Articles on this Page
- 03/17/16--13:36: _Trump faces obstacl...
- 03/17/16--15:30: _How Silicon Valley ...
- 03/17/16--16:06: _Rising sea levels f...
- 03/17/16--16:13: _Sanders concedes Mi...
- 03/17/16--16:23: _Supreme Court nomin...
- 03/17/16--16:26: _Congress grills Mic...
- 03/17/16--16:27: _News Wrap: Paul Rya...
- 03/17/16--16:29: _No more Shamu — Sea...
- 03/17/16--16:37: _Is the NCAA ‘a cart...
- 03/17/16--21:09: _Automakers agree to...
- 03/18/16--06:30: _World news quiz: St...
- 03/18/16--11:54: _Obama to nominate f...
- 03/18/16--13:20: _Daredevil comic tak...
- 03/18/16--13:45: _Romney to vote for ...
- 03/18/16--13:47: _We’re talking about...
- 03/18/16--15:25: _How home visits for...
- 03/18/16--15:43: _This February was t...
- 03/18/16--16:57: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 03/18/16--17:01: _The stork brings an...
- 03/18/16--17:06: _News Wrap: EU, Turk...
- 03/17/16--13:36: Trump faces obstacles in bid to shake up corporate America
- 03/17/16--15:30: How Silicon Valley is trying to fix its diversity problem
- 03/17/16--16:06: Rising sea levels force U.S. to resettle Native American tribe
- 03/17/16--16:13: Sanders concedes Missouri Democratic primary; Clinton wins
- 03/17/16--16:23: Supreme Court nominee meets with Congressional Democrats
- 03/17/16--16:26: Congress grills Michigan governor, EPA head over Flint water crisis
- 03/17/16--16:29: No more Shamu — SeaWorld to end breeding of killer whales
- 03/17/16--16:37: Is the NCAA ‘a cartel?’ Some former and current athletes say yes
- 03/17/16--21:09: Automakers agree to put automatic braking in cars by 2022
- 03/18/16--06:30: World news quiz: St. Patrick’s Day and a Russian surprise
- 03/18/16--11:54: Obama to nominate first woman to head U.S. combatant command
- 03/18/16--13:45: Romney to vote for Cruz in Utah caucuses
- 03/18/16--13:47: We’re talking about inequality all wrong
- 03/18/16--15:25: How home visits for vulnerable moms boost kids’ brainpower
- 03/18/16--15:43: This February was the hottest month in recorded history
- 03/18/16--17:01: The stork brings an eaglet: Bald eagle hatches at National Arboretum
- 03/18/16--17:06: News Wrap: EU, Turkey agree on migrant deal; riots flare in Brazil
NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s railing about what’s wrong in corporate America goes further than the typical political populism: He vows to rewrite trade deals, tax imports and punish U.S. companies. And he’s naming names.
He is blasting Ford for beefing up operations abroad. He’s refusing to eat Oreo cookies that may soon be made in Mexico and is vowing to get Apple to make iPhones in the U.S.
“You know, our companies are leaving our country rapidly,” the GOP front-runner said in Palm Beach, Florida, after winning the state’s Republican primary on Tuesday. “And frankly, I’m disgusted.”
Politicians and others have long laid into U.S. companies for shifting headquarters and production abroad and for stockpiling cash in foreign subsidiaries. But changing some of the trade and taxes rules behind such corporate moves are beyond the authority of the president and, experts say, are not so easy to do — at least not without big consequences.
Here’s a look at Trump’s statements on what’s ailing big U.S. companies, and his proposed fixes:
Trump pledged to give up Oreos after Nabisco’s parent, Mondelez International, said it would replace nine production lines in Chicago with four in Mexico. He said he would demand that United Technologies reverse a decision to move two of its Carrier heating and ventilating parts plants in Indiana to Mexico, eliminating 2,100 U.S. jobs. He has criticized Ford since last summer after the company said it planned to invest $2.5 billion in engine and transmission plants in Mexico.
Other candidates have criticized the trade deals that facilitate some of these corporate moves, but Trump has gone further. He’s threatened to slap a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports. He’s threatened to tax auto parts and other equipment made in Mexico. He also wants to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement struck with Mexico and Canada in 1994. His view: The U.S. hasn’t gotten enough concessions in negotiations, and American jobs have been lost and wages hammered as a result.
“We’re being killed on trade — absolutely destroyed,” Trump says.
The U.S. has long been open economy, and specific trade deals like NAFTA have not had a major effect on jobs, economists say. The huge wage gap between the U.S. and developing countries and the increasing use of machines to replace workers have had a far bigger impact.
What’s more, Trump’s threats could throw the international trading system into chaos. Levying tariffs would probably require congressional approval and could set off a tit-for-tat trade war, an ironic development since it’s the U.S. that pushed for open trade over the years.
United Technologies declined to comment on Trump’s comments. Mondelez said it is investing in U.S. plants, as well as the new one in Mexico, and that Oreos will continue to be made in the U.S. Ford, which employs 6,000 people in Mexico compared to about 80,000 workers in the U.S., said in a statement that it is “deeply invested in the U.S. and has been for more than a century.”
Moving headquarters abroad
Trump vowed after his Super Tuesday victories, “we’re not going to be losing our companies,” if he becomes president. He criticized politicians for not fixing a tax code that he says drives companies abroad and mentioned drugmaker Pfizer, which plans to move its headquarters to Ireland after merging with Allergan, a company based there.
Pfizer’s plan is known as a “tax inversion,” a maneuver that allows a company to change its tax jurisdiction to a country where rates are lower. U.S.-based companies claim they are at a disadvantage because the U.S. taxes their profits made both in America and in other countries. By contrast, companies based elsewhere generally pay taxes only on profits made in each country where they operate.
Trump has proposed lowering the nominal top corporate rate in the U.S. to 15 percent from its current rate of about 35 percent. Most companies pay less than the top rate because of various credits and deductions. The drug industry, for example, pays a tax rate of about 20 percent, according to experts.
Either way, those rates are far above those in some other countries. Ireland’s rate, for example, is 12 percent, according to the Americans for Tax Fairness consumer group.
The Obama administration has tried to slow the pace of inversions by tightening foreign-ownership requirements, but the administration has said that only Congress, not the president, can change the tax code to put an end to practice.
“The movement of company headquarters overseas is a symptom,” not the disease, said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. “The disease is we have an outdated tax code.”
Pfizer declined to comment.
Trump has vented at U.S. lawmakers for not providing corporate America with incentives to bring home more of their enormous and growing amount of cash held abroad.
By the end of last year, the 500 largest U.S. companies had stashed about $2.4 trillion in foreign subsidiaries and bank accounts, according to an analysis of corporate financial statements by the research group Citizens for Tax Justice.
The report estimated that the companies would be facing a collective tax bill of nearly $700 billion if all the money were pulled out of the foreign accounts and brought back to the U.S., or “repatriated.”
Trump’s frustration is shared by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who lambasted the U.S. tax code as something “made for the industrial age, not the digital age.”
“It’s awful for America,” Cook told “60 Minutes” during an interview aired in December.
As the world’s most profitable company, Apple has accumulated by far the largest hoard of foreign cash — $200 billion. That’s enough to pay for a new iPhone 6S for more than 300 million people, or nearly the entire U.S. population.
Cook has estimated that Apple would lose about 40 percent, or $80 billion, of its foreign cash to federal and state taxes if all that money were brought back to the U.S. Trump has proposed lowering taxes on repatriated cash to a one-time 10 percent to get companies like Apple to bring more of it home.
David Kotok, chief executive at money management firm Cumberland Advisors, thinks Trump is right about the need overhaul the tax code to stop the shift of cash and headquarters abroad. But he’s worried about rewriting trade deals, noting that Americans benefit from, among other things, low prices on goods made abroad.
“When you scrutinize trade agreements, are we really getting killed?” Kotok said. “Do you want to take the price increase and force it on U.S. consumers?”
Liedtke reported from San Francisco. AP business writers Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit and Candice Choi in New York contributed to this report.
The post Trump faces obstacles in bid to shake up corporate America appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Silicon Valley, the home of the California tech industry, has long been criticized for its lack of diversity. Almost two years after major companies, led by Google and Intel, started to publicize their diversity numbers, the ethnic and gender makeup of the industry’s work force remains almost the same.
Analysis of employees at the leading tech firms that report such figures reveals, on average, 71 percent are men, 29 percent are women, 60 percent identify as white, 23 percent Asian, 8 percent Latino, and 7 percent black.
So, what exactly is Silicon Valley doing to improve its diversity?
Hari Sreenivasan takes a look in the first of two stories.
JOELLE EMERSON, CEO, Paradigm: Raise your hand if you have heard of unconscious bias before?
HARI SREENIVASAN: The notion that hidden bias can be methodically stamped out of the workplace has become popular with tech companies across Silicon Valley.
JOELLE EMERSON: By managing unconscious bias, we make better decisions. So, unconscious bias acts as a significant barrier to objective, data-driven decision making.
HARI SREENIVASAN: That was the message being delivered by Joelle Emerson, a former sexual harassment litigator who now spends most of her time helping multibillion-dollar start-ups diversify their work forces.
JOELLE EMERSON: We think that if you can get this right early, you’re going to much more successfully, more organically grow as an inclusive company, rather than starting when you’re so far down the line.
If the word is associated with female, I want you to raise your right hand and say the word right.
HARI SREENIVASAN: On this day, Emerson is conducting a workshop at Slack, a $2.8 billion start-up just named company of the year by “Inc.” magazine. Even though his company is still young, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield is still playing a little catchup.
STEWART BUTTERFIELD, CEO, Slack: We didn’t get started in the beginning, right? This company was co-founded by four white men. But it was something that became apparent as a priority to us when we were relatively small, you know, about 30 or 40 people.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Known for its workplace communication app, Slack is regarded as one of the hottest and fastest growing tech start-ups.
STEWART BUTTERFIELD: We are growing incredibly quickly. I mean, we have to do a lot of hiring, which means that there’s a lot of positions that need to get filled. Every week, there’s new people starting. Every week, there’s open roles.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And when there’s rapid growth, a natural inclination is to recruit from familiar networks.
Senior engineer Erica Baker says that’s at the core of tech’s diversity problem.
ERICA BAKER, Engineer, Slack: There’s a lot of focus put on, like, hiring people you know, who you’re comfortable with or whatever. And a lot of people who get into Silicon Valley come from backgrounds that are predominantly white, and so they hire the people that they know, who are predominantly white, and it’s cyclical. It will take someone, like, stopping that cycle purposefully to fix it.
ANNE TOTH, VP of People & Policy, Slack: We’re going to be hiring a lot of people next year.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Slack’s vice president for people and policy, Anne Toth, says she’s working hard to break that cycle.
ANNE TOTH: One of the things I’m trying to do here, early stage, is build the type of tools from the outset that allow us to look at the data in real time and make adjustments as we go. Are we promoting women and people of color at the same rate? Are we retaining them at the same rate? Are we paying them equitably? Are they as engaged as other employees across the board?
HARI SREENIVASAN: On the day we visited, Toth and diversity consultant Joelle Emerson were reviewing questions with a group of hiring managers
JOELLE EMERSON: Where we often go wrong is that we ask questions that produce answers that cannot be objectively evaluated, that almost force us to draw on unconscious biases, on subjectivity, on our own beliefs about the world to evaluate the candidate’s answer.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The goal, to eliminate any potential bias that might unfairly favor one type of applicant over another.
