coat, you rush home, you don’t even take your coat off, you start cooking dinner and you get dinner on the table.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right, which is in fact what most of us have to do.
RUTH REICHL: Which is what most people have to do.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right.
RUTH REICHL: Now I had the leisure to go in and out of stores, talk to butchers, talk to farmers, pick up ingredients I didn’t know what to do with exactly, take them home and play with them.
Cooking for me is a real meditation, that if you allow yourself to be in the process, instead of worrying about the results, I’m going to get dinner on the table, but if you stand here and you come, smell — I mean, the scent of onions and garlic when they’re cooking in a little bit of olive oil is — it’s a wonderful scent. Just feel — I mean, just the feel of doing this, the sound, if you pay attention to these things, you go into it and it’s very calming.
JEFFREY BROWN: You know, I think, too, about the proliferation of cooking shows and the chefs, the star chefs. But in some ways, does that teach us that things are harder, that you have to be one of those top chefs to…
RUTH REICHL: Yes. Yes.
I feel like we in the media have a lot to answer for, because I think we have made people afraid of cooking.
JEFFREY BROWN: Afraid of cooking? That’s what I was wondering. I mean, people love those shows, but does it help them or does it in some way hurt them?
RUTH REICHL: I think, if you think you have to be a chef at home, you’re instantly worried about the performative aspect of cooking, when what you should be thinking about, I think, is the adventure of cooking.
And, you know, if you make a mistake, big deal. It’s one meal. I love making bread crumbs. I mean, this is what you do with leftover bread, right? You just turn it into bread crumbs. And so I decided I wanted a little crunch in there.
JEFFREY BROWN: I know you have said that food tells a lot about a culture, right?
RUTH REICHL: Oh, absolutely, not only about a culture, but about people.
When I was growing up, people who came to America wanted to forget where they came from. They wanted to assimilate as quickly as possible. And so when I was going to PS41, everybody came to school with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And it didn’t matter what your background was.
Today, you look at what kids are bringing to school, and they are proudly displaying their heritage, and I think that says something very good. Yes, we’re Americans, but that doesn’t mean that we have to reject that place that we used to be.
The other thing is, I mean, there was a long time when people would go to the supermarket and not want to accept the fact that that steak that was wrapped up in a piece of plastic had ever come from a living creature. And the not thinking about it meant that you also didn’t have to think about the conditions in which they were raised.
And, today, we know what it means, the difference between factory animals and animals who are humanely raised. We are really starting to understand that eating is an ethical act.
JEFFREY BROWN: What about for you, personally? That book is “My Kitchen Year.”
RUTH REICHL: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: But it’s years — it’s a few years later now. You’re still in the kitchen.
RUTH REICHL: I’m still — you know, I love to cook. I feel like cooking grounds me in time and space. It grounds me in the seasons. It’s pure pleasure for me.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, now can we eat?
RUTH REICHL: We can eat as soon as this blini is done.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right.
Ruth Reichl, thanks so much.
RUTH REICHL: Thank you.
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