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- 10/02/15--15:25: _Brooks and Dionne o...
- 10/02/15--15:30: _How long can German...
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- 10/02/15--15:40: _Why the U.S. has do...
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- 10/03/15--10:38: _How a Boston progra...
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- 10/03/15--14:04: _Obama rejects Russi...
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- 10/03/15--15:46: _Clinton to make LGB...
- 10/13/15--13:46: _Is #NoBraDay actual...
- 10/02/15--15:30: How long can Germany stay welcoming to refugees?
- 10/02/15--15:35: Free Syrian Army fighters say Russia is punishing Assad opponents
- 10/02/15--15:40: Why the U.S. has done almost nothing to stop mass shootings
- 10/02/15--15:45: News Wrap: Hurricane Joaquin batters the Bahamas
- 10/02/15--15:50: Police search for answers in Oregon college rampage
- 10/03/15--09:08: GOP divided over House speaker race
- 10/03/15--10:38: How a Boston program is transforming the way we train teachers
- 10/03/15--11:10: GOP hopefuls reiterate opposition to stiffer gun laws
- 10/03/15--11:25: Inside the battle over North Carolina’s voter ID laws
- 10/03/15--14:04: Obama rejects Russian strategy in Syria
- 10/03/15--14:11: Fiorina makes claims on Planned Parenthood a campaign centerpiece
- 10/03/15--14:13: Wildfires in Russia scorch world’s largest freshwater lake
- 10/03/15--14:18: Airstrike hits Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan
- 10/03/15--15:46: Clinton to make LGBT rights a campaign focus
- 10/13/15--13:46: Is #NoBraDay actually raising breast cancer awareness?
- In the U.S., there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors.
- It’s estimated that one in eight U.S. women will develop an invasive breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Lung cancer is the first.
- Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989, thanks largely in part to earlier detection through screening and better treatment.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama expresses frustration and anger in the wake of yesterday’s mass shooting in Oregon. But is there anything he or anyone can do? Will there be a battle among House Republicans to replace Speaker Boehner? And what does Russia’s involvement in Syria mean for the U.S.?
We turn to the analysis of New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
Mark Shields is away tonight.
And welcome, gentlemen.
E.J. DIONNE: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So here we are yet again, another mass shooting. They seem to be happening every few weeks.
David, the president said yesterday at his news conference that he thinks the country’s grown numb, that these are happening so often. Is he right?
DAVID BROOKS: I actually don’t think so.
The reaction certainly among the people I have spoken to is one of impatience and growing frustration. And so I don’t think we have grown numb to them. I don’t think we have taken a practical and a pragmatic approach to trying to prevent them.
Obviously, as we heard earlier, they’re phenomenally hard to prevent. I’m for gun control laws, as I have said so many times. We have gone through a ritual on this program.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We have.
DAVID BROOKS: And I don’t think they will do much good. They might do a little good, just because there are 250 million guns in this country. I think it’s just very hard to control the ones, but they might erect a barrier.
There’s obviously problematics with getting a list of people who have had mental health issues to run against a registry. That’s obviously a problematic thing to do. I have emphasized the make-believe function, that the profile of these guys who do it is very similar, and it is in this case, alienated young guy with loneliness issues and self-worth issues.
And if we looked around for young men like that in our society, maybe we could do something there. I guess I would invite people to de-ideologize it, if that’s a word and to think pragmatically about the many steps we could do to hopefully make some dent, but it’s going to be hard to make a dent in this, I think.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It is hard, E.J., and yet, as the president said, something has to happen, something has to happen. What is the something to change?
E.J. DIONNE: I must say, I loved seeing his anger about this, because I think he reflected the anger of a lot of people.
And I actually liked it when he said this is something we should politicize, because the barriers to de-ideologizing it, as David said, are political barriers. And I was so struck by some of the responses of the Republican candidates to this. Ben Carson, you’re not going to handle it with more gun control because gun control only works for normal — the normal law-abiding citizens.
Well, all laws only work for normal law-abiding citizens. Only with guns do we hear these arguments. Same with Marco Rubio, gun crime is committed by criminals. Criminals ignore the law. Well, yes. But, again, that’s an argument against all law. We have to try some things.
There are no free and democratic and wealthy countries in the world that have our rate of gun violence. You know, David is quite right that we have to worry about loners and alienated people. We have to do better on mental health. But we’re not the only country in the world with loners and alienated people.
And I think we have to be willing to take some steps on guns. And I don’t know what’s going to shake us to get there, but I think the president is saying we can’t just sit here anymore. I think there is an anger that’s growing out there that may at some point get conservatives in particular, who ought to be in a different position than they are on this issue.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David, as we heard from the two guests we talked to a few minutes ago, it is hard. And yet maybe there is a way to identify some of these young men — most of them are young men — who are deeply troubled and try to prevent them from getting access to them.
DAVID BROOKS: Maybe.
And I think the way — if we’re going to have any political process, it’s not to have a big fight about guns, which we have had a million times, but it’s to come up with a comprehensive package of reforms that would include some gun control things, but also some mental health things and a range of other things that creative policy-makers could come up with, and to de-ideologize it.
To have the same fight again, I don’t see the point in it. On gun control, as I say, I’m not against them. But most of the guns that these guys get, they get legally. Oregon happens to be a place…
JUDY WOODRUFF: And it was the case this time.
DAVID BROOKS: And Oregon happens to be a place with pretty tight gun control legislation.
The criminals — the people who are in criminal gangs do get the guns illegally, but there are so many guns in this country. We can’t — we’re not going to deport 12 million immigrants. We’re also not going to get rid of 250 million guns. There are just practical realities.
E.J. DIONNE: But there are practical approaches to that.
Australia had a massive gun buy-back program, 700,000 guns, which would translate into about 40 million here, which is a start. We are so hemmed in on the gun issue that we right now can’t do a thing. I’m all for doing more on mental health. I don’t think there is a real problem with that. The problem, the ideological part, is on guns.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. We have our history. We saw the graphic earlier in the program. One in three American households has a gun. There is a history of 300 years going back. And that’s why it touches such a nerve.
And so we just have a legacy of a lot of guns in this country and that’s been true because of the nature of the settlement of the country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: If history repeats itself, we talk about it for a few days and then we move on to the next thing.
DAVID BROOKS: I agree with that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about something, big news that happened a week ago today, and that was Speaker John Boehner announcing he’s stepping down.
David, it’s been assumed that the majority leader, his number two, Kevin McCarthy, had a lock on this, but then he did an interview this week where he said flat out that the investigation by Republicans into Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi incident was politically motivated, that you could measure the success of it by her dropping poll numbers.
What does it say about him as a prospective speaker?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
Well, there are a couple of things we know about him. First, he’s a very social guy, a very friendly guy. I still think he has a lock on it because he’s so likable. And these races tend to be very personal.
Second, he’s not anybody’s idea of a ideological firebrand. He’s not particularly philosophical. He’s social. He’s a nice guy. He’s a good political creature. And so a lot of people are wondering, will he be ideological enough? Because he’s not particularly — that’s not in his nature.
And, third, he’s not used to being near the top job. And he said something true and stupid, which was true, that the attack, the investigation into the Democratic nominee, potential nominee, is a political act and they’re trying to bring her down. Of course. But you’re not supposed to say that.
And, third, he is an embodiment of what’s wrong with Washington with that statement, which is the gap between campaigning and governing, which used to be something that was honorably upheld, has now been erased. And so governing is the same as campaigning, or, actually, more precisely, campaigning is everything.
And so congressional investigations have become political tools.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So does he — is there any price for him to pay on this, E.J.? Or do we — I mean, there was a story today, Associated Press, reporting that Jason Chaffetz, another Republican congressman, is going to challenge him. But does he — do we just assume we move on and…
E.J. DIONNE: Well, we should say that champagne corks were popping this week at Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, because they have been trying to get them to say out front this is a political investigation primarily. It’s now longer than the Watergate investigation, which is really astonishing, the investigation into Benghazi.
And, yes, he did the classic gaffe, which is telling the truth about something. Chaffetz was one of the people who was most upset about it, because he knew the political cost of this. I think he is probably the strongest candidate the right end of that caucus can come up with, if he does indeed run.
You have to say that that caucus is still split in a way, but McCarthy pulls it out. But I think, over the last few days, there have been doubts among Republicans about him, not only because of the Hillary Clinton matter, but he’s not the best-spoken person.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re talking about McCarthy.
E.J. DIONNE: Right, Kevin McCarthy. He is a great social guy.
And I don’t think anyone can hold this caucus together, because, as long as Barack Obama is president, the House Republicans particularly and most conservatives really aren’t interested in governing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s my main question about him, David, is what’s going to be different with Kevin McCarthy? Is it going to be any easier for him to corral House Republicans?
By the way, he gave Speaker Boehner a B-minus for his performance as speaker.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. You have got to give your friend an A. Come on.
