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

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    jordanandcarter

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: They were known collectively as the “Georgia mafia” — Washington outsiders who played key roles in the Jimmy Carter presidential campaigns, and in the White House. Among them, Hamilton Jordan, who was the president`s chief of staff and top confidant. He died of cancer in 2008. He left behind a mostly finished memoir.

    His daughter Kathleen has edited and completed the book, “A Boy from Georgia: Coming of Age in the Segregated South.” She talked to Judy recently.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So let me — I have to ask you first, it looks like Hamilton Jordan, Kathleen Jordan, but it`s “Jerden;” where did that come from?

    KATHLEEN JORDAN, Editor, “A Boy From Georgia”: You know, my dad always said it`s the Southern pronunciation of the surname. If you hear it in old spirituals, you`ll hear it pronounced the “River Jerden.” So I think it`s a long-standing tradition of the South. At least that`s what we were told and we`ve taken that forward with us.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I knew your father, Hamilton Jordan, because he worked for Jimmy Carter. I covered Carter as governor of Georgia, then as president of the United States. Your father was a strategist, he was chief of staff, but this book really is about his growing up in South Georgia, growing up in the segregationist South, isn`t it?

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: When political junkies hear that my dad has a new book out, they`re excited because they think it may be about the Carter years, and what I say to those people is that it may not necessarily be about his political years, but it`s about his early indoctrination into politics, and kind of learning about politics from the people around him and about the formation of his political skills.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He grew up, as we just said, in the segregationist South, from a family steeped in the Confederacy, had ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. That really was what he really was surrounded by as he was growing up, and yet he was raising questions.

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: There are some moments in the book where he really realizes that he has to make a decision. Obviously segregation was something that was passed down from generation to generation, and I think this book is about him realizing that this choice is sitting in my lap. You know, I have the choice to decide whether or not I am going to question this, or if I`m going to just go along with what everyone else believes — and I think it`s about his journey to deciding to follow the moral truth.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And there were a couple of points where he thought he was a moral failure. Where he didn`t speak up when he saw something happening.

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: Absolutely. He was in downtown Albany, where he was born, which is a very small town, watching Dr. King march, protesting the segregation of the public facilities in Albany, Georgia, and he sees his maid there, Hattie, he`s standing with his dad, and, you know, they see Hattie in this protest and his dad pulls him away and says, “We need to leave right now. Those people are outside agitators and they`ve gotten all riled up and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

    And my dad, you know, said, “Well, what about Hattie?” It was this person he had a real personal connection with, and she was protesting. And he`d seen this other part of her life.

    He says in the book like you said, he marks that as a moment of moral failure in his life, that he didn`t stand up for what he realized was right in that moment.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: There are also a lot of funny moments in the book. When he was nine years old, he went with his family to Washington, went to the Smithsonian, found his — his family were the McWhorters, and he found a McWhorter who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor for fighting in the civil war. When he got back to Georgia he told his grandfather all about it, but then he said, by the way, he fought for the Union. He said his grandfather got up and walked out.

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: Exactly. There`s a lot of humor in that but there`s also an undercurrent there because his grandfather was so proud of being from the South and was so proud of the Confederacy, and couldn`t get behind the idea that his family was fighting against the Confederacy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why do you think your father was writing this book? I mean, you watched much of the time when he was working on it.

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: Definitely.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Before he died.

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: Exactly. He had been working on this book for, I would say, all of his life. It took his whole life to kind of formulate the ideas that he expresses in this book.

    And I think that he was working on it partially because it`s a large part of — it`s about who he is and how he became the person that he is, and I think it`s also an admission of guilt, and a story of how he turned himself around. He was working on it in order to, not necessarily to absolve himself, but to take agency and ownership of a time in his life when he believed things that he no longer believed as a fully formed adult.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You said your older brother started out working on this, but you wanted to finish it. Why was it important to you?

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: It was important to me because I have struggled, for most of my life, with the idea of being from the South and the idea of Southern identity. When I was younger, I would tell my church basketball team that I was from New York, because I didn`t want to be associated with a place in the country that I thought was a place that was steeped in racism and violent evangelical ideals and things, that in my mind felt very negative.

    And it took me stepping away and going to college in a different state and then living in New York and Los Angeles, to understand that the South is such an important part of who I am, and now, it is something that I am very proud of. And to not be proud of it is to not take ownership of it.

    There are things that are bad about the South, but there are things that are bad about every place in the country. So, for me it was — I did this to honor my dad and his memory because these stories needed to get into people’s hands, and also I wanted to have a greater sense of ownership of who I am as a Southern woman.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it`s a wonderful book, and a wonderful set of stories, put together by the daughter of a man who was very involved in American politics doing a lot of reflecting.

    Kathleen Jordan, thank you very much for talking with us.

    KATHLEEN JORDAN: Judy, thank you.

    The post How a boy from segregated South grew up to be Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Ben Carson's campaign manager says the retired neurosurgeon will tour a major refugee camp on Friday and Saturday. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    Ben Carson’s campaign manager says the retired neurosurgeon will tour a major refugee camp on Friday and Saturday. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is traveling to the Middle East this weekend to meet with Syrian refugees.

    The retired neurosurgeon has been facing questions about his command of foreign policy. Carson will tour one of Jordan’s major refugee camps on Friday and Saturday, campaign manager Barry Bennett said. Bennett declined to release more details about the two-day mission because of security concerns.

    Like other Republicans, Carson has sometimes taken a harsh tone when discussing the issue. Last week, he likened blocking potential terrorists posing as Syrian refugees to handling a rabid dog.

    “We have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly,” he said. “Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us?”

    Debate over Syrians fleeing their war-torn country has erupted following a series of terrorist attacks in Paris that raised security concerns across the West. Carson and his GOP rivals have criticized President Barack Obama’s plan to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees this budget year, expressing concern that terrorists may sneak into the country among them. Many Republicans have linked the Paris attackers to Syrian refugees, although European authorities have yet to confirm such connections.

    Carson has repeatedly struggled to discuss international affairs as they become a greater focus in the 2016 presidential contest. Those close to him concede his foreign policy fluency isn’t yet where it needs to be. They hope missions like this will help change that.

    “I’d say he’s 75 percent of the way there,” Armstrong Williams, Carson’s longtime business manager and closest confidant, said last week of the candidate’s grasp of foreign policy. “The world is a complex place, and he wants to get it right.”

    Carson is scheduled to return to the United States late Saturday, Bennett said.

    The post Carson visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    According to the Associated Press, three police officers were injured in a shooting Friday at the Colorado Springs branch of Planned Parenthood. The shooter has been contained, the AP reports.

    Commander Kirk Wilson of Colorado Springs Police Department told a local television station, that two of the injured officers had been evacuated, but that they were still trying to reach the third. He did not offer details on how critical the officers’ injuries were, or how the gunman had been stopped.

    The CSPB tweeted around noon, local time, Friday that it was responding an active shooter situation.

    Colorado Springs Police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley told The Denver Post, that the gunman was remained “out there.”

    The area near Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street in the Colorado city were put on lockdown, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

    Ambulances and police vehicles were stationed at an intersection near the Planned Parenthood clinic.

    The Gazette is also reporting that one patient was wounded at an adjacent building.

    The Gazette also spoke to a woman who was nearby at a haircut salon who said she heard roughly 10-20 gunshots in the span of less than five minutes.

    We will update this story.

    The post UPDATING: Colorado Springs Police respond to active shooter at Planned Parenthood appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    US-TECHNOLOGY-NSA-SURVEILLANCE

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, are we still communicating in person in our hyper-connected world?

    This is the major concern of our latest add to the NewsHour Bookshelf.

    In “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” Sherry Turkle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology continues her exploration of the evolving relationship between technology and humans.

    She recently sat down with Jeffrey Brown.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Sherry Turkle, welcome to you.

    SHERRY TURKLE, Author, “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age”: Pleasure to be here.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It occurs to me we’re having a conversation about the lack of conversations in our lives, right?

    SHERRY TURKLE: Yes, we are.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But you see some — a very specific problem, a loss of empathy, of our ability to empathize with others. Explain that.

    SHERRY TURKLE: Well, it’s very typical that when two people are having lunch, they put a phone on the table between them.

    And all the research shows that the presence of that phone will do two things to the conversation. It will make the conversation go to trivial matters, and it will decrease the amount of empathy that the two people in the conversation feel toward each other. That phone is a signal that either of us can put our attention elsewhere.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Even if we don’t look at it?

    SHERRY TURKLE: Even a silent phone disconnects us.

    And so it’s that feeling that we all are always potentially elsewhere that is cutting us off. And we’re finding ways around conversation, the kind of conversation that’s open-ended, where you give time for another person to sort of take a tangent and not go to a phone if there’s a little bit of a lapse.

    And those are the kinds of conversations where empathy is born, where intimacy is born. And those are the conversations we’re not having with each other and with our kids.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But I’m wondering if the instruments, the technology…

    SHERRY TURKLE: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: … kind of plays, just plays to the sort of natural human anxiety over talking to one another, or the fear of human contact that we might have always had, and the new technology helps that?

    SHERRY TURKLE: Well, in my book, I argue that we’re vulnerable to these technologies.

    There’s a 40 percent decline in all markers for empathy among college students, with most of it taking place in the past 10 years. That’s not OK. So, even if — I mean, our phones do play to our natural nervousness about being vulnerable to each other, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t we can’t pull ourselves together, and say — we need to talk to each because it’s in conversation, the most human and humanizing thing that we do, that empathy is born, that intimacy is born, that relationship is born.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Do you see these new kinds of gadgets as sort of exponentially different from other technology? Isn’t it also the case that new technology as it’s come along, from the technology of the book…

    SHERRY TURKLE: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: … that — Socrates talking about, or the telephone, or the television, of course, the…

    SHERRY TURKLE: Yes.

    JEFFREY BROWN: … the couch potato, the idea that we’re just sort of focused? Now we look at the television as something we almost share, right?

    SHERRY TURKLE: Yes.

    Well, this technology and the reason this technology took my attention so much is that it does something new, which is that we have the illusion that we’re with each other even as I’m going like this.

    JEFFREY BROWN: We’re sharing, but we’re not really engaged.