WOMAN: What do you do for fun? What do you think of that question?
WOMAN: We want to know more about who you are, not just what you do for work.
JOELLE EMERSON: We don’t want to take the humanity out of this process, but it really isn’t relevant to your ability to do work here, what you do for fun. And what if what you do for fun is different than what the person who happens to be interviewing you does for fun, that can be really challenging. What if my answer is, I don’t have a whole lot of time for a lot of fun, I have two kids right now that are infants, and mostly my spare time is spent taking care of them?
HARI SREENIVASAN: Despite these efforts, Slack’s diversity numbers are still not dramatically different from the industry. Seventy percent of its employees are white, and 61 percent are men.
But CEO Stewart Butterfield says there are some encouraging trends.
STEWART BUTTERFIELD: Forty-one percent of employees at Slack report to a woman; 45 percent of the managers and executives are women. So, that’s definitely better than the industry average.
HARI SREENIVASAN: For Erica Baker, an African-American engineer, diversity is about race, as well as gender.
ERICA BAKER: Right now, it seems like, in the industry, that diversity is code for hire more women. That is what diversity has become. And it’s not great, because the demographics of the industry, usually, it skews to more white women.
HARI SREENIVASAN: But Baker says she is encouraged by the direction Slack is heading. Seven percent of the company’s engineers are African-American. Compare that with the industry average of 1 percent to 2 percent.
To change the demographics of an industry takes time, and one long-term effort involves encouraging more women and people of color to study engineering. Many companies are now sponsoring training for high school and college students like this code camp hosted by the mobile payment firm Square.
JACK DORSEY, CEO, Square: One of the things I have always loved about programming and computer science is that you can truly build something from scratch.
HARI SREENIVASAN: While CEO Jack Dorsey has not yet publicized square’s diversity figures, his executive team includes several women in key roles, like chief financial officer and head of engineering.
VANESSA SLAVICH, Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Square: At Square, we started at the top. So, our board of directors is really diverse. They’re driving the company. You move down to our executive team, four out nine of the people who report to Jack are CEO-quality women who are running a majority of the company.
And so, if we can prioritize from the top, from our board to the executive team, inevitably, it will trickle down.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Vanessa Slavich, diversity lead at Square, says the company is constantly on the lookout for tools that will help widen the pool of prospective employees.
VANESSA SLAVICH: So, here, we have a job description for our data scientist team.
HARI SREENIVASAN: One such tool is Textio. The software uses a form of artificial intelligence to detect bias in the job descriptions.
VANESSA SLAVICH: This is the before copy.
HARI SREENIVASAN: On a scale of one to 100, it scores 47. Phrases like rapidly growing are regarded as inclusive, builds relationships feminine, and words like relentlessly masculine. Once all the changes are made, the newly revised job description scores a 95.
VANESSA SLAVICH: We did a small anonymous test with our job descriptions before and after, and they doubled in applications for both men and women.
HARI SREENIVASAN: While such efforts can widen the pool of candidates, Slack’s Erica Baker says real, lasting change will require a cultural shift in the workplace, taking people beyond their comfort zones.
ERICA BAKER: People should know that you’re going to feel weird about talking about race. Just like sit with it and, like, then move past it. But it’s going to get uncomfortable. And I think people shy away from talking about those sorts of things because it is uncomfortable.
But I think that we need to get to the uncomfortable spaces to make good progress.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Progress will likely take time, especially with older and larger companies.
In our next story, we visit Google to see how the tech giant is trying to make its culture more inclusive.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Hari Sreenivasan.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Part two of Hari’s look at diversity in Silicon Valley airs tomorrow on “PBS NewsHour Weekend.”
The post How Silicon Valley is trying to fix its diversity problem appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
A Native American tribe located in the coastal Louisiana will become the first community in U.S. history to be relocated due, in part, to rising sea levels, said Marion McFadden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Thursday.
The Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw has lost 98 percent of its land since 1955, according to a HUD report released in January. Tribal land loss has been attributed to rising seas and to sediment mismanagement caused by nearby oil and gas operations, according to a 2008 study the Northern Arizona University. Their canals ushered in saltwater that steadily eroded the freshwater wetlands.
The relocation is projected to begin as early as 2019. In a statement, Advocacy group Climate Nexus called the relocating tribal community “refugees” of climate change. Louisiana state official Patrick Forbes told Reuters that federal officials didn’t consider the tribe as refugees.
“I think of refugees as being scattered and chaotic retreat. This is a resettlement and we are careful to use that word,” Forbes said.
HUD has earmarked $48 million in federal grants for the tribe’s relocation, Forbes added. Tribal members told the New York Times in 2006 that residents have seen a football field of wetlands vanish every “every 20 minutes, every half-hour, every hour.” According to the NAU study, the island was once approximately 23 square miles in area. Today, it’s been reduced to an area about a quarter-mile wide and a half-mile long.
The tribe first settled the Isle de Jean Charles in the early 1800s while fleeing forced relocation under the Indian Removal Act, according to The Guardian.
Deputy chief Boyo Billiot told Reuters that the land loss, coupled with intense storms in the region, have caused the tribe’s numbers to shrink from a peak of 400 people to around 100. The tribe has been fighting for relocation funding for the past thirteen years, chief Albert Naquin told Indian Country Today in February.
The post Rising sea levels force U.S. to resettle Native American tribe appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders said Thursday he will not seek a recount of results in Missouri’s Democratic presidential primary, conceding defeat to Hillary Clinton.“I think it’s unlikely the results will impact at all the number of delegates the candidate gets and I would prefer to save the taxpayers of Missouri some money,” Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“Whether we win by 200 votes or lose by 500, it’s not going to impact the delegate selection,” the Vermont senator added. “It’s going to be evenly divided.”
Clinton ended Tuesday night with a narrow lead of 1,531 votes, but under state law, Sanders could have sought a recount because the margin was less than one-half of one percent.
Clinton will get an extra two delegates from Missouri for winning the statewide vote.
The win in Missouri means Clinton won all five of Tuesday’s Democratic primary contests. She also beat Sanders in Florida, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina.
The Republican race in Missouri remains too close to call between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Even though winning Missouri gives Clinton two additional delegates, she remains tied with Sanders at 34, with three delegates remaining to be allocated in the state. Democrats award delegates based on the share of the vote, both statewide and in congressional districts. Clinton was on track to come out ahead with one additional delegate, pending final vote data in two congressional districts.
Clinton now leads Sanders in pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses, 1,147 to 830.
When including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton has a much bigger lead — 1,614 to 856.
Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report.
The post Sanders concedes Missouri Democratic primary; Clinton wins appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland made the trek to Capitol Hill today. President Obama’s selection for the Supreme Court paid his first official visit, meeting with key Senate Democrats.
For more, we’re joined by NPR congressional correspondent Ailsa Chang. She joins us from Capitol Hill.
So, tell us, what sort of a reception did Judge Garland get?
AILSA CHANG, NPR: Well, today, because it was the two Democrats, he got an overwhelmingly positive reception.
But that was what was so conspicuous, is that today’s visit to Capitol Hill was just made up of two appointments with two key Democrats. Usually, when a Supreme Court nominee arrives on the Hill, the first people he or she meets are the top two Senate leaders, one in each party, and the top senators on the Judiciary Committee of each party.
So, today, because he only met with Minority Leader Harry Reid and the ranking member or top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, it wasn’t quite the reception that we’re usually used to seeing for Supreme Court nominees on the Hill.
Neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor the Judiciary chair, Grassley, Chuck Grassley, were on his schedule today.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Any word, Ailsa, on how these meetings went, or were they purely formalities?
AILSA CHANG: They’re usually a formality. They’re very ceremonial. There’s this gracious affair. They’re mostly a photo opportunity.
The question now is, how many meetings will he actually get with Republican senators in the weeks ahead? He actually spoke on the phone with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday. McConnell, through his spokesperson, told everybody that he wanted, he preferred to speak to Garland on the phone because he didn’t want to put Garland through the unnecessary political routines, and that he wanted to inform him that he will not get a face-to-face meeting with the Senate majority leader, because Garland will not get a confirmation vote this year, according to the Senate majority leader.
But he said that he did wish Garland well. Now, Chairman Chuck Grassley — at least the White House yesterday said that Grassley’s office had said that Grassley would — planned to meet with the nominee in a couple weeks after the Senate recess.
But Grassley this morning made it very clear that he made no such promise, that when he spoke to Garland personally on the phone yesterday, he said Garland should call him back after the recess is over and check in with him again, and they would decide how to go forward from there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
Now, a few Republican senators have said that they will meet with him. Is that right? Just a handful.
AILSA CHANG: Just a handful, about five or six.
Susan Collins of Maine, who has been known for a long time to be a moderate, from the very outset, she said that she thinks that the nominee, whomever Obama picks, should get a full confirmation process, should get a full confirmation hearing, should get a confirmation vote. So it’s no surprise that she reiterated this week that she would meet with Merrick Garland.
Three senators that are running in battleground states in 2016 said that they would go ahead and meet with Garland, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Mark Kirk of Illinois. Kirk had said also from nearly the outset that he thinks Obama’s nominee should get a full confirmation hearing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, again, these are senators who are facing — they’re having to compete in states where the Democrats have some chance, so they’re feeling a little bit of a different atmosphere back home.
Ailsa, what exactly then does Merrick Garland face? Are we just looking at weeks and months of no contact at all with the Senate?
AILSA CHANG: I mean, it — well, he will certainly — he will certainly coming up to the Hill for many, many meetings with Democrats, but the question is, how many more Republicans will agree to these meetings?
Now, if you talk to Chuck Schumer of New York, he says that the ice is breaking, the fact that five or six Republican senators are saying now that they will meet with the nominee shows that there are many more Republican senators who are going to crack, because it’s just untenable that — the position they’re taking. That is sort of the hope that Democrats are expressing right now.
But it’s really going to be up to the Senate Democrats to try to keep this issue alive, especially now we’re going into a two-week recess. You know, it means calling up press events. It means getting their grassroots efforts out there, continuing to push this into the public eye, and getting reporters like me to keep writing about a story — about this story, because if the story ceases to change, it’s hard to keep justifying coverage of it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s an unprecedented situation, at least in our modern — in my memory. I don’t remember anything like this.
Ailsa Chang with NPR, thank you very much.
AILSA CHANG: You’re welcome.
The post Supreme Court nominee meets with Congressional Democrats appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, was in the spotlight again today, this time at a hearing before Congress, where the question seemed to be, who is the most to blame for dangerous lead poisoning?
It was heated at times, and there were calls for resignations of top officials.
Correspondent John Yang begins.
MAN: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will come to order.
JOHN YANG: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy took the oath, settled into their seats, and the grilling began.
Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings started with Republican Snyder.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), Maryland: Governor Snyder has been described as running the state of Michigan like a business. There’s no doubt in my mind that, if a corporate CEO did what Governor Snyder’s administration has done, he would be hauled up on criminal charges.
JOHN YANG: An emergency manager appointed by Snyder’s administration switched Flint’s water supply to the Flint River in April 2014, in a bid to save money. But no corrosion control was added. That allowed lead from aging pipes to leach into drinking water for more than a year.
