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- 03/09/16--01:45: _Donald Trump wins R...
- 03/09/16--10:17: _Trump received tax ...
- 03/09/16--10:57: _5 years later, Fuku...
- 03/09/16--11:58: _‘Tiny Desk’ winner ...
- 03/09/16--14:02: _Do Trump products r...
- 03/09/16--15:17: _Canadian whiskey on...
- 03/09/16--15:20: _Seeking her kitchen...
- 03/09/16--15:48: _The first uterus tr...
- 03/09/16--15:48: _Obama narrowing lis...
- 03/09/16--16:56: _News Wrap: Special ...
- 03/09/16--16:57: _What lies ahead aft...
- 03/09/16--17:11: _Former Trump U stud...
- 03/09/16--17:13: _After tragic mistak...
- 03/09/16--17:14: _Pediatric guideline...
- 03/09/16--17:16: _Violence and Irania...
- 03/09/16--17:17: _Spotlight on Democr...
- 03/10/16--11:41: _How do negative int...
- 03/10/16--12:48: _These plastic-munch...
- 03/10/16--13:58: _WATCH LIVE: Funeral...
- 03/10/16--14:07: _Here’s a finger-pic...
- 03/09/16--01:45: Donald Trump wins Republican caucuses in Hawaii
- 03/09/16--10:17: Trump received tax credit for middle class taxpayers
- 03/09/16--14:02: Do Trump products really thrive?
- 03/09/16--15:17: Canadian whiskey on menu for White House state dinner
- 03/09/16--15:48: The first uterus transplant in the US has failed, doctors say
- 03/09/16--15:48: Obama narrowing list of possible Supreme Court candidates
- 03/09/16--16:57: What lies ahead after yet another round of primary twists?
- 03/09/16--17:11: Former Trump U students describe lofty promises, paltry results
- 03/09/16--17:14: Pediatric guidelines now urge holistic health and wellbeing checks
- 03/09/16--17:16: Violence and Iranian missile tests cause havoc in Israel
- 03/09/16--17:17: Spotlight on Democratic debate after Sanders triumphs in Michigan
- 03/10/16--11:41: How do negative interest rates work anyway?
- 03/10/16--12:48: These plastic-munching bacteria could degrade soda bottles in weeks
- 03/10/16--13:58: WATCH LIVE: Funeral services for Nancy Reagan
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential caucuses in Hawaii, adding to his victories earlier Tuesday in Michigan and Mississippi.
Trump won three of the four Republican contests held on Tuesday. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the fourth, picking up a victory in the Idaho primary.
It was a tough night for John Kasich and Marco Rubio, who both sought momentum headed into primary elections in their home states next week.
Video by Associated Press
Cruz edged out Kasich in Michigan, where the Ohio governor had spent much of the past week campaigning.
And Rubio posted two third-place and two fourth-place finishes on a disappointing night for the Florida senator.
WASHINGTON — In three consecutive years, Donald Trump has received a property tax credit for people with incomes of less $500,000.
The perk from the New York State School Tax Relief Program, known as STAR, was small — only $302 off of Trump’s tax bill of more than $175,000 for his penthouse apartment in Trump Tower. Normally, the benefit only is given to people who both apply and demonstrate that their incomes are below the half-million-dollar threshold.
But late Tuesday, New York City’s Department of Finance said that it believes Trump received the tax benefit in error. Trump had previously qualified for the state tax break, which is administered by the city, before it was eliminated for upper income taxpayers in 2010. Due to an apparent error, Trump began receiving the benefit again in 2013. The tax break is a partial exemption from school property taxes.
New York would now like its money back.
“Mr. Trump should not have received this benefit after the income limit law changed, and he should immediately return its value to state taxpayers,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for New York City.
On Tuesday afternoon, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Trump’s failure to reject the tax credit was an oversight.
“With all due respect, I don’t think he would have noticed that,” Lewandowski said of Trump. “He was not aware of it until today. Maybe $300 on other peoples taxes is a big deal, but not on his.”
According to the claim form for the tax credit, taxpayers must both apply for the credit and submit a copy of their tax returns. Lewandowski said this had not occurred.
Crain’s New York Business first reported that Trump received the tax benefit in a February 2016 tax bill that is publicly available through the website of New York City’s Finance Department.
A New York City real estate tax attorney contacted by The Associated Press called the situation unusual, as taxpayers are not supposed to receive the credit without formally applying for it and submitting proof of their incomes.
“The only way to confirm he was entitled to this was by looking at his tax returns,” said Steven Wagner of Wagner Berkow LLP.
That is not expected to happen soon. After initially promising to release his tax returns, Trump abruptly announced last month that he will not do so because the Internal Revenue Service is auditing multiple years of his tax returns. Trump further said he has been audited every year for more than a decade; tax experts say the probability of a taxpayer being subject to such a long succession of audits is low.
This week, Lewandowski repeated Trump’s explanation for not making his tax returns public. Asked if Trump would release taxes from years in which he was no longer subject to audit, Lewandowski said, “I can’t speak to that.”
The size of Trump’s fortune and income had been the subject of considerable scrutiny and debate. Trump has claimed his fortune is in excess of $10 billion, and a personal financial disclosure he filed with the Federal Election Commission shows $362 million in income in 2014.
The income reported on the form is often not the same as the income that would be reported on Trump’s personal taxes, however. Instead, many of Trump’s businesses reported their gross income, meaning their total revenues.
Gross income does not include the expenses required to run a business — meaning that Trump’s profits from the businesses would be far less than the $362 million. For example, his financial disclosures show a gross income of $20.3 million for Trump’s golf resort in Scotland, Trump Turnberry. But the course is under renovation and ended up losing $3.2 million in 2014 after taking into account operation costs, according to U.K. corporate records.
The post Trump received tax credit for middle class taxpayers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
With the help of my colleagues in Japan and around the world, I’ve spent the past five years piecing together the impacts that radioactive releases from Fukushima have had on the ocean, marine life, and the people who live on both sides of the Pacific. In the process of sharing our insights with scientists and the public, I’ve become frustrated with both sides of the nuclear power debate for embracing either overly alarmist or dismissive attitudes toward the problem. In addition, I’ve grown concerned over the lack of oversight for radioactive contamination in U.S. waters.
On March 11, 2011, the devastation in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami provided a stark lesson in nature’s power. But in the days that followed, another disaster unfolded at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that continues to underscore how human activities can leave a discernible imprint on something as large as the Pacific Ocean and on people and organisms thousands of miles away.
Five years later, the story from the Japanese side of the Pacific is this: Overall, things are under control with the construction of an “ice wall” to prevent the continued releases of contaminated water into the ocean, and fishing has resumed in all regions except those within 10 kilometers of the reactors. However, these milestones obscure the fact that the Japanese will be wrestling with the cleanup for decades and will spend trillions of yen in the process. It also minimizes the threats posed by millions of gallons of highly contaminated water on the power plant grounds and the likelihood that storms and other natural events will continue to mobilize contaminants currently trapped in soils and ocean sediments near shore.
More than 80 percent of the radioactivity from the damaged reactors ended up in the Pacific — far more than reached the ocean from Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Of this, a small fraction is currently on the seafloor — the rest was swept up by the Kuroshio current, a western Pacific version of the Gulf Stream, and carried out to sea where it mixed with (and was diluted by) the vast volume of the North Pacific. These materials, primarily two isotopes of cesium, only recently began to appear in the eastern Pacific: In 2015 we detected signs of radioactive contamination from Fukushima along the coast near British Columbia and California.
Although just barely discernible by our most sophisticated instruments, these signs, and the many more signs from samples we’ve collected on both sides of the Pacific, show that releases have continued, but that at current rates, it would take 5,000 years to equal the amount of cesium released in the accident’s first few months. Despite this, the fact remains that this event is unprecedented in its total release of radioactive contamination into the ocean. Nevertheless, we often struggle to detect signals from Fukushima above the background radiation that surrounds us every day.
So what’s the middle ground? First, it is incorrect to say that Fukushima is under control when levels of radioactivity in the ocean indicate ongoing leaks, caused by groundwater flowing through the site and, we think, enhanced after storms. At the same time, it is also wrong to attribute to Fukushima events like recent die-offs of seal, whale, and starfish along the West Coast rather than see that they are far more complex and have been happening for far longer than we’d like to admit.
Recently, I’ve begun to see a much more serious threat to U.S. waters. With our nearly 100 reactors, many on the coast or near inland waterways that drain to the ocean, you might expect a federal agency to be responsible for supporting research to improve our understanding of how radioactive contamination originating from one of these sites would affect our marine resources. Instead, the response we receive from an alphabet-soup of federal agencies is that such work “is in the national interest,” but ultimately “not our job.” As a result, we have turned to crowd funding to help us build data along the West Coast to address immediate public concerns and to keep a watchful eye out to sea.
That is no longer sufficient. As the EPA runs RadNet, which monitors radioactivity in the air we breathe, we need an OceanNet to do the same for our nation’s waters. We also need to do a better job of educating the public about radioactivity to lessen the impact of both inflammatory and dismissive rhetoric.
Fortunately, accidents on the scale of Fukushima are rare, but there is a great deal more we can and should do to prepare should something similar happen here. We can’t simply cast our lot on good fortune. Instead, we need to do everything we can to fill the knowledge gaps that have the potential to do great harm in the wake of disaster.
Watch Miles O’Brien’s piece on Fukushima radiation contamination and cleanup later this week on the PBS NewsHour.
The post 5 years later, Fukushima radiation continues to seep into the Pacific Ocean appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The day she found out she had won NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest, musician Gaelynn Lea played her fiddle for a crowd in her hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. But until NPR released the news, she couldn’t tell anyone.
“It was sort of surreal,” she said.
Her song “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun,” an unforgettable fiddle melody accompanied by poetic lyrics, was chosen from 6,100 submissions to win the contest. Lea, 32, is based in Duluth and plays there often as a solo artist and as part of the band Murder of Crows. She was born with brittle bone disease, a rare congenital condition, so the most comfortable way for her to play the violin is upright, like a cello. Lea developed the method with her teachers in elementary school, and since then she has become an accomplished musician along with an outspoken advocate for accessibility in the music industry for people with disabilities.
As she prepared to travel to Washington, D.C., to give her own Tiny Desk Concert at NPR, we talked about her first music teacher, the origins of her unique style and why she wants to see more musical festivals that are accessible for all artists.
How have things been going since you won?
I knew it might be a little bit more intense than I was expecting. The day of [the announcement], I woke up and Facebook was all full, and Twitter was all full, and my emails were all full, but it was exciting. And then I’ve been doing quite a few interviews this week and I had a show the day I found out, but I couldn’t tell anyone until the next week. And then I had a show the day after it was announced as well in Duluth, and so that was a super fun show to play because everybody there was super supportive.
Have any of the reactions surprised you at all?
The only thing that’s kind of a surprise was just how many people took time out to send me a little email, people who I’ve never met before who enjoyed the video and just wanted to say congratulations. I’ve been getting a lot of really kind notes of support from people all over the country and that’s been really neat.