    SHERRY TURKLE: Yes.

    We treat it as though it’s an accessory that has no psychological impact. I just go like this, and I’m with you, but I’m also with my phone.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Right.

    SHERRY TURKLE: And, actually, that gesture has tremendous psychological effect.

    But because we’re sort of with each other all the time, it’s an always-on, always-on-you technology, we can interrupt the flow of life, but somehow not take it seriously. And in the latest Pew study, 89 percent of Americans said that they interrupted their last social encounter by looking at a phone. And 82 percent of them said that it deteriorated the conversation.

    So we’re — my favorite line in my book, kind of author’s choice…

    JEFFREY BROWN: Go ahead.

    SHERRY TURKLE: … is, technology — technology makes us forget what we know about life.

    We know we’re doing something that’s — that’s not good, put your hand up in somebody’s face and say, excuse me, I just need to interrupt this conversation for a moment, and yet we do it anyway.

    JEFFREY BROWN: How far do you want to push this, in terms of turning off, tuning out, unplugging, you know, not multitasking? How far do you push it? What do you want people to do?

    SHERRY TURKLE: I want people to take action and reclaim conversation in the following ways.

    This book is not anti-technology. It’s pro-conversation. If you’re using technology in a way that opens out conversation in your family, with your friends, with people you care about, I’m for that. But if you’re using technology to silence the conversations with the people around you, then you have to create sacred spaces in your home, the kitchen, the dining room, the car.

    For me, the car is ground zero in the war to reclaim conversation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Right. You call that a sacred place.

    SHERRY TURKLE: I call it a sacred space.

    At work, conversation increases productivity. And yet people go into work, put on their headphones. In one interview, somebody called it — they become pilots in their own cockpits. They put on their earphones, they lay out their phones, they put — open up their computers, and they convince themselves that they’re most productive when they’re focused on their e-mail, when, really, they’re ignoring the cafeteria, the watercooler, the meetings with colleagues, the times when really the creativity, collaboration happens.

    Create sacred spaces in the workplace as well. Classrooms, five years ago, professors would say, I don’t want be a nanny to my students. They can do whatever they want. Now professors are saying, put away that laptop, because studies show that it not only takes away the attention of the person who’s on the laptop from the class, but everyone around them. There’s like a circle around that person that’s distracted and not paying attention.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Are you hopeful?

    SHERRY TURKLE: I’m very hopeful.

    Young people realize that something is amiss. You know, there’s a generation that fell in love with their phones, and it’s very hard for them to see that there’s a problem. But young people are desperate for the attention of their parents, who are really not paying attention to them.

    That’s one of the surprises in the research, that’s it’s not young people who are smitten with their phones. It’s their parents who are not paying attention to them.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And teaching them that behavior.

    SHERRY TURKLE: Yes, and teaching them that behavior.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, the new book is “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,”

    Sherry Turkle, thank you.

    SHERRY TURKLE: Thank you.

    The post How your cellphone is silently disrupting your social life appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    fullshow-11-27

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Gentlemen, welcome.

    And I do want to get to the presidential campaign in just a moment, but, Mark, I want to start with a story that we reported earlier this evening, the protests in Chicago about the shooting last year of a young black teenager by a white Chicago policeman who’s now been charged with murder.

    What does this and these other police shootings we have seen over the past year say about efforts to heal the relationship between police and the black communities?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, it’s — it’s a continuing challenge and a terrible tragedy personally, Judy, in this case, I mean, where we have this — that age-old question, who will protect the people when the police violate the law?

    And from every indication here, you have all the evidence pointing to a police officer essentially executing a 17-year-old boy, and the authorities sitting on it for 400 days, the prosecuting attorney in not — not going forward.

    And, to me, beyond the tragedy, the other story you reported on was that of Tyshawn Lee, the 9-year-old — a 9-year-old who was killed as a — basically a hostage, as retribution in a gang fight within the community. There is no tougher job in America than being a cop on the beat in a major city in this country, big and brawling.

    And for good cops, what happened in Chicago, with Laquan McDonald’s execution — and that’s I think all you can call it — it makes the job of the cop on the beat, the overwhelming of whom are good, that much tougher.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, you know, we keep reporting on these incidents and we think maybe we have turned a corner, but then they just seem to keep happening.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. We need structural change.

    Listen, there are — since 2007, there have been 400 police shootings in Chicago, and only one of them has been ruled unjustified.

    MARK SHIELDS: That’s right.

    DAVID BROOKS: That’s just not credible.

    And so you have got to have some structural changes. And, listen, I understand why there has to be loyalty within the police force, basically loyalty within the criminal justice system. I was a police reporter in Chicago at a time when it was way more violent even than it is right now.

    And it’s tough. And they want to protect each other. And I get that. And the situations are often murky. But you have to build structures so that, when there is something that goes wrong, that there actually is really a prosecutorial force somewhere within the system looking at the system from a hostile eye and saying, did something really bad happen here?

    And if they’re exonerating 99.8 percent of the cops who are shooting people, that’s probably not right. And so there has to be a structure to really investigate these situations. And, you know, I have been moving on the cop cam issue.

    When these things first started happening, I was sort of ambivalent about cop cams, because I think they will affect the civil-police relationship if everyone knows everything is being filmed. But the evidence is mounting that these cameras — and we happened to have a dashboard cam in this case — the evidence is mounting these are effective, and maybe cops should be wearing cameras everywhere.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Mark, what about cameras, public opinion, the fact these things are getting attention in the news media? Can that make a difference?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes. I think the value of the cameras is demonstrated in this case. And it’s a great value to the honest cop, the good cop as well.

    And David mentions the 400 police officers who have been charged in Chicago, one shooting of which has been called unjustified out of those 400. This is a city that has budget problems like no other city in the country, really. And they have paid out $500 million in settlements because of these shootings that we have mentioned.

    So — it’s a real problem. No one can question.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, I want to turn to, this Friday, today, two weeks after the horrible shootings in Paris, the terrorist attacks, is there a sense that these efforts, you know, whether it’s President Hollande of France, President Obama, anyone else, that the efforts to put together some kind of effective coalition, effort to fight ISIS is any stronger today as a result of what happened?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, we have got a little clarity.

    It’s the — what’s the definition of an effective coalition? To me, the definition of an effective coalition doesn’t involve Vladimir Putin or the Russians, because they want to keep Assad, and most of the rest of the world wants to get rid of Assad, knowing that Assad is the key source of the problem here. He’s the one who has created the instability and the genocide that leads the Sunnis to radicalize and embrace ISIS.

    And so there was this myth, this shimmering of early days that we were going to have a global alliance including Putin. And, at least according to the words coming of the Kremlin today and according to the controversy that Russia is having with Turkey, that grand dream, which was a bad dream, is falling apart.

    Whether we can create a Western alliance with the Gulf states to defeat ISIS another matter. But the key to it is getting the Sunnis. We don’t have the boots on the ground. We’re not going to put the boots on the ground. If the reasonable Sunnis don’t revolt against ISIS, then nothing will happen.

    And they are not going to do it as long as Assad is really raining genocide down upon them. So, understanding the basic logic of the situation, the complex logic of the situation, is really the key, I think.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you see any progress?

    (CROSSTALK)

    MARK SHIELDS: I see real progress. I think there has been a galvanizing of support and energizing, whether it’s Mrs. Merkel in Germany and that most peaceful of great powers contributing to the effort.

    It’s Prime Minister Cameron in Great Britain. It — I’m not a booster. I know up front what Putin is, that acts out of self interest, but if he recognizes that Assad’s days are numbered and he’s gone, then I don’t have the problem with him hastening that departure.

    And I just really think that there is an effort. I feel badly for the president, because he has a great ability to express passion and emotion in a public setting, as he did in Charleston, as he did in Newtown. And, in this case, his words have failed him. He hasn’t…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why do you think that is?

    MARK SHIELDS: I don’t — I think because he was elected to end two wars. He’s been committed to that. There is no question about it. It’s a belief and a conviction on his part.

    I think he also understands — he becomes more nuanced and more cerebral, which at all times, but especially in matters of national security and foreign policy and engagement. I think he also understands that the United States is not going to lead in this.

    And to some degree, there is an advantage to the other countries actually taking the military lead.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark — I mean, David, how do you see the president coming to this effort?

    DAVID BROOKS: Listen, nobody feels good sitting by while genocide happens and doing nothing, and that’s essentially what he’s been doing.

    I know Bill Clinton has said many times since he left office his greatest regret was allowing the genocide in Rwanda to happen. And Barack Obama, for good reasons or bad, has sat by while a slow-rolling genocide has happened in Syria. And it could have been prevented when people within his own administration were urging action very early in ways that maybe could have made a difference.

    But he sat by and let it happen. Again, maybe America had no choice. But we did nothing. And so it’s hard to feel good about the American role in Syria over the past five or seven years. And if you don’t feel good about it, it’s hard to wax poetic and self-righteous about it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to turn you both quickly to the presidential campaign.

    I want to ask you about Rubio and Cruz, but first about Donald Trump, Mark, that the story that really has persisted all week, the claims that Donald Trump has made that there were thousands of people in New Jersey cheering after the Twin Towers went down, there’s — as far as I have seen and have looked, there is no evidence that’s come forward to support that, but he continues to insist it happened. He’s not backing down.

    How does this fit into a presidential campaign? Does it make any difference? Does it change anything that a candidate says something that can’t be substantiated, or at least that hasn’t been, as far as I know?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes.

    I mean, if we’re polite, we say it’s unsubstantiated. It is demonstrably false. It’s irresponsible. It’s untrue. And we have predicted nine times the demise and premature fall of Donald Trump on this broadcast, the same wise people who I think predicted that Republican voters would choose a governor.

    And you saw in Lisa’s piece that the first three people out were Governor Scott Walker, Governor Rick Perry and Governor Bobby Jindal. So — but it’s cumulative. It has to be — when Republican voters focus — and, at some point, they do — on wanting to elect a president, they have to know that somebody who is contradicted in basic facts as openly and completely as he is becomes unacceptable and unelectable.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, how do you see the fallout from this?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I’m doubling down on my demise theory.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: I think he is going to collapse. I think he is going to be, like, sitting, taking the oath of office on some January 1, and I will still be predicting demise.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: But here’s my stat of the week for why I still think this is going to happen.