E.J. DIONNE: I think he called him up and apologized, said, I have got to do that to get elected. And maybe Boehner understood.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
So, what’s going to happen, I think, is — what’s going to happen for the Freedom Caucus is, they’re going to try and change the rules. And they go to regular order. And basically the changing of the rules lessens the power of the speaker, lessens the power of the leadership, and that means more bills from the rank and file can get votes on.
They nominally want the committees to elect their chairmen. And so that would devolve power down where the Freedom Caucus is. And so that’s what they’re going to be lobbying for. I personally think those changes would make the House completely ungovernable, because it would become like the Senate, where everybody could stop everything. And so I hope they don’t pass, but that’s what I think they’re going to try to do.
E.J. DIONNE: See, if they really want to democratize the House, they would make it easier to have cross-party coalitions. But that, they don’t want to do, because you could actually pass a lot of bills if they were willing to govern with some Democrats.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, we mentioned Hillary Clinton. I have to ask both of you.
Some new fund-raising numbers for the presidential campaign came out. We don’t have numbers for all the numbers, but we did learn that Hillary Clinton — that Bernie Sanders, E.J., raised almost as much money as Hillary Clinton did, but his money came mostly from small donors.
How much of a threat does he pose? Is this just what you would expect? What do you think?
E.J. DIONNE: I think he’s a real threat to get a lot of votes and, as we have talked about before, to win in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
He hasn’t yet proven he can break into key Democratic constituencies, moderate Democrats, Latinos, African-Americans, which she’s counting on. We’re all assuming here that Joe Biden doesn’t get in. And we don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows. I’m not sure Joe Biden knows whether he’s getting in.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And there was a story today that he has picked up some of Hillary’s donors, Hillary Clinton donors, Biden has.
E.J. DIONNE: Right.
But no matter where you are on politics, I think it is wonderful to see candidates — and I think Ben Carson picked up a fair number of small donations — candidates funding campaigns not by talking to a very small number of very rich people, but by reaching out to a very large number of citizens. And I hope there is more of that in this campaign. So, three cheers for Bernie, if only on the money.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And why doesn’t that mean people should take him more seriously, David? Is just the way it is?
DAVID BROOKS: I’m beginning to think that it might.
The renegades on the right, like the Trumps, I don’t take that seriously. I think they are going to fade. But he’s different. His support is not because he’s a crazy man. His support is because he’s ideologically closer to the heart of the party right now.
And I think the money is a reputation of that. And I don’t know. If he wins Iowa and New Hampshire, doesn’t the — our psychology — our psychology — this whole psychology of the country will be very different around Hillary Clinton. And it would historically unprecedented for her to lose those two and then get the nomination. And so I think…
E.J. DIONNE: Although her husband did it.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
But if he gets those two, and she’s going to seem even more vulnerable than she seems now, who knows. I’m beginning to take him a little more seriously.
E.J. DIONNE: Yes. I have always taken Bernie seriously.
And I think the other piece of it is, we see a lot of ersatz authenticity in politics. He is, if you could use the phrase, authentic authenticity. You know what he’s going to say.
If you don’t like him, you say it’s predictable. If you do like him, you say he’s consistent.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and he’s still drawing big crowds.
Well, we don’t have time the talk about the other Republicans, except you brought it up, Ben Carson raising a lot of money and, again, small donors. So, we’re watching.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, thank you very much.
E.J. DIONNE: Great to be with you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.
The post Brooks and Dionne on mass shooting frustration, Kevin McCarthy’s Benghazi comments appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Refugees from across the Middle East continue to flee civil wars and the threat of ISIS. Germany, among the European nations, has been welcoming them.
But in this report from Munich, currently in the midst of Oktoberfest, we learn that attitudes are changing.
Matt Frei of Independent Television News has that.
MATT FREI: You could with be excused for thinking you had landed on a strange planet, especially if you’re a Syrian refugee and you walk into this, in the center of Munich, and there are beer bottles thrown from the train station.
The annual Oktoberfest, Disney with lederhosen and supersized beers, this is the various celebration of excess. The beer halls are the size of aircraft hangars. Beer is served in something bigger than a flower vase and pork is king on the plates and on the walls.
A few weeks ago, the city authorities briefly flirted with the idea of canceling this annual bacchanalia out of respect for the refugees who had been given standing ovations at the train station. But that would have gone down very badly, and since then the mood here shifted against the visitors from another world.
I met Hans Forba, a retired math and physics teacher.
The rest of the world is impressed by the hospitality of Germans towards outsiders.
MAN: I’m not so happy about that.
MATT FREI: You’re not happy about it. Why not?
MAN: Too much people. All the Muslim — Muslim people, they will throw us out.
MATT FREI: They will throw you out? They can’t throw you out. There are 89 million of you.
MAN: Every year, we lose 200,000 Germans and get 400,000 Muslims more.
MATT FREI: So, you think there is a danger the Muslims will take over in this country?
MAN: Yes, yes, they take over. I’m sure about that, yes, very sure.
MATT FREI: So, what would you do about this refugee problem then?
MAN: I don’t know. I don’t vote for Merkel again.
MATT FREI: You voted for Merkel?
MAN: Yes. But I will never do that again.
MATT FREI: Because of this?
MATT FREI: And still they come, despite the fact that Germany reimposed border controls with Austria two weeks ago.
This is Passau. While Germany’s economic miracle in the form of newly minted Mercedes Jeeps screeches by, the refugees line the platform, waiting to be processed.
There is friction amongst the newcomers. The police step in before a brawl can erupt.
Ala Dine is an English teacher from Aleppo. His 6-year-old and only son died in a barrel bombing. He has been a refugee for a year documenting every step of his nomadic existence on his smartphone.
MAN: We need a solution. Killing is not a solution.
MATT FREI: So Putin getting involved is not a solution?
MAN: Yes, yes, yes. No. In old time, Russia help Assad, but now bomb, more bomb.
MATT FREI: It means more war.
MAN: Yes, more war.
MATT FREI: More refugees.
MAN: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
MATT FREI: So what’s your future going to be?
MAN: I don’t know my future. Really, I don’t. I waste my future.
MATT FREI: Passau has welcomed 17,000 refugees in one week alone. That’s a third of its entire population and almost as many as the whole of Britain will accommodate in four years.
It is said that down the end of the train line, Angela Merkel, a pastor’s daughter, is using the refugees to turn Germany into a moral superpower. But her own party is now worried about a backlash. And here, at the Passau Tavern, opinions are divided, in this case in one family.
MAN: It’s not like in the first days, where there were a lot of people standing at the railroad station with all these signs saying welcome to Germany, et cetera. That’s more or less gone. But I also don’t see any people saying please get away again. So, people are getting used to that impression.
MATT FREI: What do you think? Is it too many?
“Yes, far too many,” Evelyn, the mother told me. “We have no idea how to cope with these numbers.”
Angela Merkel’s moral exceptionalism regarding refugees stems in part from Germany’s exceptionally dark past, and nowhere is this more poignant than here. This was the main camp at Dachau, Dachau, one of the first and most infamous camps built by the Nazis. They killed more than 40,000 prisoners here.
And here’s the really bitter irony. Such is the lack of accommodation and space for the refugees flooding into Germany now that quite a few of them have been put up by the authorities in another part of the camp just across the road.
The S.S. called this piece of hell the herb garden. They used the camp’s prisoners as slave labor to help develop a Nazi brand of homeopathic medicine. These are the original greenhouses. It’s a grotesque notion lost on Javed and Chaffe, both refugees from Afghanistan who now call this place home.
Inside, all traces of the past have long been erased. So, how do they feel about the history of this place?
So, what Javed says basically is that he doesn’t really care that this was a concentration camp which he is now staying in, because it’s better than sleeping on the street, and there are no rooms, there are no flats available anymore in Germany, because there are simply too many refugees like him. So he’s happy to have this place and doesn’t mind too much that it’s in a rather creepy location.
Both are relieved that Germany has offered them refuge, but they’re also sick with longing for the country they lost.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Russia again launched airstrikes in Syria today in a bid to bolster the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
But, in Washington, President Obama said the U.S. will not cooperate with the Russian campaign. And he insisted he will not turn the Syrian conflict into a superpower proxy war.
Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.
MARGARET WARNER: Day three of Moscow’s air campaign, and the Russian military said its planes hit 18 Islamic State positions across Western Syria.
But the U.S.-led coalition charged again that, in fact, the Russians are not limiting their strikes to ISIL. This was President Obama this afternoon:
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: But what was very clear, and regardless of what Mr. Putin said, was that he doesn’t distinguish between ISIL and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr. Assad go.
From their perspective, they’re all terrorists. And that’s a recipe for disaster.
MARGARET WARNER: Overnight, members of the U.S.-led coalition demanded the Russians stop targeting other groups.
The NewsHour spoke today with two Free Syrian Army fighters backed by the U.S. They said they have been hit, even though the Islamic State is long gone from their areas.
Captain Walid is a communications engineer and an FSA commander in Talbiseh, north of Homs, on a strategic road that runs from the capital, Damascus, north to Aleppo.