Were there other instruments you tried before violin and fiddle?
In fourth grade the orchestra came to my school and I remember thinking that I really just loved the sound. And I actually was drawn to the cello at first. So in fifth grade, when we had a chance to do a music-listening test with the orchestra, I went and took it with a bunch of my friends, and I was the only person that aced the test. I think that’s why the orchestra teacher really took it seriously and helped me figure out how to play. She was very instrumental. Her name was Susan Sommerfeld. She said, “We really gotta find a way for you to be in orchestra because I think you would like it.”
And so we tried the cello at first, because that’s what I thought about, but it was just too big. I couldn’t reach where the bow needed to go. I couldn’t get all the way down towards the bridge. And so then we tried the violin on my shoulder but that was also too big. I couldn’t reach the end of the fingerboard, up by the scroll.
We decided to try to play my violin like a cello but I would be in the violin section and that was kind of how we came to that. She was really neat, just open minded, helped me figure out the technique. I hold my bow like a bass bow, and so that took a little while to figure out as well. And I don’t use my fourth finger, and so some of the fingerings that I did, especially as we got more advanced, I had some really good private lesson teachers too, and they would help me rework the fingering so I could keep up with orchestra.
How does Celtic music influence you?
In my senior year of high school, I started learning traditional American fiddle music. At a local pub, they had a jam every Thursday night. And I would play there and learn some tunes by ear. That’s kind of when I got introduced to the concept of playing without sheet music … When I went to college — I went to Macalaster College in St. Paul for three years — at that school they have a program called Flying Fingers, it’s a one-credit extracurricular. About 50 students get together and they divide into bands of about six or seven people. I joined that group and it’s all Irish, all the bands are pretty much Irish music. For four different semesters at least, I would play in these Celtic bands. We would get together once a week and just learn new music, some of it was by ear, some of it was with sheet music, but I learned a lot, and that’s when you get into the concepts at that point of ornamentation that sounds more Celtic and melodies that are more Celtic, the rhythms and stuff.
I don’t know how that crept into my improvisation music, because when I play with bands, a lot of that’s not written down, it’s just the way I hear the music. I love harmony a lot. In most of my bands, except for the most recent one, I always just sang harmony, so I didn’t do the lead vocals. In the Murder of Crows, the band that I’m still in with Alan Sparhawk, I do usually sing the lead, but most of the time I sing harmony. That’s how I see my violin, is like a second voice to me. I like to harmonize with my violin, but a lot of people say that you can hear the Celtic influence. Probably it’s just subconsciously in my brain now.
How has your disability affected the way that you play and your musical style?
When you start doing a lot of shows and realizing that people know you from music and go to your shows, it kind of became evidence that it was probably a good idea to start talking about disability in a more public way. It is something that I’m passionate about and music is a medium to bring up a bigger topic to me. My music isn’t really about disability per se, it’s just about what I think about, and I suppose everything in my life has been somewhat shaped by my disability, but the music itself is just what’s coming out of me at this time in my life.
But one thing I have tried to raise some awareness about is accessibility for venues. I think a lot of places think about making their venues accessible to the audience, but what I would love to see is more disabilities represented in the performing sector too because I know there are people with disabilities playing and creating art and performing. But it is still a pretty unequal minority in terms of the people who are out playing regularly.
I think part of the issue is that it’s hard to get transportation and it’s hard to get in venues. I’m small. I only weigh about 68 pounds or something like that. People can lift me onstage and so I have been lucky enough to be able to still perform even though I can’t get on most of the stages, because people lift me on. But if you weighed 200 pounds, it would be a lot harder. So one thing I want to advocate for is not just for my benefit, because I’ve been able to make it work without really anything changing in terms of accessibility, but I would really like to see venues and music festivals and art organizations reach out to people with disabilities. Because there are legitimate artists out there, lots of them, with disabilities. But it’s hard to be included if you can’t get into the venue in the first place, or can’t get a ride to the venue in the first place.
To me, the biggest barrier to disability is more about society being inaccessible rather than my body being a certain way. So to raise awareness about that, I’m happy to do that, and music seems to be a pretty good outlet for that, but it was never my intention going in, I just really liked performing, and I was going to do it no matter what. And so I have. But now that I’m here, especially now that I won this contest, I definitely don’t want to be silent on an issue that I think needs to be addressed more often.
Why is music a particularly effective way to advocate for people with disabilities?
It [connects] with people on a level that’s maybe more intuitive or more connected to their hearts. It’s not just about logic. A lot of the reason I think people with disabilities are lagging so far behind in terms of quality and economic measures and other things is … because it costs money to renovate a building, right? And it costs money to build a ramp. And people think about disabilities form a perspective that is not intuitive or based on the heart, just as a cost measure. Especially businesses. One thing that music does is allow people to connect a little more on a heart level or a soul level.
When I do speaking engagements about disability I always end with music and it seems to resonate with people. I think I’d do that anyway, because I love to play, and it’s fun to do, but I do think it helps to take it out of the realm of, “Oh, this isn’t feasible because of our budget this year.” But in reality, if you realize, “Oh, that’s a human person that I’m talking about, and if it was me or if it was my son and my daughter, what would I want?” And then it takes the cold hard money part of it out of the equation.
You can read more about how NPR’s judges decided the winner at NPR’s website.
The post ‘Tiny Desk’ winner on why musicians with disabilities are an ‘unequal minority’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Whether or not you can buy Donald Trump’s steaks, and whether or not he wins the Republican presidential nomination, one thing is for sure: Trump the Brand is alive and well.
Trump brandished steak, wine and water at his press conference Tuesday night at the Trump National Golf Course in Jupiter, Florida. The press conference took place after Trump won Republican primaries in Michigan and Mississippi. But what got as much attention as Trump’s success at the polls was his display of Trump products.
“I think what Trump did last night was absolutely genius for his brands,” said Devorah Neiger, who owns Medshop.com, a New York City-based online medical supply company. “It is the dream of every company to get their name in major publications. … What Trump did last night, in one fell swoop, was get his brands talked about across every single major media outlet without spending a penny.”
Justin Hamel, founder of MastaMinds, Inc., a Michigan-based online specialty retailer, agreed. “He is further building his brand recognition, awareness and it’s all for free,” said Hamel. “Even if Trump loses his presidential bid, he still wins.”
Trump ostensibly displayed the items to refute Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee who last week said of Trump: “A business genius he is not.” In his speech, Romney listed a number of Trump-branded products that no longer exist.
The details get a little messy when you try to connect the products Trump showed with what Romney was referring to.
The steaks at the press conference appeared to be from the butcher that supplies the club at the golf course, and not Trump Steaks, a now-defunct brand once sold by The Sharper Image.
The Trump-branded water, sold at Trump’s hotels and clubs, was not Trump Ice, his defunct bottled water business.
Not everyone was impressed by Trump’s product showcase. Speaking as a marketing strategist, Samuella Becker found herself “bewildered.” The products, noted Becker, founder of TigressPR, “either are not available for purchase — steaks no longer offered by Sharper Image,” or are “aimed at an internal audience — water and magazines for resort guests.” (Trump also showed off a magazine.)
“If his aim was to show his startup business prowess, it didn’t succeed,” she said.
But Timothy de Waal Malefyt, a professor of brand strategies and marketing at Fordham University in New York, said Trump is “an amazing brandmeister of the ‘brand called you.’ Trump champions the self-made man theme in America, one who perseveres against all odds, with struggles and trials — failed casinos and failed marriages — but has a dream to succeed against all odds. That brand of you is an inspiring message” for “downtrodden” voters.
But don’t spend too much time trying to figure out what Trump’s strategy is politically.
“You have to stop thinking of this as a presidential nominating contest and start thinking about this as reality TV,” said Matt Kerbel, chair of the political science department at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Trump’s rallies and press conferences look like traditional political forums but they’re not: “He’s always talking about himself.”
Gary Frisch, founder of New Jersey-based Swordfish Communications, says Trump gains nothing by pitching products that mostly aren’t for sale. “But he is a showman,” Frisch said. And since it’s not unusual for entrepreneurs to experience “hits and misses,” Frisch said there may be a benefit in “highlighting his grand ideas, the same thought process that has inspired soaring, well-appointed towers, lush golf clubs and, yes, a run for the highest office.”
Frisch added that he drank a bottle of Trump Ice water once at a golf club. “It tasted,” he said, “like every other bottled water I’ve had.”
WASHINGTON — Vivid greens and whites chosen to evoke the coming of spring will welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a White House state dinner in his honor Thursday, the first one in nearly 20 years to celebrate U.S.-Canada relations.
Canadian whiskey is on the menu. But just a drizzle.
Trudeau comes bearing one of the most famous names in Canadian political history. He’s been in office for less than six months and his first official U.S. visit will be closely watched here and at home. His late father, Pierre Trudeau, was prime minister for the better part of 16 years, starting in 1968, and remains the rare Canadian politician who is recognized in America.
Rows of blooming orchids, hydrangeas and amaranth in shades of green and white will decorate the main floor of the White House, as well as the East Room where some 200 guests will sit down for the meal. Green is a favorite color of Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire, who is accompanying him.
“It kind of gives you a feeling of walking through a garden in springtime when all the flowers are starting to bloom,” Hedieh Ghaffarian, the White House’s chief floral designer, said Wednesday at a media preview of the dinner.
Dinner will be served on the Obama state china service, which is trimmed in a shade of blue and was unveiled just last year.
A baked Alaskan halibut casserole garnished with spring vegetables will be served in a tureen for the first course, and be followed by a pungent salad of roasted apricots in ginger, cardamom and White House honey and sitting on a bed of greens.
The main course of herb-crusted Colorado lamb will be livened up by a splash of Canadian whiskey just before the guests dig in.
Not since April 1997, when then-President Bill Clinton hosted Jean Chretien, have an American president and Canadian prime minister clinked champagne flutes at the White House. Thursday’s dinner is also the 10th state dinner under Obama, and the first one during his final year in office.
Toasted Texas pecans and New England maple syrup will be highlighted in the dessert cake. While Canada is known for its maple syrup, White House executive pastry chef Susie Morrison said product from New England is what the kitchen had on hand.
Guests will also choose from an assortment of petite pastries with American and Canadian influences as part of a hand-crafted sugar sculpture that was inspired by the Rocky Mountains, a range that extends some 3,000 miles between New Mexico and Canada.
Sara Bareilles, a favorite of Mrs. Obama and known for her hit, “Love Song,” is headlining the after-dinner entertainment.
The glitzy dinner will mark the end of a day for Trudeau that begins with a pomp-filled arrival ceremony on the South Lawn and will provide him with plenty of time in private talks and in front of cameras with Obama, who remains a popular figure in Canada.
After standing alongside Obama at a news conference, Trudeau will head to the State Department for a lunch hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry before he returns to the White House for the dinner program.
The post Canadian whiskey on menu for White House state dinner appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We have all heard about the solace eating comfort food can bring. Well, now a well-known food writer gives her take on the healing powers of cooking.
Jeffrey Brown recently helped Ruth Reichl prepare a meal in her New York City kitchen.