    Every four years, after Iowa and New Hampshire votes, they ask the voter, when did you make up your mind? And they make up their mind like a week before, a day before, a month before. They don’t do it three months before, not that many.

    And so 80 percent of the voters are still undecided. Nate Silver had a good chart today in his — on his Web site or this week, where he said if the polls were accurately reflecting the way — the real state of the race, it would say 80 percent undivided, 5 percent Trump, 4 percent Rubio, 3 percent Cruz.

    And I think that’s really where the race is. People may say they’re voting for Trump, but they really make up their minds the last weeks or months. And we’re simply just not there yet. So, I’m convinced demise.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.

    Finally, less than a minute, let’s get back to the point that Lisa Desjardins made, Mark, in her piece. Rubio and Cruz, as David just mentioned, they are hanging in there in the middle. What do you see them doing to distinguish themselves from each other? And you have got less than 30 seconds.

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, 44-year-old Cuban-Americans from Sunbelt states.

    Basically, Ted Cruz is operating — who is an incredibly talented debater. I have never seen anybody better, quite honestly, at presidential politics.

    But he’s operating on a false premise. And that is that there are millions of conservative voters who, in spite of the fact of despising Barack Obama, many of them, didn’t — chose not to vote in 2008, 2012, because Republicans did not nominate somebody who was as true-blue conservative as he is, and they’re going to come out in droves if he’s the nominee. Wrong.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, Cruz, Rubio.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I’ll tell you, it’s resentment vs. hope.

    Cruz is waxing eloquently against Muslim, Syrian refugees. He’s talking about shutting down government. He’s very anti-immigrant, where Rubio is much more in the mainstream on the party, a little hopeful on immigration, hopeful about American foreign policy.

    So we will see which emotional tone the Republican Party is ready for. I suspect it’s the Rubio one, but who knows.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I promise you are going to get more time to talk about this in the future.

    David Brooks, Mark Shields, thank you.

    MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.

    The post Shields and Brooks on protesting police shootings, sizing up GOP contenders appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidates Marco Rubio (L), Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz greet the crowd at the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa November 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich - RTX1V439

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to the race for the White House.

    We’re two months away from the critical Iowa caucus votes.

    Political director Lisa Desjardins reports on the next phase for the Republican field.

    LISA DESJARDINS: The campaigns are now eight months in.

    SEN. TED CRUZ, Republican Presidential Candidate: Thank you, and God bless you.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Eight months since Ted Cruz’s announcement kicked off the race for the 2016 GOP nomination, followed quickly by 16 other Republicans entering the ring.

    Now those faces and the real horse race between them is starting to come into focus.

    TERRY HOLT, Republican Strategist: I feel like I have been at the movies for way too long, watching way too many previews, and the main feature hasn’t even started yet. But there is some gelling in the race.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Terry Holt is a Republican strategist and former staffer for President George W. Bush. The past few months, candidates have dropped out, first Rick Perry, then Scott Walker and, most recently, Bobby Jindal.

    GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, R-La.: This is not my time.

    Now, Holt says, the remaining contenders want to make a move.

    TERRY HOLT: Everybody thinks they’re going to get hit by lightning. And maybe somebody will. The question is whether or not they can bottle that lightning and carry it through other races.

    LISA DESJARDINS: A close look at the polls shows sparks, at least, of potential nominees. In late August, Donald Trump, in red, was soaring, but the rest of the pack was close together. October, Ben Carson in blue broke away. But, again, the rest of the field was a muddle of dots.

    Now this month, a few weeks of consistency: Carson down, as Marco Rubio and Cruz move up into spots three and four, and Jeb Bush holds onto fifth. For Rubio and Cruz especially, this is a critical moment.

    GOP strategist Leslie Sanchez believes she knows why: increased concerns about terrorism, ISIS and national security.

    LESLIE SANCHEZ, Republican Strategist: Because of that, you are starting to see some movement with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, who’ve been talking about foreign policy, strong — and taking and a stronger stand against ISIS, and what they would do in their role at the White House.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Rubio’s rise comes as he’s spent more time talking about how he would deal with ISIS.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO, Republican Presidential Candidate: This is a civilizational struggle between the valleys of freedom and liberty and radical Islamic terror. What happened in Paris could happen here. There is no middle ground. I approve this message, because there can be no arrangement or negotiation. Either they win, or we do.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Cruz, meanwhile, is portraying himself as a strong Tea Party leader unflinching against ISIS and critical of President Obama.

    SEN. TED CRUZ: I am leading the fight in the U.S. Senate to stop President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s plan to bring to America tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees. Why? Because the administration itself admits it cannot vet these refugees to determine if there are ISIS terrorists embedded among them.

    LISA DESJARDINS: If those two stay on their current path, moving into a head-to-head competition with Donald Trump, it could force an even broader foreign policy face-off.

    DONALD TRUMP, Republican Presidential Candidate: And I like the idea of building a safe zone in Syria.

    CARLY FIORINA, Republican Presidential Candidate: We have had a fairly effective bombing campaign over the last couple of days.

    JEB BUSH, Republican Presidential Candidate: We have to deal with them from a position of strength.

    LISA DESJARDINS: So think of this as the critical build-up to Iowa and the early state votes.

    TERRY HOLT: These candidates that have been propped up by the polls are going to have to start proving that they can get votes in these actual primaries and caucus states, and that’s when the real fight will begin.

    LISA DESJARDINS: It may not yet be the real fight, but voters may be starting to separate who has enough muscle to make it to the final round.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Lisa Desjardins.

    The post GOP 2016 candidates face critical moment as field tightens appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, tonight, we have another look at Race Matters Solutions.

    PBS NewsHour special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault is examining specific solutions to racial problems in our year-long series.

    As we reported earlier, police in Chicago today announced murder charges against a man for killing a 9-year-old boy as part of what they are calling gang retaliation. Charlayne’s conversation tonight focuses on preventing gang-related black-on-black crime.

    She traveled to South Central Los Angeles to meet Naomi McSwain and learn about a solution that keeps kids out of gangs, and in doing so, is keeping them alive.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: This crime scene, the result of a gang-related shooting, is not unusual here in South Los Angeles. And, recently, police attributed 80 percent of the homicides in South L.A. to gang violence.

    No one knows this violence and its consequences better than Naomi McSwain, once a gang member herself. Years ago, she was a member of the notorious Crips, still today one of the largest and most violent street gangs in the country. But, unlike many gang members, McSwain escaped, later finishing college and becoming a journalist who reported on gangs and looked for solutions.

    In 2010, McSwain became executive director of the 20-year-old Wooten Center, founded by her late aunt, Myrtle FayeRumph. She set up storefront havens to get children off South L.A.’s mean streets after her 35-year-old son, Al Wooten, was killed on one of them in a drive-by shooting.

    Naomi McSwain, thank you for joining us.

    NAOMI MCSWAIN, Executive Director, Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center: Thanks for having me.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: I think most of our viewers will want to know right away, how did you get out of the gang life?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: My mother. She intervened. She saw her daughter changing. I went from a practically straight-A student to a practically straight-F student. This was in high school.

    And I was doing drugs. She didn’t know all of that, but she saw the signs of it, my belligerence, truancy. She pretty much saw my grades and my attitude changing. But it was because of the gang activity and the drugs that I was doing.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, what did she do?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: She did two things. One, she sent me to church. I was 16 years old, and I remember her saying, those church people are the only one that can help you.

    And the second thing she did was, she enrolled me in a youth center named Anti-Self Destruction. And it was right here in Los Angeles. And they actually paid us to come. We got minimum wage, so it was a great incentive to go.

    And with the two of those, the church on the one hand teaching me about morals and making me think about the things that I was doing, and then the youth center giving me that practical — they actually helped me fill out my financial aid and college applications. They talked to me about my attitude.

    And so, between the two of those things, I changed.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But it seems as if little has really changed, not in your life, of course, but there are so many gangs still in this area and all over the country.

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: Right. It’s still not as bad as it was back then in the ’80s and ’90s.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But, still, right now, you have some of the highest rates of gang violence that you have had in the past…

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: I’m seeing a resurgence. You know, personally…

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Why is that?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: I have heard stories.

    You know, I have talked to some of the young men. I have talked to police. I have asked that question. And what the police say — have told me is that some of the men coming out of prison, they’re coming back and saying, you know, why haven’t you guys been putting in work? You know, why haven’t you settled these old debts?

    And so they — they have, you know, gotten some of the young men engaged in this. That’s what the police have said.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: In an area like this, there are so few jobs, there are so few opportunities for young people. Does that drive them into the gang life?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: The first thing I want to say is, it’s not simple. You know, there is no one solution.

    Every child is different. But, for the most part, the young men have told me, yes, we need jobs, we need education, those things. We need — they realize that they need substance abuse treatment, you know, because, for the most part, you’re not working, you don’t have any money. That’s a great motivation to steal.

    I had one young man, and he told me he actually got arrested for a case at the liquor store. And he ran. And he was hungry. And he didn’t have a job, didn’t have the money, ran in, and stole something, and ended up getting arrested for it.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: They say that there is black-on-black crime, and why aren’t black people taking ownership? How do you see what you’re doing with these young people affecting racism?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: Well, we tell the kids that you’re all brothers and sisters. You know, we’re primarily African-American and Latino here. We tell them that the city of Los Angeles was founded by Mexicans and a number of them of African descent.

    So we say that you’re actually in a city that was born multicultural, so you have no reason for fighting, because you’re relayed. So, we get them to buy into that we are a family, and they love that.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, how do you get children in here, when there is so much temptation in the streets?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: Yes. The parents. The parents want their kids to succeed. Just about every parent that I have talked to, they come in the door and they say, can you help my child, mostly because of education. They want tutoring, so they largely come for that.

    But they’re — that small number that says, he’s trouble, he’s getting mixed up with gangs, can you help him, so that’s why we have our life skills programs. So, we deal with — we have the discussion groups with the young men where they talk about life.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And what drives you?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: Al Wooten, and what happened to him.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Your cousin.

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: My cousin. That’s why we were founded. He was killed. It became very personal.