MAN (through interpreter): There is no organized ISIS presence here. There could be sleeper cells. We can’t eradicate them all 100 percent, no matter how much we attack. Today, we have seen Syrian air force reconnaissance and attack fighter jets. There were air attacks on villages nearby, by the Russians and the Syrians, as people were leaving the mosque.
MARGARET WARNER: Sheik Abdulrazak is also with the FSA in Talbiseh. He sent this video of a reported Russian attack, and says it’s clearly aimed at punishing opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.
MAN (through interpreter): We expect more attacks here, because Talbiseh was one of the first areas that went against the regime, and it caused them a lot of damage. That’s why they are so fixated on this place and the surrounding areas. It is like a feud with us. If there is any attack, God forbid, on Talbiseh, it will be a massacre. They will annihilate us all as revenge.
MARGARET WARNER: And, Captain Walid warns, that day of reckoning may be fast approaching.
MAN (through interpreter): According to our intelligence, there are gathering Syrian troops in the surrounding area. There are also regime troops near Hama. These are preparations for imminent battle. And it’s possible they will use the effectiveness and accuracy of the Russian fighters as an air cover for this or any other future battles.
MARGARET WARNER: At the United Nations today, Syria’s foreign minister seemed to confirm coordination between Russian airpower and the Syrian army.
WALID AL-MOALLEM, Foreign Minister, Syria (through interpreter): Airstrikes are useless unless they are conducted in cooperation with the Syrian Arab army, the only force in Syria that is combating terrorism.
MARGARET WARNER: Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin was in Paris, for a meeting ostensibly about Ukraine, but he reportedly spent an hour discussing Syria with French President Francois Hollande. Russian officials suggested today their air campaign could run three to four months.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Margaret Warner in Washington.
The post Free Syrian Army fighters say Russia is punishing Assad opponents appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The shooting in Oregon has again provoked many discussions about what can be done to prevent future tragedies.
Since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, there have been more than 985 mass shootings, where four or more people are injured or killed. This year alone, the crowdsourced Mass Shooting Tracker reports that there have been more than 295 shootings. You can see where these have happened on a map on our Web site.
For all of the discussions, little has changed.
And, tonight, we explore this with Todd Clear. He’s a professor and former Dean at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice. He has written widely on gun violence. And Jeffrey Swanson, he’s a professor of psychology and behavioral science at Duke University.
And we welcome you both to the program.
Professor Swanson, I’m going to start with you.
You told us today that it may be the case these mass shootings are growing more common, but you said that doesn’t mean that they are easier to predict. What did you mean by that?
JEFFREY SWANSON, Duke University: Well, here we are again, Judy, talking about a horrifying mass casualty shooting, and it’s just appalling.
We’re asking ourselves the same question. Is this about mental illness? And let me just be clear. You don’t have to be a psychiatry professor to know that this is not the act of a healthy minded person. It is the act of a deeply disturbed person. It’s appalling.
But, on the other hand, it’s also an atypical act. It’s atypical of people with mental illnesses, the vast majority of whom are not violent and never will be, and it’s atypical of perpetrators of gun crimes, most of whom do not have mental illness. These are acts that are caused by many factors acting together. They are difficult to predict and therefore difficult to prevent.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Professor Todd Clear, every time we have one of these mass shootings, there are calls to do something about the availability to guns — of guns to people who have mental problems. Has it become harder in any part of the country for people with emotional problems, mental problems to get hold of a gun?
TODD CLEAR, Rutgers School of Criminal Justice: Well, there have been attempts to put new legislation in place in various locations, but the politics of this is very difficult because it’s hard — while most Americans and many people would think, sensibly, that having some kind of screening for gun availability is valuable, it’s hard to get this — movement on this politically because the people who are opposed to gun regulation, to any gun regulation, are so strong and organized, that the political movement on questions like this are difficult.
But there is a lot of variation in drug laws locally in the states, but the fact that states — adjacent states have different gun laws, gun regulation laws, means that the lax states next door can produce guns that end up in the states that have stronger regulations.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Professor Swanson, do you see any more — that it’s more difficult anywhere in the country for someone with a mental health problem to get access to a gun?
JEFFREY SWANSON: The problem with firearms here in this country is they’re very prevalent and they’re highly lethal and they’re constitutionally protected.
So it is, unfortunately, too easy, still, for people inclined to harm others or themselves to obtain a firearm. The criteria that we have are both too narrow and too broad at the same time. They identify lots of people who aren’t dangerous and they fail to identified some who are.
We did a study last year showing that approximately 9 percent of adults in this country have impulsive, angry behavior. These are the kinds of people who smash and break things when they get angry and have access to a firearm, and probably 1.5 percent have impulsive, angry behavior that’s pathological and are carrying a gun around with them.
The vast majority of those individuals are never going to be involuntarily committed, and thereby prohibited from a firearm. Often, they don’t have a disqualifying criminal record. So, it is difficult.
And we need to think more clearly about having more accurate criteria for preventing the purchase of a gun and also think about what to do about all the existing guns that are out there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We heard — Professor Clear, we heard President Obama this afternoon at the White House refer again to the fact that the difference between the United States and other advanced countries around the world, I think high-income countries, where people have access to a good education, is that there is such a wide access to guns in this country.
Is there that much difference between the U.S. and other countries on this?
TODD CLEAR: Well, yes, absolutely.
The United States has a very strongly established culture of gun availability. And the markets that deliver the guns are more widely spread, both the legal and the illegal markets, than in most other countries. Now, it is true that in some — in countries that have a lot of strife going on and war-torn countries, guns have a different pattern, but in Western democracies, we stand out.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Professor Clear, we know polls show most Americans, on the one hand, they say there should be stricter background checks, but on the other hand they say they don’t think the gun laws should be stricter in general. I mean, there is a contradiction out there. How do you understand and read the public on this?
TODD CLEAR: Well, I think there’s a couple of things going on. I think there is a deep distrust that’s broadly spread, particularly across people who would be more likely to own guns, a deep distrust of government and particularly of government intervention and government control.
And that distrust leads people to think that any regulation of guns is at the expense of personal freedoms, and the first step is really is the first step, and there will be many, many steps if you let something happen.
By the same token, large, large numbers of people really recognize that guns are a risk factor, and most Americans would support what they would call sensible gun regulation. But what sensible means tends to fall apart when you start to look at the details.
And it is really true that we have so many handguns in America and so many guns of other types that reasonable policies that would begin to restrict those are very tough to imagine politically in a feasible way.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Professor Swanson, how — as somebody who looks at this all the time and looks at the issue of violence, how should we as a country begin to think about doing something about this intersection between access to guns and mental illness or mental disturbance?
JEFFREY SWANSON: Well, it’s not a one-thing problem and it’s not a one-thing solution.
We certainly need to think about getting upstream and addressing the social determinants of violent behavior, having healthier communities with fewer kids exposed to trauma who grow up to be perpetrators.
But we really need to do something about limiting access to such an efficient killing technology at the time when people are at risk. There are times we know when we know when people are at risk or at elevated risk. For example, if they’re brought into a hospital in a short-term involuntary hold, and don’t progress to a gun-disqualifying involuntary civil commitment, there are ways that people could be prohibited temporarily from firearms.
And also there are some innovative legal approaches in a couple of states like Connecticut, and Indiana and in California that allow family members of law enforcement to take steps to remove firearms from people that they might be concerned about who are at risk of harming others or themselves.
And there was — the gun violence restraining order in California was passed after the Elliot Rodger shooting. And I think all of those things together may help us in the long run.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Professor Todd Clear, Professor Jeffrey Swanson, we thank you both. It’s a conversation that a lot of people are having tonight all over this country. Thank you.
JEFFREY SWANSON: Thank you.
The post Why the U.S. has done almost nothing to stop mass shootings appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news, the economy turned in a subpar showing for September. The Labor Department reported today that employers added 142,000 jobs, less than expected, as oil drillers and others cut back on hiring. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent, mainly because more people stopped looking for work.
Wall Street reacted negatively at first, but then it shrugged off the jobs report, as energy stocks rallied. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 200 points to close above 16470, the Nasdaq rose 80 points, and the S&P 500 added 27. For the week, the Dow and the S&P gained 1 percent. The Nasdaq rose half of a percent.
The Bahamas took the brunt of Hurricane Joaquin today. Heavy flooding, torrents of rain and howling wind destroyed homes and tore up trees, but there were no reports of casualties. At the same time, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that a cargo ship is missing, with 33 people on board.
CAPT. MARK FEDOR, U.S. Coast Guard: The real challenge is this vessel is disabled basically right near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, right where the strongest winds are, so up to 140 miles per hour. So, the challenge is trying to get our assets as close as possible to try to find the vessel.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The hurricane began to weaken slightly this evening, and forecasters said it’s likely to curve out into the Atlantic, and away from the U.S. East Coast.