JEFFREY BROWN: Spicy Tuscan kale, pork and tomatillo stew, and, yes, cake that cures everything, just some of the recipes that Ruth Reichl says saved her life and are now collected in her new book, part cookbook, part memoir, titles “My Kitchen Year.”
That year came in 2009, when “Gourmet,” the nation’s oldest food and wine magazine, was suddenly shut down by its publisher, Conde Nast, and Reichl’s 10-year reign as editor abruptly ended. She’d been one of the country’s most prominent food writers since the 1970s, as a critic at The Los Angeles Times and New York Times, and in her bestselling memoirs.
Now suddenly jobless, what to do? She hunkered down, started whipping up recipes, and tweets about them, and gained a large new following. In her New York apartment recently, we talked about life changes and the simple pleasures of cooking.
So, I’m getting the Tuscan kale? That’s what you picked?
RUTH REICHL, Author, “My Kitchen Year”: You are — that’s what I picked. You sound like a vegetable guy to me.
JEFFREY BROWN: OK.
RUTH REICHL: And this is one of my favorite vegetables. I love Tuscan kale. I think it’s beautiful. And it’s kind of emblematic of what I like about vegetables that are seasonal.
This is very easy to work with. I mean, this is like how you — then you just pull it apart with your fingers.
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. So, this is an example, and you call this, the subtitle is “Recipes That Saved My Life.”
RUTH REICHL: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a dramatic title there. In what sense did it save your life to come back to the kitchen?
RUTH REICHL: OK. This was a very dramatic time in my life. I was the editor of “Gourmet” magazine. And this venerable institution, I get a call one day, meet with your staff. The boss comes down and says, magazine’s done. It’s dead.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s over.
RUTH REICHL: Pack up your stuff, you’re all going home. I was devastated. I revered this magazine. I have revered it my whole life. I never saw it coming.
JEFFREY BROWN: You had a lot of employees as well.
RUTH REICHL: I had a lot of employees. I had more than 60 people, all of whom lost their jobs. And here was a 69-year institution that closed on my watch.
And I felt like the world’s worst failure.
JEFFREY BROWN: So you wrote about coming back to the kitchen as the place that you retreated to, but a place that you had not been in for a while, because, like most of us, you’re a busy person? What is it?
RUTH REICHL: I had always cooked.
I wrote a cookbook when I was 21, so I started as a cook. I had a restaurant when I was in my 20s. And then I went into the world of journalism. And I would do the kind of cooking that everybody else does. At 7:00, your husband calls and says, when are we going to eat dinner? You put on your coat, you rush home, you don’t even take your coat off, you start cooking dinner and you get dinner on the table.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right, which is in fact what most of us have to do.
RUTH REICHL: Which is what most people have to do.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right.
RUTH REICHL: Now I had the leisure to go in and out of stores, talk to butchers, talk to farmers, pick up ingredients I didn’t know what to do with exactly, take them home and play with them.
Cooking for me is a real meditation, that if you allow yourself to be in the process, instead of worrying about the results, I’m going to get dinner on the table, but if you stand here and you come, smell — I mean, the scent of onions and garlic when they’re cooking in a little bit of olive oil is — it’s a wonderful scent. Just feel — I mean, just the feel of doing this, the sound, if you pay attention to these things, you go into it and it’s very calming.
JEFFREY BROWN: You know, I think, too, about the proliferation of cooking shows and the chefs, the star chefs. But in some ways, does that teach us that things are harder, that you have to be one of those top chefs to…
RUTH REICHL: Yes. Yes.
I feel like we in the media have a lot to answer for, because I think we have made people afraid of cooking.
JEFFREY BROWN: Afraid of cooking? That’s what I was wondering. I mean, people love those shows, but does it help them or does it in some way hurt them?
RUTH REICHL: I think, if you think you have to be a chef at home, you’re instantly worried about the performative aspect of cooking, when what you should be thinking about, I think, is the adventure of cooking.
And, you know, if you make a mistake, big deal. It’s one meal. I love making bread crumbs. I mean, this is what you do with leftover bread, right? You just turn it into bread crumbs. And so I decided I wanted a little crunch in there.
JEFFREY BROWN: I know you have said that food tells a lot about a culture, right?
RUTH REICHL: Oh, absolutely, not only about a culture, but about people.
When I was growing up, people who came to America wanted to forget where they came from. They wanted to assimilate as quickly as possible. And so when I was going to PS41, everybody came to school with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And it didn’t matter what your background was.
Today, you look at what kids are bringing to school, and they are proudly displaying their heritage, and I think that says something very good. Yes, we’re Americans, but that doesn’t mean that we have to reject that place that we used to be.
The other thing is, I mean, there was a long time when people would go to the supermarket and not want to accept the fact that that steak that was wrapped up in a piece of plastic had ever come from a living creature. And the not thinking about it meant that you also didn’t have to think about the conditions in which they were raised.
And, today, we know what it means, the difference between factory animals and animals who are humanely raised. We are really starting to understand that eating is an ethical act.
JEFFREY BROWN: What about for you, personally? That book is “My Kitchen Year.”
RUTH REICHL: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: But it’s years — it’s a few years later now. You’re still in the kitchen.
RUTH REICHL: I’m still — you know, I love to cook. I feel like cooking grounds me in time and space. It grounds me in the seasons. It’s pure pleasure for me.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, now can we eat?
RUTH REICHL: We can eat as soon as this blini is done.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right.
Ruth Reichl, thanks so much.
RUTH REICHL: Thank you.
The post Seeking her kitchen’s comforts, food writer Ruth Reichl rediscovers the awe of cooking appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The nation’s first uterine transplant has failed, and surgeons have removed the organ, the Cleveland Clinic announced Wednesday.
The patient, a 26-year-old woman, experienced a sudden complication and had the womb removed Tuesday, according to a hospital statement.
The failure happened just one day after the patient, identified only as Lindsey, appeared with her doctors at a news conference celebrating what seemed to be a successful surgery. Lindsey, who has three adopted kids, expressed hope that her prayers of getting pregnant would finally be answered.
Uterine transplant raises hopes — and thorny ethical questions
The hospital declined to discuss the terms of the complication, which is under review. “While this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering,” the hospital said.
Her transplant on Feb. 24 was the first of 10 planned as part of a clinical trial aimed at helping infertile women have babies. The study will continue.
Doctors in Sweden have successfully delivered five babies through uterine transplants.
In a statement, Lindsey thanked her doctors for acting “very quickly to ensure my health and safety.”
“Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications,” she said. “However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”
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WASHINGTON — In his search for a Supreme Court nominee, President Barack Obama is zeroing in on a small group of appellate court judges whose bipartisan credentials and traditional judicial pedigree the White House hopes will increase pressure on Republicans vowing to block whomever Obama nominates in an election year.
Obama’s top-tier of candidates include Judge Sri Srinivasan of U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Merrick Garland, chief judge on same court, and Judge Paul Watford of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a source familiar with the selection process. Ketanji Brown Jackson, a D.C. district court judge, is also under consideration, although a less likely option, said the source, who would not be named discussing private White House deliberations on the decision.
The emerging list, which the White House says is not final, seems in line both with Obama’s personal and political aims. As he has in his past two nominations, Obama’s appears drawn to candidates with traditional resumes — Supreme Court clerkships, prestigious posts in government and stints at major law firms. While some groups have urged Obama to look beyond the “judicial monastery” at politicians or administration officials, the president apparently is not looking very far.
The judges’ inclusion on the short list was first reported by National Public Radio, which also named Judge Jane Kelly of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals as a finalist being interviewed by the president.
The selection of candidates also shows the president grappling with whether to add racial or gender diversity to the court. Srinivasan, 49, would be the first Indian-American on the court, while Watford, 48, would be the third African-American to hold a seat. Brown Jackson, 45, would be the first African-American woman.
This time around, the push to make history appears to be one of an especially complex mix of calculations. Facing Republicans vowing to block any nominee and preparing to mount a months-long campaign to back up their position, the White House has repeatedly stressed that the nominee will have “impeccable” credentials — suggesting the choice will have a record so sterling it will shame GOP senators into backing down.
Obama’s consideration of Garland appears to fit into that plan. Garland, a white, 63-year-old with an Ivy League, East Coast background, is not going to add diversity to the court. But with a reputation as a judicial moderate and with broad respect in Washington, Garland could put maximum pressure on some GOP senators to crack from leadership opposition.
Others on the list press other political buttons. Both Srinivasan and Watford come with some bipartisan endorsement. Srinivasan was unanimously confirmed to the bench in 2013. Watford’s confirmation vote was a more partisan 61-34 split.
As Obama appointments, neither comes with long records on the bench, leaving their judicial philosophies somewhat ambiguous.
Other candidates come with added challenges and will test Obama’s interests in adding diversity of experience to the court.
The president appears to have ruled out naming a politician or administration official, despite briefly considering Attorney General Loretta Lynch. On the short list, only Kelly, a former public defender in Iowa, did not follow the traditional ladder to the highest court.
The risks associated with her experience have already emerged. In recent days, conservative groups raised questions about Kelly’s work securing a plea deal for a man facing child pornography charges. After two decades as a criminal defense lawyer, there’s little doubt there are more cases like that in her background.
Even in a normal confirmation environment, there will be many types of arguments available to opponents, said Michael Gottlieb, a former White House lawyer who is now a partner at the Washington firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexnor. The White House tries to limit those to leave the nominee’s opponents with “only the most unattractive arguments,” he said, adding:
“All it takes to form the basis of a narrative against a nominee is one negative story.”
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
GWEN IFILL: And I’m Gwen Ifill.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” tonight: Donald Trump wins big, and Bernie Sanders scores an upset, as the presidential candidates look ahead to Ohio and Florida.
GWEN IFILL: Also ahead this Wednesday: An American student is killed in Israel amid a spike in violence, and Vice President Biden, in a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, sharply condemns the violence.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And a Texas hospital that is bucking the trend, as more rural health care centers shut their doors.
DR. MICHAEL WILLIAMS, Former CEO, Hill Country Memorial: We took the approach that, if we took patients and we treated them better than they’d ever been treated before, then, in the end of the day, they would drive the bottom line.
GWEN IFILL: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news: U.S. special forces have captured the Islamic State’s chemical weapons chief in Northern Iraq. The Associated Press reports he was taken in a raid last month. The report also says follow-up airstrikes have hit Islamic State chemical facilities in recent days.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And in Somalia, there is word that U.S. and Somali forces killed 10 Al-Shabaab militants in an overnight raid. Somali intelligence officials say the target was a town controlled by the group west of Mogadishu. This comes three days after U.S. airstrikes hit an Al-Shabaab camp. The Pentagon said up to 150 fighters were killed there, but the militants disputed that figure.
GWEN IFILL: For the first time, a Japanese court has ordered a nuclear reactor shut down over safety concerns. Another one already down will have to stay offline. The court ruled the reactors nears Kyoto have not been adequately upgraded since the Fukushima disaster.
But the Japanese government disputed the finding.