    You see it in the news, but, when it hits home, it really hurts.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, you share all this with these children. And they can handle it? It’s not too traumatic?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: No.

    It’s interesting. Whenever we tell them the story, the room goes quiet. They could be talking and chattering. And then I say, you know, when my cousin was killed, and the room goes quiet. It’s very respectful.

    And I ask them, has this ever happened to you, anyone in your family been shot? And they raise their hands, my uncle, my dad, my mom, you know? They have their own stories. And it gets very emotional.

    And so I just tell them. I say, that’s why we’re here. We don’t want this to happen to you. And they listen. This is one of the greatest motivator, even for homework, because I bring it around, and I say, you know, being educated, you will be able to get a great job or own your own company, and you won’t have to steal, because you will have money.

    I explain it to them like that. I say, that’s why you do your homework. If you don’t learn that math, you are not going to be able to do it when you go to college, so you need to learn it now.

    And you just break it down to them and explain to them. And they say, OK, and they go off and they do their homework. So, it’s real simple. I just wish more people would try it.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, what’s your goal here at the center and how are you achieving it?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: Academic excellence and good citizenship. That’s our mission statement.

    The United Way says there is a direct correlation between education and crime. People who are more educated are less likely to commit crime because they have the money. They have don’t have run into a liquor store and steal a bag of chips.

    And so we’re real heavy on the education, making sure our kids can go to college because they want to.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Are you at all optimistic that you can overcome the challenges that so many communities like this face?

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: You can’t save the whole world. God never even called you to save the whole world. That’s the reason why he has people working in different places.

    So, you have to just find your niche of the world and do your best at that and to support and partner with others the best you can.

    CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Thank you so much, Naomi McSwain.

    NAOMI MCSWAIN: Thank you, too.

    The post Steering young people away from a life mixed up with gangs appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A French flag with the sign of a peace symbol with the Eiffel Tower is seen at the main entrance of an apartment building in Paris, France November 26, 2015. The French President called on all French citizens to hang the tricolour national flag from their windows on Friday to pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau - RTX1VYFM

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s been two weeks since deadly terrorist attacks rocked Paris. France observed a national day of mourning today to mark the somber occasion.

    President Francois Hollande attended a ceremony with injured survivors and the families of those killed in the attacks. On the streets of Paris, memorials to the slain were visited by locals. The French flag was displayed seemingly everywhere around the city.

    Those traumatized by the attacks have been offered psychological counseling. One therapist may have special insight. He was there during an attack on a cafe.

    Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant caught up with him in Copenhagen.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Back home after witnessing four people being murdered, psychotherapist Mark Colclough is deploying all his professional skills to minimize the anguish.

    Two weeks on, how traumatized do you think you are?

    MARK COLCLOUGH, Psychotherapist: I can’t scale that really on a one-to-10 scale. I still have signs of trauma and shock. And post-traumatic stress is very much still there.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Can you describe the sort of things that are troubling you still?

    MARK COLCLOUGH: Sure, flashbacks of the gunmen, very clear.

    There’s been a dream that’s recurred several times about me being in the hallway of my house and looking down to the sitting room, and I can see shadows on the wall, and I’m with my travel friend who was with me in Paris.

    And I turn around to say to him, look, look, like there’s a break-in. There are thieves in the sitting room. I turn around to look at him, so I know he’s behind me. In the dream, I look back and he’s not there. And I look forward again to look into the living room, and the gunman is right in front of me shooting at me this time. And that’s where I wake up.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Do you think you are going to be permanently damaged?

    MARK COLCLOUGH: Oh, no. No. I don’t think that at all.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Is that because you personally and professionally have the tools that enable you to deal with this?

    MARK COLCLOUGH: Yes. I think I have been in and out of therapy since I was 19. It’s been — always been in my interest has been psychotherapy and psychology. So I’m aware that I have tools and I have quite a robust sense of self.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: So, what sort of tools are you using to make sure that you’re going to heal?

    MARK COLCLOUGH: Things that aren’t stimulating, anything that’s relaxing.

    So what I have done is, I have moved most of my work around, so I’m working as little as possible for the next two weeks, and making sure I take things easy, I’m with good friends, walking rather than running, driving slowly, rather than driving a little bit too fast, spacing out my appointments, so I don’t get agitated or stressed.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Most of those caught up in the Paris attacks were civilians. Unlike members of the armed forces or emergency services, most civilians don’t have the training or mental armor to be able to cope with images of carnage.

    Mark Colclough’s area of expertise doesn’t extend to terrorism, and so he sought out a psychologist who specializes in treating victims of torture and soldiers.

    MARK COLCLOUGH: You’re given a headphone, and then you choose a sound that you like, and then you choose a movement that you like, and then you choose as memory that you like.

    And so you have a memory in your mind and you have a movement of your body. And you have an input from one of your senses, your hearing. And then, by combining those three, you have a safe space, like a feeling of a safe memory. And from that safe space, you then revisit the traumatic experience, which for me was the shooting.

    So, rather than being completely caught with my guard down, as I was that Friday night, I can then revisit it with my guard somewhat up again, because I’m aware that part of me is in Paris and part of me is in my kind of safe space. And, for me, it’s diving. I have done a lot of diving when I was younger. So, I can see a dive site I went to often in Egypt. And I was there.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: You visualized this.

    MARK COLCLOUGH: Yes, visualized. And then you have a movement and you have a sound that goes with it — goes with it. So, it makes it quite easy to — or makes it easier to have a safe space with me when I’m looking back at that traumatic experience the shooting was.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Survivor’s guilt is a common reaction among those embroiled in violence, disasters or other tragedies.

    But Mark Colclough is determined to maximize another emotional response, something he calls survivor’s obligation.

    MARK COLCLOUGH: I think the obligation, to live, to live fully, and to give something back to the people that I have — that I meet in my life.

    I saw four people’s lives extinguished very, very quickly right in front of me. And that, I will — that obligation that — is to give something back to the people I meet in the course of my life, not just professionally, but also personally.

    And whenever I feel like relaxing or just wrapping myself up in my own bubble and tuning out for a bit, then that’s what I’m going to remember, that four people I saw no longer have the opportunity to give something to somebody else. Could be a loved one, a family. Could be the bus driver. Could be anybody, anybody on the street, a pedestrian, a random occurrence.

    And that will keep me in a more giving space, rather than in a more reclusive, kind of tight, closed-down space, if that makes sense.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: So, is that something that all of the survivors have to do?

    MARK COLCLOUGH: Oh, no, that’s — again, that’s an individual path, I would say.

    All the people who weren’t shot, but witnessed getting — people getting shot or similar things, they will each take home with them something meaningful from that event.

    And I really, really hope they take something where they find more meaning, rather than less meaning, in the occurrence.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Is there any justification in feeling guilty about surviving?

    MARK COLCLOUGH: It’s a process.

    I think, when people see other people getting shot dead, when civilians see other civilians getting shot dead, it’s a process we have to go through to figure out, should I have done more, could I have done more, but what if I had done more? What would have — what would my contribution have been then? I

    think these are very — these are very existential questions that run into when you see people getting shot right in front of you.

    MALCOLM BRABANT: Mark Colclough says that he was impressed with the level of psychological support that the French authorities gave to the survivors in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

    But he’s at pains to stress that there is no broad spectrum path to recovery, that every survivor has to navigate that road individually.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Malcolm Brabant in Copenhagen.

    The post Witness to the Paris attacks embraces his ‘survivor’s obligation’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JOHN CARLOS FREY: At Ward 86, a bustling outpatient HIV clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, nurse Diane Jones drops everything when this pager goes off. It means that someone in the city just tested HIV positive.

    DIANE JONES: So, I’m going to make him an appointment.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Jones is following a protocol called ‘RAPID’ which is designed to get new HIV positive individuals into treatment immediately.

    DIANE JONES: Just got diagnosed today, last negative was June.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Jones scrambles to make plans for the new patient who is seen just hours later.

    It’s part of an ambitious plan in San Francisco to completely end new HIV infections.

    Each year about 50,000 people in the United States are infected with HIV. And while the disease has moved off the front pages as treatment has made infection more of a manageable chronic condition, an estimated 13,700 people still die from AIDS in the U.S. each year.

    Globally, an estimated 1.5 million people are killed. It’s the 6th leading cause of death.

    In San Francisco there are relatively few new HIV infections — 302 in 2014, the latest year statistics are available, and it overwhelmingly afflicts gay men. The number of new HIV infections has been falling for eight years.

    Today, public health officials, doctors, and activists are increasing their efforts to bring that number all the way down to zero.

    DIANE HAVLIR: We are talking about ending the HIV epidemic.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Dr. Diane Havlir is chief of the HIV/AIDS division at San Francisco General Hospital and a founder of the city’s ‘Getting to Zero’ Consortium.

    DIANE HAVLIR: HIV is one of the worst epidemics of its time. It’s taken a huge toll on our city, a huge toll all around the world. We know how to prevent this disease, we know how to treat this disease. So why would we not want to prevent every single infection, and prevent every single death?

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: In San Francisco, which has spent 400 million dollars fighting HIV over the last decade, this plan calls for controversial new drugs as well as established prevention strategies. But it starts with immediate treatment for new HIV infections.

    DIANE HAVLIR: It did, okay.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: One of Dr. Havlir’s patients, Jose, who is openly gay but asked that we conceal his identity because his family doesn’t know about his health issue, went through the ‘RAPID’ protocol when he was diagnosed with HIV almost a year ago.

    DIANE HAVLIR: Say ahhhh.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Within 24 hours of being diagnosed Jose was here at Ward 86, and days later receiving HIV medication.

    JOSE: I was on medication on the third day. And undetectable within less than 30 days.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Undetectable, meaning his HIV viral load had been reduced by medication to the point where it couldn’t be detected.

    And the faster a new patient is undetectable, the faster he reduces his chance of transmitting the virus to others. In San Francisco, about two-thirds of HIV-positive individuals are virally-suppressed, like Jose, more than double the national average. But that requires an enormous effort.

    SANDRA TORRES: They might end up in the hospital, that’s when we’re going to meet them again.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: We followed social worker Sandra Torres on the bus as she checked up on a few patients who needed extra help keeping up with their appointments. She and other social workers are continually tracking people down.