Word came today that the U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan, will step down in December, after six-and-a-half years on the job. He’s one of the longest-serving members of the Obama Cabinet, and at today’s White House announcement, he said he’s going home to Chicago to spend more time with his family.
ARNE DUNCAN, Secretary of Education: I love this work, I love this team, I love the president, I love the chance to serve. The only thing I love more is you guys. And I can’t wait to come home, and see a couple more track meets and maybe get to coach Ryan a little bit, and maybe have a few more dinners, and maybe go to a movie someday. That would be pretty amazing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The president named John King Jr. a senior Education Department official, to serve as acting secretary for the remainder of his administration. That avoids a confirmation fight with Senate Republicans, who’ve accused the administration of dictating policies to local schools.
In Afghanistan, sporadic shooting echoed around Kunduz a day after government forces recaptured most of the city. The Taliban had held the provincial capital for three days, and, today, the militants’ new leader hailed it a symbolic victory. Meanwhile, residents reported ongoing firefights, as Afghan troops swept through the city. They’re trying to dislodge militants who are hiding in people’s homes.
MAN (through interpreter): The security situation is not good in Kunduz. We are really concerned about this situation. We are not able to get out of our homes. We have no food to eat. We are really in trouble.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the Taliban scored another advance overnight, seizing part of a northeastern province in Afghanistan.
In Iraq, the top Shiite cleric called today for widening the war on the Islamic State group. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a statement, saying: “It’s not Iraq’s battle alone, but the whole world. It’s essential to join together all efforts.”
And the Vatican has distanced itself from a Kentucky county clerk who met with Pope Francis last week at the papal embassy in Washington. Kim Davis had been jailed for refusing to license same-sex marriages. She says the pope praised her courage, and told her to stay strong.
But, today, Vatican officials played down the meeting, and said it wasn’t an endorsement.
REV. THOMAS ROSICA, Vatican Spokesman (through interpreter): First of all, the meeting took place as the farewell greetings as the pope was leaving the Nunciature in Washington. The nuncio invited a number of guests, his own choice, to greet the pope, very brief greetings.
And in the pope’s characteristic kindness and his warmth and hospitality, he shook people’s hands and gave them rosaries. We should understand it as that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Instead, the official said the pontiff’s only real audience was with a gay couple that Francis knew from his years in Argentina.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Multiple guns, multiple shots, and multiple questions. Investigators in Oregon filled in more details today about the mass shooting that left nine people and the shooter dead, and wounded nine others. But they were still trying to figure out the why.
Special correspondent Cat Wise begins our coverage.
CAT WISE: By this morning, police tape was up at this apartment complex in Winchester, Oregon, as investigators hunted for clues and a motive. The man identified as the gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, had lived there before he opened fire at Umpqua Community College in nearby Roseburg.
He was killed in a shoot-out with police. Federal authorities say he had body armor and six guns with him, including pistols and a rifle. They found seven more guns at the apartment. All had been purchased legally, but Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin suggested the number is not so unusual.
JOHN HANLIN, Sheriff, Douglas County: In Oregon, I mean, this is a hunting state, and firearms are popular in most households, yes.
CAT WISE: As police search for what sparked the shootings, a picture of the gunman has begun to emerge. Neighbors in this complex describe him as reclusive and very close with his mother. His online social profiles show a fascination with guns, the Irish Republican Army, and an apparent hatred for organized religion.
Witnesses at the shooting scene said the gunman demanded to know each student’s religion before he shot them, seeming to single out Christians. He was also interested in mass shootings, writing in one blog post: “Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”
With that apparently in mind, Sheriff Hanlin made clear today he won’t utter the killer’s name.
JOHN HANLIN: I continue to believe that those media and community members who publicize his name will only glorify his horrific actions, and, eventually, this will only serve to inspire future shooters.
CAT WISE: Meanwhile, the people of Roseburg, in the heart of Oregon’s timber country, were plunged into mourning. Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil last night, including the college’s interim president, Rita Cavin.
RITA CAVIN, Interim President, Umpqua Community College: It’s a small community. Many people have been here for multiple generations. It’s very close-knit. So, when word went out that we needed help, the network just surrounded us. And it’s a blessing of being in a small town.
CAT WISE: Governor Kate Brown visited today to lend support.
GOV. KATE BROWN (D), Oregon: Oregon has worked continuously to prevent these kind of tragedies, but they continue to happen here and across the nation, and it is going to keep happening until we decide we want them to stop.
CAT WISE: The killings also brought new calls for gun control from President Obama again today.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The majority of people who have mental illnesses are not shooters. So, we can’t sort through and identify ahead of time who might take actions like this. The only thing we can do is make sure that they can’t have an entire arsenal when something snaps in them.
CAT WISE: And the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, said he hopes the United States will take the necessary action to reduce gun violence.
I’m Cat Wise for the PBS NewsHour in Roseburg, Oregon.
JUDY WOODRUFF: This evening, authorities identified the nine dead, including students and one teacher. We will turn to the broader issues of gun violence and mental illness after the news summary.
The post Police search for answers in Oregon college rampage appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Tune in Saturday, October 3rd from 11:00am-6pm ET for the fourth annual American Graduate Day, broadcast live from Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.
Throughout the country, families, teachers and entire communities are working to help young people find meaning in education and develop their talents to achieve success.
Those efforts will be celebrated Saturday, October 3 on PBS with American Graduate Day, a seven-hour event featuring celebrities, public figures and journalists like PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan exploring innovative solutions to the challenges that millions of students face every day.
Solutions like a nonprofit in Austin, Texas partnering with a juvenile justice center to help students manage their emotions and finish their high school education by learning classical guitar. Student Reporting Labs special correspondent Kennedy Huff reported this story for KLRU in Austin.
Detroit‘s Clark Park has offered young people opportunities to grow and learn from community elders for generations. Student Reporting Labs producer Evan Gurlock took a close look at this vital local asset during his summer internship with Detroit Public Television.
In the spring, Student Reporting Labs asked students to find stories about peers who had taken unique paths to overcome challenges in order to graduate. Their Road to Graduation series profiles teens who overcame immigration problems, poverty and homelessness to reach their goal.
This year, the PBS NewsHour American Graduate reporting team brought us stories of school success from across the U.S. and abroad this year, like this report on Freedom Schools still carrying out the mission started during the Freedom Summer of 1964.
American Graduate also profiled a school in rural Alaska where native Yu’pik traditions live in and out of the classroom.
Check your local PBS listings for Saturday’s American Graduate Day programming. Or, check back on this blog post during the day for a live stream of the seven-hour broadcast.
PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The post WATCH LIVE: American Graduate Day 2015 celebrates efforts to build student success appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — House Republican turmoil is boiling over as leadership elections approach, with dissatisfied lawmakers casting about for new choices and a surprise longshot challenger emerging in the speaker’s race.
The upheaval reflects a caucus ever more divided in the week since House Speaker John Boehner stunned Capitol Hill by resigning under conservative pressure. And it comes as a long list of weighty and polarizing issues loom on Congress’ agenda, including raising the federal borrowing limit to avoid a market-shattering default, and paying the bills to keep the government running.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the brash 48-year-old chairman of the high-profile House oversight committee, intends to challenge the prohibitive favorite for speaker, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Republican aides said Friday. Yet it’s not clear that the hardliners who ousted Boehner and view McCarthy with suspicion would flock to Chaffetz, given that as committee chairman he’s enforced leadership initiatives such as punishing lawmakers who buck the party position.
“It would be hard to replace John Boehner with someone who also kicks people off committees for their votes,” sniped Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who is backing another candidate, Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla.
That raises the prospect of more unrest – and potentially even more candidates – before votes for the new leadership team are cast Oct. 8.
“Until we decide that we’re going to function as a team instead of as a series of groups trying to enforce their agenda on the majority of the House, then we’re going to have this treadmill kind of a thing where we’re just walking faster and faster but not actually physically moving,” said Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.
The well-liked McCarthy has been endorsed by Boehner, but some of the hardline conservatives who forced Boehner out immediately questioned whether his leadership would be any different. Their concerns were compounded when, a day after announcing his candidacy for speaker, McCarthy boasted that the House Benghazi committee can take credit for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s slipping poll numbers.
McCarthy backtracked, but it took him two days and the gaffe allowed Democrats to claim that the committee is a political witch hunt – not a fact-finding mission into the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, as Republicans had long asserted.
Chaffetz was one of the loudest critics of McCarthy’s comments on Benghazi, publicly calling on McCarthy to apologize for “a total mischaracterization” of the committee’s work.
He’s now converting that sentiment into a challenge against McCarthy for speaker, according to three Republican aides with knowledge of the situation who demanded anonymity to confirm Chaffetz’s plans ahead of an announcement. Chaffetz’ office did not respond to requests for comment, but the congressman is to appear on “Fox News Sunday” to discuss his plans.
Chaffetz has led high-profile investigations into the Secret Service, Planned Parenthood and other issues, but he is unlikely to outmaneuver McCarthy for the speaker’s job. Republicans of all ideologies, especially hardline conservatives, are plainly dissatisfied with their choices for the leadership jobs with public approval of Congress at rock bottom and voters demanding results in challenges to President Barack Obama.