YOSHIHIDE SUGA, Chief Cabinet Secretary, Japan (through interpreter): An independent regulatory committee, including professionals and architects, spent a lot of time to come up with the decision that the reactors are up to top world-level standards. The government backs that decision and has not changed its stance of restarting the reactors.
GWEN IFILL: Japan shut down all of its nuclear power plants after a tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima plant five years ago this week. The government has now begun slowly restarting some of the plants.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tributes came in from around the music world today for George Martin, the legendary record producer of the Beatles. He gave the group their first break in 1962, and guided them through the decade as they revolutionized pop music.
Beatles biographer Philip Norman spoke to Independent Television News today.
PHILIP NORMAN, Author, “Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation”: He was a musician, as well as a producer. He saw the real talent in John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and he really devoted himself to sort of making it sound as good as it could. He became a celebrity producer, although he didn’t want to be a celebrity.
JUDY WOODRUFF: George Martin was 90 years old.
GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, a period of official mourning began for former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died Sunday at the age of 94. Mrs. Reagan’s casket was brought to her husband’s presidential library in Simi Valley, California, where the public viewing began. She will lie in repose until the funeral, set for Friday.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street managed modest gains today. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 36 points to close at 17000. The Nasdaq rose 25 points, and the S&P 500 added 10.
GWEN IFILL: And score another breakthrough for artificial intelligence. A computer program designed by Google has beaten one of the world’s top players in Go, the ancient Chinese board game. The computer relayed moves to a human stand-in as it squared off against the 18-time world champion in South Korea.
Afterward, he praised the program. The game involves roughly 200 possible moves per turn, compared to 20 in chess.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: beyond the rhetoric, the facts about Trump University; a rural hospital beats the odds and keeps its doors open; new turmoil in the Middle East, and the White House response, and much more.
The post News Wrap: Special forces capture Islamic State chemical weapons chief appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: From Trump’s latest triumph, to the surprise win for Sanders in Michigan, we explore the state of the race for the White House, as the focus heads to the battleground states of Ohio and Florida.
Joining us again are Reid Wilson of the Morning Consult and Susan Page of USA Today.
And we welcome you both back to the program.
Reid, let me start with you.
Let’s start with the Republicans. Donald Trump is blazing ahead, despite the onslaught that he faced last week, the Mitt Romney news conference, the money that the stop Trump movement is spending. How significant is this?
REID WILSON, Morning Consult: And another round of pundit saying he has hit the wall and is about to start his decline. Instead, last night, in a couple of contests, in four contests around the country, Donald Trump grew his delegate lead.
Now, the real onslaught, the real test he faces comes next week in Florida, where outside groups are spending millions of dollars, multiple millions of dollars attacking him from all sides. We will see whether or not he can survive. But, at the moment, he remains the Republican front-runner. And for the rest of the anti-Trump Republican field, their best shot at stopping him remains in some kind of contested convention once we get to Cleveland in July.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Susan, how do you size up where Trump is right now?
SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: I think Trump could end up with enough delegates, the 1,237 he would need to hold the nomination.
But — and I think the only path that his opponents have now is to get — to go to a contested convention, which is a long shot, possible perhaps for the long shot. I mean, it’s remarkable. He is a guy who has never ran for office before. He had a record size field of 17 competitors. And he’s now clearly the front-runner.
He has dominated the field from the beginning of the contest. And one big name in Republican politics after another has fallen at his feet, the latest being Marco Rubio.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Reid, what did we see in the interviews with voters as they were leaving the polls yesterday in these states that voted, the so-called exit polls? What did they say about Trump, that he should either be happy about or worried about as he goes into these big states?
REID WILSON: The two things that strike me most from the Republican exit polls is, one, the amazing amount of support Trump gets from people who say they want a candidate who tells it like it is. Trump wins something like three-quarters of those voters across states, not just Michigan and Mississippi, but beginning in Iowa and now all the way through until where we are today.
The second is that Trump has this well of supporters who have been with him from the very beginning. Susan mentioned it, that he’s been ahead since the beginning. And if you look at the exit polls, the people who have decided how they were going to vote months ago, weeks ago have all decided for Trump. The people who are just now deciding are deciding for some other candidate.
More and more, by the way, bad news for Marco Rubio, the people who are deciding to vote late are deciding to vote for Ted Cruz.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What else do you see, Susan, in the reasons people are deciding to go Trump or somebody else?
SUSAN PAGE: These are people who think the country is headed in the wrong direction, that the political leadership in both parties has failed to address it, and they’re ready to shake things up.
And that’s one reason I think the attacks on Trump that he’s not consistently conservative or that he’s lying about his business record, it just doesn’t seem to have much of an effect with his voters. Last night, as we have seen before, his support was mostly male — more male than female, almost entirely white, strongest among working-class voters, but the fact is, he has very broad support.
He continues to win white evangelicals over Ted Cruz. And that is Ted Cruz’s base.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Reid, begin to outline for us what these candidates face, the Republicans face in Florida, in Ohio, in Illinois and the other states that vote on Tuesday.
REID WILSON: So, they face some pretty high stakes, similar to what Ted Cruz faced on Super Tuesday, when his home state of Texas was the prize plum on the tree.
This time, we have got Marco Rubio’s home state of Florida, John Kasich’s home state of Ohio. Both are winner-take-all states, which means that there are a big chunk of delegates. No more of this 25 delegates for Trump, 17 for Rubio, 17 for Kasich. All 99 of Florida’s delegates will go to a person who gets a plurality there. All of Ohio’s delegates will go to the person who gets a plurality there.
The great news for Donald Trump is that he’s leading in both states. He’s leading John Kasich in Ohio by a smaller margin than he’s leading Marco Rubio in Florida, but, as I said, he is facing millions of dollars in negative ads, a kind of consistent attack that he has not faced yet.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Susan, is there something we know about the electorate in — Republican electorate in these states that these candidates should be watching out for?
SUSAN PAGE: Well, they are. There are candidates — there are states that will know some of these candidates well, which ought to be good news for them.
And it’s in Florida in particular. It’s a state where an endorsement by Jeb Bush, which probably wouldn’t matter much nationally, could matter. He’s a popular former governor there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Susan, let’s start now on the Democrats. Bernie Sanders wasn’t supposed to win Michigan. He did. How big a deal is it?
SUSAN PAGE: You know, this saved Bernie Sanders, because he was just on the verge of being counted out as a credible nominee and thought of as only a protest candidate, candidate with a message.
But he’s turned that around by — all the polls showed him with a double-digit deficit in Michigan. He managed to win there, and he managed to continue to — he turned out a lot of young people. He won eight out of 10 voters under 30. That is a huge advantage for him and one that Hillary has just been unable to cut into. And he did better among black voters than he’s done before, and in fact was basically even with her among black voters under 40.
That could be important, too. It’s a bigger, more diverse state than he’s won in before and one that is not in his neighborhood, and that made this especially important.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We noticed she didn’t do as good among black voters in Michigan as she has done with African-American voters in the South.
Reid, what else is there that Hillary Clinton should be worried after this Michigan result?
REID WILSON: There are a couple of things.
The Clinton coalition at the moment is Democratic voters who want a candidate who is electable and experienced. The Sanders coalition is people who want a candidate who shares my values and who cares about people like me. If you get to the general election and the majority of Democrats or a significant part — number of Democrats don’t believe that Hillary Clinton is honest or trustworthy, that’s going to be a big, big problem down the line for her.
I mean, this is — the last Democratic president before President Obama was the guy who felt your pain, and now Hillary Clinton, not Bill Clinton, is having trouble connecting with voters.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Susan, we talked about what the Republicans face in Ohio and Florida and so forth next Tuesday. What about the Democrats? What about Clinton and Sanders?
SUSAN PAGE: Crucial as well, because these big states voting, they don’t — they’re not winner-take-all states, because Democratic rules don’t allow that.
But you talked about the problems that Hillary Clinton saw last night. And let’s talk about the advantages she saw last night. The momentum was with Sanders. The math is with Clinton. Even though Clinton got defeated in a state she hoped to win, she ends up with more delegates last night than Sanders because she won in Mississippi by such a big margin.
She got four times more delegates from Mississippi than Sanders got out of Michigan. And that was certainly something that her campaign manager, Robby Mook, was trying to make with reporters today.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And this is something peculiar to the Democratic — it’s something the Democratic Party worked because they wanted it to work this way.
SUSAN PAGE: They wanted proportional representation. Republicans are less devoted to that idea.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Reid.
REID WILSON: Hillary Clinton is still on the path still to the Democratic nomination, but the path is more of a marathon. Had she won both states last night, it would have been more of a 5K or a 10K.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Susan, you were saying it could take even longer for her to seal this than for Donald Trump.
SUSAN PAGE: And who would have thought that In this big Republican field, that gets settled before this presumptive front-runner who had — we thought was going to be mostly token opposition. It’s amazing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Susan Page, Reid Wilson, thank you both.
REID WILSON: Thanks a lot.
SUSAN PAGE: Thanks.
The post What lies ahead after yet another round of primary twists? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: On the campaign trail, Donald Trump often boasts of his business credentials to be president, never more than during a victory speech last night in Jupiter, Florida, held at one of his hotels.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I built a great, great company. I have very low debt. I have assets like this. This is owned 100 percent by me with no debt.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DONALD TRUMP: You look at Doral, where we just had the major championship, I mean, I have a lot of things in Florida, partners with related or numerous jobs on the beach, very successful, partners with Gil and Michael Dezer on the beach, massive buildings.
Nobody ever talks about this stuff, and, you know, many, many jobs in New York, including the city on the West Side from 72nd to 59th Street, or on the Hudson River, one of the most successful projects ever built in real estate.
GWEN IFILL: But one of Mr. Trump’s ventures has come under especially harsh scrutiny in recent years.
John Yang explores.
JOHN YANG: Trump University was promoted as a way for aspiring real estate developers to learn the business from top instructors. As many as 7,000 people signed up, paying an estimated $40 million in fees.
The now-defunct for-profit seminars are the subject of three lawsuits, one brought by the state of New York, and two class-action suits in California brought by former students who say they were defrauded, because the high-priced classes didn’t deliver on the promises.
Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff has been looking into this for Yahoo News, and he joins us now from New York.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, Yahoo News: Good to be with you, John.
JOHN YANG: Michael, we talk about the promises and what they lived up to.
They offered handpicked instructors, handpicked by Donald Trump, and access to Trump secrets. Now, you talked to students who took these classes. What do they say actually happened?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Well, they say they didn’t’ get their money’s worth.
You know, in the promotional literature, there was language from Trump about how he would teach them to make a living — make a killing — I’m sorry — in the real estate market, he would teach his secrets to them, they would learn from the best of the best.
And what Trump University turned out to be was a series of ballroom seminars where people got sort of basics from these instructors, and then they were encouraged to put more money down, to max out their credit cards to the tune of $35,000, to pay for mentoring from these handpicked experts of Donald Trump.
And many of those who have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, with the state of New York, with other attorneys generals say they got very little for that. The handpicked experts seemed to know very little about thee real estate business, gave them bum advice, and in many cases seemed to fade away and they were unable to even get in touch with them.