    SANDRA TORRES: We’re going to knock on the door.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: In the gritty Tenderloin district, we went to a single-room occupancy hotel where an HIV-positive patient was staying. He’s an intravenous drug user and not taking medication.

    SANDRA TORRES: Hi Honey, how you doing?

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Torres dropped off an appointment reminder, and I asked her about the patient afterward.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: It seems like an enormous effort for one person.

    SANDRA TORRES: That’s what it’s gonna take, though. That is absolutely what it’s gonna take.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: But in San Francisco, getting to zero is also banking on the expanded use of a new tool: a drug that protects individuals from becoming infected with HIV.
    It’s called Truvada.

    SCOTT WIENER: If you take the pill once a day, and you take it consistently, you will reduce your risk of HIV infection by, at least, 90 percent, and perhaps as high as 99 percent.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Scott Wiener is an elected city supervisor and a member of the ‘Getting to Zero’ consortium.

    SCOTT WIENER: It just makes sense for people to consider-this additional prevention tool. It made sense for me. And I’m I’m glad that I’m on it.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Wiener, who represents the largely gay Castro district and who is gay himself, went public about his own use of the drug regimen last Fall and makes taking the once-a-day-pill part of his routine each morning.

    SCOTT WIENER: My decision to disclose is really to raise awareness, so more people know about it and look into it, to try to increase access and provide momentum– for better access and to try to reduce stigma. So whatever stereotypes people have, maybe we can help break those stereotypes.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Including the stereotypes raised by some critics that taking a pill that prevents HIV infection would lead to more promiscuous behavior.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: We’re talking about a drug that in some circles has a stigma of opening the door to a free-wheeling sex society. HIV’s no longer a threat and we don’t have to worry about unprotected sex. Do you get any of that backlash?

    SCOTT WIENER: There are some people who have that view. And it’s really the same argument as when people would argue if you give women access to the birth control pill, you’re just gonna encourage them to be promiscuous.

    Or if you vaccinate young girls against HPV you’re gonna turn them into, I think one person said, “You’ll turn them into nymphomaniacs.”

    Or if you give Sex Ed to high-school students or middle-school students you’re gonna encourage them to be promiscuous. These are completely specious arguments. This is about giving people every tool available to protect their sexual health.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Truvada for HIV prevention three years ago. And last year The Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines recommending the drug for anyone with a substantial risk of HIV infection.

    In San Francisco, researchers believe that wider adoption of Truvada could dramatically reduce new HIV infections.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: In a study published in September, San Francisco’s largest private health insurer, Kaiser Permanente, found that not one of its 657 clients taking Truvada had become infected with HIV during an observation period of more than two years.

    Another study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed similar results: out of 437 individuals taking Truvada for a year, only 2 contracted HIV after not properly taking the drug

    But so far only a few thousand San Franciscans have taken Truvada in the last year. So why isn’t the use of this drug more widespread?

    There are some side effects, as well as speculation that doctors may be hesitant to prescribe a preventative drug to healthy patients, and then there’s the price. Although covered by most insurance, Truvada, is listed at more than $1000 a month

    Even so, it’s not nearly the solution that its proponents make it out to be according to Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the largest AIDS organizations in the world.

    MICHAEL WEINSTEIN: I think the evidence shows that it is not a good public health strategy.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Why is that?

    MICHAEL WEINSTEIN: Well, because people don’t adhere.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: While studies have shown that the regimen can be over 90% effective when taken everyday, Weinstein points out that the efficacy drops off when people miss their daily dose. He also says that relying on a pill instead of a condom may lead to a rise in other sexually transmitted diseases.

    MICHAEL WEINSTEIN: The motivation that people have for taking Truvada is to be able to have sex without a condom.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Do you think that people don’t want to wear condoms either?

    MICHAEL WEINSTEIN: I think men in general don’t wanna wear condoms. That’s just an absolute truth. I mean, and it’s not surprising. But, you know, we don’t wear seatbelts either, you know, or helmets or a lot of other things. But they’re a necessity.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: So wouldn’t it be better then to just take a pill every day instead of worrying about transmitting H.I.V.?

    MICHAEL WEINSTEIN: You know what? If it was guaranteed that everybody would take it every day as prescribed. Obviously our attitude about it would be completely different if we didn’t have to rely on the person to take that pill every single day.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: While Kaiser Permanente’s recent study of Truvada users found that none had contracted HIV, it also showed that 41 percent of participants reported a decrease in condom use, and after one year of Truvada use, 50 percent were diagnosed with another STD.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: San Francisco Department of Public Health Chief Barbara Garcia says the city is working to make sure the drug is taken as prescribed, and that doesn’t lead to other safe sex practices being abandoned.

    BARBARA GARCIA: We have already started in trying to educate young people, particularly about this. And that’s one of the challenges of having even if we had a cure, that would be the same challenge we would have.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: Do you see that happening though? I mean, obviously, if you’re having unsafe sex, you’re going to be transmitting other sexually-transmitted diseases here

    BARBARA GARCIA: And, in fact, we’ve seen a little bit of a rise in S.T.D. here in San Francisco. And we’re addressing that as well.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: It’s not clear that an increase in STDs is related to an increase in the use of Truvada. And Garcia is committed to the drug regimen being a part of ‘Getting to Zero’ in San Francisco. And believes that the city’s approach to ending HIV, including the lives and money it will save, will eventually trump any controversy.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: You can prove to them that you can save money by your model?

    BARBARA GARCIA: Absolutely. An H.I.V. prevention versus an H.I.V. positive client in care, yes, we can.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: San Francisco has made tremendous advances in battling an epidemic that his this city harder than most. And according to Dr. Havlir actually getting to zero is within reach.

    DIANE HAVLIR: I think we would all acknowledge that it is going to be difficult to do, but I think if, as we say, if anybody can do it, we think that we can show people how it can be done starting here.

    JOHN CARLOS FREY: San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee announced last month that he is allocating $1.2 million a year for “Getting to Zero.” The funding will increase rapid testing programs, expand the use of Truvada, and enlarge the number of HIV positive patients who receive care.

    The post San Francisco bolsters anti-AIDS campaign with new funding appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, November 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Randall Hill - RTX1VPDV

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, November 24, 2015. Since the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, Trump has said he wants to register all Muslims in the U.S. and surveil American mosques. Photo by Randall Hill/Reuters

    Some leading Republican presidential candidates seem to view Muslims as fair game for increasingly harsh words they might use with more caution against any other group for fear of the political cost. So far, that strategy is winning support from conservatives influential in picking the nominee.

    Many Republicans are heartened by strong rhetoric addressing what they view as a threat to national security by Islam itself, analysts say. Because Muslims are a small voting bloc, the candidates see limited fallout from what they are saying in the campaign.

    “I think this issue exists on its own island,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican political consultant who ran Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “It’s highly unlikely to cause a political penalty and there is no evidence that it has.”

    Since the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, GOP front-runner Donald Trump has said he wants to register all Muslims in the U.S. and surveil American mosques. He has repeated unsubstantiated claims that Muslim-Americans in New Jersey celebrated by the “thousands” when the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.

    “Donald Trump is already very well known for being brash and outspoken and is appealing to a group of people – a minority of American voters, but a large minority – who seem to like that kind of tough talk,” said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

    Rival Ben Carson said allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. would be akin to exposing a neighborhood to a “rabid dog.” Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said, “I’d like for Barack Obama to resign if he’s not going to protect America and instead protect the image of Islam.”

    Such statements appeal to Republicans who think Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state, have not done enough to fight jihadis, Green said. The sentiment also plays well for evangelicals concerned about violence directed at Christians in the Middle East and angered about restrictions their missionaries face in predominantly Muslim countries.

    “There’s a religious undercurrent here, aside from foreign policy issues,” Green said.

    Other inflammatory rhetoric from the Trump and Carson campaigns has generated far different reactions.

    When Trump announced his campaign, he said Mexican immigrants are “bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He was widely denounced. Polls find Latinos strongly disapprove of his candidacy and his remarks alienated other immigrant groups.

    The potency of comments criticizing Muslims was apparent even before recent attacks by extremists in France, Lebanon and Egypt.

    Carson’s campaign reported strong fundraising and more than 100,000 new Facebook friends in the 24 hours after he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in September, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

    Campaign manager Barry Bennett told The Associated Press, “While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20.”

    “People in Iowa particularly, are like, ‘Yeah! We’re not going to vote for a Muslim either,” Bennett said at the time. “I don’t mind the hubbub. It’s not hurting us, that’s for sure.”

    According to a 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center, Republicans view Muslims more negatively than they do any other religious group, and significantly worse than do Democrats. A different Pew poll last year found that 82 percent of Republicans were “very concerned” about the rise of Islamic extremism, compared with 51 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents.

    Today, 84 percent of Republicans disapprove of taking in Syrian refugees, most of whom are Muslims, compared with 40 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents, according to a Gallup poll released just before Thanksgiving.

    In recent years, Americans’ attitudes toward Islam and Muslims have been relatively stable following terrorist attacks. But opposition jumped in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and around major elections. To Dalia Mogahed, research director for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and former executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, those are signs that “the public was being manipulated” by politicians with agendas.

    After the Sept. 11 attacks, when President George W. Bush visited a Washington mosque and said “Islam is peace,” public opinion of the faith actually improved, she said. But the absence of such a leader has created a clear path for candidates who oppose Islam.

    “They’ve now latched onto Muslims as an easy target with no consequences,” Mogahed said. “We’ve really moved the threshold of what is socially acceptable.”

    Singling out Muslims is not new.

    Before the 2012 presidential election, Republican candidate Newt Gingrich called for a federal ban on Islamic law and said Muslims could hold public office in the U.S. if “the person would commit in public to give up Shariah.” Huckabee, then considering a presidential run, called Islam “the antithesis of the gospel of Christ.”

    But candidates at the top of the field stayed away from such rhetoric.

    “The kind of things that Donald Trump and Ben Carson are saying today are things that Mitt Romney would have never said,” said Farid Senzai, a political scientist at Santa Clara University. Romney was the Republican nominee in 2012.