Snyder said today that Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality repeatedly assured him the water was safe, until last fall.
GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), Michigan: It was on October 1, 2015, that I learned that our state experts were wrong. Flint’s water had dangerous levels of lead. On that date, I took immediate action. Not a day or night goes by that this tragedy doesn’t weigh on my mind, the questions I should have asked, the answers I should have demanded, how I could have prevented this.
JOHN YANG: That wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy some on the committee.
REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT (D), Pennsylvania: Plausible deniability only works when it’s plausible, and I’m not buying that you didn’t know about any of this until October 2015. You weren’t in a medically induced coma for a year. And I have had about enough of your false contrition and your phony apologies.
JOHN YANG: Republican Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz laid blame mostly with the Environmental Protection Agency and its boss, Gina McCarthy.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), Utah: I am asking the questions.
GINA MCCARTHY, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency: OK.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ: Yes, OK. In February is when you first arrived on the scene, and it wasn’t until January of next year that you actually you did something. That’s the fundamental problem. Don’t look around like you’re mystified. That’s what happened. You didn’t take action. You didn’t. And you could have pulled that switch.
GINA MCCARTHY: We consistently took action from that point forward, consistently.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ: There are a lot of people in this audience from Flint. Nobody believes that you took action. You had the presence, you had the authority, you had the backing of the federal government, and you didn’t act when you had the chance. And if you’re going to do the courageous thing, you too should step down.
JOHN YANG: McCarthy blamed the state for giving the EPA bad information and maintained she did everything within her legal authority to respond.
GINA MCCARTHY: We just couldn’t get a straight answer anywhere. People don’t deserve that out of their government. I will take responsibility for not pushing hard enough, but I will not take responsibility for causing this problem. It wasn’t EPA at the helm when this happened.
JOHN YANG: The issue of lead in water also affects communities from Ohio to North Carolina, from Mississippi to New Jersey. Governor Snyder today urged Congress to approve $220 million for replacing contaminated pipes in Flint and in other cities. And he said he wants Michigan to spend a similar amount.
PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace!
JOHN YANG: But some Flint residents who attended today’s hearing said that’s not good enough, given Michigan’s budget surplus of $575 million.
NAKIYA WAKES, Flint Resident: I was hearing stuff in Snyder’s testimony today. We was never told about any of this until January of 2016. He has ignored Flint and all warnings. Then he says that he has money put up for a rainy day fund. Well, it’s pouring. Where is the money at?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHN YANG: Lead levels in Flint’s water are dropping, but they still don’t meet federal drinking water standards. That means city residents will continue to use bottled water for the foreseeable future.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s pick up further on these questions of what mistakes were made and by whom in Flint, as well as growing concerns about the safety of water in other communities.
David Shepardson, a Michigan native, has been reporting on Flint and watching the latest developments for Reuters. And Marc Edwards, he is a civil and environmental engineer and professor at Virginia Tech University. He’s widely credited with helping to expose the Flint water problems. He testified before the same House committee earlier this week.
And we welcome you both.
David Shepardson, to you first.
You get the impression from listening to this hearing today that everybody involved bears some responsibility. Is that accurate?
DAVID SHEPARDSON, Reuters: I think everybody admits that things didn’t go well, i mean, the state, the local authorities.
And the EPA has probably a little bit different position, that they do not admit specific wrongdoing. All they admit, they didn’t act fast enough. In fact, the agency yesterday released about 1,200 pages of e-mails that show that, as far back as September, the administrator asked her deputies whether it was appropriate the intervene.
And she said that this could get big very quickly. So, certainly, the agency knew that this was a growing issue of concern, but they didn’t opt to take the step of issuing an emergency order to intervene until January of this year.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, given that, is there one individual or one agency that bears more responsibility than others?
DAVID SHEPARDSON: Well, I guess it depends on your point of view.
The main problem was that the state failed to add corrosion control to the water, and the EPA would say, and the state would agree, that they didn’t inform the EPA of this for months and months. And because of that, that catastrophic decision led to the ultimate poisoning of the water, but from there, depending on what political party you’re in, it really — the splitting of the blame depends on your point of view.
That’s really what the last two hearings have been largely about.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s impossible to separate it from the politics, but we will try.
Professor Marc Edwards, you were asked to go in and look at the Flint water situation, what, almost a year ago by a family that lived there. What would you add to where the responsibility lies here?
MARC EDWARDS, Virginia Tech: Well, it’s very clear that Governor Snyder was guilty of not listening to the complaints of residents in Flint.
And he was guilty of being overly trusting of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA. And he’s accepted that blame. He called it his Katrina. And he also now wants to be part of the solution, but I think the thing that concerns me most is EPA’s testimony, which I find to be outrageous and Orwellian.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In what way?
MARC EDWARDS: Well, I mean, for example, they said the EPA whistle-blower’s memo that blew the lid off this back in July was inconclusive, when, in fact, it proved that the entire city was in danger.
EPA today claimed that they didn’t know if they could enforce federal law. EPA didn’t know if they could enforce federal law or not. They said also that they were strong-armed by the state. I mean, how can you be strong-armed by someone you’re supposed to be supervising? And even more outrageous is, they have claimed that they warned Flint residents in July that the water wasn’t safe to drink, when, in fact, when Virginia Tech, our team, tried to warn people in July, August and September that the water was unsafe, we had to fight the EPA.
EPA said nothing to back us up. So they are a major part of what went wrong in Flint, and for them to sit there and act like they have done nothing wrong is just, again, outrageous and Orwellian.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we should point out that we did invite the EPA to participate in the discussion tonight to come on for an interview, and they declined our request.
And this story goes on, but, for right now, David Shepardson, in Flint, the problem has gotten a little bit better, but it continues. Is that right?
DAVID SHEPARDSON: Right.
And there’s — so there’s two funding issues right now. The water is not yet safe to drink, and there are still — the EPA is still doing tests, and there are still many people who are forced to use bottled water for cooking and drinking.
But both the state — the governor has asked the state legislature to fund another $160 million over two years, and there’s another fight in Congress over whether the federal government should kick in about $220 million for Flint and other cities struggling with lead in pipes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that to be resolved.
Professor Edwards, though, while we’re talking about this, we know that you have written that there are a number of older American cities that are confronting very similar problems to what Flint has experienced. Where are we talking about exactly in this country?
MARC EDWARDS: Well, you’re talking about all the major U.S. cities that have lead pipe, where it’s acknowledged that the example to meet intent of this rule, 70 percent of those cities would have to tell people that the water is unsafe.
So, we have been arguing this with EPA for 10 years, warning them that something like Flint was going to happen. And the only thing that’s really unusual here is that they got caught in Flint. A group of outsiders exposed that children were getting lead poisoning, even as MDQ and EPA were claiming the water’s safe.
To this day, EPA and MDQ have not admitted that the water broke federal law.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How much of the rest of the country should be worrying about this?
MARC EDWARDS: Well, I think what you’re going to do is, when you start turning over rocks and looking for what’s going on with lead in drinking water in this country, something slimy is going to crawl out every time.
You’re seeing that in New Jersey now. You’re seeing it in Chicago, Philadelphia, Jackson. I mean, EPA has known about this problem for 10 years, and it’s done nothing. And we have been screaming at EPA to try to stop something like Flint from happening.
JUDY WOODRUFF: When you say we, you mean you and those folks who are working with you on this?
MARC EDWARDS: Yes.
No, there were several us in Washington, D.C., who saw how this attitude of EPA that anything goes in terms of cheating on measuring lead in water, so that it looks low when you sample it, but it could be high when people are drinking the water, it was leaving — it’s left all Americans in harm’s way.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dave Shepardson, how well-prepared are America’s cities, states and the EPA to deal with what apparently is a much bigger problem than anybody realized?
DAVID SHEPARDSON: It’s a staggering issue.
There are about 155,000 water systems the EPA enforces. The vast majority of states are the primary ones overseeing these water systems. And by the EPA’s estimate, over the next 20 years, the water infrastructure of the country needs at least $600 billion in investments.
So — and there have been numerous reports recently of the lead problems in Mississippi and Pennsylvania and throughout the country. And, as Mark said, clearly, Flint has cast attention on it, but it’s not just lead in water, but it’s also lead in paint and other sources. The lead issue for children across the country, it goes far beyond certainly Flint.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, to what extent is this an issue that is a priority before the Congress and the administration?
DAVID SHEPARDSON: Well, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow was on the floor today complaining that they didn’t reach a deal before the Senate goes on a two-week recess, and there is going to be more fighting.
But remember that’s it’s also an issue in the presidential campaign, that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have called for Governor Snyder to resign. And I do think the issue of infrastructure and funding for cities like Flint is going to continue to be an issue throughout the campaign season.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we certainly need to continue to watch this, and we will do that.
David Shepardson, we thank you.
And, Professor Marc Edwards at Virginia Tech, thank you.
DAVID SHEPARDSON: Thanks.
The post Congress grills Michigan governor, EPA head over Flint water crisis appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. Gwen Ifill is away.
On the “NewsHour” tonight:
MAN: I’m glad you’re sorry now. I’m glad you’re taking action now, but it’s a little bit late for the kids in Flint.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In a heated hearing, members of Congress grill Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency over Flint’s water crisis.
Also ahead this Thursday: next steps in the political battle over President Obama’s Supreme Court pick.
And as March Madness sets in, we look at some of the questions surrounding paying collegiate athletes.
ED O’BANNON, Plaintiff and Former NCAA Player: Close to 15 years later, and they’re still making money off of my image. I just thought to myself, there’s got to be something wrong about this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, began making the rounds on Capitol Hill today, this in the face of Senate Republicans saying they will not consider any Obama nominee this year.
Instead, Garland started with Minority Leader Harry Reid and Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy said the judge won’t be commenting on the political fight.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), Vermont: He’s not going to go out before the press like I am and give his side of the story. Where he gets his chance to say anything tell is at a hearing, and that’s what he ought to have.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the visits a stunt orchestrated by the White House.
We will take a closer look at nomination politics in the Senate later in the program.
In the presidential race, House Speaker Paul Ryan tried again to shut down speculation that he might agree to be the Republican nominee if there’s a contested convention. He said anyone who’s saying otherwise should — quote — “knock it off.”
But at a weekly briefing, Ryan also criticized Donald Trump for warning his supporters that they might riot if he’s close and is still denied the nomination.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), Speaker of the House: Nobody should say such things, in my opinion, because to even address or hint to violence is unacceptable.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Republican front-runner also drew fire from Moscow. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin charged that an online ad for Trump reflects a — quote — “demonization of Russia.” The ad refers to Putin as — quote — “one of our toughest opponents.”
Separately, President Vladimir Putin warned today that he’s prepared to send more warplanes and troops back to Syria if need be. Russian forces began a partial pullout this week after helping Syria’s military make major advances in the run-up to peace talks.
At a Moscow ceremony, Putin made clear that he won’t let those gains be lost.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): If necessary, literally within a few hours, Russia can build up its contingent in the region to a size proportionate to the situation developing there and use the entire arsenal of capabilities at our disposal.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Kurdish regions in Northern Syria announced that they’re forming their own federal region. The area extends from the eastern border with Iraq to the cities of Kobani and near Aleppo farther west. The Syrian government and opposition groups rejected the move, and the United States said that it won’t recognize any self-ruled region unless the Syrian people vote on it.