So you had a lot of angry consumers out there who have brought these lawsuits.
JOHN YANG: Were you able to talk to any students who were satisfied? Donald Trump, of course, said that there were course evaluations. People said they were very satisfied. His attorneys say the same thing. Were you able to talk to any students who said that?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: I didn’t personally talk to students who fit into that category.
The evaluation forms basically were based — came off the seminars, which were just a couple of hours and sort of routine forms that were handed out at the time. The real complaints came afterwards from those who went through the process of this mentoring, and that’s where they say they didn’t get their money’s worth.
Now, I’m sure we will hear in the upcoming trial — and it is important to note that there is a trial scheduled for this year on this matter — from people who will testify that they did have good experiences with Trump University.
But Trump’s lawyers have tried to make that point in a number of motions in these cases, and the — those motions for summary judgment to have these suits thrown out have so far being unsuccessful.
JOHN YANG: On the campaign trail, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are trying to make this a campaign issue, a political issue, but the trial or the court cases is moving forward. What’s the status of that case?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Yes. Well, actually, I happened to stumble across the filings just a couple of weeks ago that kind of put this in play.
These lawsuits have been going on for several years now. They were originally filed back in 2010. And I — after the — Trump’s lawyers lost their motion on summary judgment, there suddenly popped up just a couple of weeks ago references to, first, a deposition that Trump had been — given in a case just last December, and then also references to pretrial conference, getting ready for trial, witness lists exchanged.
And on those witness lists, Donald Trump stands front and center. The last pretrial conference is May 6, and then the expectations are that the case will move to trial in August, which, curiously enough, is just a few weeks after the Republican Convention.
JOHN YANG: And he’s fighting the judge in this case, is he not?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Yes.
Well, as I mentioned before, he’s lost — his lawyers have lost their attempts to have the cases thrown out. And Donald Trump in one of his recent interviews and in a campaign appearance said, this is because the judge is biased against him.
Why does he believe the judge is biased against him? Because the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge, been on the bench a number of years, is Hispanic, and Trump believes because of his stance about building a wall in Mexico, this has caused the judge to be biased against him in the Trump University lawsuit. And he indicated he may file a motion to have the judge recused.
I don’t know that having a judge recused based on his or her ethnicity is going to carry muster, though.
JOHN YANG: Well, Michael, I’m sure this is not going to be the last we talk about this or hear about this.
Michael Isikoff, thanks for joining us.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Thank you.
The post Former Trump U students describe lofty promises, paltry results appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas — Brad and Sheryl Kott didn’t think much of it seven years ago when their 13-year old son, Quinn, complained his arm felt tingly. But later that day, Mr. Kott found Quinn — a friendly, energetic athlete — on the bathroom floor. His speech was garbled.
“We loaded him in the back of our pickup in the second seat, and we start heading to town to the emergency room right away,” Brad Kott recalled. “And on my way, my wife said, ‘I think he’s had a stroke.’”
After the family arrived at Hill Country Memorial, the local hospital in Fredericksburg, the Kotts say Quinn’s medical care went terribly wrong. Quinn waited in a wheelchair in the emergency room for hours despite his drooping face and slurred speech, and his parents and former hospital administrators say, the ER doctor was inattentive, callous and at a point late in the evening, decided to send Quinn home.
As Brad Kott brought his son out to his truck in the parking lot, his wife refused to take their son home. She rushed back into the ER and demanded to see the doctor.
“I met the doctor coming down the hall, and I said, ‘Something is wrong with Quinn.’ And he shushed me,” Sherul Kott recalled. “And I said, ‘No, don’t you tell me to shush. You’re the doctor. I’m the mom. There’s something wrong with my son and I need to know what’s wrong with my son, and we are not taking him home.’”
It wasn’t until the next morning that a pediatrician finally examined Quinn. He was rushed to a hospital in San Antonio, about 70 miles south, and died soon after. He had suffered a massive stroke.
For Dr. Michael Williams, then Hill Country Memorial’s chief executive officer, Quinn Kott’s death in 2009 was a crucible moment.
“We had a clear opportunity to either do what most hospitals do and what we had done previously, which was get our attorneys involved, be prepared for a lawsuit,” Williams said. “Or we could take a different approach and work directly, reach out to the family and ask them to partner with us in really transforming the hospital.”
In truth, the hospital’s problems went well beyond the emergency department. “The hospital was in the red on an annual basis,” said Williams, who is now president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. “The patient satisfaction was very low. The employee satisfaction was very low. And across the board, what we heard from people, was that this used to be the community’s hospital, and now people are leaving the community to go get their care elsewhere.”
Yet fixing the problems would not be easy because the troubled hospital Fredericksburg was caught up in larger forces.
Since 2010, more than 50 rural hospitals have closed across the country and hundreds more are in fragile financial condition. Rural populations have declined, and in many places, those that remain are largely elderly or uninsured. At the same time, congressional budget agreements and the Affordable Care Act reduced Medicare reimbursement and subsidies for the uninsured. Many rural hospitals have been unable to withstand the revenue losses.
The hospital in Fredericksburg, a town of about 10,000 deep in the heart of Texas Hill Country, could easily have faced a similar fate.
Despite the area’s live music scene and strong tourist economy, the hospital was the town’s largest employer and cherished for much of its history. When it opened in 1971, 93 percent of the county’s households contributed money — including Quinn Kott’s grandparents — and old photographs show thousands of people lined up to have a first look.
Years later, as the hospital faced the crisis of Quinn Kott’s death, Williams was determined to bring back that spirit. He studied the Toyota plant in San Antonio and hired former Toyota employee Jeff Darnaby to help bring the car company’s revered assembly line principles to Hill Country Memorial.
“The Toyota production system basically allows you to identify waste, and remove that waste from your processes,” Darnaby said. “Anything that doesn’t add value to the customer, to the process, is considered waste.”
Today at Hill Country Memorial, each department candidly displays specific goals for everyone to see: reduce ER wait times, eliminate falls and improve customer satisfaction. In addition to Toyota, Williams turned to a former executive with Southwest Airlines to remake the hospital’s values and culture, and he hired a former trainer from Ritz Carlton, known for its legendary customer service, to change how patients and families were treated.
“We took the approach that if we took patients and we treated them better than they’d ever been treated before, that at the end of the day, they would drive the bottom line,” said Williams.
Seven years after Quinn’s death, Hill Country Memorial now ranks among the top 100 hospitals in the country and recently won the nation’s highest presidential honor for excellence through innovation and leadership.
The sweeping changes can be seen everywhere: staff members, including physicians, greet visitors in the hallway and ask if they need directions; during a daily afternoon quiet time, the hallway lights darken so patients can rest; and the kitchen staff, in an attempt to reduce waste, cut their egg budget in half. Along with other cost saving measures, the hospital cut costs by $600,000.
Emily Padula, the hospital’s chief strategy officer, says whatever the goal – reducing costs, growing market share, perfecting customer service — rural hospitals should not think they need a lot of money to improve. “We found that our costs are about the average for the country for a hospital, employee staffing is about average for the country, and yet our patient satisfaction is in the top 5 to 10 percent of the nation. So it’s not that you have to put in place all these fancy things to make a difference,” Padula said.
In response to trends affecting hospitals across the country—fewer in-patient visits, declining Medicare reimbursement, and Texas officials’ refusal to expand Medicaid–Hill Country Memorial employees stake out new lines of business in weekly meetings in the so-called “War Room.” Those efforts have led the hospital to diversify its offerings to include a breast health center with high-tech imaging, home hospice care and a wellness center.
To capitalize on the abundance of Medicare-insured retirees in Texas Hill Country, the hospital developed a well-regarded hip and knee replacement program that has attracted patients like George Brannies, a fifth generation Texan from the nearby town of Mason. After a riding accident a few years ago, Brannies, 72, sought care from a renowned surgeon in San Antonio. When the hip surgery failed, the rancher and bank chairman decided to try Hill Country Memorial. His surgeon and nurses were so exceptional, Brannies said, that he was back on his horse in four weeks.
“They take such good care of you. It’s like doing business at in a small-town bank. They give you their cell numbers. They say now if you have a problem, you call us. Try this with one of those big-city hospitals. It doesn’t happen,” he said.
Brannie’s surgeon, Dr. Chuck Romanick, has helped steer Hill Country Memorial’s hip and knee replacement program to more than 400 surgeries a year.
“In this community, if you do a bad job, everybody knows about it,” Romanick said. “You will see your bad jobs down at the grocery store or whatever, so you have to focus on quality. And that’s, I think, what we’ve done.”
Now the hospital markets its nationally recognized program well beyond the Texas Hill Country.
Jayne Pope became chief executive officer of Hill Country Memorial in 2013, and she attributes much of the hospital’s success to its fervent and never ending focus on improving patient care.
“We know as a rural center, we can’t do everything,” Pope said. “But what we do, we determine what those core competencies are, and invest in those skills so that our patients have the best of care.”
But not every rural hospital can replicate Hill Country Memorial’s success.
Len Nichols, a health economist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., says many small towns simply can’t sustain an acute care hospital.
“We probably have roughly 20 to 30 percent more hospitals beds than we actually need and so who’s going to lose in the long run?” said Nichols. “It’s going to be those hospitals that are the least efficient, those who cannot deliver good, quality services for the lowest possible cost.”
Instead, the dozens of rural hospitals that have closed–and hundreds more at risk–should consider converting to urgent care centers and partnering with larger regional hospitals, Nichols said, to allow rural residents to be stabilized and moved quickly to hospitals where doctors often have more expertise.
The changes at Hill Country Memorial came too late for the Kott family. They’re still haunted by the treatment Quinn received and the hospital’s advertising campaign that trumpets its care as “remarkable.”
“At first it makes me sick to my stomach, because the hospital was not remarkable at all. It just, it tears at you when you see a billboard that says that,” Brad Kott said. “However, I know that it has transformed into that, and it makes me proud that people in my community took a bad situation, took our tragedy and worked to turn it around.”
Read the full transcript below:
JUDY WOODRUFF: Last week, we brought you a story about the many rural communities in the country affected by a recent wave of hospital closures.
Tonight, special correspondent Sarah Varney takes us to Fredericksburg, Texas, population 10,000, where a hospital is bucking that trend. Its turnaround is seen as a model for other rural hospitals struggling to keep their doors open.
This story was produced in collaboration with our partner Kaiser Health News.
BRAD KOTT, Father of Quinn Kott: This is the picture we really love.
SARAH VARNEY: Brad and Sheryl Kott didn’t think much of it seven years ago, when their 13-year-old son, Quinn, a friendly, energetic athlete complained he wasn’t feeling well. But soon after, Quinn collapsed on the bathroom floor, and his speech was garbled.
BRAD KOTT: We loaded him in the back of our pickup in the second seat, and we start heading to town to the emergency room right away. And on the way, my wife said, I think he’s had a stroke.