    Criticism of Muslims is hardly limited to presidential campaigns. In recent years, there have been ads by anti-Muslim groups and well-organized campaigns against the building of mosques, along with pressure on state legislatures to ban Shariah law.

    “All of these things – built up over more than a decade by a few very vocal people – have created a climate in which it is not just acceptable for politicians to play to our basest instincts, but perhaps politically expedient,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an email.

    The intensity of the rhetoric is partly a symptom of the large field of GOP candidates, all trying to stake out ground to prove themselves as the most patriotic and toughest on national security, said Charles Dunn, former dean of the school of government at Regent University, which was founded by Pat Robertson, an evangelist and one-time GOP presidential candidate.

    “The tone is much more strident now, much less forgiving,” Dunn said.

    American Muslims make up just under 1 percent of the U.S. population, Pew estimates. They come from many different backgrounds and are widely dispersed, limiting their political influence, Green said.

    The Muslim Public Affairs Council, a policy and advocacy group based in Los Angeles, sent letters in October to all the presidential candidates asking them to attend the organization’s public policy forum. The candidates either did not respond or declined, council spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed said.

    “Over the last 10 years, the political and civic organizations for U.S. Muslims have become much better organized, but I think their voice is still fairly muted,” Green said.

    Even so, some observers say the verbal attacks risk alienating larger segments of voters, particularly other immigrants worried they could be next.

    Suhail Khan, who worked in a number of posts in George W. Bush’s administration and has decried criticism by Republican politicians of fellow Muslims, said: “There’s no doubt that when specific candidates, in this case Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump, think that they can narrowly attack one specific group, other Americans of various faiths and backgrounds are paying attention.”

    This report was written by Rachel Zoll and Adam Geller of The Associated Press

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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio discusses "The Next Agenda for the American Presidency" at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council 2015 annual meeting in Washington November 16, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RTS7GGY

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is seen at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council 2015 annual meeting in Washington on Nov. 16, 2015. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Paris attacks have renewed debate on the U.S. government’s post-Sept. 11 domestic surveillance laws, leading to efforts to revive the issue on Capitol Hill and handing Marco Rubio an opening against Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential race.

    The two senators were on opposite sides earlier this year when Congress eliminated the National Security Agency’s bulk phone-records collection program and replaced it with a more restrictive measure to keep the records in phone companies’ hands.

    Rubio, R-Fla., sided with top Republican senators in trying unsuccessfully to extend the existing program, saying that national security required it. Cruz, R-Texas, allied himself with Democrats and the few other Republicans who said the program amounted to intrusive government overreach with no security benefit and voted to remake it.

    Now, with polls showing the public is growing more concerned with security after the Paris attacks this month that killed 130 people, Rubio is backing long-shot legislation aimed at keeping the intended changes from taking effect at month’s end, as scheduled. He also is needling Cruz, who is responding just as adamantly, as the two, rising in the presidential polls, escalate their direct confrontations.

    “This is not a personal attack. It’s a policy difference,” Rubio said recently in an interview in Des Moines, Iowa. He said Cruz had joined with Senate liberals and the ACLU “to undermine the intelligence programs of this country.”

    “They do so under the guise of protecting our liberties,” Rubio said. “But in fact you can protect our liberties without undermining those programs.”

    Cruz, in an interview, disputed Rubio’s criticism.

    “I disagree with some Washington Republicans who think we should disregard and discard the constitutional protections of American citizens,” he said. “We can keep this nation safe without acquiescing to Big Brother having information about every aspect of our lives.”

    The back-and-forth comes at a moment when Rubio and Cruz are nearing the top of the Republican field nationally and in key early voting states, though Donald Trump remains the front-runner. At the same time, a Washington Post poll conducted after the Paris attacks showed a jump in the percentage of voters favoring investigating terrorist threats over protecting personal privacy: 72 percent said the government should investigate threats even at the cost of personal privacy, and 25 percent said the government shouldn’t intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its investigatory abilities.

    Speculation about how the suspects in the Paris attacks communicated is also raising calls for Congress to take new steps on surveillance and ensure government access to encrypted networks. It adds up to an atmosphere in which some of those on the losing end of the congressional debate this year now feel they have the upper hand.

    “It’s just astonishing to me how those advocates of ridding us of any government involvement in our lives have now become strangely quiet,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “Of course they’ve been proven wrong.”

    The Senate agreed to the USA Freedom Act this year only after GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who’s also running for president but lags in polls, used Senate rules to force the most controversial aspect to expire briefly, in a showdown with the Senate leaders.

    The Freedom Act remade that element of the Patriot Act – the bulk collection program, exposed by Edward Snowden, that allows the NSA to sweep up Americans’ phone records and comb through them for ties to international terrorists. On Sunday, the NSA loses the power to collect and store those records. The government still could gain court orders to obtain data connected to specific numbers from the phone companies.

    Following the Paris attacks, GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced a bill to delay the start date for the new phone records program until 2017 or until the president can certify that the new NSA collection system is as effective as the current one.

    Rubio and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are among the co-sponsors of Cotton’s bill. Yet with Congress on recess, it won’t get floor time ahead of the deadline, and Congress has few legislative days left this year. Aides say Cotton will keep focused on the issue next year.

    Some lawmakers and advocates who strongly opposed the expiring Patriot Act provisions as an unwarranted government intrusion now accuse senators on Rubio’s side of trying to capitalize on the Paris tragedy to reopen the debate.

    “Within six weeks of 9/11 they passed the Patriot Act,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. “And it’s only natural they would try to do the same thing this time.”

    The post Renewed debate on security vs. privacy in U.S. following Paris attacks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    COLORADO SPRINGS,CO -  November 28: A Colorado Springs police car sits in a parking lot next to a Chase bank with it's back window shot out on site of a shooting near the Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic November 28, 2015. The shooter,  identified by authorities as Robert Lewis Dear, shot and killed a University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey and two other people Friday November 27, 2015. Several others were injured during the shootout including several Colorado Springs police officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

    A Colorado Springs police car sits in a parking lot on site of a shooting near the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic Nov. 28, 2015. Police continued to search for clues Saturday after the suspected shooter was taken into custody. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

    Police in Colorado Springs continue to search for clues Saturday following a shooting inside a Planned Parenthood clinic that left three dead and nine wounded.

    The suspected shooter was taken into custody following a five-hour standoff Friday. The authorities identified Robert Lewis Dear, a 57-year-old North Carolinian, as the man behind the attack. 

    Robert L. Dear is seen in an undated picture released by the Colorado Springs (Colorado) Police Department November 28, 2015.  Dear, 57, has been named as the gunman who stormed a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, killing three people and wounding nine others before surrendering to police after a bloody siege lasting several hours inside the facility, authorities said.  REUTERS/Colorado Springs Police Department/Handout via Reuters  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTX1W81N

    Robert L. Dear is seen in an undated picture released by the Colorado Springs Police Department on Nov. 28. Dear has been named as the gunman who stormed a Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday. Photo by Colorado Springs Police Department/Handout via Reuters

    Witnesses said Dear began shooting in a nearby parking lot, and then charged the Planned Parenthood facility in a hale of gunfire that drew dozens of police officers and emergency workers to the suburban parking lot of Colorado Springs.

    One person who was inside the clinic told NBC News that Dear was wearing a hunting jacket and was “mumbling and ranting while he was shooting.”

    “I heard everyone in the lobby screaming ‘Get down, Get down’ and then I saw a gunman walking with a shotgun just shooting randomly outside of Planned Parenthood,” the witness, Kentanya Craion, told NBC.

    Dear barricaded himself inside a room of the clinic, cutting off communication with the authorities for hours and firing sporadically as police entered the building and were able to shuffle some victims to safety, the Associated Press reported.

    By nightfall, and amid steady snow, Dear surrendered.

    Three people died in the attack, including two civilians and one police officer, identified as 44-year-old Garrett Swasey, a member of the University of Colorado campus police. Five police officers were wounded along with four civilians, though all were said to be in stable condition.

    While law enforcement officials have not yet released a motive, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers suggested the investigation is focused on Dear’s mental condition.

     

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

    Dear reportedly lived in a bucolic area of North Carolina in a rustic cabin that had no running water. He was described by neighbors there as a loner who did not make eye contact, according to the AP.

    “If you talked to him, nothing with him was very cognitive — topics all over place,” James Russell, who lives a few hundred feet down the mountain in North Carolina, told the AP.

    Dear is due to make a court appearance on Monday.

    The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs will hold a vigil at 7 p.m. Saturday for the victims. 

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    Believers react at Namugongo Martyrs' Shrine during an open air mass held by Pope Francis on November 28, 2015.  Pope Francis arrived in Uganda on November 27 on the second leg of a landmark trip to Africa which has seen him railing against corruption and poverty, with huge crowds celebrating his arrival. AFP PHOTO/CARL DE SOUZA / AFP / CARL DE SOUZA        (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Believers react at Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine during an open air mass held by Pope Francis on November 28, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in Uganda on November 27 on the second leg of a landmark trip to Africa which has seen him railing against corruption and poverty, with huge crowds celebrating his arrival. Photo by Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

    Continuing his first-ever African tour as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis delivered mass before thousands of people at Uganda’s most famous Catholic shrine.

    Encouraging the faithful to honor the 19th century Catholic and Anglicans persecuted for their faith, the Pope urged followers to take care of “the elderly, the poor, the widowed and the abandoned.”

    Catholics make up 40 percent of the population, Reuters reported, with churches responsible for running many schools and hospitals across the country.

    The Pope will leave for the Central African Republic on Sunday, where he is expected to deliver a message of unity to the war-torn country.