Secretary of State John Kerry formally declared today that the Islamic State group is committing genocide in Iraq and Syria, the targets, Christians and other minorities. Congress and human rights groups had pushed for the finding, and they set today as a deadline for the declaration. But the announcement doesn’t obligate the U.S. to take any additional action.
In Turkey, a Kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombing in Ankara that killed 37 people. The group is an offshoot of the main Kurdish separatist group PKK. And it warned that there may be more attacks. For their part, German officials shuttered their embassy in Ankara and their consulate in Istanbul in response to a threat. They called it — quote — “concrete and very serious.”
The European Union is wrestling again with how to stop the human tide flowing out of Turkey. A summit opened today, but there were signs that a tentative deal might fall through.
Alex Thomson of Independent Television News is watching developments from Greece, where some 40,000 migrants are stranded.
ALEX THOMSON: Still unable to agree, European leaders arrived in Brussels for another two-day summit to discuss the migration crisis, which saw more than 1.2 million migrants arrive in Europe last year.
DONALD TUSK, President, European Council: Only if we all work together in a coordinated manner and keep our cool, we will achieve success. I am cautiously optimistic, but, frankly speaking, more cautious than optimistic.
ALEX THOMSON: Under the so-called one-for-one deal, for every Syrian refugee just across the water there in Turkey behind us that gets resettled here in Europe, a Syria refugee from here in Greece goes back across the Aegean.
Now, when all this was apparently arranged 10 days ago, the figures were vague. Since then, though, it’s emerged that the E.U. is apparently only prepared to take 72,000 such people all up, and there is no commitment yet beyond that figure.
Further places may be available under a voluntary separate scheme, but this would require a change to E.U. law, and getting all 28 member states on board is a tall order, as the E.U. summit chairman has acknowledged.
But charities say the controversial plans are against European and international law.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All 28 E.U. member states must agree to any deal.
Saudi Arabia has announced that it’s paring back combat operations in Yemen after nearly a year of airstrikes and ground combat. The kingdom has been leading a Sunni Arab coalition trying to roll back gains by Shiite rebels in Yemen. But the air raids have killed hundreds of civilians. And the United Nations today raised the death toll to 119 in a Saudi strike that took place Tuesday near the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
The Earth’s temperature was much higher than usual last month. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports February 2016 beat the old record by six-tenths of a degree, a far bigger margin than usual. In the process, Arctic Sea ice reached a record low. Scientists say the heat was partly due to a super El Nino effect.
Automatic braking systems will be standard in the U.S. for most cars and light trucks within the next six years. Twenty major automakers have agreed to that voluntary schedule today with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. U.S. drivers have nearly two million rear-end crashes each year.
And, on Wall Street, oil rose to more than $40 a barrel, and helped push stocks higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 155 points to close above 17480. The Nasdaq rose 11, and the S&P 500 added 13.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Congress lambastes Michigan’s governor and the EPA over the Flint water crisis; the economics of paying student athletes; SeaWorld ends its orca whale breeding program; and much more.
The post News Wrap: Paul Ryan won’t be GOP nominee; Putin makes threat on Syria appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The popular theme park SeaWorld has been under ever-growing criticism for the way it breeds and shows its popular orca whales.
Now SeaWorld is bowing to pressure and making a big change.
Jeffrey Brown has the story.
JEFFREY BROWN: Orca whales have been entertaining audiences at SeaWorld parks since 1964. Once feared — they’re commonly known as killer whales — they have become hugely popular and even beloved.
Today’s announcement, made with the Humane Society, means the era of public exhibition is, gradually at least, coming to an end.
JOEL MANBY, CEO, SeaWorld: Current orcas under our care will be the last generation at SeaWorld. We’re going to phase out our theatrical shows.
JEFFREY BROWN: SeaWorld is ending its breeding program for the animals, though it’s keeping the whales it already has.
And the Orlando-based company says the shows will give way to what it calls inspiring natural orca encounters. Animal rights activists have long criticized keeping the animals in captivity.
WOMAN: Any of us would be miserable if we had to spend out life living in a bathtub. And orcas at SeaWorld are just as miserable. They spend their lives confined to tiny tanks, where they go mad from confinement and boredom.
JEFFREY BROWN: The parks came under new scrutiny in 2010 after one of the whales drowned a trainer. That attack later became the peg for 2013’s “Blackfish,” a documentary examining the effects of captivity on killer whales.
The company also faced regulatory and legislative efforts to ban orca captivity. And ticket sales to the parks have dropped significantly.
And we’re joined now by the man who made today’s announcement, SeaWorld CEO and president Joel Manby, and by Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, a longtime critic of SeaWorld that worked with it on the new reform measures.
Welcome to both of you.
Joel Manby, let me start with you.
Is this an acknowledgment that raising and using the whales for public exhibition has been wrong?
JOEL MANBY: Jeffrey, what’s really clear to me — I have been CEO for about 11 months now — is that society has shifted.
And people’s view of having these majestic, very large animals under human care has changed over time. And more and more people are becoming uncomfortable with it.
And I had to make some difficult decisions to move the company forward, and I felt that the right thing to do for the company and all things considered is to end our breeding program.
JEFFREY BROWN: The right thing to do for the company, so should it be seen mostly as a business decision?
JOEL MANBY: You know what? I think any business in today’s world has to be connected to a core set of values.
And our core set of values is to help animals in the wild. And a lot of people don’t maybe realize that about SeaWorld, but we have the best zoological organization, I think, in the world. We’re passionate about animals. We’re passionate about animals in the wild.
And I felt that the orca issue was an overhang for us that was stopping our incredible story from being told to a country that’s changing. And I think it’s great that the millennials, the younger folks care about conservation, they care about animals. We do, too, and I wanted them to hear our story more and more.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, so Wayne Pacelle, as I said, a longtime critic of SeaWorld, now working with them, what do you see as the importance of this move, and what would a move towards a more educational or more natural approach be? What do you want to see happen now?
WAYNE PACELLE, CEO, Humane Society of the United States: Well, we celebrate the end of breeding of orcas in activity. This has been a long-held aspiration for the Humane Society of the U.S. and so many other groups in our field.
Obviously, the atmospherics on this issue changed dramatically after the airing of “Blackfish.” In terms of these animals, they are obviously long-lived animals. They are going to be around if they are not released into the wild. And there are obviously a whole set of challenges if that were to be contemplated.
We obviously are very focused on the idea of an orca-centric experience, that the trainers are allowing them to exhibit their natural behaviors, that they’re exercised, that within the captive setting, there’s enrichment.
It’s a great challenge, with these highly intelligent, complex, sociable animals who live in pods in the wild. We think there’s a ceiling in terms of how much can be done for them, but obviously SeaWorld and its staff need to do their best to accommodate their needs.
JEFFREY BROWN: What about, Mr. Pacelle, staying with you, going — I wonder if you would go further, because your organization has also been critical of keeping dolphins in captivity.
Are you pushing SeaWorld to go there? Do you expect this to continue to something like that any time soon?
WAYNE PACELLE: Well, we think there’s actually a very artful solution, which is, if SeaWorld has continuing needs for animals to populate its expeditions, if they can get animals who are beached or otherwise in distress from the wild and those animals can be brought in, rehabilitated and in some cases, if they cannot be re-released, then they can meet those needs.
And that is a de facto sanctuary. That’s what big cat sanctuaries and chimp sanctuaries and lots of other animal-based sanctuaries do. Some animals simply can’t be released into the wild again. And a lot of very progressive zoos and others are relying on rescues to populate their exhibits.
So, we hope that’s the direction of SeaWorld in the years ahead.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, what about that, Mr. Manby, because…
JOEL MANBY: If I could….
JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, go ahead. I want to get your response on where you see this going, and why not, if there’s cultural shifts, move to other animals like dolphins?
JOEL MANBY: Well, a point that Wayne made that is very important — a lot of people don’t realize it — is that there is a tremendous need for rescue operations, and the capacity is much lower than the demand.
And one of the things I announced today was, SeaWorld is committing $50 million over the next five years, with a goal of being the largest rescue organization in the world. And just in the last year, we rescue seven animals a day, 1,000 dolphins stranded last year alone. There’s hundreds and hundreds of sea lions in California that we save.
This good work can’t continue unless SeaWorld has the expertise and the facilities.
JEFFREY BROWN: Is there, Mr. Manby — with the orcas, you have said you — it would be dangerous to release the ones you have.
What about, though, on a case-by-case basis or moving them, transferring them to some kind of transitional area?
JOEL MANBY: Yes.
You know, this is something that actually Wayne and I have talked a lot about. We don’t always agree on everything, and we won’t, but we’re trying to look for common ground. And the truth is, any research you read, any peer-reviewed research, a whale that’s born into human care is not a good candidate for release.
In fact, in the history of mankind, no whale or dolphin born under human care has been released successfully. The only time it has been done successfully, if they’re wild, they’re brought in for a short period of time and released.
We have four whales that were taken from the wild over 35 years ago. They’re quite old now. They have been under human care for a long, long time. We don’t think it’s worth the risk for those four whales.
JEFFREY BROWN: Mr. Pacelle, just in our last minute, I want to ask you about the largest context here. Do you see this as part of a movement, in the way that zoos and aquariums and all look at the treatment of animals, movies, and so a much larger cultural shift here?
WAYNE PACELLE: No question.
I have got a book coming out next month called “The Humane Economy,” and my argument is that business and commerce must marry itself with these emergent values about animals and their well-being.
It was March last year we saw Ringling Brothers give up its traveling elephant acts. We have seen movies migrate away from live animals to computer-generated imagery. We’re seeing changes in the food sector, where companies like Wal-Mart or Kroger or McDonald’s are now buying their products that come from more humane farms.
This is a cultural-wide shift. And this happens to be one manifestation, with a live entertainment company like SeaWorld getting on board. We’re happy about that, but we’re very happy about the broader trends in society.
JOEL MANBY: You think about, for 20 years, we have been adversaries, really monologuing against each other. Now we’re dialoguing.
And I think the winner is animals in the wild and in their habitats. And let’s focus there, because the crisis is bigger than any organization can handle. And we can do more together than if we fight all the time. So, I think it’s a good move.
JEFFREY BROWN: Joel Manby and Wayne Pacelle, thank you both very much.
JOEL MANBY: Thank you.
WAYNE PACELLE: Thank you, Jeffrey.
The post No more Shamu — SeaWorld to end breeding of killer whales appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Millions of viewers began tuning into college basketball’s March Madness games today. Billions of dollars are paid for the TV rights.
Last year, an average of 11 million people tuned in throughout the month. And yet one question looms larger than ever: Should the players be entitled to compensation?
Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, explores the issues this would raise. It’s part of his weekly Making Sense report, which airs Thursdays on the “NewsHour.”
ED O’BANNON, Plaintiff and Former NCAA Player: I saw myself on a video game.
PAUL SOLMAN: Former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon, MVP of the 1995 NCAA Finals.
ED O’BANNON: It was pretty cool to watch. I mean, the guy was left-handed, bald-headed. The jumper was good. So, I was very pleased about it.
PAUL SOLMAN: But the friend who showed O’Bannon the game was puzzled.
ED O’BANNON: What’s funny about it is, he says, we paid X-amount of dollars for it, for the video game, and you didn’t get one penny.