SARAH VARNEY: After the family arrived at Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg, the Kotts say Quinn’s medical care went terribly wrong. They waited in the E.R. for hours. And the Kotts say the nurses and E.R. doctor were unattentive and callous, at one point deciding to send Quinn home. His mother refused.
SHERYL KOTT, Mother of Quinn Kott: I met the doctor coming down the hall, and I said, something is wrong with Quinn. And he shushed me, because he didn’t want anybody else to hear me. And I said, no, don’t you tell me to shush. You’re the doctor. I’m the mom. There’s something wrong with my son, and I need to know what’s wrong with my son, and we are not taking him home.
SARAH VARNEY: It wasn’t until the next morning that a pediatrician finally examined Quinn. He was rushed to a hospital in San Antonio and died soon after. He had had a massive stroke.
For Dr. Michael Williams, then Hill Country Memorial’s CEO, Quinn’s death in 2009 was a crucible moment.
DR. MICHAEL WILLIAMS, Former CEO, Hill Country Memorial: We had a clear opportunity to do either do what most hospitals do, and what we had done previously, which was get our attorneys involved, be prepared for a lawsuit, take on a defensive mode, try to really guard ourselves, or we could take a different approach and work directly, reach out to the family and ask them to partner with us in really transforming the hospital.
SARAH VARNEY: In truth, says Dr. Williams, who is now president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, the hospital’s problems went well beyond the E.R.
DR. MICHAEL WILLIAMS: The hospital was in the red on an annual basis. The patient satisfaction was very low. The employee satisfaction was very low. And across the board, what we heard from people was that this used to be the community’s hospital, and now people are leaving the community to go get their care elsewhere.
SARAH VARNEY: The troubled hospital in Fredericksburg was caught up in larger forces. Since 2010, more than 50 rural hospitals have closed across the country and hundreds more are at risk.
Rural populations have declined. And in many places, those that remain are largely elderly or uninsured. At the same time, congressional budget agreements and the Affordable Care Act receded Medicare reimbursement and subsidies for the uninsured, revenue losses that many rural hospitals have been unable to withstand.
Deep in the Texas Hill Country, the hospital in Fredericksburg was poised to face a similar a fate. Despite the area’s live music scene and strong tourist economy, the hospital was the town’s largest employer, and cherished for much of its history.
When it opened in 1971, 93 percent of the county’s households contributed money, and thousands of people lined up to have a first look. Years later, as the hospital faced the crisis of Quinn Kott’s death, Dr. Williams was determined to bring back that spirit. He studied the Toyota plant in San Antonio, and hired former Toyota employee Jeff Darnaby to help bring the car company’s revered assembly line principles to Hill Country Memorial.
JEFF DARNABY, Hill Country Memorial: The Toyota production system basically allows you to identify waste, and remove that waste from your processes. Anything that doesn’t add value to the customer, to the process is considered waste.
SARAH VARNEY: Today, at Hill Country Memorial, each department candidly displays specific goals for everyone to see, reduce E.R. wait times, eliminate falls, and improve customer satisfaction.
JEFF DARNABY: This is based off the top five board that we brought here from Toyota. We didn’t meet this goal yesterday. Here’s where we’re working on today, so I know I need to get in this role.
SARAH VARNEY: And this isn’t something that’s just measured once a year or every quarter. These are sort of real-time feedback.
JEFF DARNABY: Yes, it could be down to daily — daily tracking and reporting.
SARAH VARNEY: In addition to Toyota, Dr. Williams turned to a former executive with Southwest Airlines to remake the hospital’s values and culture, and he hired a former trainer from Ritz-Carlton, known for its legendary customer service, to change how patients and families were treated.
DR. MICHAEL WILLIAMS: We took the approach that, if we took patients and we treated them better than they’d ever been treated before, then, in the end of the day, they would drive the bottom line.
SARAH VARNEY: Seven years after Quinn’s death, Hill Country Memorial now ranks among the top 100 hospitals in the country, and recently won the nation’s highest presidential honor for excellence through innovation and leadership.
The sweeping changes can be seen everywhere, from smaller efforts like reducing food waste in the kitchen…
MAN: I have problem. I have my cholesterol, high cholesterol.
SARAH VARNEY: To helping local workers like Domingo Gallegos get healthier with free nutrition counseling and access to the hospital’s wellness center, and to more far-reaching initiatives planned out in the hospital’s so-called war room, where new ventures are hatched to improve care and grow the business.
WOMAN: A lot of patients come to class thinking they’re going to cut out this much of my leg.
SARAH VARNEY: To capitalize on the abundance of Medicare- insured retirees in Texas Hill Country, the hospital developed a well-regarded hip and knee replacement.
WOMAN: Total knee replacement means they’re resurfacing both sides of the knee.
SARAH VARNEY: That program that has attracted patients like George Brannies. At 72, Brannies is a fifth-generation Texan from nearby Mason. He’s a rancher and chairman of the local bank.
After a riding accident a few years ago, Brannies sought care from a renowned surgeon in San Antonio. When the hip surgery failed, he decided to try Hill Country Memorial. Brannies says his surgeon and nurses were so exceptional that he was back on his horse in four weeks.
GEORGE BRANNIES, Patient, Hill County Memorial: They take such good care of you. It’s like doing business at in a small-town bank. They give you their cell numbers. They say, now, if you have a problem, you call us. Try this with one of those big city hospitals. Yes, it doesn’t happen..
SARAH VARNEY: The hospital now performs some 400 hip and knee surgeries a year, and markets its nationally recognized program well beyond Texas Hill Country.
Jayne Pope became CEO of Hill Country Memorial in 2013. She attributes much of the hospital’s success to its fervent and never-ending focus on improving patient care, efforts, Pope says, that don’t need to cost a lot of money.
JAYNE POPE, CEO, Hill Country Memorial: We know, as a rural center, we can’t do everything. But what we do is determine what those core competencies are, and we invest in those skills, so that our patients have the best of care.
SARAH VARNEY: But not every rural hospital can replicate Hill Country Memorial’s success.
Len Nichols, a health economist at George Mason University, says many small towns simply can’t sustain an acute care hospital.
LEN NICHOLS, George Mason University: We probably have roughly 20 to 30 percent more hospitals beds than we actually need. And so who’s going to lose in the long run? Well, it’s going to be those hospitals that are the least efficient, those who cannot deliver good quality services for the lowest possible cost.
SARAH VARNEY: Instead, says Nichols, the dozens of rural hospitals that have closed and hundreds more at risk should consider converting to urgent care centers and partnering with larger regional hospitals. That would allow rural residents to be stabilized and moved quickly to hospitals where doctors often have more expertise.
Brad and Sheryl Kott say the changes at Hill Country Memorial came too late for their family. They’re still haunted by the treatment their son Quinn received and the hospital’s ad campaign that trumpets its care as remarkable.
BRAD KOTT: At first, it makes me sick to my stomach, because the hospital wasn’t remarkable at all. And it just — it tears at you when you see a billboard that says that. However, I know that it has transformed into — into that.
And it makes me proud that people in my community took a bad situation, took our tragedy and worked to turn it around.
SARAH VARNEY: For the “PBS NewsHour” and Kaiser Health News, I’m Sarah Varney in Fredericksburg, Texas.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can watch the first part of this series that explores the struggles hospitals in rural Georgia are facing on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.
The post After tragic mistake, rural hospital transforms into model of success appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: Finally, new guidelines are out today from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They recommend that, during routine checkups, physicians also screen children for poverty.
Hari Sreenivasan has that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Census figures show one in five children in the country lives in poverty, which can contribute to higher rates of asthma and obesity, poor language development, and increased infant mortality.
The new guidelines encourage doctors to ask patients about basic needs, such as food, heat and housing during well-child visits, and to help them connect with community resources that might be of help.
Dr. Renee Jenkins is a former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics who currently teaches at Howard University Medical School, and joins me now.
Dr. Jenkins, what does it mean to screen for poverty?
DR. RENEE JENKINS, Former President, American Academy of Pediatrics: So, there are now tools that help us in the office when we do well-checks to really ask parents about food insecurity, housing insecurity, whether their young children are in childhood educational situations, like Head Start or Early Head Start, because we recognize that if we can intervene early on, very often, we can make a difference.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, I know people are very comfortable sharing confidential information with their doctors, but how do you start this conversation, and do people open up to you about it?
DR. RENEE JENKINS: Right.
Generally, we start with something very broad, like, do you have any problem making ends meet, OK, and does this happen often or does it just happen sometimes?
And then that opens up a conversation about what some of the issues might be. And I think we are trying to — what we’re recommending is that we screen everyone. We ask an very open-ended question like that and then we see where that takes us.
I’m sure some people are going to be uncomfortable to start to do that, but I think once patients understand that, each time I come, they’re going to ask me something like that, because it’s a common problem. And as you mentioned, you know, one in five children is living if poverty.
And if it weren’t for the safety programs, safety net programs that we have, it would be even more children. So we’re just trying to connect parents to the safety net programs.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, how solid are the links between poverty and adverse health outcomes? What does the research show?
DR. RENEE JENKINS: The research shows that there really are.
We have known for quite a long time about the relationship, for example, with asthma and poor housing, OK? We have also known about nutrition and how, when you’re poor, you tend to buy cheaper foods. Healthy foods are pretty expensive. And so in order to make the food last for the entire month, you have got to do that.
So we have always known that. But there is new information now about the stressors that children go through when they’re in poverty and how these stressors do handicap them in terms of their developmental milestones.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, you’re also talking about longer-term issues.
From the report, you talk about gene expression, brain function, language development and possible leads to psychiatric disorder. All of that comes from childhood poverty?
DR. RENEE JENKINS: Well, poverty certainly contributes to it.
But when you take the big picture and you look at what’s happening within the neighborhood that these poor children may live in and those kind of safe — unsafe issues, as well as the stressor on parents, parents, you know, want to provide the best for their children. And when they can’t, that’s stressful for them, also.
Very often, there are not the same sort of ways that we relax when you are someone who has resources. People who are poor can’t do that. And so they don’t have ways to necessarily relieve the stresses that are associated with their living conditions.
So we have got stressed parents, and obviously, it impact the child.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, what you’re describing is a much greater role for a pediatrician to play now. It’s almost like they’re doing some of the things that a social worker traditionally does in connecting needs with resources.
DR. RENEE JENKINS: That’s true, but I think now there are — there is more availability.
We have the Internet, where there are lots of resources. We have Web sites. There are 800-phone numbers, and so the recommendations are not to try to tackle all of it. OK? What we want people to do is, where is your comfort level? Is your comfort level the nutrition, so you can get your patients connected with the WIC program, Women, Infant and Children, or with the food stamp program?
Or is your comfort level housing, so that you can refer someone to a resource for that? So, we’re not asking people to do it all, but we’re saying, you know, we can make a difference, we can start small, and, you know, here are some guidelines and here are some screening tools that you can use to do that.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Dr. Renee Jenkins, thanks so much.
DR. RENEE JENKINS: You’re quite welcome. Thank you.
The post Pediatric guidelines now urge holistic health and wellbeing checks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: Vice President Biden met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders today amid a deadly spike in attacks in Israel.