The two candidates for majority leader to replace McCarthy – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia – also are established figures who don’t meet some lawmakers’ desire for a new direction. Yet Republicans in Congress are short on dynamic, broadly popular and experienced leaders who could move naturally into the top jobs. Some of those who exist – like Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – have opted against running for leadership.
In all likelihood McCarthy will be the next speaker and Scalise or Price the next majority leader of the House, putting new faces in Congress’ top jobs but perhaps doing little to correct the institution’s overall dysfunction.
“Some faceless bureaucrat has more legislative authority than the entire United States Congress,” said hardline Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who is hoping more choices emerge for the top jobs. “That’s the situation we’re in and we need to put that back in order, and we need a speaker and majority leader that will collaborate on a plan to do that.”
HARI SREENIVASAN: As technology plays a larger role in the classroom, what happens to the role of the teacher? An alternative high school in the Bronx is charting a course for both to coexist through an increasingly popular model called “blended learning.”
HARI SREENIVASAN: Bronx Arena High School is one of nearly 300 schools under a New York City program called innovation zone, or I-zone. Started in 2010, I-zone schools use online courses and technology to support personalized learning in the classroom. The curriculum is computerized and customized for each student. Evelyn Revollar has been teaching here for five years.
EVELYN REVOLLAR: It’s more targeted teaching than a traditional classroom. We’re grouping them based on what do you need to graduate? What holes can I fill? What academic holes can I fill that haven’t been filled yet? The computer’s just a tool.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the past, Revollar would have taught the entire class at once, moving from one concept to the next. Instead, students here — equipped with laptops — work more independently and at their own pace.
LESLIANNA ALLEN: The teachers work one-on-one with you. So it’s not like I’m in a big classroom and with a bunch of kids, and I don’t understand something.
HARI SREENIVASAN: An online tracker helps students record their progress throughout the day. Now, Revollar can intercept problems as they happen for each student, based on real time feedback she gets.
LESLIANNA ALLEN: The tracker is just for us and the teachers to keep track of our courses. It tells me how many tasks that’s in that course and how many tasks I’m supposed to be doing that day.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The technology helps students who did not finish traditional high school. Leslianna Allen quit school in 10th grade and needed extra help in global studies and math. At 18, she is getting a second chance at Bronx Arena.
LESLIANNA ALLEN: I used to struggle with global and math a lot, like I hated math. I hated global and since I came here, I finished my whole math course, because I went at my pace and had teachers to help me too.
You can actually help yourself moreover because everything is on the computer. You get what you need, and you’re able to get it faster.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Joseph Mcfadden was expelled from his previous school. This is his third year at Bronx Arena, and he is on track to graduate in January. He also credits his success to something a computer cannot do.
JOSEPH MCFADDEN: It’s a different experience. Like the teachers, they play the role of a teacher but they’re more of; they’re counselors. They’re advisors. They watch over you. They help you with your lessons.
LESLIANNA ALLEN: They don’t allow you to fail here, I got accepted, and my grades went way up.
JOSEPH MCFADDEN: She said at the end of the day, I can’t force you to do anything. I just want you to look back at yourself and ask yourself, where do you really want to be? Do
You really think school is for you? Do you really want to be something?’ If you do, then take your own actions into your hand and do something with yourself.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All that individual motivation per student takes time, and principal ty Cesene, who founded Bronx Arena in 2011, says the technology enables that.
TY CESENE: We wanted to use technology to maximize that time and really rely on the human part to do the human work, and try and take off some of the sort of administrative responsibilities that we have– that a computer could do.
HARI SREENIVASAN: As a result, teachers spend more time giving students individual attention and meeting with small groups for focused lessons.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Technology in and of itself is not a panacea for every classroom, but this Bronx school so far is having positive outcomes.
TY CESENE: In terms of the kids who leave us — eighty percent go to college, and over an 80 percent college retention rate, for the Bronx, for the whole city, and we’re proud of that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Leslianna Allen hopes to be part of that success.
LESLIANNA ALLEN: My plans after graduation is to go to college and potentially be– potentially work with kids. I want go to college for early childhood. It makes me feel good because I’m a step closer to graduation.
The post ‘They don’t allow you to fail': In custom classrooms, at-risk students thrive appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Aircrews resumed the search early Saturday for an American cargo ship, the El Faro, which was missing near Crooked Island in the Bahamas, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a press release.
The 735-foot vessel was carrying 28 American and five Polish citizens when the crew issued a distress call on Thursday.
As of Saturday, the El Faro had not been heard from for more than 48 hours.
The container ship departed Jacksonville, Florida, on Sept. 29 and was headed toward San Juan, Puero Rico, when it became caught in stormy weather triggered by Hurricane Joaquin.
Before losing communication with authorities, the crew reported the ship had lost propulsion and was leaning to one side.
The Coast Guard said search teams had scoured more than 850 square nautical miles looking for the El Faro on Friday, but the search operation was hampered by significant waves and hurricane-force winds.
The post Search resumes for American ship with 33 crew missing in Hurricane Joaquin appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: This is second week on the job for 22-year-old Renee Alves.
She’s assigned to this third grade class at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School, in the Roxbury section of Boston – but she is not a teacher yet. She is part of a training program called the Boston Teacher Residency.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: As one of 40 residents in the teacher training program this year, Renee will spend 10 months watching, emulating, and learning as much as she can from experienced teacher Kayla Morse
RENEE ALVES: You can learn from a textbook, but I think it’s a lot different when you’re in a classroom and you’re seeing it in person.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Renee’s lengthy training period is part of a transformation in the way Boston and handful of other cities prepare their teachers. While some teacher training programs require only a few weeks in the classroom, these residency models require far more.
In 2003, Jesse Solomon, who taught math in Boston public schools for ten years – co-founded the program that he likens to a medical residency.
JESSE SOLOMON: One thing I saw a lot when I was teaching was– a number of brand new teachers coming into the profession. Smart, committed, hard-working, kind of willing to do whatever it takes– but not really knowing how to teach that first year.
My concern was always that they were learning on the backs on the kids that had them that year, right? So if you’re a first-year teacher in Algebra 1 class, you get another shot next year. For those kids taking Algebra 1, that was their shot at algebra 1. So had in my head that there’s gotta be a better way to do this.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Solomon’s goals were to counteract Boston’s heavy teacher turnover rate, fill key shortages of math and science specialists, and increase the number of minority teachers.
JESSE SOLOMON: Our country right now invests in the preparation of doctors to the tune of about half a million dollars per doctor. So we’ve obviously decided that to invest in the training of those doctors. So I’m not arguing we should spend half a million dollars per teacher.
But if education is really as important as everybody says it is, and if teachers are really as important as everyone says they are, then we should be thinking about how we as a country invest in the recruitment, preparation support of teachers.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Renee spends Monday through Thursdays as Kayla’s apprentice, and Fridays in graduate courses.
She and her fellow trainees will finish the residency with a master’s degree in education and become part of the growing roster of clinically-trained teachers in the Boston public school system.
Three out of four of these graduates from the past twelve years are still teaching in Boston – a city where one out of two have left the profession.
Kayla Morse finished the program four years ago.
KAYLA MORSE: I’ve been teaching at this school for going on two years. And what’s kept me here is how this school is set up. It’s a community of learners. So I feel very connected to the vision of not only preparing students for the world but also preparing more teachers.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: When you’re thinking about how you’ll work with Renee–are you mirroring a lot of your own experiences as a resident?”
KAYLA MORSE: So a lot of times I do mirror my experiences with her, but I also think about if I was new to this profession or this place, what are some of the things that I would need to know to work better.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Do you feel a responsibility to kind of keep her fire burning?
KAYLA MORSE: Yes, yes, because I think this work is challenging, and it can really get to you, but I feel like what keeps me going is that fire, and some of the same things we talk about with our kids, independence, perseverance, problem-solving, those are things that I kind of I carry through in my working relationship with her.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Roxbury has come a long way in the last two decades. These homes have replaced empty lots where city businesses used to dump their trash in the middle of the night, but residents still struggle with high unemployment– almost half of the children in the area live in poverty, and the program recognizes this.
Alongside comprehensive teacher education, the residents work with local community groups. Not only learning some of the history of the Boston public school system, but about the particular nuances of the neighborhoods in which they teach.
Here at the Dudley Street School this approach has led to a strategic partnership with the Dudley street neighborhood initiative – one of Roxbury’s oldest and most influential community organizations.
Program director Sheena Collier says even with 13 schools in Roxbury, more than two-thirds are bused to schools outside of the district.
SHEENA COLLIER: We believe in parents choosing to send their child to school wherever they like, but we’d like them to have the option to send them to a quality school in their neighborhood if that’s what the choose.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: She says the Dudley School is an integral part of keeping kids close to home.