PAUL SOLMAN: It was this encounter that sparked a famous firestorm, Ed O’Bannon’s eventual 2009 lawsuits against the NCAA and video game maker EA Sports for blatant and unlawful use of student athlete likenesses to increase sales and profits, while denying college athletes any share of the revenues they generated, besides a full-tuition sports scholarship.
ED O’BANNON: Close to 15 years later, and they’re still making money off of my image. I just thought to myself, there’s got to be something wrong about this. If I was an entertainer of any other sort, would I have these same things happened to me, you know?
PAUL SOLMAN: No. You would get royalties, residuals.
ED O’BANNON: Absolutely.
PAUL SOLMAN: We’d come to find out what’s happened to Ed O’Bannon and his suit, landing in Las Vegas, passing the Strip, more decked-out than ever, winding up in Henderson, Nevada, where O’Bannon works, lives, and helps coach basketball at Liberty High School.
He now coaches the NCAA-ers of tomorrow, who, if they’re absurdly good and lucky, will play in a Final Four themselves someday. The rights paid to the NCAA to broadcast the tournament this year? Nearly a billion dollars. The players’ take? Still zero.
New York Times columnist Joe Nocera has long made the case for paying so-called student athletes. It’s starkly laid out in his new book, “Indentured.”
JOE NOCERA, The New York Times: They are fundamentally exploited by a system that makes not millions of dollars, but billions of dollars, and that enriches everybody around them except themselves.
PAUL SOLMAN: But athletes, if they make it, make millions of dollars.
JOE NOCERA: Sure. The very small 5 percent who make it from college to the pros will get — will get very rich. What about the other 95 percent?
PAUL SOLMAN: O’Bannon became one of the 5 percent. And yet, in college, he often went hungry for lack of cash.
ED O’BANNON: There were many nights when I went through the night without eating.
PAUL SOLMAN: You?
ED O’BANNON: Oh, absolutely.
MAN: It’s simple, gentlemen. The little things is what’s going to win us the game.
PAUL SOLMAN: Back at Liberty High, the coaches were prepping the Patriots for a playoff game.
ED O’BANNON: Do what got us here. Have some fun. Keep us winning.
PAUL SOLMAN: Kyle Thaxton is one of the team’s stars. Should college athletes get paid?
KYLE THAXTON, Liberty High School: If they’re the ones playing and doing it on the court, then they should be the ones getting paid also. It shouldn’t just be the coaches.
PAUL SOLMAN: Coaches who can make $6 million a year or more. And it’s not just pay.
RAMOGI HUMA, President, National College Players Association: In NCAA sports, you have players who can be stuck with sports-related medical expenses.
PAUL SOLMAN: Ramogi Huma, who played football at UCLA, has been doing the lonely work of organizing players.
RAMOGI HUMA: Injured players can lose their scholarships. Graduation rates hover around 50 percent amongst the sports who are generating this money, and the NCAA’s refusing to adopt the same concussion reforms that the NFL has adopted.
We’re not advocating for professional salaries and things like that, but we’re saying that, look, some of that value should be given in the form of basic protections like medical expenses and degree completion.
PAUL SOLMAN: NCAA President Mark Emmert declined an interview, but we caught up with him at a press conference.
Why not pay college athletes?
MARK EMMERT, President, NCAA: Because they’re students and they’re not employees. At the end of the day, you know, young men and women come to college because they want to get an education, because they want to participate in their sport as part of that educational experience.
PAUL SOLMAN: We relayed Emmert’s response to Ed O’Bannon.
ED O’BANNON: The way that they run their business — and that’s what they’re doing, they are running a business — you can’t possibly do that and think that your employees, because these athletes are employees, they aren’t — they shouldn’t get paid. That to me is mind-boggling.
PAUL SOLMAN: But it was time for the tipoff. In the playoff game, the home team seemed comfortably ahead. But big-time college sports is rarely comfortable, says Joe Nocera.
JOE NOCERA: Really, being an athlete on a campus is a full-time job. The NCAA rules say it’s only supposed to be 20 hours a week, but if you go on a road trip, they only count the time you’re on the floor. So, when you’re in the airplane, when you’re in the hotel, that doesn’t count.
PAUL SOLMAN: And on campus:
JOE NOCERA: You have weightlifting in the morning. Then you go to some classes. Then you have got practice. Then you have got more strength training. Then you have got enforced study hall. You know, you go to bed at midnight, you get up at 6:00, you do the whole thing all over. It’s a full-time job.
And not only that. Let’s be honest. There’s a cartel that is suppressing the wages of a labor force, if you want to think about it in economic terms.
PAUL SOLMAN: “Cartel?” we asked the NCAA’s Emmert.
MARK EMMERT: He’s allowed his opinions.
PAUL SOLMAN: Turns out it’s not just the NCAA that has a problem paying players, though.
Cardozo Law School Professor Ekow Yankah:
EKOW YANKAH, Yeshiva University: The more and more we treat them as young minor league professional athletes, the further they will get from the other things that we find valuable about college.
PAUL SOLMAN: Or, as Liberty High senior Kahlil Derouen put it:
KAHLIL DEROUEN, Student: We don’t want the importance of being a student to be diminished more.
PAUL SOLMAN: Moreover, Ekow Yankah asks, if you pay basketball, football and baseball players:
EKOW YANKAH: What does that mean for our water polo team? What does that mean for volleyball? There is a dangerous line here where the very natural thing to do would be to have three revenue-generating sports and get rid of all the others.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, Professor Yankah has an alternative for athletes who aren’t students.
EKOW YANKAH: If there are young people who are not at all interested in being student athletes, and their life’s project is to develop their particular athletic talent, there ought to be professional developmental leagues into which they can go.
PAUL SOLMAN: Right now, of course, the main option for young basketball players remains going to an NCAA college.
Do almost all of them think they are going pro, that is, people who play in Division I college, let’s say?
ED O’BANNON: In my experience, yes.
PAUL SOLMAN: And it’s a delusion right?
ED O’BANNON: It’s a delusion, but I think it’s the right delusion. You have to think you’re going to go in order to get there.
PAUL SOLMAN: OK, so what happened to O’Bannon’s Liberty Patriots? Hoop dreams dashed, theirs and by this time ours, they wound up losing 67-61.
ED O’BANNON: As the coaching staff, we tip our hats to you guys, because you played hard all season.
MAN: What you guys did today and these previous four years, you will get to further your education, and get it paid for. That’s the goal.
PAUL SOLMAN: And maybe even getting paid extra in cash.
And so, in the end, what’s happened to the lawsuits? Well, EA Sports actually settled for roughly $60 million, with thousands of players, past and present, getting, on average, about $1,600 each, the money finally awarded just this week.
In 2014, the court ruled the NCAA’s refusal to pay players was an antitrust violation, and also ordered up to $5,000 per student athlete be put in trust for using their likenesses. But the NCAA appealed, and the money award was reversed.
And so, this Tuesday, O’Bannon’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to review the case.
In Henderson, Nevada, this is economics correspondent Paul Solman for the “PBS NewsHour.”
The post Is the NCAA ‘a cartel?’ Some former and current athletes say yes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Automatic braking will be standard in most cars and light trucks within six years and on heavier SUVs and pickup trucks within eight years under an agreement that transportation officials and automakers announced on Thursday.
The voluntary agreement with 20 car manufacturers means that the important safety technology will be available more quickly than if the government had gone through the lengthy process of issuing mandatory rules, said Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
However, some safety advocates have filed a petition asking the government to issue mandatory regulations. They say voluntary agreements aren’t enforceable, and that since automatic braking is already available in some cars, issuing rules requiring the technology could be done faster than the six to eight years allowed under the agreement.
Automatic braking systems use cameras, radar and other sensors to see objects that are in the way and slow or stop a vehicle if the driver doesn’t react. It’s the most important safety technology currently available that’s not already required in cars.
“A commitment of this magnitude is unprecedented, and it will bring more safety to more Americans sooner,” Rosekind said.
Deborah Hersman, president of the National Safety Council, said the agreement “has the potential to save more lives than almost anything else we can accomplish in the next six years.”
There are about 1.7 million rear-end crashes a year in the U.S., killing more than 200 people, injuring 400,000 others and costing about $47 billion. More than half of those crashes could be avoided or mitigated by automatic braking or systems that warn drivers of an impending collision, NHTSA has estimated.
Of the 194 most popular vehicle models already on the market, 17 come with automatic braking as standard equipment. It is available as part of an options package in 71 other models.
The reason automakers don’t want to be required to put automatic braking into vehicles sooner than the six to eight years promised in the voluntary agreement is that they don’t want to have to redesign vehicles and change production schedules sooner than planned, said safety advocate Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA administrator.
“This six- to nine-year lead time is all about the auto companies saving money,” she said.
The agreement requires that automatic braking be standard in most cars and light trucks with weighing up to 8,500 pounds no later than Sept. 1, 2022. The braking would have to be standard on nearly SUVs and pickup trucks with weighing between 8,501 and 10,000 pounds beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025.
NHTSA estimates that the agreement will make automatic braking standard on new cars three years faster than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. During those three years, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates, the technology will prevent 28,000 more crashes and 12,000 more injuries than without the agreement.
However, the standards for how effective the brakes must be are set so low under the agreement that few if any lives will be saved, said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.
The post Automakers agree to put automatic braking in cars by 2022 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
This week, the Irish prime minister visited the White House, Russia made a surprising move and puppies ruled the Internet (again). Take our 5-minute world quiz on this and more.
The post World news quiz: St. Patrick’s Day and a Russian surprise appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will nominate the first woman to head a U.S. military combatant command, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Friday, a major milestone in a department that this year opened all combat jobs to women.
Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson is being nominated to head U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. If confirmed by the Senate, Robinson, would be the seventh commander to head the Colorado-based command. She currently is head of the Pacific Air Force.
Northern Command was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to coordinate and improve homeland defense and to provide support for national disasters. She would replace Adm. William Gortney, who is retiring.
Carter also said that Obama will nominate Gen. Vincent Brooks to head U.S. Forces Korea. Brooks currently is in charge of U.S. Army Pacific Command.
Brooks’ nomination also is subject to Senate confirmation.
The post Obama to nominate first woman to head U.S. combatant command appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
When comic book writer Mark Waid took over Daredevil’s run for Marvel in 2011, he found a superhero who had battled a long list of adversaries. One in particular — depression — was personal for the writer.
It was an empowering experience, Waid said. “I’ve been pretty upfront about the fact that I’ve personally been dealing with depression issues all my life, successfully, but everyday is a struggle,” he said in a NewsHour interview in September 2014 around the time of the issue’s release. Waid completed his Daredevil run with Marvel in September 2015 and has since moved over to Archie Comics.
Like many comic writers who expand on storylines from their predecessors, Waid’s Daredevil talked about and addressed his depression head on.
Given the nature of mental health issues and the potential hereditary factors involved, Waid took the next obvious step, he said, along with co-writer Javier Rodriguez, and wrote a story (Daredevil #7, 2014) about postpartum depression. The story revealed the long-kept secret of why Daredevil’s mother, Sister Maggie, had left her young son.
In order to be able to accurately depict Sister Maggie’s experience, Waid drew on conversations he had had with his own mother who had experienced postpartum depression as well as other women alongside his own mental health struggles.