Yesterday, an American war veteran and student, Taylor Force, was killed in Jaffa during a series of stabbings. Today, after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden condemned the attacks and the apparent celebration of the tactic by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ political party.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The kind of violence we saw yesterday, the failure to condemn it, the rhetoric that incites that violence, the retribution that it generates, has to stop. There can’t be — there cannot be unilateral steps to undermine trust that only takes us further away — further and further away from an outcome.
GWEN IFILL: The vice president also responded to Iran’s test launch of ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel. The Israeli government has strongly opposed the U.S.-brokered nuclear deal reached with Iran last summer.
Biden today said, if Iran were to break the deal — quote — “We will act.”
I’m joined now by Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem, who’s covering the story for the Associated Press.
Daniel, we have seen months and months of these stabbing attacks, especially horrific. What’s behind them?
DANIEL ESTRIN, Associated Press: That’s a good question.
Palestinians say that it’s the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories, a desperation, that there seems to be no solution and no end if sight, and no hope for a future for them.
Israeli officials say that this is a Palestinian campaign of incitement and lies fueled by social media. And you see a lot, especially today on Twitter. The Fatah Party, the political party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, posted a photo of a cartoon basically extolling the stabber that stabbed the American student.
GWEN IFILL: Was there any concern that the latest attacks were coordinated to happen at the same time as Vice President Biden’s arrival?
DANIEL ESTRIN: There’s no sense of that here in Israel. And Israeli defense officials have said that this is just a part of the months of violence that we have seen here almost every day.
GWEN IFILL: We have watched carefully here in the U.S. the strained relations often between the U.S. administration and the Israeli government.
Does Vice President Biden’s strong words today condemning the Palestinians for failing to respond, does that go — was that designed, or can we tell, to heal that rift?
DANIEL ESTRIN: Well, it’s interesting.
Joe Biden mentioned today on the cameras that he has had a very long relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu, going back decades. He said he wasn’t here in Israel with a certain plan, a certain peace plan, but he was here to speak with his good friend Netanyahu. His relationship is a lot better with Netanyahu than President Obama’s relationship is.
And so I think the idea here is that he is trying to see if there’s any chance of any opening on both sides to move forward.
GWEN IFILL: Is that complicated by this Iranian missile test? Obviously, Israel has no love lost for Iran, and the U.S., to Israel’s point of view, has accommodated them too much.
Did that — does that make for greater tension?
DANIEL ESTRIN: Yes, this is one of the main issues looming over the vice president’s visit in Israel, the Iranian deal and specifically what America is going to do for Israel now.
And America promised Israel after it brokered the nuclear deal with Iran that it would give it some kind of compensation, some kind of boost in military aid. And now there are negotiations between the two countries. The U.S. is offering a lower number than — a lower amount than the Israelis want. Currently, America gives Israel about $3 billion a year in military aid.
Aides to the prime minister, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have insinuated in recent weeks that Netanyahu’s attitude is, thanks, but no thanks, Obama administration. We will wait for the next administration.
And according to Israeli media today, the vice president told Netanyahu, take the deal. You’re not going to get a better one.
GWEN IFILL: So, the Israeli government reaction to the Iranian missile test has been what?
DANIEL ESTRIN: Well, it took the Israelis a long time actually today before they put out a statement just this evening here.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was dangerous, the testing of the ballistic missiles in Iran. They said these missiles not only can reach Israel, but they have the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead. And Israel said this is just another sign that Iran is not serious about curbing its nuclear program.
GWEN IFILL: And, finally, as a backdrop to all of this, there has been a teachers strike, a Palestinian teachers strike, and children have not been in school for some time. Does that also add to the complications that we’re seeing?
DANIEL ESTRIN: It’s interesting.
These strikes that have been happening over the last month are some of the biggest strikes that we have seen in the West Bank in years. They’re about teachers’ wages, but they’re more than that. They’re about challenging Abbas’ rule and frustration about Abbas’ leadership.
There’s just a general malaise and frustration about where things are going in the West Bank. Abbas, the president, is not very popular at all in the West Bank, and this definitely adds a lot of complications, when Israel and the U.S. are asking the Palestinian leadership to step up and to condemn certain attacks.
The violence that we have seen over the past six months almost has a lot of support on the Palestinian street, according to polls here. And so Abbas is really in a tough spot. He’s against violence, but it’s hard for him to speak out against it.
GWEN IFILL: Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem for the Associated Press, thank you so much.
DANIEL ESTRIN: You’re welcome.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: This was another day-after for the presidential hopefuls. Tuesday’s results focused even more attention on tonight’s latest Democratic debate. And Republicans issued competing calls to join or oppose the front-runner.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I want to thank the people of Michigan.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Fresh from another night of triumph, Donald Trump appealed today for mainstream Republicans to unite behind him.
DONALD TRUMP: Instead of fighting it, they should embrace it. And if everybody came together, instead of spending all of this money on these ridiculous ads that frankly are wrong, if you — and they’re just false ads. It’s terrible. If everybody came together, nobody could beat the Republican Party. We would walk into Washington.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: The momentum is with us.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But Ted Cruz had a decidedly different take in Miami. He was coming off a win last night in Idaho’s Republican primary, as well as second-place finishes to Trump in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii, all the more reason, Cruz said, for Republicans dead set against Trump to join him.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: There is only one campaign that has demonstrated it can beat Donald Trump over and over and over again, and we will beat Donald Trump over and over and over again.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JUDY WOODRUFF: One former rival, Carly Fiorina, endorsed the Texas senator today. And it was widely reported that Jeb Bush will meet with the remaining Republican hopefuls except for Trump.
But it’s getting harder by the day to stop the New York billionaire. After last night, Trump now has 458 delegates in his column. He needs to win almost 55 percent of the delegates yet to be awarded to get to 1,237, the number need to lock up the nomination. Cruz, his closest rival, is at 359. Trailing far behind are Marco Rubio, at 151, and John Kasich, who has 54.
The Ohio governor poured time and resources into neighboring Michigan, only to come in third there. Today, he brought his campaign and defiantly positive message to Illinois, where he hopes to do well on March 15.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: Because I didn’t engage in name-calling, you thought my name was governor of Ohio, OK?
GOV. JOHN KASICH: And then about a month ago, or I wouldn’t even say — maybe about two-and-a-half or three weeks ago, you actually started to see who I was a little bit, and now in the last couple weeks, a heck of a lot more.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Even so, The Chicago Tribune passed over Kasich today and endorsed Rubio, who hasn’t gotten much of a boost so far out of other endorsements. He failed to score any delegates in Michigan or Mississippi, and is pressing toward March 15, when his home state of Florida votes. Tonight, Rubio will be making his case in Miami at a town hall hosted by MSNBC.
The Democrats, meanwhile, are pondering the importance of their own results from Tuesday. Bernie Sanders tried today to parlay his upset win in Michigan into momentum elsewhere.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: But, as the map moves forward, and as we move, for example, into the West, California, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Wisconsin, you’re going to see a lot of states where we believe we have an excellent chance to win.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Even with the Michigan loss, Hillary Clinton extended her delegate lead over Sanders last night. She won more than 80 percent of the vote in Mississippi’s primary. And she again focused on opponents in Republican ranks, instead of those in her own.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: We have our differences, which you can see when we debate, but I will tell you what. Those differences pale in comparison to what’s happening on the Republican side.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HILLARY CLINTON: Every time you think it can’t get any uglier, they find a way.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The two Democrats meet face-to-face again tonight, this time in Miami for a debate hosted by the Spanish-language network Univision.
We will call on two reporters who’ve been covering the races closely after the news summary.
The post Spotlight on Democratic debate after Sanders triumphs in Michigan appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Editor’s Note: In Frankfurt today, the European Central Bank launched another stimulus package that expands quantitative easing and lowers its deposit interest rate further — from negative 0.3 percent to negative 0.4 percent. The ECB is one of several central banks that have looked to boost consumption and growth via negative interest rates, which in turn, it hopes will spur inflation.
For Making Sen$e’s latest segment, economics correspondent Paul Solman spoke to economist Mohamed A. El-Erian about how long interest rates will stay low in the United States and how long interest rates can stay negative in Europe. El-Erian is the chief economic adviser at Allianz and the author of the new book, “The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse.”
Below, El-Erian explains the theory behind negative interest rates, why central banks have taken this drastic step and how negative interest rates play out in practice, including the risks. For more on the topic of low interest rates in the United States, tune in to tonight’s Making Sen$e report, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour. The following text has been edited for clarity and length.
–Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor
Mohamed El-Erian: If we were in Europe, we would ask: How long can interest rates stay negative? Think about this. Not only are you lending your money to governments, but you’re paying them interest for the privilege of doing so.
Paul Solman: Because when you buy a bond, you are basically just lending money to the government, and the government bond in Europe now is paying less than the rate of inflation?
Mohamed El-Erian: It’s paying negative in nominal terms too! So it means that at the end of the day when you get back the money you have lent, it’s less than what you paid out. Now, we normally think if you’re going to lend someone money, you should get some reward for doing this. In Europe, it’s a tax!
I remember when I was growing up, you would go to a bank to open a deposit, and they’d give you a toaster. A free toaster. These days, if you’re a company, and you go to a bank, they could easily turn you away! They don’t want your deposits anymore.
Paul Solman: Why? What’s going on?
Mohamed El-Erian: So the simple answer is that our political process has basically sidelined most of our economic instruments. So the one instrument that has relative political autonomy is monetary policy. Central banks do not need to go to Congress to get approval for an interest rate hike.
Paul Solman: When you’re talking about the usual economic instruments, you’re talking about infrastructure spending, for example?
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Mohamed El-Erian: Correct. The whole range. Infrastructure spending, improving the education system, improving our labor market, corporate tax reform, active fiscal policy…
Paul Solman: But active fiscal policy is spending money?
Mohamed El-Erian: It is making decisions as to how you want to spend money and who you want to tax. We’ve had this ridiculous situation in the United States that for five years, Congress could not agree on an active budget. So we rolled over what we’ve had before.
But the world changes! So we’re in a situation today where the only policymakers that have flexibility are central banks. But they don’t have the instruments! So they’ve had to experiment, and the more you experiment, the more uncertainty and the higher the risk of collateral damage.
Paul Solman: But how are negative interest rates supposed to work?
Mohamed El-Erian: Let me tell you the theory, and let me tell you what happened in reality. The theory is that if you take interest rates negative, people like you and me are going to say, “That’s a silly game! I’m not going to lend my money to governments who want me to pay them. I am going to go into the stock market where I can get positive returns!”
Paul Solman: Or if I’m a company, “I’m going to invest in some new technology or factory or something.”
Mohamed El-Erian: Correct. The idea is to push households and push companies to take on more risk. In one case, financial risk — the stock market — in the other case, economic risk. Economic risk is investing in, say, plants and equipment. So let’s look at the first one. You take financial risk, you push up the price of stocks.
Paul Solman: Of which has certainly happened.
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Mohamed El-Erian: Which has happened. You and I then open a 401(k), and we say, “Wow, we’re richer!” In theory, we trigger what economics call the wealth effect. Because we feel we’re wealthier, we go out and spend more.