SHEENA COLLIER: Unlike the other schools in our neighborhood, we were able to be a part of the visioning of what this school would look like, what would it mean for our community, what would it mean for the students that attend.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: In addition to the forward momentum, teachers like Sabine Ferdinand, a graduate of the residency program, say it is important to recognize the challenging home environment some of their students may come from.
SABINE FERDINAND: I have to be really mindful of everything that my students come into the classroom with. You know, students who come from a difficult home life.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: How familiar were you with Roxbury beforehand?
SABINE FERDINAND: Not too familiar, surprisingly. I grew up maybe 25, 30 minutes away from here but before, you know, starting to teach here, the residency– took us throughout the neighborhoods and really taught us about where we’re going to be working. And so that really allowed me to understand Roxbury.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Twelve years in, this program has shown success not only retaining more teachers but hiring more science and math specialists, and placing more Black, Latino, and Asian-Americans in the classroom.
It hasn’t all gone according to plan. A 2011 Harvard study found that standardized math test scores were lower among students taught by 1st year residents than the 1st year teachers coming from traditional programs. This trend continues until the 4th year of teaching when scores in resident classrooms surpass their counterparts.
JESSE SOLOMON: It was a pivot point. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there haven’t been lots of pivot points. You know, it’s sorta like you– you go institute a bunch of things, you get some success. But all that really does is teach you about the next challenge that you need to take on.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: In response to the study, the program retooled concentrating a greater number of residents in fewer schools.
JESSE SOLOMON: So if you have, you know, seven math residents and seven math mentors and a math clinic teacher educator, you have 15 people all in the same school talking together on a daily basis about what, like, does good math teaching look like– for– for the kids in this school. But I think the big question that we’re wrestling with now is ultimately are our teacher good for the kids they serve in the years down the line.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Only a few weeks in, Renee has a long year in front of her, but says she is undeterred – driven by her time with the students.
RENEE ALVES: When you have those aha moments, or you see a child have that aha moment, and their face lights up, it makes everything worth it.
The post How a Boston program is transforming the way we train teachers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and other Republicans declared their opposition to stiffer gun laws Friday in the aftermath of the Oregon college mass shooting, while Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a national movement to counter the power of the National Rifle Association.
Bush said more government isn’t always the answer whenever tragedy strikes – “stuff happens, there’s always a crisis.” President Barack Obama called him out on that remark, which Bush said was not about the Oregon shooting. “I think the American people should hear that,” Obama said, and “can decide whether or not they consider that ‘stuff happening.'”
Clinton told supporters at a South Florida community college that she would willingly take on the NRA in a bid to achieve “new, effective gun control measures.”
“What is wrong with us,” Clinton asked, “that we can’t stand up to the NRA, to the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers they represent?”
Bush referred to the shooting that left 10 dead at the Oregon community college, including the gunman, while answering questions from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. The Republican attorney general, who hosted Bush at Furman University, first asked Bush about his stance on the Second Amendment, without reference to the school killings.
Emphasizing that he supports the Supreme Court’s affirmation of bearing arms as an individual right, Bush talked about the many Floridians who have concealed-weapons permits and recalled receiving an award from the NRA. “Charlton Heston gave me a gun on stage in front of 15,000 people,” he said. “That was pretty cool, to be honest with you.”
Turning to the Oregon killings, he called them “heartbreaking” but added that “the impulse in Washington is to take people’s civil rights away from us, and it won’t solve the problem.”
Wilson followed-up with his own reference to mass shootings, and Bush continued, “We’re at a difficult time in our country, and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this.
“It’s very sad to see, but I resist the notion – I had this challenge as governor – we have – stuff happens, there’s always a crisis, and the impulse is to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
Asked later about his comments, he told reporters they were “not related to Oregon – just clarity here.” He appeared sensitive to the possibility of his comments becoming a controversy in themselves.
“Let’s make sure here that we don’t allow this to get out of control,” he said. “There are all sorts of things that happen in life.” He cited a child drowning in a pool whose parents then want legislative action. “Sometimes, you’re imposing solutions to problems, and it doesn’t fix the problem and takes away people’s liberty and rights,” Bush said. “That was the point I was trying to make.”
To be sure, Bush’s Republican rivals echoed his bottom line.
“Before we start calling for more laws, I think we ought to consider why we don’t enforce the laws that we have?” Carly Fiorina said in Aiken, South Carolina. She said Obama’s response was “premature at best and at worst a really unfortunate politicization of this tragedy.”
For Clinton, it was an opportunity to draw a clear distinction. She called Thursday’s mass murder “sickening” and said people should not be “afraid to go to college, a movie theater, Bible study.”
The NRA, she said, “counts on really having an intense and dedicated group to scare politicians who say ‘we will vote against you.'”
She credited her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for taking on the NRA and achieving tougher gun controls, and said, to roaring applause, “We are going to take them on again.”
Obama spoke of a mismatch between Americans’ willingness to tighten gun laws and the powerful influence of pro-gun groups.
“They know how to scare politicians,” Obama said. “The American people are going to have to match them in their sense of urgency if we’re going to actually stop this.”
He said the Republican Party is “just uniformly opposed to all gun safety laws.” He also suggested some of the opposition was personal, driven by critics who think any gun laws “are an assault on freedom or communistic or a plot by me to take over” and stay in power forever.
Even so, Democrats, too, have been a hard sell on gun control in Congress, an issue they have rarely pushed for years because it has been regarded as troublesome.
This report was written by Bill Barrow and Sergio Bustos of the Associated Press
The post GOP hopefuls reiterate opposition to stiffer gun laws appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
REV. WILLIAM BARBER: It’s a crime that we stand here 27 days after the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act and we have less voting rights today.
JEFF GREENFIELD: That fiery denunciation by Reverend William Barber, head of North Carolina’s N-double A-C-P, may seem out of a different time and place…
REV. WILLIAM BARBER: Glory! Glory! Glory!
JEFF GREENFIELD: But Barber believes new laws that alter how, where, and when citizens can vote are designed to disenfranchise as many Black voters as possible.
REV. WILLIAM BARBER: All of these attacks on voting rights started right after President Obama won in states, and it changed the dynamic. People came together who hadn’t been coming together in the south. We know that this is an attempt to roll us backwards.”
JEFF GREENFIELD: Barber and the NAACP believe photo voter ID laws in North Carolina and more than a dozen other states suppress minority voter turnout, because black and Latino voters are the most likely to lack an acceptable photo ID or the documents to get one.
Decreases in voter turnout have been found in states that require photo IDs to vote. For example, in the 2008 and 2012 elections, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office attributed a two percent decrease in turnout in Kansas and a two-to-three percent decrease in Tennessee to their photo ID laws.
And many voters in North Carolina are struggling with their new voter ID law that goes into effect in 2016. 94 year old Rosanell Eaton is one of them.
Her daughter drove her 250 miles back and forth from the Department of Motor Vehicles and Social Security offices to get a photo ID, because the name on her driver’s license—her married name – did not match her maiden name on her voter registration from over 70 years ago.
JEFF GREENFIELD: So when people say, it really isn’t that hard under this new law to get what you need.
ROSANELL EATON: It’s not easy at all. It was just unnecessary.
JEFF GREENFIED: The experience reminded her of the hurdle she faced the first time she tried to register to vote in segregated North Carolina almost three quarters of a century ago. Three white men told her.
ROSANELL EATON: To stand right straight and towards the wall and look repeat the preamble of the United States of America. So, I did as they commanded.
JEFF GREENFIELD: You recited the preamble to the U-S Constitution?
ROSANELL EATON: Yes.
JEFF GREENFIELD: The 1965 Voting Rights Act changed things dramatically. By 2012, about 75 percent of Southern Blacks were registered. And for 50 years, that Voting Rights Act empowered the Justice Department to review any changes in voting laws in all states or parts of states with a history of racial discrimination.
Onetime protesters—like Martin Luther King protégé Mickey Michaux—became legislators. 15 years ago, Michaux was part of efforts by a Democratic legislature and governor to make voting much easier, with: two-and-half weeks of early voting, same-day registration during early voting, voting on Sundays, out-of-precinct voting—if you were away from home, you could vote where you were, and pre-registration for 16 and 17-years-olds who were getting their driver’s license.
Michaux is exceptionally candid about why this was done:
REP. MICKEY MICHAUX: Basically a party situation. Most of your African-Americans voted Democratic. And so in order not to lose that base vote, they saw a way where you could increase African-American voting and take credit for having passed all of these openings in your voter laws.
JEFF GREENFIELD: It sounds like what you’re saying, were passed as much for political reasons as some vague sense of justice.
REP. MICKEY MICHAUX: That’s exactly right, there’s no question about it.
JEFF GREENFIELD: And it worked: In the past decade, 70 percent of Blacks in North Carolina voted early, compared with about 50 percent of white voters.
But in 2010, the politics of North Carolina were turned upside down. Republicans gained control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. And with that control came a concerted effort to undo the changes the Democrats had put into place just a few years earlier.