“Back then doctors didn’t really understand postpartum depression. They waved it away as the ‘baby blues,’” Sister Maggie explains to Daredevil. “But in a lot of women, it’s very real. It’s not a funk, it’s an illness.”
About one in seven women in the United States will develop some form of maternal depression, or perinatal mood disorder, during pregnancy or after childbirth, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behavior and very rarely psychosis, according to a study in the May 2013 Journal of the American Medical Association.
Doctors appear to be talking about it now more than before with their patients, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The study showed an increase from 33 percent to 44 percent over the last decade in the number of pediatricians who regularly ask mothers about maternal depression. But while the inquiries and screenings are increasing, further training is needed on the importance of mental health to get the number even higher, the study concluded.
“Maternal depression is often overlooked and untreated because women with mental health issues do not routinely access health care for themselves,” said Dr. Ruth E. K. Stein, co-author and professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
However, new mothers will make the necessary trips to a pediatrician’s office on behalf of their children, offering important opportunities for the doctor to identify mental health conditions and get mothers the help they need, Stein said in a statement.
The study comes after a federal panel’s recommendation in January that said all health care providers should screen new and expectant mothers for depression. The same panel’s previous set of recommendations in 2009 had left out postpartum women.
The stigma around maternal depression will shrink as the public increases its understanding, and popular media like comics can help, said Wendy N. Davis, executive director of the non-profit organization Postpartum Support International (PSI) who Marvel editors had reached out to regarding the piece. “Talk about public awareness right to families,” she said.
Jenny Gaskell of Port Washington, Wisconsin, who battled postpartum depression and anxiety during and after her second pregnancy, said the comic book directly affected her family. She said her childbirth classes made references to the “baby blues,” but no one ever talked about maternal mental health issues. “I think a lot of women struggle and suffer in silence until you get to the point when you realize something is really, really wrong.”
Gaskell recalled how loud noises and family gatherings were overwhelming and how she became irritable and experienced rage, a symptom not often talked about, she said. She learned about maternal depression online through websites likes PSI and PostPartum Progress. She became a blogger in order to get the word out to other mothers and their families.
As Gaskell became more involved with the postpartum community, her husband became more of an advocate, too. He was the one who handed her the Daredevil comic and told her to read it.
Gaskell said she was in awe after she saw how the edition’s letters page, which usually features fan feedback, was devoted entirely to information about perinatal mood disorders. She expressed her appreciation in a tweet.
“It gets the message out to men in a different way,” she said, “They don’t think their wife is just crazy.”
“My brain started storming with hideous thoughts,” Sister Maggie tells Daredevil. “That I was letting you down. That I was somehow failing you because a mother is supposed to be happy, and all I could do was cry.” But Maggie persevered. After she left her son, she found a home in the Church and received medical help before becoming a nun and a social justice activist.
Marvel’s team researched and provided detailed explanation of maternal depression. “We wanted to make it abundantly clear that as a consequence of dealing with her postpartum issues and her severe depression as a young mother, it drove her to become a much stronger, more active character in her world,” Waid said.
The inclusion of more socially-minded comics gained ground once again in the early 1970s with storylines about alcohol and drug abuse, even if it meant not obtaining the seal of approval from the Comics Code Authority, a self-regulating body created in the 1950s to ensure comics stayed away from controversial issues.
“Most comics are written for adults and older teenagers at this point,” said Annie Bulloch, co-owner of 8th Dimension Comics and Games in Houston and member of the Valkyries, a 500-female strong group of comic book retail workers. “They enjoy the socially conscious approach comics have taken,” Bulloch said.
It’s one of the reasons that drew Christine Hanefalk of Stockhom, Sweden, to start her blog a decade ago. Daredevil’s appeal as a “grown person’s superhero,”someone who has a day job and whose relationships often end badly, a superhero who deals with blindness and long battled mental health issues. Hanefalk said the Sister Maggie story made sense, particularly given the genetic component of depression.
“It really struck something in me,” said Brett White, an editor at the comic news’ website Comic Book Resources. He wrote a review of Netflix’s Daredevil web series last spring. Season two premieres on Friday.
That’s when viewers might get the chance to meet Sister Maggie. A clue came in the trailer for season two with a closeup of a nun’s habit.
White said he’ll be watching. “Comic books can give you that feeling of I’m just not alone,” he said.
The post Daredevil comic takes on a demon of a different sort: postpartum depression appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Friday he will vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the upcoming caucuses in his home state of Utah, intensifying his attack against front-runner Donald Trump.
“There is a contest between Trumpism and Republicanism,” Romney wrote on his official Facebook page. “Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these.”
Romney delivered a scathing attack on Trump in a speech at the University of Utah earlier this month, in which he called Trump “a phony” who is “playing the American public for suckers.”
A number of Republican officials have shown their support for Cruz in recent days while falling short of endorsing the senator, who is currently in second place in the race for the GOP nomination. On Thursday, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would help Cruz’s fundraising efforts but stopped short of offering his endorsement to his senate colleague.
Romney also said in his statement Friday that he likes Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who currently trails both Trump and Cruz, but said “a vote for Gov. Kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail.”
Watch Mitt Romney’s full speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday. Video by PBS NewsHour
Utah is one of four contests scheduled for Tuesday. Early polling shows Cruz leading among the state’s predominantly Mormon voters.
Trump currently leads his rivals, having won 678 delegates in contests held thus far, according to a count by The Associated Press. Cruz is in second place with 423 delegates, and Kasich is in third with 143.
Needed to win: 1,237.
Despite appearances to the contrary, this year’s presidential follies have managed to feature at least a few policy discussions amid all the name-calling.
Income inequality in particular has animated voters on both sides of the partisan divide, but the solutions advocated by candidates from each party are markedly different.
Democrats claim higher taxes on the rich and more benefits for the poor are the best ways to reduce inequality. Republicans argue what we really need is more growth, accomplished by lowering taxes to spur work and investment with, it seems, benefit cuts to make up lost revenue.
Remarkably, this debate has taken place based on partial and inappropriate indicators of U.S. inequality. Each party is dead certain about how to address inequality, yet neither knows what it is. Neither has a comprehensive and conceptually correct measure of inequality. The right measure is not how much wealth or income people have or receive, but their spending power after the government has levied taxes on those resources and supplemented those resources with welfare and other benefits.
In a just-released NBER working paper, we provide the first picture of actual U.S. inequality. We account for inequality in labor earnings and wealth, as Thomas Piketty and many others do. And we get to the bottom line: What does inequality in spending look like after accounting for government taxes and benefits?
Our findings dramatically alter the standard view of inequality and inform the debate on whether and how best to reduce it.
Our study focuses on lifetime spending inequality, because economic well-being depends not just on what we spend this minute, hour, week or even year. It depends on what we can expect to spend through the rest of our lives.
Measuring lifetime spending inequality for a representative sample of U.S. households was a massive, multi-year undertaking, which may explain why ours is the first such study.
It required two big things. The first was developing software that properly measures lifetime spending, taking into account all possible survival scenarios households face (for example, a husband dies in 22 years and a wife in 33 years). Second, it required accounting in meticulous detail all the taxes households will pay and for all the benefits they will receive under each scenario. Our list included everything from personal income taxes (with its copious provisions) to estate taxes to Social Security benefits (of which there are eight kinds). Our paper lays out all the gory details.
The raw data came from the Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, which we ran through a computer program called The Fiscal Analyzer. We designed The Fiscal Analyzer to calculate the present value of the annual spending, including final bequests, a household can sustain given its “resources” (current wealth plus the present value of their projected future labor earnings), taxes, benefits and limits on its borrowing capacity. Our lifetime spending measure appropriately weights the spending arising under each survival scenario. The weights are the probabilities of the survival scenario in question and account for the fact that the rich live longer than the poor.
One final methodological point: since we are comparing lifetime spending inequality, it makes no sense to compare households of different ages with very different lifespans. So we divided them up by age cohorts (30-39, 40-49, etc.).
Next we ranked the households in each cohort according to the size of their resources, as defined above. Finally, we split the households into five equal groups, with the lowest quintile having the lowest amount of resources and so on. We also considered households ranked in the top 5 percent and top 1 percent based on resources.
So what did we learn?
First, spending inequality — what we should really care about — is far smaller than wealth inequality. This is true no matter the age cohort you consider.
Take 40- to 49-year-olds. Those in the top 1 percent of our resource distribution have 18.9 percent of net wealth, but account for only 9.2 percent of the spending. In contrast, the 20 percent at the bottom (the lowest quintile) have only 2.1 percent of all wealth, but 6.9 percent of total spending. This means that the poorest are able to spend far more than their wealth would imply — although still miles away from the 20 percent they would spend were spending fully equalized.
The fact that spending inequality is dramatically smaller than wealth inequality results from our highly progressive fiscal system as well as the fact that labor income is distributed more equally than wealth.
The top 1 percent of 40- to 49-year-olds face a net tax, on average, of 45 percent. This means that the present value of their spending is reduced by the fiscal system to 55 percent of the present value of their resources. So someone in that age group who has resources with a present value of $25.5 million can spend $14 million of it after fiscal policy.
For the bottom 20 percent, the average net tax rate is negative 34.2 percent. In other words, they get to spend 34.2 percent more than they have thanks to government policy (they get to spend, on average, $552,000 over their lifetimes, which exceeds their $411,000 in average lifetime resources). The table below illustrates this for all quintiles.
To be clear, spending power remains extremely unequal.
Our point is that the fiscal system taken as a whole does materially reduce inequality, not in what people own or earn, but in what they get to spend.
This limits the scope to further equalize spending power by taxing the top 1 percent at a much higher rate. Indeed, among 40- to 49-year-olds, confiscating all the remaining spending power of the top 1 percent (with a 100 percent tax rate) and giving it to the poorest 20 percent would leave the latter group with 16.1 percent of total spending power, which is still less than 20 percent. And this hypothetical calculation assumes that the jobs and incomes of those workers aren’t adversely affected by such a policy, which they most certainly would be.
Impact on work incentives
Another key finding is that U.S. fiscal policy acts as a serious disincentive to work longer hours or harder for more pay.
Our system’s plethora of taxes and benefits — designed with a multitude of income and asset tests and with little regard to how they work as a whole — have left many households facing high to super high net marginal tax rates. These rates measure what a household gets to spend (in present value) over its remaining lifetime in exchange for earning more money now.
For example, a typical 40- to 49-year-old in any of the bottom three quintiles (poor to middle class) of our resource distribution will only get to spend about 60 cents of every dollar he or she earns. For the richest 1 percent in that age group, it’s just 32 cents.
We often hear critics of the tax system, such as billionaire Warren Buffett, suggest that the rich pay very little on average or at the margin in taxes. This reflects their omission of a long list of current and future taxes in addition to their failure to focus on lifetime spending.
Judging rich and poor
One more major finding: Our standard means of judging whether a household is rich or poor is based on current income, but this classification can produce huge mistakes.
For example, only 68.2 percent of 40-49-year-olds who are actually in the third resource quintile using our data would be so classified based on current income. In other words, nearly a third of the people we identified as middle income are being misclassified as either richer or poorer. Similarly, among the poorest 20 percent of 60-69-year-olds, about 36 percent are actually poorer than commonly understood.
Consequently, relying on average current-year net tax rates to assess fiscal progressivity, as is standard practice, can be far off the mark.
Facing fiscal facts
Facts and figures are hard things. They upset prior views and demand attention.