As we spend more, and as companies are pushed to invest, they say, “Hey wait a minute! There’s more demand in the system. Let’s invest more.”
And then the third element is that if you happen to be the only one with negative interest rates, you also weaken your currency, which means you make your exports more competitive.
Paul Solman: Because people don’t want to buy your bonds, they don’t have a demand for your currency?
Mohamed El-Erian: Correct. So the theory is you trigger the wealth effect with consumers. They spend more. You trigger animal spirits with companies. They invest more.
Paul Solman: Optimism. Spontaneous optimism.
Mohamed El-Erian: Yes. And you also trigger exports by depreciating your currency. And lo and behold, the fundamentals start improving, and they validate the higher asset prices.
Paul Solman: And for the exports, if your currency is cheaper, the stuff that’s priced in your currency is cheaper. Therefore, people want to buy your country’s goods and services.
Mohamed El-Erian: And more people will come visit that country, because it will be a cheaper destination than elsewhere. That’s all of the theory.
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But in practice, people aren’t that stupid. People say, “Hey, wait a minute. Let me get this right. This is all one big financial engineering game? I’m not sure I want to play this game.”
So households and especially companies have been cautious. And as a result, central banks have found that the economic response has consistently fallen short of their expectations.
Paul Solman: And so the animal spirits, the attempt to stoke optimism, just hasn’t worked?
Mohamed El-Erian: Correct. And for good reason. If you’re a company, and you’re sitting there, you’re saying, “That’s fine, I see that the markets are doing better. But is Washington doing better? Do I have clarity on tax reform? Do I know what taxes I’m going to be paying in five years’ time? Are they helping me with infrastructure that enables and empowers what I do? What is Washington doing?”
And as long as decent economic policy in Washington is sidelined, companies are very cautious.
Now, if you go to Japan, they’re willing to continue to give you central bank medication, but they’re scared because it’s less effective. Japan followed the European Central Bank and surprised everybody by taking their policy rates negative. They expected that by taking their policy rates negative, the currency would weaken, helping the export sector, and their stock market would go up, helping sentiment. The exact opposite happened.
They moved into negative territory, their currency strengthened, not weakened, and the stock market sold off, not rallied. For them, that’s an issue of effectiveness.
Paul Solman: And they feel the pressure of lower interest rates being all they’ve got to keep their countries juiced?
Mohamed El-Erian: Yes. And now savers are saying, “Hey wait a minute. Lower interest rates were bad enough. Negative interest rates!?” And economists are saying, “Wait a minute. We don’t know how a sophisticated system works with negative interest rates!”
Paul Solman: We don’t know if they stimulate people to invest, or if they scare people half to death!
Mohamed El-Erian: Correct. And then markets are saying, “Hey, wait a minute. I never thought it was going to get this bad. I never thought that I would rely on a medicine — interest rates — that would become so absurd!” So markets are much more nervous and much more volatile.
In 2014, humans produced 311 million metric tons of plastic — that equals about 3,500 of the world’s largest aircraft carriers. In the environment, this plastic can take decades to break down, and some have wondered if nature would be forced to adapt. A new study argues yes, and on one of the smallest levels possible.
A plastic-eating species of bacteria has been uncovered by researchers in Japan. This microbe munches on one type of plastic, polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. PET is one of the most abundant forms of plastic on Earth and typically takes five to 10 years to naturally degrade. This bacteria could break it down six weeks. This discovery, scientists say, could play a key role in how we rid the world of this insidious plastic.
“I was very surprised to find microorganisms that degrade PET, because so far, it has been said that PET is a nonbiodegradable plastic,” said microbiologist Kohei Oda of the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan who co-authored the study published today in the journal Science.
PET is everywhere. You’re probably most acquainted with its presence in water and soda bottles. But it is also woven into carpet and clothing fibers like fleece. Salad containers, plastic peanut butter jars, potato-chip bags, oven-ready meal trays and other food storage containers use PET too. Thanks in part to its ubiquity, this plastichas the highest recycling rate in the world. (Though, despite leading the pack, nearly half of the world’s PET still isn’t recycled.)
Oda and his colleagues didn’t accidentally stumble on this plastic-gobbling bacteria, which the researchers named Ideonella sakaiensis. Microorganisms often live on the frontlines of the biodegradation battlefield. Germs in nature are renowned for secreting enzymes that break down complex materials into simple compounds.
The surprise is that this bacterium can penetrate the surface of this plastic, which is notoriously resistant to attacks by bacteria, and break apart its chemical bonds, said biochemist Uwe Bornscheuer of the University of Greiswald in Germany, who wasn’t involved in this study. That’s why this new species is so unique.
To find Ideonella sakaiensis, the researchers collected 250 samples of plastic debris from sediment, soil, wastewater and sludge from a plastic bottle recycling site in Osaka, Japan. One soil sample contained a distinct microbial community that could survive on PET as its sole food source. Ideonella sakaiensis was the survivor. Genetic and biochemical analysis revealed that the microbe produces two enzymes — PETase and MHETase — that fully convert the plastic into food. However, the enzymes that allow Ideonella sakaiensis to penetrate PET’s surface in the first place remain unknown.
Both Oda and Bornscheuer hope the bacterium or its two enzymes might one day be used as a sustainable method of destroying plastic at recycling facilities like the one where the discovery was made.
“The bacterium was found at a recycling site. Why not use it there?” Bornscheuer said, but added the strain may need genetic modification to make the consumption process more efficient.
Another question is where and when did Ideonella sakaiensis spring into existence and develop this appetite for plastic. PET plastic has only existed for 70 years, a relatively short time window for evolution. Prior to this study, the ability to biodegrade PET had been limited to a couple species of soil fungus.
In principle, the bacteria could also work on microplastics in water, Bornscheuer said. One recent estimate says the world’s oceans contain 15 to 51 trillion micro-sized particles of plastic. However, Bornscheuer said that future studies must determine if the bacteria can survive in the salty seas of the ocean, which can also fluctuate dramatically in temperature.
“For sure, many scientists will have a close look into these options now that the paper is published,” Bornscheuer said.
The post These plastic-munching bacteria could degrade soda bottles in weeks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
PBS NewsHour will live stream the funeral of Nancy Reagan, scheduled for 11 a.m. PST. Watch it in the live stream above.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The program for Friday’s funeral of former first lady Nancy Reagan, from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation:
Nancy Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, next to her husband, who died on June 5, 2004. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. local time, with a musical prelude to begin at 10:15 a.m. by the Santa Susana High School Advanced Women’s Choir and Abbe Road A Cappella and an instrumental prelude by the 1st Marine Division Band, Marine Corps Camp Pendleton.
The Rev. Stuart A. Kenworthy, Vicar, Washington National Cathedral, will preside over the funeral.
The program includes:
— “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” sung by the Santa Susana High School Choir
— Reading of Proverbs 31:10-31 by Anne Peterson, Nancy Reagan’s niece
— Letter from Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan, read by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
— “Ave Maria,” sung by opera singer Ana Maria Martinez
— Reading of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 by Barton Hegeler, Nancy Reagan’s nephew
— Reading of John 14:1-6 by Diane Sawyer
— “Pie Jesu-Requiem,” sung by Martinez
— Reflections by James A. Baker
— Reflections by Tom Brokaw
— Reflections by Patti Davis
— Reflections by Ronald Prescott Reagan
— “Amazing Grace,” sung by the Santa Susana High School Choir
— Recessional with bagpipe played by Piper Major Bill Boetticher
— “God Bless America”
— Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush
— Michelle Obama
— Hillary Clinton
— Rosalynn Carter
— Tricia Nixon Cox
— Steven Ford
— Lynda Bird Johnson Robb
— Luci Baines Johnson
— Caroline Kennedy
Current and former politicians:
— California Gov. Jerry Brown
— Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
— Former California Gov. Pete Wilson
— Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi
— Newt and Callista Gingrich
— Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz
— Capt. Christopher Bolt, commanding officer USS Ronald Reagan
Media and celebrities:
— Katie Couric
— Sam Donaldson
— Steve Forbes
— Larry King
— Chris Matthews
— Peggy Noonan
— Diane Sawyer
— Bo Derek
— Mike Love
— Wayne Newton
— Anjelica Huston
— Melissa Rivers
— Tina Sinatra
— Tom Selleck
— Gary Sinise
— Tina Sinatra
— Yakov Smirnoff
— John Stamos
— Mr. T
Editor’s Note: What do a fiddle, a barn dance and a bale of hay have to do with the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy? A whole lot, says Merle Hazard, who’s written yet another finger-picking country song about the economy.
In the past, Hazard, aka Jon Shayne, has taken on mortgage-backed securities, derivatives and central banking. This time, he has a question: How long will interest rates stay low?
He performs with Grammy Award-winning artists Alison Brown and Tammy Rogers King and Grammy-nominated musician Trey Hensley.
Economics correspondent Paul Solman takes a closer look at low interest rates with economist Mohamed El-Erian on tonight’s Making Sen$e. After watching the music video, El-Erian dubbed Merle Hazard’s tune both “brilliant” and timely. Here at Making Sen$e, we couldn’t agree more.
— Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor
How long (how long) will interest rates stay low?
That’s the question, the whole world wants to know
How long (how long) will interest rates stay low?
It seems like if they’re going up, they’re going pretty slow
Our country’s central bank is really scared, that’s plain to see
When everything is leveraged, raising rates is misery
But keeping rates too low, too long, would cause us pain and sorrow
There is no easy option in a land of constant borrow
How long (how long) will interest rates stay low?
That’s the question, the whole world wants to know
How long (how long) will borrowing be free?
How long will we be subsidized by savers and retirees?
Central banks around the world, not only in the States
Are each at work on lengthy slumps, their countries’ tragic fates
Legislatures will not spend to give sufficient boost
Lower interest rates are all that’s left to get their countries juiced
How long (how long) will interest rates stay low?
If you could predict it, you could make a lot of dough
How long (how long) will interest rates stay depressed?
The answer…is anybody’s guess
Some say low rates are symptomatic, rather than the cure
I have a hunch they’re right. I can’t say I am sure.
But recovery has been long and slow, the crisis wounds are deep
So until we see inflation, money’s likely to be cheap
Capital’s abundant, money’s not in short supply
China holds our Treas’ry bonds, although I wonder why
Start-ups happen in the cloud, few people are employed
If something could push rates back up, I’d be overjoyed
How long (how long) will interest rates stay low?
That’s the question, the whole world wants to know
How long (how long) ‘til we really start to grow?
Interest rates are goin’ up, but they’re go-in’…pret-ty…slow….
“How Long Will Interest Rates Stay Low?” is a coproduction of Merle Hazard, Nashville Public Television and Making Sen$e. The lead vocal is Merle Hazard; Alison Brown plays the banjo; Tammy Rogers King is on the fiddle and background vocal; and Trey Hensley is on the guitar and background vocal.
The post Here’s a finger-picking bluegrass song about the Fed’s plan for interest rates appeared first on PBS NewsHour.