In 2013, the Republican- dominated legislature passed a voter ID law, and the newly-elected Republican governor signed it. Backers cited voter fraud, but in the past decade, the North Carolina State Board of Elections has referred only four cases of alleged voter impersonation to prosecutors, and none have resulted in a conviction.
Nationally, research by a Loyola Law School professor found only 31 “credible allegations” of voter impersonation in one billion-votes between 2000 and 2014.
FRANCIS DE LUCA: Even if you don’t have massive fraud, it gives the electorate a better sense that this election is fair.
JEFF GREENFIELD: Francis DeLuca disagrees that voter ID is a solution in search of a problem. He heads the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank in Raleigh.
FRANCIS DE LUCA: Could you ever prove there was a problem in a bar with underage drinking if you did not require them to show an ID card?
Voter impersonation is impossible to verify without somebody having to prove who they are.
The other thing that’s important, you can’t do Medicaid, you can’t, well, can’t travel, can’t go to a bank and cash a check without a photo ID, you can’t even go into the county government office building without a photo ID.”
JEFF GREENFIELD: As the voter ID bill worked through the legislature, the US Supreme Court threw out the “pre-clearance” section of the Voting Rights Act arguing that Southern states were being judged “based on 40 year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day.”
Within weeks, North Carolina’s “voter ID” bill become a 57-page bill that: cut a week of early voting, ended same day registration during early voting, curtailed Sunday voting, ended out-of-precinct voting, ended pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Republican State Representative David Lewis chaired the Elections Committee when the bill passed. He says it makes the voting process fairer.
REP. DAVID LEWIS: The rules don’t need to be tweaked in such a way that advantages one side or the other. We say, treat everybody the same.
JEFF GREENFIELD: With early voting cut from 17 to 10 days, one of the two early voting Sundays went away. That limited the so-called “Souls to the Polls” effort, when many Black churches transport congregants to their polling stations.
JEFF GREENFIELD: That looks like, from the superficial level, at least, that had to have been targeted to the African-American community.”
REP. DAVID LEWIS: I certainly don’t think so. Many of our state agencies are not required to work on Sundays. Even if you want to attest or believe that we did something for partisan advantage, it certainly wasn’t done with a racially discriminatory intent.
JEFF GREENFIELD: But that’s no consolation for Dale Hicks, a former Marine who served in Afghanistan. Last year, Hicks and his wife moved from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Raleigh.
A few days before the 2014 election, he called his election board to learn his new polling place.
DALE HICKS: They told me actually, “No, this means you can’t vote in Raleigh, because your address on your registration says Jacksonville. You can’t vote in Jacksonville, even though your address says Jacksonville, you don’t live in Jacksonville, so it’s not valid.”
I basically felt like I lost the right to vote at that point.
JEFF GREENFIELD: With no more same-day registration during early voting or out-of-precinct voting, Hicks could only cast a provisional ballot, which went uncounted under the new voting rules.
DALE HICKS: It just made me angry. I knew these barriers were being put up, you know. And it worked.
JEFF GREENFIELD: If partisan politics is behind this fight, it raises an intriguing question. Courts generally approve legislation that is politically motivated.
They are much, much tougher on legislation that seems racially inspired. But what happens if those two seem hopelessly entangled. One response comes from Carter Wrenn, a long-time Republican political consultant in North Carolina.
JEFF GREENFIELD: From your perspective, what’s the driving force behind this?
CARTER WRENN: Partisan politics, pure and simple. I mean, race, it gets mixed up in it, but it’s Republicans looking to help Republicans.
JEFF GREENFIELD: Is there a moral equivalence between wanting more people to vote, and wanting fewer people to vote?
CARTER WRENN: You know, I’m not sure. Nobody’s motivations are pure here. If the people that didn’t vote were more likely to vote Republican, I don’t think for a minute the Democrats would be trying to get them to vote.
REP. MICKEY MICHAUX: It is race. The greater makeup of the Democratic Party in this state is African-American.. So if the way that you—you grab power is you take back those things that have affected African-Americans to go to the polls and vote.
JEFF GREENFIELD: The same day North Carolina’s voting reforms were signed into law, the N-double A-C-P sued to stop them. So did the nonpartisan League of Women Voters…and then, the US Justice Department.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: This is an intentional attempt to break a system that was working. It defies common sense.
JEFF GREENFIELD: North Carolina’s own State Board of Elections found that 318 thousand voters lacked the necessary photo ID to vote–one third of them were African Americans, who make up only one fifth of the electorate.
Following a three week trial this summer, a federal judge is now deciding whether or not those North Carolina voting reforms are constitutional. Backers of the law point out that black voter turnout in 2014 rose 16% from the previous midterms in 2010.
But activists credit this to a competitive US Senate race in 2014 and to their get-out-the-vote campaigns. Whichever way the judge here rules and with similar lawsuits in other states, the issue seems destined again for the US Supreme Court, whose decision could help determine who votes next year and perhaps who wins the White House.
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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is rejecting Russia’s military campaign in Syria, saying it fails to distinguish between terrorist groups and moderate rebel forces with a legitimate interest in a negotiated end to the civil war.
Obama made his remarks at a White House news conference Friday.
The president called Russia’s military involvement, including airstrikes that began this week, a self-defeating exercise that will move the Syrian conflict further from a solution.
Obama said Russian President Vladimir Putin has not attracted international support for his approach in Syria, which is a longstanding Russian ally. He said only Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad are on Putin’s side, while the U.S. is leading a 60-nation international coalition against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina has spent the last two weeks repeating an erroneous description of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. That seems bound to continue as she makes her opposition to Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her 2016 campaign.
Campaigning in South Carolina on Friday, Fiorina said she “absolutely” stands by her criticism of Planned Parenthood. She accused the women’s health organization – it’s also the nation’s largest abortion provider – of pushing “propaganda” against her while being “aided and abetted by the media.”
Fiorina has brushed off the facts surrounding her claim as a “technicality.” Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, survived this week the latest attempt of conservatives in Congress to cut off its federal funding and accused her of lying.
The flap began at Republicans’ Sept. 16 presidential debate, when Fiorina brought up widely circulated videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists and showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue to researchers.
“As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape — I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes,” Fiorina said. “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
That detailed scene does not occur in the videos, produced by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. One of the videos, still posted on the center’s YouTube channel as of Friday, shows a woman identified as an “ex-procurement technician” from a firm other than Planned Parenthood discussing harvesting the brain of an aborted fetus.
As the woman talks, the video cuts away to show an image that producers have confirmed is stock footage of a stillborn baby miscarried in a hospital after 19 weeks of gestation.
After being questioned multiple times about her claims, Fiorina’s campaign released an online ad that again includes the image, with the claim that “Carly Fiorina won the debate. Now come the false attacks.”
This, despite the fact that the baby was miscarried, not aborted, and that the image comes from a hospital procedure unconnected with Planned Parenthood.
Fiorina has pushed back in multiple interviews. Often, the crux of her argument, beyond sticking to her incorrect description of the anti-Planned Parenthood videos, is that she has not misrepresented the group’s actions and that the larger issue is about the character of the nation.
“They’re trying to have a conversation about a technicality about a videotape,” Fiorina said last week at Christian women’s health center in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The center, which does not provide abortions, has become a popular stop for Republican presidential candidates. “The character of this nation cannot be about butchery of babies for body parts,” Fiorina said.
At another South Carolina stop, she linked liberals’ support for abortion rights with environmental regulations. “They are perfectly prepared to destroy other people’s jobs and livelihoods and communities in order to protect fish and frogs and flies,” she said. “But they do not think a 17-week-old, a 20-week-old, a 24-week-old is worth saving. This, ladies and gentlemen, is hypocrisy.”
Yet when asked specifically about the video, she’s never budged. On NBC’s Sept. 27 edition of “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Fiorina if she would admit to “exaggerating” the scene in question. “No, not at all,” she said. “That scene absolutely does exist.” But she has not produced the footage and even anti-abortion activists say it does not exist as she has described it.
On Friday, she asked in South Carolina, “Why is it Planned Parenthood cannot and will not deny late-term abortions are being performed for the purposes of obtaining brains and other body parts? … It’s happening.”
Planned Parenthood doesn’t dispute that fetal tissue is sometimes taken for research, but notes the practice is legal and payments only cover expenses of the process.
“In two states, Planned Parenthood helps patients who want to donate tissue for fetal tissue research, following clear guidance that goes well above and beyond the legal requirements in this area,” said spokesman Eric Ferrero, referring to California and Washington. “This work is not about ‘harvesting’ or ‘selling’ or ‘profiting’ – it is about helping facilitate patients’ wishes to support medical research that can help treat and cure serious diseases.”
Recent polling suggests Fiorina’s criticism of Planned Parenthood is out of step with the wider electorate but in line with conservatives. Pew Research Center found in a Sept. 22-27 poll that 60 percent of adults in the U.S. wanted a budget deal to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood. But among Republicans, 66 percent said any budget deal must eliminate the money – 78 percent among those who identify as “conservative Republicans.”