    A believer reacts at Namugongo Martyrs' Shrine during an open air mass held by Pope Francis on November 28, 2015.  Pope Francis arrived in Uganda on November 27 on the second leg of a landmark trip to Africa which has seen him railing against corruption and poverty, with huge crowds celebrating his arrival.  / AFP / CARL DE SOUZA        (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

    A believer reacts at Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine during an open air mass held by Pope Francis on November 28, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in Uganda on November 27 on the second leg of a landmark trip to Africa which has seen him railing against corruption and poverty, with huge crowds celebrating his arrival. Photo by Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

    Crowds cheer as Pope Francis arrives at Kololo airstrip in Kampala, November 28, 2015. Pope Francis left Kenya for Uganda where he will spend two days before continuing on to Central African Republic, a country wracked by sectarian conflict. REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace/Pool - RTX1W8KD

    Crowds cheer as Pope Francis arrives at Kololo airstrip in Kampala, November 28, 2015. Pope Francis left Kenya for Uganda where he will spend two days before continuing on to Central African Republic, a country wracked by sectarian conflict. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/Pool/Reuters

    Catholic devotees cheer as Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at the Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015. REUTERS/Edward Echwalu - RTX1W7L4

    Catholic devotees cheer as Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at the Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015. Photo by Edward Echwalu/Reuters

    Performers wear traditional tribal clothings poses before Pope Francis' arrives at Kololo Air strip for a meeting with youths in Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1W8B0

    Performers wear traditional tribal clothings poses before Pope Francis’ arrives at Kololo Air strip for a meeting with youths in Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015. Photo by Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

    A woman carries a child as Pope Francis leads a mass in Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini - RTX1W76M

    A woman carries a child as Pope Francis leads a mass in Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015. Photo by Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

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    Candles are pictured outside the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015. The U.S. military took responsibility on Tuesday for a deadly air strike on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, calling it a mistake and vowing to hold people accountable. Saturday's strike on the Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), killed 22 people and deeply angered the medical charity. MSF officials have blamed the United States, demanding an independent investigation into an attack it called a war crime.    REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RTS3C65

    Candles are pictured outside the Medecins Sans Frontieres headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Oct. 7, 2015. Nearly two months after a U.S. warplane mistakenly attacked a hospital in northern Afghanistan, officials said Friday it remains unclear how many civilians were killed. Photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Nearly two months after a U.S. warplane mistakenly attacked a hospital in northern Afghanistan, officials said Friday it remains unclear how many civilians were killed.

    In releasing a two-page summary of an international investigation that was intended to assess civilian casualties from the Oct. 3 attack in Kunduz, NATO said efforts are still under way to reconcile reports that put the death total at either 30 or 31.

    A separate U.S. military investigation has been completed to more fully sort out what went wrong and to establish the basis for possible disciplinary action against the U.S. personnel involved. That investigation concluded that the crew of the AC-130 gunship that conducted the attack did not know the target was a hospital, but that a combination of human error, technical failures and other mistakes led to the tragedy.

    The U.S. investigation report has not been released publicly, but the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, said Wednesday it found that 30 civilians had died. Campbell offered his condolences to the victims of what he called a “tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.”

    The international investigation, officially called a Civilian Casualty Assessment Team, or CCAT, said it found credible evidence that 31 civilians had died at the hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French initials MSF. The team was led by an American one-star general and was comprised of NATO and Afghan government representatives.

    The summary of the CCAT report was released Friday by the top NATO commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove. An accompanying statement from Breedlove’s office said the figure of 31 deaths came from “early reporting” by Doctors Without Borders and that the charity’s own internal review put the number at 30.

    “We are continuing to work with MSF to identify the injured and the families of those killed and reconcile” the death totals reported at various times since the attack, the statement said.

    The full report by the NATO-Afghan group, which was obtained by The Associated Press but has not been publicly released, said “it is difficult to reconcile” the casualty figures received by various sources.

    “However, the CCAT has determined that there is credible evidence of the death of at least 31 civilians and injuries to a further 26, as a direct result of the airstrike,” the report said, adding that it was “unable to determine conclusively” the exact number.

    “It is highly likely that other civilians were killed or injured as a result of the airstrike,” the report added, “although the details of the number and identity of those killed or injured cannot yet be determined.”

    When the CCAT investigators visited the hospital compound five days after the bombing, they reported eight bodies remaining at the site, the full report said. “The CCAT was not able to positively identify the individuals nor determine whether they were civilians or INS (insurgents), owing to the condition of the bodies,” the report said.

    The report also said its investigators found no evidence that Taliban members were killed or injured other than those who may have been patients at the hospital at the time of the attack.

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    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the South Carolina Democratic Party headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina November 21, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTX1V7ZO

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the South Carolina Democratic Party headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina November 21, 2015. Sanders supports an all-inclusive, government run health care system. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    WASHINGTON  — The most ambitious “repeal and replace” health care plan from a presidential candidate comes from Sen. Bernie Sanders, not from a Republican.

    The Vermont independent who’s seeking the Democratic nomination has been chastised by front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton for espousing an all-inclusive, government-run system.

    It’s called the “single-payer” plan, loosely modeled on how health care is financed in Canada and most of Western Europe.

    Basically it means putting almost all the $3.2 trillion-a-year U.S. health care system in the hands of the federal government, with states acting as administrative subcontractors.

    Currently, government at all levels pays about half of the nation’s health care bill.

    Clinton accuses Sanders of wanting to “eliminate” popular programs such Medicare and Medicaid, which cover about one-third of Americans. She also contends Sanders would ditch President Barack Obama’s health law.

    Actually Sanders would incorporate those programs into the new system, promising that patients would have no gaps in coverage.

    What would be eliminated would be things such as insurance premiums, deductibles and copays. In their place would be taxes, something else that few like.

    Some things to know about what’s being called BernieCare:

    DEFINITELY WOULDN’T HAPPEN ON DAY ONE

    A Sanders presidency remains a long shot. Even more improbable is his health care proposal sweeping through Congress.

    Health insurers and pharmaceutical companies, powerful lobbying groups now at odds over high drug prices, would unite to oppose Sanders’ plan. For insurers, survival would be at stake. For drugmakers, the single-payer system means government-set prices, a reality they must endure in other countries.

    Business groups would fight the plan’s payroll tax, designed to recoup much of what employers now pay for health care, and funnel those dollars into the new system.

    Conservatives who howled about Obama’s public-private approach to coverage, modeled in part on older GOP proposals, would finally be facing a full government takeover of health care.

    Democrats are likely to be divided. Single-payer is an ideal embraced by many liberals. Moderates may prefer to stick with incremental improvements to existing programs.

    Sanders is under no illusions. The single-payer bill the senator introduced two years ago has no co-sponsors. If elected, Sanders says he would lead a movement for such a system, but there are no guarantees about how it might turn out.

    PROS AND CONS FOR CONSUMERS

    Simplicity of use and breadth of coverage would be big draws for consumers.

    You could go to the doctor or spend two weeks in the hospital and not worry about getting a bill.

    No insurance premiums, deductibles, cost-sharing or copays, even for brand-name medications. Gone would be worries about being penalized for seeing an out-of-network doctor.

    Long-term care would be covered, whether in a nursing facility or one’s own home. Most dental care would be covered, too.

    That’s attractive, especially for working families struggling with out-of-pocket costs for health care.

    But the plan would raise taxes. Among them would be a new 2.2 percent “health care income tax,” with higher rates for upper-income earners.

    A single-payer system could lead to waiting lists for tests and surgeries not deemed urgent. Not everybody who’s nursing back pain may be willing to wait a few weeks for an MRI.

    WHAT ABOUT INSURERS?

    Economic changes, new technologies, and globalization have disrupted many industries. People in the United States have learned to live with fast-paced change, even if they don’t like it. But rarely does the government shut down a major industry.

    That’s basically what would happen to health insurance companies under Sanders’ plan. Insurers would be relegated to selling supplemental coverage for services not covered under the single-payer plan.

    States could hire them to help administer coverage. But hundreds of thousands of jobs would disappear. Billions of dollars in shareholder equity would evaporate.

    Sanders has proposed a transition plan for workers displaced by the conversion to single-payer. That plan, too, would have to be paid for with taxes.

    COST CONTROL

    Single-payer advocates say they don’t plan to suddenly slam the brakes on spending. With health care accounting for 18 percent of the economy, that would be a shock with wide-reaching consequences. The U.S. still would spend more on health care than any other economically advanced country.

    Instead, single-payer would aim to slow the rate of growth in costs by putting hospitals on budgets, negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and eliminating much of the waste that many experts believe characterizes the U.S. health care system.

    Administrative savings would come from doing away with layers of insurance company bureaucracy. Those would be offset somewhat because the government bureaucracy would grow.

    It may take some time for any expected savings from a single-payer system to start showing up, especially when the costs of the transition get factored in.

    Over the long haul, some experts believe that single-payer gives policymakers more powerful tools to control costs. But that doesn’t magically solve the problem. Countries with long-established government-run systems also struggle with their health care spending.

    THE STATE ROLE

    States would have some leeway under Sanders’ plan. His office says, for example, that states could determine whether to cover immigrants who are in the country illegally.

    But states could not buck the system. Many Republican-led states have refused to enact the Medicaid expansion provided under Obama’s health law. Sanders’ office says states would not be allowed to opt out of single-payer. The federal government would step in.

    As with Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people, states would be expected to cover part of the cost of new system. How much remains to be determined.

    The post What you should know about ‘BernieCare’ — Sanders’ proposed health overhaul appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement after meeting with his national security team in the wake of the tragic attacks in Paris and ahead of the holiday season, at the White House in Washington November 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTX1VTO1

    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement at the White House on Nov. 25, 2015. Obama will be in Paris this coming week to negotiate a climate change pact with over 100 world leaders. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is trying to negotiate a legacy-making climate change pact this coming week in Paris with one hand tied behind his back. Congress can’t even agree whether global warming is real.

    Scientists point to the global agreement, years in the making, as the last, best hope for averting the worst effects of global warming. Obama has spent months prodding other countries to make ambitious carbon-cutting pledges to the agreement, which he hopes will become the framework for countries to tackle the climate issue long beyond the end of his presidency in early 2017.

    But Republicans have tried to undermine the president by sowing uncertainty about whether the U.S. will make good on its promises. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP leaders have warned other countries not to trust any deal Obama may strike; other GOP allies are working to nullify Obama’s emissions-cutting steps at home.

    “America is extremely divided, and there doesn’t seem to be any prospect that’s going to change at least in the next year or two,” Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., who is attending the talks, said in an interview. “America’s leadership is not as great as it should be given the recalcitrance and the continuing obstructionism of the opposition party.”