The facts revealed in our study should change views. Inequality, properly measured, is extremely high, but is far lower than generally believed. The reason is that our fiscal system, properly measured, is highly progressive. And via our high marginal taxes, we are providing significant incentives to Americans to work less and earn less than they might otherwise.
Finally, traditional static measures of inequality, fiscal progressivity and work disincentives that a) focus on immediate incomes and net taxes rather than lifetime spending and lifetime net taxes and b) lump the old together with the young create highly distorted pictures of all three issues.
As candidates and voters debate inequality and the best ways to reduce it, it’s important to start with the actual facts. The facts will make it far easier to figure out which policies, if any, should be changed going forward.
Raising taxes and benefits, as Democrats advocate, will come at the cost of even larger work disincentives unless existing tax and benefit systems are properly reformed. Lowering taxes, as Republicans advocate — presumably funding this with benefit cuts — will improve work incentives, but may exacerbate spending inequality unless the benefit cuts disproportionately hit the rich.
Fortunately, we now have the machinery in place to accurately assess fiscal reforms in a manner consistent with economic theory and common sense.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: a look at a political rarity: an expanding health program supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
Special correspondent Cat Wise reports.
KIMBERLY HIRST, Registered Nurse: I have a book for you guys today.
CAT WISE: In Aurora, Colorado, registered nurse Kimberly Hirst is checking in on 19-year-old Sinai Herrera and her 2-year-old son, Caleb.
SINAI HERRERA: One, two, buckle my shoe.
CAT WISE: The visits are part of a rapidly expanding program called the Nurse Family Partnership. The partnership combines old-fashioned social services with the latest brain science, all to help low-income first-time mothers and their children.
KIMBERLY HIRST: Time and time again, I see these young girls drop out of school, so they’re at risk for that and living in poverty forever.
CAT WISE: The regular visits begin in pregnancy and continue until the children are 2 years old. Nurses offer advice on health, parenting, and self-sufficiency.
KIMBERLY HIRST: It’s really so much more educational, rather than clinical. And so I feel like sometimes I’m, like, a life coach.
CAT WISE: Improved outcomes, like a 48 percent reduction in child abuse and an 82 percent increased employment for mothers, have been so significant that Congress recently voted to infuse home-visit programs with $800 million in new funding.
But while the Nurse Family Partnership is focused on health and poverty, another outcome is catching the attention of early learning experts. Kids from the program are showing up at school better prepared.
David Olds, the project’s founder and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, says the educational benefits are no surprise.
DAVID OLDS, University of Colorado Medical School: Nurse-visited mothers are spending more time talking to their babies, guiding them.
WOMAN: Where does the A go?
CHILD: A go right there.
DAVID OLDS: All of that earliest process that gets set in motion sets in motion a positive cycle of interaction that leads to significant reductions in children’s behavioral problems when they enter school, significant improvements in their language development.
CAT WISE: On this day, Hirst uses simple props to explain the importance of talking to Caleb long before he can talk back.
KIMBERLY HIRST: So, way before Caleb could talk, he was learning how to talk by hearing you talk. All of these things were adding to him having language. When you read to him every night, when you told him what things were, it bubbled over into language.
KIMBERLY HIRST: A baseball?
CHILD: Yes, baseball.
KIMBERLY HIRST: Yes, baseball.
CHILD: Go — it.
KIMBERLY HIRST: Go get it? Go get the baseball?
CHILD: Yes, get ball.
KIMBERLY HIRST: It seems so simple, but if he only hears 500 words an hour verses 3,000 words an hour, it makes a huge difference and it’s a lasting difference.
CAT WISE: Clinical trials show a 50 percent reduction in language delays by age 2 and a 67 percent reduction in intellectual problems by age 6. Such results bolster a growing area of brain science that looks at a baby’s early environment.
Here at the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, researchers are studying how a child’s early learning experiences can shape their developing brain and impact early learning.
CHARLES NELSON, Harvard Medical School: What many of us are starting to argue is that, to foster success as children make the transition to school, you need to invest in what’s going on in those first few years.
CAT WISE: Charles Nelson is a professor of pediatrics and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School.
CHARLES NELSON: Over those first few years, basically, the general architecture of the brain forms in a way that sets it up for the rest of your life.
CAT WISE: At the Nelson Lab, researchers use noninvasive sensors to pick up communication between brain cells.
CHARLES NELSON: Millions and millions and millions of brain connections are being built. And so as we build the scaffolding for subsequent learning in those first few years, that scaffolding enables learning that occurs over the lifespan.
CAT WISE: Tell me what we’re seeing here.
CHARLES NELSON: So, we’re doing is, we’re presenting babies with images of different facial expressions. We want to determine at what age are they able to discriminate different emotions? So the baby sees the different emotions by different people, and as they do that, each time the picture comes up, we’re recording the brain activity,
CAT WISE: Nelson believes emotions play a big role in brain development. When parents are depressed, afraid, or stressed, their babies’ brain development can suffer.
CHARLES NELSON: If you look here, she’s clearly happy, and she’s clearly angry, and she’s afraid. Infants who are brought up in environments where they do not see happy, mom is depressed or there’s something else going on the environment, respond very differently to facial emotion.
Development is seriously impacted. And, more importantly, if they don’t get them in the first two or three years, development probably is derailed permanently.
CAT WISE: Nelson says high-poverty homes, like the kind targeted in Nurse Family Partnership, are vulnerable to stress, depression, and abuse.
In these homes, he says, early intervention can make a big difference in brain development. When Sinai Herrera discovered her junior year of high school that she was pregnant, it was a tough time for her.
KIMBERLY HIRST: She was struggling with some depression and trying to figure out what her life was going to look like.
CAT WISE: Hirst directed Herrera into mental health counseling, and ultimately back to school.
WOMAN: With that counseling, I know I’m a good mom now. And I know that I can do everything that he needs me to do.
CAT WISE: For Stormee Duran, who went through the program with her first child, Sophia, the issue was an abusive relationship. Duran says her nurse gave her the strength to move on.
STORMEE DURAN, Nurse-Family Partnership Participant: She was really there to help me through that deep, dark place that I was in. I have always had low self-esteem issues, and so I didn’t want my daughter to grow up like that.
CAT WISE: The home visits are not cheap. Each family-nurse two-year partnership costs on average $10,000. But a RAND Corporation analysis found the investment actually saves money. Every dollar spent today prevents another $5 of social welfare spending in the future.
DAVID OLDS: This is work that is not just somebody’s good idea, but has been developed and tested and retested using rigorous approaches.
CAT WISE: The nurse-family home visits have expanded to 43 states and recently became part of the Obama administration’s push for early learning initiatives.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Cat Wise.
The post How home visits for vulnerable moms boost kids’ brainpower appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
February 2016 was hot, really hot. So hot, climate scientists could not find the superlatives to describe February 2016’s record breaking temperature.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been keeping climate data records since 1880, and their measurements indicated that this February had the biggest above-normal deviation on record.
NOAA’s data, released Thursday, show the Earth averaged 56.08 degrees in February, which is 2.18 degrees above average marks. The high marks for February 2016 surpassed a record set in the same month last year by almost six-tenths of a degree.
NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden told the Associated Press that the measurements for February are “astronomical.”
“It’s on land. It’s in the oceans. It’s in the upper atmosphere. It’s in the lower atmosphere. The Arctic had record low sea ice,” she said. “Everything everywhere is a record this month, except Antarctica.”
Analyses from NASA and teams at the University of Alabama Huntsville and the satellite-heavy Remote Sensing System also confirmed the record-setting month.
Climate scientist Kim Cobb of Georgia Tech told AP that, normally, record temperatures do not concern themselves with high temperature records broken, but she said February 2016 was like “something out of a Sci-Fi movie, as if someone pluck a value off of a graph from 2030.”
The post This February was the hottest month in recorded history appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
So, gentlemen, with that gentle note to end this week, David, where does the Republican contest stand?
DAVID BROOKS: I’m trembling at the loss of Sam Clovis from the ranks.
DAVID BROOKS: Trump is looking like the nominee. I mean, he had this great night. He — if he continues as he has been going right now — and my paper reported — our Upshot department reported he will get the — what he needs. So he’s looking like he can get it.
There are two ways he cannot get it. One, maybe if Kasich drops out, there are some polls that show if Cruz is one on one, he could make some inroads into Trump. And then something behind the scenes or something — fiddling with the rules. I, of course, think they should do it.
But one of the features of this year is that Donald Trump has a monopoly on audacity and he’s the only one who takes action. So, what’s interesting to me about the Republicans right now is, with the exception of Florida Governor Rick Scott and Chris Christie, they’re not flocking to Trump. They do not like the guy. They’re terrorized of the guy. They’re repulsed by the guy.
But they’re not flocking to him, but they’re not doing anything against him either. They’re just sitting there like a psychologically depleted party.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, where does that leave — so that, Mark, he just marches on to Cleveland and the nomination.
MARK SHIELDS: He does.
What conservative philosopher and columnist George Will called the most gifted and diversified field of Republican candidates since 1865 is now down essentially to two, to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the quintessential conservative who cannot be nominated and cannot win. And that’s where the Republicans are.
Donald Trump, let it be said in his behalf, has won this nomination. I mean, the people who are trying to take it away from him have won nothing. I mean, John Kasich has won one primary, half as many as Marco Rubio won, I think, contests.
So, I mean, you know, but he’s won, and he’s won everywhere. I mean, it’s been across the board. I mean, this is a — it’s been an open assault upon the establishment, and he has captured it.
So, I just think that, you know, Lindsey Graham, a man occasionally known for spreading the ugly truth, said it’s — a choice between Cruz and Trump is the choice between being poisoned and being shot. And I think that’s where sort of the paralysis that David…
DAVID BROOKS: And he chose poison.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And then he went on to choose Cruz.
MARK SHIELDS: He did. He chose arsenic over — yes.
DAVID BROOKS: That’s right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But if Trump has won it, then, David, is there any sign of Republican — I know you said he’s not getting the big endorsements, but is it that Republicans are not listening to the voters? What’s the disconnect here?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
Well, first of all, in the big Tuesday states, 40 percent of voters in most of the states said, if Trump were the nominee, they’d consider a third party. And so that’s some serious disaffection. You do not see that. Usually, people are rallying around at this point.
And, secondly, there are a lot of Republicans, including myself, who find him morally repulsive. And he’s just not — there are some things more important things than winning an election. And supporting a guy who tears at the social fabric, who insults the office of the presidency by completely unprepared for it, who plays on bigotry and fear, who is the sort of demagogue our founders feared would upset the American experiment in self-government, well, that kind of guy, you just can’t support, even if it means a defeat.
And I think a lot of Republicans feel that way, which is why you get those 40 percent numbers of defectors.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Mark, are the two of you saying that literally there is no — I know David said, if something happened and…
MARK SHIELDS: Sure.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, I mean, are you saying the odds are just very much against any…
MARK SHIELDS: Oh, no, I think the momentum is with him. I think the numbers are with him, Judy.
Judy, probably it hasn’t been totaled up yet, but a good bet is there was $20 million spent against Donald Trump in Florida, $20 million in negative campaign ads that went from calling him — one group, secretive group associated with the Koch brothers called him a wealthy draft dodger.