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STEPHEN FEE: On the shores of Lake Baikal, in Russian Siberia, unusually warm temperatures and dry conditions made for dangerous wildfire conditions this summer.
At least 1,500 square miles of forest burned until the flames died down in the past few weeks, leaving scorched earth and tree stumps where a once-lush forest stood.
Ecologists say the fires here could have a long-lasting impact on the delicate ecosystem around the lake, which is home to an estimated 20 percent of the world’s fresh, unfrozen water.
EKATERINA UDEREVSKAYA, ECOLOGIST RUSSIAN: Since the forests are being destroyed, groundwater gets lost. Drought starts, the springs that are still flowing dry out. It lowers the level of Baikal, which was already lower than critical.
STEPHEN FEE: The lake is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, home to 570 types of plants and more than 1,300 animal species, some of which are endangered.
Volunteers are now trying to plant one million new trees to restore the landscape.
IRINA VOLODCHENKO, VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR: Any citizen, any resident can come to the nursery, collect a sapling and plant it in a plot of ground. Anyone can join this action which allows you to express your concern about the common problem.
STEPHEN FEE: Even a million new trees won’t replace all the greenery lost, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. but volunteers say it’s a start.
IGOR FILIMONOV, VOLUNTEER: It’s just that we’re thinking of our future, of the future of our children for the kind of country we will live in and the air we will breathe.
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An apparent U.S. airstrike wreaked havoc in the embattled Afghan city of Kunduz early Saturday, killing at least 19 civilians and seriously wounding dozens of others at a hospital run by the medical nonprofit Doctors Without Borders.
The bombing, which U.S. military sources said targeted Taliban fighters in the proximity of the hospital compound, prompted harsh condemnation from the United Nations and human rights groups.
In a statement, Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, said, “U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz city… against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
According to Doctors Without Borders, blasts from sustained bombing repeatedly struck the hospital, severely damaging the facility, northeastern Afghanistan’s only trauma center.
“The bombing continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed” that bombs were hitting the hospital, the group said in a statement.
Doctors Without Borders said it had informed U.S. forces of the hospital’s GPS coordinates on multiple occasions, the most recent of which was Tuesday.
“On Sept. 29 and the weeks prior, we had made sure that at the highest levels of both the military and civilian chain of command in the U.S. government that they had the GPS coordinates of our compound,” Doctors Without Borders USA Executive Director Jason Cone told PBS NewsHour.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter offered his condolences and promised an investigation.
“A full investigation into the tragic incident is underway in coordination with the Afghan government,” Carter said in a statement, noting that “U.S. forces in support of Afghan Security Forces were operating nearby, as were Taliban fighters.”
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The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the incident and said the strike may constitute a war crime.
“This deeply shocking event should be promptly, thoroughly and independently investigated and the results should be made public,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said, according to a Reuters report. “The seriousness of the incident is underlined by the fact that, if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”
The Kunduz attack constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.We demand a full & transparent account from the Coalition
— MSF International (@MSF) October 3, 2015
Doctors Without Borders’ Jason Cone called the incident “one of the darkest days in our organization’s history” and demanded accountability for the strike.
“It was clear that this was a fully functioning hospital — that there were hundreds of patients and staff inside — and we need answers,” Cone told PBS NewsHour. “We will accept nothing less than a full, transparent, independent investigation.”
Other aid groups also strongly condemned the strike.
In an online statement, Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan, said, “This is an appalling tragedy. Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian organizations to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it.”
As part of a larger offensive across northern Afghanistan, Taliban forces captured Kunduz, Afghanistan’s sixth-largest city, on Monday.
Fighting in the city has intensified as Afghan government troops attempt to retake the provincial capital. U.S. forces have conducted roughly a dozen airstrikes in support of Afghan troop, the AP reported.
According to Doctors Without Borders, 12 staff members and at least seven patients were killed in the bombardment, including three children.
At the time of the strike Saturday, there were 105 patients and their care-takers in the hospital — part of 394 people treated at the hospital since fighting began — as well as over 80 staff members, the group said. Some of those present during the bombing are still missing.
The strike on the hospital will likely compromise access to trauma care in the region as fighting between Taliban and coalition forces intensifies.
“You’re basically seeing the complete loss of access to healthcare for trauma injuries in the area. There’s no one to replace it, and our hospital is obviously not operational under the circumstances,” Cone said.
Doctors Without Borders is transferring some critically injured patients to a hospital in Pul-i-Kumri, two hours’ drive from the crippled hospital in Kunduz.
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WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday delivered the strongest statement of support for gay rights in the 2016 presidential race when she promised that ending discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people would be a central pillar of her administration.
“I see the injustices and the dangers that you and your families still face,” she told hundreds of gay activists at the annual meeting of the Human Rights Campaign. “I’m running for president to stand up for the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans.”
She added: “That’s a promise from one HRC to another.”
The statement marked a remarkable evolution for Clinton, who opposed same-sex marriage for more than two decades in public life as first lady, senator and presidential candidate. As recently as this year, Clinton said that while she personally supported gay marriage, the issue was best left for states to decide -a position held by most of the Republican presidential field.
Clinton has placed equal rights at the forefront of her campaign, in part a reflection of the growing political and financial strength of the gay community in Democratic politics.
Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a 2016 run, was to speak at the group’s dinner, while Clinton was booked on “Saturday Night Live.”
In her appearance, Clinton said she has been “fighting alongside you and others for equal rights and I’m just getting warmed up.”
As activists chanted her name, she promised to work to pass legislation that would end discrimination, lower costs for HIV treatment and stop funding child welfare agencies that discriminate against gay parents.
She committed to pushing equal rights in the military, including for transgender people. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said the Pentagon’s current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military are outdated. He has ordered a study aimed at ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service.
Clinton’s remarks, particularly on the transgender issue, went further than any other candidate in the race. “We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued,” she said. “They are loved and they are us.”
This summer, her campaign jumped on the Supreme Court’s watershed same-sex marriage decision, changing Clinton’s red campaign logo to a rainbow colored H, releasing a video of gay wedding ceremonies and sending supportive tweets.
Clinton said Saturday that the court’s decision could be overturned, should a Republican win the White House next year and appoint conservative justices.
The Human Rights Campaign made its first presidential endorsement in 1992, backing Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton cast herself as a champion for their cause. In 2008, the group largely stayed out of the primary fight, siding with then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama a day before Clinton dropped out of the race.
Clinton credited the organization with influencing her views.
“I’m really here to say thank you for your hard work and your courage and for insisting that right is right,” she said. “You helped change a lot of minds. Including mine.”
Clinton backed her husband’s Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and said in a Senate speech in 2004 that marriage between a man and a woman was a “fundamental bedrock principle.” In 2007, she dodged when asked whether she agreed with a statement from the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman that homosexuality was immoral.
But like much of the Democratic Party and the country, her position shifted in recent years. As secretary of state, Clinton said at a 2011 conference in Geneva that “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”
She referenced that statement two years later when she released a video saying she backed gay marriage “personally, and as a matter of policy and law.” In April, her campaign released a statement voicing her support for making gay marriage a constitutional right.
But as recently as a year ago, she was still struggling to explain her switch in position.
“You are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons,” she said, in an tense exchange last June with NPR’s Terry Gross. “That’s just flat wrong.”
Her pivot on the issue may give her primary opponents a chance to broadcast their liberal credentials, allowing them to point out that they came to the right side of history years before Clinton.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2016 rival, voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act when he was in the House. His home state was the first to legalize same-sex unions in 2000 and gay marriage through legislative action in 2009-both efforts Sanders backed.
“For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community,” Sanders said in a statement after the Supreme Court ruling, “and I am very glad the court caught up to the American people.”
Biden won praise by endorsing gay marriage ahead of the 2012 election and became the highest elected official to support what was then a highly charged political issue. Obama followed soon after.
The top trending topic on Twitter right now is #NoBraDay — a concept that was reportedly started in 2011 to raise breast cancer awareness.
While some are using the hashtag to spread awareness and honor survivors, the reality is that of the more than 160,000 tweets that have surfaced over the past day, roughly 10 percent make any mention of “breast cancer.”
One breast cancer survivor shared her concerns:
As a survivor who's srsly fed up w/ pink Breast Cancer Industrial Complex, this #NoBraDay idea is BS. Not wearing a bra does not save lives.
— Liz Dwyer (@losangelista) October 13, 2015
And some Twitter users voiced their skepticism over the purpose of the hashtag, pointing to the sexual nature the campaign has prompted:
Allow me to clarify this tweet: Breast cancer awareness should be about saving human beings not the breasts attached to them. #NoBraDay
— OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) October 13, 2015
— IRWAN (@akuskizo) October 13, 2015
The hashtag may have backfired from its original intent, but judging from the ubiquity of pink during the month of October, breast cancer awareness is not an ignored topic.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer has affected more than 200,000 women this past year. Here are some more stats from the organization:
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