    About 150 heads of state are set to join Obama for talks on Monday and Tuesday as the deal nears the finish line. The goal is to secure worldwide cuts to emissions of heat-trapping gases to limit the rise of global temperatures to about another 2 degrees from now.

    With little room for error, leaders have tried to avoid the pitfalls that undercut global climate negotiations in the past – specifically, those in Kyoto, Japan, in the early 1990s and in Denmark during Obama’s first term.

    The deal in Kyoto – which the U.S. never ratified – spared developing countries such as China and India from mandatory emissions cuts, causing resentment in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. The Paris agreement would be the first to involve all countries.

    In Copenhagen in 2009, leaders managed only to produce a broad-strokes agreement that fell far short of intended goals.

    The concept behind a Paris pact is that the 170 or so nations already have filed their plans. They would then promise to fulfill their commitments in a separate arrangement to avoid the need for ratification by the Republican-run Senate. That dual-level agreement could be considered part of a 1992 treaty already approved by the Senate, said Nigel Purvis, an environmental negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

    But it’s not just about whether or not to ratify.

    In the United States, the talks are entangled in the debate about whether humans really are contributing to climate change, and what, if anything, policymakers should do about it. Almost all Republicans, along with some Democrats, oppose the steps Obama has taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, arguing they will hurt the economy, shutter coal plants and eliminate jobs in power-producing states.

    Half the states are suing the administration to try to block Obama’s unprecedented regulations to cut power plant emissions by roughly one-third by 2030. These states say Obama has exceeded his authority and is misusing the decades-old Clean Air Act. If their lawsuit succeeds, Obama would be hard-pressed to deliver the 26 percent to 28 percent cut in overall U.S. emissions by 2030 that he has promised as America’s contribution.

    Opponents also are trying to gut the power plant rules through a rarely used legislative maneuver that already has passed the Senate. A House vote is expected while international negotiators are in Paris.

    Senate Republicans are working to block Obama’s request for the first installment of a $3 billion pledge to a U.N. fund to help countries adapt to climate change, a priority for poorer countries. What’s more, the Republicans running for president are unanimous in their opposition to Obama’s power plant rules; many say that if elected, they immediately would rip up the rules.

    “In the end, we will not get to climate safety without the legislative branch participating,” said Jeffrey Sachs, an economist who heads Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

    Obama’s aides say commitments from China to curb emissions show that developing nations are finally on board. Republicans had argued that U.S. action would be irrelevant as long as major emitters such as China were still polluting, while India and other developing countries tried to hide behind China’s inaction and said they bore less responsibility because they historically have emitted less than the U.S.

    The Obama administration mostly has acted through executive power: proposing the carbon dioxide limits on power plants, which mostly affect coal-fired plants; putting limits on methane emissions; and ratcheting up fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, which also cuts down on carbon pollution.

    All of that is ambitious and serious, but probably not enough, said Jennifer Morgan of the nongovernmental organization World Resources Institute.

    “There are players in the United States that want to hold on to the current energy system that we have,” such as oil and coal companies, Morgan said. “They tend to be quite powerful in our system.”

    The White House says Obama plans to highlight how developing countries are stepping up when he meets on the sidelines of the Paris talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Obama also expects to talk with the leaders of island nations at risk from rising seas and warmer temperatures.

    The post Obama tries to clinch global climate deal without Congress’ support appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives the thumbs up while working the rope line following his rally in Sarasota, Florida November 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Scott Audette  - RTX1W9TA

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives the thumbs up while working the rope line following his rally in Sarasota, Florida November 28, 2015. Photo by Scott Audette/Reuters

    SARASOTA, Fla. — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump bragged about his high standing in the polls, slammed super PACS as “a scam” and dismissed nomination rivals Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in a campaign stop Saturday in their home state of Florida.

    Speaking before thousands who jammed into the Robarts Arena in Sarasota, Trump said he’s “killing everybody” in polls nationally and in early voting states.

    He called super PACS “a scam” because the millions of dollars raised are going to high-priced consultants and advisers, and are making candidates beholden to big donors.

    He criticized Rubio, Florida’s junior senator, as “weak” on illegal immigration and said his constituents should be angry with him because he has the worst voting record in the Senate.

    “I’m leading in Florida against a sitting senator,” Trump boasted.

    The crowd roared and chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

    The celebrity billionaire said he doesn’t even talk about Bush anymore because the former Florida governor is struggling to gain traction in the polls. But he called Bush’s support for Common Core education standards unacceptable.

    “Common Core-out,” Trump said, if he’s elected.

    So many people lined up to hear Trump that he held a second rally outside for about 1,000 people who could not get into the arena. He then departed in the Trump helicopter.

    Asked why he supports Trump, Justo Lopez said he wanted “to get rid of the establishment and elect a real Republican.”

    Others were curious to see and hear the billionaire businessman-turned-politician.

    “I had never heard him speak in public before and wanted to hear what he had to say,” said Lenny Fike, of Bradenton, Florida, who says he’s undecided but leaning toward Trump.

    But Fike, a lifelong Republican, said he would not vote for Trump if he chooses to run as an independent candidate.

    “I just don’t want to see another Democrat in the White House,” he said.

    Not everyone was a Trump fan.

    A couple dozen demonstrators gathered in front of the arena to denounce Trump.

    “We reject his racist message and the other Republicans need to reject it, too,” said Junior Salazar, who led demonstrators chanting “dump Trump.”

    This report was written by Sergio Bustos of the Associated Press.

    The post Thousands cheer Trump at raucous Florida rally appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at a campaign event in Pahrump, Nevada November 23, 2015.  REUTERS/David Becker - RTX1VI54

    U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at a campaign event in Pahrump, Nevada November 23, 2015. Many African-Americans say they see two different – and at times conflicting – sides of Carson. Photo by David Becker/Reuters.

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Ayauna King-Baker loved Ben Carson’s “Gifted Hands” memoir so much that she made her daughter Shaliya read it. So when Carson showed up in town to sign copies of his new book, King-Baker dragged the giggly 13-year-old along to the bookstore so they could both meet him.

    To King-Baker, Carson’s “up-by-your-bootstraps” life story makes him a genuine celebrity worth emulating in the African-American community. But she’s also a Pompano Beach Democrat watching Carson rise in the Republican presidential polls.

    For King-Baker and many other African-Americans, the vast majority of whom are Democrats, there are two Carsons: One is a genius doctor and inspirational speaker and writer who talks of limitless horizons; the other is a White House candidate who pushes conservative politics and wishes to “de-emphasize race.”

    How they reconcile the two may help determine whether Republicans can dent the solid support Democrats have enjoyed in the black community for decades.

    President Barack Obama won 95 percent of the black vote in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012. Carson wasn’t immune to the excitement of seeing the U.S. elect its first black president.

    “I don’t think there were any black people in the country that weren’t thrilled that that happened – including me,” Carson told The Associated Press in a recent interview when asked about Obama’s first victory. “Everyone had hope this would be something different. It was nice having that hope for a little while.”

    Carson has since become an aggressive critic of Obama. Carson rose to prominence in the tea party movement after repudiating the president’s health care law in front of Obama during the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. Today, Carson charges that Obama’s performance has actually set black candidates back.

    “I don’t think he’s made my path any easier,” he said. “So many people said there’d never be another black president for 100 years after this.”

    Carson has not gone out of his way to court black voters this year. He insists he won’t change his message to attract specific audiences, although his campaign tried a rap-filled ad this month.

    He already has one convert – King-Baker. She says she plans to change her registration to vote for the doctor in the Florida primary. “He has the momentum, he has the conversation, he’s very serious, he’s speaking to the people, and I just think he would be a very good president,” she said.

    None of this will matter unless Carson survives the primaries, where he’s been leading in early preference polls.

    Black votes aren’t a major factor in GOP primaries. Only about 16 percent of African-American voters affiliated with the Republican Party in 2012. But they will be a factor in the November general election.

    African-American voters are one of the few growing segments of the voting public. The percentage of black voters eclipsed the percentage of whites for the first time in 2012, when 66 percent of blacks voted, compared with 64 percent of non-Hispanics whites and about 48 percent of Hispanics and Asians.

    Carole Bell, a professor of communication studies at Northeastern University, estimates that Carson could attract as much as 25 percent of the African-American vote if he’s the GOP candidate. “That would be a tremendous accomplishment for the GOP at this stage,” she said.

    Carson is better known by African-American voters than were other black Republicans who ran for president, such as businessman Herman Cain, who achieved passing prominence in the 2012 race, and former ambassador Alan Keyes before him.

    Carson was a celebrated figure before he entered politics because of his work as a neurosurgeon. Carson led a team that successfully separated conjoined twins, which led to movie appearances, best-selling books, a television biography and a motivational speaking career that crossed racial lines.

    “Black people were proud that Carson had become a famous surgeon and had accomplished what no one else ever had in separating the twins,” said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.

    That’s part of his appeal, said Rebecca Britt, 43, a registered Democrat who also came to see Carson in Fort Lauderdale and buy his most recent book. “He’s one of the heroes in our community, with what he’s been able to accomplish in the medical field,” she said.

    But can that translate into many black votes?

    Carson has said he would not support a Muslim for president, a position his campaign says helped him raise money and attract conservative support. He’s been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, which drew its name from protests that followed the death of an unarmed black 18-year-old, Michael Brown.

    The retired neurosurgeon told the AP that Americans should take the focus off of race during a recent trip to Brown’s hometown, Ferguson, Missouri.

    Carson may draw support from conservative African-Americans and those already in the GOP, but it’s unlikely that he would make major inroads in the Democratic Party’s dominance among blacks in a general election, said D’Andra Orey, a political science professor at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

    Given the GOP’s fraught history with African-Americans, it could be “nearly impossible for blacks to support a Republican who espouses what they deem to be racially conservative rhetoric,” Orey said. “Put short, it’s an uphill battle for any Republican who seeks out the black vote.”

    Bell, the Northeastern professor, said Carson’s celebrity may have helped him at the beginning of his candidacy, but that shine may have worn off.

    “He had tremendous positives before he started speaking as a potential candidate,” Bell said, “but the more he speaks, the more there’s opportunities to sort of really show there’s a gulf between him and a lot of African-Americans.”

    The post Many African-Americans see two sides to Ben Carson appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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