They have never mentioned — they never used that term about Dick Cheney, but then they called Trump University a scam and accused him of being just a scurrilous, unprincipled person. And all this, and it apparently — you know, if anything, it didn’t lay a glove on him, and, if anything, increased his numbers.
I mean, he has a constituency that is indifferent to such charges. So, I don’t know what would be revealed. I mean, there has been enough already revealed about him and understood that would kill any other candidate.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, with that and with the talk about a whether you call it a contested convention or an open convention, is there a scenario under which the people who voted for Donald Trump or his delegates would go along with some other plan, some other result at a convention?
DAVID BROOKS: It’s hard to imagine, unless there was something — again, he’s like Rasputin. As Mark said, he just doesn’t go away. He doesn’t die.
Unless somehow something came up that we don’t know about that — where they lost faith, where they lost heart. But at this point, it’s hard to see it. He looks very much like the nominee. And, as Mark said, we have treated this — everyone says, oh, what a crazy year. It’s so unexpected. He’s been ahead for eight months.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Sure.
DAVID BROOKS: And only it’s because of the ignorance of people like me, who didn’t see that he’s ahead for eight months, so it’s a very simple storyline. He’s been ahead for eight months. He’s still ahead.
And so that’s been very stable. We all expected him to explode. The only surprise is, this has been so linear for him.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes. No, there is always the blockbuster, the screenplay that reveals something about him, that he’s got eight secret families or something of the sort.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Somebody steps out from behind a curtain.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes. No, but I just think everything is headed in his direction.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s turn to the Democrats.
Hillary Clinton is way ahead, David, in terms of delegates, but Bernie Sanders — and Bernie Sanders didn’t win any primaries this week, but he’s campaigning hard and he says he’s going all the way to Philadelphia, to the Democratic Convention.
What is that — I mean, what do we have here on the Democratic side?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I think the Democratic side is even more ironed shut down than the Republican side.
I think she’s on a march. And she got has nearly twice the number of delegates he has got. And she’s just been very solid in her demographics. Now, she’s amazingly weak outside of her demographics. Among young people, he’s getting like 80 percent in some states. It’s amazing.
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right. Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And among minorities, she’s very solid. Among middle class, among moderate Democratic voters, she’s very solid and she’s holding her people.
And I think that is what is frustrating for Sanders. She’s a fox, and he’s a hedgehog. She knows a lot of things. He knows one thing and he keeps repeating it and repeating it. He doesn’t adjust tactics. He doesn’t shift. He’s just doing that thing.
And so that thing wins over a certain demographic, young people and the left, but there just aren’t enough of those people to knock her off. And so I think she’s looking — she’s sitting very pretty now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You see any way he could pull this off?
MARK SHIELDS: Well, again, when you have two candidates in a race, yes, there is always a possibility. I recall rather vividly eight years ago, when she was asked if she was going to get out, and she said, no, anything can happen in a race when there is two people.
Bernie Sanders has run an absolutely exceptional campaign, and continues to do. He has dominated — as Donald Trump has dominated the dialogue and the debate on the Republican side and gotten the attention, he has totally dominated the debate on the Democratic side. He has moved her on trade, on the TPP.
He has moved her on preserving Social Security. She’s now pledged to not touching a single hair on the gray hair on the beautiful head of Social Security. That had been a traditional Democratic sort of moderate position, or new Democrats, that you had to limit entitlements.
So, I mean, Bernie, he is — he has really been the driving force in this campaign. David’s right; 80 percent of voters under the age of 30 supported him in several states. And he came back. You know, I was thinking of Massachusetts, where, in 2008, Barack Obama had the support of Governor Deval Patrick and Ted Kennedy, and he still lost by 15 points to Hillary Clinton.
He almost beat her there. And he’s won a number of states. And what lies ahead, he’s quite confident. So I just — he has four million individual contributions. So, he’s given the party a lot of energy. I don’t think he’s got dreams that he’s going to be the nominee at this point, but I think he’s got — he’s leading a cause.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court to take the spot that Justice Scalia, the late Justice Scalia had, David, Merrick Garland, what do make of the choice, and what does it say about what the president wants on the court?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, frankly, I think it’s an excellent choice. He’s a guy with apparently an amazing temperament. He is the model of judicial restraint.
He seems to be a man of both amazing integrity and capacity to be emotionally moved. And so everything I hear about him is superlative.
And, if I’m a Republican, frankly, running the Senate, I’m thinking, this is the best I’m going to get. And if Donald Trump is down 15 points in the summer or fall, I would confirm this guy, because Hillary Clinton, if she gets elected, who knows what the Senate will look like. It will be, from a Republican point of view, a lot worse.
So I think Republicans should say, OK, we will take this guy, because he’s — from their point of view, he’s a model of restraint.
MARK SHIELDS: I agree and echo what David has said about Judge Garland.
And, Judy, the knocks on him from the liberal side is, A, he’s a white male. And, you know, you have to have somebody who’s, I don’t know what, biracial or something else.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But he’s too much of a centrist.
MARK SHIELDS: That he — and he’s 63 years old, which doesn’t seem old at all to me.
MARK SHIELDS: But — no, but the irony here is, I think the Republicans have put themselves in a terrible position. I really do.
I mean, before the body was cold of Judge Scalia, before his family had been told, Mitch McConnell tried to head off a charge from the conservative insurgents against the establishment that they weren’t sufficiently conservative enough, so they are going to earn that.
And they have taken a position basically that comes down to this. Barack Obama is the only president since World War II other than Dwight Eisenhower to twice win 51 percent of the popular vote. And what they want to say is, he’s got a three-year term for his second term.
So, by that logic, that logic, the people should decide. The 24 Republican senators who are up for reelection this year shouldn’t vote on anything between now and November, until the people have spoken. I mean, so I just really think they have taken a terrible political position, and I think it’s increasingly unpopular and eventually unsustainable.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, their defense — in their defense, the Republicans, David, are saying, well, but this is to replace Antonin Scalia, who was standard-bearer, conservative for, what, 25 years on the court.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, but I agree with Mark philosophically. You are elected for four years and you get to nominate for four years.
Some people — Justice Marshall in the old days, under John Adams, I think it was, was nominated in a lame-duck section.
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right.
DAVID BROOKS: And so that’s the constitutional historical precedent. So, philosophically, I think Mark is right.
Politically, I can’t imagine Republicans will pay a price for it. I do not think there are a lot of voters out there thinking, oh, you have got to give this guy a hearing. I just don’t think it’s a voting issue. So I do not think Republicans will be compelled to fold on this one.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Does it matter for the court that it sits with eight members until whenever?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, of course.
MARK SHIELDS: A closed mind is a terrible thing to tamper with.
MARK SHIELDS: No, I mean, I think it will — it puts people like Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire on the defensive. It puts Rob Portman on the defensive. Already, Mark Kirk has changed.
I just think that states like that — I mean, Chuck Grassley is looking like a tower of Jell-O at this point.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On that note, Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you both.
The post Shields and Brooks on blocking Trump, Sanders’ chances and Merrick Garland appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And now for our “NewsHour” Shares, something that caught our eye that we thought might be of interest to you too.
All eyes today were on Mr. President and the first lady, as they added a new member to the family, not the Obamas, but rather, a pair of bald eagles nesting at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. A Web camera captured the first of possibly two eaglets fully emerging from its egg this morning.
Biologists say the baby bald eagle known for now as DC2 appears to be doing well and is already being fed. The second egg, which was laid a few days after its sibling, could hatch over the weekend. The two adult bald eagles are the first pair to nest at the National Arboretum since 1947. They successfully raised their first eaglet last summer.
What can you say but aww?
On the “NewsHour” online: what a Trump presidency would mean for America’s role in the world. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner talked to U.S. diplomats and foreign correspondents to get their unique take on the 2016 race.
You can read about that on our home page, PBS.org/NewsHour.
And later this evening on “Washington Week,” Gwen Ifill and her panelists will have more analysis and insight into the week’s big news. Here’s a preview.
GWEN IFILL: What’s not to like about Merrick Garland? Senate Republicans say it’s not personal, but still they will not confirm this president’s Supreme Court nominee. Plus, why do John Kasich, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders think they still have a chance? We explain the delegate math for both Democrats and Republicans, and what it means for the nominating conventions, or we will try to.
That’s later tonight on “Washington Week” — Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On “PBS NewsHour Weekend” Saturday, from South Africa, a look at efforts by the government to regulate the practice of traditional healing.
And we will be back right here on Monday with a report on President Obama’s historic trip to Havana, what it means for Cuba and the U.S.
That’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff.
Have a great weekend. Thank you, and good night.
The post The stork brings an eaglet: Bald eagle hatches at National Arboretum appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: The most wanted fugitive from November’s Paris terrorist attack is captured in a Brussels shoot-out.
Then: The European Union reaches a deal with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees coming in by the thousands each day.
Mark Shields and David Brooks are here to analyze a full week of political news.
And how a new feature film grapples with the moral dilemmas of drone warfare.
GAVIN HOOD, Director, “Eye in the Sky”: The tiny drone flies through the window or a door, and detonates right by your temple, or it blows a little dose of anthrax in your nose as it flies by. It’s very creepy, but there’s no stopping it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: The day’s other major story also comes from Brussels, where European leaders sealed a deal with Turkey to stem the tide of migrants. It calls for sending back thousands who reach Greece. The Turkish coast guard also moved aggressively today to block migrant sailings, nearly swamping one boat on the Aegean Sea. In all, some 1,700 people were detained. We will have a full report later in the program.
The corruption crisis that has engulfed Brazil’s government deepened again today. Riot police in Sao Paulo used water cannon and pepper spray to roust protesters ahead of a planned rally by government supporters. The protesters are demanding the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff.
And in Iraq, thousands marched on Baghdad’s government center, demanding reforms to end corruption there. Riot police stood aside and let the demonstrators cut through a razor wire fence to get closer to the fortified Green Zone. There, they put up tents and began a sit-in.
PROTESTER (through interpreter): We are staying here and will not pull back. We will stay here, leaving our families and mothers until the corrupters leave. Are you listening to me? That’s it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The protesters are responding to a call for action from Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric.
Back in this country, a crack appeared in Senate Republican opposition to voting on Merrick Garland, the president’s Supreme Court nominee. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk said today that he’s breaking with his party leaders. In his words, “It’s just man up and vote.” Kirk faces a difficult reelection fight in a Democratic-leaning state.
Wall Street kept its rally going today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 120 points to close above 17600. The Nasdaq rose 20 points, and the S&P 500 added nine. The Dow and the S&P are now back in positive territory for the year.
And for the first time, a woman has been tapped to lead a U.S. military combat command. The Pentagon says that President Obama will nominate Air Force General Lori Robinson to lead the U.S. Northern Command. It oversees all military activities in North America. Robinson is currently head of U.S. air forces in the Pacific.
And, finally, if you had Michigan State winning it all in college basketball’s march madness, your bracket is toast. A 15th seed, Middle Tennessee State, shocked the second-seeded Spartans today 90-81, and that was in the first round. It’s one of the biggest upsets since they started seeding teams in 1985.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice on the Paris attacker and the president’s upcoming visit to Cuba; what the European Union migrant deal means for the migrants themselves; Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze the stop Trump movement; a new movie on the complications of drone warfare; and much more.
The post News Wrap: EU, Turkey agree on migrant deal; riots flare in Brazil appeared first on PBS NewsHour.